Boxxy trudged into its home dungeon feeling especially irate. Though the withdrawal was part of it, the main reason for its sour mood was Stain. Or more specifically, the weird memories she had put into Rowana and Doris’s heads. The mother-daughter pair seemed fine mentally, but were convinced they’d spent the last week or two doing nothing but playing cards and sleeping. No eating, no drinking, no going to the toilet, just poker and naps. Needless to say, if that slime was going to do something like this again, she’d need to put a lot more effort into those fabricated visions.
Thankfully the women themselves didn’t seem at all perplexed by their implanted memories, which gave Snack plenty of time to spice them up a little while they slept in the coming nights. The triplets had all met their respective tutors and had started their individual training with only minor issues. Keeping track of Lydia was going to be a bit awkward since she had left on a trip around the countryside, but Boxxy felt confident Claws could handle that task.
The biggest problem was just how much gods-damned attention Arms drew to herself whenever she walked in public. The shapeshifter had initially intended to have Fizzy escort Robin, but the dynamo golem refused to do so. Though she agreed that it was important to keep those girls safe, there was someone else that was far higher on her priority list. A certain someone named Boxxy T. Morningwood.
“Come on then, let’s get busy,” the radiant construct demanded. “My HERPES isn’t going to test itself.”
“Yeah, yeah…” the shapeshifter grumbled.
The two monsters walked over to the dungeon core platform, which was the brightest part of the cavernous tree trunk. Boxxy sat cross legged on the floor with its back to Fizzy. The metallic Artificer then proceeded to stick a series of six mithril clamps into the gray flesh covering its spinal column. She linked them together with some wiring that fed into a small half-collar, which was attached to the base of the doppelganger’s skull. She then flipped a tiny switch, causing Boxxy to shudder reflexively as the machinery sprang to life.
“Alright, all set on my end,” Fizzy reported. “Let’s start the first trial.”
The shapeshifter groaned affirmatively while the golem walked around it to face it with a sealed vial of Honeydew in her grasp. Its hand twitched as if it was about to make a grab for it, but Fizzy’s arm-cannon was pointed at its head before it could even make the attempt. Keeping a vigilant eye on the greedy monster’s spotty impulse control had been the main reason she had refused to help look after the girls. No mortal knew this creeper better than her, and she understood that not even twenty-four-hour supervision would be enough to keep it in check.
Which was where the Honeydew Exposure-Reactive Preventative Electrocution System came into play. The contraption’s main function was to release a minor electric shock every time the thing it was attached to - in this case, Boxxy - came into contact with the narcotic substance in question. Simply dangling a vial of the stuff in front of the monster was not enough to set it off, of course. However, it started beeping quietly once Fizzy uncorked the container and let the drug’s fragrancy wash over Boxxy. The closer she brought the sample to its face, the faster it beeped. She then poured a few drops of it on top of the monster’s cranium.
The HERPES responded instantly by letting out the loudest and longest beep yet, followed immediately by a painful zap of electricity that was funnelled straight into Boxxy’s spine. The monster shrieked and shuddered in pain before collapsing, its body paralyzed by the invasive current. Fizzy walked over and checked on the controller unit on the shapeshifter’s neck, noting the values on the tiny gauges that she had built into it.
“Okay, seems I over-tuned it a bit,” she reported casually. “No, Plus, that’s not how that works. Null, can you please tell her? I’m busy… Yes, I know it’s pointless, just do it. Thanks.”
The golem continued chatting with her alter egos as she fiddled with the delicate device. The payload it was supposed to deliver was intended to bring discomfort, not outright paralysis. She had simply underestimated just how vulnerable a doppelganger’s spinal column was to its Bane. This sort of thing was why the testing phase was arguably the most important part of developing a new invention.
