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    Default Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    So first I just wanna say: is anyone else here a big fan of Mother of Learning, the online novel posted on fictionpress.com?

    For the uninitiated, Mother of Learning is a fantasy story in which the main character, Zorian Kazinski, an aspiring young mage attending academy, becomes trapped in a month-long time loop. He searches for answers as time repeats itself, gradually learning more about the situation and growing both as a mage and as a person. There's some obvious inspiration from D&D in certain aspects of the setting ("Magic Missile" is the basic combat spell used), but it's quite clearly not a direct ripoff or clone; the setting is well-thought-out and quite detailed, as are many characters. The story is very well written and only gets better as it goes on. It's quite engaging and has its share of comedic moments, drama, intrigue, and action. Currently it's at 80 chapters and approximately 600K words. The story is divided into three main story arcs (currently we're in the third arc, which will be the last arc).

    If you're a fan, share! If you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so. Make sure you have plenty of time, though, as you'll not want to stop reading for a while once you start. It is (metaphorically) a real page-turner.
    I'm currently writing a story, titled "Zenith: Another World Saga."

    It's a fantasy/adventure story. Here's the summary:

    When I opened my eyes, I was in a fantasy world. I quickly discovered that it functioned off of game-like rules (levels, EXP, skills, and so on). Taking the name Zenith, I decided to make the best of my new world and live as an adventurer aiming for the top together with my new best friend Rozenskye. And I might be functionally immortal? An Isekai-style story.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    I've been reading it. Lots of fun, although Zorian is missing out on a social life. Someone not on the spectrum is probably going to have trouble focusing that much on "business" and would find the amount of social isolation difficult.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    I've been reading it, and it's a fascinating and well-written story. It's not quite the typical fantasy hero story, either. The story progresses more with the main character learning or understanding something important, than when the winning a fight.

    For the people familiar with the Asian web novel / light novel scene, this could be said to be a Western, slow-paced alternative take on something like a time travel / isekai / reincarnation story. The focus and themes are very different, so the contrast to what Asian stories might've done with a similar premise is really cool.

    The main character's reactions feel grounded. There's weird time shenanigans going on, but he doesn't trust or understand it. In the beginning, he just... does nothing. He goes to school, not quite believing that anything this weird could even be happening.

    The characters are distinct and react to the way the story unfolds in various ways. Much of the story focuses on how the main character's small actions influence (or not) the people around him.

    The magic system has all sorts of intriguing details built into it - "shaping exercises", small cantrip-level magic tricks that teach control; "formless casting" that doesn't rely on the spell formulae; the mind magic of the spider-like aranae, and whatever is going on with all that stuff about souls. It's very different from standard D&D stuff. And of course there's all the stuff causing the time shenanigans - the what, the why, the how of it.

    It's a very, very good online fantasy story. It's very well written, and could easily be published pretty much as-is. I'm not sure how well it'd do in the market, but that's more a matter of finding an audience, not one of quality.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    I've been reading it for quite a while now, it updates about every 3 or 4 weeks I think. It's an excellent story, well executed, and while Zorian is definitely immensely overpowered by now I like how it's (almost) entirely because of the time loop giving him opportunities and the time to exploit them without him being anything special on his own.

    Besides having a well developed world that feels real, it's obvious that the overall plot is already planned out in advance and it's heading somewhere interesting. There are far too many things that build on each other or turn out to be important later otherwise. I'm patiently waiting to see how things go when Zack and Zorian finally escape the time loop (in the strictly limited number of loops they have remaining) and have to face Red Robe again, this time with no time loop providing safety on either side.
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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
    I've been reading it for quite a while now, it updates about every 3 or 4 weeks I think. It's an excellent story, well executed, and while Zorian is definitely immensely overpowered by now I like how it's (almost) entirely because of the time loop giving him opportunities and the time to exploit them without him being anything special on his own.

    Besides having a well developed world that feels real, it's obvious that the overall plot is already planned out in advance and it's heading somewhere interesting. There are far too many things that build on each other or turn out to be important later otherwise. I'm patiently waiting to see how things go when Zack and Zorian finally escape the time loop (in the strictly limited number of loops they have remaining) and have to face Red Robe again, this time with no time loop providing safety on either side.
    I'm definitely looking forward to when they escape the time loop as well. In addition to having to deal with Red Robe, there are so many things that demand immediate attention - ensuring Nochka's safety, partnering with the Cyoria aranea, dealing with his sister and classmates... It will be a lot of fun to see what Zack and Zorian decide to do and how they do it. It will be nice to see the Cyoria aranea again; I loved Novelty.
    I'm currently writing a story, titled "Zenith: Another World Saga."

