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It was the sight of Ameliah leaving that really hammered it all home for Rain. He was alone, isolated by language, culture, and time. Adrift in a sea of unfamiliar faces, unable to speak the language, struggling with his grasp on reality, Rain decided he needed a minute. He walked over to one of the rows of benches along the side of the room, sat down, and rested his head in his hands.

 

This really was quite a situation he had found himself in. In the left pocket of his pajama pants, he had half of a trail ration, his jaw not having been up to finishing his supper from the day before. In his right pocket, he had the little vial with a single crystal shard inside, no bigger than a grain of rice. Wrapped around the vial was the quest notice, the layer of paper adding some meager protection to the glass vial.

 

His plain white t-shirt was crumpled and he was barefoot. His messy brown hair was badly in need of a wash, preferably with some shampoo, and only the fact that many of the adventurers crowding the room smelled as bad or worse than he did kept him from dying of shame.

 

His unusual attire was getting him some stares from the other occupants of the room. Too overwhelmed to care, Rain stared right back, noting swords, shields, bows, axes, spears, staffs, and so forth. No guns, no plastic, nothing even remotely electronic. Just men and women, mostly dressed in shades of brown and green, mostly armed, and mostly dangerous looking. He watched them come and go, his stomach rumbling at his lack of breakfast, and his mouth dry. Sighing, he got up to look for the bathroom and something to drink.

 

Gus looked up from behind his counter as Rain rose from his seat, but made no move to stop him when he headed for one of the hallways leading off of the main room. Rain hadn't seen anything like a bathroom down the hallway to the bunk room, so he picked the other wing of the building and headed down the hallway. The hallway was dim in the morning light, only illuminated by the windows letting sunlight into the main room.

 

He found the bathroom, or just toilet he supposed, it not having anything remotely resembling a bath. It left much to be desired. He saw no way for him to wash his hands or even a mirror for him to tame his hair. He tried not to think about all the diseases he was probably acquiring as he walked to the toilet with his bare feet.

 

His business taken care of, he searched the small room. He noted that they did have something approaching toilet paper, but he didn't need that right now as it hadn't been that kind of business. The toilet had no flush obviously, and he felt no desire to look down the dark shaft. Thankfully, there was a heavy scent of pine in the air from some sort of greenery pinned to a wall, and, while primitive, the facility was clean enough. He still felt like he needed a shower though.

 

Exiting the bathroom, he suppressed a full body shudder at the thought of his unwashed hands, or, more accurately, the thought of everyone else's unwashed hands. Instead of heading back to the main room, he continued down the hall, following the sound of several people talking. Ignoring closed doors along the hallway, he came out into another large room which seemed to be some sort of restaurant or bar. There were tables strewn about, a bar, with no-one behind it at the moment, and a few people lounging around and talking. Nobody looked up as he came in.

 

Rain saw a man filling a mug with a ladle of water from a barrel near the bar. Trying not to think about where the man's hands had been, Rain grabbed a mug from the bar, filled it, and drank it down. He re-filled the mug, then made his way over to a table to sit and think.

 

Well, here I am. Time to think about priorities. Humm. Priority one, don't die. To that end, I need food. I have 1 tel, but I don't know how much that is worth. I also have half of a nutritional brick, but I'd better save that for later if I am starving or I need to break a window. So then, priority two is food so I don't die and priority three is money so I can buy more food. I guess I could go out and search the city for food, but that isn't solving the larger problem. I'm a little hungry right now, but I have skipped breakfast before, so it can wait.

 

Fishing out the paper from his pocket, Rain looked at the picture of the slime and the little sword. They must make these this way so people can pick up quests quickly by scanning for the symbols. That, and probably some of these people can't read. Given the tech level, I wouldn’t expect schools to be a thing. Having the clerk explain the quest is a simple solution, at least for stuff like this. Anyway, I think that I can do this, killing five slimes doesn't sound so bad, as long as they come one at a time. Five tel as a reward seems pretty good I guess, and that is in addition to the 5 that will drop from the slimes. I'd feel a lot better with 11 tel than 1.

