The camp was dark and silent when Milo logged back in hours later. He sat listening but heard nothing but the slight sound of water coming from the wall near his tent. Once past the curtain he could see slightly better. In the deep caves Milo could see for a few yards in black and white, even when it was completely dark. He liked it better in the areas with glowing lichen and fungi on the walls. He skulked along the tunnel. At least if he ran into some creature he still had his claws and tail. A poor human would have been totally blind and defenseless.
He really felt horrible. This must be the 'death de-buff' he had read about. His stomach was queasy, and his head hurt. People had talked about how the day seemed drab and dreary. That didn't really apply to Milo, down in a lightless hole in the ground. It was always dreary. He decided to eat another wheel of cheese and play with George for the couple of hours until he would feel better. A nap sounded fine too.
Waking up again, he waved to George and headed back down the corridor. The vertical shaft had more light. He quickly climbed up the cable, and padded down the tunnel listening for any sound. Running into another copperhead would not be fun right now. Luckily, there was little chance of that. He'd spent part of the time offline looking them up.
From what other players had figured out, Elementals appeared where a high concentration of resources was present. A normal player would rarely encounter them but someone gathering resources could expect to see them on a regular basis. Most of them were just Named bosses, slightly better than a regular creature of the same type. Loggers had encountered numerous Treants and Dryads who defended forests. Miners and stonecutters had fought several type of stone golems.
Because of their nature, elementals were vulnerable to certain types of tools. Axes worked great on treants, picks on stone golems, and cleavers on meat creatures. A farmer had killed a giant turnip creature with his shovel. Elementals always dropped some type of rare crafting material associated with their type, making them sought after by many crafters. They were also an important source of core skill points for crafters. If your skills weren't geared towards fighting, it was a lot easier to get CSP from elementals than hunting rare bosses in dungeons.
Probably, a couple of good hits from his pick would have killed the copperhead, but unlike many of the clumsier elementals, copperheads were fast and agile as real snakes. Hitting them was a lot harder. His exploding skull spell was his best way to attack them. Since the spell needed a material component, it did more damage than a fireball, and hit everything around it, negating the snakes' avoidance. The downside was that he needed to find more skulls. He only had a few left from the small animal skulls he'd bought from a butcher.
Approaching the site of the battle, all was still quiet. Shadowblight and his pick were laying on the ground, near his tombstone. 'Here lies Milo, the brave little mongoose who needs to dodge faster.' Well, he couldn't argue with that. Touching his tombstone made it fade away revealing all the gear and clothes he had been wearing. He quickly dressed and felt better.
There wasn't much left of the Copperhead Vein-Lurker. Like the smaller copperhead, there was a piece of High Quality Pure Copper Ore. This one was a 'chunk' instead of a 'nugget', and probably worth a lot more. Milo also found a copper snake fang about 2" long.
|Copperhead Fang: This small copper snake's fang can be worn as a necklace or earring. Any attack made by it's wearer will always do +1 point of damage, and will always do a minimum of at least one damage.
Even the smallest of snakes has a deadly bite.
Every little bit helped, but Milo wondered when 1 point would turn the tide of battle. Still, he'd wear it. For now he used a strip of rawhide, threading it through the hole in the top of the fang, and putting the crude necklace on.
He cautiously examined where the copperhead had come from, and found three more nuggets of pure copper, and 10 more chunks of ore. But that was it for this side of the vein. He'd have to start mining across the corridor, on the other wall. First though, he wanted a break to spend some EP and CSP. He retreated back down to his camp. He set up the fondue pot and lit it to have some light, and summoned George. Milo was a loner by nature, but he liked the little lizard. George immediately marched around the perimeter of the camp and cleaned up any bugs. He came back to Milo and sat waiting for a treat.
The cheese of the day was a small wheel of Gouda. It was hard and crumbly with several flavors mixing together. He tossed George a chunk and the lizard happily gnawed on it. Milo consumed the rest of the wheel, getting his usual notification of extra health and STR.
He had 500 EP to assign to his skills. From reading the forums, he now knew how much EP it took to gain levels in skills and stats. Level 1 was easy at only 50 EP. Then it jumped to 300 for level 2, and 700 for level 3. He could go as high as level 5 in his skills. So far, only a few of his skills had advanced. If he didn't use them, he didn't earn EP in the skill. The 500 from the boss fight could be placed anyway he liked, but only in the skills used.
