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A note from Balr0g

Don't forget to shoot me a rating or review if you are enjoying the story!

I am also very open to suggestions if you see something that can be improved. I want to make this a story for everyone to enjoy and happy to oblige readers if it fits into the story.

I had to split this chapter in half since it turned out to be almost 8k words long. Here is Part 1

Before Tristen and his friends even rounded the corner to the training ground, their ears were assaulted with a cacophony of noises like entering a coliseum during a free for all. Only, the only death fights here consisted of poor massacred scarecrows with hay strewn about. There were some boulders off to the side where magic users practiced explosive spells resulting in a symphony of booms, the crackle of lightning strikes and whoosh of fire blasts. This place was jammed shoulder to shoulder, but it looked like this was the place for them to learn some skills. Asking around where there trainers were, everyone just pointed to the small building on the side of the grounds. Looking at it skeptically, Tristen saw no way for this to accommodate so many players, but curiously there was no line and a steady stream of people were leaving the building. Asking what kind of skills they could learn earned them shrugs and “go see for yourself” comments. Typical gamers, they care only for themselves. Most gamers are highly competitive and reluctant to help any other players. Although Tristen and his friends were also competitive, all of them would put the party first. No matter the situation, they would always work toward the benefit of the party, even if it meant missing out unique opportunities. Even Tyler, who had become quite adept and being the lone wolf, would always put the group first. Aaron and Natalia knew well the advantages of a team, especially considering their chosen careers. Heck, Tristen wouldn’t even be standing in this game with his friends if he hadn’t relied on his employees. He held no delusions of grandeur for himself and would always put friends first.

Tristen stepped through the door of the small building and his vision did a little cartwheel as he stumbled forward. As his vision cleared, Tristen was standing in the exact same space when he had first initialized the game.  Only this time, there were no avatars, only rows of glowing orbs and a larger orb at the center of the room.

“Sai, is that you?” Asked Trsiten.

Hello Father, exclaimed Sai.

“You know I hate it when you call me that, right,” asked Tristen.

I know, sorry…Father, Sai said coquettishly

Shaking his head in mirth, Trsiten asked, “Where am I? I thought I was going to talk to some NPCs about skill training?”

Maintaining her whimsical personality, Sai said, In all beginner areas, there is a training ground. In each of these training grounds is a building that leads to this room. Because all adventurers begin their path in the same villages, I have created several places like this that use time dilation so that users can take their time on important decisions like race, skill and class selections.. Additionally, this training room will provide you with the basic understanding of skills, spells, combat abilities and magic schools. In here you will be able to choose two schools of magic. You will be able to unlock basic combat skills for up to two weapons of your choice. Lastly, you will be able to choose one skill and one spell. To learn additional skills and spells, you will need to visit an NPC trainer in one of the larger settlements outside the starter zones.

“Is time compressed in here like it was in the character selection and tutorial?” Tristen asked.

Yes, for every hour in here, only fifteen minutes pass in the world of Aeglenn.

Tristen was curious if Sai gave this much information to the rest of the players and if she acted this familiar with them all.

“Sai, do you usually act the same with other players as you do with me?”

Laughing Sad asked, Would you like to see how I appear to other players?

Intrigued, Tristen told Sai to go ahead and show him. Once Tristen had finished speaking, Sai began to grow from a ball of light into a larger than life glowing avatar, complete with shining golden hair spiraling in some unseen gale. She had a white gown, floating in that same unseen wind. The light surrounding her intensified and it was almost impossible to look directly at her.

“Holy Crap!” Tristen yelled

I AM SAI, THE CREATOR, MOTHER AND DIETY OF THIS WORLD!

“Wow, okay I get the point,” Tristen said, shielding his eyes. “Do you really show up like that to everyone? Don’t you think it’s a little…I don’t know, over the top?”.

This is how I first appear to new users in the game. It is definitely over the top, but all of the players seem to love it, said Sai as she began to shrink back down to the floating ball of light.

Tristen felt giddy, he was actually having a conversation with his creation about the liberties she’d taken to make herself larger than life and about the personality she had incorporated into a part of herself. Sai far exceeded his imagination so far and he had yet even experience the larger world.

