“I lived, old man!” Tabitha shouted as she barged right into the blacksmith’s shop again, causing Joseph to drop his hammer and glare at her. “Ah. Right. Sorry. Hang on. Got too excited and wasn’t thinkin’ straight. Lemme start over.” Following a polite bow, she stepped back outside the shop, closed the door, and gave it a couple of knocks first before opening it up and shouting, “I lived, old man!”

“I wish you didn’t if this is what I’ve got to deal with because of it,” Joseph said before grumbling and bending over to pick his hammer up.

“C’mon, I heard about what ya did. Thanks, by the by. I appreciate it.”

“Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t have been able to get a good night’s sleep if some random person went on a quest for me and got killed over it.”

“Heh. If ya say so. Anyways—wait. Is that quest still active? Do I still got it?”

“You should. Quests only disappear when they can no longer be completed.”

“Oh. Good. Alright, I’ll try that again tonight! Anyways—” Tabitha got distracted again when she looked around and saw all of her gear tucked away in a corner of the shop. The backpack, the tools, her spear and bowl—all of it was there. He either knew she would be back or planned on taking it to her once she felt better. That made her tempted to tease him over it, but she resisted. “Anyways,” she said for the third time, “can ya teach me how to make a helmet? I’d like to prevent somethin’ like last night from happenin’ again.”

“If you plan on compensating me for the materials.”

“Sure! What’ll I have to do?”

“Head into the mine and bring me back some iron chunks. After you have your helmet.”

“Heh. Yeah, I reckon I shouldn’t be headin’ into a mine without a helmet. Don’t need a rock fallin’ from the ceilin’ and knockin’ me out. Anythin’ else I can do for ya?”

“All I need are more materials. Going through all my iron making these traps and we still need more.”

“The more traps ya toss out there, the higher the chances of catchin’ somethin’.”

“That’s right.”

“Well, I understand the situation, so I can’t blame ya for doin’ this. I take it ya just need even more iron from that mine then?”

“Right. My reflexes aren’t as good as they used to be, so the monsters in there might give me some trouble.”


“Rockbacks and bats, mainly. They shouldn’t pose an issue unless you’re scared. Everybody goes there to train after their Path Ceremony. Even that girl, Runa, went in and came out with only a few scratches.”

“Huh. Why everybody?”

“Easy achievements, to get me and Hanne materials, and extra training if they plan on pursuing combat-related paths.”

“Makes sense. Anyways! Helmet. What do I do?”

Joseph set down his hammer again and stretched his arms out in front of him before cracking his neck in both directions, making Tabitha jump from just how loud the cracks were. She would have asked if he was still alive if it weren’t for the fact that he let out a relaxed sigh afterward. “A helmet is easy. All you have to do is take a sheet of metal and hammer it until it’s the right shape.” He pointed to the back wall where several sheets of metal were already waiting. “Go grab one and bring it over here.”

Tabitha lit up with a smile and gave him a little salute. “Yes, sir!” With that, she practically bounced over to the metal with how excited she was and picked up the first one she saw.

Item Information


Sheet Iron

Smelted iron that has been flattened into a sheet.

Note: “Burrower Mine Iron.”







Bonus Tag


Tabitha noticed that the sheets were similar in appearance to the tools and, well, everything else in the shop that looked like it was made out of metal. They all had the same, dark coloration with black swirls along the surface. She figured it must have had something to do with the specific type of iron it was.

That aside, she took the sheet over to Joseph who had placed what looked like a low-effort, wooden mannequin on the worktable. Though, it was only a head.

“Easiest way to do it,” Joseph began explaining, “is to hold the sheet over the head with one hand and start hammering it with your other. You want to start bending it down over the head, but you don’t want to get it too close otherwise it’ll be impossible to get on and take off.”

“Won’t this make a helmet that’s… way too big?”

“If you really want to be proper about it, we’d cut the metal first to only use what we need, but we can do that afterward.”

Tabitha looked around and didn’t see a buzzsaw or anything like what she thought of when she imagined cutting metal. “How?”

Joseph lifted up a chisel and a hammer. “With these.”

“Huh. Alright. I think I see how this is gonna work. So, I just… need to bang the metal around the head until it’s in the shape of a helmet?”

“That’s right. Like you’re making a bowl.”

Tabitha nodded and picked up the hammer he set down on the table, deciding to Analyze it first.

Item Information


“Precise Hammer”

A blacksmith’s hammer made out of iron.

Note: “Burrower Mine Iron head, White Cedar Wood handle. Infused with a Northern Cavebat Claw.”

Creator: Joseph Kroll







Bonus Tags

[Precision Crafting]


“Real quick, why’s this hammer’s name in quotes?” Tabitha asked.

“Because I named it that for organization. I’ve got a few different hammers that I name after which tags I get on them. They all have the Durable tag, but this is the only one with the Precision Crafting tag.”

“What’s Precision Crafting do?”

“Increases Dexterity by a quarter of it per each level you have in a crafting path. Probably won’t do much for you, but it should still give you a boost and help you hammer it out.”