However, the golem had forgotten about the glob of Honeydew on Boxxy’s cranium. The HERPES picked up its presence the instant it had finished charging back up and went off before its creator could finish tweaking it. The repeat shock was just as powerful as the first one, incapacitating the shapeshifter mere moments after it had regained control of its body. Fizzy realized her mistake and wiped the narcotic substance from its skin to prevent any more… misfires.
“Were you trying to kill me?!” it complained a short while later.
“Relax, the HERPES monitors your vitals. It will avoid shocking you if there’s a chance it might drain the last of your HP.”
“Doesn’t that mean I can just leave myself near death and-”
“You really don’t wanna do that.”
As expected of Boxxy, it had immediately figured out a way that security feature could be exploited to circumvent the device’s automated disciplinary action. However, Fizzy had also thought of that.
“Honeydew takes a few days to completely work itself out of your system. What do you think the HERPES will do if you actually manage to swallow some?”
“… It will keep zapping me, won’t it?”
“Exactly. And it won’t ever run out of juice since it powers itself by sapping some of your MP.”
Boxxy had to admit, the idea of being zapped every few seconds for days on end sounded far more unpleasant than the withdrawal symptoms. It could, of course, just rip the thing from its body, but the rational side of its mind recognized the need for it. The HERPES was there to dissuade Boxxy should it have a moment of weakness and there was nobody else around to keep it from reaching for the hylt-derived drugs. It was just thankful that Ambrosia was supposed to be napping for at least another month, otherwise it would likely never be able to clean up its act.
“Boxxy, you’re drooling,” Fizzy pointed out.
“… Nevermind. So, what’s on the agenda for tonight? You mentioned you had something important to do while the meatbags were asleep.”
“Right. I think it’s high time our little group held a more in-depth training exercise.”
“What, another instant dungeon run?”
“Not exactly. Those are good for getting used to working as a group, but I noticed a certain flaw with that method when we fought Erena.”
“Really? I think we did pretty good.”
“Perhaps, but ‘pretty good’ won’t cut it on the Shattered Isles. We need to be flawless, and what I saw back there was anything but.”
Boxxy, being the control freak that it was, made sure to regularly take note of the strengths, weaknesses and abilities of each member of its posse. This was vital information to have if it hoped to utilize them to their fullest. However, it felt that something was missing during the encounter with the old God of Destruction. It had spent most of the next two days analyzing its perfect recollection of the fight, courtesy of the Legendary Intelligence Perk. This had allowed it to notice a lot of small things that it couldn’t pay any attention to during the battle itself.
The conclusion it reached as a result of this retrospective was that Boxxy appeared to be the only one who knew everything about its allies. While the monster-demon coalition had certainly performed well considering this was their first real fight together, there were a lot of missed opportunities to deal heavy damage. Snack, for example, was not mindful of Claws’s highly flammable webbing when flinging her Spells, nor did Jen give Fizzy any opportunity to imbue her with Holy Infusion.
“We, as a group, lack information about one another,” the shapeshifter declared. “And by ‘we’ I mean ‘you.’ None of you seem to be aware of any Skills, Jobs, Perks, Spells or Martial Arts outside your own. You’ve always just sort of assumed what the others were capable of and sort of went with the flow. It’s worked so far, but relying on improvisation alone will get us nowhere if we plan to challenge the scores of veterans and VIPs that will be attending the Dragon Festival.”
Though the golem naturally disliked having her shortcomings dragged into the open like that, she couldn’t help but see Boxxy’s point. Fizzy herself was just one of many examples of how combining Skills and abilities from multiple Jobs could produce a result that was greater than the sum of its parts. However, she had never even bothered to think of achieving something like that with beings other than herself and her Parallels. But the people that would attend the Festival? They’ve already had decades to not only figure out which synergies worked best, but also practiced executing them to the point of it being second nature.
Therefore, not only was the meeting Boxxy proposed likely to be quite beneficial, but it was also a perfect excuse for her to strut her stuff.
“Alright, so how do you wanna do this?” she asked, eager to begin. “I mean, you still need to look after those three meatbags and one of them is out of town.”
