This is a collection of any outside quotes the awesome author has made explaining the story, his writing process, the sad reasons he can't pump out a new chapter every week. Nepene received permission from the author to do this, including use of private messages. Note he says lots of stuff, short procedural comments are unnecessary

Patreon Edit

38-45 Edit

On mind reading alchemy enhancement inspirations classes and exploits

Most people don't have any relevant information, and even if they did there is no guarantee they're currently thinking about it. But mostly its a matter of Zorian considering such behavior immoral - he isn't willing to invade other people's thoughts unless he has a reason to. 2. Mages do get memory training. You'll notice that Zorian can remember huge amounts of information very reliably. There is only so much training your memory can do, though.

And I eagerly write it! I must say I'm kind of amused/mystified by the amount of love Xvim gets from the readers, considering his portrayal has not been especially flattering.

Well, the truth is that I totally didn't think of that. My bad. That said, alchemical workshops are almost always warded for safety reasons, and Imaya wouldn't have allowed Kael to use her basement as a lab if he didn't secure it properly. So lets say that the ward scheme academy installed for Kael had basic privacy functions by default... or that Zorian added them in so he didn't have to secure the room every time he wanted to talk to Kael. Problem solved.

Healing poison, heh. I assume it's a typo. The basic uses of alchemy are medical (though not general-purpose healing potions; those exist but aren't exactly beginner's level stuff), minor enhancement (boost your magic resistance, endurance, reaction times and the like; these are more like magical drugs than no-strings-attached bonuses, though), mind-altering concoctions (lower your inhibitions without suffering loss of coordination from being drunk, things like that; general intelligence boost don't exist in MoL-verse), and creation of super-substances (powerful glues, oils, treated wood, enhanced metals, and so on).Transformation potions (including enhancement potions based on transformation) are doable at beginner level, but not commonly taught to students, as they are considered dangerous. Beginners can also make magical poisons pretty easily, but that is likewise not taught.

Also, yes: a student can use alchemy to make a profit. They just need to be a certified mage or alchemist (you don't need to be a full-blown mage to practice alchemy), or else their competitors will jump at the change of shutting them down. The requirement is there to ensure quality control and cut down on frauds, though many amateur and small-time alchemists don't like it.

Enhancement rituals often have large drawbacks, especially if done incorrectly... and they are easy to do incorrectly. No, using the time loop to save scum doesn't make that irrelevant - Zorian hates dying, especially in a horrible, painful fashion. Also, many of them esentially turn the mage into a magical creature, and thus force them to spent their mana to maintain their enhancements. Hardly something a mana-conscious mage would be crazy about. Finally, most of those enhancements wouldn't carry over to other restarts, and require lengthy and dangerous procedures to apply, making them relatively unappealing to Zorian.

Another:But please be faithful to your vision for the story,

Author: It would be next to impossible to do otherwise, as most things have been decided in advance when I started writing it and aren’t really open to changes.

Another: so I'll keep an eye on your progress over the next few years (or decade?)

Author: I love writing Mother of Learning, but I sincerely hope it will not take a decade to finish writing it…

Another: P.S. What were your sources of inspiration?

Author D&D is a big one, obviously. Mostly for its magic system, which I’ve always liked – it’s incredibly versatile and powerful, yet has clear rules and limitations. MoL magic is not D&D magic, but it draws heavily on it and most people familiar with it can tell that. Though it isn’t obvious at the moment, Planescape (the setting as well as the video game) was also an inspiration.Naruto and Harry Potter (and the vast amounts of fanfiction stories they spawned) provided a fair amount of inspiration.The Avernum/Exile series of games was a large inspiration – the aranea were heavily inspired by it, for instance, though the talking spiders in those games are nothing like the aranea. The Dungeon is also somewhat inspired by those games.The other part of the Dungeon-inspiration comes from roguelikes (NetHack, Angband, Stone Soup, etc.) and Dwarf Fortress (which is apparently also a type of roguelike…). I never did win any of those games, but I had Fun playing them, and that’s what matters. Various non-standard fantasy stories where the world isn’t stuck in medieval stasis are responsible for making me realize I actually prefer a higher-technology setup, which was crucial for a lot of things about Mother of Learning. Off the top of my head, I can name the Fullmetal Alchemist manga (the first Japanese work I read, and the only one I unreservedly like) and the Urbis D&D fan-setting (I’m not sure how much info about this remains on the internet these days) as important in having this realization really click in my mind. I often browse random images on DeviantArt and read worldbuilding attempts by other people, and these things have been a fair amount of influence on how MoL ended up in the end. Real life history is also a big inspiration, because I like reading historical books and Wikipedia articles when the mood strikes me. I also read various timelines, and I’m pretty sure some of them inspired some of the historical background information for MoL.

