DUNCAN: Hello, and welcome to the lush and beautiful Taankwan Thicket. As always, I’m Duncan the Explorer, and I’m here to learn about local Solari. Guildmaster Laskian, thank you for joining me. Now is it just me, or are guildmasters getting younger and younger?
LASKIAN: I do not believe that the average age of all guildmasters has fluctuated significantly. Rather, I expect that the relative age of the guildmasters you meet may have changed slightly, at least from your particular perspective.
DUNCAN: That’s the kindest way anyone has called me “old” in quite some time.
LASKIAN: You’ll find that we in this village–and indeed, throughout Kunisi Wood–do not distance ourselves from our elderly citizens. Quite the opposite! We revere our aged population, whether those are people or trees.
DUNCAN: I’ll have to remember that when I retire from traveling! But let’s get back to our topic at hand. Guildmaster, I must admit that most of my Solari conversations have taken place from the safety and comfort of a guildhall or tavern. But you’ve led me here, to the edge of Taankwan Thicket itself. Why is that?
LASKIAN: To truly know the Solari that live along the Verdant Path of Taankwan Thicket, you need the understanding of experience. For this reason, we will now walk the Verdant Path together, encountering the very Solari you wish to learn about.
DUNCAN: That’s…different! Well, I suppose I’m in good hands. After all, you must know everything about the Solari we’ll encounter.
LASKIAN: No one can know everything about anything, my friend. In fact, I would also argue the impossibility of knowing anything about everything. The world is simply too complicated.
DUNCAN: Okay, I think I followed that. Hey, over there! Isn’t that a Sportle!
LASKIAN: Indeed! The Sportle is one of our more common Solari. Though aggressive, it is relatively harmless when left alone. That is, unless it is time for a Sportle migration. Such events can bring dire consequences to towns unprepared for thousands of Solari marching across the landscape.
DUNCAN: It’s easy to identify the Sportle as a Nature Solari. I expect you have quite a few of those around here, eh?
LASKIAN: Duncan, I could simply provide you with the correct answer you seek, but would it not have more meaning if you discover it yourself along the way? For example, can you identify the Solari in that clearing?
DUNCAN: Yes, I saw quite a few of those around Gateway…that’s a Ryzo! Another Nature Solari, I believe.
LASKIAN: Correct on both counts. The Ryzo is a powerful healer, which makes it a mighty ally in combat. In fact, other Solari often lurk nearby, hoping to benefit from the Ryzo’s restorative skills…yes, there’s one now, hiding on a branch.
DUNCAN: Why that’s a Kitzapp! That makes three regions I’ve heard of Kitzapps living in…they must be quite adaptable.
LASKIAN: An excellent deduction. In fact, the Kitzapp’s cunning allows it to hunt a wide variety of prey, from tiny forest rodents to camouflaged reptiles in the desert. Its speed even allows it to knock birds from the air.
As we continue deeper into the thicket, keep your eyes on the low foliage. Some of the leafy plants aren’t as immobile as they look.
DUNCAN: You mean like that one over there? I think I just saw a tail twitch.
LASKIAN: Good eye. The Shrubble uses its camouflage to sneak up on its prey. Like many other Nature Solari, it has healing powers as well as offensive skills. Its signature skill, Nettling Cloud, is particularly effective at confusing groups of enemies. This can allow it an unexpected victory over tougher opponents, or give it an opportunity to flee unwanted combat.
DUNCAN: That’s quite a lot of Nature Solari already. I bet Taankwan Thicket is just full of the Nature affinity, right?
LASKIAN: Yes and no.
DUNCAN: I thought you might say something like that. So then, what other affinities might we see today?
LASKIAN: Let us continue walking, and perhaps we’ll discover the answer together. For example, I’ve spotted a rare denizen ahead, enjoying a moment in a sunbeam. Do you see it?
DUNCAN: I expect you mean that Tadpetal up there.
LASKIAN: Very good! Many visitors misidentify it as the Podpetal, its Nature-affinity cousin.
DUNCAN: Ah…yes, I’ve heard that some people have that issue.
LASKIAN: The Tadpetal can erode its enemies’ defenses with its Scouring Flutter signature skill, making them vulnerable to further attacks. This can also leave a nasty abrasion on exposed skin.
DUNCAN: Is the Tadpetal the only Water Solari in this area?
LASKIAN: We also have a small Wiggleby population, though their rarity means we might not see one on this trip. In fact, the Wiggleby often displays a special bond with the Nature affinity, and its Nature skills can be quite impressive.
DUNCAN: Wait…do I smell smoke? Should I be worried?
LASKIAN: Unlikely. Let me see…yes, I see the culprit. A Smallfry has ignited some dry leaves.
DUNCAN: It doesn’t seem very safe to have Fire Solari running around in a forest.
LASKIAN: As it turns out, most trees in Taankwan Thicket are surprisingly fire-resistant. And some of them even require flame to germinate their seeds! This makes the Smallfry’s Flame Surge skill, which applies Burning to its targets, actually quite beneficial to the forest.
DUNCAN: I suppose that’s reassuring. Wait, is that the Smallfry over there?
LASKIAN: Not quite! That’s actually the second-stage evolution of a related Solari. You’re probably familiar with the primary form…I’ll give you a hint: it has the Electric affinity.
DUNCAN: The Weevolt! Yes, I encountered those in the Daharan Desert.
LASKIAN: Correct. The creature you see is the Scuttlebug, which uses Lightning Blast to shock multiple enemies. It’s rare to see one in here; they are rather more common in certain other parts of Kunisi Wood.
DUNCAN: That makes two Electric Solari, along with the Nature, Water, and Fire we’ve already discussed. That means there are still two common affinities we haven’t yet encountered.
LASKIAN: In fact, we have encountered a Basic Solari, but so far it has remained hidden from you. But if you peer over my right shoulder…
DUNCAN: Oh! I see it, perched on a high branch. Is it spying on us?
LASKIAN: The Whiffle watches all creatures that invade its territory. I expect it must be sleepy, since it hasn’t attacked yet with its Dazing Nocturne. A beautiful melody, to be certain, but it leaves you with quite a headache.
DUNCAN: Perhaps I’ll skip that, in preference for heading back to town for a nice lunch.
LASKIAN: Understandable. The only local Solari we haven’t spoken of is one that’s rare in these parts, but quite common in the Daharan Desert.
DUNCAN: Is it the Blockhead? I recall seeing a few of those ungainly creatures out there.
LASKIAN: Quite right! You know, Duncan, you show a remarkable aptitude for remembering Solari…
DUNCAN: Why thank you!
LASKIAN: … for a civilian. You’d give my first-year pupils quite a run for their money.
DUNCAN: Ah, yes. Well, I’ll still take that as a compliment!
Join us again next week when Duncan learns about the denizens of Sagalee Ridge!
Solari of Taankwan Thicket
Scuttlebug (Electric 2)