“Nrgh,” it grumbled. “Will need to wait until things calm down.”
It would have loved to just kidnap all the people under its protection and stuff them inside the dungeon while they slept, but the FIB security detail was going to make that tricky. Truthfully speaking it really didn’t want to engage their services, but it just seemed like something Keira would do. As such it needed to postpone the meeting until all of its minions and allies could attend it in person.
It wasn’t until a week later that the opportunity finally presented itself. Lydia had returned after a ‘misunderstanding’ with her tutor, so all the nephilim were currently in Azurvale. The FIB had also completely bought into the scapegoat Boxxy had given them, giving Keira an excuse to rescind her request regarding their guard detail. The Sandman’s familiars would still stick around ‘just in case,’ but the elf operatives were allowed to attend to other matters.
However, it was a bit odd that they delayed informing the public about having captured the ‘culprit’ behind the Great Collapse. A brief bout of investigation later revealed this was due to political reasons. The government was determining the best time to publicly condemn and execute the man-puppet in order to garner the most approval from the populace. Apparently the ones in charge were concerned that revealing they had caught the mastermind too soon would make people think they were merely putting on a show to mask their incompetence.
The shapeshifter was perfectly alright with that decision since its primary Facade would only benefit from a larger and more well-received public event.
For the moment, however, it focused on its internal information exchange. Picking out a quiet evening, it had Rowana, Doris, and the triplets taken from their hotel rooms and safely deposited in the dungeon’s prison block without anyone noticing. The women themselves were sedated through magical or alchemical means, leaving them blissfully unaware of the way they were treated as luggage. With them handled, Boxxy fetched Jen from its ‘branch office’ in Velos, summoned up all three familiars and tore Fizzy away from her projects, gathering all of them underneath the glowing dungeon core.
It briefly explained its concerns regarding their lack of cooperation and then flat out ordered them to participate wholeheartedly in the meeting, even if some of them thought it stupid or boring. That said, the shapeshifter recognized that going over everything itself and its underlings were capable of would require far too much time, effort and concentration. Its monstrous troupe possessed nearly three hundred Skills, at least seventy Spells, around thirty Martial Arts, and a few dozen Perks in total. While it personally could keep tabs on all of those, none of the others shared its mental faculties.
That was why it had spent the past week preparing concise summaries of the most important and crucial aspects of each of those things, which it gave out to everyone in attendance.
|Boxxy - Doppelganger Skills|
|Mirror Image||Create body doubles||Diversions, multitasking, scouting||Mindless, bad reflexes, light bodies|
|Pheromone Control||Influence people with pheromones||Crowd control, influence individuals||Some react stronger than others|
|Broken Reflection||Absorb memories of a corpse and assume their shape||Posthumous interrogation||Can't eat the body|
|Puppet Parasite||Hijacks the body, akin to Mind Control||Usable on targets with high MNT||Target must be physically weak|
|Spirit Echo||Mirror Images can use Spells and communicate telepathically||Versatility, Snychronous Chanting||Must be ordered to cast, terrible aim|
|Hylt Metabolism||Can eat sunlight and ambient mana to boost HP/MP recovery||Sunlight is tasty||Mana can be nasty|
|Mystic Camouflage||Counteract detection-type magic for a limited time||Automatic activation||Duration varies, unreliable|
|Corporal Stability||Severed body parts last longer, shapeshifting Skills are better||Yes||No|