The obvious skills were bonecasting, dodge, and weapons. Those were what he needed to not die in combat. He started by putting 50 in Dodge and 150 in bonecasting. That put both skills up to level 2. The basic debate was did he put a little EP into a lot of skills? Or a lot of EP into one skill? Based on the last fight, bonecasting won. He put the last 300 into bonecasting. He was close to level 3 now.
He needed to find some type of old bone to take to the Arcane Library. Learning new spells seemed important. Maybe a bit more exploring before he went back to mining.
His next decision was how to spend his core skill points. He had 5 of them to spend. Several stood out to him. Skilled Provider and Abundance would increase how much he mined, and help him find more nuggets or gems. Un-noticed and Silent Step would add to his stealth skills. He wanted all the tail skills, and cheesemaking intrigued him.
In fact, he wanted a lot of those skills. So how would he get them? Killing Cronk had given him the most, but that was an impossible thing to do again. The most reliable source of CSP for him was actually the worst: killing copperheads. The snakes didn't hit hard but their poison was going to kill him again. It was hard to hit something several times when it only had to hit you once or twice and wait for you to die.
Eventually he came up with a plan. It was going to involve a lot of work. Milo didn't mind. He was always working in the real world. The secret was to have a plan, then break the job down and attack it one small job at a time. He had dis-assembled huge machinery and stolen it piece by piece, only to re-assemble it where he needed it. Some jobs had taken months. He'd just apply the same logic here, and add a large amount of cheese to the mix.
He went back topside, and gathered up all his ore and nuggets. Then he slid back down the hundreds of feet to the mushroom cavern. He need to pick something up, and then go visit Harry.
|Generic Core Skills: Any player has access to these Core Skills. Many more skills can be learned by finding teachers, reading books, completing quests, or doing mighty deeds.|
|Increase Health 1||+50 points to health score||2|
|Increase Health 2||+100 points to health score (Must have level 1 first.)||5|
|Increase Health 3||+150 points to health score (Must have level 2 first.)||10|
|Increase Mana 1||+50 points to Mana score||2|
|Increase Mana 2||+100 points to Mana score (Must have level 1 first.)||5|
|Increase Mana 3||+150 points to Mana score (Must have level 2 first.)||10|
|Increase Stamina 1||+50 points to Stamina score||2|
|Increase Stamina 2||+100 points to Stamina score (Must have level 1 first.)||5|
|Increase Stamina 3||+150 points to Stamina score (Must have level 2 first.)||10|
|Identification 1||Gives information on an item or creature of levels 1-5 even if you are a lower level.||3|
|Identification 2||Gives information on an item or creature of levels 6-10 even if you are a lower level.||5|
|Tier 1 Stats Cap Increase.||Increase the cap on a statistic. Hard cap of 5 ranks bought per stat. Hard cap of rank 10 in any stat.||1|
|Tier 1 Foundation Increase||Add 5 pts to one of your foundation skills||1|
|Bonus Points: These abilities add to your stats. Gaining bonuses does not effect stats gained by ranks. A total of 9 points my be bought this way in Tier 1.|
|Spirit of the Ox 1||+1 Bonus to CON. A maximum of 3 points may be bought this way||3|
|Spirit of the Bear 1||+1 Bonus to STR. A maximum of 3 points may be bought this way||3|
|Spirit of the Monkey 1||+1 Bonus to DEX. A maximum of 3 points may be bought this way||3|
|Spirit of the Owl 1||+1 Bonus to INT. A maximum of 3 points may be bought this way||3|
|Spirit of the Cheetah 1||+1 Bonus to AGI. A maximum of 3 points may be bought this way||3|
|Spirit of the Pig||+1 Bonus to WIS. A maximum of 3 points may be bought this way||3|
|Spirit of the Hawk||+1 Bonus to PER. A maximum of 3 points may be bought this way||3|
|Spirit of the Swan||+1 Bonus to CHA. A maximum of 3 points may be bought this way||3|
|Second Wind 1||Once per day, regain 20 Health/Mana/Stamina.||1|
|Second Wind 2||Once per day, regain 50 Health/Mana/Stamina.||3|
|Second Wind 3||Once per day, regain 100 Health/Mana/Stamina.||5|
|Breathless 1||You may hold your breath 3x as long. (3 minutes.)||1|
|Breathless 2||You may hold your breath 10x as long. (10 minutes.)||1|
|Scout Core Skills|
|Smugglers Stash||Storage Skill. Summons/Dispels a magical chest. Size increases with rank. (3 cubic feet, 9 cubic feet, 27 cubic feet.)||3/5/7|
|Skilled Provider||Your gathering skills have an increased chance of finding better quality items||1/2/3|
|Abundance||Your gathering skills return more resources than normally expected.
