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A note from Mighty Moushie

Hey everyone, 

Sorry for the wait.  My daughter was sick, and gave me and the wife her sinus infection.  This will probably be the only post until Friday.

I woke up in my room to a flashing indicator. Since it had been so long since I had last eaten or drank anything, I was suffering from a hunger debuff stage one. This was a fairly simple fix, but the consequences were annoying. At stage one, you lost all health and stamina regeneration. Stage two you lost mana regeneration as well, and all recovery items lost half of their potency. Stage three you started dropping attribute points, and stage four was simply death.

“Hello Alnoss, how are you today?” I asked as I made it to the dining room. It was early for lunch, so it was understandably empty.

“I’m just fine Angus, care for something to eat?”

“If it’s not too much trouble that would be wonderful. I was also wondering where the best place was to get some essentials.”

“Essentials for what?”

“Well, to be honest everything except weapons. I’ll need some armor, camping supplies, cooking supplies, and I also need to start my profession.”

“Well, at least you can get it all here. Any thoughts to your profession? Cook maybe?”

“No, I’ll be happy with just the cooking skill. I failed miserably at blacksmithing, not sure whether I’m going to go for something like tailoring and leather making to create my own armor.”

“I see. Well, good luck with whatever you end up doing!”

“Thanks Alnoss, I’m going to head out now. Catch you later.” Finishing up with the innkeeper, I headed out to prepare for my explorations. My first stop was the Cartography Guild. I don’t have the best sense of direction anyway, but even the best explorers forget where things are on occasion. For a gold coin, I ended up with a map that automatically updates. The general store wasn’t too bad of a stop either, but nothing noteworthy. I got a tent that hid you from monsters for 8 hours, some generic bread and water to keep me sated, and a length of rope.

As I left the store, I headed towards the leatherworkers. I needed a bit of armor before I even thought of heading out, as even an ambusher was bound to get hit on occasion.

“Welcome to the Lizard’s Leather, how can we help you out today?”

“Well, I’m in need of a full armor set. Body armor, cap, pants, you know the drill. If I get some gloves, I need them to be open in the fingertips as I use my claws a decent bit.”

“Oh, you must be the new adventurer! I’m Krepaw, and I make the best armor’s in this town. Before we start, are you looking for enchanted pieces or basic? I also need level range.”

“Nice to meet you Krepaw, I’m Angus. I think I’ll go for basic right now, I’m probably going to stay fairly near the city for a while.”

“No problem. I can kit you out in a basic set for 50 silver. That’ll include head, chest, legs, belt and gloves.”

“Great, I’ll take them.” I said, and received a small bundle. It was nothing special, but it would work against the level of creatures I expected to be meeting for a while.

Basic leather armor

Basic armor built to be worn on the chest.

Defense: 25

Durability: 100/100

Basic leather pants

Basic armor worn for leg protection.

Defense: 5

Durability: 100/100

Basic belt

This belt provides minimal protection but contains 8 slots to hold potions for easy access.

Defense: 2

Durability: 30/30

Basic modified gloves

These gloves have the fingertips removed to allow for claw usage.

Defense: 3

Durability: 30/30

Basic leather skullcap

Basic leather armor designed to protect the head

Defense: 10

Durability: 50/50

Well, this was about as basic as it could get. Heading out, I wanted to see about some potions for my belt. While solo adventuring didn’t really lead to being able to disengage long enough to drink a healing potion in battle, having a healing potion ready to counter things like broken bones and severed muscles was a must. Without a cleric class to cleanse any debuffs, I would also need a wide variety of potions eventually to take care of most of that. Since consumable potions were the second biggest money drain for adventurers I was giving serious consideration to becoming an alchemist.

I saw a store with a mortar and pestle on the sign out front, so decided to head in. “Welcome to Djarleen’s Droughts, how can I help you today?” A grey and white kobold asked me as I walked in.

“Hi, I’m Angus and I was hoping to buy a few minor healing potions and possibly see if I could get some training in alchemy.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t do any minor potions right now, I’m out of reagents. Hmmm, how about this, I teach you what reagents to look for, and teach you how to brew the potions properly if you go out and gather them. How does that sound?”

Quest alert

Djarleen has offered to teach you basic alchemy if you gather the reagents.