 

Retrieving the vial from his pocket, Rain shook it, looking at the little white crystal. So monsters drop these, or at least slimes do at any rate, and these adventurers use them as currency. Seems pretty inconvenient, but then again, I'm not sure what they are worth. It could be that 1 tel buys me food for a month, though judging by how many were in the sack that woman had, somehow I doubt that.

 

Sitting up and slapping his face, Rain grabbed the vial and re-wrapped it in the paper before shoving it in his pocket. Well, I'm not going to get them just sitting here. I've spent plenty of time sulking about what I don't have, let's see what I do. Attributes. Statistics.

 

Attributes

Richmond Rain Stroudwater

Level 2

Experience: 100/200

Unclassed

 

 

Health

200

Stamina

200

Mana

200

 

Strength

10 (+)

Recovery

10 (+)

Endurance

10 (+)

Vigor

10 (+)

Focus

10 (+)

Clarity

10 (+)

 

Free Points

30

 

 

 

Statistics

 

 

Total

Base

Modifier

Health

200

200

0 | 0%

H.Regen

100/day

100/day

0 | 0%

Stamina

200

200

0 | 0%

S.Regen

100/day

100/day

0 | 0%

Mana

200

200

0 | 0%

M.Regen

100/day

100/day

0 | 0%

 

Movement Speed

10

Vision

10

 

Resistances

Heat

Cold

Light

Dark

1 | 0%

1 | 0%

1 | 0%

1 | 0%

Force

Arcane

Mental

Chemical

1 | 0%

1 | 0%

1 | 0%

1 | 0%

 

 

30 free points, strength for strength, endurance for defense, focus for magic. Recovery stats for all three. Right now, I'm sitting at more or less full on health, stamina, and mana. Is 200 a lot? I think not. Should I put points in strength to get more health? How about recovery? Right now I am back to full in everything in two days. Ten points would mean I could recover to full every day. That seems better somehow, at least right now, but... No, let’s look at skills first. Skills.

 

 

Skills

-

Free Skill Points: 3

-

Utility Auras | Aura Metamagic | Offensive Auras | Defensive Auras | < | > |

 

Three points, and hundreds of skills to pick from. Or even hundreds of skill trees. It wasn't like I reached the end of that list. Priority, heck, what was I up to? Well, if 4 is picking skills and 5 is stats, priority 6: customize these dang menus to be a bit easier to use. Anyway, I don't have time to dig through all of these and pick out the exact skills I want. I already found something that looks good with the auras, so let's have a look at those.

 

 

Offensive Auras

 

Tier 0

 

Immolate (0/10) (+)

7-8 heat (fcs) damage per second to entities and environment

Sufficient damage causes ignition

Range: 1 meter

Cost: 5 mp/s

 

Refrigerate (0/10) (+)

7-8 cold (fcs) damage per second to entities and environment

Sufficient damage causes slow

Range: 1 meter

Cost: 5 mp/s

 

 

Tier 1

 

Locked (Unlock - 100)

 

 

Those both seem pretty brutal. Range is a bit of a problem though.

 

 

Defensive Auras

 

Tier 0

 

Heat Ward (0/10) (+)

Increase heat resistance by 3.0% for all entities

Range: 1 meter

Cost: 1 mp/dmg mitigated

 

Cold Ward (0/10) (+)

Increase cold resistance by 3.0% for all entities

Range: 1 meter

Cost: 1 mp/dmg mitigated

 

Tier 1

 

Locked (Unlock - 100)

 

3% doesn't seem like much, but if I got it to level 10, I assume that would be 30%. These... kinda suck, at least right now. Maybe if I found some way to boost them?

 

Utility Auras

 

Tier 0

 

Purify (0/10) (+)

Purify poison, corruption, and contamination

Range: 1 meter

Cost: 10 mp/min

 

Spring (0/10) (+)

Multiply S.Regen by 110% for all entities

Range: 1 meter

Cost: 1 mp/hr

 

Summer (0/10) (+)

Multiply H.Regen by 110% for all entities

Range: 1 meter

Cost: 1 mp/hr

 

Winter (0/10) (+)

Multiply M.Regen by 110% for all entities

Range: 1 meter

Cost: 1 mp/hr

 

Tier 1

 

Locked (Unlock - 100)

 

There is purify. I want it so bad. Instant shower, laundry, and cleaning service all in one. Utility is damn right. The others don't look bad either. Humm, mana regen, but it costs mana. So if I get 100 mana a day right now, boosting that is 10 mana per day, which is less than, hang on, are days even 24 hours here? Wait, why is the range of everything in meters?

