Advertisement
Remove
Settings

A note from Balr0g

Tristen and his friends meet to discuss their starting characters and make a plan for their future.

Logging back into the game, Tristen brought up his friends list to see Natalia and Tyler already online. Just as he was about to close his contact list and send out party invites he saw Aaron come online. He sent out party invites to his friends, which was pretty easy to do from his contact list. He wondered how to add people not on the contact list, but figured it was unimportant right now. After the party had all accepted the invitations to join Tristen, he toggled the chat option over to party only. If this system worked like other games he played, it was going to be annoying having to switch to multiple chat channels. He decided to test it out by thinking about talking to someone around him and noticed that his chat channel automatically switched over general chat. Then, thinking about talking with his friends and asking where to meet up, the chat switched back to party only. Awesome, thought Tristen. This was going to make it much easier to communicate seamlessly and he wouldn’t have to consciously think about switching channels. He wondered if speaking aloud was required for everyone to hear him and decided to try thinking what he wanted to say.

Can you hear me? Tristen though into the party channel.

Immediately, he received a reply from his friends and a quip from Tyler using his best announcers voice, “yes, we can hear you now”.

“How are you all talking to me right now”, asked Tristen.

“Seriously? Are you all right man? That chip isn’t turning your head into jelly is it?” Tyler responded.

“I am speaking to you in the same way I would if you were next to me,” said Natalia.

Tristen almost told them about the telepathy ability of the chat function, but decided to wait until they gathered together. He would let them appear to be talking to themselves a while longer and then educate them. Tyler, at least, would appreciate the effort he was making to josh around with them. Tristen told all of them what he had been up to for the past couple of hours and where he was currently located. Aaron was out in the Nojik Plains, but only a short run to Castille. Natalia was just outside the city in the Kiyll woods. Tyler was actually in Castille already and playing dice in the tavern with some local NPCs. It was a bit surprising he was already in Castille considering he had chosen the dark elf race and his home wasn’t even listed on Tristen’s map yet. Granted, this was a human settlement so instead of outright hostility, he was greeted with suspicion and mistrust. Since Tyler and Tristen were already in Castille, they decided just to meet at the tavern. It would take a bit for Aaron and Natalia to join them so Tristen decided to head over and make sure they had a table. He had no idea how crowded the place would get with it being so small and everyone starting in the same location. Tristen was a bit surprised after arriving at the tavern to see that Tyler wasn’t the only dark elf in the room, There were quite a few other patrons sitting around tables, but more of them appeared to be NPCs. Looking around the tavern, Tristen noted the bartender and some serving maids delivering frothy pitchers of ale to customers well as an amazing smell wafting from a back room. He didn’t see any meals on the tables, but looking at the time realized it was just before lunch so perhaps food had yet to be served. The room was not very large and there was no way it could handle the number of players that were running around the town. Tristen hoped it didn’t become a problem with players getting upset over it.

Tristen spotted Tyler in the corner with his back to the wall facing the door. Catching his gaze, Tristen nodded to a relatively open area of the tavern on the other side and indicated he would grab a booth for the four of them. Sliding into the booth, Tristen continued to examine the room noting staircase set into the back of the room. He could see a slight shimmer at the base of the stairs and imagined it lead to rooms like in the Adventurer Hall. Having a starter room already at the adventurer hall, Tristen assumed these were for other players of difference race for when they visited the town and didn’t want to make the trek back to their towns.

Interrupting Tristen from his thoughts, a serving maid had wandered up to the table ad asked, “Can I get you something to drink, sir?”

“Please, call me Tristen” I advised. “I would like to have a pitcher of ale and four meals please.”

“That will be 8 coppers for the meals, the ale is included,” she said holding out her hand.

Oh crap!, Tristen didn’t even think about having to pay and had yet to check to see if he had any coins. Worse case, he could have Tyler pay since it looked like he was exchanging and pocketing quite a few coins at the moment. Quickly opening his inventory into, Tristen sighed in relief at seeing gold piece in his wallet. He had no idea how the currency worked in the game yet, but he guessed a gold piece wasn’t anything to thumb his nose at considering how cheap this meal was. He did know, based on looking at the wallet, that 100 copper equalled one silver and 100 silver equalled one gold. There was even a Platinum placeholder so he assumed that 100 gold would equal one platinum. The only other item that Tristen had in his possession was a Beginner’s Bag that had ten slots in it! Reaching into his bag Tristen pulled out the gold piece, wondering how he could break it down for copper. Thankfully, the maid informed him he only needed to think about the amount of currency he required and he could pull out the exact amount. This was a pretty neat system and it would make it very easy to keep track of and organize any of the coins they earned. The maid informed Tristen that lunch would be served in 20 minutes. While he waited for his friends, Tristen decided to start making plans for his character and their path through the game. So far he didn’t have any quests or bounties on his quest log since he had decided to wait on choosing anything until the group got back together.