Conditions

Pass rewards

Failure

Gather enough reagents to make ten minor potions of mana and health.

Ten minor potions of mana and health. Possible training in alchemy

Lowered relationship with Djarleen. Prices increased by 5%

“I would be happy to help out. You’ll have to show me what to gather and how much would be required for each potion though.”

“Come over here then. See these mushrooms? These are what you will need to harvest, and for minor potions you will only need three mushrooms per potion.” I walked over to the counter to inspect the mushrooms. Both were similar, they had a wide white cap with either blue or red circles of varying size dotted randomly over the top.

“OK, so can I assume the red mushroom makes a health potion and blue makes mana? What about stamina, shouldn’t there be one for those as well?”

“Yes to the first question, and there is a mushroom for stamina but it makes a much weaker potion. It will have a yellowish green dot along the cap. Feel free to grab some of them as well if you want, just know that they are basically useless for alchemy. They do taste pretty well though.”

“OK, thanks. Any hints on where I can find these?”

“Seriously? Ok, head out through the south gate. You’ll eventually come to the mushroom groves. If you start seeing giant crystals coming out of the wall you’ve gone too far. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of potions to prepare.”

“Thanks for the advice, I’ll be back in a few hours.” I headed out, not wanting to irritate anyone who could possibly be my future teacher. Since I had everything I needed, I headed first to the training grounds to see if Khaliss had any quests or advice as I headed out as well. When I got there, he was in the midst of training a group with the spear, so I headed over to the targets off to the side and started sighting in my Windless Trajectory with my new crossbow.

“Thanks for waiting on me Angus, do you need anything?”

“Hey Khaliss, was looking for a bit of advice and to see if you needed me to do anything. I’m heading out to collect a few mushrooms and practice alchemy with Djarleen, but don’t know what I’m going to run into out there.”

“Ah, heading out the south gate then? Hmm, the mushroom groves don’t have much for someone of your level to fear, mostly cave rats that eat the mushrooms. They are only level four at maximum, so they should ignore you. If you see any of the Vicious Cave Rat variants, you could cull them if you want. Their fangs can make a nice augment for the spearheads, so in addition to a bit of money for killing them I can buy them off you as well. If you wander a little farther though, you might meet some things that we could use, but your crossbow won’t do as much damage.”

“Really? Why not?”

“Well you will first start meeting cave hounds, they aren’t too bad. More aggressive and stronger than the rats, they are also pack hunters so you’ll have to deal with that. The variants that arise though will give you trouble. Rock hounds will take half damage from your iron bolts, and the rare crystal variant will shrug them off completely. I can definitely offer a quest for those, what do you say?”

Quest alert

Khaliss has offered to have you cull some of the Vicious Cave Rats in the mushroom groves.

Conditions

Rewards

Slay 10 Vicious Cave Rats

10 silver

Collect Vicious Cave Rat fangs (no limit)

50 copper per fang

Quest alert

Khaliss has asked that you cull some of the cave hounds beyond the mushroom groves

Conditions

Rewards

Slay 10 hounds

50 silver

Slay 10 rock hounds (optional)

1 gold

Slay the Crystal Alpha (optional)

???

Question marks as a reward? It must be something good, I’ll have to look into killing this Crystal Alpha. It most likely is a boss of some type, so it should be fun. “I’ll take both of those quests Khaliss. I’m sure by the time I make it over to the Crystal Alpha I will have a plan to take care of it. Thanks for the advice.” Waving goodbye, I headed towards the south gate and into the Underdark for the first time.

The south gate must have to deal with some serious monsters. The gate opened to a tunnel that was large enough to drive a three double decker busses through side by side, and the gate consisted of five feet thick obsidian blocks that slid into the walls of the tunnel for who knew how far. Anything that tried to stop these from closing was going to be in for a bad time. Nodding at the guards as I headed out, I activated darkvision so that I could improve the skill as much as I could. The tunnel narrowed for a bit before splitting, and a quick consult of my map showed a quest icon down the right fork. Following it, I started to see a slight glow ahead. I turned a final corner and sucked in my breath.

