You are suffering from Anemia
Due to massive blood loss, you are suffering from the anemic condition for the next 24 hours.
Maximum stamina reduced by 25%
Stamina consumption +150%
Bleeding effect damage x2
What a lovely status effect to log in to see. I guess exploring will be put on hold today. Looking at my stamina bar, the last quarter was covered with what looked like a grey rock. Yeah, I wasn’t about to go into battle without a full quarter of my stamina, that was just asking to get killed. I stood up a little fast and had to grab the edge of the bed for a second as I got incredibly dizzy.
Due to your anemic condition, you are more susceptible to bouts of dizziness by standing or sitting rapidly.
Well, that was unpleasant but another reason to not go out adventuring. I slowly headed downstairs, and plopped down in an empty chair. “Morning Alnoss, what do we have for breakfast today?” I called out when I didn’t see her for a second.
“Oh, Angus! You’re awake! I’ve got some of that sausage you wanted me to try making, is that ok?”
“Sounds wonderful. Can I get that with a large glass of water?”
“Comin’ right up!” She disappeared and left me to my own thoughts. I guess my plan for the day would be to check in with the head priest and see if we can get my weapon first, then figure out what my joining the temple of Thanatos would entail. After that I could either explore the city for a bit or check in with Djarleen and see if she had anything for me to learn. I gave a quick check through my bag, and didn’t have nearly enough ingredients to bother Djarleen. I did have enough rock hound meat to see if Alnoss would teach me her recipe though, so maybe my afternoon wouldn’t be too boring.
“Here you go!” Speak of the devil, Alnoss had just appeared with my breakfast as I was off daydreaming. She dropped a plate full of steaming sausage patties right in front of me. “Enjoy! I think I got the recipe pretty close to perfected, what do you think?”
I took a bite and my mouth exploded with flavor. She had gone with a spicy mix, but it wasn’t an in your face spicy. Instead it built up to it with each bite, and by the third one I was sweating just a bit. I took a few gulps of water to calm my mouth down, and answered, “This is fantastic. I love how you have a subtle heat, and it isn’t very greasy. What ratio did you finally end up with?”
“Sixty-five rock hound, thirty-five rat. Anything higher in rat ended up being so greasy it had a tendency to catch fire in the pan if I wasn’t careful.”
“I hear that. While it’s true that fat equals flavor, if you have too much it can burst into flame and leave you with a charred mess. Where did you come up with the seasonings for it?”
“Oh, that was fairly simple. I started off with some salt and pepper, and added some dried garlic in there as well. The secret is the dracken seed and just a bit of the dried dracken pepper. That’s where it gets the spiciness from.”
“Well, this is delightful.” I said as I ate the last bite. “I have enough of that rock hound meat to finish off the quest you gave me, would you like me to bring it back to the kitchen for you?”
“You have it already? Yes, I’ll make some more of the sausage for you as well as have some stew for dinner tonight. Oh, before I forget here is that recipe I promised you.” She said with a smile, handing me a piece of paper with the rock hound and rat sausage recipe.
You have given Alnoss the promised rock hound meat.
Recipe: rock hound and rat sausage
Alnoss considers you “friendly”
“So, heading out to another exciting adventure today Angus?”
“Ah, not today Alnoss. I’ve got a rather nasty debuff that’ll last for the rest of today, so I can’t really go out like I wanted to. Instead I have some running to do around town, and probably see whatever sights I can. I never got to truly explore the city.”
“Oh, okay then.” Was that a slightly disappointed look on her face? No matter, I headed out and looked at the stairs to the third level with trepidation. This was going to suck. I started up the stairs, and noticed that even walking up them was draining my stamina. Trying to regulate my breathing didn’t help at all, and I was rather nervous I wouldn’t make it before my stamina gave out. Passing out in public wouldn’t end well for me, but my meager luck held out and I finished with less than 10% of my stamina.
I sidestepped once I made it to the top, and took a deep breath as I looked around. Hopefully people would think I was just getting my bearings instead of hoping my stamina would recharge. Threading my way through the crowds, I headed towards the Temple of Thanatos.
