And now, something completely different... I never understood why people are so much into games like Minecraft until I tried Portal Knights (which was a PS+ game in January 2019). It's so much fun to build stuff in addition to doing quests for getting gold you can use to buy items for your home island. There were no buildings in this desert when I started. I built them all (or carved them inside the hills). It's a bit like making dollhouses, except you can go inside the structures you build. While I've been doing that, I've been creating a back story for my character in the game, a mage called Max. So that'll be the next story. Max will give you a tour of the compound while telling her story.
"Welcome. I hope the journey wasn't too stressful. I'm so glad to see you. I was just thrilled to hear that Magic Monthly wants to do an article about us. I mean, it's not like this place is famous or anything. But let's go in. - Don't mind Hugo, he's just guarding the workshop. Hugo used to be my assistant, but ever since a tragic accident at the workshop... Don't worry, everything is all right now and there is no way the accident could happen again. - The equipment in here are of the highest level, so that's why it's important that nobody comes here unattended. The other buildings have starter level equipment and those are in common use as you cannot really do anything destructive with them. Foul smelling occasionally, but not destructive."
"This is one of my finds from my travels. There's really no need to hide the bathroom door, the painting just looks nice. - The workshop walls are sort of a mix and match style, because I had to get the building fixed quickly after the accident. You know, the accident was a horrible thing to happen, but the place really needed an overhaul. - For example, this attic is a new addition. It's just storage chests for now, but I may find some other use for it as well. You may notice chests all over the place, but I'm not a hoarder, I just keep acquiring materials on my travels, because it is so much nicer to have everything ready when you decide to create something. - Let's see the kitchen next."
"This is the kitchen. Nothing fancy, but quite enough for the small number of people staying in the compound at a time. It used to be just me, my assistant and one apprentice, but ever since I was promoted to a higher level, I've been authorized to have several apprentices at once, so things are going to be a bit different once I get everything ready for them to arrive. There are already some very promising candidates on the waiting list. You wouldn't believe how many people are interested in becoming a mage. Of course some of them have very unrealistic expectations on what the job is like, so you need to assess the candidates carefully."
"Maybe we should check the basement next. - As you can see, there are a lot more chests here. There are food stuffs, ingredients for various potions, and all sorts of building materials. Considering all the nice materials I have accumulated, the buildings could be a bit more fancier, but I like everything fitting into the landscape. Also, it's a good idea to have the apprentices get used to a simple life, because very few of them are going to get successful enough to accumulate any sort of wealth. Getting rich by becoming a mage is probably the biggest misconception among the candidates."
"Let's go to my private quarters. - This is my trophy room. I sometimes get gifts from the people I help on my travels, and I also pick up all sorts of interesting items from traders. The outfits? I confess, I'm a collector. Not all of these are mine from lower levels. For example, I bought that saber from a pirate captain just for display. It looks really cool, but I'm quite happy with my staff for any action. Sharp metal objects can be very hard to master well enough, so you don't hurt yourself in addition to your opponent. You really need to learn your limits in that respect. For example, I did use that scythe for a while, but it just didn't feel right, so it is now just on display."
"The bedroom is here. It's really the nicest place in the whole compound, and why not? I'm the one who lives here permanently, so I might as well do that comfortably. - What did you say? Cthulhu? What's that? Never heard. Oh, that banner? It's a Cult of C'Thiris banner. I explored their temple a bit more than is good for your health, and I couldn't resist the temptation of getting a little souvenir. - You noticed the painting? It's the same as in the workshop, and the function is the same too. The stairs back here lead to the roof. - Nothing here right now, except a nice view, but it really is a very nice view, and I have plans for setting up an observatory up here."
"Time to check the other buildings. Let's start with the dining room. - The furniture is still in storage as I haven't had time to set this up. That can wait until the other buildings are ready. I really like eating in the kitchen when I'm here all on my own. - That glowing thing? Don't you know? It's a Ward of Protection. Keeps the nasties away. Having giant maggots spring up from the downstairs floor can be a real bummer, but I haven't seen any of those indoors after setting up several wards in the area. Basically, this side of the island is protected. I guess I could set up more wards to make the entire island safe, but I feel it wouldn't be right to banish everybody else from this island entirely. They need to live somewhere too, no matter how nasty they may be. Well, maybe 'live' isn't quite accurate when talking about some of them... Let's say 'reside' instead. It's sort of more inclusive. I mean, the maggots are certainly alive, but the skeletons..."