It's a substantial amount, yeah. (Though 40$ of the current amount was a one-time thing and will go away now that I have published a chapter.) I'm humbled by the support I'm getting from my fans, really. As for class sizes: I never determined an exact numbers but...Zorian's class has 20 students. There are three tiers of groups for any particular year, and more than one class-group for each tier. So way more than 70 students in all four years. Let's say... 160 students for each generation. About 640 people in all four years. This is just me eyeballing it though, not a canonical amount. I don't know what the reasonable number would be, but that's roughly the sort of values bouncing around in my head.

Apparently Patreon no longer allows me to reply directly to a nested post. Silly...To firepanda: Very few students drop out at that point, since the ones that couldn't make it have mostly been weeded out by then. After that, the dropouts are usually the people who had some kind of emergency/tragedy/something happen to them and have to leave the academy to deal with some personal problem. Students rarely move between tiers, and it's easier to go from a lower tier to a higher one than the reverse: bumping a student into a lower tier is often accompanied by an accusation that the academy has failed the student in question, and they would rather avoid dealing with that.

He cannot import skills from other people, and I have no intention of giving him such an ability. It would break the story in half like a twig and would feel very cheap to me. Half of the reason why I made mind magic in the story so relatively limited was to prevent broken stuff like that being possible.

No way I'd be able to write an entire chapter in a span of a single day. I gradually write and rewrite it over the course of the month, though in practice most of it ends up being written during the last week.

I thought of all the exploits mentioned, but for most of them I have three basic complaints: 1. They trivialize the risks inherent in their proposals, claiming that Nothing Can Go Wrong and all risks can be mitigated (ha ha). 2. They ignore the set-up time needed to make some of the scenarios come to pass. Some things cannot be done in a month. Other can, but would take years of repetition until you could align everything just right, which is a dubious time investment. 3. A fair number of them depend on assumptions that just aren't true. The setting doesn't work that way. As an aside, a lot of proposals focus on recruit a lot of people for his projects. This is obviously a potent tactics, if fraught with its own issues, but consider this: if Zorian was the type of person who was inclined to do this, he would be already dead by this point in the story. He would have made himself noticeable within the first couple of restart and gotten soulkilled by Red Robe before he was capable of doing anything about it. The same reason that is limiting his growth is the only reason he is alive right now.

I read the reddit threads at RationalFiction and NovelTranslations, the SpaceBattles thread, DarkLordPotter thread and the AnimeSuki thread. I also have a bunch of other thread bookmarked, but they seem to have died. If you have any further discussions somewhere on the internet, let me know!

I already answered some of your concerns in the response to your review on fictionpress, so I won't do it here. I just wanted to note that Zorian is reactive because new issues and revelations keep cropping up, requiring him to respond to them, not because he can't figure out how to exploit the hell out of the time loop.

In any case, thanks for reading, and I hope you continue enjoying the story.

45-50 Edit

On maps, procrastination, worldbuilding, Aranea, the underworld, wards, mage ranks, and top tier feats. Another, larger and better labeled map of Altazia, this one focused on political borders. Much like the last map I posted here, this is just an unpaid post for readers who like maps and worldbuilding, so ignore it if that doesn't interest you.

I always felt a map, even a very rudimentary one, does wonders for visualizing the world in which the story is happening.

Yes, Iasku Mansion is the same one he visited as an eagle. You'll get the answer to the second question in the next chapter. And I'm not answering anything about the marker and how it functions.

Three weeks thing: Mostly procrastination. Work explains some of it, but I should be able to write a chapter every two weeks easily. Hell, even a chapter a week would be doable if I was really in the mood. But I spend too much time on unrelated worldbuilding projects and writing outlines for future stories (that I'll probably never write; but I thought that about MoL too and just look at it) and my inspiration has a curious habit of being most active as deadlines are approaching. :P And if I knew how to deal with that effectively, I'd publish sooner, so I can't help you there.

I'm trying to organize the worldbuilding information more before showing that stuff to people. Because yeah, it would be pretty embarrassing to post unpolished work. The only problem is that doing that is pretty much on the bottom of my priority list so it goes very, very slowly.

But I do intend to post that information on the internet at some point.

It's actually work. MoL is only second. And it's actually 2:44 where I am. I guess I should go to sleep already...

They need ambient mana to survive, and lots of it. They couldn't live on the surface for long, and even shallower portions of the Dungeon are uncomfortable for them. In fact, ALL magical creatures need certain levels of ambient mana to live - and the more magical they are, the greater their demands for ambient mana. They don't die immediately if they don't get enough, but they'll basically begin to starve if they move out of the area capable of supporting them.

Mother of Learning actually began as a worldbuilding project. I started writing the story because I realized I find it much easier to see the faults and deficiencies in my worldbuilding if I looked at it from the perspective of someone living inside it. So I started planning and writing the story and eventually the worldbuilding aid became more important than the worldbuilding project itself. It's the reason so much thought has been put into the setting.

Aranea do indeed call whatever Web controls Cyoria simply as 'The Cyoria Web'; aranean names for their communities are descriptive, and owning Cyoria sort of supersedes all other characteristics. Whatever name they had before, they are simple the Cyorian Web afterwards.

But if you're really curious, the current Cyorian Web was once known as Obelisk Shapers.

