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A note from Balr0g

Time to gear up!

After pooling all of the money, they had just over 15 gold pieces to get equipped. Heading out of the tavern, they walked down the street to Knife’s Edge. As they neared the store, Tristen started having second thoughts about getting a weapon as the line snaked out the door and some type of argument carried out into the street. Tristen decided to wait on his weapon for now and continued walking until they reached Grimgar’s Blacksmith. Aaron needed some armor. He had high health, but a tough mob would likely make short work of him if he had no defense. He didn’t even have a high dexterity that would provide a natural defense so good armor was a must. The longer Aaron could stay in a battle, the higher the chance of winning a fight. Rather than all of us going to the blacksmith, Natalia and Tyler took half of the coins and went over to Stacy’s General Goods and Tonics and Potions to see if they could get some provisions for the road.

“If you are unable to get any of the NPCs to lower prices or you think it is over-priced, just wait for me and I’ll see if I can bargain lower. I am hoping there is some type of bargaining skill I can unlock and my [Persuasion] skill should assist in getting prices lowered.”

Arriving at the blacksmiths, Tristen noted it was much less crowded. They only needed to wait a short time before one of the dwarves greeted them.

“What can I do for ye”, bellowed a stout looking dwarf.

Focusing on the dwarf a window popped up indicating this was Grimgar, a level 55 Mountain Dwarf.

“Hello, we are looking for some armor for my big friend here! We are just starting out so we will need something with level one or no level requirements.” Grimgar listened attentively as Aaron outlined his requirements for the armor. He wanted something that was going to give him a good defensive boost, but also allow him to maintain mobility. Aaron gave him our budget and just as Grimgar was about to start pulling our some armor, a loud argument broke out next to us where one of Grimgar’s apprentices was helping another customer. A scruffy looking human who was trying to get plate armor and appeared to be in a heated argument over the price and quality of the gear. Asking Aaron to wait a moment, Grimgar walked over, barking at the customer suggesting where he could shove his money and threatening to throw him out the door. Grumbling to himself, the other player started to leave the blacksmith while cursing the dwarves. Grimgar made to follow him with an angry look on his face, but the player beat a hasty retreat out the door.

“Apologies for that! Ever since adventurers started coming to me shop, we be having’ nothin’ but rock-brained fools showin’ up!” Tristen could see the dwarf was flustered from the constant antics of other players and he could sympathize. Some gamers are just idiots to begin with, then you give them a game where they can behave any way they want with no consequences and it was pandemonium.

Grimgar grunted before continuing, “Ye be seeming’ like yer a pleasant enough sort. I be happy ta help ye out so long as ye remain civil. I suggest ye keep that in mind afore ye do somethin’ ye regret. We dwarves be known to hold a grudge if ’n ye get on our bad side.”

“You won’t get any lip from me! We just want to make sure we are prepared for our upcoming journey and would like to examine some of your well-crafted armor.”

“Aha, ye flatterin’ too!” Quipped Grimgar. “Well, it be a right change from the filth we been seein’ over the past few days.”

Leaving Aaron with Grimgar to look at various armor sets, Tristen started wandering around the shop looking to see if there was anything he could wear. He wasn’t expecting to find anything since he couldn’t actually wear plate armor. At least, he likely wouldn’t be able to based on the Strength requirements. Not seeing anything of note, he went back to the counter where a suit of partial plate armor was laid out complete with boots, gauntlets, helm, epaulets, and greaves. The greaves looked more like a chastity belt that covered only the important bits but it looked to have a decent defense boost. Okay, maybe Tristen was being a bit judgmental, it did have a bit more to it, then just a metal nut cup, but still, it seemed like Aaron should pick something that covered a bit more of his legs. Suggesting as much, Aaron informed Tristen that to get a complete set it would cost much more money then they had to spend at the moment.

“Where is the chest piece?” Tristen asked.

“I think I will need to pick up some leather armor for my chest. It would cost all of our gold to add in a chest piece and full length grieves. Even the gauntlets here only cover my hands and partial forearm. The helm just covers the upper part of my head,” explained Aaron. “Basically, this is a partial plate set and all we can afford, while still giving enough defense to make a difference.”

Agreeing with his assessment and his desire to save some of our funds for other gear, Tristen asked Grimgar how much everything would cost.

