I’ve gone back to Arachnomancer 1 and 2 to polish my prose and ensure the story and game mechanics are consistent across all books. See the below sections for more details.
Why Update These Books?
If you’re not interested in why these changes were made, jump to the changes below.
After writing Arachnomancer 1, 2, and most of Bookworm to Badass, I decided it was time to sit down a do some major worldbuilding. This decision resulted in a solid month of building systems and balancing them.
Up until this point, the majority of the game systems were designed on the spot. These books (except for the last half of Bookworm to Badass) were discovery written, meaning they were not outlined—not planned—beforehand.
There are some major pros and cons to writing a story from a blank slate. The focus is more on the individual scenes rather than the overall story. This helped create some hilarious moments that I wouldn’t have been able to write from the distance of a plotter, planning the story without being immersed in it.
But then I got stuck. I bit off way too much for my first series. And without any plans, trying to get everything to work together became immensely difficult.
With every chapter I wrote, the seams of the illusion I was crafting were breaking down. Smoke and mirrors can only distract readers for so long before they catch on to just how shallow everything is. And when that happens, the verisimilitude of my stories shatter.
I call this creative debt (based on technical debt). It’s hard to create something new when you don’t have a solid foundation to work from.
And so I built that foundation.
I created all of the classes and skills, weapons and armor, monsters and loot, and I dove deep into the economy. I did everything I could to create a believable, breathing, consistent world.
Naturally, these changes—some small, small big—needed to be incorporated into my existing books. And while at it, I updated the prose, too.
Without further ado, here are all of the notable changes I’ve made.
Removed Damage Reduction
A lot of time was spent on the balance between classes, skills, fighting styles, weapons, and armor. Damage Reduction didn’t scale well, nor did it balance well at any level. It was always in a place of being worthless or overpowered.
Removed Lvl. 3 Skill Mods
At level 3, a skill used to receive a skill mod: two options that modified the skill. These are now handled by the player’s Source, their amulet. A Source grants stats (Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Vitality) that only benefits the given skill. More advanced Sources will provide mods.
There are 24 classes in Olindale. Each class has 10 skill options by level 15, then a new skill every 5 levels from there. That’s 240 skills. Mods introduced 480 variants. And, oi, that was just too much. By using the Source for this, it makes the Source more important/interesting and requires far less effort to balance.
Added Armor Points
Armor had an odd system that allowed its durability to become negative. I found this to be confusing and inconsistent with other items. A weapon, for instance, breaks when durability drops to 0. Now, armor does as well. Armor Points, instead of durability, behave like health.
Added Extra Sea Zone
The sea used to span three zones and now spans four, which provides us with twelve zones total. A larger sea is more interesting and realistic. Got to make space for all the underwater monsters. . . .
Added Junk Tier
Items in the new economy are worth more. Before this change, we had five rarity levels: common, uncommon, rare, epic, and legendary. The sixth rarity—junk—was added to help balance the economy and loot drops at lower levels.
Exchange ratios are no longer 100:1, moving from copper to silver to gold. They are 10:1 with 1 copper roughly the value of a dollar. With that said, do realize that Olindale’s economy won’t always reflect real-world values due to it simply being a different world.
The following divinities have changed. Wolf is now Raccoon (thief). Ferret is now Weasel (trickster). And Wasp—a divinity of Shadow—is now Bee (gatherer). Further, followers of the Owl are not wizards; they are mages.
Changed Game Style
I’ve drastically cut back on lots of repeated slashes and the like to represent game dialog boxes. You can see a sample of this below for monster health. My goal was to find unique characters to help distinguish game mechanics, characters that would be supported across devices and browsers. I think this worked well and should present a cleaner, more polished experience.
Changed Health Bar
All health bars have been updated to use the new game mechanic style I will be using in all books (including books not related to Arachnomancer). We now see a monster’s rank, type, and class beneath its name.
¤ Quartz Guardian [744hp]
× Greater Construct Fighter · Lvl. 18
Changed Item Skills
Item skills used the same verbiage as normal skills, including the main stat (Strength, Dexterity, etc.). Since item skills do not affect the player’s stats, it didn’t make sense to include these attributes. Now, item skills are marked as an Enchantment or Curse instead of using the attribute name.
This change helps convey whether the skill is positive or negative.
Changed Passive Skills
While there are still passive skills, the skills a class gets automatically are now called implicit skills. This is because some are passive while others can be activated like a normal skill.
A follower of Baksela—the Bear that provides the tank class—grants increased strength, improved defenses, the passive ability for armor to repair, and a tower shield. One of these is not a passive skill but fits the class quite well.
Changed Psychic Dialogue
To make psychic dialogue easier to spot and differentiate from the protagonist’s thoughts, psychic dialogue—from Octoralis, Mother of Shadows, etc.—will be indicated using < and >.
<Can I eat the readers, Daddy?>
Changed Reported XP
Previously, character sheets reported the character’s total XP and the total XP they would need to level up. Now, upon leveling, reported XP will start at 0. This simplifies the XP number, especially at higher levels.
Changed Stamina / Stats
Humans have 4 Stamina per point of Vitality instead of 100 + 5 points per Stamina over 10. Also, the stats of other races don’t provide the same numeric values. For instance, 1 point of Vitality is worth 5 health points for a human but may be worth more or less for another race.
Changed System Store
The System store can be used to buy anything at a three times markup. This ensures that necessary items are always available at a cost. Likewise, anything can be sold to the System store at 1/3rd the market price.