    It's a fantasy/adventure story. Here's the summary:

    When I opened my eyes, I was in a fantasy world. I quickly discovered that it functioned off of game-like rules (levels, EXP, skills, and so on). Taking the name Zenith, I decided to make the best of my new world and live as an adventurer aiming for the top together with my new best friend Rozenskye. And I might be functionally immortal? An Isekai-style story.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    This thread convinced me to go and take a look.

    Eighty chapters later ... whew! A marvelously entertaining read. It could use some editing to clean up spelling and awkwardly repeated writing. (The word "deadpanned" is a bit overused at times.)

    I love the world-building and magical theory-crafting. The black rooms have a couple of inherent problems which can be handwaved a bit. These are temperature and oxygen. If isolated from the universe, these chambers would require very effective heat sinks, as well as a way to provide a month's worth of breathable air.

    Spoiler: Regarding Red Robes
    Show
    I expect that the current Person of Interest is a red herring. Red Robes was simply a simulacrum ... of Zach. The reasoning follows:
    • Zorian only detects two souls when searching for the mark.
    • Zach had previous access to the spell.
    • Simulacrums that remain alive beyond a day or so have a distressing tendency to become unstable, often attacking their originals.
    • Zach's mind and memory have been modified - by Red Robes, in fact.
    • Zach's power growth and shaping are off by a factor of two. He has magnitude 50 mana, but magnitude 25 shaping. A simulacrum might double the growth of mana, meaning Zach was originally a magnitude 25 mage.
    • Zach's memory and soul modifications may have prevented him from feeling what magic Red Robes was using.
    • Red Robes' attacks may well have been intrinsic Controller abilities which did not consume mana at all.

    Last edited by Leewei; 2018-02-16 at 04:16 PM.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    I've been a fan for a while now, I love how the series takes what seems like basic D&D magic and digs into the mechanics of how it might work before spiraling off into something very much its own world and system. Once the series is over I actually plan to play around with making a savage worlds setting out of it. Also its funny. Some of the Xvim stuff later on had me rolling out of my chair I was laughing so hard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leewei View Post
    I love the world-building and magical theory-crafting. The black rooms have a couple of inherent problems which can be handwaved a bit. These are temperature and oxygen. If isolated from the universe, these chambers would require very effective heat sinks, as well as a way to provide a month's worth of breathable air.

    Spoiler: Regarding Red Robes
    Show
    I expect that the current Person of Interest is a red herring. Red Robes was simply a simulacrum ... of Zach. The reasoning follows:
    • Zorian only detects two souls when searching for the mark.
    • Zach had previous access to the spell.
    • Simulacrums that remain alive beyond a day or so have a distressing tendency to become unstable, often attacking their originals.
    • Zach's mind and memory have been modified - by Red Robes, in fact.
    • Zach's power growth and shaping are off by a factor of two. He has magnitude 50 mana, but magnitude 25 shaping. A simulacrum might double the growth of mana, meaning Zach was originally a magnitude 25 mage.
    • Zach's memory and soul modifications may have prevented him from feeling what magic Red Robes was using.
    • Red Robes' attacks may well have been intrinsic Controller abilities which did not consume mana at all.

    Spoiler: Red Robes
    Show
    Hmm, I like the idea but I don't think it works. Red Robes never showed up on the search because he was likely already gone from the loop by the time they even started searching. Personally I think that they will be searching for Red Robes identity till the very end, and likely not discover it until they get out of the loop and go into the ver definitely final loop. The one where it all counts for real I am terrified to see who does and does not survive.
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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonus45 View Post
    I've been a fan for a while now, I love how the series takes what seems like basic D&D magic and digs into the mechanics of how it might work before spiraling off into something very much its own world and system. Once the series is over I actually plan to play around with making a savage worlds setting out of it. Also its funny. Some of the Xvim stuff later on had me rolling out of my chair I was laughing so hard.
    The moment Xvim showed up I assumed he'd eventually turn out to be some fantastic teacher who just needs a pupil who understands his style of teaching, and that his perfectionism would drive Zorian to great heights of skill. I was not disappointed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonus45 View Post
    Spoiler: Red Robes
    Show
    Hmm, I like the idea but I don't think it works. Red Robes never showed up on the search because he was likely already gone from the loop by the time they even started searching. Personally I think that they will be searching for Red Robes identity till the very end, and likely not discover it until they get out of the loop and go into the ver definitely final loop. The one where it all counts for real I am terrified to see who does and does not survive.
    Spoiler
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    Also, Zorian has to recreate his simulacrums each loop. If Zorian can't make a simulacrum last through a reset, I really doubt Zach - or a simulacrum of Zach - can. Where would the simulacrum start each loop, anyway?

