The sultry days of summer lay hot and heavy over the more temperate areas of Norrath. Children raced leaf "boats" down streams, picnics popped up like mushrooms in the more critter-free fields, and folks generally moved rather slowly in the muggy heat.
It was with some surprise, therefore, when a gnomish lass by the name of Gnormajean saw Niami DenMother scamper through Qeynos at high noon, cackling gleefully.
"Mum?" Her question was asked to empty air, however, as Niami disappeared through a gnomish portal that had just materialized in North Qeynos. "Ah! That explains everything, perfectly!"
Since she was now talking to herself, Gnormajean didn't bother elaborating on her comment, but went back to diagramming out an "improved" leaf racing schematic.
About five minutes later, a frazzled-looking coldain appeared, walking slowly towards the portal, and mumbling to himself. "Doggone noisy exploding holidays, if only I could ..."
"Hi Agnor! I saw Mum race through the second the Tinkerfest portal opened, and figured you'd be along shortly! I presume she's going to do her usual* while you are on cog duty?" (*For stories on "the usual" for Mum, check out the stories from Tinkerfest 2011 and Tinkerfest 2012.
"Aye, lass. I thought I'd do a bit of racing in Greate Divide and such again, to start off with, and see how it goes from there. I suspect I'd better check out the new offerings as well, since Mum will be distrac- ..." he broke off suddenly. "Say, you're a gnome ..."
"All my life, yep!" Gnorma grinned as she interrupted him. "Let me guess. You want me to check on the gnomish front and see what's new, then translate it into something more understandable? While you go off and have fun racing?" Her eyes glinted with mischief behind her spectacles, watching Agnor shift from foot to foot. She did so love making him fidget.
"Um, ah, well, if you're not too busy. It'd mean a lot to me ... erm, Mum. I know we have pack ponies to help with the cogs this time, but it can't hurt to get more cogs, right?" Even as he was asking this, Agnor started edging sideways towards a nearby travel bell, clearly itching to get to the aether races.
"I'll help you, if you'll help me!"
Agnor stopped moving, looking immediately suspicious. "It doesn't involve any explosions, does it?"
"Nope. I may like things that go click, whirr, and ping, but I tend to draw the line at explosions. It is usually the male gnomes that like unpredictable explosions," she confided with a grin before continuing. "I'd actually like your racing expertise later, but it can definitely wait until evening, when things have cooled down a bit."
Agnor *almost* smiled one of his extremely rare smiles. He had discovered a love of aether racing, and was quite proud of the kajigger wings he'd bought last year with some of his cogs. "That, I can manage, lass. I'll look for you this eve, once things have cooled off a bit here."
She watched him leave with a bemused smile on her face, then spoke once more to thin air, "Oh, if only he were a gnome, he'd be so perfect ..." Blushing as she realized she'd spoken aloud, she adjusted her mushroom hat atop her head and slipped through the Tinkerfest portal to Steamfont.
It didn't take Gnormajean long to catch up on the new and interesting news on the gnomish front, and soon she was traveling around to various locations helping a gnome by the name of Rosealyn find some missing book pages. She also managed to learn a bit about how not to bind a book, and scribbled a note for later research into the "papernado".
Then, once she finally managed to distract Niami long enough from exploding renegade clockworks to give her both her notes, and an address for Agnor (who was bound to show up sooner or later to check on Mum's boom-fest), she headed off to her new home to prepare.
Several hours later, when Agnor arrived, she was bending over something at the ocean's edge, while a picnic basket on a blanket sat behind her on the beach.
While he'd worked up quite a hunger during his hours spent aether racing, his attention momentarily strayed to the two sets of three large rings placed on tall posts - three at one end of the beach, and three at the other end of the beach. "Um ..."
"Oh, I'll explain about those in a minute. Come here and watch this, first!" Gnormajean's voice was a bit squeaky with excitement as she pointed down to a large leaf with what looked like a tinkered inspiration housepet attatched to it. Sitting atop the leaf was a candle, and surrounding this were four gear-like contraptions that seemed to be spitting up tiny gears and cogs.
"Um ...?" Never one for a lot of talk, Agnor was at a loss for words as he scratched his bald blue head, utterly unsure what he was looking at and how he was supposed to help with whatever-it-was.
