Vilastromoz smiled as he considered going on a bit of an expedition. He hadn’t been to the Altmar Empire in… well, since he went into seclusion in his realm, so it would be interesting to send an avatar there to check things out. There was no way he would go in person with his real body, as quite frankly, that would just be a needless risk. Even he didn’t take the perhaps most powerful empire of the multiverse lightly.
The Altmar Empire rose to power during the early parts of the second Era. While Vilastromoz wasn’t certain, then there were good chances the leader of the empire was the first few gods that rose to power after the 12 Primordials from the first universe. At least he had been born in the first universe and went to great lengths afterward to wipe out details of the exact time he attained godhood.
While the Altmar Empire was run by a council that did everything, the leader of the council was the one truly in charge. Known as the Autarch, he and the council ruled with an iron fist, and through his leadership, they had created one of the only race-led organizations of the multiverse. While they did have “guests” from other races among their ranks, every single council member was an elven god.
“To make natural dungeons like that… I wonder how they did it,” the Malefic Viper wondered out loud. He had never been much into dungeons. That had always been more the Wyrmgod’s field of expertise. Of course, the Wyrmgod was busy with his namesake Nevermore to care about somehow creating artificial-yet-natural dungeons.
Still unsure if checking out the Altmar Empire right now was worth his time, he instead did a quick inspection of the Order and saw that preparations were coming along nicely. Jake had joked about hoping never to do any more exams after university. He was lucky in that Villy had no intentions of making him take any.
Too bad for him, he wouldn’t be able to dodge education as a whole, though. The Order’s academy was still preparing for the next admittance. The notices had been sent out, not just to the factions related to the Order but also to a few other organizations. Today he had just decided to send the Altmar Empire one too. It was a notice for them to send their talented young alchemist to learn at what had once been known as the greatest academy for poison-based alchemy in the entire multiverse.
To come, learn, and see that it was still the best.
Jake appeared on the metal disc that led into the Undergrowth. While he was in a generally great mood, he still sighed as he looked down at the platform. He felt a bit sad about failing to bring the Cave Troll and its two kids out with him.
“Sorry, bud,” he muttered as he jumped out of the hole and up to what had once been a biodome. He saw that quite a few plants were growing there now, and if left untouched, it would surely turn into a biodome once more. For now, he would just let it grow naturally with the hope that something valuable would appear, so he made his way back to the lodge.
On the way, he checked his status and saw that his two dungeon-related titles had been updated.
[Dungeoneer VI] – Successfully clear a Dungeon suitable for your level. +8 all stats.
[Dungeon Pioneer VI] – Be the first to clear a dungeon suitable for your level. +24 all stats.
The basic Dungeoneer had increased by 3 to all stats while the other one had increased by 9. That was 12 to all stats in the bag. Both bonuses had tripled as Jake had expected. It did make him wonder how high the title counted for D-grade… well, he guessed up to 10. Hopefully, he could find four more suitable dungeons while still in D-grade. Fingers crossed.
Once he got back, he saw a small magical note on his door simply stating that Miranda had been by and when she could return. It also let him know that she had left the city for a while to make her own push for D-grade and not to worry as Neil’s party members only needed their professions for their own perfect evolutions and were all staying back in the city themselves to level.
It also included that Neil had evolved to D-grade while Jake was gone – evolved, and gone straight to the Fort to try and improve the teleportation circle there. This reminded Jake that he should pay a visit to Arnold again. But not now.
Now… now it was math time and stat-allocation time.
The first thing he did was take off the things he would replace. His shitty cloak was replaced with a hopefully-not-shitty invisibility cloak. At least, that is what he thought it to be from the description. This didn’t change his stats, as neither gave any. He was beginning to think cloaks didn’t give stats at all, actually.
Next up were the pants. Jake removed his old Badger Pants, losing 25 endurance and 25 agility, as well as the absolutely vital technique Badger Jump. He wasn’t sure what he would do without the critical ability to jump higher by infusing his legs with stamina – a technique he totally hadn’t figured out how to do without a skill a long-ass time ago.
Putting on his new pants, he bound them to himself and felt the influx of energy rush through his body like a warm flood. It was a sudden spike of 200 extra stats, making him instantly feel great. He also got a basic understanding of what that whole Life Burst ability was like.
It really was a bit like an extra health potion, but it wasn’t as controlled or system-assisted. Instead, it just flooded his body with life-affinity mana, and Jake would have to direct it himself to heal his body. Meanwhile, a health potion did everything for you, and while you could control the vital energy somewhat, if you didn’t, it would just automatically prioritize what it deemed most important.
If he didn’t direct the life-affinity mana from the Life Burst ability, it could end up just turning into a big tumor or be wasted entirely. So he would have to be a bit careful with it.