    I think they're on the right track, but they still don't have the full picture and they don't know just what Red Robe learned during all his time looping. And they have no possible source of information on post-looping Red Robe until they leave the loop, since the loop itself erased everything he did since the loop's start, excepting only his interactions with Zach and Zorian and his removal of the Cyorian Web from the loop.
    Last edited by Douglas; 2018-02-18 at 01:24 PM.
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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    New chapter's up today! We get to see what
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    Quatach-Ichl
    and Zorian/Zach talk about!
    I'm currently writing a story, titled "Zenith: Another World Saga."

    It's a fantasy/adventure story. Here's the summary:

    When I opened my eyes, I was in a fantasy world. I quickly discovered that it functioned off of game-like rules (levels, EXP, skills, and so on). Taking the name Zenith, I decided to make the best of my new world and live as an adventurer aiming for the top together with my new best friend Rozenskye. And I might be functionally immortal? An Isekai-style story.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"


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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Saw this thread pop up a bit ago and spent the last few days catching up on the story.

    It's really good, I could barely out it down. Thanks for turning me onto it, Fiery Diamond.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Mother of Learning's great. The world is so fleshed out I always thought it must be set in a pre-existing fantasy universe, but nope. The update rate and quality have been so consistent for years, it's a pretty huge achievement.

    I recently saw this on an old book cover, and it reminded me of Ghatess the primordial.

    Last edited by pupaeted; 2018-03-03 at 08:55 AM.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    Saw this thread pop up a bit ago and spent the last few days catching up on the story.

    It's really good, I could barely out it down. Thanks for turning me onto it, Fiery Diamond.
    Same here, I had been aware of the story for a while, but it never seemed super appealing to me. This thread made me give it a chance and, wow, am I glad I did.
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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    You're welcome, people who are happy this thread encouraged them to read it! That's one of the main reasons I posted it! I love that story, and I like sharing it with people.
    I'm currently writing a story, titled "Zenith: Another World Saga."

    It's a fantasy/adventure story. Here's the summary:

    When I opened my eyes, I was in a fantasy world. I quickly discovered that it functioned off of game-like rules (levels, EXP, skills, and so on). Taking the name Zenith, I decided to make the best of my new world and live as an adventurer aiming for the top together with my new best friend Rozenskye. And I might be functionally immortal? An Isekai-style story.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Chapter 82 is up!

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    I truly enjoy the shameless munchkinism that Zorian employs to complete his challenges. Looks like they now know where to obtain four artifacts - the orb, ring, crown, and dagger. The staff is still uncertain.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Chapter 83 time.
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    Once again, a reset -- this one due to a soul magic "bomb" by that Quidditch Itchy. Man, he's bad news.

    It looks like the boys now have reasonably good access to both the dagger and the orb, and they know how to evade pursuit from the dagger's guardians.

    Ironically, time is running out for Zorian and Zach. They can't repeat that loop much more before their pocket dimension grinds to a halt.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Read it.

    Loved it.

    Thanks for brining my attention to this very interesting Fic !
    A neutron walks into a bar and says, “How much for a beer?” The bartender says, “For you? No charge.”


    Later: An atom walks into a bar an asks the bartender “Have you seen an electron? I left it in here last night.” The bartender says, “Are you sure?” The atom says, “I’m positive.”

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Quote Originally Posted by Leewei View Post
    Chapter 83 time.
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    Once again, a reset -- this one due to a soul magic "bomb" by that Quidditch Itchy. Man, he's bad news.

    It looks like the boys now have reasonably good access to both the dagger and the orb, and they know how to evade pursuit from the dagger's guardians.

    Ironically, time is running out for Zorian and Zach. They can't repeat that loop much more before their pocket dimension grinds to a halt.
    Thanks for the reminder! The updates are too sporadic for me to stay up-to-date on this on my own.

    Spoiler: 83 discussion
    Show

    Time is indeed running out. I'm not sure how many repeats they have exactly, but I think it was about 30 or so. That'd still be a few years, which is quite a bit of time, but not as much as they're used to. Having less time is a good choice - mistakes have consequences, and it might let them adjust back to the real-world time, where that's even more true. That might end up being one of their small advantages against the red robe once the time loop is over, since the red robe was so used to being able to fix any and all problems using the loop. When that became impossible, he just gave up.