Once everyone was back together, they could share their character sheets and get an idea for the strengths of each of them. Tristen felt like he would be the weakest link in the party at the moment. Currently, he only had the persuasion skill and no combat skills. He hadn’t even seen any trainers yet to get more skills and was curious how combat would work. Clearly, he needed to buy some equipment and weapons, but would he even know how to use them? If he remembered the various buildings in town correctly, he should be able to get a weapon at [Knife’s Edge]. While he was thinking about the weapon types he could use, he pulled up his character sheet to see the list of weapons designed for his character.

Weapon Type: Dagger, Shortsword, Mace, Cane, Quarterstaff, Greatsword

Offhand Type: Tome, Relic, Dagger, Shortsword, Shield


He had a pretty good array of weapon options open to him, which was great for versatility. Did that mean he wouldn’t be able to learn any other weapons? What if he wanted to use a bow for hunting or ranged attacks? He would need to think about that later, whenever he found some kind of trainer for this stuff. He kept coming around full circle to getting trained to use some skills, weapons and magic. Frustrated he hadn’t been able to figure this out yet, he decided to ask his friends if they had any idea when they got there. Ignoring his complete uselessness for now, he thought about what he wanted to accomplish with this character build. Ultimately, he wanted to be a support character, but he would need some skills before that was a possibility. He knew what magic types were available and even had mapped out which he would choose, but until he could find someplace to learn them everything was still on the table. In the meantime, he would be a liability since not only was he wearing cloth armor, he also had a pretty low HP. Tyler would also likely have lower health, but he would have much more Dexterity than Tristen and as a result would have a higher defense rating. As per the norm, Tyler would like choose twin daggers and build out a rogue or assassin. Natalia would likely use a bow or crossbow in addition to any support buffs and healing spells. Since Aaron had chosen to go with a Barbarian he would no doubt have high Strength and Vitality, especially if his trials in the tutorial went anything like mine and he had received stat points based on real-world strengths. Recalling some lore regarding Barbarians, Tristen wasn’t sure how much of a defensive build it would be. Whenever he thought about a Barbarian Conan came to mind as a tall, massively muscled and nearly naked warrior holding a two handed weapon as tall again as the warrior. If that was the type of build that Aaron was going for, Tristen quickly realized that there would be major lack of defense for the party. Perhaps Natalia could tame an animal using her racial skill to assist with tanking, or as a buffer between the party and any enemies. Wanting to increase their odds of survival, Tristen settled on opting for a sword and shield as his first weapons choices so that he would at least have some additional defense.

While Tristen was perusing his character sheet and making a plan, Tyler had slid into the booth opposite him wearing a mischievous grin and looking full of himself. After he closed out his character sheet, Tristen looked up at Tyler as he plunked a sack coins on the table. Tristen’s eyes growing wide, grabbed the sack of coins and saw 13 gold, 68 silver, and 98 copper coins inside.

“Wow, where did you get all of these coins,” asked Tristen

“I have been gambling and playing dice since I left the tutorial and have been able to earn a decent amount of coin to get us started,” Tyler explained.

“How much coin did you start with?”

“50 silver pieces, and I also had a couple of basic daggers”, said Tyler.

“I started with no equipment and one gold piece so it looks like all of our starting kits differ a bit. I’m guessing the extra gold in mine was to get some starter gear. I have yes to see any prices for equipment, but I’m hoping we have enough to get outfitted for some adventures.”

Just as Tristen finished speaking, Aaron and Natalia entered the tavern and walked over to the table. At about the same time, the food was being served. Although eating was not a requirement in the game, the food would give buffs and increase any SP, HP or MP regeneration. Inspecting the food once it came out, Tristen read the notification window.