The Aura of the Undergrowth he couldn’t really test, but at least he didn’t instantly see moss begin growing in or around his lodge after putting them on. He did feel like the grass outside looked a bit… happier? His Sense of the Malefic Viper also let him know that the area around him was more suited for growth.
Weirdly enough, Jake actually didn’t give off any energy. It was more like his mere presence encouraged the plants. As it didn’t seem to have any inherent affinity to it, Jake even hoped it would work on stuff like death-attuned mushrooms.
They even felt nice to wear. The pants had a very solid and tactile feel to them yet didn’t impede movement at all.
With new comfortable pants, Jake came to the most important thing: the ring.
He started out by choosing which ring to discard. The first gave +30 Strength, +20 Perception, and +20 Agility, while the other ring gave +50 Intelligence, +50 Wisdom, and +35 Willpower. While he likely needed the stats on the first one more, there simply wasn’t any competition. One gave 70 total stats, and the other gave 135.
Jake put the first ring in his inventory and took on the Altmar N-Signet. He bound it to himself, and instantly he became innately aware of his ability to redistribute all the stats. He had to hold himself back for a moment from just putting them all in perception. It was tempting as fuck, but he forced himself to be a bit smarter about it.
There were two things that had to be remembered when it came to rules related to gear:
The first was the maximum possible stat gain from items – which was 20% in a single stat, and how you could only get a total of 15% total extra stats from gear. This was a hard cap as far as Jake was aware of, and there was no way to get around. One also had to remember that these stats from items didn’t benefit from percentage amplifiers. Well, they did by the number of stats possible from items increased due to the amplifiers. So essentially, one just didn’t double-benefit.
To put it in the simplest terms, the legs Jake just got gave him 150 vitality. He didn’t get more just because he had titles giving him a percentage amplifier.
Jake played around a bit with his status menu and consulted the one about items. He opened it up and took a look as he considered where he could distribute the stats.
As could be seen, he had plenty of room to grow in every single stat. Some more than others. He felt like it was absolutely atrocious that he didn’t get a single stat point in perception from his equipment after taking off the ring. Taking it off also meant he didn’t get any stats to strength at all.
So… he could put 981 of the stats from the Altmar Signet into perception. Heck, in a couple of levels, his hard cap would be a thousand, so he could totally throw them all in there. However, his logical side stopped him. Something annoying stopped him. Math.
Because to truly figure out where it would be smartest to put the points, one had to look at percentage amplifiers. This was the second big factor Jake had to take into account. To do that, he had to refer to the expanded stats page:
Jake had some really great percentage amplifiers. 54,21% extra stats in total, but of course, they weren’t equally amplified for all stats. Perception was the top stat, along with vitality, with 65% amplification each. This essentially means that these stats would be the worst to increase with items logically and mathematically.
The reason for this was due to gear not amplified from the amplifiers. So it was instead better for Jake to increase these two with natural treasures or free points as he got a higher net total through that. Of course, with how the caps worked, he was pretty much forced into getting some points in either, and as he couldn’t pick and choose gear currently, he already had a lot of vitality-giving gear. Heck, it was his most increased stat from gear due to the new pants.
Now, his four least-increased stats – and thus technically the best to get gear for as he shouldn’t spend free points on them – were agility, strength, endurance, and toughness. All sat at 45% stat-amplification. Naturally, this did mean that Jake wasn’t min-maxing properly by eating the time-bananas, but that is where another very crucial factor of this entire math puzzle came in.
Jake didn’t really give a shit about min-maxing.
If he did, he would just call up Villy and ask him or even ask his divine friend to hire a stat consultant for him or something to find the absolutely most optimal distribution possible. Honestly, that just sounded like a boring way to live, and Jake would rather just do stuff his own way. This didn’t mean he would completely disregard min-maxing and mathematical logic. They just wouldn’t necessarily be the primary reasons behind his decision-making.
Yet, for once, he would play it smart. Jake knew that right now, he needed some stats more than others. He would hate to put free points in some stats, so why not shore up some of his shortcomings with gear? He could increase a single stat by 20% after all.
Firstly: strength. It was a stat Jake really hadn’t focused on as much as he should, and it was his lowest besides toughness. With how much time he spent in melee and how much it would likely also help with his archery, he needed a good boost.
Jake could get a total of 324 more from gear… so 300 strength from the ring seemed like a good idea. That would be close to a 20% increase in the stat, which should be massive.
Secondly was agility. Jake was already eating bananas and had thrown some free points into it. Quite a lot of free points, actually. 367 in total. It was a bit of a waste as he honestly preferred just to throw everything in perception.
Either way, agility was a good choice. He could get around 400 more there, but he chose to settle on the ring giving 300. He wanted some space for other pieces of gear to increase it too. Plus… he still planned on eating bananas.