Changed Venom Bite / Venom Counters
In Arachnomancer 2’s appendix, we are given a lot more information on how venom counters are used. This information, however, didn’t match the story. That has been fixed. Now, every venom counter increases the weapon’s attack damage in addition to dealing 1 damage per 3 seconds for 9 seconds.
Waypoints are now spread out every 20 miles. Waypoint IDs are unique per zone and start at 1 near the center. All eastside waypoints are even and all westside waypoints are odd.
Changed XP Requirements
Previously, XP was calculated to be the current level times 100 + the previous level’s requirement. Now, every 20 levels, the 100 of that equation triples: 100, 300, 900. This creates a soft level cap at 40. People can push past this, but gaining a level at that point may take over a year.
The game system had infinite growth potential, which threw the economy and power dynamics out of balance. Lowering the power curve allows the economy to function and not be in a constant state of hyperinflation.
Removed 50% of Shit Brownies
What started as a silly saying in a silly book became the biggest complaint. It’s the first thing anyone says to the question, “What did you think?” And so, a compromise! There are times when the saying felt forced or unneeded, so it was removed or shortened to shit.
Added “Gameus is Best God”
See Changed System Store for more on price changes.
Given how much more expensive it is to buy directly from the System, it doesn’t make sense that Dhane was able to spend the equivalent of $5 to buy a shirt. To fix this, Gameus gives new transcendents a discount code for a one-time 70% off discount.
Changed Clothing Resizing
Gear in Olindale automatically resizes to fit its wearer. However, in the first chapter, Devron gifted Dhane an oversized vest to use as a shirt. To ensure consistency and to give the System store an additional drawback besides the markup cost, system-bought gear will not resize.
Changed Guarded Sleep to Alert
Assassins had this odd skill that, honestly, was a filler. Not cool. . . .
Guarded Sleep alerted them of various things when they slept. Useful. Yeah. Anyway, this has been updated to Alert, which is infinitely better. The assassin can set a condition, and when that condition is triggered, they are alerted. For instance, the condition could be if a certain word is spoken within a room. If someone says the word, they are marked for 60 seconds.
[Conditions may include detecting an enemy, change in temperature or climate, a spoken word, the movement of an object, the breaking of an object, the death of a target, stat change, or the completion of a task.]
It’s a long skill. Check it out in the appendix!
Changed Locked Waypoints
At the end of the first book, the Reditai ask other cities of Light to join the Reditai and unlock their waypoints. However, we don’t see this in the second book. It makes more sense that cities that wage war cannot unlock their waypoints. The request has been removed.
Waypoints are locked during war to ensure opponents cannot simply teleport into their rival’s city. They have to travel from the closest waypoint (every 20 miles) and wage war. But there are ways around this limitation.
Removed Level from Town Equipment
The basic equipment Dhane receives with his new Dedu Tedu Novus town had a level. I’m not against equipment having levels, but the default equipment will be reported without levels to improve the audiobook version of the book.
Added Dungeon Bonus XP
After recalculating the XP Dhane earned from Brittlely Bright’s dungeon, it didn’t line up with the new system at all. To compensate for this, I’ve decided that dungeons should grant bonus experience.
XP is based on the living essence of slain mobs (health). It’s not a stretch to say a dungeon mob grants some of the core’s essence in addition to the mob’s.
Changed Baconomby XP
Without a firm system in place for XP, I assumed killing a high-level player would reward far more XP than they actually do. Since XP is based on health and health doesn’t go up a whole lot (5hp per level with a soft cap of 40 levels), Dhane would have had to kill a lot more people during this scene to gain the amount of experience he did.
I’ve removed 10,000 XP, which doesn’t affect the story. He still gains two levels. The only change is he’s much further away from leveling again than before.
Changed Cobalin’s Clothes
With balancing the economy and the value of copper, silver, and gold, and with the change to the System store, Dhane simply did not have enough money to buy clothing for all the Cobalins. Instead? They all got burlap bags—potato sacks—that Aditi fashioned into something presentable.
Instead of buying XXL shirts to turn them into bags for the Cobalins gathering resources, Dhane uses the Crafting app and plant fiber to make backpacks. This is far cheaper than buying from the System (which the original version said he couldn’t do because the System only sold clothing; this is not true) and gives us more information on crafting.
Changed Evelyn’s Level
In the Sanguis guild, Evelyn said she couldn’t level without the guild. This isn’t true. Vampires have a lot of ways to progress. The truth, however, is that the Sanguis guild wants to dictate what skills a new vampire chooses in order to become a challenger.
Instead of being in the guild for years, this has been changed to a year. And instead of being level 4, she is level 6. Evelyn, just by consuming a bit of essence per week, would naturally be a higher level.
Lastly, instead of gaining half a level by consuming Dhane’s essence, she gains a quarter level since EX requirements are higher at level 6 than 4, and Dhane is double-Chosen, granting 50 essence per point of health.
Changed Sarah’s Scythe
At the climax, Sarah pins Dhane to the statue with her thrown scythe. This would be practically impossible to do. To fix this and to lean into history a bit, Sarah’s scythe can straighten into the shape of a war scythe. This makes it more like a polearm when she wants it to be.
This concludes most of the notable changes. The first book is a few thousand words longer, and the second book is a few thousand words shorter. My focus was on making the material easier to understand, polishing/adding more humor where it would fit, and ensuring the worldbuilding details were consistent across all three books.
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Thanks for reading!