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A note from Balr0g

Hey Everyone! I am going to be updating the previous chapters and putting everything into tables to be more "game-like". I started doing that in this chapter.

After Tristen selected yes to learn the [Parry] skill, he felt a similar sensation to learning the incantations and hand gestures for the spells. Instinctively, he knew various methods and positions to deflect attacks and perform a counter attack. Tristen pulled out his sword and shield and felt the weight of them in his hands. His body immediately adjusted to the weapon and shield like he had been holding one since he learned to walk. It felt natural and part of him could recall the countless hours spent drilling on this particular skill even though he’d only just learned it…10 seconds ago.

“Wait!” Tristen barked.

Is everything alright Tristen?

“Is it all right? Sai, do you realize what this technology is going to do for mankind? If we can replicate these implanted memories into our world, we can use the chips for learning and to enhance skills, abilities…pretty much everything. I know that right now the experience and knowledge is actively being projected to our minds while logged in to the game. If there was a way we could use the technology to train our minds with the information where we wouldn’t need an active connection…to say that we already revolutionized the world with this technology would be an understatement and that’s saying a lot after we released the chips last week.”

Tristen wanted a bit more information about learning skills and the knowledge he had immediate access to. “Sai, all of these skills and spells feel so familiar to me as if I’ve done them thousands of times. How is the game allowing me to do them?” Tristen asked.

When you learn a new spell, skill, or ability, the game will send responses to your brain mimicking how they should be performed as well as the correct responses to form the incantations. Basically, the game is sending the feedback to your virtual body as if you were commanding it yourself while at the same time sending feedback to your mind simulating the knowledge of how to perform them. If you decided to choose a different school of magic and lost the spells you already know, the game just stops sending those responses to your mind. This is part of the reason why you are only allowed to have a limited number of active abilities, since the game needs to continually send the responses and simulate the knowledge for the skills. Too many active at once would likely cause mental fatigue and require more computing power than is currently possible with the hardware used in this version of the game.

Thinking about the logistics of it, Tristen wondered if there was a way to use this capability to permanently train the mind? Perhaps upload skills and knowledge matrix style! The possibilities that could come of this were incredible. Sighing, Tristen pushed it to the back of his mind to focus on gaming right now. If he kept logging out every time a new discovery was made or he had new ideas of where to take the game or technology, he would never really get to experience the game. Right now, he needed to focus on getting ready for their first adventure.

Before leaving the training room, there are a few additional instructions you should know before venturing outside the town.

Combat against other people inside any starter town is forbidden. You may duel with opponents only in the training grounds, but with mutual consent. If any player incites combat outside these grounds, they will be arrested and placed in jail. Penalty for the offense varies based on the severity of the players actions. NPC’s cannot be killed in starter cities, but penalties for attacking remain. If a player harms or kills an NPC in any city, their character will be jailed or forcefully deleted and the player may be banned for up to one month from playing Dungeon Quest Online. Players cannot be killed within city limits, but any deaths outside the city are permanent. All gear, reputation, skill progression and quests will be lost and the player will be forced to create a new character. Characters may be resurrected by adventurers specializing in the Divine Magic school for up to one hour following a death. While in a dungeon, which is just an instanced area, it is also possible to die permanently. However, there are three ways in which an adventurer may avoid death.

Final Stand

A passive ability inherent to any adventurer. This ability allows a final stand in which the adventurer is incapacitated, but still able to use support skills and spells. During this state of incapacitation, the adventurer will lose any aggro unless all party members are also incapacitated. Additionally, if adventurer is incapacitated in an area of effect (AOE) zone, they will continue to take damage. If all party members are incapacitated, the encounter they were engaged in will reset and opponents will regain full heath and all skills will reset. If no party members are able to heal incapacitated adventurers, the party will die.

NOTE: Only support skills are usable while incapacitated.

 

Resurrection

Only adventurers that take up the Divine Magic school are capable of resurrecting party members. Adventurers may only be resurrected once within 24 hours.

 

Dungeon Reboot

As a last resort, adventurers may opt to reboot a dungeon in the event that all party members are killed. This will result in adventurers loosing one level and any experience or skill progression made during the dungeon run. Additionally, adventurers suffer a 50% chance to drop an item that will disappear during the reboot. If adventurers choose to reboot, they will be teleported to the start of the dungeon, but will not be able to exit. The dungeon must be completed or an alternate exit must be found in order to exit.