"Here is another laboratory. My last apprentice lived in this building. It is very ascetic, but as I said, simple life. They can't all become mages to the regent, so it's better to start with low expectations and make your way up. By the way, in case you're wondering, I didn't get rich by my own work. It's common knowledge that I inherited an obscene amount of money in addition to this compound from my great-grandfather, and that has made it possible for me to start this place instead of going for something that actually pays. He did make it all himself, though. He was one of those mages to the regent. The Supreme Royal Sorcerer, in fact. One of only two to ever have held that position."
"There's some more equipment here. You can use those, if you want. Oh, you don't do any magic? How did you end up writing about the stuff? Just let me know, if there's something I need to explain in more detail. - It is safe to go out, provided you don't go too far. The pond is safe, but the effect of the ward wears off a little distance to the left from here, so that's not the way to go."
"Everything from this point onwards is fairly new. Great-grandfather had all this planned, but he was too busy with other, more pressing issues, and didn't have time to start building. He didn't really need the extra space, because he didn't have apprentices. I mean, not the sort I've got. He taught established mages who were already on very high levels. No point in wasting genius on beginners. His words, not mine. And anyway, he was living in the court most of the time, so this was just a place he came to when he needed some time alone. - By the way, look to your right. Those guys are the reason you shouldn't wander too far away from the pond. - Come on, I'll show you the bathroom. It's currently shared between all the buildings on this side, but you'll have it all for yourself during your stay."
"You can go to the other side through the bathroom, but the shortest way is down here, through the tunnel. You can also go to the roof and there are stairs on the other side for coming down. I really like having more than one route whenever possible. Under, over, straight through and even detours. - This building is where some of the apprentices will be staying. Some equipment here already, but nowhere near ready to receive any residents yet. - And once again, we do have a door to the plains, but I wouldn't recommend wandering too far."
"It is best to stay indoors at night time, because of the Hollow Knights. Also, there are giant maggots in daytime. Remember? I mentioned about them popping up from the floor. There is a ward, but it's effect only covers a small area near the door. - You want to see? Okay, no problem. Let's go stomping a bit and see if we can get some to show up. - As you can see, it really is safer to stay up on the bridges, if you want to go exploring. You can go over any of the creatures using a bridge and it's perfectly safe. They don't seem to notice you. For the maggots it's probably because they only come up when they feel the vibrations of your footsteps."
"You can go up to the roof here as well, and as you can see, also to the roof of the adjacent building. That bridge was supposed to be there just during the construction of the building, but I decided to leave it in place. The more routes between different places, the better. It's not like any enemies can get to the area protected by the wards, but you never know when a quick shortcut may come handy. And I'm sure the apprentices will appreciate the possibilities of sneaking around undetected. Undetected by other apprentices, I mean. Good luck trying to sneak past me."
"More unfinished spaces. I really don't know when I'm going to get all of this finished. There's so much to do. If I had to do all this by traditional building methods, it would take a decade... What's that? Oh, I use magic, obviously. Speeds up construction wonderfully and doesn't effect the structural integrity of the result. Or even if it does, it makes the structures stronger than they would otherwise be. The only reason it is not used more often is that most mages feel it's beneath them to use their gifts for something as mundane as caving hills into living and working spaces. I wouldn't do this for somebody else either. It's just faster and easier than trying to find workmen willing to come here for as long as it would take to build everything."
"After the accident, I decided to build an extra workshop for the less stable experiments. This is far enough from everything else to not result in major damage, if something goes wrong again. It's a bit far from the ward, but being this high, it is quite safe from anything that may roam around in the vicinity. And once again, the view is quite nice. - So that's the whole compound as it is at the moment. I have lots of plans, so there will probably be some new rooms or even buildings fairly soon. - Now, let's get back to the kitchen and I'll make us some dinner while you can ask me anything you want to know."