    I wonder if the soul damage causes Zorian to be in a coma for a time - he might end up missing some of those repeats they have left, or at the very least, being too hurt to do all the stuff they normally do. Damaged soul could specifically cause some weird trouble with one of his simulacrum. Perhaps one of the far-away ones goes rogue?

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Quote Originally Posted by endoperez View Post
    Thanks for the reminder! The updates are too sporadic for me to stay up-to-date on this on my own.

    Spoiler: 83 discussion
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    Time is indeed running out. I'm not sure how many repeats they have exactly, but I think it was about 30 or so. That'd still be a few years, which is quite a bit of time, but not as much as they're used to. Having less time is a good choice - mistakes have consequences, and it might let them adjust back to the real-world time, where that's even more true. That might end up being one of their small advantages against the red robe once the time loop is over, since the red robe was so used to being able to fix any and all problems using the loop. When that became impossible, he just gave up.

    I wonder if the soul damage causes Zorian to be in a coma for a time - he might end up missing some of those repeats they have left, or at the very least, being too hurt to do all the stuff they normally do. Damaged soul could specifically cause some weird trouble with one of his simulacrum. Perhaps one of the far-away ones goes rogue?
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    Zorian's defenses tend to be better than Zach's, but Zach has a working failsafe. It's kind of a toss-up now as to how banged up their souls are. The one who got Zorian into the loop in the first place is that same lich, so the potential for problems down the road is very large.

    Side note: Zorian has displayed munchkin tendencies, has mastered an understanding of arachnid minds, has been plagued by powerful magical opponents, notes his physical weakness as a large drawback, and has studied up on soul magic, including the kind used to produce lycanthropes. If he gets desperate enough, I can see him ritually bonding to a grey hunter using an egg he obtains early in a cycle.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Quote Originally Posted by Leewei View Post
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    Side note: Zorian has displayed munchkin tendencies, has mastered an understanding of arachnid minds, has been plagued by powerful magical opponents, notes his physical weakness as a large drawback, and has studied up on soul magic, including the kind used to produce lycanthropes. If he gets desperate enough, I can see him ritually bonding to a grey hunter using an egg he obtains early in a cycle.
    Regarding your side note:
    Oh wow, that's possible within the world set up in the story, and the chatactetizations as well. That'd be very reminiscent of some crazy D&D 3.5 builds. I doubt the story will go there, but damn if that wouldn't be cool.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Um...pretty sure Zorian has explicitly ruled out that as a Bad Idea since there is psychological bleed from any such transformation.

    Maybe if it becomes his only way to survive, but at that point he'll have had to completely give up being able to truly go home.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Zorian absolutely would not do this if he had other options. He's not the least bit cavalier about using soul magic on himself, and for good reason.

    Given the stakes (his survival, the survival of his friends and family, a thousand-year-old lich unleashing a primordial world-, okay, nation-eating abomination), I can still see this as a possible outcome.

    Spoiler: Speaking of said abomination
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    It's curious that the Primordial and its prison are the actual being and pocket dimension. This gives Zorian the means to escape the time loop if he can prevent it from ending when the prison is opened.

    The escape would require the successful use of mind magic to implant memories into the Primordial and compel it to pass these along to the local areana - who could then pass the packets on to the "real" Zorian.

    This is insanely difficult, of course. Getting the regalia seems more likely, but that may be a pass only for Zach.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Ah I see it is already much further than the ebook version I downloaded a few days ago. (went to chapter 57) Hmm I must look for a more complete one it is nice to read it on my kindle. I wonder whether my current prediction that the search for the keys will involve finally meeting his brother Daimen (what with him discovering something unspecified and being an archaeologist) has turned out to be true. Anyway a good read.

    Spoiler: I guess I should spoil bigger stuff since new readers do read such threads
    Show
    Also damn I would have never expected it to establish an enemy time traveler and then just let him exit the loop without a fight, well after the loop he will be there of course but I don't give him big chances against the two after a few more years.

    Btw this is a setting in which I would be really scared of mind mages, the ease with which he can manipulate minds later on…
    Last edited by Ibrinar; 2018-04-18 at 06:23 PM.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibrinar View Post
    Ah I see it is already much further than the ebook version I downloaded a few days ago. (went to chapter 57) Hmm I must look for a more complete one it is nice to read it on my kindle. I wonder whether my current prediction that the search for the keys will involve finally meeting his brother Daimen (what with him discovering something unspecified and being an archaeologist) has turned out to be true. Anyway a good read.