“Well, normally I be sellin’ the whole suit for 10 gold. I be willin’ to take 3 gold off for no chest peice and give ye another gold off on account of ye bein’ the most agreeable sort we we seen in a while.”

Looking at our gold count, Tristen realized that would eat up almost everything they had on them and he still needed a weapon. Tristen really wished he knew more about skills in the game. He had no idea if the skill was passive or if he had to activate it. With nothing to lose, Tristen though about the skill in an attempt to activate it, while starting his negotiation with Grimgar, “We are just getting started as adventurers and I think 6 gold is too steep for us since we have yet to even go on our first adventure. Would you be willing to sell the set for 4 gold and 50 silvers,” Tristen asked with as smooth a voice as possible.

Wrinkling his forehead, Tristen could see indecision on his face as he wanted the sale, but also wanted to keep a decent profit for the gear.

Huffing, Grimgar said, “I’ll go down to 5 gold, but I ain’t movin’ a copper lower. I have a shop to keep run after all.”

Agreeing with the dwarf, Tristen noted an icon highlight on his notification. Finishing the transaction, he pulled up the message:

Skill Unlocked

Haggle

Level 1

Description: The [Haggle] skill will increase the chance of lower prices for goods and services. Each successful deal resulting in discounted prices will contribute skill experience. Each level grants 10% increased chance to receive favorable discount.

NOTE: Haggle uses the [Persuasion] skill and Charisma stat to calculate successful checks

Exp: 10/100


Curious about the [Persuasion] skill, Tristen opened up his character sheet to see he had gained 10% towards the next skill level. Exp gains for skills would likely slow down as the level increased, but it seemed that he was awarded 10 points per successful use of the skill. While he was looking at the skill and notifications, he opened up his game log to see if [Persuasion] had been activated while talking with the dwarf. He scrolled through the log looking for any indications of a skill activation. Not seeing anything, Tristen surmised that [Persuasion] must be a passive skill, which was a great perk to have especially if it had an impact on the magic schools and spells he wanted to learn. Having finished their business at the blacksmiths, they met Tyler and Natalia who hadn’t purchased anything from either of the stores yet.

“The shop keepers are all in fowl moods from the other adventurers and any haggling nearly got us throw out  of the store”, explained Natalia.

Both Tyler and Natalia complemented Aaron on his choice of armor, but asked the obvious question about the chest piece. Aaron told them about the cost of the whole suit and then explained that the armor gave him a +19 to Defense, but otherwise did not have additional stat boosts. Still, the bonus to defense would really help for lower level mobs, since his defense should mitigate some of the damage. The group also didn’t have any healing abilities at present. They decided to see about some health potions to fill that need in the interim.

“Alright, let’s head over to the Clothing Emporium first and see about some armor for the rest of us”, suggested Tristen.

Entering the the store, Tristen immediately saw what his friends were talking about. It seemed that all of the NPC’s had scowls painted on their faces and a couple of them even seemed to be turning some shade of red or purple as they yelled at a couple of adventurers in the room. Waiting patiently for a spot at the counter to open up, Tristen walked up to the first available NPC and and said “good day to you, my name is Tristen and I was wondering if you could help me out with some clothing and armor for the four of us?” Tristen motioned to himself, Aaron, Tyler and Natalia. Seeing a look of relief wash over her demeanor, she said, “My name is Jean, and I would be happy to help you, sir! It is refreshing to see someone who values my time and doesn’t treat us like entitled little nobles.” A panicked look crossed her face, as she looked around to make sure none of the other customers had overheard. Lowering her voice to a whisper, she informed the three of us that all of the other adventurers want to get their equipment for free and that several had even tried to steal from them. Now, they had a town guard posted just around the corner to prevent people from running off. Tristen assured her that they would deal with her in good faith and began to outline the equipment they required.

“As you can see, we are still wearing the basic clothing all adventurers are given and we need to get some gear that will increase our defense and possibly grant some stat boosts. We are looking to start adventuring our into some of the nearby dungeons and perform some of the quests from the Adventurer Hall. I will warn you know that we are just getting started on our path and we have not had a chance to accumulate coin.” Seeing Jenn’s expression start to change, Tristen amended, “that doesn’t mean we want to take advantage of you. Only, we may not be able to buy everything we need today with the coin we have on hand. Let’s start with finishing out our Barbarian friends armor set and we can go from there.”

