17 thoughts on “[9.3 Spoilers] Path Practicalities

  1. Well, this is all looking really interesting. And I wasn’t expecting this, since we’ve now had an extra material for the last three Thursdays.

    I like Avery’s doodles, and I wonder if Miss knows about the Station Promenade. She knows most of the routes Finders do, but she’s also a Lost and not a Finder, so she might know of undiscovered Paths.

    The Practice she’s learning for it looks useful, too, and I bet Verona would like to know how to be a little Lost sometimes. Anything to be more Other.


  2. Unofficial Transcript:

    Title: THE PATHS


    Page 1. [Drawing of a deer headed girl and a possum headed girl, walking on a beam with a crack in it.]

    Got this info from some things sent by the Garrick Finders (The group Ed works with) + the small amount of stuff we were able to find at the school library.

    The paths are like Alice in Wonderland and some versions of Oz. They are places that are far away and not like our reality but can be weirdly easy to get to. They have their own weird logic and almost always exist as lines drawn from point A to point B.

    We think they might be the detritus of reality as we understand it. It’s like stuff in space, floating around, and gravity pulls a bunch of little bits together. You get little bits of land between a whole lot o’nada, like planets but weird + themed.

    [Drawing of toast, with an arrow leading to a toast surrounded by a basketball, a dagger and a musical note, and lastly an arrow leading to an amorphous shape labelled STUFF]

    The stuff bundles together and becomes a blob and depending on the angle you look at it, the big squares in the distance could be dice or books. Some points stay solid and are always the same and some can change. Sometimes that ‘solid’ is that everything is purple and sometimes its how there are trees and ribbons.

    Or maybe a Wolf.

    Page 2.

    A lot of the Lost stuff is decayed, kind of. Pieces missing. Like Miss’s. We think this helps it mesh. Like a doll with a missing arm you can plug a lot of things into the hole: a toy shovel or another arm or another doll. The difference is that the ‘missing’ part is even more missing than the doll’s arm. A coin with only one face… if it turns away from you there’s no backside or inside to see.

    And you can bundle a bunch of stuff with pieces missing together + have only the missing parts sticking outward and it doesn’t look like much of anything. If there’s enough missing you can see right through the gob of stuff. Or walk into the middle of it without realizing it’s there, turn around + bam! You’re on a new path.

    That’s why it’s weird + dreamlike + why Lost type Others are either missing stuff (including certain rules) or end up with weird objects for body parts or outsides not matching the inside.

    [Drawing of stick figure saying “Hey playing card men! I’m two dimensional” rotated into the plane of the page. Next to it are 3 stick figures with playing cards for heads. On the right of the page there is a stick figure with a monstrous looking shadow saying “Soon your belly will be swollen with my spawn”]

    The books say the Path part of it might be tied to connections. The connections is like a chain or a tangle of rope but it’s not physical.

    Just like stuff will attract stuff and glob together the Lost connection can attract connections. Or they attract the things that come with connections between people and things like rules or patterns. (And Others with weird, transplanted rules in how they interact with others, like our best trash girl Snowdrop and her inverted Truth).

    AND of course you get stuff in your connections and connections entangled with stuff + that’s how they think you get a weird shaped hallway where touching the toast makes the menacing basketball move out of the way.

    [Doodle of a toast chained to a basketball]

    … or whatever. Just an example.

    Page 3.

    So it’s just kludge at the edge of spirit or the edge of ruins or abyss or Faerie or the magic side of Earth. With this idea of things the stuff just drifts loose in Nothingness and clumps together because of gravity. But stuff without the connections is just weirdness. It’s the connections and the stuff that comes with connections that knit it together or give it any kind of logic at all. Connections = Paths.

    (That Nothingness may be important. It’s why travel between any Paths seems so seamless or close together. There’s Nothing in between them. Not even empty space or time)

    [Doodle of deer-headed girl flying left and upside down saying Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee… There are stars and an unplugged television floating in the background.]

    The GOOD part of all of this is that it’s cool to explore, sure. But a journey that’s loaded with hidden meanings + obstacles + stuff is a cool story. Not like, ONLY as a thing you can tell people but also it’s kind of a hack or a trick that makes the universe go “Wait that person did all of that? They passed go + killed a dragon + ate a bag of garbage for some reason (Snowdrop’s contribution) + they won the lottery and turned down money? They need a whole lot of personal growth and adjustments and stuff!!! Or Lost magic items! Something!”

    Except we didn’t kill a dragon or eat garbage or turn down real fortunes for noble reasons…

    [Doodle of Possum head saying nom next to a bag of garbage]

    …What we actually might’ve done was figure out ways to get from A to B in a riddle of a place + skip ahead to do the journy of self discovery or the epic journey without actually doing something boring like growing as people or spending decades adventuring. And we get the weird treasure or new abilities that come with the same broken logic of free-association and dreamlike nonsense that the journeys did.

