Ever wake up, and know that you didn’t get the recommended amount of sleep, but the sleep you get is so deep and so refreshing that it doesn’t matter? I had one of those nights, and it was glorious. Popping out of bed, I skipped breakfast and went straight to email Emily, as I had a thought before I went to bed and wanted to see her opinions on things.
Had a few ideas for the dungeons last night and wanted to see what you guys thought of them. First, I am fairly certain I ran into Rycran on one of the messaging boards, and we are both excited about meeting up for another battle in a dungeon. I think this would be a great opportunity for streaming, we could make an event or something out of it. Possibly have it live streaming, but ban all outside communication. Let people see through my view and Rycran and his teams side by side.
Another issue I think will come up is resurrections. When we had the low level dungeon runs, no players had the resurrect spell or would waste an expensive scroll on it. Now that I assume the dungeons are going to be aimed at the level 50-70 range, I think there should be an option. Do a regular dungeon run with unlimited resurrections and not have to fight a monster player, or accept the higher difficulty and only have two resurrections per party member. This could be limited to each person, or could be spread out. So if you have five members, the party gets 10 total resurrections. In the second option, it could be the tank needs resurrecting five times, and that would be fine but would consume half of the team’s resurrections. Thoughts? Will monster characters be able to be resurrected as well?
P.S. Sorry it is such short notice before we head back into the dungeons.
Email sent, I headed straight for the Oblivion Door in my digital apartment, the nerd in me smiling every time I referred to it as that. It just sounded epic.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Morning Alnoss, Khaliss.” I said as I came into the main area of the inn.
“Angus? You’re up awfully early.” Khaliss remarked, as it was the first time I had actually caught him at the inn before he headed out for the day.
“Yep. Got a lot to do today, and a small favor that I think you will enjoy.”
“Oh?” He said, chuckling. “And what, pray tell, do you think you can ask for a favor that would make me happy?”
“Well, I want to step up the intensity of our training if possible.” As I said that, Khaliss’ fork dropped to his plate and he stared at me. Wiping his mouth with a napkin, he turned to look right at me.
“What could possibly have spawned such a desire in you? Not that I’m going to let you back out of it, as far as I’m concerned you have already committed to the advanced training regimen.”
“Remember that light sider that brought in his level 70 something partner while we were in the dungeon the first time?” At his nod I continued. “Well, I met him the other day, and he wants to challenge us again. I’m sure he has leveled a good bit, and will have a proper team with him. I’m not going to lose to him, at least not if I haven’t given it my best.”
“Yesss!” Khaliss practically hissed. “It’s about time you found someone to be a rival! Challenges are good for you, but you needed someone to push you to be your absolute best. Shrik and I were debating how we could find something like that to challenge you, but it is always better if you find one on your own. Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to go revamp our course.” He stood up and gave Alnoss a kiss as she dropped a plate in front of me. It looked fantastic, but I doubted they were the regular steak and eggs that I was used to.
“What’s on the menu this morning Alnoss?” I asked.
“Quillbear steaks and cockatrice eggs.”
“What in the ever loving hells is a quillbear?” I asked, not quite familiar with the creature. I assumed it was some porcupine with a terrible attitude, possibly as large as a collie.
“Oh, vicious creatures. Slightly smaller than a dire bear, they have tough spines over their back and sides for protection. They can’t fire them, thank the gods, but they do regrow if they get lodged in something. The spines also contain a mild poison that lowers agility. The main problem is the shoulder harpoons.”
“Shoulder harpoons? That sounds ominous.”
“Oh it is. The spines are only as thick as most ropes at the widest. The harpoons start as thick as your forearm. They can fire out to about ten feet, and sinew connected allows them to reel whatever gets caught back in.”
“Good god, who thinks to make a creature like that? And how do you kill it?”
“Well, they say a crazy warlock thought them up, but who knows, right? The warlocks always get the blame for things we don’t understand. As for killing it, you almost have to lure it into a trap and blast it from range. Or get somewhere to safely attack it from below.”
“Huh, I guess someone would have to have balls of steel to sit in a pit underneath a cage to attack one of those.”
“Indeed. Now, eat up.”
Smiling, I dug in to the surprisingly flavorful steak. I got a buff to regeneration rates for the next eight hours from the steak, and it looks like the eggs gave me a petrification resistance as well. “Alnoss, how many of those steaks do you have left?”
“Oh, about fifteen, why?”
“Well, I think the regeneration boost is going to be incredibly helpful with my training, so I want to buy them from you. I’ll pay a fifty gold.”
“Angus, I could only sell them for a tenth of that price!”
“I know, but I don’t want your customers to feel bad.”