Shepherd’s Pie

Effect: Eating this dish will grant +2 to Stamina and +1 to Vitality for 1 hour

Status: Well Fed

Two coppers for a decent buff wasn’t bad at all! He would have to remember to stop by the tavern before any adventures. He wondered if they could buy rations that provided buffs while out adventuring. Looking over at his friends, Tristen could see they were examining the meal as well. Grabbing the fork, Tristen dug into the dish and the flavor exploded in his mouth! The taste brought him back to his mom’s cooking and the homemade meals they always enjoyed. With his busy lifestyle of late, Tristen hadn’t really had time to enjoy any home-cooked meals and pretty much always ate in the cafeteria at headquarters. Occasionally, he would need to attend some dinner or other, but most of those events served tiny dishes that could be devoured in two bites, called it art, and extracted a kidney to pay the price! This food, however, was so much more in every way. It was cheap. It was super filling. It was amazing! Tristen could see his friends were all really enjoying the meal as well. They all ate in silence until the bowls were literally licked clean. Tristen thought about that for a moment and was once again amazed at the realism in the game. Here he was, immersed in a virtual game, while his physical body was asleep in a gaming chair, licking clean a bowl of Shepherd’s Pie. Shaking his head at the thought, he snapped out of his reverie focusing his thoughts on the task at hand. Before he dove into any character sheets and planning, Tristen let his friends know about the telepathy for party chat and tried to keep a straight face while he looked at each of them and thought,

So, did you all get any weird looks from people when you were talking aloud in party chat?

"What, the..." Tyler said, his mouth hanging open. Using the same thought speech, Tristen informed them of his little experiment, earning a chuckle and a "well played" from Tyler. 

Tristen shifted focus as he thought about what they needed to discuss. “Alright, first we need to lay out all of our strengths, weaknesses, skills, professions and equipment so we can see what we need and formulate a strategy to make us the most effective,” began Tristen. “While you were traveling over here and Tyler was fleecing some coin from those poor saps in the corner there,” Tristen pointed to the few NPCs in the corner that were still glaring hatred at Tyler, “I started looking at my character sheet.” Tristen could see that his friends had already become familiar with their character sheets, so decided to update them on his status. “First, I am a pansy in this game so far. I have one skill, [Persuasion], that I can apparently use to persuade NPCs during dialogue. I did start with a bit more coin than Tyler, but he also started with some basic daggers to offset that exchange. All that to say, I am squishy and lacking in any kind of attack or defense. The only thing I have going for me right now is a high charisma score and the persuasion skill. I am willing to bet that these will give me a decent advantage in bargaining with NPCs for gear and such. That said, I think it’s best if I do all of the purchases for the party unless someone else has higher scores in these areas,“ Tristen looked at his friends questioningly. Another area that Tristen had been looking at while waiting for his friends was the options he had at his disposal for being the party leader. There was an option to share character sheets of the party members if everyone agreed to it. Triggering the option, his friends agreed, which pulled up all of their character sheets side-by-side for the party to see. Manipulating the windows slightly, Tristen was able to force the display with their characters to cover the table-top, just like it would have been displayed had they been playing the old school version of the game.

Tristen (lvl. 1)

Health: 130/130 (+10)

Stamina: 150/150 (+20)

Mana: 200/200

Charisma

Intellect

Willpower

Dexterity

16

10

8

6

Luck

Stamina

Vitality

Strength

5

5

3

2

Skills

[Persuasion]

Magic Schools

None

 

Natalia (lvl. 1)

Health: 160/160 (+10)

Stamina: 170/170 (+20)

Mana: 160/160

Dexterity

Charisma

Stamina

Intellect

21

7

7

6

Vitality

Willpower

Strength

Luck

6

4

2

1

Skills

[Tame Animal]

Magic Schools

Nature

 

Tyler (lvl. 1)

Health: 160/160 (+10)

Stamina: 140/140 (+20)

Mana: 160/160

Dexterity

Willpower

Luck

Charisma

22

10

10

9

Stamina

Intellect

Vitality

Strength

4

3

3

2

Skills

[Night Sight], [Disarm Trap], [Stealth]

Magic Schools

None

 

Aaron (lvl. 1)

Health: 250/250 (+10)

Stamina: 200/200 (+20)

Mana: 130/130

Strength

Vitality

Stamina

Dexterity

25

15

10

7

Willpower

Charisma

Intellect

Luck

4

3

3

0

Skills

None

Magic Schools

None


After looking at everyones stats and skills side-by-side it was nearly exactly as Tristen had speculated with the exception of Tyler have a [Disarm Trap] skill.

“Tyler, where did you get the [Disarm Trap] skill?” Tristen asked.