Decently. The first months of the year are always a bit hectic to accountants like me, but I manage. The chapter is chugging along and should be up on schedule. When is that exactly? Nobody knows... :)

No? The schedule has been 3 weeks to a chapter for quite a while now. And the chapter is a little shorter, but that isn't so unusual. It's hardly the first chapter that only had 6000+ words. A few have even had 5000+ words. I usually aim for 7000+ words per chapter, but ultimately I have goals I need to hit for each chapter and the final product can end up longer or shorter than that. That's why 'Soulkill' has 14000+ words instead of being broken up into two.

I'm trying to organize my worldbuilding notes before letting them loose on the internet, and I intend to open a wordpress page once I have enough content. For now, you will have to be patient. Or ask me questions like you're currently doing, I guess. :) There are five continents. Altazia, where the story is currently happening. Miasina is to the south of Altazia - the northern part of the continent is a giant desert (this is where Ikosians come from), and the south if covered in jungles (Koth, where Daimen currently is). Also to the South is Blantyrre, the largest continent. It is largely equatorial, almost entirely covered in jungle, and has no human civilizations living on it. Lizardmen come from here. Hsan is the third continent inhabited by humans, but it isn't particularly important for the story so I haven't developed it much. Finally, there is the Southern Continent, which is cold and isolated and largely a space-filling landmass of no importance. I'm trying to make a world map, but it's slow going. I don't know how many Rank 8s exist, but not too many. Less than 10 known ones in human controlled territories (across the whole world, not just in Altazia).

Yes, Ikosians are still there. Though in much reduced numbers, since the land cannot support as many humans as it could in the past. Some Ikosians left for greater pastures, but most did not - many did not have the means or the will to move.

The underworld extends to incredible depths underground, and nobody knows how far down in goes. By popular understanding, it goes straight into the center of the planet where the Heart of the World is situated, continually spawning monsters and such. It might be theoretically possible to go under the ocean, if one could survive deep enough. It has never been done, however.

I somehow doubt that the the amount of money I get per chapter would stay the same if I released 4 chapters a month. It's likely that people would scale down their pledges to compensate, as that's not the level of financial drain they signed up for. And that's fine, really - if I ever get that prolific with my writing, I'll just switch to monthly payments rather than per chapter to be fair to people.

And honestly, even if I could get enough money from patreon to quite my day job, I'd be extremely reluctant to, for reasons that I don't want to get into.

A number of chapter titles have multiple meanings. This is one of them. It can be interpreted in various ways.

The base is a ward covering the whole city. It emanates from a huge wardstone somewhere withing city's limits. That one is pretty weak and can be bypassed by a normal teleport. There are also stronger fields covering more important parts of the city - those require specialist spells to punch through.

(That said, I may have messed up something there. I'll have to check up on that.)

1. Yes, Zorian had passed the certification test for becoming a first circle mage back before the time loop even began. The badge is just a convenient proof of that fact, since it's moderately hard to forge. 2. The state grants higher circles based of various criteria. The lower ones involve passing a test or two. The higher ones require connections rather than proof of skill, as they represent that the state trusts you quite a lot. And yes, the main advantage is higher spell availability, as well as relaxed restrictions about magic in general. 3. The second. 4. The teachers could get in trouble. But generally speaking, people will only go after them if the student they taught a high-level spell use it to commit a crime. 5. Archmage is technically seperate from circles. It means a mage is really good at a wide variety of magical fields - a generalist that is good enough at most magic to beat a lot of specialists at their own specialty. They would likely be Circle 5+, but not every Archmage has a high official rank. Generally, being known as an Archmage means more than being known to be 9th Circle, reputation-wise.

I make it a point not to confirm or deny speculations about the plot, so you're just going to have to wait to see whether or not you're correct. :)

A lot. The time loop lets him consider some things that most mages wouldn't and makes some things possible that otherwise wouldn't be - his potential for growth is huge, even taking his inherent limitations (such as relatively low mana reserves) into account. I can't tell you what the endgame is, but he'll be a lot more powerful at the end of the story than he is at the moment.


☀If at the moment he can do stuff like defeat an Aranea patrol, what might some high end feats he could be capable be?

Theoretically he could defeat high end enemies like dragons, grey hunters and crystal oozes in full frontal battle where he relies on brute force only, no items and allies. He could make multiple simulacrums of himself and do several things at once. Make his own pocket dimension (though probably very small one). He could scatter magical sensors for miles around him and spy on a huge area at once. Totally rewrite someone's mind into something he finds more useful to his goals. Make a personal shield strong enough withstand several massed artillery volleys. Get so good at telekinesis that it becomes more precise than using his own hands.

Will he be actually able to do stuff like that by the end of the story? You'll have to wait to find out...

50-55 Edit

On shaping, gods, reincarnation, self replicating golems, casting from hitpoints, writing block, the value of money, and proof reading

No, honing shaping does not limit the max reserves. That is essentially inborn, nothing anyone can do about it. Better shaping skills are always a good thing, it's just that people with lots of magic reserves are limited in how fine their control of their mana can get.

