I Have Even Read the Rulebook!

by

Mr Alex666

Chapter 3: Grinding for Levels. Or for food. Part 2

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A note from Mr Alex666

Second part of this week's update. Enjoy!

With a few days left of the month, he decided he needed to give the dungeon a try. With his four Silvers and a handful of pocket change he wouldn’t get far, and it was a mystery where else he could find some coins. Fortunately he could leave the dungeon at any moment and the monsters couldn’t follow him outside, so he concluded he could take a look and if it wasn't going well, he would tactically reposition himself. Meaning, he would get the hell out.

He completed every task in the village already and was left with nothing to do for the last couple of days. He checked his Character Parchment to look over his gains. From the books he gained around twenty points for a few Skills – half of them to [Heraldry] – and even learned the basics of the Elven language.

On the level of “I would like to have a beer, thank you”. His training with Kendrik was more profitable, netting him 22% to [Wilderness Survival], [Tracking] and [Hunting] each, making them sit at a comfortable but still quite low 72%. Last but not least, his tinkering and brewing attempts gave him 16% to [Herbology] and [Alchemy] each, bringing them up to around 70%.

Before setting out to the dungeon he packed his gear: a couple of torches, the rest of his potions and bandages, and after some thinking he took his pocket knife too. He planned to leave everything else in his room. According to the Captain the layout was nothing fancy: five consecutive rooms without traps and further embellishments, so Prof didn’t need rope. Since most of the loot consisted of cheap but bulky rusty stuff, he had to bring his sack and backpack too, but planned to leave them at the entrance.

His reasoning was to complete the run and then loot everything that wasn’t nailed down – dungeons on Arkadia obviously only reseted after leaving, so the drops stayed till the end. At least in the smaller dungeons Bela and Kendrik visited. In games and books looting seemed easy, but in real life it was a hassle to fight with a bundle of armour pieces bound onto your back.

Fortunately Horka still owed him a good meal, and although plus 10% HP – that is 8 Points – wasn’t much, but everyone in Central Europe knew that a free 10% from something was good. That didn’t mean that one picked up discarded stuff from the roadside, but Prof worked for those +10% HP for eight hours.

The dungeon was located to the South from the village, deep in the forest – finding it was easy though, for Prof explored partway already, and the directions he got from Old Bela and Kendrik were easy to follow from there on. The small, flattened hills started to grow more steep and numerous the nearer Prof got to the dungeon, and he even had to avoid deep ravines and cliffs here and there. Prof opted for the shorter route to the dungeon, he kept the longer one – that was more scenic, following a creek – for the way back.

In the last month he kept his promise to map as large a territory as possible, so he climbed a few trees on hills to take a view and add colour to his map. Thanks to his high Agility he was faster strolling than his running speed back on Earth – not that he ever ran there – and so managed to complete the hike that would have taken half a day on Earth in less than two hours. Even while stopping to climb trees.

The dungeon (or crypt) was located on a picturesque clearing on the side of a medium sized hill. On one side of the clearing an enormous willow hang its branches into a quiet little brook, with ivy-clad trees (probably oaks, maybe a few maple and chestnut, Prof wasn’t that interested in the species) on the other side, while on the upper side a small ruin artfully blended into the hill. Prof was reminded of Greco-Roman architecture somewhat, but the creeper plants covering the ruin made it hard to come to a final verdict.

From the whole idyllic picture only well-clad gentlemen and ladies were missing, and every classicist painter from Earth would have gotten multiple… wet times… from the chance to paint it. Prof regretted it the first time that nobody invented a camera on Arkadia yet, and that he couldn’t even make a screenshot. Prof liked to travel back on Earth, and here he had a complete new world, where he didn’t need to put up with hordes of ill-mannered hobby-migrants – and he had no way to capture the sight.

He promised himself to spend a complete Level worth of Skill Points on [Art: Drawing] or [Art: Painting] and start practising. As soon as his other important Skills got to a workable level and he made a bit of money. So definitely soon. Soonish. Sometimes not far in the future. Hopefully. Probably.

He sighed deeply, and climbed up to the ruin, avoiding the artfully placed ruined pieces of walls and statues – now, every classicist garden architect would get a few… wet times – and finally entered the building. It was built like a mausoleum, with a few sculptures next to the wall and a sarcophagus at the back – the last one was the entry-point for the dungeon proper.

If Prof didn’t know he was at the entrance of a dungeon, and didn’t try to… play archaeologist… with the sarcophagus and found the stairs down, he would have assumed, he just entered a “normal” mausoleum out in the woods. Probably the Locals had the means to find new dungeons that was more sophisticated than someone getting lost, and entering a cave on chance. Assuming, there were new dungeons popping up. Neither Old Bela nor Kendrik knew anything about that.