    Spoiler: I guess I should spoil bigger stuff since new readers do read such threads
    Show
    Also damn I would have never expected it to establish an enemy time traveler and then just let him exit the loop without a fight, well after the loop he will be there of course but I don't give him big chances against the two after a few more years.

    Btw this is a setting in which I would be really scared of mind mages, the ease with which he can manipulate minds later on…
    You have some good times ahead! Things have changed a lot from chapter 57.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    New update!

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    19 restarts to go!

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Well. That could be a serious game changer.

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    All of a sudden, for the next 5 or 6 restarts (I'm not quite sure which), every last person they've brought in on this will be 100% fully briefed and convinced right from the moment the restart begins. That will save a lot of time and effort, which are now very limited resources. And all of those people will be able to build on their plans and researches without spending part of the loop studying their previous selves' notes, too.

    I'm curious what would happen if at some point they use the dagger on Quatach-Ichl. The reaction of the Ibasans when he just collapsed dead for no apparent reason in the next restart would be interesting. I'd expect the invasion plan to collapse in chaos and confusion, which could open up all sorts of new opportunities for investigation.
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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
    Well. That could be a serious game changer.

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    All of a sudden, for the next 5 or 6 restarts (I'm not quite sure which), every last person they've brought in on this will be 100% fully briefed and convinced right from the moment the restart begins. That will save a lot of time and effort, which are now very limited resources. And all of those people will be able to build on their plans and researches without spending part of the loop studying their previous selves' notes, too.

    I'm curious what would happen if at some point they use the dagger on Quatach-Ichl. The reaction of the Ibasans when he just collapsed dead for no apparent reason in the next restart would be interesting. I'd expect the invasion plan to collapse in chaos and confusion, which could open up all sorts of new opportunities for investigation.
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    That is a huge game-changer.

    I'm also curious about Zorian's hydra-based distributed intelligence. If he pulls that off, he'll resemble less a wizard with simulacra and more a nascent god with avatars.

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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Quote Originally Posted by Leewei View Post
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    That is a huge game-changer.

    I'm also curious about Zorian's hydra-based distributed intelligence. If he pulls that off, he'll resemble less a wizard with simulacra and more a nascent god with avatars.
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    I've been wondering about Zorian using his mind magic to effectively let his simulacra merge back into the original by copying their memories for a long time, and the more recent discovery of using his soul as the link for telepathic communication added some extra fuel for that. At some point it was mentioned that he has to actively process any memories he copies from them, and doing it for every memory would take more time than he can afford, but a hydra hive mind would bypass that.

    Also, this puts their progress on the relics at 3 out of 5 all together at the same time, with a 4th acquired in a previous restart and a serious start on finding the 5th. I'm assuming that they did, in fact, find a Bakora gate, and the author just didn't think the final step was worth showing. If not, they have at least identified who to go to on the next try so they don't have to waste time wandering all over. And they still have 18 restarts remaining. It's looking like they'll have plenty of margin after amassing all 5, which could potentially give them an opportunity to use extra options inside the loop for a few restarts before they actually leave.
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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

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    I feel like the simulacra thing is going be really bad for Zorian. He is way to relaxed about those them and I worry he is going to come to a bad end when the series is over and done.
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    Default Re: Our Time Loop is Different: The Awesomeness that is "Mother of Learning"

    Another update!

    Spoiler: Regarding temporary soul marks
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    We have eighteen resets left; if any of the conspirators have their mark removed, they must wait twelve resets before they can be marked again. The marks last six cycles.

    This means that the exit strategy either needs to be enacted within the six month time frame, or else the marks need to be hacked to last longer*. If the six months run out, there will be twelve more cycles, then the Sovereign Gate will stop recycling the world -- and no more marks.

    It looks like Zorian will get his wish to study the composite mind of the hydra.

    *The marks have some intrinsic functionality (self-destruct being one of them). As described, they mainly serve to tag a soul that the gate needs to retain from one reset to the next. Souls are apparently unique in a way that allows the Gate to restore it to the same starting point if it has the correct mark.

    The question here becomes how the Gate imposes the twelve month delay. If it simply refuses to reapply a mark to a soul for twelve months, a new temporary mark could simply be copied from someone else. If there is a safeguard that causes a mark not to work on a specific soul for twelve months once it is removed, our heroes could be out of luck.

    My guess is that the copy trick will work -- and that QI will use it on himself, and so become a far greater threat.
    Last edited by Leewei; 2018-06-18 at 11:31 AM.

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