Some of the ancient mages could get ridiculously powerful, but that was because the gods had a habit of giving random mages arbitrary power ups for one reason or another. Not because of something they did that was superior to modern mages. Modern mage training methods are unquestionably superior to ancient ones.

1: No, there is no natural reincarnation in the setting. A soul is associated very strongly with its original body and cannot adapt to a new one on a whim. If you shove an existing soul into a foreign living body that is not largely identical to its old one, it will not be able to regulate the flow of life force in the new body well enough, and the body will rapidly get sick and die. Also, you are correct that it does not automatically give access to the memories stored inside it to the new host. You need to be a specialized possessor entity to retain your mind and not kill the new body in the transfer process if you wish to move from body to body. 2a: Special abilities like that [Zorian's mind magic] are effectively unstructured magic, but the users does not have to exert much effort into shaping the effect because it’s all instinctive to them. If he depleted his mana reserve, he could not continue using his mental abilities, no. But they are extremely mana efficient, even more so than regular mind magic, which is already very cheap in terms of mana requirements. 2b: Your guess [shaping effects empathy] is correct. In addition, his mental abilities would be far worse than Zorian’s, because they would use his general shaping aptitude as a base to build upon, and he kind of sucks there. He’d be a virtuoso in mental magic compared to regular humans, but Zorian would still leave him in the dust. Telepathy benefits greatly from finesse and good shaping skills, and not so much from awesome mana reserves, so he would be worse than Zorian in almost every way when it comes to mind magic. 2c: Yes, but it’s not considered a psychic power. Telekinesis is a well-studied ability among mages, since its simple to do and virtually every mage is capable of it to a limited extent, and has often been made into special abilities or just plain trained to a ridiculous extent. 3: The first option [tapping into life force to cast spells] is at least theoretically possible. The second one, no – the body needs its life force, and it’s next to impossible to take any of it away without severely impacting its processes. Note that a caster can definitely dip into their life force from time to time to supplement their mana reserves, provided they know how and are willing to weaken themselves for days and weeks afterwards. But a cost-free method of dipping into your life force does not exist. 4: Enhancement rituals that I mentioned are basically this – you permanently tie up some portion of your mana reserves in exchange for magical augmentations and special abilities.

If I finish the chapter early, I would delay posting it until the deadline in an attempt to create a bit of a buffer for times when I can't quite make it in the future. Alas, I have so far failed in that regard, and I'm constantly cutting it close. It sucks because I really want to cut down the chapter writing time to two weeks but I just don't dare to do that until I can create a buffer chapter or two.

Writer's block and laziness. I start writing a bit later than I should, and my attempts to force myself to just sit down and write usually just leave me with no results. And then I get annoyed for wasting my time without anything to show for it so I go do something else...

I'm working on it.

Hello readers! This is just a post to notify you all that I have opened a wordpress page for the purpose of making MoL related worldbuilding posts in the future. This will contain information about the world that is not really critical to the story (that is, it is not necessary to read any of it to enjoy Mother of Learning) but which some people may be interested in reading nonetheless.

In addition, I will also post links to fanart I receive there, as well as anything else MoL related. Anything I deem truly important will also be posted here, of course, so there is no need to pay attention to that site if you're worried about missing something crucial.

Currently, there is very little posted there. The posts are bound to be rather slow coming, as I have many obligations already and this is not a priority for me. Nonetheless, there should be a steady trickle of content going there over the following months. I hope the people interested in MoL worldbuilding will enjoy the new site (once I finally post some real content, that is).

We'll see. I've been a little too ambitious with my worldbuilding topics when trying to write posts, so I have nothing but half-finished wrecks of posts right now, but I can probably manage a short post or two on some minor topic. It depends on how well the work on the main story goes.

The story had been planned out totally before I ever sat down writing it. I had not stuck to the original plan in its entirety, but most of the changes involve cutting some of the content and shuffling things around to places where I felt they would have more impact on. Since I know where the endgame is, and which stations I need to hit along the way, it's not too difficult to put little clues and foreshadowing along the way.

I have no idea what a snowflame method even is. Anyway, I made a basic linear outline, a bunch of character descriptions, a document outlining the different factions/forces at work in the story and what they want to achieve, and a a long document full of events/snippets that were supposed to appear in the story. Some were absolutely crucial, and I ordered those in a chronological order. Others were far more flexible in term of when they occur, so they got shuffled around the story or even dropped eventually. It was scattered across 6 or 7 documents, and anything but orderly.

No, not really. My primary language is definitely Croatian. I just write in English to get a wider audience. And I still mess up a lot of things that would be obvious to an English speaker, as my readers periodically point out to me.

I was taught English when I was very young, though, so that probably has to do with how good it is. Kids soak up that kind of knowledge fast. Later on, when I tried to learn how to speak German, my success had been... a lot less impressive.

This is kind of hard for me to answer, as I'm not an American and am rather fuzzy on the buying power of the dollar when it comes to everyday things. But tentatively, I'd say he has access to high thousands rather than millions.