|Boxxy - Mimic Skills|
|Assassination||Sneak attack for massive damage||Can be used with some Spells||Can't be used in the middle of a fight|
|Cadaver Absorption||Absorb bodies for a chance to gain Skills, Attributes or Jobs||Infinite growth potential||Power creep risk, dead-end Jobs|
|Biomass||Increases body mass, boosts HP recovery||More material to shapeshift with||Weight is issue for Facade|
|Natural Armor||Passively reduces damage suffered from all sources by 10%||Universally helpful||Leveling it was painful|
|Metal Mimicry||Mimic nonmagic metals at the cost of MP||Create weapons/tools at will||Metal limbs are numb and stiff|
|Mend Flesh||Continous regeneration at the cost of MP||Keeps me alive||Doesn't scale with max HP|
|Adaptive Defense||Increased resistance against the last elemental damage taken||Great against specialized casters||Useless against non-magic enemies|
|Boxxy - Warlock Skills|
|Summon Familiar||Summons a demon, long cast time and huge MP cost||Demons are powerful minions||They do stupid things sometimes|
|Power Overwhelming||Amplifies damage and MP cost of Ruin Spells||Can end fights instantly||Too flashy|
|Demonology||Knowledge of rituals and can summon extra familiars||Rituals can be very useful||Rituals can be very deadly|
|Crystallize Magic||Solidify area effect Spells into Spell Crystals for later use||Excellent versatility||Crystals have to be thrown|
|Chant Reduction||Self-explanatory||Cast Spells quicker||Greater risk of fumbling a Spell|
|Demonic Insight||Gives demonic Spells, boosts INT effectiveness||More utility, MP, and Spell power||Spells can be a bit unpredictable|
|Despair Aura||Causes everyone in range to be fearful, more likely to panic||Crowd control, especially vs fodder||Ineffective vs high-Level targets|
|Soul Link||Familiars share HP damage and magical buffs among them||Less likely for one familiar to die||More likely that all three die at once|
|Enslave Demon||Take control of unbound demons||Very useful in theory||Quite uesless in practice|
|Graviton Manipulation||Teaches new gravity-based Spells, boosts all gravity magic||Best used against large monsters||Adventurers usually have counters|
|Malefic Union||Absorb a familiar to gain its power and Skills for 3 minutes||Become stupidly powerful||Carries risk of demonic corruption|
|Necrotic Aptitude||Gain five Necromancer Spells||Powerful scourge-based magic||Spells increase risk of Taboo|
|Siphon Soul||Drain HP and MP, get bonus XP on kills||Helps gain Warlock Levels faster||Point-blank range|
|Summoner's Grimoire||Creates a flying book that follows minions and casts Spells||Versatile, knows all my Spells||Limited MP, can't use any Skills|
|Boxxy - Warlock Spells|
|Shadowbolt||A straightforward damaging projectile||Surprisingly stealthy||Easily absorbed by armor|
|Ebonfire||Set living things on fire for several seconds||Really easy to hit||Gives target time to react|
|Frostbite||Fire a burst of icy projectiles||Cheap, good damage||Difficult to aim|
|Dark Explosion||Area Effect Spell with concussive force||Really good with Crystallize Magic||Easily absorbed by armor|
|Shadowbind||Create chains of ethereal steel to bind the target||Good against Casters||Can be broken with brute strength|
|Singularity||Pulls everything in a wide area towards the point of origin||Excellent crowd control||Easily avoided with experience|
|True Darkness||Create a completely lightless area||Empowers shadow magic, confuses||Doesn't do damage or limit movement|
|Massive Rejection||Throw enemies back with a wave of force||Creates space||Easily absorbed by armor|
|Reality Slash||Cuts things in a line||Very few things resist it||Surprisingly easy to dodge|
|Momentum Anomaly||Creates an area where weight increases proportional to speed||Really good against huge targets||Ineffective gainst brute strength|
|Weightless Space||Creates an area of zero gravity||Most monsters are unable to cope||Most adventurers are|