“That… that sounds like a real useful tag right there. So, I’ve got one level for one craftin’ path. My Dexterity is thirty. Then that means… seven and a half points of extra Dexterity whenever I craft with this?”

“It’s rounded down to seven, but that’s right.”

“Does it always round down?”

“It does.”

“Good to know. So, if I get another level, does that mean it’ll boost my Dexterity by fifteen?”

“Right. And if you have four levels, it would double your Dexterity at that point.”

“That… sounds seriously, extremely good. I take it that tag has to be rare.”

“It is. That’s why you better appreciate me letting you use that hammer.”

“I do! Thanks, old man! I promise to take real good care of her too.”

With that, it was time to get to crafting. Tabitha took a deep breath and did her best to relax before swinging the hammer down against the metal sheet, starting with the part of it near the top of the “head.” Once the part around the top of the head was bent downward, she moved a bit farther down the sheet to start hammering that into position, and she repeated the process until she basically hammered the metal into a bowl shape.

And just like the other times, she hammered with precision that should have been beyond what she was capable of. Not only did her Dexterity increase her ability to make skillful movements with her hands, but it also kept the helmet from getting any uneven dents in it. No matter how many times she struck the metal with her hammer, the surface of the sheet remained smooth without any dents in it.

“Alright!” Tabitha said. “Now for cuttin’ it and—wait. If I do that now… it’s gonna look like a pot helm. I don’t wanna look like I’m wearin’ a bowl on my head.”

“What did you expect?” Joseph asked.

“Ya know, like a miner’s helmet!”

“This is the kind of helmet we give everybody. You don’t need much different unless you plan on going to war.”

“Well, maybe it’d only make a small difference in the safety department, but givin’ it a visor will give me room to put a light on top.”

“A light?”

“Yeah. Instead of havin’ to carry a torch or a lantern around, a real miner’s cap has got a light that sits on top of its visor that lights the area in front of ‘em up! That’s what I want.”

Joseph reached up to stroke his beard as he thought about it. “Hmm. That’s a good idea. If that’s what you want to do, you can—”

“Hold on, let me figure it out myself. Or at least try to.”

Joseph smiled and nodded. “I like your spirit. You want just enough help to get started, then only take more help if you need it. I wish there were more people with your spirit.”

“I ain’t gonna learn if I let somebody hold my hand the entire time! Anyways, hmm. I reckon all I really need to do is,” Tabitha paused and looked around until she spotted a clamp, “leave some extra metal in the front when cuttin’ it, hold the helmet with the clamp there, and then hammer the visor into position. That should do it, right?”

“Find out yourself.”

“Heh. Alright. I will then. But uh, mind if ya explain how the cuttin’ process works?”

“Put the helmet down on the anvil and then take a chisel, press it against where you want to cut, and hammer the chisel into the sheet. It’ll cut through it with enough force. It’s just going to take a while since you need to hammer the chisel through all around the helmet.”

“I’ve got time!”

So, with her time, Tabitha got to work using a hammer and chisel to cut away the excess metal. She made sure to put the helmet around the end of the anvil so that the side she was cutting would be resting against the top of the metal anvil as the rest of the helmet hung below. All she had to do then was rotate the helmet whenever it was time to cut the next part of metal away. Once she made it to where she figured the front of the helmet would be, she left some extra length before moving over to the clamp.

Once the clamp was firmly holding the helmet, all Tabitha had to do then was hammer the visor until it was bent into position and then looked picked up her new helmet to check it out.

Item Information


Iron Helmet

A forged helmet made of iron.







Bonus Tag


“Sweet! I did it, old man!” Tabitha cheered before setting the helmet right on top of her head. It ended up being a perfect fit for her which she had to assume was thanks to her Dexterity and the boost to it from the hammer.

“It looks good on you,” Joseph said. “Good work.”

“Heh. Thanks.”

System Menu

Congratulations, you have acquired a new Achievement!

Rookie Armorer

Awarded for forging your first piece of armor.

Reward: 5 Strength

“Oh, hey! I’ve got fifteen Strength now! And I already had thirty Dexterity! What else do I need to unlock the Blacksmith path?”

“You’ll need to forge nine more items now. You can pick up two more achievements while you’re at it if you forge a weapon and tool.”

“Huh.” Tabitha looked around at the various materials around the shop. “So, how much iron do I have to mine for ya if I make nine more things with your stuff?”

“Five wheelbarrows’ worth. That should take you three days of mining.”

“Sounds like a deal to me!”

A note from Barking Otter

Similar to Tabitha, all my experience with crafting stuff basically comes from video games. So I have to watch a few different video tutorials on the topic and watch people do it when it comes to writing chapters like this to try and be at least a little bit detailed with the process, but I won't be surprised if I make some mistakes or misunderstand things. If I ever do, you're welcome to correct me in the comments!

Oh, and thanks to Pastafarian for the new review!

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About the author

Barking Otter

  • The Otter Who Barks

Bio: You should all be thankful that I'm not punny enough to make up my own dad jokes or else I would constantly include them in my story.

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