Image crumpling once I was inside, I noticed the head priest smiling at me from the altar. “Still feeling the effects of your sacrifice? Our lord and I are glad to see your resolve to make it through this trial without any outside aid.”
Nodding, I wanted nothing more than to let him keep talking so I could recover, but he must have sensed that. “Now, let’s go see Dharkiss about your weapon, shall we?” Giving me a predatory smile, he lead the way back down the stairs I just walked up. Once again the crowd seemed to unconsciously part around us, and I really wanted to know how he did it.
“EEP!” Dharkiss’ assistant let out a squeak when he saw us walk into the store, and made a mad dash for the curtain to get his master. Dharkiss came around the curtain, and he looked horrible. His back was hunched, and his scales had started to turn grey around the edges. He was struggling with an oddly shaped bundle, and barely managed to heave it onto the counter.
“It’s done.” He stated, no hint of the usual humor in his voice. Flipping open the cover without any flourish, he revealed the weapon that he must have spent most of the night crafting. It was a dark bluish black, almost ¾ the length of my arm. At the top of the haft was the crystal heart, although it had deepened to a burgundy red from the original light pink. Veins branched out from the heart throughout the weapon. The hammer side was fashioned into the likeness of a clawed hand holding a stone, with five crystal claws pointing about a half inch past the stone portion. The slight hook to the claws would catch and shred through whatever armor it punctured. The scythe side had a foot long slightly curved blade, and the only crystal vein ran along the top edge to the tip.
Blooded Mithril Hammerscythe (Soulbound, Scalable)
This weapon was specially commissioned for a neophyte of Thanatos. Infusing the mithril with his blood and certain herbs, along with the heart of a creature slain by his own hand has inexorably linked the two. It will grow with its owner, and has branching potential trees that can be unlocked depending on its usage.
Living Weapon: Durability can be repaired by sacrificing the life force of either the wielder or enemies.
Souldbound: Can’t be stolen or dropped upon death
Scalable: Stats dependent upon the level of the wielder
Damage: 150-185 Crushing, 125-145 Slashing
“Well done, blacksmith. I hope our neophyte will prove worthy of such a weapon. Pick it up and let’s go Neophyte, we have much to do yet.” The high priest shook me from the stupor of admiring my new hammer. I can’t believe I found a scalable weapon, let alone a soulbound one! The only possible thing that could replace this in my mind would be a set weapon, and even that wouldn’t last forever.
The weapon was much lighter than what Dharkiss made it seem, but that must have been his exhaustion. I put my old hammer into the inventory, and equipped my new one heading out the door, and followed the high priest up the stairs once more and into the temple.
“From this point on is your initiation, and unless you want to feel the wrath of our Lord you will not let any outside of our order know what you went through. Understood?” He practically barked at me after closing the door to the temple behind us.
“Of course. I will not speak of it outside our order.”
“Very well, place your weapon on the right side of the altar as you face our Lord’s sculpture.” I went to comply as the high priest made his way around the room, grabbing different things from alcoves hidden in the deep shadows. Once he had completed a counterclockwise circuit of the room, he walked to the opposite side of the altar so that he was between the sculpture’s hands. The stone crucible held a variety of powders and several dried twigs, which he proceeded to crush with a pestle. Several deft twists of his wrist later, and he stopped to look me in the eye. “Today we welcome another brother to our order. Our ranks are as varied as the many faces of our Lord Thanatos. From the uncaring face that steals the last breath of a child in the crib to the blessed face that gives those suffering their sweetest release, all have their roles.” As he was speaking, he reached a hand behind him to grab a bit of the green and purple flames that were within the eyes of the skeleton and flicked it into the bowl. The contents flashed, and he shoved the smoking remains into my face, forcing me to take a deep breath of the fumes. “Breathe in his essence brother, and walk the line between our world and his. Find the face that you are meant to follow, and learn from our lord.”
