I woke up and took a wonderful stretch. My digital sleep had been wonderful, with no dreams that I could recall. Heading into the kitchen area, I frowned at the space. An empty kitchen just wouldn’t do; it was time to decorate. First the stove, four burners with a foot of sheet metal griddle running up the middle. I decided my theme was going to be black with silver trim. Above the stove I installed an industrial strength exhaust fan with the push of a button. Too bad that it wasn’t nearly that easy in real life. A small prep area to the side separated the stove from the refrigerator. Gray granite speckled with blacks and whites became my counter tops. I also installed an island preparation area, with a hanging rack above it for My pots and pans. To the side was a double sink for cleaning my hands.
Finally done with the setup, I opted for breakfast before work. Sausage and bacon went into one pan, while two eggs went into another with a little salt and pepper. Canned biscuits in the oven, I was getting into a cooking groove. On a whim I added a radio for some ambient noise, putting it on a random mix of classical music. Once everything was finished cooking, I made a biscuit sandwich with everything. Nothing beats the ecstasy of biting into a sandwich like that and having the egg yolk explode in your mouth, and run down your chin just a bit.
Breakfast done, I took a half hour to just relax and watch the news. Nothing out of the ordinary, it was finally time for my dungeon plans and I headed to the Oblivion door.
Sitting up in my bunk, the first thing I noticed was most of the kobolds milling around. Some were playing dice and cards to kill the time, but none of them looked busy. A flashing notification caught my attention, reminding me that his satiety levels were low. Heading over to the rations table, I noticed Khaliss had taken an intercept course with me. Nodding at the kobold, I pointed to the table to indicate where we should meet. As soon as he got there, Khaliss spoke.
“Do you know the dungeon opening rules? No? OK, we need to have it open for eight hours per day, and we get an hour notice before it starts. Since you Travelers aren’t always here at the same time, ours will be a variable time. After you arrive, see me and let me know how long you wish before the day starts. If you miss a day, you will be punished. Two days and your experience, loot, and time here are forfeit. You will be required to restart your dungeon week. Do that twice, and you will not be a kobold any longer, understand? Good. Now, how long until our day starts?”
Wow, these guys don’t mess around. “Fair enough. Let’s start in five hours, I’ve got a lot of preparation to do. Since there aren’t any adventurers in the dungeon, do we still get a boost to mana regeneration?”
“Yes, but why do you need it? You don’t have any spells.”
“Mana excavation. I’m going to be making some changes to the dungeon.”
“Hrmm, just don’t cause a cave in.”
Nodding at him, I headed out to start with my traps. Several small alcoves were his first on my list. Most had some curve to them so that I couldn’t be detected if you looked at it head on. I decided to start with only one pitfall trap at first, since I wanted to test its effectiveness. I also didn’t want it to be too obvious, so I took extra care to make it hard to detect. First I cut out a square hole around 18 inches. I made it two feet deep, with a spike that came up about half of that right in the middle. The top edge I made one inch wider and one inch deep, leaving me a nice ledge that I could put the cover on. To make the cover, I cut a square from one of my hiding holes. On what was going to be the bottom, I cut out most of the material, being careful to leave at least a half inch of material. I also left an inch around each edge so that it would sit on the lip of the trap. Being paranoid that a normal character wouldn’t have enough weight to break through even that little bit of stone, I cut scoring lines in an X shape on the bottom, hands shaking as I made sure I didn’t cut all the way through. Lightly dropping it into place, I exhaled in relief when I couldn’t even tell where the square was without getting on my knees. I also sprinkled a bit of stone dust around so that there wasn’t a conspicuous clean spot.
I also wanted to try the ceiling, but not for traps. I started with a small hole in the wall, that one would have to crawl to enter. I tunneled upwards, with hand and foot holds making a rock ladder. Once I had more than a foot of solid rock, I started in on making a room. It took a surprising amount of time, even with the mana regeneration. I had only gotten about half of what I wanted done when I got the notification of intruders in the dungeon. Damn, I even missed the hour notice? Oh well, time to check on my trap and see what I can catch.