Looking back at the choices before him, Tristen realized he was in for another long selection process. Tristen wondered if he could talk to his friends like in the race selection, but Sai quickly informed him that communication had been turned off during this process. Alright, he might as well get started. He was pretty sure which magic schools he would choose, but it would be prudent to read all of them just in case his mind was swayed in another direction. Combat was pretty straight-forward, he just had to choose which weapons or weapon combinations he wanted and the skill selection would appear. He had already chosen which weapons to use, so it wasn’t going to take a whole lot of time for his choices there. Magic schools and spells on the other hand, was going to be a much harder choice for Tristen. Walking over to a row of orbs marked “magic schools” he started walking down the line reading each description:

Blood Magic

Description: Practitioners of blood magic use the life essence from themselves and those around them to fuel spells, rituals and transfer of life essence. Some spells of blood magic do not require incantations or hand movements when performing. The practitioner can invoke blood magic using their thoughts with intent. Blood magic can often be dangerous since transferring life essences may leave the spell caster vulnerable and weak.

 

Divine Magic

Description: The Divine magic school deals in all things holy and manifests as healing powers to the worthy. Practitioners of this school will be able to harness divine power to heal those in need. They will also be a scourge to the dead and demonic. Divine magic also allows the resurrection of fallen allies. This is the only magic school that has the ability to bring a person back to life.

 

Elemental Magic

Description: Closely bonded to Nature Magic, Elemental magic allows the wielder to summon the forces of air, fire, earth, and water and bend them to their will. Choosing this magic school opens the practitioner to all branches of elemental magic. Continued practice in this school will enable specialization in one or more of the elements.

 

Enchantment Magic

Description: Adepts at the art of manipulating the minds of others, those schooled in Enchantment Magic are able to compel others and shape the feelings of those around them. It is possible to compel another, confuse, and even cause the target to fall asleep as the practitioner advances in this magic school.

 

Illusion Magic

Description: Phantasms, deception, and distraction are the domain of the Illusion Magic practitioner. These individuals are skilled at the art of casting illusions and as the skill grows, illusions receive the ability to take on tangible form to aide the caster. Illusions can also grant the caster the ability to evade detection by enemies and affect the minds to perceive a different reality.

 

Nature Magic

Description: Nature binds the world together and creates the forces of this world. Nature Magic enables practitioners to commune with the biological forces of the world such as trees, plants and animals. Some races that live in harmony with nature inherently receive this magic school and enables them to learn up to three magic schools.

 

Necrotic Magic

Description: Twisted and dark, practitioners learned the dark arts of Necrotic Magic allowing them to corrupt life and re-animate the dead. Necrotic magic also involves the manipulation of life energies and can be extended to communing with the dead. Life manipulation involves leeching or sucking the life force from living beings such as the case with vampiric races.

 

Shadow Magic

Description: Those that are in tune with Shadow Magic have the ability to manipulate shadow and wield it as a weapon, buffs, or to merge with the shadow. As the practitioners skill grows, they can use the shadows as an extension of themselves and even hop from shadow to shadow or use it to conceal their presence from others.

 

Summoner Magic

Description: Summoner Magic has two paths, light and dark. One one had those that practice summoning can contact beings of the dark domain such as lesser demons, imps, succubi, and as their power advances demon princelings. On the other path, a summoner that decides to walk the divine path will contact beings aligned with light such as angels in varying ranks.

 

Transmutation Magic

Description: Some magic users prefer to study the known and the ability to manipulate what is known and convert it into the unknown. Transmutation allows individuals to alter the physical state of a living and inanimate entities into a different state such as the ability to polymorph or convert a tool such as a hammer into an axe. Transmutation requires a deep knowledge of the item being converted since the practitioner will alter the makeup and material of whatever is being transmuted.


There were so many cool options to choose from, but Tristen already had his mind made up about what type of character he wanted to create. After reading the description for Summoning Magic and the ability to summon light creatures, he almost changed his mind. It would be so cool to summon an angel, but he knew that wasn’t what the party needed and decided to pass on it for now. Perhaps if he ever rolled a new character he could try that path. He had never even heard of light creature or angel summoning. Every summoner class he had seen chose to summon demons. Tristen had no idea what the appeal was to summon demons. He would much rather find some sort of beast or animal to take that could evolve into a wrecking machine. Well, Tristen supposed everyone had their own play style. Speaking of play style…Tristen decided to get a move on or his friends would be waiting on him.

“Sai, I would like to learn both Illusion and Enchantment Magic.”

With a smirk in her voice that said “I told you so”, Sai said,

Place your hand on the orb of your choice and you will receive a prompt asking you to confirm your decision.

He did as Sai instructed and received notification window that said,

Would you like to lean Illusion Magic?

Note: You will only be able to learn two magic schools at a time

Yes/No


Wait, if only two magic school were allowed at any given time, did that mean he could switch school later in the game?

