Wandsmen Orientation
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rating: +28+x
~Orientation 101: An Introduction to our Organization~

Welcome everyone.

Please take your seats. Note, if you experience any lingering transformation pains and need to leave during the lecture, please feel free to do so. A marker has been placed on your maps to allow the teleportation command to place you smoothly back in your beds. There is no shame in needing more time to recover, so please do not strain yourselves.

Allow me to formally welcome each of you to the Wandsmen. We are an organization dedicated to bringing the news and the truth to all those who seek knowledge, students of all that is and teachers to all who will listen.

We've been the Multiverse's best source of information and explanations for untold eons and even in these trying times we remain dedicated to bringing the true stories of the worlds we explore to the multiverse at large. The news is a vital institution in a universe as complex as ours, so we do our best to preserve and promulgate all the knowledge we can find so it is not lost to the void.

Now I know you must have a lot of questions, but please hold them until the end of the lecture. So to start-

12th Wandsman of Reedsing, we're not forcing you to be here. If you're just here to disrupt-

12th Wandsman of Reedsing! I have read your file. You did not find a lost map. You got told exactly what this was like from another Wandsman, and you had the chance to back out while the transformation was ongoing. You clearly wanted your map's power more than you wanted your old flesh.

Look, I can understand buyer's remorse. Believe me, I get it. If you need time to process or counseling…

And… he's gone.

What? No, following him wouldn't help. With any luck, he'll come back to our dimension when he's blown off some steam. If he doesn't… we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Moving on…

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Look… I'm going a bit off book here, but after that fiasco at the start, I think it would be best if we addressed the elephant in the room.

All of you are probably quite anxious about your recent bodily changes. Know that every Wandsman in the multiverse has felt the sting of dysphoria from time to time.

When one takes up the map, their body shifts into a more avian form. Specifically, you take the quasi-humanoid form of a bird that you previously found repulsive. There are a few theories as to why that is. Perhaps the cartographers of eons past who enscribed the first maps and passed them down to us wanted to change our perspectives. Or perhaps they just wanted to teach us some humility before they granted the map's gifts…

Frankly there are millions of review articles written in our journals with different theories. No one really knows why it happens.

Regardless, your new form has many advantages. You will be able to understand others with greater acuity, your bodies have been strengthened, age is a thing of the past, and most, if not all of you. have been granted the gift of flight.

If you've shrunken down to the size of a Canary, fear not. It just means your body has been granted the elusive power to explore the strange and twisting wonders of time. You can slip through cracks in reality which us larger Wandsmen may never even notice, and even have cartographic potential.

Or perhaps you were lucky enough to end up like me. I know, I know… it can be strange talking to someone so large, but we mighty Rocs have the strength to lift up a thousand libraries if needed. Some of the multiverse's stories require great force to unearth, and we Rocs help provide it.

Even those of you with middling sizes are commonly granted unique and curious abilities ranging from an instant understanding of language to echolocation. You may think your form a curse, but it is truly a blessing!



I suppose I can't say that with a straight face and be called a seeker of truth.

Still, fear not, things like "beauty" are ultimately a matter of perspective. Remember: you all took up the map because there was something in the infinite halls of knowledge that you wanted to see far more than you wanted to recognize the person in the mirror.

And before you ask, there is no cure, no going back that we know of. Yes people have tried. Most of them aren't with us anymore…

Know that you are surrounded by those who suffer in similar ways. And one can, over the years, adjust.

You can even find love. My husband and I have been writing articles together for over six hundred years, and the eons of time we still have before us make me very happy I took this shape.

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Now, know you all joined because you had a desire to explore the multiverse and tell your tales. We will get to that. But before anything else, we have to establish some safety rules. Your new bodies are hardened against many hazards, but one major unusual threat to your safety in this line of work is the theft or exploitation of your name.

There are two major strategies when protecting one's name. One is to simply never give it out, or give it only to those you trust most in the world.

I follow this method, so you may call me the Third Wandsman of the Wanderer's Library. By now, you should all have been assigned a title and a number based on your place of origin. This title has been thaumaturgically hardened, so even the most potent name thieves cannot take it from you.

I strongly recommend this strategy during your first few centuries.

The other strategy is to promulgate your name to all who would hear it and add title upon title to yourself so as to strengthen the name's power. My colleague Ickis the Wayward, Wandsman of Kul-Manas - Walker of the Astral Plane, Sailor of the Celestial Sea, and Spelunker of the Dimensional Depths is fond of this strategy.

He claims it allows him to use his name as a sink for the backflow of his magics, but you'd have to speak to him about the details. Name magic may be powerful, but it is also quite dangerous.

However, there are many other magics that you may find useful to employ. Your mind has been sharpened by your transformation. So the higher physics of reality should be relatively easy for you to pick up.

I certainly encourage you to take advantage of our back issue library of ritual workings. We also run courses on magical studies for all Wandsmen who wish to partake of it.

What is Thaumaturgy? Something as diverse as magic does not lend itself to summaries, but suffice it to say it is a method of manipulating reality based on your ability to comprehend it. That is of course a gross oversimplification… But I fear the full details fall outside the bounds of an introductory lecture.

But no matter how quickly you master the arcane arts, do not get cocky. Magic will be an invaluable tool as you document the stories of other worlds, but you must not rely on it. There are many powers in the world you shall need to come to understand if you're going to survive this line of work. Thaumaturgy is merely a piece of the puzzle.