|Gravity Well||Creates an area of high gravity||Similar to Momentum Anomaly||Not as potentially potent|
|Magnetic Tilt||Creates an area where gravity works in a different direction||Can redirect falling debris||MP cost is really heavy|
|Mass Panic||Induces a powerful fear against all targets in range||Really good with Crystallize Magic||Range is very short without it|
|Delirium||Forces a state of deep confusion on one target||Can take a combatant out of the fight||Unreliable like most mind magic|
|Dark Infusion||A massive boost to effects of STR, AGI, DEX and INT||Explosive burst of power||Stuns living things when it expires|
|Mind Blast||Stuns a single target||Good against fighter-type targets||Ineffective against Casters|
|Hysteria||Poisons the mind with confusion, can spread to others||Can inflict group-wide confusion||Not as potent as Delirium|
|Mind Control||Exactly what it says||Turns enemies into allies||Difficult to pull off mid-combat|
|Implosion||Summon a swarm of imps||Creates cheap fodder||A mild annoyance at best|
|Transfamiliar||Swap places with a familiar||Bypasses many teleportation wards||Really long chant|
|Demonate||Detonates a familiar to deal fire damage||Damage scales with HP||Familiar does not survive|
|Pandomenium||Creates a dome that turns Spells into their opposites||Good for surprising adventurers||Limited charge, only works on Spells|
|Familiarize||Remotely control a familiar||Great for scouting or utility||User must remain stationary|
|Decay||Accelerate corrosion, erosion and rotting in an area||Good for breaching fortresses||No effect on living things|
|Shadow Plague||Spreads a disease that induces necrosis in living things||Damage inflicted rises over time||Disease resistance is common|
|Lethargic Mist||Spreads a disease that saps energy from living things||Can cripple even VIPs||Disease resistance is common|
|Corpse Explosion||Detonates a body for heavy damage||Damage scales with corpse quality||Heavy risk of Taboo|
|Defile||Taints an area with Blight||Great for sabotage, I guess||Heavy risk of Taboo|
|Boxxy - Ranger Skills|
|Tracking||Highlights footprints and other recent tracks||Finding prey is easier, even in cities||Low-impact|
|Marksman||Teaches Bow Martial Arts||Gives plenty of options||Bows rely too much on projectiles|
|Whisper Wind||Long range communication||Useful alternative to telepathy||Requires line of sight|
|Fleet Footed||Greater speed and less stamina used while running||Very little practical application||Only used as cover for Facade|
|Hunter's Mark||Marked targets are tracked, take more ranged damage||Long range, discrete application||Limited use in combat|
|Eagle Eye||Enhances long-range vision||Great scouting tool||Entirely reliant on eyesight|
|Razor Volley||Imbue next 5-10 shots with wind magic||Better arrow range and damage||Only works on unenchanted ammo|
|Throwing Arm||Use wind magic to throw items in impossible arcs||Versatile, limited projectile guidance||Throwables move slower|
|Mobile Fire||Fire bow while moving with no loss in accuracy||Greater mobility||Doesn't work for Martial Arts|
|Masked Passage||Prevents leaving tracks when using Stealth||Leave less evidence||Doesn't enhance Stealth itself|
|Water Traversal||Swim faster, hold breath longer. Water-walking at high Levels||More effective than magic items||No benefits on dry land|
|Arrow Trap||Conjures arrow traps of various types in soft soil/sand||Can be used with trick arrows||Unusable in cities, caves, etc|
|Boxxy - Ranger Martial Arts|
|Power Shot||Empowers an arrow with extra force||Straightforward damage boost||None|
|Guided Arrow||Empowers an arrow to seek out its target||Much easier to hit moving targets||Low damage|
|Multishot||Creates up to five copies of an arrow||Can be used with trick arrows||Less damage per shot|
|Blast Arrow||Empowers an arrow to expldoe on impact||Inflicts damage in an area||Low projectile velocity|
|Shrapnel Shot||Causes an arrow to burst when fired||Knocks melee targets back||Easily absorbed by armor|