In addition to the rules for deaths and rebirth, adventurers should know that once beginning a dungeon, the exit will be locked until completing the dungeon, or navigating to an alternate exit point.

One final point regarding deaths within the game. The current starting zone you are in, is protected from player versus player, or PvP combat. Once you leave the safety of this zone, you may be killed by other players. Any player killers will be marked as kill on sight for any guards within Aeglenn. You will be warned prior to leaving the safe zone.

“Thank you for the warning Sai. Will I have to start a whole new character if I am killed by another player?” asked Tristen

You will respawn within your closest home city, absent any possessions not stored in your inventory. Your current home city is Castille. You may change this bind point at any human city of your choosing.

“Wait…does that mean we respawn naked?” inquired Tristen.

Unfortunately, yes. You will respawn with nothing. To access the items you had stored in your inventory, you will also need to purchase or equip an alternate dimensional bag.

“Uh…where exactly will I respawn?” Tristen asked hesitently.

Chuckling, Sai said, Don’t worry, you will respawn within your room at the Adventurer Hall.

Thinking about all of the intricacies of death within the game, Tristen knew that every adventure they set out on would result in a character re-roll and they would have to make sure they were fully prepared for whatever scenario presented itself. Tristen rehashed everything Sai covered in his head: Essentially, once the group was in a dungeon they either completed it, found an alternate exit, or would die and have to re-roll their characters; NPCs couldn’t be killed within the starter zones and no PvP was allowed, but punishment for attempting such would still be enforced; To top it all off, after they left the safe zone, they could be set upon by player killers and lose just about everything in their possession, since their most valuable items at present were the armor and weapons they had purchased.

Spectacular, though Tristen, this was going to be a challenge, but he believed that it would make things more fun and also increase the thrill of the game. The nature of the death penalty meant that it would be imperative for players to really evaluate their parties composition. It also meant that any serious players needed to ensure they had at least one person take up the Divine Magic school or their adventuring would be short lived.

His skills set, Tristen headed out the door to the training grounds to see about improving his skills. When he left the room, Tristen did not see his friends and was unable to talk to them through the party chat. They were likely still in the selection process and Sai had disabled communications. He was pretty certain what magic schools everyone would choose, but he was curious what Aaron would pick. Maybe he could use blood magic in some way to increase his physical attributes or some type of elemental earth magic. Mulling over the possibilities, Tristen looked for an area to train while sending a quick message to his friends letting them know he was going to start training.

Finding an empty dummy, Tristen walked over and pulled out his sword and shield. Although Tristen knew absolutely nothing about combat in real life, the information he had gained by unlocking the weapon skills allowed him to step into the proper stance immediately. He squared off with the dummy, dropping his dominant foot back to give power for attacking and defending. He activated [Parry] by simply thinking about the move he wanted to make. Even though Tristen knew exactly what to expect since he had the knowledge to perform the move, he was still surprised when his body seemed to move of its own accord. He stepped back as if evading an enemy slash, hooked the sword under an imaginary swing and darted a quick slash at the dummy. He felt like he was in control of the move the entire time, but intellectually he knew that the move was assisted by the game. It felt so strange to him, but natural at the same time.

Tristen’s stamina dipped by 25 after using the skill and he could feel a slight fatigue as if walking up a flight of stairs. Nothing too unbearable, but that would likely change as his stamina was depleted. Squaring off once again with the straw foe, he noted that his stamina had already ticked up a couple of notches. He was not in active combat and judging by how fast it was regenerating, he gained one point every five seconds. He imagined the regeneration dropped off precipitously during combat. Taking stock of his surroundings, Tristen realized that he was not the only one going through the process and noted a few people rotating in and out of queues for the dummies. Most of the people here seemed to be respecting everyone, but as usual with these types of games there will be showboaters like the blood bag a few dummies away, trying to shove people out of the way so he could monopolize the training space.