“Fine, leave the money on the counter.” She said in a huff, and disappeared back into her kitchen, leaving me to wonder what went wrong with that. Shrugging my shoulders, I went back to eating my breakfast and headed out. Figuring it was too early for the alchemists guild, I headed to see Dharkiss.
Walking in to his shop, I saw him gazing down on some bolts as they sat on the counter. He looked up when he heard the sound of the door closing, and smiled. “Angus! Come see what we managed to create! They, well to be honest I think they are some of my best work to date.”
“Even better than this?” I asked, holding up my weapon.
“Fine, some of my best work then. I doubt I’ll make something better than that in a long while.” Smiling, I looked down to see just what he had created. The first was a bolt that had a wide adamantine head, and looked like someone had sharpened the backside of a crescent moon and affixed it to the bolt. The second only had a steel head, but there were two bulges in the shaft an inch behind the head of the bolt. I gave one of them a gentle pull and it started to swing out, revealing a wicked looking hook. The final one looked like a regular bolt, but the head was made of a dark metal I didn’t recognize. Not wanting to waste time, I identified all of them.
This bolt head was designed to cleave a wide path through soft flesh. The metal tip is made to be enhanced with mana, widening the blade portion without adding extra weight.
Normal use (no mana):
Has a 30% chance to decapitate if striking an unsuspecting target in the neck. Target must be human sized or smaller.
Mana enhanced (costs 25 mana):
Has 75% chance to decapitate if striking an unsuspecting target in the neck. Target must be human sized or smaller.
A sadistic bolt, the force of impacting into a body causes two swivel hooks to flare out and lock into place, and pulling out the resultant bolt will rip out a large swath of flesh. Leaving it in provides its own issues, as the hooks will tear soft tissue as the victim moves. Damage boosts depend on where the victim is struck.
Base damage: 50-75
If left in a muscle: Causes 25% loss of muscle group function every three seconds of minimal activity, up to complete loss. Speed increased with increased vigor.
If left in soft tissue (abdomen): Causes 100 bleed damage every other second for 15 seconds. If still in wound after 15 seconds, causes status Massive Organ Trauma. Victim takes 150 damage per second until receiving a greater healing potion or equivalent.
If removed backwards: Causes status Gaping Wound. Victim takes 100 bleeding damage per second until wound is treated. Magic treatments require greater healing potion or equivalent.
If pushed forward out of wound: No status effects incurred.
Crafted from shadow infused steel, this insidious bolt seems innocuous at first, but rapidly grows in effects. Best if removed immediately. Not recommended for hunting, as meat will be contaminated.
Base damage: 25-35
If left in wound for 5 seconds: Causes Minor Corruption. Victim takes 15 damage until cleansed.
If left in wound for 10 seconds: Causes Blood Toxicity. Victim takes 50 damage every other second until cleansed. Can only be cleansed by medium cleanse potion or equivalent.
If left in wound for 15 seconds: Causes Toxic Shock. Victim takes 100 damage every other second until cleansed. Can only be cleansed by greater cleanse potion or equivalent.
If left in wound for 20 seconds: Causes Greater Corruption. Victim takes 100 damage per second and loses 1% of all stats per 10 seconds until cleansed. Requires Greater Cleansing Elixir or equivalent to remove. Stats recover at 1% per 10 seconds. If a player is killed by Greater Corruption, will suffer Corruption’s Touch for 24 hours.
*Doesn’t work on ethereal or undead targets*
An effect of Greater Corruption, for 24 hours player will suffer -10% to all stats. Can’t be cleansed.
“Dharkiss, these are fantastic! How many do you have?”
“Just the prototype for each one so far. I wanted to get each one finished to show you.”
“Can you have a bunch of these made up in three days for when I head out to the dungeon?”
“Depends on how many you think a bunch is. I could probably do 200 of the first to, but I only have enough material left to do 100 of the corruption bolts.”
“I’ll take what you can give me, we need to have some surprises for the adventurers.” I said with a grin. “Oh, can I take these with me today? I’m meeting some dwarves to talk about training, and it would help to be able to show off some of your work.”
“By all means, go right ahead. I’ve got the blueprints for each one in the back.”
“Great! This will knock their socks off I bet. Out of curiosity, how does the flesh ravager lock into place?”
“Like this.” He said, pulling out two different hook shapes. One curved into two small holes, while the other curved into two sloped pegs. “There are one of each of these in the bolt. The impact force is enough that the slope on the pegs can force it into the holes.” He demonstrated, and they audibly clicked into place. “When you want to undo it, you simply have to squeeze the proper side, and you can slide the pegs right out of the holes.”
“That’s brilliantly simple.” I commented, getting a large smile from the smith.