|Un-noticed 1||You have a stealth like skill that makes you un-noticed in normal settings by Tier 1 creatures. Combines well with Skulk||2|
|Silent Step 1||When trying to not be noticed, your steps make only 40% as much noise as normal. Combines well with Skulk||2|
|Unlimited Darkvision||You see in Darkness and Magical Darkness as normal, but in shades of gray. No limitations on distance.||10|
|Jumping Jack||You may leap twice as far as normal.||2|
|Fast Talk 1||Slightly increases the chance of someone believing your BS.||2|
|Fast Talk 2||Greatly increases the chance of someone believing your BS.||5|
|Never Lost||Vastly increased memory for keeping track of the routes you've taken before, reading maps, and following clues on treasure maps.||3|
|Twist the Knife||When your opponent is not focused on you, you have an increased chance of a critical hit. Knife not required.||2/5/10|
|Were-Rat Core Skills Tier 1|
|Strong Claws||Increased Claw Damage. Amount increases with rank.
|The Unseen Tail||Disguise/Illusion in Were form||3|
|The Invisible Tail||Improved Disguise/Illusion in Were form||3|
|Whip-Tail||Your tail becomes a weapon equivalent to a small mace.||2|
|Slashing Tail||Your tail does increased damage and can slash.
(+10/+20/+40 Damage.) Requires Whip-Tail
|Many small eyes||Make friends with local rats who will (maybe) do some scouting for you.||2|
|See through small eyes||Increased control of your small scouts and you are able to use their eyes instead of your own.||3|
|Cheesemaking||An honorable tradition! So tasty! INT crafting skill||1|
|Poison Resistance||Gain the CON skill Poison Resistance. Cost depends on whether the skill is Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary||1/2/5|
|Disease Resistance||Gain the CON skill Disease Resistance. Cost depends on whether the skill is Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary||1/2/5|
|Extra Stabby!||All of your attacks have an increased chance of a critical hit.||2/5/10|
|Extra Clever Traps||Your traps and machinery almost always work, and in fiendish ways no one suspected. Even you are surprised at times. This core skill affects Mechanic, Trap-Maker, and other such skills.||
|Not-so-fast Regeneration||Grants increased, (x2), health recovery. Slowly regenerate scar tissue, and missing body parts. A steady diet of cheese speeds the process.||
|Pretty-Good Regeneration||Grants increased, (x4), health recovery. Regenerate scar tissue, and missing body parts in less than a week. A steady diet of cheese speeds the process.||
|Mutant Regeneration||Grants increased, (x12), health recovery. Regenerate scar tissue, and missing body parts in less than a day.
Warning: As with all mutations, there can be significant side effects.
|Magical Aspects open up options to learn more mage skills. Each additional aspect has an increased cost.|
|Chill of the Grave||You have a high Death aspect. Training will let you learn Death magics. Increasing cost with additional aspects. Increase your Corruption by +1. Opens more options for mage abilities. Increased ranks decrease mana costs of casting spells.||5/10/25|
|Deeds in the Dark||You have a high darkness aspect. Training will let you learn dark magics. Increasing cost with additional aspects. Increase your Corruption by +1. Opens more options for mage abilities. Increased ranks decrease mana costs of casting spells.||5/10/25|
|Storm Born||You have a high Storm aspect. Training will let you learn Storm magics. Increasing cost with additional aspects. Opens more options for mage abilities. Increased ranks decrease mana costs of casting spells.||5/10/25|