It took about twenty minutes, but the intruders finally showed up. Surprisingly it was a pair of mages. I guess they were waiting for their mana to completely regenerate between battles. While this was a good strategy for them, it meant I couldn’t count on them to make stupid mistakes. They seemed to be paying fairly close attention to their surroundings, but they weren’t looking at the floor.
“I’m telling you, you go alchemist and specialize in ice magic and I’ll become a scribe and specialize in fire. I’ll scribe our spells into scrolls, and with your potions we will be rolling in the money. We just need to find someone who will specialize in AAAAH! MY FOOT!”
Success! One of the mages fell straight into the trap, and I can see a crippled icon above his head. Doing massive damage to an enemy below the knee can cause a crippled effect, which slows down movement speed by 30%. Darting out of my hiding spot, I rushed forward and unleashed a flurry of blows on the back of the uninjured mage as he was trying to help his friend. My initial rush knocked both of them over, snapping the leg of the trapped one. While he was distracted with the pain, I took my hammer in a two handed grip and smashed it down onto the other paying no heed to my stamina. Three blows to the body ended the mage’s life as well as the vast majority of my stamina. I stepped up to the other mage as he laid on his back in agony. Since over half his life was gone I took a gamble and tried for a massive hit with the last of my stamina. I reared back, and swung my hammer as if his head was a golf ball. There was a sickening thwack, and both bodies shattered in the death animation.
All intruders eliminated. One hour cooldown before dungeon can be attacked.
Sweet victory. I didn’t want to make a habit of using the same trap, so I covered it with a solid stone slab this time. Not trusting my luck, I made my next trap just past the campfire of Khaliss and Shrik. We worked fairly well together as a team, and I didn’t want them to have to go through any respawns.
“Hey guys, do you mind answering a question really quick?”
“Always questioning, just do your job.” Khaliss replied.
“Relax Khaliss, it is about our job. If you were to hear someone cry out in pain from just outside your firelight, would you go and attack them?”
Raising an eye ridge, Shrik responded, “Why would they cry out in pain? Unless you are attacking them again?”
“Oh, not this time. At least not at first. I was going to put a trap here. Hopefully they step onto the stone and break through and get stabbed in the foot. In fact, I’ll probably put three around the edges of the fire. That way if they try and sneak up by following the walls they’ll have a bad time as well.”
“If intruders make a lot of noise, we will attack. Especially near our fire.” Khaliss, always curt with his responses. Oh well, that’s going to be just perfect for my plans. I spent the rest of the next hour making my three traps. You can’t always assume that someone will come waltzing down the middle of the tunnel right into your traps.
Four invaders have entered the dungeon
Four this time eh? Looks like we will probably be getting our first balanced team trying to beat the dungeon. Hopefully they won’t all be at level five. Trying to plot out how this would work, I figured that they would have an armored person act as a tank on the front line, a rogue character that would try and get behind the enemy to cause as much damage as possible, a mage off to one side casting magic, and a healer in back that was keeping the tank alive. Step one would be to take out the healer to even the playing field. I would then work my way to the front of their formation, hopefully getting in strikes while unnoticed. Any attack from outside an enemy’s field of vision had a much higher chance of being a critical strike that would do 1.5 to 5 times damage.
I had taken my place in one of the curved alcoves, and waited. Soon, I heard the group planning out their assault.
“OK, I only see two of them up ahead. Korinne, let me get a few hits in like normal before you start in on the one on the right. Make sure to keep Donnie’s firing lane clear, with you two attacking it the kobold should die fairly quickly. Go ahead and open with [Slice and Dice] to take him down faster. Erin, I shouldn’t need but a few heals, just don’t start until I drop below half health.”
Damn, these guys are organized and had almost a perfect plan for taking out two low level kobolds. I really hope my traps get them, because this might be impossible without them. As soon as I saw four bodies walk past me, I started sneaking out of my hiding spot. They would be focused on the fight ahead of them, confident that nothing was behind them.
