I Have Even Read the Rulebook!

by

Mr Alex666

Chapter 3: Grinding for Levels. Or for food. Part 1

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A note from Mr Alex666

Morning!

This week I managed ony one part, because... no, I won't bore you with my health issues. So, only the two no-matter-what parts this week. (on the plus side, I edited everything with shorter paragraphs)

On another note, I hit Rank #16.788, so my ultimate objective of world domination, ehmmm... Being somewhere in the upper few thousand gets nearer and nearer. Probably still a couple of centuries, but THANKS for the rating and reading the stuff!

In the next month Prof formed a routine: before dawn he met up with Kendrik, who tried to teach him the secrets of how to survive in the wilderness, how to track and how to hunt, while Prof collected firewood, forest fruits and tried to find special ingredients. The last one was the hardest, in one month he managed to find only ten portions worth of mushrooms, eggs and plants – as he found out, one good, quality meal raised his HP by 10% for eight hours.

According to Horka the really good high quality food had even better effects, and the cook even heard of meals that doubled HP for a day, and gave resistance to fire and gave a bonus to Agility and gave an almost complete immunity to poisons.

Of course, the price of one such meal was astronomical – provided, you found a cook with a high enough Skill and could provide the ingredients. Prof though that with these effects luxury food at least made some sense, besides snobs with too much money on their hands being able to say, they tried it.

In the afternoons Prof did his patrols (while collecting firewood and stuff), and took care of other tasks he stumbled on. As he found out, Little Bela had no time to take care of the farmer’s and coal burner’s problems, so Prof had a lucrative side-business going on. Well, not really lucrative, since the payment consisted mostly of food, a few meals a few iron bits here and there, but at least some of his clients helped him collect stuff he needed.

Most of the quest consisted of courier-work or gathering, but on one farm he was tasked with killing a calf-sized mix of a pig and a rat – with the imaginative name of Pigrat. Prof could harvest only two portions of special food from it (next to twenty kilos of normal or poor quality meat), but was certain, he could have made more of it, if he had better Skills. With his current Skill Levels, even the hide was mostly useless.

In the evenings he practised processing herbs and brewing potions. Hajni told him early on, that the potency of potions (or poisons) depended on the quality of the ingredients and the “concentration”. The worse the quality the ingredients were the harder it was to brew a more concentrated potion, but it was harder to make diluted ones from better ingredients.

One needed a higher Skill Level for using better ingredients and brewing more concentrated potions. Or, in Prof’s reading, the Skill Level told you in absolute and impartial ways, how much a chance you had to use the ingredients and brew the potions. If you didn’t have the skill (and so the Skill Level by extension), you had a high chance to waste the ingredients.

That Prof learned that on his own expense. Hajni gave him a few better ingredients for experimentation, but because of his lacking knowledge the result was a useless blob of uselessness. Prof’s Skill in [Alchemy] was just enough to make a Tasty Potion of Getting Drunk Fast by mixing booze and fruit juice (Trademarked, obviously no one in the village had the idea to mix basically good booze with basically good juice), and make some rudimentary teas that sped up the healing rate marginally, disinfect wounds (but booze could do that too, and you even could drink it) or were somewhat good against common illnesses.

During his experimentations Prof managed to waste a lot of bad quality ingredients and to brew around one litre of 2 HP-health potions. Since a potion was around five cents of liquid (that is a shot of booze) the one litre was enough for… a lot of low quality, barely useful portions. He poured his creation into a water skin he received for one of the tasks, and even got a small wooden cup from the village. In a fight, that solution would of course be useless, but there were no glass vials for sale.

He was told, the nearest place he maybe could buy some was in Gaborh’s Castle, but the price was steep even there. Prof didn’t feel it necessary to travel to the market place just to buy overpriced vials for his sub-standard concoction, so he kept the water skin.

The rest of his time was spent with reading. As he found out – mostly from Sag, the steward – the printing press was invented already, but important documents were still written by hand. For some System-related rule, only handwritten documents could be validated by the mana imprint of the scribe, but not printed ones. Writings about magic or Skills kept their potency only in handwritten form. Or something like that, Prof wasn’t particularity interested.

Also, the overwhelming majority of the populace was literate, mainly to be able to read the Status Screen (or more exactly, the Status Parchments), although allegedly there was a voiced version too. Still, even with printing press being a thing and most being literate, there weren’t many books in the village – at least ones Prof could borrow. These were:

Who is Who in Wanderberg, Volume 5, Along-the-Forest Shire, Part 1. It was a summary of status, genealogy and coat of arms for a part of the nobles in this corner of the Kingdom

Brief History of Wanderberg. Unfortunately, it was in a bad shape, with about a third of the book missing or unreadable.

Bergian-Elven Conversational Dictionary.

An untitled fragment of a political treatise dealing with the neighbouring countries. Next to Wanderberg, there were Felseberg to the North and Spieleberg to the South, and the Halitchian Empire to the East. There were hint about a large country further to the North and countries to the South, but the fragment ended right there.

