ATITD: Procrastination and Plans

I’ve been procrastinating on getting anywhere in A Tale in the Desert lately. I took a short break, and I’m now about 2-3 months behind the main community of the game.

It’s not the end of the world at all, since new people join mid-Telling all the time and do fine catching up, especially if they join a good guild. The ATITD community is generally quite welcoming. People also tend to slow down and not log in as often or trail off and quit as the Tale drags on. The pace of progress slows, and for some, it gets a bit too boring.

My problem is probably lack of focus and short attention span. The options for whatever you could want to do are vast, but there’s only so much time one has to do it in, and nearly everything mid-Telling takes a considerable amount of time investment over the medium or long term. And there are the big group roadblocks that are a minor stumbling block – surmountable, but a good excuse to be lazy.

I have decided on one thing though. I’m going to try and make my own Raeli Oven.

This piece of equipment is central to producing Raeli Tiles which are needed to progress in quite a number of Tests and Principles. There is vast competition and a fair amount of drama over territory/property disputes involving the Raeli Oven, because these things can be only placed in a clay patch, a distance away from other ovens, and each region of Egypt apparently gives different colors. So the strong competitors are all out to get their stakes on clay patches first, limit the oven to be used only by themselves or their guild, and reap all their colored tiles first to pass the Tests with not as much potential competition.

Fortunately, I skipped that entire period during my break. I hate drama. By now, there are other options for getting one’s hands on Raeli Tiles. One can try trading for them. If you’re “in” with particular guilds and social groups, they might even give you some spare bulk colors freely. And people have made Raeli Ovens available for public use, some of whom keep some ownership share of the tiles, and some who make it entirely free to use without a catch. All you need to do is run to the locations with charcoal and burn the tiles and wait.

But it’s not really the tiles I want. I’m not much of a competitor, I just like to build stuff and own stuff. And for the first time, I think I might actually have the capacity to gather the necessary materials. Here’s the list:

Previously, the items list blew my mind. My crafting compound infrastructure was not really there, I was more a cog of a generous big guild, and the amount of resin required was beyond my conception.

It so happens that over time and two Tellings, I learned how to create a decent factory-like infrastructure to produce such materials and be more self-sufficient. It also happens that I went crazy collecting resin uncontested for a good week or so before everyone in my region caught on and started grabbing resin from trees as well. And of course, it still wasn’t enough resin to even make one Raeli Oven when the technology first opened – whereas a crazy veteran guild like the Followers of Anubis have opened out 56 public Raeli Ovens by now. Fifty Six. It blows the mind.

By now though, the resin craze has died down, everyone who’s wanted an oven has probably built their fifty six or so, and the trees are freed up again for me to collect the rest of the resin required to make just one.

(Later, the challenge will be finding a suitable clay spot, since there are probably Ovens all over, but Egypt is very big, I’m confident not all of the clay can be taken, it’s just going to take a lot longer to run to the location.)

Resin is just the start of it. There’s a lot more ingredients on that list…

Step 1: Stock take

Time to look in my warehouses and chests and see what I already have.

Resin I have. The Carpentry Blade is no problem since I have an anvil and decent enough ability to make 7k quality carpentry blades. I’d previously made some spare pinch rollers, which saves a bit of time, because it’s 15 minutes wait on a forge for each of them.

Spare shovel blades I don’t have, but they don’t take very long on a forge. Let’s wait to see what else needs forging.

Like iron bars. I have 2 spare, but I need 3, so that’s also something to forge.

Medium gears I have 1, and I need 5, so that’s casting time that can be done at the same time as forging.

(I don’t plan as much as I really should in this game. This blog post is helpful for at least framing my goals.)

I need 5 glass pipes. *groan* I hate glassmaking in this game. For some as yet unarticulated reason, I dread making glass. I suspect it has to do with the long chain of events to produce the raw materials necessary to even begin making glass, coupled with the minutes-long wait time between pieces of glass made, while requiring attention at odd intervals feeding in charcoal to maintain heat. Luckily, I have 10 spare glass pipes still to hand, so that’s one less nuisance in the way.