"Great, I've got him speechless again. He is so cute when bemused and confused," Gnormajean thought, glad that he wasn't a mindreader. Aloud, she said, "Well, I've been watching the children do leaf races down streams, and it made me think about how it would be fun to race them at night, when it is cooler, only you'd need a way to see them in the dark, and that meant not only needing a light source, but a way to support the leaf even with the weight of the light, and then if you're doing that, why limit it only to streams, where you'd have to run downstream to grab it again so you can recover the light, so that meant a bit of a propulsion system as well, and I think it is finally ready to have it's maiden voyage!"
Agnor's eyes almost crossed at the run-on sentence. but at the word "propulsion", he took a couple steps back. "I thought you said there would be no explosions." In his book "propulsion", when spoken by a gnome, really meant "it will go really fast and then explode, or maybe it will just explode."
"Pffft, remember who you're talking to. I don't make things explode ... much. The worst that could happen with this is that the candle could tip over and burn the leaf, and since the leaf is sitting on the water, there's zero danger!"
Agnor had to concede that, as far as gnomes went, Gnormajean was the most safety-conscious gnome he'd met. He moved closer to the water's edge, and watched with amazement as Gnormajean sent the leaf gliding idly in the calm shallows before recalling it, and sending it racing away.
"Oh, that looks like fun! You can actually make it come back on it's own and everyth- GAH!" If he'd had hair on top of his head, it would have been standing on end as the recalled leaf skimmer was suddenly lifted aloft by a blast of water before settling serenely back to sit peacefully on top of the water once again.
Gnormajean fell over on the wet sand where water met beach, laughing until she wheezed, while Agnor sputtered and grumbled. "You promised no explosions!"
"That wasn't ... hee hee ... an explosion ... ha ha ha ... it was a controlled ... hee ha ha ... water burst! Oh, you should have seen the look on your face, though!" Slowly calming herself, while watching him out of the corner of her eye to see if he was truly angry or not, she added rather sheepishly, "Help yourself to some food. I figured you'd be hungry after racing so long."
Grunting and clearly attempting to not smile, Agnor headed for the picnic basket and the feast contained within. While Gnormajean may have learned about pranking Agnor from Niami, Mum had also taught her quite a bit about cooking, and he was sure he'd not be disappointed by the food.
While they ate, Gnormajean explained more about her request for help.
"I know you're getting to be quite the flying and racing whiz with those tinkered wings you got last year, and I was hoping you could help me with the flying portion of a game I got asked to help with a few weeks ago. The rules are pretty complex, and frankly, quite silly, in my opinion, but since they're only hiring me for the flight illusion spell for it, nobody asked for my opinion." She gestured with a turkey drumstick at the ring and post setups behind her on the beach.
"Flight ... illusion? So you really don't need me to fly?" Agnor both looked, and sounded, utterly confused. Gnorma might not use all the technobabble that most gnomes seemed to prefer, but following her logic still made his brain pretzel now and then.
Gnorma grinned, removing her hat and running her fingers through her spiky white hair. "I need you to fly, all right. You see, these folks are oddly eccentric, and want folks flying on brooms of all things. Only nobody has managed a good flying broomstick yet, so they want the illusion of broom flight. Illusioning a gryphyon or sokokar mount into a broom isn't too horribly hard, since you're in a seated position either way, but turning a mostly upright flight via wings and such into a seated broom flight is a bit trickier. My personae reflection doesn't fly very well, and I need a really good flyer to work with, so I can work out twists, turns, rolls, dives and the like properly. It is also hard to control while I'm trying to figure out a new illusion spell. Since you're such a great flyer, I thought maybe you could help me?"
Appealing to his pride. Of course the ego massage didn't hurt, and the picnic dinner she'd prepared didn't hurt, either. It had nothing to do with the sunset over the ocean turning her hair lovely colors, or the smile on her face. Nothing at all. "I'd be pleased to help you, lass. Only, it is starting to get a bit dark if you want me flying in and out of rings and such, unless they light up like the aether race ones."
"I only picked up the rings today with the new Tinkerfest offerings, so I haven't had a chance to rig them with lights. Maybe tomorrow evening, a bit earlier? And we can save dinner for afterwards?"