The tunnel opened into a spacious cavern, with several stone pillars going clear to the ceiling. Water dripped from several stalactites to pool around the stalagmite bases, and formed the base of the ecosystem. Fluorescent moss gave the entire cavern a light bluish glow, and allowed mushrooms to flourish. I could see groups of rats scurrying between fungus groupings, with an occasional fight between groups. Most of the rats were about knee height, but there were occasional ones that came up to my waist. These were always individual, and sometimes took out the groups of smaller rats. I made my way around the edges of the cavern, not wanting to get too far in. I made it far enough to identify one of the larger rats.

Vicious Cave Rat

Level 10

These large variants of the cave rats are more aggressive, and much stronger than their lesser brethren. Caution is advised when dealing with them.

Well, that’s interesting. At least all of these fights will be solo unless I manage to do something stupid. Looking around to make sure I wasn’t within aggro range of a second rat, I took aim at the first one. Hmm, but where to hit it? Its movements were fairly simple. Take a few steps, sniff a few times, a few more steps. I had about a two second window where it would stop, lower its head to sniff, and then lift it to resume. I could try and hit it in that window, but I wasn’t too familiar with how a rat’s skull was constructed. I decided to wait for it to be facing me, then try and hit it just to the side of where the neck hit the body. Hopefully with that angle I could increase my odds of hitting it in the heart. It took a few rotations, but I eventually got my opportunity.

*Thwack*

The iron bolt impacted exactly where I wanted it to, but I missed the heart. The scream of rage from the rat was rather impressive, but I had already shaved off 2/3 of its hitpoints with that first attack. I pulled out my hammer as it bounded over to me, spittle flying with each small pounce. I was resting my hammer on my shoulder, waiting for the right time. As it got within five feet of me, I noticed it hunkering down a little farther than it had when it was rushing over. Knowing this was it, I unleashed an overhand smash right as it vaulted towards my throat. My blow was enough to knock it off course, but it had a lot of momentum behind it and barreled into my chest, knocking me onto my back. It seemed to be a little stunned as it was slow to capitalize on its position. It came around and lunged at my face right as I got my hammer handle in front of it. We struggled like that, as both my health and stamina bars dropped at a steady pace. In addition to trying to gnaw on my face, my legs were in agony as its back legs tried to power forward and ended up slicing at them. With a shove and slight roll, I managed to get a little bit to the side. Now that it wasn’t going straight for my face, I let go with one hand and slashed its throat with mana enhanced claws, finally slaying the beast and spraying my face in its blood.

I took a minute to collect myself, then squirmed to get out from under the body. It was a decent learning experience, as I ended up only losing around half of my health. I definitely needed a better strategy for the next one. Touching the body, I thought “loot” and got a window of what I could recover from the beast.

Loot menu (Vicious Cave Rat)

Iron bolt x 1

Cave rat pelt (high quality) x 1

Vicious cave rat claws x 2

Loot all Y/N?

I was happy to recover the bolt I had fired at the start of the battle, the rest was merely crafting supplies. I hit loot all since I had plenty of space in my inventory, and started looking around as the body dissipated into motes of light. I managed to gather six of the stamina mushrooms, and two each of the mana and health. Looking around, I found my next target nearby. Since I had obviously missed the heart on my last target, I needed to modify my attack pattern. I still didn’t know exactly where the rat brain was, and didn’t want to run the risk of a glancing blow deflected by the skull.

This time, before I attacked I activated sneak and crept around to the opposite side of a pillar from where I started. I noticed a small closed eye icon in the bottom of my vision, indicating I was successfully hidden. I took aim again, this time looking to hit just inside of the rat’s left forelimb.

*Thwack*

Damn, still missed the heart. The rat screeched in agony again, but this time I saw a pair of dark sunglasses appear over its head. At least I got a lucky activation of blinded. Since I was still stealthed, I reloaded my crossbow and aimed for the base of the rat’s neck. My second bolt dropped the beast, and I went forward to collect my loot, disappointed that it was the same as the previous rat except for the number of bolts recovered. After collecting my winnings, I checked the flashing icon in my display to see what else I got from the battle.

Skill up!

Ambush has increased to beginner level 2. Attack damage and Critical hit chance both increased by 2%

Skill obtained!