Tristen focused on the tool causing all of the ruckus and saw that it looked like a dwarf, but taller than he expected. Tristen suspeceted he was a mountain dwarf. Anyway, the guy had burnt red hair and a beard reaching down to his waist. He was also wielding two one-handed axes and seemed to be some type of warrior with the attacks he was making. Tristen focused on the guy, trying to find some information about him, but all he could see was a name, “Darren". If his party was out here, he would walk over and do something about it. As it was, he felt a bit exposed without his friends to back him up. Perhaps if the guy was still causing a ruckus later, they could do something about it.

Turning back to his own training, Tristen activated the skill again, only this time instead of a slash, he sidestepped an imaginary thrust and performed a backhanded swipe at the dummies head. It was interesting, because he could actually imagine, perhaps even feel instinctively, where an imagined opponents blade would be. There was clearly nothing there, but based on the feedback his mind was giving him, he knew exactly what it felt like and formed a ready picture in his head of a real opponent. It definitely made training more fun instead of standing there repeatedly hacking the dummy all day. Doing the math quickly, Tristen could use the skill 7 or 8 times consecutively, depending on how much stamina he regenerated between attacks. As he continued to use the skill, he could feel the fatigue increase as his stamina was depleted. He also looked at his experience bar and realized that each activation of the skill only netted him one point and he needed 100 to increase the level.

Sighing to himself, Tristen realized that any adventures would likely need to wait until the following day. The party all needed to train their skills to level two, visit the Adventure Hall for quests and then visit Kiyll Woods to get Natalia’s gear. One thing was for certain, this game was not going to be easy and the depth of everything was incredible. The fact it had taken them two full days of planning and training spoke to the complexity of Aeglenn and the great lengths Sai had gone to creating this world. He couldn’t wait until they finally had a couple of dungeons knocked out, some better gear, and a better idea of what their party should aim for.

Tristen exhausted his stamina and grabbed a bench off to the side to give some other players a chance at the dummy. As he was walking to the bench, he saw the rest of his party had completed their choices. He beckoned everyone over to the bench and they went through their selections. Aaron had chosen to go with a skill called [Bash], which would allow him to do over twice the amount of damage a normal weapon would allow. He had also chosen two different magic schools, Blood Magic and Elemental Magic. It was odd for Tristen to see a warrior type with mana and magic at their disposal. Almost all of the games Tristen had played included some other form of skill activation for warriors, like rage or something similar. A warrior would then use a rage bar that was filled from consecutive hits to activate some type of skill. Since that mechanic didn’t exist in this game, Aaron chose the magic schools that would best amplify his ability to tank.

With the blood magic, he would be able to use various spells and rituals to enhance his physical strength as well as his vitality. Blood magic also gave him the ability to heal himself some, which would help out Natalia as the groups healer. The spell he had chosen in Blood Magic, [Strength of the Blood], would grant him a buff to strength and stamina while the spell was active. For the elemental Magic School, Aaron wanted to specialize in earth magic which would allow him to bolster his strength as well as his innate defenses. He chose a skill called [Imbue Earth], which infused the bodies of those in Aaron’s party with the strength of the earth for ten minutes. It would grant each party member +5 to Strength and Stamina. Both of these magic school selections were great and would really help increase the party strength.

Going over Tyler’s selections, he had chosen to go with the obvious Shadow Magic school. This would definitely complement his current choice of character and he hoped help in a rogue or assassin class when the time came. He had chosen a spell called [Shadow Cloak]. This spell allowed him to temporarily wield the shadows in the form of a concealing cloak. In the early levels of the skill, it wasn't very powerful and would just slightly obscure him from the naked eye. In darkness, though, this skill would give him an edge over opponents since he already had the stealth ability. As the skill leveled, the shadows would take on a life of their own and actually become tangible. Apparently, Tyler had been able to talk to Sai and find out that some of the spells he would learn later in this magic school would allow him to actually form the shadows and wield them as weapons. He would also be able to use the shadows to generate apparitions that could cause physical harm to other opponents.