The warrior in his iron armor strode forward confidently, up until his foot crashed through my trap. “GYAAAAH!” Even better, his momentum carried him forward enough that he fell flat on his face! His comrades flinched as Khaliss and Shrik jumped up and charged at the down warrior. Their twin spear thrusts on the downed warrior must have been crits, because I saw his life drop drastically. Then I was busy having my hammers crash together like cymbals on either side of the healer’s head.
“Divine grace, lend me your aid. [Healing lig]”
Poor cleric, couldn’t get the healing light cast before my attack killed him in one shot. It was definitely worth the sacrifice of my stamina.
“Damnit! Why are there traps here? On the sides too!” Korinne had obviously fallen into one of my other traps. I glanced up and saw the warrior desperately blocking the incoming strikes with his shield. Unfortunately his throes deflected a stab that would have hit him in the breastplate so that it pierced his unprotected neck, killing him.
“[Slice and Dice]!” the rogue cried as she unleashed one of her class skills. For a small chunk of her stamina, she unleashed three slashes with each of her equipped daggers within two seconds. It’s a short ranged skill, but perfectly timed like what she just did unleashed massive damage to Shrik.
“[Frost bolt]!” the mage cried as he targeted a defenseless Shrik, who had his back arched in agony. The bluish white energy struck him in the middle of his chest and killed him. That was the mage’s last action, as I opted to rip his throat out with mana excavation. Even if it didn’t kill him immediately that would render him useless for this fight. Why? Well, if he doesn’t have a throat he can’t speak which is required for low level spell casting. He also can’t swallow a healing potion to fix his issue, and their team healer was already dead. I rushed past him to take out the female rogue who was holding her own against Khaliss. I was really surprised, as she did have the crippled icon and rogues usually depended on their agility to dodge incoming attacks. Playing it safe seemed like the best play here, as I saw how she was still alive. Instead of dodging and counterattacking, she seemed content to parry Khaliss’ attacks, keeping up a stalemate. His weapon range kept him outside of her counter attack abilities, and her twin daggers allowed her to parry just about all of his spear thrusts. Of course it did nothing for the hammer blow that took her between the shoulder blades. Khaliss capitalized on her broken stance by stabbing her in the stomach with his spear, finishing her off.
Nodding to me, we both turned to see the look of terror in the mage’s face as he was frantically trying to get the mouth of a healing potion into his esophagus so that he could survive for a little bit. The bleeding icon above his head ticked one more time and he dropped to the ground dead.
All intruders eliminated. One hour cooldown before dungeon can be attacked.
“Whew, that was intense. I’m glad we got them with those traps, otherwise we would have been toast.”
Khaliss merely grunted in acknowledgement and went back to his fire. I reset their traps since I wanted them to survive, but kept moving into unexplored areas of the warrens. I found a hallway I hadn’t done anything to yet, and just started carving random messages and song lyrics into it. I wanted a theme to it, and what better theme than Hell? So the first quote was a slightly altered lyric from the old band Sabaton, “To the gates of Hell, as I send your soul to Heaven” and nothing more. Slightly further on, just inside the ring of light from a torch was the inscription on the gates of Hell from Dante’s Inferno, “Abandon hope, ye who enter here!” Now was where I had a lot of fun. The first two were written with fairly decent penmanship, but the rest of these were made with horrid penmanship, so that you had to work to read it. “Help Me!” “Oh, it burns!” “Please stop the pain, the pain” and just for some variety “Can’t sleep, clowns will eat me.” That last one was repeated five times, like it was a song from a hymnal. Halfway through this hall was my hidden niche, and I was rather proud of it. I dug out a half height niche in the wall, but once I got past the normal wall I lowered it at an angle so I had a small ramp I could crawl out of.