Prof lit one of his torches and descended the two stories worth of narrow spiral staircase, to find himself in a small room, barely large enough for three people. On the opposite side of the staircase lay the real entrance to the dungeon, a stone door that took up the whole side of the room. Prof took hold of the doorknob (it was just a rusty iron ring, but doorknob sounded nicer) and pushed the door open.

The short corridor that greeted him had the perfect atmosphere for a crypt-horror show with alcoves in the wall, rusty torch holders spiderwebs covering everything and the, well... grave silence.

Prof put his torch in one of the holders, deposited his bags next to the door and took his first steps into his first dungeon. His steps echoed eerily in the empty corridor, but soon he reached the first room. It was styled like a small chapel, with rotting pews, statues next to the walls and a small altar opposite the door. It was a bit dark for Prof’s taste, and he just turned to get his torch, when he noticed movement from the right wall. What he thought as a statue turned out to be the first undead.

Prof backed into the corridor, drawing his weapons. The undead – a skeleton in tattered cloth, that was probably a banquet for every moth on the continent, and a rusty breastplate and wielding an even more rusty longsword – followed him dutifully and when they reached the middle of the corridor, Prof attacked. Since he could only damage the collection of bones with Critical Hits, he attacked it’s head directly.

No need to be fancy, he “activated” the intent and started to rain attacks on the bony’s head. He was again surprised, how good his muscles remembered things they had not heard of a month ago. His body waved left and right as Prof attacked or blocked the skeleton’s counters or just dodged them – the last was harder in the narrow corridor than against the Dire Wolf or the Pigrat despite the undead having a lower Skill.

But still easy enough to keep himself undamaged. Together with attacking a critical area (the head) he had around a 50% chance to land a Critical Hit, if the Rule Book was correct.

The only unknown was if he could manage to hit bonyhead’s head in the first place. Judging his previous record, he didn’t know what to expect: against the Dire Wolf he struggled to land a hit, with the rats in the village he haven’t even tried to land critical hits – even a normal hit transformed them from animal to minced meat or a smear on the ground – and the Pigrat was somewhere between the two.

So he was surprised that after only a few seconds he crushed his enemy’s skull. And its breastbone. And the ribs. The rusty breastplate was almost completely cut in two.

Prof started to get the feeling, he overdid his Stats, Skills and Perks. Overdid just a little bit. Maybe. And his shopping. Probably no normal Level 2 person should be able to fight with 150% in a Skill, and should not have the right to do it with such above average gear Prof had (not counting the possibility to get the equivalent of a speed bike from daddy for the sixteenth birthday.

In both cases it was not an insurance for longevity). To think further, either Lady Jotabor either sent him into certain death against the Dire Wolf, or had a high enough [Observe] Skill to know Prof’s numbers. Knowing the Lady, both possibilities were real.

Prof stepped over the pile of bones and rust, got his torch and re-entered the chapel. From both sides of it another corridor led further on, according to the information from Old Bela, both led to slightly larger rooms, with another undead resident. Prof started with the right one (always use the right side!) and planned to retrace to the left one after he dealt with the first one.

As he found out, the second room was decorated like an ossuary, with morbid sculptures made out of bone on the walls and a bone-chandelier (with molten candles, even!) hanging from the ceiling. Add the cobwebs, dark and the barely heard sounds, and even Master Giger and Rob Undead would got nightmares – Prof almost got a heart attack when one pile of bones just stood up.

In contrast to the first anatomical model this one had a sick green light glowing in its eye sockets, and in place of a breastplate it wore a rusted full chainmail suit that even came with a nasal helmet.

As weaponry it had a rusty (as was obviously the theme) longsword and a barely functioning medium shield. With torch in one hand Prof tried to re-create his previous tactic, but he realised in short order that he will have more problems with this specimen: the skeleton was faster and could deflect attacks with its shield – no real surprise, shields were invented for this exact reason. After a while Prof gave up to hit its head, because the few times he got a hit in, the helmet deflected it (do I have to spell out, why helmets were invented?) and concentrated on its weapon-hand instead.

Not much happened for a while, Prof just couldn’t land that Critical Hit. When the arm finally disintegrated, Prof already received some hits himself, and started to tire. For a lack of better ideas he threw his torch into one corner, maneuvered till he could grab the shield and pushed the skeleton against the wall. Since the sorry excuse for Human remains couldn’t use its speed or shield, Prof could again aim against that permanently attached grin.

It was easier now, but it looked like this undead had more HP than the last, and Prof needed two flashy hits to send it to the eternal graveyard – or to whatever dungeon monsters had. Probably an eternal respawning pool.

Prof strolled back to his pack, drank two shots from his homebrewed shitty health potion, ate a few dried fruit, took a short brake and headed for the other corridor.

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A note from Mr Alex666

This is it for now, hope you enjoyed, read you next Saturday!


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Mr Alex666

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