I definitely intend to post a detailed breakdown on how magic work - both in general and specific disciplines. Unfortunately, this is not an easy undertaking, even with all my notes, and I kind of underestimated the difficulty of it. Probably for the best to concentrate of something easier and work my way up to it.

And I agree with you - I'm also always very interested in how magic and its various disciplines works in stories.

I don't remember that, to be honest. Mind magic is not exactly legal in the reality of the story, so Zorian wouldn't be using it casually on his classmates just to scare them. Maybe you're referring to the chapter where he studies mind magic with Tinami? If so, chapter 25 is the one you're looking for.

Well thanks! And I actually already have a proof reader, it's just that he doesn't always catch every typo. If you wish to, you can always sent me any typos you notice (either through this site or through e-mail; I'll give you the address if you ask) or just start going through earlier chapters in search of mistakes.

I hope you continue being a reader.

Reddit Edit (note- if you want to link to each comment, feel free)


Undead are golems that use souls as a substitute for an animation core. That makes them a lot cheaper and quicker/easier to make than regular golems. The soul has to be from a creature that had similar form to the body it is animating, so you can't use animal souls to animate humans. Likewise, you cannot use human souls to animate animals and other radically-different entities. Obviously, the quality of the animation is the highest if you have a soul that was originally matched to the body in question, but any human soul will do to animate most human bodies.

The soul also serves as a convenient power-source, which makes undead easier to use outside of magic-rich areas.

The soul stays anchored to the body for a while after death, unless the body is totally/heavily destroyed. After a while, the soul moves on to the spiritual planes and is beyond the reach of necromancers. A necromancer needs access to the recently dead so they can capture their souls before they move on. Getting access to the dying in their last moments can be tricky, so most necromancers resort to producing their own recently deceased corpses (through killing).

Yes. Golems and undead are both animated constructs, with the main difference being what serves as their core.


I admit your initial comment looked a little alarming to me, because it seemed like you were intending to distribute printed copies of the story to others, and that's kind of not okay with me.

But if it's strictly for personal use, then that's fine.


  1. It includes the efficiency gains. There is no way to disentangle them from everything else when measuring things.
  2. It takes anywhere between 30 minutes and 3 hours for a mage to

regenerate their mana reserves from total zero to full if ambient mana levels are sufficiently plentiful, depending on their personal skill and willingness to risk mana poisoning. This is unaffected by the size of one's mana reserves - those will higher reserves will simply regenerate more mana per minute.


Ikosian Empire existed on Miasina, the continent south of Altazia.


You don't have to speculate this - this is exactly what Eldemar's diplomatic situation is about. I implied so pretty heavily in the story, and directly said so on DeviantArt. The problem is that Eldemar's leadership is really arrogant and pushy in their diplomacy. They hate to compromise on anything and are pretty open about wanting to reabsorb all the other splinter states under rather unfavorable terms. They're the only legitimate successor of the Old Alliance, dammit, why are all these little statelets demanding that Eldemar treat them as legitimate sovereign nations!?

And, of course, if they attack any one of those little states they're basically plunging the continent right back into another round of Splinter Wars... which they can't afford to do at the moment.

I really have to get going in regards to writing those worldbuilding posts I've been meaning to do since forever...


I based the mortality rate off the Spanish flu, which killed 10-20% of the infected.


It was inspired by Unicorn Jelly, yes. Note that MoL crystal basilisks are in no way identical to the ones in the comic, just kind of inspired by them.


No, not really. He makes their bodies by shaping the materials with alteration spells. It's done very fast. Most of the time is spent on animating the body, affixing wards on it and testing the final product to see if it works correctly.


Ah, I see. That [ensouled golems building other golems] could potentially work... if Zorian had soul sight and was a proper necromancer. Note that if would be easy, even if he were - this is a sort of epic project a master might embark on, if they were also a master golem-maker to boot, not something Zorian could do in his free time.

And interesting idea, but hard/impractical to actually execute.


This isn't possible. Golem-making requires spellcasting. Spellcasting requires souls. Golems don't have souls. At best you can have a golem that can craft a body for another golem, and that is the hard part of golem-making


I have no idea how to explain the pronunciation, but the words have been lifted almost wholesale from Slavic languages and mean 'Prince's Gates'/'Gates of the Prince'. Knyaz is Prince, and Dveri are doors. The pronunciation is self-evident to me (me being Slavic and all), so I'm having trouble constructing a pronunciation guide. Try messing around with translation sites and see if they can help you.


The recall spell establishes a magical link between a caster and a prepared object. The link must be supplied with mana to keep existing and - though I seem to have not explicitly spelled this out in the story - has range limitations. Any recall link Zorian may have had in Cyoria would have been severed when the gate closed shut on him.


The kitten was looking sadly at the stream for the bridge, not floating down it. Nochka never drowned in the stream, she just had the stream wash her bike away when it swelled and was miserable about it.


Ull had probably done the most thorough job at that. She made an entire google docs excel table to organize the information, which you can fine here.