For Tyler’s combat ability, he had chosen to go with duel wield daggers and the [Backstab] skill. Tyler was relying on his stealth, and with the choice of Shadow Magic, he would be great as an assassin or rogue. All of Tyler’s choices, combined with his stealth ability, will allow him to sneak up on enemies and trigger [Backstab]. Once triggered the skill would allow him to do massive critical damage to vital areas, significantly making battles faster and often taking down enemies in one hit. For the remaining magic school, Tyler was undecided about what he wanted to choose and had left the second school open. He initially thought about choosing Necrotic Magic as some of the necromancer abilities seemed intriguing. However, with Natalia choosing the Divine Magic school, he wasn't sure if the magic school choice would impact the group dynamic and if any of the healing would have negative impacts. Obviously, that was a smart move on Tyler's part waiting until everybody had chosen their other magic schools. He could always go back and choose a second magic school.

Natalia had chosen Divine Magic as had been the plan, but she had also chosen to go with Summoner Magic. She had read some of the descriptions and the ability to call on creatures of light, including divine beings, would be a massive boon to her healing abilities. This was intriguing because it required Natalia to get rid of for her racial magic school which was Nature Magic. She wasn't sure how this would impact her relationship with the rest of her race, but she couldn't pass up the opportunity to bolster her healing abilities with a unique magic school like this. Still uncertain which character paths she would take, Natalia hoped that there was some hybrid class option for her play a Bard-like character. It was the type of character she really enjoyed and had always played. Choosing the divine magic school, she received the [Resurrection] spell by default. Because divine magic is the only school that allows resurrection, it is a default spell that's learned by anyone taking up the school. They are then unable to choose any other first-level spells for free. She would need to visit an NPC trainer to learn more healing abilities and buffs.

For the Summoner Magic school, the first spell she had chosen was [Summon Light Wisp]. The light wisp would stay with the party until the spell was deactivated or another creature was summoned. Contrary to summoners of dark creatures like imps, succubi and demons, summoners of light creatures didn’t create contracts during the summoning process. Instead, the person summoning the light creatures must hold true to noble intentions. As long as the summoner and the creature of light held the same ideals and worked for noble reasons, the creature would act as a companion when summoned. Tristen didn’t think this would be an issue as they had never chosen to walk an evil patch in any of their gaming. He had a feeling that if Tyler had chosen the Necrotic magic school, this could have ended badly. Going back over the summoned light wisps abilities, Natalia informed everyone that the wisp had a heal-over-time, or HoT, ability that could be applied to any party member, but only one at a time. This ability would regenerate the targets HP at normal rates while in combat, or twice the normal rate when out of combat. The obvious candidate for this HoT ability would be Aaron. He was going to be taking the brunt of attacks from any enemies we faced after all. For Natalia's combat skill, she had chosen to go with the bow. In this case, a short bow along with the [Quick Shot] skill which would allow her to shoot two arrows in the same amount of time to shoot one. The damage output would increase her damage since she could fire much faster.

It looked like everyone had chosen their magic schools, skills, and spells wisely and for the benefit of the group. So far, it was shaping up to be a very effective combination. Tristen and his friends spent the next few hours training skills and spells up to level two. After they had finished training with the dummies and targets, they needed to move over to the training arena to practice spells on each other. Natalia would summon her light wisp, cast it on a target and then Tristen would practice casting [Fury] and [Distract] on his friends. According to Aaron, who was his guinea pig, when the [Fury] spell succeeded, his vision would narrow and turn red, and he would feel an overwhelming desire to attack anything in reach. The [Distraction] skill was the equivalent of projecting a voice whisper or tossing a rock against a window, causing someone to instincually look. Tristen pulled up his skill and saw that he had a fifty percent success rate for casting the spells on an opponent equal to his level. He didn’t know exactly how the percentage rate was calculated and opening the spell by itself did not provide any further insight. Perhaps a trainer could answer some of these questions later. The only stat he knew for certain would impact the chance rate was Charisma. Intellect allowed him to increase his mana to cast the spells more often. For now, he would focus on increasing those two stats until he was able to get more information.

The only skill Tristen was unable to train was [Haggle] since that would require transactions with various NPC's and they had already purchased everything for now. Tristen checked the time and realized they had already been in the game for six hours and it was probably time to log off and take care of things in the real world. Tristen needed to check in with his executive team and see if there was any pressing needs to take care of before the end of the day. Aaron had to do some training with the rest of his football team early the next day. Natalia and Tyler didn't really have much going on, but both agreed that a break was warranted. Tristen bid his friends goodbye and already couldn’t wait until the next day to finally check out the quest board and see what adventures awaited them.

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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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