|Pinning Shot||Hit a target's foot to trap it in vines||Much bigger range than Spells||Target must have feet on the ground|
|Snipe||Empowers an arrow to fly straight and fast||Two kilometer range||Execution is slow|
|Chain Shot||Each hit with Chain Shot empowers the next Chain Shot||Attack speed ramps up rapidly||Must only use Chain Shot or it resets|
|Tornado Shot||Empowers an arrow to create a strong gust of air on impact||Good for dispersing groups||Deals almost no damage|
|Thunder Arrow||Empowers an arrow with lightning that arcs to multiple targets||Long-ranged elemental damage||Cannot use with trick arrows|
|Boxxy - Blade Dancer Skills|
|Hornet Style||Rapier fighting style based on precision and speed||Boosts thrusting damage||Doesn't affect non-rapier swords|
|Adagio Variation||Massive DEX boost, rapidly consumes stamina||Great for stabbing things||None (for me)|
|Winterlich Waltz||Deadly dance - imbue melee attacks with ice||Wide sweeps, great for crowds||Risky against skilled opponents|
|Evasion||Helps when dodging attacks||Basic survival Skill||Too basic|
|Rapid Riposte||Activate to block, instant counter on succesful parry||Counter damage is really good||Missed Ripostes leave you open|
|Flamenco de Fuego||Deadly dance - imbue melee attacks with fire||Fast, great for dueling||Somewhat predictable|
|Presto Variation||Massive AGI boost, rapidly consumes stamina||Awesome speed boost||Doesn't increase damage|
|Blade Finesse||DEX increases slashing damage with one-handed weapons||Makes DEX a lot more useful||Limited to specific weapons|
|Knife Juggler||Uses magic to throw knives hands-free||Versatile, rapid fire||Weaker than physical throws|
|Sanguine Spray||Wounds bleed more and heal slower||Effective against high END targets||Ineffective against armored targets|
|Tornado Twist||Deadly dance - imbue melee attacks with wind||Can deflect physical projectiles||Less damage than other dances|
|Duelist||Identifies weak points and boosts damage done to them||Works with all weapons||But only in one-on-one fights|
|Boxxy - Wizard Skills|
|Arcane Stability||Take less backlash damage from failed magic||Helps when hiding in Storage||Very situational|
|Mana Shield||All-purpose defensive barrier||Scales with max MP||Flashy|
|Residual Feedback||Spells gain power with each consecutive cast||Perfect for magic-based fights||Have to constantly be casting|
|Disruptive Barrage||Magic missile barrage, deals extra damage against barriers||Instant damage on demand||Scales only with Skill Level|
|Glyphcraft||Weave Spells into flat surfaces to make glyph traps||Can set up nasty ambushes||Long prep time|
|Synchronous Chanting||Group Spell casting||Amazing synergy with Spirit Echo||Situational|
|Mental Alacrity||Easier to maintain Spell focus when taking damage||Works with all Spells||Only useful when actively getting hit|
|Expansive Mind||Increased INT gains, INT gives more Spell damage||Extremely potent at 1,000+ INT||Doesn't boost MP|
|Boxxy - Wizard Spells|
|Firebolt||Basic fire-based projectile||Reliable source of fire damage||Not a lot of it|
|Icebolt||Basic ice-based projectile||Reliable source of ice damage||Not a lot of it|
|Water Slicer||Basic water-based projectile||Reliable source of water damage||Not a lot of it|
|Air Hammer||Concussive blast of air||Knocks targets back||Doesn't do damage|
|Lightning Bolt||Basic lightning-based projectile||Reliable source of lightning damage||Not a lot of it. Also, I hate using it.|
|Flame Jet||A focused burst of fire||Punches through magic barriers||Short range|
|Frost Mine||Lays a magical trap that turns invisible after a while||Good for ambushes||Only lasts up to fifteen minutes|
|Spark Blast||Does minor lightning damage in an area||Low cast time||I really hate using lightning.|
|Earth Spike||Skewers targets from below with a spear of stone||Reliable source of earth damage||Easily absorbed by armor|