"Sure. I look forward to it. What is this game going to be called, anyway?"
Gnormajean furrowed her brow a moment. "Quadwitch? Um ... Quidwitch? Something like that! I'm not sure where the name comes from, but maybe the "witch" part is because of the brooms?"
Tinkerfest 2014 is just around the corner, and will run from July 25, 2014 (starting at 12:01 AM PDT) until August 11, 2014 (at 11:59 PM PDT).
Watch where you step, however! It seems that in most major areas where gnomes congregate, Shiny Tinkerfest Cogs will be sprouting out of the ground for you to harvest. I suspect many of you will want lots and lots of cogs. (Major cities will have at least one cog-strewn area, plus spots like the Dropship Landing in Moors of Ykesha, the gnomish pirates area outside of Thurgadin, the gnome area of Solusek's Eye, etc. also have spawn spots.) The upgraded pack pony will also happily fetch 100 shiny tinkerfest cogs per run for you, while the event is running.
And why will you want lots of cogs? Because there are many things to buy and make with those cogs. In addition to all the items returning from past years, a new set of Tinkerfest recipes will be available (requires Tinkering 25 to scribe), and there are several new buy-only items as well.
This new recipe book will be available on vendor Myron in the Gnomeland Security area of Steamfont. The book requires 25 tinkering to scribe, and costs 10 shiny tinkerfest cogs. Each item will require 1 shiny tinkerfest cog to craft, as well as T3 common resources (carbonite, gold, etc.) and sparkling coal.
||Block of Rusty Metal
||Cold Corrugated Wood Cog
|Cold Corrugated Wood Gear
||Corrugated Wood Piston
||Crude Stove Flute
|Half Block of Rusty Metal
|Large Floor Grating
||Narrow Divider of Rusty Metal
||Railing of Rusty Metal
|Rhodium Gage Indicator
||Rounded Tile of Rusty Metal
||Screened Heating Element Tube
|Short Column of Rusty Metal
||Smoking Exhaust Cap
||Stair of Rusty Metal
|Tall Column of Rusty Metal
||Tall Divider of Rusty Metal
||Tall Screened Heating
|Welded Rhodium Band
||Welded Rhodium Fuel Barrel
|A D.I.R.T.Y. Sand
Scooper 6500 (housepet)
|Coiled Fligger Prototype
|Dark Vault Door
|Dok-tok Mk III Plushie
|Gnomish Sign Plate
|Polished Gyro Fligger
|Tik-Tank Mk III plushie
|Tinkered Glow Skimmer
pictured at top of page
There is one new quest ("Tinker Bound History"), one returning quest that has a new reward, and one new tradeskill achievement. (All other quests and achievements from last year are also available - I am just covering the new stuff here.)
|The Minds of Meldrath
"Tinker Bound History" Quest
|Contrapticus Slave Console
"Foray Into Ulterior
|Ceiling Mounted Carbonite
|Floor Mounted Carbonite
Note: The Ceiling Mounted Carbonite Cog Chain is a reward for the new "Bits and Baubles" achievement. After completing this achievement, you may then purchase additional Ceiling Mounted versions and Floor Mounted versions for 2 cogs apiece on vendor Myron. The Bits and Baubles achievement is a crafting achievement, and requires that you make 1 each of the following: ornate gold gear, compact mana battery, tinkered fan blades (active), tinkered titanium gear shaft, carbonite spin wheel, ratcheted sprog arm, crude stove flute, carbonite roller, flanged rhodium widget, titanium hexagon gasket, tinkerers conburnable chamber, dismantled clock assembly, welded rhodium fuel barrel, welded rhodium band. Some of these are in the new recipe book from this year, and the rest are in returning Tinkerfest Blueprints from past years.
More will likely be added to this section after I've gotten some sleep. In the meantime, if you missed the link that I posted a couple days ago, there is a new home available for tour on Test. We are guessing that the Tinkerer's Isle will be available for sale on the Marketplace during Tinkerfest.
As I briefly mentioned in the mini-story above, the upgraded pack pony will bring back shiny tinkerfest cogs if you ask him to go after holiday harvests. If you haven't upgraded him yet, now is a good time to do the questline, before this event hits the live servers!