My personal tally says it's been 4 years and some change.


No, thank you. A few days ago, when I was setting up my account, I had several people tell me that paying anything for a story they can read for free is stupid, and that I'm stupid for trying it. Thanks to you and the other 5 people who donated, I can feel smug at their failed predictions of doom and gloom.


Well yes. But I don't know anything about publishing and I'm afraid I'll waste a great deal of time and nerves on something that has little to no return. I had intended to write all three arcs and then see whether publishing the finished work is worth it.

Also, thanks for the compliments!


I have never read a superhero comic in my life, other than a couple of issues of batman as a kid (I was not impressed). Superhero comics were never very big in Croatia. I grew up reading comics like Tex, Zagor, Alan Ford, Dylan Dog, Nathan Never, Lazarus Leed and so on. I'm pretty sure they're Italian, though I neither new nor cared about that when I was a kid.

So yeah, if something seems to be a Marvel/DC reference in my stories, it's probably not. I only got interested in superheroes due to the recent proliferation of superhero movies, television shows like Heroes, and because of the Worm Webserial... and even then I just casually skimmed through the various superhero wikia for amusement.


No. And I don't think I could, even if I wanted to - while the setting is heavily inspired by D&D, it really doesn't follow its rules. The mages use a CRPG-style mana bar instead of spell slots, there is no easy healing anywhere, there is no xp cost for making magic items (only time, mana and materials), everyone is basically a glass cannon (no levels and corresponding bonus HP), non-mages are fundamentally disadvantaged against spellcasters with nothing to balance it out, etc.

I will write up the setting as the story goes on, and will probably post it upon the end of the story on some site or wiki - but it will be pure fluff. Nothing playable, I'm afraid.

1. Oganj is both very ancient and a dragon mage. Nobody actually knows where his lair is (except Zach). 2. [Is zach one of the most powerful mages in the world] Yes.

This would technically work, but creating a wormhole shield is far more expensive than creating a forcefield one. So unless you're trying to block an immensely powerful attack, it's hardly a cheaper option.

1. [Yours truly asks, can you use another mage's mana?] No they can't. It would be just as bad as using ambient mana, in addition to being even harder to control (because the mana is attuned to someone, and it isn't you).

2. High tier conjurations would be various animated spell constructs (pseudo-summons that don't actually call a spirit to work), powerful defensive spells (solid barriers of varied qualities) and restraint spells. Low tier would be opaque screens and ectoplasmic fog to serve as visual obstacles, simple conjured objects and rudimentary obstacles/traps.

No, mages produce mana on their own. Or rather, their souls do. They can use ambient mana to replenish their mana reserves faster, but not use it directly (unless they want to poison themselves). 1. Life force is the part of a being's mana that is used by the body to keep itself alive and functioning. Humans have little enough of it that they can fuel it with just their souls, no ambient mana necessary.

In that case - yes, virtually all ambient mana is from the dungeon. Life does emit some of it, but it's minor by comparison.

The priesthood ultimately admits ignorance of why the gods are 'silent' (most of them deny that they are gone for good; they call it 'Silence of the Gods' when referring to the event) but have three main theories: 1. People were sinful, so the gods grew disgusted with this tainted world. Only by living up to their ideals and being pious men and women can we entice them to talk to us again (and hand out free stuff). 2. The gods were beset by an outside enemy or problem, and had to dedicate their full attention to dealing with this. The emergency is still going on, and they trust their faithful to behave themselves and not set everything on fire in their absence, metaphorically speaking. The priesthood is here to make sure their trust isn't misplaced. 3. The gods have decided we are now mature enough to live our lives without them holding our hands all the time. Them withdrawing their support so suddenly is really just a final step in their creation of us - the ultimate show of trust. The gods are still there, but we need to learn how to talk to them again, this time without them doing all the work... As to the other things... to be honest, I did not put much thought into it. A pretty big hole in my worldbuilding, I know. I've added religion as one of the topics to do a worldbuilding post on.

Fighting the undead and necromancy is definitely one of the priestly duties, especially for a warrior priest like Alanic.

Sorry for being unclear - flesh golems do resemble humans. It's just that their bodies and internals are very different from those of actual humans, so they simply sticking a soul in it isn't going to work very well.

['nother question by Nepene, can you use blood and soul magic to transfer soul sight]Yes.

[How to get transformation] He could just pay someone to teach him if he really wanted to. Lukav would be open to tutoring him, for example. He lacks the time to practice the brewing techniques, that's his real limitation there.

What they said. Potion would be okay, shifter ritual would likely end up driving Zorian dangerously insane (actually just closer to a grey hunter in personality, but there is little difference from perspective of other people).

If you're referring to the way KB can apparently send all its memories to the original upon destruction and flawlessly and seamlessly integrate them into their mind... no, simulacrum is nothing that convenient. It gives no skills or memories back to its creator upon destruction. It can be used for study help by having it explore paths the original is interested in and then passing judgement about how useful they (think) they are, and by having them sift through a lot of raw information to find important details, which can save time.