“Thanks, but I still feel bad about the lack of killing power. Aside from the decapitator, none of the others will kill right away.”
“That’s true, but sometimes it is good to have something as a distraction, and those others will cause havoc in battle. How many times will a warrior snap off the shaft of a bolt without removing it in order to keep battling? Now imagine the poor cleric who has to keep him healed, and cleansed. He will be casting a cleanse every five seconds, burning through his mana on that.”
“I suppose. I just think it is usually better to kill someone swiftly.”
“Well, if you want the flesh ravager could be lethal if you got it between the ribs. Those hooks would shred a heart. But if you really want something to kill right away, I do have another commission for you. That is, if you can get it done before I have to head out to the dungeon.”
“What are you needing? I’m always up for a challenge.”
“That’s the spirit! I need something similar to my scythe, only instead of a blade on the end of the arm I need a square spike. In addition to the slight curve of the spike, I want a few barbs pointing backwards on each of the square faces.”
“I thought you said this would kill right away, that doesn’t sound like it would do the job.”
“It will if you are aiming for the top of the skull. That should be the only place that gets hit by it. Oh, and it will be swinging under its own weight to add force, so let’s use orichalcum to make it.”
“Aye, I can do that. Three platinum.”
“Here you go.” I said, handing him the money. “Now, I’m off with these bolts to see if I can get some help with training for you.” Waving as I swept the new weapons into my inventory, I headed out to see if Djarleen was awake for the day. Easily making my way through the empty streets, I walked right into her shop to find her sitting behind her counter staring at a steaming cup of tea. After staring for half a minute, I broke the silence.
“Djarleen, everything ok?”
She jerked backwards and snorted herself out of whatever daze she was in, reflexively answering, “I’m awake Master Faraldo.” Shaking her head to collect herself, she turned to glare at me. “Oh, it’s just my apprentice awake at.” Making a show of checking around for a clock, then shading her eyes to see if there was a sun, she continued, “Ungodly thirty in the morning. Now, since I know you aren’t here for training, how may I help you?” She said this last part with a sadistic looking grin, and I found myself inadvertently backing away.
“Um, well. Funny you should mention Master Faraldo.”
“Spit it out, apprentice. Why are you here so early to see my old master?”
“He was going to help me get in contact with the Stonefist clan.”
“I see. And you were just hoping to use my portal? What am I getting out of this?”
“Well, I was also hoping to pick up the items I had requested from the guild. So, I guess you could spend half of the day poisoning your apprentice at his request?” I asked hopefully.
“Hmm, yes. I suppose that’ll do. Off you go then, have fun!” She said rather cheerily, yet somehow sent chills up my spine. I crept past her creepy smile, never letting her out of my sight as she tried to innocently sip her tea.
Once I was in the guild headquarters, I headed straight towards the front desk to wait in the line that was only slightly less busy than two days ago. Eventually I made it to the front, only to be met with a grumpy Julia.
“Oh feckin’ great, it’s you again. What’cha need this time?”
“And good morning to you too. Hopefully I won’t take up too much of your time today. First, I have this for the guildmaster.” I said, handing over a package with the possible evolutionary materials I had borrowed from him, along with a list of what my evolution options were and what caused them.
“I’m required to ask what is in there. Safety reasons.”
“A wise precaution. It’s a crystal called a Heart of Clear Skies, along with a list of the evolutionary options I had.”
“Thanks for not fightin’ me on that. Ya wouldn’t believe tha nerve of some o’ these folks.”
“Heh, lemme guess. Rules are important, but I’m too important for the rules to apply to me?”
“Bingo. It almost seems like you have done this a time or two.”
“No, but there are entitled people everywhere. Now, I also should have a package of poisons to pick up, as well as a meeting with Master Faraldo.”
“Gimme a sec.” She said, before turning and rummaging through a pile of papers at the back of the desk. “Still ain’t gonna get used to people askin’ fer poisons so nonchalantly.” I heard her grumble despite the distance between us, and silently chuckled. I supposed that would be something that would take getting used to. A few minutes later, she returned with a rack of ten vials, four red, three blue, two yellow, and one a tar-like black. “Careful with that last one, you know what it is, right?”
“Death’s Knell, right?”
“Yep. Ok, that’s what you asked for, now I gotta give ya the safety spiel. Don’t touch it without gloves, preferably two pairs. Have a cleansing elixir on hand in case of accidental poisoning, which can be via ingestion, inhalation, or skin contact. Keep your experiments in a well ventilated area, away from wildlife and far away from anything that is edible, be it plant or animal. Do you understand these restrictions?”
“Very well then, any accidents will be your responsibility. Good luck. As for meeting Master Faraldo, I’m sorry but he is in an important meeting for the rest of the day and is unavailable.”
