A note from The Walrus King

Note: I realize I had used both Bonemancy and Bonecasting to describe Milo's branch of magic. I'm going to stick with Bonecasting because of the double meaning of casting bone based spells, and 'casting the bones' as a form of divination. Sorry for any confusion.

Harry had told him some stories about the deep-dark. Harry also liked to imbibe of certain special mushrooms after a hard day's work. So, it was tough to tell if he himself had been to these places, or if the stories were from someone else. Stories about huge dwarven cities floating on seas of volcanic rock, endless caverns lit by huge crystals and strange glowing trees, and all types of strange, gargantuan creatures that ate the stone and created new caverns.

And machines. Harry kept coming back to the story about the machines that were in the center of the world, gears endlessly turning and keeping the world running. Or maybe it was the world turning that kept the gears turning? Details changed from story to story. He didn't know who put them there or what they did, but he always told that story. Milo didn't know if they were real, but he wanted to try and find out. He'd tried asking Harry about his stories when he was sober. But when Milo asked him about the machines Harry had no idea what he was talking about.

In the end, it was wanting to explore the deep-dark that led Milo to take Stone Sense over the other two gifts. There would be places with no light. Even places where you didn't dare make a light. And with this gift he wouldn't have to avoid them. When he told Harry about his choices, the old troll agreed. "Always good to be in touch with the earth and rock."

You have gained the skill: Stone Sense This is a perception-based skill. A high perception will affect how well you can use this skill.

-Even in complete darkness you can feel the shape of natural stone and earth to a distance of 50' and up to 10' past the surface of the stone. This allows movement through caves and similar terrain even in complete darkness at a normal pace.

-You know when creatures move around you if they are treading on stone or packed earth by the vibrations they make. Some stealth abilities may partially negate this, as will a very light tread.

He spent a couple of days with Harry working the mushroom farms and studying mycology. The new glassware got unpacked, shrooms were harvested, and more stories were told. And then Milo headed back to his mines. He took the time to spend his points and assign his EP before he left.

The 1500 Boss EP he put into Bonecasting until it hit level 5 and he maxed out the skill for Tier 1. At level 5 his spells would power up, Shadowblight would hit harder, and he'd gain new spells to cast. That was eleven hundred well spent. The other four hundred he put into Dodge and Acrobatics. His head still hurt from Bone Crusher's love tap. A potent reminder of why not getting hit was important.

Welcome to Level 3!

You have accumulated enough EP to gain Level 3. You gain +100 Health, +100 Stamina, +50 Mana.
Your EP total is 5820/7000. You need 1180 more EP to gain Level 4

-Bonecasting is now maxed for Tier 1. You will still gain EP in this skill, and will possibly gain ranks when you achieve Tier if your foundation is at 30.

-INT has hit the soft-cap of Level 5. You may raise this cap by expending CSP. The hard cap of Tier 1 stats is Level 10. Each point of CSP will raise the soft cap by 1.

-You have exceeded your foundation for Bonecasting. Consider increasing your foundation in Magic by spending CSP to get the most out of your abilities.

-We notice you have been consuming quite a bit of cheese lately. We approve! Your addiction to yummy cheese has increased.
Current well-fed bonus: +75 health, +3 STR.
Current deprived penalty: -3 DEX, manic tendencies.

More reasons to stock up on cheese! He had plenty for now, but he should really buy up a bunch next trip. Hopefully mining would go well. The miner’s guild seemed anxious for more deep copper. He could also work on some of the old machinery he'd found and take that apart. He’d need more room to haul things to the surface. Increasing Smuggler’s Stash was a priority.

He had enough CSP to buy the last level. He should probably increase his foundation too. He hadn't really paid much attention to it before, since his skills weren't high enough to matter. He needed a couple of points in Magic, and probably some in Resistance. Crafting was also an option. A higher foundation in crafting would open up more slots for crafting skills in the future.

For now, he put 10 points into the last level of Smuggler's Stash to finish off the ability and give him the maximum space of 27 cubic feet. Then three points into his foundation to raise magic to 25 and resistance to 15. That was enough to max out any magic skills in Tier 1, and resistance skills up to level 3. He could raise other foundation levels later. Two points went into raising the soft cap on his INT. That was an important skill, helping him gain more mana. With 7 points left, he looked at other core skills.

Extra Clever Traps looked interesting. He'd much rather set a trap for something rather than have to fight it head-to-head. He’d killed Cronk with an un-planned trap.

And Cheesemaking...could he start making his own cheese? It was only 1 point, and he even had an open crafting slot if he really wanted to work hard on it.

The last 3 points he spent on a point of PER. That stat was slowly going up. He should really spend more time foraging wild mushrooms to increase it more. Maybe a little mining, and balance it with a little foraging? A higher PER meant fewer nasty surprises he would have.

When he left Harry's farm and headed off to his camp, he went slow, trying to get a feel for Stone Sense. It was difficult at the start. He could tell where the rock was with his eyes closed, but that didn't tell him about inconvenient roots or mushrooms he could trip over. Seeing into the rock walls was much tougher. He had to concentrate and sort of push into them to get a feel for what was there and what wasn't.

He worked his way through the partially collapsed tunnel on his way to where he'd first met Cronk and found the body of some unfortunate spelunker. He could feel the instability in some areas and see how the cave in had happened. He'd have to be careful of that when he mined.

The familiar mushroom field was there. He took time to harvest the rarer shrooms that Harry said had some medicinal value. He saw a few of the myconid guardians and spent some time baiting them and chopping them up with his machete. One at a time they were easy and he needed the practice with small blades. Shadowblight just obliterated them to quickly for him to get in any practice. The weapon’s damage had gone up with his Bonecaster rank increasing.

Looking into the huge cavern with the giant myconid infested with the horrible yellow blossoms sent shivers up his spine. Just looking at the waving flowers made him nervous. The flowers had spread even further across the top of the mushroom man's cap and it leaned slightly to one side. He and Harry had talked about how to get rid of it, but had decided it might just be best to try to seal up the large cavern rather than risk exposure to the mind-enslaving pollen.

Now that he knew what to look for, he could see the long vines that ran from the trunk to mounds in the mushroom field. Each one had a decayed zombie attached to it. He didn't want to be the next.

Sense Danger has reached level 1.
Perception has reached level 3.

Well, that's one way to level a skill. Just get close to things that want to enslave you and turn you into a zombie. He turned and headed to the mines.

He didn't get right to work. Instead, he went to the tunnel that led to the big drop that led up to the copper area where he had fought the big Copperhead. Halfway up the shaft he crawled into the small side shaft that led to his camp. Nothing had been touched. He set up his fondue pot and lit a fire, then summoned George. He and the lizard enjoyed a meal of stale bread, roasted mushrooms, and gooey melted cheese. It had been hours since he had rested in the game, or checked in on Section E so he combined both with a nap. George gave him a nod as if to say, "Get some shut-eye boss. I've got this."


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The Walrus King

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