That was 600 stats planned out - 400 to go.
Now, with the logic of where the amplifiers were, endurance or toughness should be next. Toughness… well, Jake wrote that off right away. While it was always nice to be tougher, Jake, in general, preferred not to get hit, to begin with. He knew he was already quite tough for an archer as it was and that he was capable of taking hits when needed.
Which left endurance. While Jake could see the value in increasing it, he had noticed that his stamina drain honestly wasn’t that immense. A big reason for this was that most of his skills also used mana. Limit Break was the only major drain.
While it wasn’t a top priority, he still chose to put 100 points into endurance. It would still help.
300 to go.
He decided to put 100 into intelligence too. It helped his arcane magic immensely and made things like his explosive arrow better.
With 200 to go, he failed to resist.
200 to perception.
He needed some points there, okay? That 0 stuck out like a sore thumb. He had to do it.
Feeling a bit guilty, he mischievously smiled as he distributed the stats in the ring. Once he was done, he mentally accepted – and then he felt a massive flood of energy enter his body. It felt fucking great, and he basked in it for a few seconds until it went away. He identified the ring again and saw that it had indeed registered the distribution.
[Altmar N-Signet (Ancient)] – You have been judged by the Altmar Empire and found worthy. This ring is made of unknown metal with an unknown gem embedded in it. This signet is proof of your performance and contains an identifying script designed to only be readable by the Altmar Empire. Yet even if this ring is primarily a display of status, it is far from just a showpiece. For with great status comes great power. This ring has been customized by its owner to grant him the distributed stats he desires. Stats cannot be redistributed once set. Enchantments: +300 Strength, +300 Agility, +200 Perception, +100 Endurance, +100 Intelligence
He admired the ring for a bit and took note that the requirements had changed to Soulbound just as it had said it would, and the description had also changed a bit more besides that, mainly by removing a lot of the stat-distribution text.
Looking at his full status after everything was done, he, of course, noted his stat growth.
Name: Jake Thayne
Race: [Human (D) – lvl 118]
Class: [Avaricious Arcane Hunter – lvl 129]
Profession: [Heretic-Chosen Alchemist of the Malefic Viper – lvl 107]
Health Points (HP): 19871/23050
Mana Points (MP): 25671/31462
Free points: 0
Titles:[Forerunner of the New World], [Bloodline Patriarch], [Holder of a Primordial’s True Blessing], [Dungeoneer VI], [Dungeon Pioneer VI], [Legendary Prodigy], [Prodigious Slayer of the Mighty], [Kingslayer], [Nobility: Earl], [Progenitor of the 93rd Universe], [Prodigious Arcanist], [Perfect Evolution (D-grade)]
Class Skills:[Basic One-Handed Weapons (Inferior)], [Basic Twin Fang Style (Uncommon)], [Basic Shadow Vault of Umbra (Uncommon)], [Hunter’s Tracking (Uncommon)], [Expert Stealth (Uncommon)], [Archery of Vast Horizons (Rare)], [Limit Break (Rare)], [Enhanced Splitting Arrow (Rare)] [Arrow of the Ambitious Hunter (Epic)], [Arcane Powershot (Epic)], [Big Game Arcane Hunter (Epic)], [Arcane Hunter’s Arrows (Epic)], [Descending Dark Arcane Fang (Epic)], [One Step Mile (Ancient)], [Mark of the Avaricious Arcane Hunter (Ancient)], [Moment of the Primal Hunter (Legendary)], [Gaze of the Apex Hunter (Legendary)]
Profession Skills: [Path of the Heretic Chosen (Unique)], [Herbology (Common)], [Brew Potion (Common)], [Alchemist’s Purification (Common)], [Alchemical Flame (Common)], [Craft Elixir (Common)], [Toxicology (Uncommon)], [Cultivate Toxin (Uncommon)], [Concoct Poison (Uncommon)], [Malefic Viper’s Poison (Epic)], [Scales of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Blood of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Sagacity of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Wings of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Pride of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Fangs of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Sense of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Touch of the Malefic Viper (Ancient)], [Palate of the Malefic Viper (Legendary)]
Blessing: [True Blessing of the Malefic Viper (Blessing - True)]
Race Skills:[Endless Tongues of the Myriad Races (Unique)], [Legacy of Man (Unique)], [Identify (Common)], [Thoughtful Meditation (Uncommon)], [Shroud of the Primordial (Divine)]
Bloodline:[Bloodline of the Primal Hunter (Bloodline Ability - Unique)]
Strength and agility were the biggest winners with the ring, of course. It was a thousand fucking stats he had just been “missing” before. After this dungeon, he had decided.
Before the Treasure Hunt, he would get some gear upgrades.