“Sounds good”, Jenn said, her smile returning.

Splitting up to peruse the various sets of armor in the room, Tristen walked over to the cloth and leather sets with Tyler and Natalia.

“I think I’m going to wait to buy anything until we get to the Kiyll Woods village”, said Natalia. “They have more choices that will grant some stat boosts like Dexterity and Vitality. I don’t see much in the way of bonuses on the gear here unless you go with cloth. Even the cloth armor doesn’t really have bonuses suited for my character.”

Nodding his assent, Tristen mentioned that perhaps they should wait for Tyler’s as well, but Tyler quickly rebutted that idea seeing a couple pieces of gear that would grant +2 Luck and +1 Dexterity. Both of them being a stat or style that complimented his current build. Increased Dexterity would help his defense as well as a his skills success chances. The Luck stat was still a bit of a misnomer to Tristen and he wasn’t sure just how it played into the overall architecture of the game, but based on what he had seen so far it seemed like Luck was laced throughout a good portion of the skills and abilities he had seen so far. Either way, Tyler would definitely be the parties go man for any possible traps and opening any loot caches in the hopes of better items. Tristen continued looking at the cloth armor until he found a set on the bottom shelf. The set included a white blouse with purple embroidery down the sleeves, a pair of black embroidered pants and soft black leather boots to match, Tristen focused on the gear to bring up the description:

Embroidered Nobles Blouse

Defense +1

Stat Boost: +2 Intellect

Quality: Common

Requirements: None

Durability: 100/100

 

Embroidered Nobles Breeches

Defense +1

Stat Boost: +2 Charisma

Quality: Common

Requirements: None

Durability: 100/100

 

Nobles Soft Leather Boots

Defense +1

Stat Boost: +2 Vitality

Quality: Common

Requirements: None

Durability: 100/100


Not a bad haul, thought Tristen. This was one of the few sets that actually had decent stat boosts, so he imagined it would cost more than the gold they had, especially since he was still weaponless and none of their travel provisions had been purchases yet. Grabbing the cloth set Tyler’s chosen gear, and the leather cuirass for Aaron, Tristen headed back over to Jenn and proffered the chosen goods. Getting a quizzical look from Jenn, she asked about Tristen’s choice of outfits. It had poor defense and the stats were outside the normal for other players that had been in the store. No one really wanted gear with a Charisma boost. Everyone immediately looked for Dexterity, Strength or Vitality. Occasionally, some of the players purchased gear with Luck stats, but it was less common and most of the players in this location didn’t have the gold to afford that kind of gear. Tristen’s chosen set was only 3 gold, much cheaper than he had anticipated. Tyler’s cloak cost 50 silver coins, but the hat was priced at 2 gold by itself! Tristen definitely wanted to get that price lowered. The leather cuirass for Aaron was only 25 silvers since it was very basic and didn’t have any additional stats. 

“Why is the Nobles set so cheap, but the hat nearly equal that price?” I asked.

“The Nobles set provides barely any defense and most adventurers see the Charisma stat and put it back. The hat has a luck stat modifier. Although luck is often random chance, it can have a greater impact and chance for finding hidden treasures or getting more advantageous items from enemies,” explained Jenn.

That made sense to Tristen, but he still thought 2 gold was a little pricey for just a +2 Luck modifier. In any case, Tyler was set on getting the hat and it looked pretty awesome with the oiled leather cloak he’d chosen. It really complimented the rogue or gambler look he was striving for. Well, Tristen though, let’s see how these Haggle and Persuasion skills worked together. Pulling up the description for [Haggle] again, he saw it already gave me a 25% chance to success at its current level combined with his high Charisma and the passive Persuasion boost, he had a 65% chance at success! He imagined there was some limit to the skill and the chance would go down if the price he was trying to haggle was much lower than the asking price. He didn’t want to push the issue and get them kicked out and he also didn’t want Jenn’s opinion of him lowering for any future purchases they may have. He would play it safe and now ask for too big a discount. He has already gotten lucky with… Pausing mid thought, Tristen thought that perhaps his success at haggling for Aaron’s armor was tied to his luck stat. When he was bargaining with Grimgar, he hadn’t yet learned the skill and only had persuasion on his side. His [Persuasion] skill gave him less than a 45% chance to succeed. It was getting frustrating not understanding how all of these stats harmonized and he felt like he was missing some vital training or instruction on it. They really needed to get over to the training grounds to see if someone could give them more information. Although he didn’t know for sure, Tristen had a feeling that luck played a significant role within the game . Perhaps that’s why this hat cost so much. Come to think of it, Tyler winning as much gold as he had should have clued him in to it earlier. I just assumed it was his natural skill at gambling, but most of the games in this world are based on chance. Pushing those thoughts to the back of his mind, he set to the task of haggling the price down.