“Sai, if I choose two magic schools today, would I be able to choose a different school in the future?”

Yes, you will be able to learn two schools now and will have the option to learn a new one in the future. Just know that if you decide to switch schools, you will lose any progress and spells you learned following the other path. You will retain your personal knowledge of the magic school, but any ability to perform spells will be lost. Some individuals choose to pursue new schools after mastering one and using the knowledge acquired to advance their studies in a new magic school.

Wow, thought Tristen, that would allow him to choose the Summoner magic school later. He would definitely need to keep that in the back of his mind if he ever got tired of his current choices. Originally, he assumed that once a magic school was chose, he would have to start an entirely new character if he wanted to change schools. The biggest issue he saw to changing magic schools, was they he would add stats to his character based on his selections now, instead of another school

“Is there any way to reset stats in the game?” Tristen asked Sai.

I can tell you that there is a way, but if I told you how that would be violating your wishes about not giving you hints and unfair advantages in the game.

“Thank you Sai, I really appreciate you honoring my wishes about that.” Tristen though about the possibility to completely change up his character, but retain his earned stats, levels and equipment. This opened up a whole new realm of possibilities. He would continue as the group had already planned, but should they get tired of the builds and team composition, there was a possibility to alter their characters completely. This would essentially make any type of end game near impossible since there would there would always be a new realm of possibilities with new paths to choose.

Choosing “yes” on the prompt to learn Illusion magic, Tristen felt like a library of information was instantaneously uploaded to his brain. Somehow, he was able to understand the concepts of illusion magic. He didn’t yet know how to form anything into a thought or cast any sort of spell, but he could feel something at the edge of his conscience. Pausing for a minute to absorb the new sensations, Tristen felt like there was an ethereal cloud stirringly around at the core of being being. Reaching out with the knowledge he now found himself recalling with perfect clarity, he could sense the energy, but couldn’t quite access it. It was a strange feeling and one that he hadn’t felt even when his MP had increased from a high Intellect. It had to be the knowledge and ability that was unlocked when he chose the magic school. He was curious how the spells were going to work and how he would be able to cast them. Next up, Enchantment Magic.

Would you like to learn Enchantment Magic?

Note: You will only be able to learn two magic schools at a time.

Yes/No

Choosing yes once again, Tristen immediately the same swirling energy grow or…deepen? It didn’t really feel more substantial, but it felt like there was…more. He couldn’t really put a finger on the exact feeling only that these two energy pools were two different types of magic and he could feel which was Illusion and which was Enchantment. Not wasting any more time, Tristen brought up the list of beginner spells and started reading.

Calm (Level 1)

Magic School: Enchantment

Description: Caster may cast calm on an aggravated enemy to disengage attack and remove aggro, 25% chance on enemies equal to level. Chance to calm diminishes 5% for each level greater than caster and increases 5% for each level lower than caster.

Effect: Calms enemy target to remove aggro.

Cost: 20 MP

 

Fury (Level 1)

Magic School: Enchantment

Description: Incite a targeted enemy to attack indiscriminately. Spell can be used to enrage an enemy to attack his allies. 25% chance on enemies equal to level. Chance to calm diminishes 5% for each level greater than caster and increases 5% for each level lower than caster.

Effect: Enrage opponent for 30 seconds. Failure to cast results in immediate aggro from targeted enemy.

Cost: 75 MP

 

Charm (Level 1)

Magic School: Enchantment

Description: 25% chance to charm enemies. Chance to charm diminishes 5% for each level greater than caster and increases 5% for each level lower than caster.

Effect: Charm target for 30 seconds. Failure to cast results in immediate aggro from targeted enemy.

Cost: 30 MP

 

Illuminate (Level 1)

Magic School: Illusion

Description: Cast a ball of light to illuminate surroundings. Spell cannot be used to attack

Effect: Illuminate area for 15 minutes

Cost: 10 MP

 

Distract (Level 1)

Magic School: Illusion

Description: Create a simple distraction drawing the attention of enemies away from caster. Lower level Distract will produces small noises or light, but as the skill advances, the caster will be able to create detailed illusions visible to an enemy.

Effect: Distract the enemy

Cost: 20 MP

 

Silence (Level 1)

Magic School: Illusion

Description: Cast on an individual or a group to silence movement and noises increases chances to pass unheard.

