Adopt a stray thought

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Quests of Godville


Adopt a stray thought
Difficulty : 3/10

Though at first glance a very simple, one-level, short-and-sweet quest, the normal quest to adopt a stray thought is deceptively difficult in both genesis and completion. What? Did you think you could just go down to the pound and pick out a thought? The paperwork alone....


Despite being held by the uninitiated to be one step [1] above a miniquest, to adopt a stray thought has a long and storied tradition behind it.

Well, OK, maybe not that long. But definitely storied!

It began when the WIZZARD of Heisenburg met up with the WIZZARD of Unsettlement at the annual alumni meeting of Lostway Academy graduates and engaged in a debate, as WIZZARDS are wont to do. The premises under debate? The fine gentleman from Heisenburg posited that the reason so many heroes and heroines are to be found with blank minds is that their brains are incapable of formulating events of higher level cognition in the first place. The elegant gentlewoman from Unsettlement, meanwhile, assured him that heroes and heroines are perfectly capable of ideation, but that they have diminished capacity for the retention of same, and that was the reason for their unthinking natures.

"But, madame," said WIZZARD Heisenburg, eyeing the tray of donuts on the buffet table that was distressingly down to a custard-filled, a chocolate-sprinkled, and a cinnamon-crumbed, "surely, if they were capable of the genesis of thoughts beyond taverns, monsters, and deities, then we would have the rare and astonishing opportunity to catch them in the act before those thoughts flew away."

"Not so, sir," replied WIZZARD Unsettlement, edging sidelong toward the donut tray, admirably suppressing the groan when another alumnus snagged the chocolate-sprinkled pastry. "Who better than we recognizes the fleetness of a thought? Why, our minds take wings made of the very objects, and yet they evaporate at a sudden knock on the door. And that is for those of us trained in the capture of such creatures. How might a poor hero or heroine, whose faculties are in no way exercised in the same manner, grasp hold of rare and precious ideas even long enough to express them?"

"You have a point, madame, but I remain skeptical," said WIZZARD Heisenburg. He spotted an alumna heading toward the donut tray and began a fast sidle in the same direction. Too late! The alumna got there first and took the cinnamin-crumbed ring. WIZZARD Heisenburg whipped back around to his conversational partner with a snarl, only to find her parallel to himself and glaring at the same former classmate as if she wanted to summon a fireball. "To even open up the possibility of a hero or heroine being able to think an original higher thought, you must first prove to me that they can accept a higher thought at all."

He made a titanic stomp in the direction of the buffet.

"I'll see your challenge, sir!" roared WIZZARD Unsettlement, making a similar stomp, and two more for good measure. Her counterpart kept pace. "I shall post a quest this very night! Ere tomorrow dawns, heroes and heroines across the face of Godville shall be adopting stray thoughts!"

Lightning lashed from the skies.

Two hands slapped down on the last donut and rent it in twain.

Custard. Sprayed. Everywhere.

Completing the Quest

It is worth noting that heroes and heroines complete this quest the exact same way as any other quest: they go out and walk in a spiral and kill monsters. There is a very good reason for this. A very heroic good reason for this, anyway.

First few heroes and heroines tried to complete this quest by applying to adoption agencies, both for children and for animals. Then they applied to adoption agencies for plants. And fungi. And monocellular organisms. They discovered that, to adopt even a paramecium, they needed the following:

  • Four character references. [2]
  • 600 hours of community service. [3]
  • Two home visits to evaluate the fitness of the environment. [4]
  • A polygraph to evaluate the fitness of the applicant.
  • Triplicate copies of bank statements showing that the applicant earns a steady income and is capable of supporting the adoptee. [5]
  • A complete ban on alcohol in the home. [6]
  • A brick-and-mortar mailing address. [7]

Heroes and heroines are... hard-pressed to meet most of these requirements. So hard-pressed, in actuality, that when an attendant behind behind counter at the local pound suggested that a hero "beat it," he took that as a very helpful direction. He went out to beat up his favorite worthy opponent.

"After all," he figured, "maybe I can knock a few thoughts loose and catch one."

And that's what he did. We think. Or, at least, that's what all of the heroes and heroines following in his footsteps believe. Many still try the Godville Central Manimal and Fenimal Shelter, or even just the Lost and Found at their favorite taverns, hoping to get lucky, but they all come to the same conclusion.

Instruments (Possibly) Helpful in Completing the Quest

  • Butterfly net.
  • Dreamcatcher.
  • Clue.


  1. One very large and difficult step.
  2. Must not come from relatives or pets.
  3. Must not involve killing things.
  4. "Home" cannot be a tent, temple, or guildhall.
  5. "I'm sorry, we don't recognize the First National Bank of Tribbles as a duly accredited institution." -- LaShona of the Simpletown Bacteriological Placement Agency
  6. "What the hell?" -- Rubinstein, Inspector for the Godville Displaced Objects of Presumed Sentience Fund.
  7. Must not be a P.O. Box, "care of," or "for the benefit of" address.