You have obtained the skill Crossbow Mastery (passive). Range increased by 1 m, chance to hit increased by 1%

Well, that was a nice bonus. I guess activating sneak helped to level my ambush skill, and killing things with a crossbow definitely helped obtain that skill. That makes two rats killed, eight more to go. I kept working away from the city, as I wanted to find higher level monsters to build up my skills faster. Looking at the next rat, I pondered how to eliminate it. I couldn’t find the heart; it was most likely buried deep enough in the chest that I couldn’t hit it from a frontal attack. Before I started firing at the head trying to pinpoint the brain, I needed a way to slow it down so that I could keep attacking it from range. I wonder if I could paralyze it? Sneaking beside another pillar, I took aim at a rat from a side view. I waited until it started to raise its head up before firing, aiming for the spine as it came out the back of the skull.

*Thwack*

I saw the bolt bury itself right where I wanted it to, and the rat dropped to the ground with no control over its limbs. I saw it still had some life left, so I abandoned stealth and rushed over to deliver a blow to the head and finish it off. I looted it, glad that I now had a working plan for taking them out. This one even gave me a high quality pelt and two fangs! Armed with a new battle plan, my pace rapidly increased. Eventually I started seeing crystal growths start appearing among the mushrooms, and I figured I would be getting close to the hound area. Hmm, to turn back now since I had long ago finished the rat and mushroom quest, or should I push on and see what I can do with the dogs? I kept going, and eventually came across two of the hounds laying in an open area. These were not small Chihuahuas, but rather seemed to be a cross between a Pit and a Great Dane. They had the blocky head with short jaws for crushing like a pit, but were the size of a Great Dane.

Cave hound

Level 12

These hounds patrol the deeper part of cave systems. They have adapted to the lack of light by heightening their other senses to an extreme degree.

Well, these were at least my level and came in pairs. It should be a good fight, so let’s see what their battle tactics are like. I took aim at the closer one, as it was laying on its side with its back facing me. My target was the spine right between the shoulder blades, hoping for another paralysis. Unfortunately, I forgot about their heightened senses, because as soon as the bowstring twanged with the release of the bolt, both dogs shifted so that they were laying with all four feet under them and their heads swiveled to face me with their ears erect. While I didn’t get a paralyzing shot, the dog had unwittingly shifted so that the bolt buried itself in its heart. With a soft whimper, it passed as its partner stood and started growling. Before I could finish reloading my weapon, it charged, forcing me to switch to the war hammer instead of my crossbow. Bracing myself, I completely missed it with my first swing as I expected a lunge towards my chest and he went straight for my legs.

“Ow damnit! Let go of my leg!” I cried out as he viciously shook my leg back and forth. I managed to get a swing in on the side of his head forcing it to let go and back off for a bit. I hobbled backward, only able to put about 20% of my weight on my right leg before the pain began. Damn, this wasn’t a very good spot. With my newly limited mobility, I squared myself off against the dog, with the hammer raised above my head in a two handed grip. Seeing his muscles quiver just before he attacked, I launched my own at the same time and smashed my hammer down between his shoulder blades in a truly massive blow, and ending the battle. The loot was nothing special, some meat and claws. I had lost only a quarter of my life in the battle, but that was against one. If I was going to survive against multiples, I would need a trap or something to keep them from teaming up against me.

I looked at the next group, and it was three of the dogs. I looked at the surroundings, and there was a pair of stalagmites between me and the dogs. I tied two loops in the rope I had purchased earlier, and made a lovely tripwire between them. Taking a stance a few feet behind the rope, I took aim at the dogs. They were looking in my direction, but didn’t seem to be too alarmed by the noises I was making. This time I was aiming for one of the back legs, hoping to disable any lunging attacks. Firing, I nailed one right in the meat of the thigh. It yelped as the other two leaped into action, growling as they rapidly closed the distance. Pulling out my hammer, I didn’t even bother trying to reload my crossbow. Both dogs hit the tripwire at the same time, and fell down in a snarling tangle of limbs. Not wasting my chance, I smashed the hammer down on one of their bodies, hearing the ribs crack under the pressure. The other managed to disentangle itself, but before it could launch forward I had caught it in the side of the head with a side swing of my hammer. The blow disoriented it enough for me to whip the hammer around in a tight circle and deliver another blow, this time aiming at crippling the forepaw. Before I could finish it off, the one with broken ribs plowed right into my back, sending us both tumbling. I missed with a wild backhanded swing as I was getting my feet under me, and the dog must have sensed my attack miss. Thinking I was wide open, it lunged forward with a snarl, spittle flying from its open jaws. I crouched a bit, then thrust forward with mana infused claws, straight into the beast’s chest. It died with its jaws snapping shut inches from my face.

