What is experience? Where does it come from? Where does it go? Ever since the System descended on our world, scholars priests and wise ones all over the world have sought to understand it. Class progressions have been mapped out, skill trees have been researched and codified endlessly. Many aspects of the system are thoroughly understood and form the curriculum of schools all around the world.
The fundamental underpinning aspects of the System, however, remain elusive and resistant to study. There are many theories on the topic of experience that range from reasonable to absurd but the topic is one that resists study as it is so intangible. The system at no point quantifies experience in a number, making it impossible to ascertain just how much is gained from any one activity. Estimates can and have been made, by having two subjects of the same level attempt to reach the next by different means, one through study and one through combat, for example, and educated guesses can be achieved through such means, but just what experience is, remains as distant a piece of understanding as ever.
There are those who believe, somewhat mystically, that experience taken from a living thing, a monster, is the purest form, the true intention of the System and any other source is secondary to this. The church of the Path has long extolled the view that nothing truly dies so long as it's experience is absorbed by another living creature, that the 'essence' is preserved and made part of a stronger whole. This seems harmless enough when applied to monsters, but should one extend that dangerous logic to the killing of other people, an activity that also awards XP, some of the dark rumours that swirl around that faith, particularly in its early years, begin to gain credence.
"Experience of the System, origins Myths and Legends, by Jivani the faithless" from the secret Library of the Path.
Behind me I can see that the fight is raging between Tiny. Vibrant and a host of Crocs. Without my magnificent magic to deter the beasts, they have been able to swarm forwards and engage Tiny in a vicious melee. Unfortunately for the Crocs, right next to the ape isn't exactly the safest place one could hope to be. Lightning crackles along Tiny's torso, zapping nearby foes and discharging through his hands with every punch. With each swing of his arms a Croc is sent reeling, even the Double Crocs, large as they are, cannot withstand the strength of those fists.
Like me, Tiny is a tier four monster, not to mention the beneficiary of multiple special evolutions. His strength is absurdly high and thanks to having actually spent some Biomass and skill points, his combat effectiveness is only climbing. The Double Crocs are tier three monsters, and there is little chance they have received the level of evolution, or had access to the wealth of Biomass, that Tiny has been able to enjoy.
I spoil my pets! What can I say?
At any rate, despite being heavily outnumbered, the big lug is managing to hold his own, smashing away Crocs with wild swings whenever they surround him. He's taking some damage though, his defence not up to the task of fending off those jaws and claws.
Vibrant is sticking to instructions and after bombarding the foe with acid from range she has stuck to a hit and run tactics. Whenever a Croc runs directly at her she turns and races to the other side of Tiny, putting the melee between herself and her would be opponent. She really is fast! She would leave me in the dust, even when dashing. Once out of sight and out of mind she charges forward and viciously deploys her various biting skills, chomping away at legs or arms, occasionally the odd torso.
Whenever they get sick of her nibbling, the monsters turn and swipe at her, their claws raking along her carapace, occasionally penetrating far enough to draw blood. True to directions, she immediately backs off, healing up and waiting for another opportunity to strike.
I wonder just how often she can use that healing gland…
On my side, Crinis and I are stilling contending with the odd fireball as our opponents struggle to overcome my forceful gravity bola.
Nifty spell this one. Even monsters as large and physically powerful as the Croca's aren't able to advance once I've tagged them with this beauty. One Titan Croc managed to evade the spell but he has unfortunately fallen into the clutches of Crinis' tentacles.
[You dare to approach my Master, vile beast!?]
She seems mad.
The fate of the Croc is…. Not good. To say the least.
[Don't eat them all Crinis, we need to save some food for everyone, especially the Double Croca]
Beyond the immediate surrounding the environment is still shrouded with steam. I can't quite see the Crocs, their hulking bodies reduced to mere shadows with the obstruction, but similarly, they can't see us.
Doesn't stop them from hurling fire at us though.
[Crinis, fire coming!]
Dammit! Blindly throwing fire in our direction is still dangerous enough. The flames the double Crocs contain within is more potent than that inside their smaller cousins. This is going to get rough.
Around me the fireballs explode as I turn my mind inwards, racing to complete another spell. The air begins to roast us immediately, Crinis suffering more than I do.
Grrrr. I should have seen this coming! Hurry up Anthony, get this spell done!
Within my mind the water mana dances and glides as all of my minds are purposed to directing the mana into a familiar shape.
More fireballs ignite through the steam. These Crocs have a decent tank of fire. Luckily my spell is ready!
Expanding outwards with me in the centre, a spherical wall of water pushes the flames away. With yet more explosions of the steam the incoming fireballs smash into my expanding barrier, super heating the liquid and pushing through but only with a shadow of their previous strength.
Nice! I can handle this!
Yet more steam billows out and further obstructs our vision.
Dammit, I can't see a thing!
[We can't hang back anymore Crinis! Time to push forward and mess them up!]
A very damp tentacle death sphere acknowledges my words with her actions and picks her body up and begins to advance, extending a web of tentacles before herself as she advances, completely unaffected by the steam.
I pass the maintenance of my water domain, a swirling mass of water than swishes and froths constantly in a five metre diameter around me.
Cautiously we advance, my sub minds taking over the maintenance of the water domain and supplying it with a steady stream of water mana. Gradually a shadow looms larger in front of us, a Double Croc thrashing against the restraint of the gravity bola. The Croc is large, far larger than myself, but it certainly doesn't expect us.
Crinis' seeking limbs creep forward before finally contacting the monster before us. Instantly a number of tentacles snap forward and latch onto the Croc who growls deep it it's throat and begins slashing with its claws at the shadow flesh that has attached to it.
Oh no you don't you damned Croc!
Dashing forward the beast is buffeted by the surging waters of my water domain, knocked off balance and thoroughly saturated. Summoning the energy from within I open my mandibles wide as they begin to glow.
The Double Croc reels back in pain.
Suffer from my bite Croc! The first of many!