Furiously blinking my eyes from the smoke, my nostrils were burning from the acridity. It was akin to someone mixing burning autumn leaves, tobacco, and food spilled into the bottom of a hot oven. I tried to shake my head and clear it, but whatever I had inhaled started to take effect. I first lost sight of all my status bars, and my gaze was caught by the statue in the wall. Part of me noticed that the heart seemed to be beating in its hand, but my focus was completely on the flames in the eye sockets. As they flickered, my vision would telescope in and out rapidly, and they would alternately send out shockwaves in my vision, as if reality were reflected in a pond. These quickly matched my racing heartbeat and surpassed it, until they merged into one black ripple and I was. . . elsewhere.
A desolate plain, covered in slight hillocks, none of which went above knee height. Broken spear shafts and rusted swords were scattered about, and the tattered remains of a few flags fluttered in the slight breeze. I finished turning a circle, taking in the devastation around me before I found myself standing before Thanatos. “My Lord.” I said, bowing to him.
“You adventurers are a rather interesting bunch. You throw yourselves headlong into battles that you have small chances of succeeding time and time again. Why?”
“Yes Lord, glory. To obtain proof of being the best, the first to accomplish something. Bragging rights.”
“Interesting. That might explain why though I barely get to sample your souls before they are taken from my grasp, they leave such an enticing taste. Thank you, mortal, for indulging my curiosity. Now, on to business. You wish to join my church, to study death. I’m intrigued by your idea, and am willing to indulge you for now. You will have a year to show results. Judging by your actions thus far in our world, I am also adding you to the martial branch of my followers. Neophytes such as yourselves have the easiest demands. Every week, you must kill at least 7 monsters or sentients at or higher than your level. You may also offer a worthy kill to me by saying ‘for Thanatos’ before striking the killing blow. Be warned though, if your kill isn’t worthy or you slay it using something other than a scythe you will be punished. Do you accept these restrictions?”
“I do, Lord.”
“Very well. I, Thanatos, God of Death, hereby accept you into my church. You shall study the art of death, and also be part of my martial branch. In order to fulfill your duties, you shall be granted the ability [Reaper’s Edge], along with this bag. Take both, and advance in my order to gain further abilities.” Finished with his speech, Thanatos placed one hand on my forehead and new knowledge unfolded in my mind. His other hand reached into his robe and pulled out an ordinary looking bag and handed it to me. Once I had gripped it, the hand on my head gave a shove, and I found myself back in the temple where I started, the flames returned to their original purple state.
“Welcome back brother, I see our Lord has given you your gifts. He also wishes to pass this along: Grow swiftly in strength, for the Underdark is a haven for those who foolishly try to avoid my touch.”
I blinked at the head priest a few times before nodding, “Of course, brother. Do you know what my minimum strength must reach before I can do our Lord’s bidding?”
“Come back at level 20 brother. Until then, familiarize yourself with your gifts.” Knowing the high priest was right, I opened the descriptions of my new acquisitions.
(Death’s Raiment 1 of 4)
Fill your blade with the power of Thanatos to give your next strike additional power.
Cost: 50 mana
Cooldown: 1 hour
Requirements: Member of church of Thanatos, must have a bladed weapon
Effect 1: +50% damage to your next attack
Effect 2: +75% chance to remove opponent’s limb
Thanatos’ Body Bag
Crafted from the skin of an unknown creature of the void, this bag was created to hold the body of slain enemies in stasis until they can be studied.
Restrictions: Only useable by Angus MacG. Can only hold one type of body at a time
Different sized bodies will take up different amount of space in the bag. The bag contains a 4 x 4 grid for holding bodies.
Divine mandate completed!
You have successfully joined the church of Thanatos within the required time. Use your gifts to further your study of death.
Divine mandate accepted!
You have learned that there are enemies lurking in the Underdark that are hiding from the God of Death. Grow your strength so that you may teach them the error of their ways.
Reach level 20 to learn more about this quest.
Divine mandate accepted!
As part of your duties as a Neophyte of Thanatos, you must kill 7 creatures at or higher than your level per week.