Effect: Silence individual or group for 15 seconds

Cost: 25 MP Individual / 100 MP Group


He could only choose one spell per magic school at this level and they all sounded like cool abilities. Tristen immediately ruled out illuminate as the party already acquired some torches for that and he though that it would be a relatively cheap skill to learn from an NPC trainer. Heck, he could probably figure out how to cast it on his own after he got a feel for the magic system and casting. At this point, he didn’t even know how casting would work, let alone how to go about creating new spells. Going back over the skills another time, he decided to learn [Fury] in the enchantment school. At level one, Trsiten was going to be pretty weak on attack and that was the only attack spell available at the moment. It could potentially backfire and it cost a lot of mana compared to the other skills. He would likely only be able to cast it once per fight for safety of the party and to conserve mana. Triten then chose [Distract] for the Illusion skill. He liked the [Silence] spell, but the cost to cast on the whole party was expensive and they already had stealth in the group thanks to Tyler. Distract on the other hand, could distract an entire group allowing the party to sneak away. Also, the idea of being able to craft his own illusions for distractions as the skill leveled up, sounded really cool.

Would you like to learn [Fury]?

Note: Spells and skill may be activated or deactivated by editing your character interface.

Yes/No

 

Would you like to learn [Distract]?

Note: Spells and skill may be activated or deactivated by editing your character interface.

Yes/No


Immediately after selecting yes, it felt like information had been uploaded to my brain once again and he instinctively knew how to cast the spells chosen. He knew exactly how to form the words and hand gestures for each of the spells as if he had been practicing for years and it was all muscle memory. He could feel how to access the swirling pools of energy and use them to fuel the spells he had just learned. Before, it was just an unformed mass of undecipherable energy. Now, he could feel the distinctive nature of both Illusion and Enchantment magic. Illusion magic felt…mischievous and ethereal. In contrast, Enchantment magic was like a the feeling of being with a loved one or a close friend, but also had a dangerous undertone to it like it could be twisted in on itself and repurposed. The feeling was so surreal and Tristen could feel the energy infusing his body. Looking at the skills in his character sheet, Tristen saw that only 8 spells could be active at any time. That could get interesting depending on how many skills he was able to learn in the future. He would have to make careful choices for the active skills. He assumed that they would only level if he actually used them. Tristen thought about the implications and how eventually he would need to abandon some of the spells he had leveled to include better ones, that may start out less effective. This was shaping up to be a very difficult game and would take a lot of thought and strategy to navigate.

If you wish to learn more skills, you will need to visit with an NPC trainer. You may also attempt to learn and unlock skills on your own, but it is advised that you seek out a trainer before attempting to develop your own as incorrect methods may result in harmful magic feedback.

“Thank you Sai”, Tristen said, “I am ready to choose some combat skills for a sword and shield combo.”

Acknowledging Tristen’s choice, Sai removed the other choices from the room, leaving only three remaining orbs associated with a sword and shield combo.

Shield Block(Level 1)

Description: Purely a defense skill that allows the defender to block an enemy physical attack.

Effect: Block 50% of the damage from an opponent equal in level. Additional stats in strength and dexterity increase the amount of damage blocked.

Cost: 10 SP

 

Shield Bash (Level 1)

Description: Use equipped shield to Bach opponents causing a brief stun and knock back. 25% chance to stun opponents equal to attacker level. Chance increases or decreases 5% per target level. Strength and luck stat increases chance to stun.

Cost: 25 SP

 

Slash (Level 1)

Description: Slash target for melee damage. Slash damage is increased based on level of the skill, strength and dexterity.

Cost: 10 SP

 

Thrust (Level 1)

Description: A lunging attack that relies on strength to penetrate opponents defenses.

Cost: 15 SP

 

Parry (Level 1)

Description: Instantly parry next attack, mitigation 50% of incoming damage, and deal damage based on strength and dexterity stats.

Cost: 25 SP


These were some very basic skills and Tristen figured he would need to rely on regular melee damage quite often. He looked at the skills to see if any of them offered some defense and attack. Only [Parry] seemed to accomplish that task and would allow him to deal damage above his base physical damage per second or DPS. Based on the sword he had purchased from Knife’s Edge he could hit for about 6 to 7 damage per sword strike. That wasn’t accounting for an enemies armor or defenses. With parry, he could not only avoid a direct hit, but deal almost twice the base damage at level 1 of the skill. The rest of the skills would cause or prevent more damage than this skill, but it would be one or the other and he needed flexibility being so weak. At 25 Stamina per use, he could use the skill a decent number of times before running out. His choice made, Tristen selected the skill.

Would you like to learn [Parry]?

Yes/No

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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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