Nothing has been changed. Some things did get dropped, but nothing plot related. It just that the story originally had far more wandering around and solving random sidequests with no connection to the main plot, and I eventually decided those would just hurt the flow of the story and bore readers. Plus, they would make it hard for me to finish the story in a reasonable amount of time.

No, sorry. Not only do I habitually delete anything I write that I don't like, I was never fond of showing people unfinished/unpolished work.

[Can you anti soul magic bullet kill a lich?} Potentially.

Yes, but the key detection sweep doesn't have the range to cover a whole city. The part of the city they could access has no Key. They need to access the palace in order to check there, though. I am familiar with dwarf fortress, but this isn't a deliberate reference. The Eye Beast is actually inspired by Avernum games (see:

Most of those questions shall remain unanswered for now, until their relevance to the story passes. That last question, though, I don't understand. Do you mean put someone else's soul in a magic item and then create a simulacrum of them? First of all, you'd need to be a necromancer for this, a magic item alone would not do. Secondly, no, the simulacrums don't retain memories if dismissed and recast.

Yes, you could navigate the dungeon this way. It a long, winding journey, and it may require you to occasionally descend into highly dangerous areas of the Dungeon, but you totally can.

No one knows how deep the Dungeon goes. People simply never return when they go too deep. Most people do assume it goes all the way to the center, but there is no way to make sure.

Yes, there is a limit. Zach has already hit his a long time ago, for instance. Though one can technically always improve, the improvements get smaller and smaller in time, effectively becoming useless.

If a big enough hole is made in the right spot, you could indeed make an artificial mana well. It's just that doing so is a massive undertaking and it's usually easier to find an existing, natural one and built a settlement on top of it.

Tunnels are definitely being created by Dungeon denizens all the time - many monsters are proficient diggers. Rock worms that the invaders use, for example, are supernaturally swift diggers and can get very big in the wild. And yes, a lot of tunnels will get deliberately collapsed my the denizens for one reason or another. So the dungeon is at least partially dynamic that way.

>Assuming 26 chapters per story arc Yeah, that's the general idea. Might be a bit more for this arc, but this is what I'm aiming for. >What plans if any do you have for writing after this? I'm always having ideas for more stories, though actually making a write-up is more difficult. Still, I intent to keep writing after I finish MoL. It will probably be something completely different, though - I have an idea for a sort of 'extra MoL arc' that has no real plot and focuses mostly on the aftermath of the story proper, but I'm uncertain when and if I'll actually write that. >...and also asked if you would self-publish this. I intend to leave publishing aside until after I finish the story. After that, I will investigate the viability of that and make a decision how (and if) to proceed with it.

Of course there is a distance limit - the mana cost of the teleport goes up as the distance increases. The chapter you're referencing says Zach teleported southward, but doesn't specify the distance. In fact, the detection spell couldn't even reach southern Altazia, so if Zach had went there Zorian wouldn't have been able to find with the spell. Zach and Zorian could potentially take turns teleporting each other. However, mana costs increases the more people are being teleported. They would spend a lot of time recovering mana. Additionally, Zach cannot create a simulacrum, so if he leaves for Koth, he won't be able to work with Zorian back in Cyoria or enter the Black Rooms.

I'm really surprised that so many people thought teleport has no range limitations. I don't know if I ever stated it outright, but I have implied it many, many times in the story that the cost increases with distance. Zorian notes so when discussing the invader gate setup, people chain teleports all the time instead of simply teleporting to the destination outright, and so on.

There are no powerful mages in Cyoria who have traveled to Koth by personally chaining teleports to the destination. And even if there were, they'd run out of mana after a handful of jumps and would then have to wait for their reserves to regenerate. By constantly switching mages, the simulacrum is basically exchanging an exhausted carrier for a fresh one, allowing him to continue rapidly jumping forward.

Simulacrums cannot drink potions, nor derive any benefit from them.

They can take a fair amount of damage, since they don't bleed. You'd need to do more than a tiny hole to dissolve them - even a severed arm would not do the trick, though it would bring it dangerously close to dissolution. The arm would immediately dissolve upon being separated from the torso, though. Torso damage is more serious than limb damage in this case, since that's what counts as the core of it. Head wounds, even minor ones, would also dissolve it immediately.

It requires two people if you're doing it over vast distances, like Zorian and his simulacrum did in this chapter. If you want to connect two points close to you, you can create that kind of gate alone.

It would be neither especially hard nor especially easy. The only issue is that there is no existing ritual to do that circulating around (grey hunters are too rare for that), meaning Zorian would have create one from scratch and then tinker with it repeatedly until he gets something optimized enough for his liking. Less of an issue inside the time loop than it would be outside of it, but still. It would be wiser for him to start with something more conventional at first, even if he ultimately doesn't intend to keep them for real in the end, just to get some practice.