Days remaining: 7
Opening the body bag revealed a standard 4 x 4 set of boxes like a normal inventory, but I couldn’t put anything in it when I tried with my weapon. Guess it was bodies only. “[Reaper’s Edge]” I said to activate my new skill, and watched as my mana dropped. In exchange, the scythe edge of my weapon started glowing white. Not having anything to use it against, I cancelled the skill and asked the high priest, “So brother, is there anything I can do to aid the church today?”
“No brother. All is well, for now. Return when you meet the requirements for our Lord. Until then.”
“Until then.” I headed out into the street and looked around. I still had a few quests to turn in to Khaliss, but then I would be trapped at the bottom tier of the city for the rest of the day. Instead, I decided to look around the middle tier some. Choice set, I headed down. No matter what I had gotten from Thanatos, the repelling aura of the high priest wasn’t it. It wasn’t hard to keep the jostling to a minimum, but it was still a minor annoyance. Either way I kept walking past most of the stores on the level, as I was still out of coins and reagents. The end of the main street had a side street branching off of it, and it headed through an archway. Intrigued at this new possibility, I followed the road.
The exit of the arch led into a gigantic cavern, with sparkly minerals liberally spread through the rock bed. A few large, crystal lights were hanging from the ceiling, making the cavern sparkle like a starry night. I walked around a few pillars before I came to a pen that was filled with a pig like animal. There were several kobolds working around the pigs, and beyond the were fields of mushrooms being tended to by children.
“Not supposed to be here.” A voice from my side said. I turned to see a scarred kobold with vicious looking club with several nails sticking out. “Not supposed to be here.” She repeated, stepping forward threateningly.
“Ok, sorry.” I said raising my hands in surrender. I headed back where I came from, obviously access was restricted around the next generation. I noticed a raised walkway on my way back, the only way to get there was climbing a seven foot high wall. Hmm, nothing that would be too terrible, especially if I could create a few handholds. It would have to be some other time though, when the guardian wasn’t watching.
Striking out on exploring the second level, I headed down to the bottom for a talk with Khaliss. I wouldn’t get a lot of money from him, but the two quests I had outstanding would give me a bit of gold and possibly lead to more. I would need something to boost me up six levels.
First evolution obtained!
Congratulations to character JohnnyBGood on being the first to obtain the evolution of a monster character. While there are still some issues that need to be addressed, Arctic Storm Entertainment is proud to announce that the option of choosing a monster race is now open for everyone. Since the first slots were only opened to selected testers, we have prepared a limited time offer for those who were excluded. For the next ten days or until reaching level 15, you can keep your light character in stasis in order to see what the monster race entails. Keep in mind, once the limit has been reached one of the characters must be deleted in accordance with game rules.
JohnnyBGood? Wonder if that was Jon the goblin? Good for him if it was. “Hey Khaliss, you busy?” I yelled as I walked into the barracks area. Across the way, the door to the office opened and Khaliss walked out.
“Angus? What are you yelling for in my barracks?”
“Just needed to see you to turn in some quests. You got a minute?”
“Hmm, make it quick. Did you get the rock hounds?”
“Yeah, I got them and killed the crystal alpha as well.” To confirm, he simply held out the quest tablet that Shrik had done the other day. After confirming it, he handed me a bag with one gold and 50 silver.
“Well, thank you for that. It is one of the harder extermination quests we have. Now, I had promised you a bonus for taking out the alpha. Here, this ring should help you out a bit.” He said while handing me a plain black band. “It isn’t in nearly the same league as your bag, but it will definitely help out for a while.” Turning away, I blurted out a question before he could go.
“Before you go, are there any other quests you can give me?”
He turned to look at me over his shoulder for a second before facing me once again. “Since you are so eager, I have two. There’s a goblin raid encampment nearby as well as a camp of mycofiends. Slaughter them both.”
New Quest alert!
Khaliss has told you of a goblin encampment that has become a problem. Slaughter them, leaving none alive.
Slaughter all the goblins in the camp
15 gold, piece of equipment
New Quest alert!
Khaliss has told you of a camp of mycofiends that have become a problem. Slaughter them, leaving none alive
Slaughter all the mycofiends
15 gold, piece of equipment
By the time I had read the two quest descriptions, Khaliss had gone back to his office. Damnit, I could use some directions to the camps he was talking about! And what the Hell was a Mycofiend? That just sounded all sorts of wrong. Before I got too distracted I decided to check out my new ring.