Swirling in place, my had was stuck in the corpse with no easy way to get it out. I used it for a shield, as the second dog savaged its limp body. It must have been the blood, because the dog was close to a berserker state. A smack from the hammer to the side of its body finished it off, and I looked to where the third one was caught on the rope trap I had used earlier. I reloaded my crossbow and finished it off from a distance, not wanting to give it a chance to do any damage. The loot was slightly disappointing, a poor quality pelt and several claws. Regaining my rope, I headed out to see what else I could find, still gathering mushrooms when I could even though I had long passed the minimum I would need for the potions.

The next group was another three hounds, and I was still no closer to finding out the best way to take them out. The rope trick would work for slowing them down, but it wasn’t perfect. I started out with the rope tripwire again, but about ten feet back I first cut a wide trench about six inches deep. Perhaps I would get lucky and they would break a leg or a neck with a bad fall. I took position behind my rope, aimed, and maimed one of the dogs. Turning, I sprinted back to a few feet behind my trench. As the rope did what it was supposed to and slowed the dogs, I turned to watch them while I reloaded. I had just gotten a second bolt prepared when the two lead dogs disentangled themselves and started sprinting in my direction again. Kneeling down, I took aim so that I was shooting slightly upward into the lead dogs chest. With a dull thunk, the bolt buried itself to the fletching in the dog’s chest, killing it. The second dog swerved around its friend, and lost just enough speed that the trench I had dug was effective. I heard the front leg snap as its gait was thrown off, and it went into a tumble. I swiftly finished the stunned dog before it could regain its senses, and turned to see the third animal just getting up after the rope. I didn’t think I had enough time to reload, so instead I waited until after the trench and finished it just like the second dog. It looked like the rewards were going to be more of the same. Meat, fangs, and claws for the most part, and pelts with the quality depending on how many bladed strikes hit the animal.

After looting the bodies, I pressed onward, confident in my new battle plan. Oddly, my next opponent was a lone dog. It was the same height as the others, but looked hairless and was much bulkier. As I dug my trench, I saw his ears twitch a bit. I crept closer, but before I could set up my rope tripwire, he turned and growled at me. I slowly backed away, not wanting to provoke it too soon. Settling a little bit farther back, I set up my tripwire. Taking aim with my crossbow, I let a bolt fly. All I got for my trouble was the bolt sparking as it completely failed to penetrate the dog’s side. It did a marvelous job of infuriating the creature, which obviously was a rock hound variant and not a cave hound like I thought. I ran back and jumped my trench, turning with my hammer in hand. As the dog approached my tripwire, it easily leapt over it. Damnit, not only was its armor sturdy enough my crossbow was useless, but it could see too? That means my trench was also going to be useless. Knowing it would have to leap over the trench anyway, I crouched on the other side. As the dog leapt forward, I lunged as well, pushing my hammer into its throat. My plan was to negate its jump and force it straight up, landing awkwardly in the trench. Unfortunately, the dog was much more massive than anticipated, and while I slowed it down a bit, I was forced backward. His claws slammed into my chest, knocking me onto my back. I tried to recover and force my hammer into his mouth, thinking his next attack would be for my jugular, but instead he shifted his head to the side and clamped down on my forearm.

“Gyaaaaaaah!” I cried in agony as I felt my bones crush beneath his powerful jaws. My hammer fell from my unresponsive fingers, and I awkwardly tried to form a mana blade on my left hand. My nails kept glancing off the rocky armor that covered its throat and body, and I couldn’t focus enough through the pain to get a proper blade formed. In the corner of my vision, I saw my stamina and health draining rapidly, both less than 1/3 at this point. In desperation, I tried to get my feet underneath the dog and force it away from my body. I managed to raise it up enough that it couldn’t continue savaging my arm, then my feet slipped and his body came crashing down on me. His jaws were the last thing I saw before

You have died.

As you are above level ten, death takes his toll. You’ve lost 10% of the experience required for the next level and 3 gold. All equipped items have lost 10% of their maximum durability. Would you like to revive at Kobold Sanctuary?

Y/N?

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About the author

Mighty Moushie

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.

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