Chapter 14: exposition, and new systems

After Grimor’s brief explanation, I spent the next hour or so roughly outlining what I had done with my world. I still didn’t entirely trust him, but with how new my world was there wasn’t any benefit for him knowing. I mean, he seemed to know the Keeper two generations before me. Even if I assume that the previous Keeper only made the various pantheons, and then fast forwarded until the entertainment industry was booming, that still means he has been in this for years, maybe even decades or centuries. The actions of one fresh Keeper aren’t going to mean a whole lot to him. 

That, and I was keeping an eye on Terra’s expressions the whole time. I couldn’t be sure, but I had the feeling that if he gave me bad information, she would let me know. Even if she couldn’t say it directly, there would be a change in her expression. 

“Ahh, so you went with a game setting. Not an unpopular choice, really.” He nodded slightly when I finished, having manifested three wooden chairs for us to sit in. “It is an easy way for people to measure and acquire power, at least. But, depending on what system you use, it also limits you. For instance, if someone chose a system where each person only gets one class, and it is determined at birth. They might never be able to learn the abilities of other classes, even if that is where their passions lie.” 

“Your system, on the other hand, was the exact opposite of that, from what you told me. Anyone can get any class they want, as long as they perform the necessary actions. But, there is a downside to this as well, which is growing too fast. Although it might not be obvious right now, but once your world reaches a certain stage, levels will be rising rapidly. Like how yours did when you personally trained.” 

I was about to speak up, before he raised a hand to stop me. “Now, this is not entirely a bad thing. It does mean your world will get more powerful, but it might get powerful too quickly. People might gain powers faster than they learn how to control them, while the monsters continue spawning stronger and stronger with full control of their abilities. Also, if people upset the balance of the world by growing too quickly, your world might be put into the games before you are ready.” 

“Would that really be a bad thing?” I asked, slightly confused. “I mean, if I had the strength to enter the games, then that would mean I’m ready?” 

Grimor simply gave me a patient look, before sighing and shaking his head. “Not at all. Imagine that one person with incredible talent reaches… let’s say level eight hundred. The balance of power is tilted so much that you are instantly put into the games. However, as a Keeper, you have not trained with that level of power. Furthermore, aside from that one person, the rest of your population is weak. Even a peaceful Keeper might accidentally send in too many of their casual forces and wipe everything out.” 

I furrowed my brows, understanding that. It did make a certain amount of sense. “Then, what would you suggest?” Terra glanced over at me questioningly, as this was the first time I had actually asked for his advice. 

Our host, however, just let out a smile. “Easy, set a level cap for your world. As time goes on, you can raise this limit, until your people are ready for that final step. There are also other additions to the game system that you could consider adding, like the Achievement system.” 

“Eh? Isn’t that one already implemented by default?” 

He shook his head, “Not the Keeper achievement system, though it is similar. This one causes the system to generate achievements specific to your world setting. So, imagine that you put a dragon into your world, and someone killed it. They might get a ‘Dragon Slayer’ achievement, granting them specific bonuses.” 

After saying that, he seemed to get an idea. “You could even go a step further with your new World Host system. Maybe you spawn a Host into the world, and designate it as a boss monster. Then, after leaving the Host, you order it to perform certain actions while limiting its level of power. Doing that might grant achievements for both yourself and the heroes that defeat it.” 

Okay, now that confused me. “Would that even work? I mean, you don’t control the Host after you ascend, do you?” I hadn’t personally tried it yet, because it was too expensive, but Grimor seemed pretty sure about this. 

“It should work. After you ascend, the Host becomes the same as any other inhabitant of your world. That means that you should be able to communicate with it like anyone else to issue orders.” 

That didn’t really sound wrong, but I’d need to test it myself before I tried something like that. Worst case scenario, I’d just drop the Host into a deep hole and fast forward until it died of natural causes. But, there was still one thing bugging me. “Why are you helping me, anyways? I mean, it doesn’t really seem like the level of commitment you’d give just because you knew one of the old Keepers of Earth.” 

Grimor chuckled lightly, nodding his head. “That’s right. You could consider this as part of my job. I told you I’m part of a guild, right? My guild is an information guild. Typically, we are the type that people come to when they want to give or buy information about other Keepers. Since the system itself is easy to access, the only information worth anything is the competition. We also sometimes do consultations like this for new Keepers, in order to build relationships.” 

I raised a curious eyebrow at that. “How do you even buy things from other Keepers like that? Is there a way to trade points?” 

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“That’s right. It’s possible to trade points, and some even do point gambling. For instance… let’s see…” Grimor raised a hand, a blue screen appearing in front of it. “Tomorrow, there is a match between a Monster Keeper, and a Keeper named Helth, with Helth as the defending party. Both are rather experienced combatants, so some Keepers have placed bets on which side would win. Naturally, the defending side has a huge advantage, so it is a safer, albeit cheaper to bet for them.” 

Only allowed on

Well that sounded… wrong. “Aren’t you betting on life and death matches? You said Monster Keepers are no joke, so isn’t there some real danger there?” 

“No, you’re right, this is life and death for Helth. If he loses, he will die, as will the billions of people on his planet. But this is also part of the system. When a hostile Keeper is put in a match, the opponent has to consider that they will be fighting with their life on the line.” Grimor suddenly gave me a serious look. “Everyone has accepted that fact, and they are doing their best to live with it. Some do it for themselves, some do it for their friends, and some do it for the many lives under their care.” 

I nodded my head lightly, not saying a word. Terra, on the other hand, leveled a fierce glare at Grimor. He, however, simply shrugged. “Those are the facts. Now, until your world joins the games, you can continue requesting help from me and my guild. But otherwise, I think you came here to talk about the meeting happening soon?” 