Ring of the Squire
A simple ring that boosts the wearer’s health and defense.
Well, that ring wasn’t going to be a game changer but just might change the outcome of a close battle. Putting it on, I wondered if Djarleen would have something she needed me to do. Once again I had to take my time heading up a level, but at least my stamina never dropped below a quarter. Threading my way through the crowds, I headed in to Djarleen’s shop.
“Oh, hello there Ang. . .WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO?” Her slightly cheerful greeting turned into an accusing scream at the end. “Damnit Angus, just when it was looking like I would finally have a decent apprentice you go and, and, and do whatever the hell you did!”
“Whoah, whoah there Djarleen! Why are you yelling at me? I didn’t do anything!” I yelled back.
“Then why is your aura filled with necrotic energy! I swear to the gods that if you went and became a necromancer I will do everything in my power to end you!”
“Necrotic energy? Wait, you can see auras?”
“Of course I can see auras, and don’t try and change the subject. Where. Did. The. Necrotic. Energy. Come. From?”
“Ok, I think we need to take a calming breath. The only important thing I’ve done today was join the church of Thanatos.”
“Thanatos?” She questioned, narrowing her eyes at me. “Prove it.” I pulled the chest armor I was wearing to the side so that she could see my tattoo. “Damnit, stupid. Stupid, idiot apprentice. Did you even think about what that would do?”
“I needed to join it for some reasons, but I still don’t see why it is such a big deal.”
“Not a big deal? You incorporated energy from the GOD OF DEATH INTO YOUR AURA! What do you think that energy will be doing to any sensitive potions you try brewing?”
I opened and closed my mouth several times, but nothing would come out. Who would have known that joining a member of the pantheon could affect your job?
New effect discovered!
Congratulations, you are coming to realize that all actions can have far reaching consequences. This time it is merely a small chain of events. Joining Thanatos has added death energy into your aura, which will now affect anything you brew with alchemy.
All potions will have their effectiveness reduced by 10%, all poisons will have their effectiveness increased by 10%
Note: This is subject to change depending on your rank in the church.
Damnit system, don’t you think you could warn me of that before I go and join a church? Ten percent isn’t going to kill me at this level, but will definitely hurt going forward. “I’m sorry Djarleen. I had no idea that it would do any of this. I just got a notification about it though, seems like all potions lose 10% strength and poisons gain the same amount.”
“Shit. I’m sorry too Angus. I should have warned you, but I had no idea that you were leaning towards joining with Thanatos. You had no way of knowing that him and Gaia were the only two of the pantheon that would alter your alchemy. Well, how do you feel about specializing in poisons? Because that’s pretty much what you are stuck with. Unless you want to forsake Thanatos?”
“Poisons will have to be fine, as I’m not about to even contemplate forsaking a god on the same day I joined his church.” I said with a sigh. I looked up to see a dejected look on Djarleen as well.
“Ok, we are both a little too high strung right now Angus. Go home for now, I’ll head to the guild tomorrow to brush up on poison recipes that I think you’ll be able to handle.”
“Thanks Djarleen.” I flopped against the side of the building right after I left. Damn, I really messed up this one. Poisons, huh? This is going to be a pain, poisons work great up until level 40 or so. By that time monsters had such a massive health pool that they are just going to shrug off a little DoT (damage over time). My low level stamina poison wouldn’t work either, as health and stamina often go hand in hand. The other side wouldn’t help either, if it were a magical creature they would have a massive mana pool to go with it, and would laugh at a mana poison.
“D dd did you na na need anything ell ll lse today?” I looked up to see the stuttering apprentice of Dharkiss. Must have walked over to his shop while I was pondering potions.
“You know, I just might. Would Dharkiss be willing to take another commission?”
“I’ll g go see” he blurted out and vanished behind the curtain. I took the time to peruse several of the high quality blades of all shapes and sizes.