After haggling the total price down to 4 gold, they had about 7 gold remaining. They needed to get Tristen’s weapon and also get Natalia equipped when they got to the starter town Kiyll Woods. Stacy’s General Goods and Tonics and Potions were both on the way to Knife’s Edge, so they stopped into these stores first to pick up some travel provision. Walking into each of these stores, Trsiten was met with the same friendly nature as the blacksmiths and clothing shop, which resulted in other players throwing looks of curiosity and hatred his way. It was the way of life when someone seemed to be succeeding for no apparent reason. Already having an idea of what was needed, Tristen grabbed the following items:

Torch x 3

Description: Provides 3 hours of light per torch

Requirements: Requires Flint

 

Minor Healing Potion x 8

Effect: Instantly restores 50 HP

 

Minor Mana Potion x 4

Effect: Instantly Restores 50 MP

 

Minor Stamina Potion x 8

Effect: Instantly Restores 50 SP

 

Travel Rations x 8

Effect Increases HP, MP and SP regeneration by 50% for 5 minutes

 

Basic Pickaxe

Durability 50/50

Use: Used to harvest metal and gems from ore deposits


After haggling, Tristen was able to get all of the potions for 10 silver each, a reduction of 2 silver per vial. The travel rations were discounted a copper, at 4 coppers each, and the pickaxe was 45 silver from 60. Tristen had managed to save 55 silvers and a few coppers. Looking quickly at his skill progress, Tristen saw that both haggle and persuasion had gained 30% experience from the clothing shop, general goods and tonics and potions. That was confirmation that each successful use of the skills would give him 10 points in the skill. At level one, that was 10% towards the next level. Divvying up the goods, they each got one mana potion, two stamina potions, two health potions, and two travel rations. Tristen would carry the torches and pickaxe for now, but they could split that up later. Although none of them currently had the mining skill, they would attempt to unlock it while adventuring. They also planned to pick all of the herbs and flowers they could find in an effort to unlock some type of herb lore skill. The more they harvested raw materials, the higher the chance of unlocking skills and possibly professions. Tristen had never spent a lot of time working on professions in online games and the games they had played as kids didn’t include them either. They all agreed though, that they would want to pick up professions in this game.

Tristen’s last stop before hitting the training grounds was to get a weapon and possibly a shield or a buckler for himself. It looked like the crowd had dispersed quite a bit since they had walked by earlier and it was just a short wait to get into the building. Tristen started with the shields as that was the most important part of his weapon combo choice. He sorted them into two piles, one of which included shields that had requirements he couldn’t meet. There was a wooden shield that looked like one of those old medieval kite shields. It had some swirl pattern painted on it, but the important thing was, Tristen could wield it and it gave a decent boost to defense and strength.

Strengthened Oak Shield

Quality: Common

Defense: +5

Stat Boost: +3 Strength

Requirements: None

Durability 100/100


Tristen hoped the cost of the shield wasn’t too much since it complemented his weak areas well. Not only did it give a decent boost to defense, he also could use the Strength increase. Moving over to the swords, Tristen had a choice of two different swords that he could use.

Iron Shortsword of Dexterity

Quality: Common

Attack: 5 - 7

Stat Boost: +2 Dexterity

Requirements: None

Durability 100/100

 

Iron Shortsword

Quality: Good

Attack: 9 - 11

Stat Boost: None

Requirements: None

Durability: 100/100


Although one of them had a bonus to dexterity, the other one had a higher attack. Thinking about the choice for a minute, he decided on the Dexterity boost, which would give a small boost to his defense. Wearing cloth and leather, Tristen needed any extra boost to defense he could get. Haggling the price down from 4 gold, he was able to get both the shield and sword for 2 gold and 95 silver. That left the party roughly 2 and a half gold to get Natalia’s gear taken care of. Now that everyone was equipped, had weapons and provisions were stocked it was finally time to head towards the training ground.

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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.

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