 

 

Just roll with it, I have a big enough headache already. Anyway, uses more mana than it restores for me, but for others it would be good. If I put a bunch of points in it maybe I'd break even eventually. These all could be good, but, I should probably take one of the offensive ones first. I'll be back for you purify.

 

 

Aura Metamagic

 

Tier 0

 

Amplify Aura (0/10) (+)

Multiply aura intensity by 110%

Multiply aura mana cost by 120%

 

Extend Aura (0/10) (+)

Extend aura range by 1 meter

Multiply aura mana cost by 120%

 

Tier 1

 

Locked (Unlock - 100)

 

Amplify is nice. So is extend. That could help with the range problem for immolate or refrigerate. Ok, time to make a decision. Is this what I want to focus on?

 

Rain sat and thought, paging through different trees to check a couple numbers. He noted a few other nice skills available at tier 0, most having higher damage than that listed on the auras on a per-mana or per-stamina basis, but something about the aura trees was speaking to him. What settled it was thinking about what he wanted to do after he was over this initial hurdle. In his past life, some of his best memories were going on adventures with his friends, both in real life and in games. If there was one sure way to make friends in a fantasy world, it was to play a class that was good for the party. Auras had that in spades.

 

I'm not just going to be some buff beacon though. This support will have some teeth!

 

Flicking to the offensive aura page, Rain debated briefly, then touched the Refrigerate skill. If he was going to be fighting slimes, he didn't want them detonating when they got near him. One meter was way too close for that to be a valid strategy. The skill ticked to 1/10 and the apply button appeared. He pressed it before he could change his mind. Closing out the menu, he stood, wanting to try out the skill before devoting more points to it.

 

Rain headed back towards the main room, intending to go outside to test his aura so he didn't bother anyone by giving them frostbite. He noticed that one of the doors on the way to the main guild hall was open that hadn't been before. Peering in as he passed, he noticed that the scarred man he had seen in the bunk room was swinging an axe at a wooden dummy. It seemed to be some sort of practice room. Rain smiled. Even better.

 

Entering the room, Rain walked over to a dummy near a window, as far from the man as possible so as to not disturb him. Getting within a meter of the dummy, Rain felt a bit silly, practically hugging it as he was. He set the feeling aside to try out his new skill.

 

Let's see here. Refrigerate.

 

Instead of a burst of cold, Rain noticed a small window appear in the bottom right of his vision. It was a square with the image of a snowflake. Ah, so that just selects the skill. How do I use it?

 

Rain concentrated on the image of the snowflake. He felt something at the edge of his awareness, like he was pushing at a barrier with his mind. Re-focusing his effort, Rain gasped as he broke through whatever membrane had been separating him from the skill. He felt cold rush through his veins and a burst of blueish white light shone from his skin as a circle of frost started to form on the ground below him. The dummy was quickly coated in a thin layer of icy crystals and Rain gasped at the feeling of mana flowing through him for the very first time. The frost stopped at a very short distance from him, and he quickly stopped concentrating on the skill, seeing that his mana was quickly dropping.

 

Rain stepped back from the dummy and inspected it. The frost was already starting to melt, leaving a film of dew over the surface of the dummy and on the floor where he had been standing. Checking his mana, he saw that he was down about 10%.

 

Damn, that uses mana fast. I don't know how good this will be against a slime. Can I pulse it real fast so it only deals one tick? Is 8 damage a lot? I really don't want to hug a slime while I wait for it to turn into an ice cube.

 

Not bothering to step back up to the dummy, Rain concentrated on the snowflake again and tried to release a single pulse, pulling back as soon as he managed to break through the barrier. A wave of cold blasted out from him and he was happy to see that the decrease in his mana bar was hardly noticeable.