    Page 4.

    All of this wackiness makes the old name of ‘chaos mage’ make some more sense for Finders. The weird free-association way Stuff gets knit together and connected fits in with dreams and so they can’t be blamed for think this was a Dreamscape for so long. Now, we personally think that there’s gotta be a better name for practitioners who wade out to the edges of everything when we’re basically astronauts of weird Nothing or reality hackers.

    [Doodle of toast flying]

    But we’re Finders ’cause when we run a lot of Paths we kinda end up positioned a little bit out THERE even when we’re on Earth. Which means that when something in our world gets Lost, too disconnected from everything or missing what it takes to get grabbed by the great nets of the Ruins or the Abyss, we can see or use it before it slips away. Every path we run makes us better at seeing those tattered connection-rules or things that are going to be Lost, along with other benefits like boons & Lost items.

    Items that don’t always have powers linked to what they look like.

    Like a pen that gives you a quarter every time you click it.

    [Drawing in the top left of a ball-headed girl next to a brick wall and a dead tree. In the middle bottom is a pig-headed butcher carrying a butcher’s knife. In the right is a drawing of kitted-out Finder holding a sock, labelled Jude, saying “Great, another dryer sock.]

    Finder families like Jude Garrick’s are often hoping to find something that breaks the rules in a way they can use. One finder family in the Blue Heron Libary’s books found a Path that they can have people walk that takes any curse on them and removes it before giving you another one instead. They dropped everything they were exploring to work out the rules for that randomness so they can be what’s basically a curse removal business. They ran that path so often it basically stopped being Lost and came down to Earth again. They’re not even really ‘Finders’ anymore.

    Page 5.

    They said I need to know some practices before I come with.
    They seemed surprised I didn’t know this stuff already.

    Practice One: Finder’s Knotting

    [Diagram of a circle with a imposed on a plus, with 4 more lines at the diagonals of the circle. At the intersection of each line with the circle is a dot. A legend next to it indicates line represents Twine/hair, and the dots represent Knot.

    Used good old Macroware Draw to copy this over from the email. The idea is to surround an object in specifically knotted + treated twine (they recommend soaking blood + sweat+ tears to treat) or braids made of my own hair, and get that circle overlaid over a plus sign. The ones at the diagonals are there mostly to hold that circle shape but aren’t super important to the effect. Jude recommends doing this over a baseball or softball to start and trying to get the symbol on both sides. Experts use tweezers and individual hairs with bullets or darts and do more complex knots (like the above but with a hanging rope with its own intricate sign).

    [Diagram of circle with a plus sign in it]

    The symbol of a circle with a plus sign in it is the astrological sign for ‘Earth’ and the idea is to have something that can be flung. Delivers a curse effect that works best against dangerous Lost and brings them ‘down to earth’. Makes them less Lost, can interrupt any special rules they follow and protections or powers they have. Works on non-Lost too, but varies in how useful it is. Can work on weak patterns or barriers in the Paths. Fire a bullet with a finder’s knot around it (without breaking the hairs? I dunno) and shoot down a door with a mechanism that can’t be figured out.

    I want to get a ‘return to me’ thing going on if I can get this freaking knot figure out. Verona’s stupidly good at this sort of thing so I’m going to ask her. Lucy says it reminds her of a skeptic’s effect which it kind of is?

    [Drawing of deer-headed girl saying “Sharon softball!” throwing a softball at a man with a pig mask.]

    Page 6.

    Practice Two: Seeing through Gates of Horn/Gates of Ivory

    They say if I get any of these down right I need to make it this one, because it’s a big part of why I’ve been invited.

    I need to be able to quickly apply or draw the following symbols, one for Horn/Antler and one for Ivory/Tooth.

    [Diagram of 3 tusks, overlapping each other in a triangle, and a diagram of two tusks in a cross with a small teardrop on top]

    Or I need to do an actual arrangement, with overlapping horns, antlers, or antler pieces for the first and then two tusks or long teeth and a proportionate skull (the upside-down teardrop), for the second. Jude says he marked goggles with the runes and ringed them in the appropriate materials. So it seems flexible.

    The Gate of Horn (left) is a way of taking what we see and sharing it. Or taking what we See and sharing it. There are lots of ways to use it and it can be used in negotiations to try to make your perspective clear or hung over your bed to share dreams with those nearby. For Finders its useful because each of us can see the same Path differently. The idea is that I can draw this beneath my own eyes (or one eye) somehow or look through a window like this and the other Finders will be able to see how I’m seeing the Path. The (huge) downside is that sharing your dreams makes you vulnerable. Carrying or wearing or using this has a way of making wounds more likely to find your vitals. Or for hostile forces invading a dream you’re sharing to get right to your most buried weaknesses.