I need 5 crucibles, I have 3. These I’ll begin cutting as I have plenty of medium stones stocked up, and a crucible takes ten minutes to cut.

Rope I have. Rope is one of those flax products one always needs lots of, so I keep a lot stocked up for convenience.

10 cut stone will also now get cut from my stock of cuttable stones. Each takes three minutes to cut. Luckily, I have an array of rock saws available. Economies of scale play quite a role with regards to ATITD infrastructure. If one keeps only one rock saw, it’s going to take you half an hour to cut 10 cut stones. If one has ten rock saws available, then the total time needed is just three minutes.

Cement. Sighs. Is going to be a bit of a problem. That and Plaster, which is also made from cement. Cement is made from a group activity involving “stirring” cement in a clinker vat. Some of the raw materials, bauxite and gypsum, also come from group activities called digs, held in special locations in far Eastern and Western Egypt. Luckily, I have a stock of bauxite and gypsum from prior participation in the group digs.

I’m somewhat of a stubborn shy hermit though, so it goes against my nature to beg people for help stirring cement. Leading groups is just too much effort and investment. To socialize, to organize, to actually do the stir. It’s not at all sensible or efficient, as plenty of other people also need the help stirring cement and plenty of people manage to get cement stirred by actually opening the mouth and asking, or even trading for it because there are guilds of multiple people that have no issues doing it but did I mention I’m stubborn?

Hermithood and self-sufficiency in this game are at loggerheads though, unless you pay a bit more. I do have a paid alt account, so I technically count as a group of two.

I previously tried two experiments with cement. (One has to experiment with this game, there’s no way to learn otherwise.) In a previous Tale, I paid for a month of a third account, and as far as I can recall, I -think- three people managed cement fine. I’m a little reluctant to do the same this Tale unless there’s no other way, so I tried the second experiment.

I cooked up some food that gave as high STR and END stats as I could concoct, which totaled up to 7 STR and 9 END on each of my characters. From the wiki, they said cement could be stirred with two characters on 9 STR and 9 END. I was still 2 STR short, but I gave it a go anyway. I eventually got into the rhythm of the stir, realizing I could wait about 10 seconds between each character stirring, and not be exhausted. Unfortunately, the process took longer than I thought, and my high STR END food that lasted 50+ minutes, gave out on me just as the cement hit about 80% completion and the leeway time between required stirs was correspondingly very short. In my panic, I screwed up eating the wrong item which reset one character’s stats, and I ran out of food, and time, and the cement hardened into an unsalvageable mass, wasting the materials used.

Moral of the story: Prepare better.

I need better food. Higher stats. More duration. There are two ways I can do this. I can increase my Cooking skill from 3 to 4 by getting the required materials and taking them to a school. It so happens that I got off my arse the other day and camped out in the wilderness for two days until I found the last mushroom ingredient required for Cooking 4, so it’s a matter of taking things from chests and getting off my arse to run to the school. (Which I shall now proceed to do.)

And the other way is to get a better recipe. This is going to take more experimentation time. Let’s do Cooking in another blog post.

Back to evaluating the Raeli Oven list. I’m going to need bearings. That means alloy making, and then casting.

I’m going to need clay steeped wool cloth. I have the wool cloth woven, that just takes clay steeping time in tubs, and clay.

I actually have enough small gears.  Though if I need to fire up the costly Master Casting Box for medium gears and bearings, I’d probably make more small gears to save more work later.

The moon steel sheeting is going to be tricky. That’s alloy making, and likely I’ll have to find public mines for the rarer metal ores which I don’t have on hand, smelt those into metal, then make the alloy, and then forge the sheeting.

I have 3 miserable scraps of Copper Wire. More forging awaits.

Plaster we have mentioned before.

And clay bricks, which we’re also going to need to make.

Phew. That’s a lot of time in total. Let’s try it one step at a time, one blog post at a time.

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