 

Nice. Now, the range. If I put another point in it, does the range increase, or do I need to put a point in extend aura?

 

Rain re-opened his skills menu, noting that the Refrigerate skill was now listed in the main panel, not just under the tabs. When he tried to put another point into it, however, he found that he couldn't. The skill showed (1/10), but there didn't seem to be a way to increase it. Looking at the skills screen, he noticed that in addition to the (1/10), the main panel now had a line saying 0/100 experience next to the skill.

 

Oh.

 

Ooooooh.

 

Skill points are just for unlocking! That changes things. How do I get experience? Practice? Using it in combat?

 

Rain caught himself musing and forcibly stopped himself. He would find out once it came up. For now, he needed to do something about that range. He flicked to the aura metamagic tab and added a point to extend aura and applied it. He decided to save the last point for later. His thought was to put it in purify, but he didn't want to do that now in case he needed it for a more combat ready skill.

 

As an afterthought, he pulled up the attributes menu, hesitated for a moment, then shrugged and dumped 10 points into clarity, bringing his regeneration up to 200/day.

 

This way, I can go out every day and use all my mana. I think I’m getting an idea for a build here. I need to check the math, but maybe...

 

Rain was smiling happily as he looked over his status, trying to keep his expectations realistic and failing, his mind wandering off into his own private fantasy of his future badassery.

 

Attributes

Richmond Rain Stroudwater

Level 2

Experience: 100/200

Unclassed

 

Health

200

Stamina

200

Mana

200

 

Strength

10 (+)

Recovery

10 (+)

Endurance

10 (+)

Vigor

10 (+)

Focus

10 (+)

Clarity

20 (+)

 

Free Points

20

 

 

 

Statistics

 

 

Total

Base

Modifier

Health

200

200

0 | 0%

H.Regen

100/day

100/day

0 | 0%

Stamina

200

200

0 | 0%

S.Regen

100/day

100/day

0 | 0%

Mana

200

200

0 | 0%

M.Regen

200/day

200/day

0 | 0%

 

Movement Speed

10

Vision

10

 

Resistances

Heat

Cold

Light

Dark

1 | 0%

1 | 0%

1 | 0%

1 | 0%

Force

Arcane

Mental

Chemical

1 | 0%

1 | 0%

1 | 0%

1 | 0%

 

 

Skills

 

Refrigerate (1/10) Exp: 0/100

7-8 cold (fcs) damage per second to entities and environment

Sufficient damage causes slow

Range: 1 meter

Cost: 5 mp/s

 

Extend Aura (1/10) Exp: 0/100

Extend aura range by 1 meter

Multiply aura mana cost by 120%

 

Free Skill Points: 1

 

 

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FirstDragon @FirstDragon ago

Ranged abilities are safer since he has no skill at melee combat. I understand you want him to build an aura character and the slime argument with cold is okay but fire bolt would work fine for that situation too.

he seriously can’t go with purify unless he’s legitimately concerned about poison. He needs a broader base of defense and attack skills and aura defense is honestly shit in comparison to offense so he’d need other items skills abilities to compensate for close range fighting. Honestly it seems really risky to go close range.

anyway it is hard to judge to believability factor for him yet. There’s a lot we don’t know as readers about his character. We know he wants to party and that’s wise regardless of his background. We know he seems to be youthful but unclear what his actual age is and what kind of life experiences he’s led. Has he worked and studied? Just worked? Menial labor or was high gifted and did programming at a company? You need to keep slowly cleaning out his character so he isn’t bland. You want him to have quirks beyond gaming background. You want him to have some small weaknesses and strengths in terms of his character / personality. Is he stubborn or impulsive? So far he seems excessively slow and thoughtful and head in the clouds verses efficiency reality pragmatic. You can show us these characteristics rather than tell us then via his behavior, which you’ve done some so far.