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Obviously, the first and most important piece of equipment you will need to familiarize yourself with is your map.

The map you hold is a map of the Known Multiverse. Our cartography team is working around the clock to keep it up to date, but there is still so much to explore!

Obviously, by speaking the name of a place on the map you can teleport to it. As you gain more intimate details of the objects and persons in a dimension you'll even be able to "target" your precise destination. For this reason, among several others, doing your homework is important! Every century we lose something on the order of fifty Wandsman who thought it was a good idea to jump into an incredibly hazardous dimension unprepared. The lucky ones end up in solid rock faces. Don't be like them.

Another major map safety concern is that prolonged exposure to the image on any map can make those whose minds are not properly prepared suffer severe vertigo and headaches, which I'm sure many of you have already encountered while you adjusted to them during your transformations.

As for other field equipment, we have workshops and catalogs a plenty for you to assemble your equipment from, and I do know the Eighth Wandsman of Hui runs excellent seminars on the creation of magical items.

Generally speaking, basic resources are easy to acquire for smaller projects, it is part of your benefits package after all, but if you want to build something truly massive to aid in your explorations and the writing of your articles, you may need to request approval from the Editors.

Who are the Editors you ask?

Our organization is perhaps best described as a "Co-op". What this means is that our leaders and several key positions within our organization are elected, and everyone is considered to have partial ownership of our libraries.

This does not mean you can just take whatever you want from our stores or, knowledge forbid, destroy any of our books, but you can requisition things like lodging and necessities with relative ease from the company coffers so long as you do not abuse these privileges.

A few of the more notable roles within our organization are as follows:

Reporters: This is the most common role a Wandsman performs. These are those who wander the multiverse to record its stories. All Wandsman have at least some experience in this role.

Hawkers: These are the Wandsmen who sell (or, with approval, provide at no charge) our newspapers and magazines to all the inhabitants of the multiverse who have a chance to understand them. This is a difficult job, but a needed one. One must be both salesman and teacher to bring in the resources we need to maintain operations.

Raptors: "Army" is an inadequate word to describe them. These are the Wandsmen who uncover dangerous ruins and explore hostile dimensions. They will save lives (and thus minds, and thus knowledge) wherever they can and provide security for our organization. There are many entities and forces in the Multiverse that work against us. These are the brave souls who hold the line against such darkness.

Arbiters: Of course, violence is best reserved as a last resort. When interacting with other organizations or populations it is often in our best interest to take a more diplomatic approach to doing our reporting. Arbiters are elected for certain 'difficult' regions to sort of "smooth things over" for the local population.

Cartographers: This is a position that requires a certain… Attunement to the multiverse at large. Cartographers are responsible for mapping the various dimensions that surround us and pathfinding or tunneling ways between them. This job requires a great deal of magical knowledge to execute, as well as certain… additional transformations that many find distasteful. It's rare to see a cartographer with less than a millennium of experience.

Canaries can be a minor exception to this. They often find themselves sent out as scouts into strange new dimensions and locations of temporal distortion. However they can carry very little with them on such voyages, and the multiverse can be a dangerous place for birds so small.

Editors: Now we get to the meat of the discussion. Once every 500 years, an election is held for the editorial board. The next one is coming up in 86 years and you're already seeing some campaign poems get floated around.

The editors are in charge of day to day operations, approving story assignments and directing the flow of our resources. At the end of the day they're in charge… though between you and me they listen to the cartographers a bit more attentively than the rest of us…

Sorry, I shouldn't be bringing internal politics into the classroom. At least not yet.

Also, let me assure you, there are no "Grand Cartographers". I have been here for Millennia and I haven't seen so much as a feather of them anywhere. No one knows who started our organization. If you want to join the legion of Archeologists trying to figure it out, be my guest, but trust me on this… I spent a good century of my misspent youth trying to find them, and the farthest records back we have stretch only 3.7 billion years. Not even my old home had records of them. It gave the librarians quite a scare when I asked.

I know it's in all our nature to try and make sense of every mystery, but all I got out of those decades of digging was a few ghost stories and a nagging headache. Trust me, don't waste your time.

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“The entire Hytoth is coming to an end! Drop whatever you were planning on scribbling about and do something to stop it!”

Now now! Settle down everyone! Panic will not help us. Believe me, we've tried it.

“Blast it WL3, have you been reading the Gazzette lately!? The Demiurge alone-“

Yes Third Wandswoman of the First Hytoth, we are well aware of the situation. Frankly, you didn't need to burst into our orientation meeting to explain-

“Suji, please… I know it probably won't happen in the next five seconds, but they need to know.”

Well… I suppose that's fair.

Listen well hatchlings… Things are not great. There are many organizations in the multiverse that seek to end it. A book is worthless without minds to read it and neither can exist in a world that doesn't.

There are many researchers in our organization that claim time is running out for just about everything.

We are… scholars for the most part, not warriors. But it is unquestionable that right now the multiverse needs saving and we have a responsibility to be part of that. Whether we choose to do that by forging alliances between those who call this place home, warning the people and the gods so they can prepare, or even charging into battle ourselves…

There will be nothing to learn and nothing to explore unless we keep it safe.

"Thank you."

You're welcome. Are there any further questions?

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