    The Gate of Ivory (right) is deceptive and gives false dreams and delusions. Shuffles or shakes up the way we see things as if we left & returned to a Path, which lets us dod the above thing but alone, or view reality like we’d view a Path and see things or people from angles that might hint at things. Downside: very intense and puts you further from your Self. Too-frequent use makes you loopy.

    Page 7.

    Practice Three: Barometer

    Not really a Finder practice as much as it is a general practice buy they say they want me to have it because it’s our ‘canary in the coal mine’. Everyone will have one apparently.

    I need to find something and make it mine. The hair thing or the treatment for the twine will work. Verona’s talked about this with Lucy’s hair and the color of it, especially to Sight, and we traded messages about if I had something like it (Verona thought maybe my freckles?) but it seems best to use an item.

    If I make it mine and work the hair or treatment into it then I can make it so that it changes in obvious ways as I change. If it starts getting darker or bloody or tattered that’s a sign I’m not doing super hot. I think I’ll use the friendship bracelet Olivia gave me. It’s tied to something I lost and that seems fitting if I’ll be dealing with a lot of Lost.

    Black rope and friendship bracelet and twiney softball and ribbons from the Forest Ribbon Trail and…

    [Doodle of deer-headed girl tied up with string]

    Practice (kind of) Four: Escape Rope

    They’re providing me with this instead of teaching me it but the gist is it’s a very Lost rope and if we run into trouble I’m meant to tug on it twice and they’ll haul me off the Path.

    I’ll also have the Faerie key.

    More Practices mentioned by not taught…

    A way to get hints, about things, places and people you’re talking to.
    A way to become more Lost and do the opposite of be ‘down to earth’
    A practice for giving up Lost objects to seamlessly change the topic of conversation. Serves as practice for something Jude says he’s working on: bringing key things of your identity into Paths.

    Page 8.

    The Mission: The Station Promenade (name subject to change)

    Entry: Need enough tickets (train, plane, sports, event, concert), permission slips, or invitations to fold them up into wedges and fit between a closed door and the frame. Until the door can’t be opened with any amount of pulling and yanking. Draw a circle on the door and fill the circle in as best I can. Then break down the door while also charging through it.
    Jude says not to use red tickets/slips. Risks collision with another Path en-route and it’s not a pretty place to go. Embarrassing/deadly

    Key things: They ran into trouble quickly enough they couldn’t see through the gate of ivory or anything so they only know what they saw the first time (NOT complete rules!):

    Their best count put 200 Lost on the Station Promenade, several were recognized from other paths. Milling around, eating, drinking, talking & shopping. Trains come by on the regular and Others go in. Presumably to be delivered to other Paths?
    The floor is tiled. We enter one by one and move according to a pattern. I’ll be one of the last to go in and they expect to have a loose system worked out by the time I do. It looks like four colors or designs to the tiles and we use one pattern of movement to touch all four types of tile in four ‘moves’. Wait twice, then repeat.
    Dangers: Others occupy tiles. Get ‘blocked’ and you can’t make a move. Make the wrong/no move and nearby Others get hostile. There are also tiles we do not want to move to because it looks like they’ll involve being pushed onto a train & delivered to a Path.
    Lost move by their own patterns and they, like us, move by the clock/music. About one move every few seconds. But if any of us are near one of the clocks we can physically hold the clock hands and nobody will move.

    Goal: Numbers + having someone by a clock every move to hold/release time and buy time for notes. I can escape rope anytime, if I get anything they can use they’ll reward me/give me a cut.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. …we personally think that there’s gotta be a better name for practitioners who wade out to the edges of everything when we’re basically astronauts of weird Nothing or reality hackers.

    Somnauts, given the dreamy qualities of the Paths? Or maybe chaonauts?

    There are also tiles we do not want to move to because it looks like they’ll involve being pushed into a train & delivered to a Path.

    For some reason, this sentence specifically made me think of Otherside Picnic.


  4. Macroware Draw

    I found this a lot more funny than I should have. Also the cheerful face on our old friend Mr. Maybe-A-Wasp (assuming that’s him and not some other creep).

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You know, I sort of wonder what you’d feel if you closed your eyes and tried to kiss Miss. Would it feel like there was just nothing there to kiss? Would you just feel smooth skin?


  6. I love the idea of a coin with only one face…

    Once a Lucky Coin that always came up Heads, it did it for so long and so successfully that eventually the Tails side was Lost.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Some good old exploratory raid-encounter puzzling in Avery’s future, I take it? Hopefully they don’t run afoul of any wipe mechanics!


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