The Famous Deeds of Gregorious the Great. That one was interesting to read. It was a story of a famous troublemaker and his killings, robberies, acts of animal abuse and so forth. So, the average story of an adventurer, but well written and informative in many ways. Obviously, adventurers were if not accepted, at least tolerated everywhere, if they didn’t rock the boat and tried to act within the law.

The Life of Blian, about a philosopher and the school of thought he invented. It mostly consisted of leave me alone, and I will leave you alone. No need to get into my face.

He also found a map of Wanderberg, two calendars and a decade old catalogue of a trading guild. An a few books with a selection of poems. And a romance.

From his readings it became clear (or better to say: clearer) than Wanderberg was an unimportant little Kingdom wedged between the Elven Domain and the Halitchian Empire and it’s continued survival was because it made an alliance with equally unimportant Kingdoms and if they found themselves in dire straits the Elves and a few other species and countries intervened in a timely matter.

Not openly, mind you, but suddenly some mercenary bands became available for cheap money, a disgraced prince showed up with his private army and a few mysterious death happened on the Halitchian side. Luckily, the Halitchians were mostly tied up with some unspecified problems further East and Southeast, but from the sparse information Prof had, it was not clear, what it was. He needed more information than was available on a small village on the border and out in the booneys.

Those poor folks back then when the ‘Net wasn’t yet around! Waiting for some caravan to bring the newspapers (of course, carved into stone slabs, since those primitives didn’t have smartphones, and paper is only made for the toilet) to find out belatedly that gravity was invented.

From discussions with Kendrik and Old Bela he found out, that there were indeed dungeons on Arkadia. They had the usual, well known attributes: they had a basic theme, they repopulated after a time, had a “boss” at the end and gave fairly consistent loot. Because of all the attributes a lot of people and organisations viewed them as a way to make money or as training grounds, and a few even gave out extremely interesting loot.

Prof couldn’t nail the two others what this “interesting loot” was, but he got the feeling it was either valuable or rare (and so valuable). The Locals – at least in Smallgrovewell – agreed, that the dungeons were there to forcefully exclude the stupid, greedy and asocial elements from the gene pool. Prof could emphasise with the idea, but it was a well known fact, that it was not the strongest dragon who reproduced the most, but the least choosy.

According to the Captain it was commonly accepted the a dungeons did not help you level, but since no one knew how much EXP one needed for the next Level and how much EXP you got for this and that, the question generated some debate. Prof though, it would be easy to confirm: take a group and let them do only dungeon runs, and take another group and let them only do mundane task-solving, and wait who leveled first.

He had a suspicion, that someone – or multiple someones – already had this idea, did the testing, but the results weren’t shared with no-name guard captains of a no-name village out in the booneys of a no-name little kingdom. The Locals lived with the System for tens of thousands of years, for the Administrator’s sake!

Prof at least had the possibility to experiment. Not far from the village there was a dungeon (a crypt with undead), that, according to Old Bela was basically useless for the common folks. The undead’s level was way too high for the loot the dungeon provided – including some rusty weapons and armour it didn’t even reach ten silvers after taxes – and the undead were notoriously hard to fight. You needed critical hits to damage them, and most people didn’t bother with those. Prof wouldn’t have bothered fighting half-a-dozen Level 5 undead with a Level 7 Boss, if his contacts didn’t point out an interesting detail, which he had forgotten since his time in the Afterlife.

Prof created his “character” but the populace of Arkadia was born into their Stats, Skills and Perks. Sure, there was a possibility to adjust them when you got your System Screen at the age of sixteen, but Prof did everything from scratch supported by his RPG-knowledge on Earth. He didn’t consider what the average spread of Stats should be, or what an average Stat was. With his Intelligence of 18 he was way above the average citizen (yes, average was around ten, maybe a bit lover) and with his other Stats, he was probably the life form that had the highest average of Agility, Dexterity and Intelligence currently on Arkadia.

Even most Adventurers would have been left in the dust. Since Skill Points per Level was tied to Intelligence (if Prof remembered correctly, Intelligence by four plus two) Prof’s 110 – including his Perks – were double the amount of a commoner and one and a half times that of an average adventurer. Prof also forgot that if someone lives his life on a world and doesn’t just fall from the sky with a pre-generated character, the Local will spend some Skill Points on secondary or tertiary Skills (or just Skills they fancy).

Although Prof’s character wasn’t your run-of-the mill asocial murderhobo born and raised in a cave and minmaxed into overspecialisation (and so being absolutely unviable) he was under-leveled for his age but overskilled for his Level – if one only took a look at his fighting Skills. The Captain had the opinion if he only looked at those, Prof would be around Level 4 or 5. Kendrik seconded this view. Since undead could only damaged with Critical Hits, Prof’s Perks and fighting style made him perfect to perform a manual exorcism. Prof still had some doubts and postponed his dungeon run to the last moment.

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Mr Alex666

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