“Now I know you don’t need another blade, what can I do for ya Angus?” Dharkiss asked as he came around the curtain.
“I was wondering about making a new type of trap, but it would require your apprentice too.”
“Him? His blades usually don’t make the cut for most of what I do around here, what possible use could you have for those?”
“Well, that’s it exactly. I want, no need, a bunch of blades that aren’t fit for making into proper weapons. They just need to be good enough to hold an edge. Actually, double edged like a dagger would be better. Would it be possible to get your apprentice a lot of practice making iron daggers with no hilts?”
“He could use a little practice, but he won’t ever make master smith just making iron daggers. It be possible to get him practice with some of the mold techniques though. I don’t get those types of orders often enough he can practice on them.”
“Perfect! Can we add a few alterations to the molds though?”
“I’ld say within reason, but if other adventurers are as crazy as you then you might not know what reason really is.”
“Hah, good one. What I want to do is have a series of three or four holes going through the middle of the dagger, just wide enough to send some wire through. We can also lose the tips of the daggers, they won’t be needed.”
“That’s possible to do, just need a few clay rods. It’s a good thing you asked about my apprentice to do this, because I still haven’t heard a good reason for putting holes in my work.”
“Imagine this. We take several of those daggers, get them nice and sharp on both sides. Weave a thumb width metal wire through all of them, and weld it to the blades so they stay locked in place. Now we stretch this across a dark hall at stomach or shin height, and let a bunch of people run into it.” I tried my best to describe a razorwire trap to the smith.
“You wanting to cut people with this and do some damage, or just cause a mild inconvenience?”
“Huh? Damage, why?”
“Well, you picked the wrong type of blade then. See, a nice polished blade like you wanted is only good for a few things. You want that if you need control, like skinning a monster. You aren’t doing that, your wanting to cut the tough hide on something that is squishy underneath. Ask Alnoss about cutting things like that, and she’ll slap you silly for trying to use a blade like that. No, you want serrated edges on them daggers. We can do it, it’ll be good practice for the boy. How long of a wire do you think you’ll be needin’?”
“Let’s do about 20 feet. Give an anchor bolt on each end, and can we do a third eye bolt to anchor so that I can adjust the length?”
“What the hell is an eye bolt?”
“Damnit, sorry. I want a bolt that I can drive into rock. At the end of the bolt, make a circular hole, and cut a way into it so that I can slip the wire. It’ll look something like this when you are done.” I describe the best as I could, then made a C shape with my hand and slowly brought my fingers closer together, leaving a slight gap. “The gap needs to be big enough that the wire can pass through it, and if I set it up so that the gap is facing whatever is going to run into my wire the backside will hold it in place.”
“Ok, I can do that. It will probably take three or four days for us to finish it, that work for you?”
“Yeah, that’ll be just fine. How much are you going to need for it?”
“Let’s do a gold down and another five when it’s done?”
“Deal. Thanks a bunch Dharkiss.” I handed over the coin and headed out, intent on just heading back to the inn for a rest.
I must have gotten back just in time for dinner, as the inn was jam packed with customers. Not really needing a table, I headed to the bar and sat down on the end. “Welcome back Angus, what’cha want for dinner?”
“Something with a lot of meat and some water will probably be best Alnoss, thanks.” She quickly got me a tankard of water and headed back into the kitchen. Taking a sip, I just let the dull roar of multiple conversations flow over me as I closed my eyes. Smiling, as usually when I heard a mob of different conversations like this I would be inundated with tickets for food. Just before I started to nod off, I smelled something divine.
“Here ya go Angus, some of the youngsters managed to catch a bunch of trout, so we have fresh fish tonight.” The fish was on a platter, and had been gutted, stuffed with herbs, and roasted. A tap with the fork had it flaking off the bones but still held together by the crispy skin. She had gotten it cooked to absolute perfection. Flavor simply exploded with that first bite as I closed my eyes in bliss.
“My god Alnoss, this is possibly the best fish I’ve ever eaten.” She smiled and twirled away to serve other customers, as I practically inhaled my dinner. I left her a silver as a tip under the plate, and headed up for a well deserved rest.
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.