“I think it isa combination of things,” explained Tyler, “One of the rooms in the tutorial had a bunch of traps I had to disarm as well as a bunch of games that relied on chance. I was able to disarm every trap and as fate would have it, the games fell wildly in my favor. I ended up with a +10 to luck there and I think a large part of it had to do with disarming traps where I had no idea how they worked. After I entered the main world, I spawned in the dark elf starter area, which is called Abyssal Reach. The town is a major drag if you ever end up going, so I decided to make my way to the surface and saw Castille in the distance. While I was navigating to the surface, I stumbled upon a lot of different traps, pits and tripwires. A couple of times I triggered them since I don’t have any way to actually detect them unless I actually see the trigger mechanism. With my [Night Sight] skill, I can see just as well in the dark as in in the sun so I could at least see some of the traps. I also almost died a couple of times triggering them, but there were quite a few of the traps that were easy to disarm since they were replicas of the ones in the tutorial. After I had disarmed a dozen of these, not including the tutorial, I learned the new skill! I didn’t gain any experience for it, but I think getting the skill was a nice trade-off. I still can’t detect traps unless I see them, but perhaps I will learn the skill soon.”

Tristen thought back to the tutorial and the various traps or puzzles that he had to figure out. None of them seemed like harmful traps, but he wondered if failing to disarm one would have resulted in injury. Surely there wouldn’t be anything that could kill him in the tutorial, but he was glad not to have experienced any potential lethal traps if it was possible.

Tristen agreed with Tyler and thought that it would make their dungeon diving more successful. One thing was certain, Tristen was glad he only needed to worry about his own stats. It would be challenging enough to make sure he was assigned stat points appropriately and he was glad to have competent friends that could take care of their own character progression. Seeing everyones stats up front and perhaps periodically was a good way to tweak and finesse their group structure to make sure it was as effective as possible. Tristen recommended they find a pet for Natalia that can help with the tanking efforts since Aaron didn’t really have any armor at present. Tristen also doubted they would be able to find, let along afford, a good set within this town. The last thing Tristen wanted to cover is their looting abilities. They each had a 10-slot capacity bag, but that space would quickly fill up. They would need to see about getting bigger bags for any lengthy adventures. In other computer games Tristen had played, some crafting materials could have 10 to a stack and others allowed 99 per stack. Right now, no one in the party knew how the quirks of the inventory and dimensional bags worked. Well, dimensional was what he would all it mused Tristen. Clearly, it worked like a normal bag of holding, where items could be put in barely increasing the weight and seemingly disappearing into a different dimension since the size of the bag was not altered when adding items. There was probably a specific name for the bags, but his only said Beginner’s Bag.

It looked like everyone agreed on the paths that each had chosen and now it was time to pool out resources and get geared up! It turns out that Aaron didn’t start with any coins as they relied more on bartering in the Barbarian clans. Natalia had started with the same as Tyler, but also had a basic bow and a small quiver of arrows. Remembering his confusion over the weapons and the apparent lack of skill to actually use them, Tristen asked his friends if they had any idea. Apparently, next to the training grounds, there was a building that players could go to and learn basic skills and weapons types. This must be the building that Tristen had seen, but hadn’t visited yet. He informed his friends about the discovery and where the building was located, but that he hadn’t actually see any trainers. The training yard was pretty full when earlier and he had seen dozens of people waiting in line to beat on dummies or shoot arrows at straw targets. Before heading over to the training grounds the needed to finish gearing up with weapons and armor.

Advertisement
A note from Balr0g

Thank you for taking the time to read Dungeon Quest Online! If you are enjoying reading this adventure as much as I am writing it, I encourge you to let me know by leaving a review and following the story as it progresses.

Just click on the stars below to leave me a rating!

rating stars

Add to your Favorite, Click to Bookmark, Save it to Read Later

Check out my FaceBook fan page, here

 Join my Discord server! https://discord.gg/ux26jq


Support "Dungeon Quest Online"

About the author

Balr0g

Bio: This is the section where I'm supposed to write how I have always dreamed of writing books and that there are dozens of five star books out there with my name on them. Reality? I am brand new to writing, and worse, I'm not a creative writer. Most of the stuff that I have written is technical, cyber-related stuff. So, how in the world did I start down this path? The best way to sum it up is D. Rus and Vasiliy Mahenenka. These two Russian authors created books in a new genre called LitRPG, which falls under a more broad category called Gamelit. I devoured any and every book created by these two authors and quickly realized they were not alone in their endeavor. The series they created were translated from Russian to English, but it wasn't long before American authors started pushing their own series. Since starting with the Play to Live series (D.Rus), I've read hundreds of books and dozens of stories on Royal Road. I started posing questions and conversations about plots and book directions in various groups and forums. Eventually, I got the idea to start keeping track of my ideas and instead of giving them away, write my own story. Herein, is born a writer (or at least a wannabe writer)... not a writer to grab a paycheck, and not even for the sake of a job. I am putting this first story together purely for my enjoyment and it has been a fun ride so far.

Achievements
Comments(13)
Log in to comment
Log In