It makes it more efficient towards humans in general. So long as the human in question is a fairly unremarkable member of the species (that is, they don't have any bloodlines or previously granted abilities), they can use other people as their test subjects to refine the process. This is how enhancement rituals are usually created, which is why using them at all is controversial in some circles (because they consider such a creation process to be inherently immoral) and why many mages that have used enhancement rituals keep it a secret. This also means that enhancement rituals gets progressively more dangerous as you go through more of them, since they're tested on people who have none. One can try and combine the effects of multiple enhancement rituals into one to get around that, but such rituals are obviously very hard to optimize. That said, Zorian has a unique opportunity in that he can actually optimize the process for himself too, not just for humans in general.

Enhancement rituals do affect the soal, but ultimately only superficially - much in the same way transformation potions do. As for blood magic, it deals with the body, not the soul... and the reason it can make enhancement rituals more efficient is because it can bind them to the user's body/life force better, not because it makes any changes to the soul. This is why enhancement rituals can never really be as efficient as natural bloodlines - they don't have the basis in the user's very soul the way a natural bloodline does. So Zorian would have to do enhancement rituals again in each restart that he wants to use them in. And go through an adjustment period and such every time. Because they would get wiped away at the end of each restart. Which is why he didn't bother with them much so far. You can take enhancements potions one after another, it's just not very wise. It's better to wait some time for the body to settle down and adjust to the new capabilities, especially if blood magic was used to deepen the connection between the body and the enhancement. The integration time depends on the scale of the enhancement ritual, as well as the skill and time invested in making it, so I can't give you any definite answer. If the enhancement is relatively modest and very well made, a mere week should be enough for the body to settle down and become stable again.

Uh, no. Dispersing his body would give a couple of hours until Quatach-Ichl moved from his phylactery to a new body, and then he'd come rushing back at them, more pissed at ever.

Also, it is vanishingly unlikely they could get the coin trick to work. Outside of very specific circumstances, Quatach-Ichl would automatically defend himself against any object thrown at him. Zorian would have to first get him off-guard before he could even try that.

Ulquaan Ibasa is much closer to Eldemar than Koth. Much, much closer. And Quatatch-Ichl is no average mage. So yeah, he could cross the distance within hours if you wanted to.

700$ is about 4700 HRK with current exchange rates, but note that this is before taxes and bank fees, which shave off a fair amount of that money before I get to use it. For comparison, the minimum salary is 3276 HRK and the average net salary in 2016 was 5895 HRK.

It's a pretty decent sum by Croatian standards.

I honestly have no idea, as I do not track it. Too little for my tastes, ha ha. I really need to improve my writing discipline.

You vastly overestimate how friendly and objective Zorian is in regards to his older brother. Unless he feels he has to, he will not 'beg' Daimen for help with anything. It would have to be Daimen who makes the offer, or Zorian would have to know that Daimen has something absolutely crucial for his survival.


1-2: I'm mostly eyeballing it and hoping someone doesn't calculate me into oblivion by showing that my time management doesn't make sense. ._. You will have to do most of the work yourself. However, these are my assumptions:

Classes: 1a. Each subject takes 1 hour, with 20 minute breaks between. Some subjects are taken in double-blocks, mostly practical exercises and the like where a lot of time is needed. Alchemy for instance. 1b. Classes start early in the morning (8:00), and last until about 16:00 on average. Though this can be shorter or longer, depending on how many electives and other time sinks the student in question has signed up for. So that's about 6 classes per day by my count. 1c. The academy isn't going to hound students who chose to skip some (or even all) of their classes. They'll just send a letter to their parents/guardians and let them sort it out. If the student at least comes to examinations and tests and gets good enough grades, they may forgo even that.

Mana Wells: 2a. If the mana well has a rating of 3 or more, individual's ability to siphon ambient mana to regenerate their own will depend more on their ability to assimilate said foreign mana safely than actual mana availability. Higher ratings are important only in the sense they allow progressively more mages to siphon progressively more mana without depleting the ambient mana reserves. A level 9 mana is virtually inexhaustible, allowing any number of mages to exist there without draining each other's resources. 2b. It takes anywhere between 30 minutes and 3 hours for a mage to regenerate their mana reserves from total zero to full if ambient mana levels are sufficiently plentiful, depending on their personal skill and willingness to risk mana poisoning. It takes about 9 hours to do the same if they're in one of the rare 'dead magic zones' that have no ambient mana. Most places have at least a little ambient mana floating around.

3. About right for the shaping exercise. Competent in a low-level spell? A week or less. Possibly as little as 30 minutes, depending on the mage and spell in question.

1. Yeah, the academy is really time consuming unless you pick only the bare minimum of electives or skip a bunch of classes, or both. Which a fair amount of students do - they pick a subject or two they want to excel at and sort of do the bare minimum that will get them out of trouble for the rest.

2. Shaping exercises can get pretty draining, depending on the type. Since Zorian was doing things like levitating balls of water and trying to freeze them as fast as possible in recent chapters, which aren't exactly easy, mana-efficient shaping exercises, he tends to burn through his mana reserves faster than he can regenerate them naturally. He could levitate a pencil all day long if he could summon the attention, but he's sick of that.


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