“Ah, that’s right.. You said that there were rules and benefits for it?” This part I had been curious on since Terra had initially told me. 

Grimor’s head inclined a bit as he spoke. “That’s right. This meeting is also hosted by the guild I’m in, since we are an accepted neutral territory. As such, every Keeper has to apply with us in order to join, so that we know who to invite. While in the meeting, any hostilities are strictly forbidden, and will result in the offender being blacklisted.” 

“The meeting itself is mostly a casual get-together, with some games that we host. Not ‘the games’, just normal games so don’t worry about that. Given that our abilities are so high, they are typically skill-based games or tactical simulators. The winners of the games earn a small prize in points, depending on which games they win.” This sounded pretty similar to the official meeting that Terra had mentioned… but, it would make sense that they modeled it off of that. 

Seeing that he appeared to be done, I figured it was my turn to say something. “Are there any other requirements for participation? A cost or anything like that?” 

Grimor shook his head, denying that. “No, participants don’t have to pay to attend the meeting. As for the prizes, they are paid out by my guild.” A grin briefly appeared on his face. “We published several often-used systems and pieces of content, so we are not lacking in points.” 

“Ah…” I glanced to Terra, and she only smiled back at me. It didn’t seem like he had been leading me down a wrong path. “Is there anything else?” 

Grimor shook his head again. “No, that’s everything. Unless you have any specific questions, you are free to go.” 

I thought about it for a little while, and decided to ask something. “You said that Earth used the humans as a default race? Does that mean that the default can be changed? Wouldn’t that alter the balance of points?” 

Grimor chuckled lightly at that question. “The default can indeed be changed. However, humans were created by trying to make a race that was properly balanced and contained the highest level of power that could be used without expenditure. If you wanted to start making a different race as the default, you would naturally have to spend their associated amount of points.” 

Ahh, so it was just a matter of preferred race, not anything that would offer a discount. I nodded my head in understanding, and bid Grimor farewell. After that, he dismissed us from his world, and I experienced another ‘transition scene’. This time, our bodies seemed to explode in particles of light, before mixing together back in my own Admin Room. Thankfully, the process was painless, or I might have to yell at someone to fix it. 

Terra shivered slightly after reforming, moving to sit back down on the bed. “Hate that one too…” 

I couldn’t help but grin slightly. “Are there any that you do like?” 

She looked at me thoughtfully for a moment. “Well, some aren’t that bad, and I haven’t really experienced them myself… just know the ideas of them. Like, in one you are turned inside out momentarily, while another simply has a door open in front of you.” 

I nodded my head at that. “I see… Well, do you want to take a look at some of those systems that Grimor mentioned?” There wasn’t really a harm in looking, and we weren’t able to afford anything yet anyways. Would have been nice if he gave us some points, but I guess that would have been too much to ask.. 

Terra nodded, furrowing her brow and focusing before a window appeared in front of me. Here, many systems were listed, some adding or limiting the power of the game world. In particular, there were a few that I found interesting. 

Loot System This system was built specifically to work in conjunction with the worlds using the Game setting. After a monster dies, the person who defeated the monster may offer its body to a designated deity. The body is then disposed of, and randomly assigned loot is granted. The items dropped in this manner are not always items directly related to the defeated enemy. For instance, in most cases some coins may drop, or a weapon. However, the drops will always be an item obtainable within the current world, and on a level similar to the level of effort required to defeat the enemy from which it dropped. Game setting required 
50 points
Guild System This system was built specifically to work in conjunction with the worlds using the Game setting. Individuals in our world may choose to establish a Guild, a place of work for similarly minded people. Through the Guild system, they may assign tasks to individuals, easily communicate with one another, or designate a fortified Guild Base, which will have certain defenses granted by the system. Game setting required 
75 points
Level Limit This system was built specifically to work in conjunction with the worlds using the Game setting. In order to prevent levels from rising too rapidly, it is possible for a Keeper to use this system to limit the overall level of a world’s inhabitants. This limit may be adjusted at any time for no additional cost. Game setting required 
25 points
Achievement System This system was built specifically to work in conjunction with the worlds using the Game setting. After this system has been installed, any important or arduous actions taken by your world’s inhabitants may grant them special bonuses. These achievements are dynamically generated, with no set list. The method for determining the achievement is based on the amount of effort required to perform an action. It is possible for an action to be worthy of an achievement at first, and then later that activity becomes easier, and thus the achievement will no longer be granted. Game setting required 
100 points
Title System This system was built specifically to work in conjunction with the worlds using the Game setting. This system likewise requires the Achievement System to be installed in your world. With this system, individuals may choose to display one of their achievements above their head, earning them a 50% increase in that particular achievement’s boost. Only one such title may be equipped at a time. Game setting required 
Achievement System required 
50 points
Messaging System This system was built specifically to work in conjunction with the worlds using the Game setting. After individuals meet and interact, they can choose to share contact information. Afterwards, the system will allow them to converse at any time, whether through text or speech. Game system required 
50 points
Fast Travel System This system was built specifically to work in conjunction with the worlds using the Game setting. Travel times too long? Want to hurry on to your destination? This system allows your inhabitants to skip painful journeys, and directly arrive at any destination they had previously traveled to. If traveling in a group, each participant must have been to the selected area. Game system required 
125 points

Now, while I might not even get most of those systems, they definitely stood out. Each one seemed to make the world more and more like a video game, so I had no doubt that several of them came from the so-called ‘Game Keeper’ faction. Still… some might be useful. Imagine killing a wolf, and getting a cool sword? Though, personally, I think it would be more rewarding to make the inhabitants get the equipment through their own methods.

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