Just think a bit about who you want him to be as a person before you go too much further.  Take some notes. Has he dated. What’s his sexuality and comfort ability with that and sex / romance itself. Is he confident and outgoing or more an introvert who is forced by current circumstances to act as he has so far to learn things. Does he have any past traumas or fears? How close is he to his family? He hasn’t mentioned missing them or worrying about his absence from earth yet. That could be because he’s a loner or because you didn’t think of it as important enough to mention. It probably is btw if he has any real attachments. 

Once you have a well defined character edit g believably  about his decisions and dialogue becomes much easier. You can create situations and circumstances and then let him drive the plot as a natural autonomous force. That way he makes decisions rather than it seeming like you as the author have railroaded him. If you give genuine options that helps too...having him take a left at the pass because the right road is packed with dragons isn’t really a choice at all.  

Your writing is overall pretty solid minus some need for greater character development and depth which is totally solvable over the next dozen chapters with patience and spread out info drops and behaviors showing us who he is. 

As far as blue screens. Don’t use all of a big add table when only one thing changed. Just say X shifted to Y and/or A Grew to B. Use the tables only if they haven’t been used in a decent while and there are substantial changes racked up that should be seen as a whole. Or put one at the end of every chapter behind a spoiler with everything updated if you feel it is necessary. Otherwise big mostly pointless blue screens will take a big hunk of what your readers are processing when they should be focused on much more important aspects of the story. 

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    SenescentSoul @SenescentSoul ago

    Thanks for the detailed and well thought out feedback. I think you make a lot of good points in here, and I'll take them to heart as I work on editing later chapters, and probably even go back and insert a bit here and there. I had put a little bit about his life very early on explaining how he dropped out of school to work construction and support his mother, but I could definately do more here and there as it is pretty easy to miss. I want it to feel gradual and not spend a bunch of time in flashbacks of Earth.

    Part of my problem is that I want to have him demonstrate his character with his interactions with other characters, rather than just giving him even more internal monologues (he has plenty). The language thing is a problem for this, but I don't want it to feel like the game system is just solving problems for him. I want him to work for it, and learning the language is a part of that.

      FirstDragon @FirstDragon ago

      Don’t flashback to earth. You don’t need to. But he can pause at moments in the story to remember pieces of his life he misses or relationships that remind him of something similar or opposite on earth.

      For example, let’s say when the gal ditches him and you write what he felt like. you could simply add “he felt bereft, like when Susan walked out without a word 6 months into their fiery on again off again relationship”.

      Or “the mages lazy narcoleptic presence reminded him of his gamer buddy Roshi, whose sloth like antics provided much needed laughter when situations turned grim from their D&D party. In comparison to Roshi, what Rain lacked in physical comedy he made up for in dry wit and spot on vocal impersonations. Oh course the current situation left him feeling like a third wheel on a bad date but what else could he do?”

    Keifru @Keifru ago

    Honestly, anyone with the most fascimile understanding of germ theory finding themselves in a medieval setting should make room for Purify considering how liner and steady skill point acquisition has been. You can have all the amazing abilities and be done in by an infection or cholera. The fact its counting cleanliness under the umbrella of "poison, corruption, and contamination" is a bonus.

comandergummybear @comandergummybear ago

On the defensive auras, both heat and cold say heat resistance

Qanelin @Qanelin ago

Only using his skill for 40 seconds a day is rather rough.

superkingoftacos @superkingoftacos ago

he should probably get purify as he has no antibodies against whatever pathigens are around him. some of them might be magical. without a good way of keeping clear of them, he'll be dead in a month

    nf_zeta @nf_zeta ago

    I do think its REALLY too handy to pass up. Maybe later though but for a utility skill its a lifesaver, even if just the extreme convenience in everyday life and a safeguard against poisonous enemies.

Aselo @Aselo ago

If he grinds both cold and hot auras up high enough that will be a deadly combination.....rapid large changes in temperature are not good for anything I can think of offhand...

A T @A T ago

Thanks for the chapter!

TigerCannon @TigerCannon ago

2 is food so I don't die and priority three is money

Should make that 3 to keep the list consistent, or change it all to words

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Nakkus @Nakkus ago

Thanks for the chapter!

Interesting, I am looking forward to seeing where he takes the build. :)