While I settled in to wait for the next set of invaders, I decided to look at my two hammers. Both were looking quite worn, and their durability had dropped into single digits. They wouldn’t last another fight, so I started carving two more to replace them. The old ones I destroyed by trying to alter them, further confirming that after using them they are unalterable. I stood to stretch my back and promptly smacked my head on the ceiling. “Damnit, that hurt.” I muttered to myself. Well, since there were still no intruders, I started giving myself just a little bit of head room. That turned out to be an absolutely stupid decision. The first carving sent stone dust straight into my eyes, setting off a round of muttered cursing. The muttered cursing might have escalated when I smacked my nose into the wall in my flailing. Double damn, where are these invaders at? I really want to take out some frustrations on them.
Two invaders have entered the dungeon
Ah, ask and ye shall receive. While I had some time for them to get this deep into the dungeon, I started grinding some of the loose rock by my feet into a fine powder. It isn’t my fault if I improvise blinding powder by using crushed rock, right? Soon I heard the approaching feet.
“What the hell is this? Creepy talking about Hell.”
“You’re telling me. Why would the designers quote Dante in a kobold dungeon? Especially if it is just a level one dungeon.”
“Hey Janet, you see this? I thought they didn’t allow torture in these games.”
“They don’t, it’s probably just there to unnerve you. Let’s go.”
“Well its effing working.”
The two intruders were finally far enough for me to see them from my hiding spot. A mage and a rogue, excellent. I think I can take them both, even at level one. I grabbed up a handful of dust, and counted my lucky stars as the rogue, LadyOfTheNight, started lagging behind and shuddering at my sayings. I let them both get by me, and slithered out as quietly as possible. Lady was reading out loud, “Can’t sleep, clowns will eat me. Can’t sleep, clowns will eat me. Can’t sleep, clowns will eat me. Can’t sleep, clowns will eat me. Can’t sleep.”
“Clowns will eat me.” I finished the last line for her in a raspy voice. As she did a terror filled jump turn, I opened my palm and blew stone dust right into her face.
“AIIIIIEEEEEE! *cough, cough*” As her cry of terror devolved into a coughing spat, I turned and started sprinting towards her friend, MagicFingers.
“Huh? Janet, you Oh Shit! Where did you come from?” Back pedaling in surprise, she tripped over her own feet and went down without even casting a spell. As she tried to kick me, I brushed her foot aside with my left hammer and brought the right one down on her solar plexus. I didn’t bother much with technique, just kept raining blows onto her body to keep her off balance and hopefully too panicked to attack. Sure enough, six blows was enough to take her out.
Janet had mostly recovered by the time I had dispatched her friend, so I prepared to simply trade blows to her upper arms as she slashed at my chest. Sadly, I noticed that my life was dropping a bit quicker than hers. Knowing I had to take a risk, I stepped out of range and gambled on a critical hit. I feinted a high swing at her head, but pulled most of my strength hoping she would just think I missed and step in swiftly for a counter. As she fell into my trap, I did a complete rotation with just my wrist to get a speed strike on her exposed head. It solidly connected with her temple, dropping her into digital death.
All intruders eliminated. One hour cooldown before dungeon can be attacked.
I immediately dropped onto my butt and exhaled in exhaustion. Damn but that was a hard fight, and a lot closer than what I had hoped. If that mage had managed to control her panic, I would have most definitely been toast. However, the stone dust was a resounding success. I caught my breath, and let my health fully restore before I walked off to find Khaliss and Shrik. As I was coming up on their camp, another new popup filled my vision.
“Well, that came at just the right time, right guys?”
“Yes. I’m definitely ready for a break” Shrik responded. We all headed back into the hidden barracks for a lackluster meal and some rest.
As soon as I was situated in a bunk, I softly said, “Logout.”
Bio: I'm a chemist that gave writing a try, and loved the results. Everything is mostly for fun right now, though I might try and get some things published eventually. Certain traits of my daughter have made it into bits of my stories, and she sometimes keeps me company when we both have trouble sleeping.