“Great, can you show me the way?”
“Did’ya not just hear me? He’s got an important dwarf clan meeting with him right now, and he’s not to be bothered.”
“Sorry, I wasn’t clear. Master Faraldo invited the Stonefist clan here to meet with me. Now, where are they?”
“And just what would one o’ the most influential clans be needin’ to meet with you fer?”
“You mean Master Faraldo didn’t tell you?” As she shook her head no, I continued, “Then it must not be any of your business. Now, where are they?”
“Hmph, ya don’t gotta be an asshole about it. Second floor meetin’ room, it’s the first one on the right.”
“Thank you Julia, you have been a great help. Have a nice day.” I said as I walked away. I heard her grumbling a bit, but couldn’t make out the words. I didn’t really care, simply heading up the stairs to the conference room. I saw a red hand print prominently glowing on the door, even without mystic vision active, which must be their system for ‘No Entry.’ I gave the door three solid knocks and stepped back to wait.
A few seconds later, the light flashed green and the door opened to reveal Master Faraldo. “Angus! Good, ya got here early. Come in, come in. The Stonefists are already inside, I hope you can hold up to your promises.” Stepping back, I followed him in to see five dwarves arranged in a semicircle on the other side of the table facing the door. Four of them were obviously old, while the last was positively ancient. The one thing they had in common was the grumpiness apparent in their faces.
“This is the creature that asked ta meet with us?” The central one barked.
“Indeed, Grand Elder. Allow me to introduce.” Master Faraldo started before being interrupted.
“And just what makes ye think that ye have anything of value to us?”
“Well obviously manners aren’t important, but maybe you respect the bones of your ancestors. Do you have a way to verify what I have?”
“Ya be claimin’ ya have the bones of our ancestor, Grumblespark. Hand ‘em over.”
“Turn around and bend over. I’ll give ‘em to ya one at a time.” I snarled, adopting their tone.
“What’d ya say to us, boy?”
“Here.” I said, sliding a sheathed dagger across the table. “Use this to clear out the hair from your ears so you can hear me this time. I said, bend over. I’ll shove the bones right up your ass, one at a time.” As I practically shouted the last part, all the dwarves eyes got large and they stared at the Grand Elder.
“Just who do ya think ya are, talkin’ to me like that?”
“Just who do you think you are, talking down to me like that?” I hissed back at him. “Our city turned down another dwarf clan the other day for the insulting offer they made to trade with us. I had hoped it was just the one clan that was entitled and greedy. I was wrong, it seems that all dwarves save a select few like Master Faraldo can be described as entitled and greedy.”
“Now you listen here.” He started, before I interrupted him this time.
“No, you will be the one listening. Master Faraldo knows what I have in my possession, and he obviously passed it along to you since you are all here. I thought to be nice, and attempt to return your ancestors bones and give you access to his working notes. Most people would go to war for that opportunity. But I can tell you this, I sure as shit didn’t brave the lair of a necromancer that was raising dead heroes, slay him and all his abominations, and bring out the skeleton of a legendary dwarf blacksmith to be talked down to in such a manner.”
“I think we should all calm down just a bit, and try this again. Maybe get off on the right foot this time.” Master Faraldo tried to interject, but I was already pissed.
“Sorry Master Faraldo, I think the time for pleasantries has passed. I have no intention of holding you accountable for their rudeness. Perhaps at some point we can discuss a trip to return Grumblespark’s bones to a proper dwarven grave. Until then, they can rest in the temple of Thanatos.”
“Now wait just a minute!” The Grand Elder tried to bargain.
“Too late. I came to you with a very beneficial offer, but you were condescending and rude. And don’t think I missed the greedy gleam in your eye when I mentioned the necromancer raising heroes. Tell me, honestly. If I were to return the bones to you right now, would you return them to their rest, or would you study them to see if you could replicate the necromancer’s feat?”
“Listen boy. We could learn so much from.”
“ENOUGH!” I yelled. “You will never see these bones again, just as you will never see the notes he made on his blacksmithing techniques. And the works of the necromancer? I sacrificed them all to Thanatos, not looking at them.” When I dropped that little bomb, all save Master Faraldo looked at me like I was crazy. “Worthless, the lot of you. Crawl back to your holes, worms. I’ll have nothing to do with you.” Spinning on my heels, I exited the door to a clamor of dwarven voices pleading with me.
Storming down the stairs, I caught Julia’s eyes and spoke as I walked past, “You aren’t as bad as them yet. I would emulate Master Faraldo more if you are going to be interacting with more than just dwarves for the rest of your life.” Not slowing down, I headed out through the portal to Djarleen’s shop, looking forward to trying some new things for training with Khaliss.
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.