|Stabbing Rain||Cause piercing ice shards to fall from the sky for a time||Good area denial||Can move out of affected area|
|Flight||Gives the Caster flight so long as the Spell is maintained||Lateral movement on demand||Can't do anything else while casting|
|Searing Blast||Does minor fire damage in an area||Low cast time||Dark Explosion is better|
|De-spell||Disperses magic in an area||Wide area||Indiscriminate|
|Disintegrate||Causes matter to disappear into dust||Unresistable damage||Easily absorbed by armor|
|Apport||Teleports an item from your hand to a nearby visible location||Usable with grenades, Spell Crystals||Only works on small items|
|Teleport||Teleports the user across large distances||Fastest known form of travel||Calculating coordinates takes time|
|Gate||Opens a two-way portal that anyone can use||Fastest known form of group travel||Calculating coordinates takes time|
|Boxxy - Absorbed Skills|
|Acid Spray||Sprays acid||Can eat through most metals||Limited range, poor scaling|
|Divine Attunement||Boosts Holy Spell potency||Only has benefits||I don't know any Holy Spells|
|Ruinous Reach||Bonus range on Ruin Spells||Warlock Skill, got it for free||None|
|Aerial Strikes||Boosts jumping/pouncing attacks||Free damage||Situational, increases are minor|
|Vile Blades||Coats bladed weapons in poison||Usable with enchanted weapons||Poison is fairly weak|
|Monocular Rage||Cyclops Enrage Skill, activates when their eye is attacked||Potentially deadly||Unusable (wrong race)|
|Dustoff||Upward gust of air that can be caught by wings||Great for rapidly gaining altitutde||Unusable (too heavy)|
|Padded Skin||Reduces damage taken from blunt weapons||Free defense||None|
|Path of the Dragon||Teaches heavy-hitting Staff Martial Arts||Can use with Voidcaller||I'd have to use Voidcaller|
|Sense Danger||Amplifies animal instincts to avoid predators||No downsides||My instincts are stronger|
|Web Throw||Throws a spider web up to 30 meters||Ranged disabling move, handy||Webbing is not very strong|
|Disrupting Wave||Dispel magical effects in an area around the user||Instantaneous, chantless||Cooldown period between uses|
|Feline Mobility||Passive boosts AGI effectiveness||Free speed||None|
|Fire Breath||Dragon breath knockoff||Surprise factor||Poor scaling|
|Fire Affinity||Negates fire damage taken, increases fire damage dealt||Useful in many situations||None|
|Earth Affinity||Negates earth damage taken, increases earth damage dealt||Immunity to ground tremors too||Can still be buried alive|
|Petrifying Gaze||Immobilize the target by locking eyes with them||Can use with multiple eyes||Slow-acting|
|Darkness Affinity||Negates dark damage taken, increases dark damage dealt||Empowers many Ruin Spells||None|
|Darkflight||Silent flight, only works in the dark||Better than the Flight Spell||Environmental dependancy|
|Cold Snap||Instantly freeze everything within an area||Extremely potent||Painful to use without Cold Affinity|
|Charged Strikes||Imbue melee attacks with lightning||For fighting other shapeshifters||I hate using it|
|Boxxy - Other Skills|
|Chaotic Disposition||Random chance for a random effect whenever MP is used||Outcomes are sometimes tasty||Outcomes are usually not tasty|
|Agent of Chaos||Makes the impossible happen||Has produced incredibly tasty results||Very difficult to control or predict|
|Essence Concealment||Creates a fake Status that can fool Appraisal-style effects||Lets me do the things I do||Doesn't work on quasi-divine beings|
|Vengeance||Increases damage of next attack, scales with damage taken||Potentially devastating||Requires I get badly hurt first|
|Eyes of the Dead God||Can see names and HP of enemies||Instant threat assessment||Not directly useful in combat|
|Shapeshift||Move flesh and bone freely, only spine must remain intact||Too many to list||Lightning as Bane|
|Phytokinesis||Specialized telekinesis for controlling plant life||Also lets me shapeshift into plants||Very environment-reliant|
|Stealth||Muffles sound of movement||Makes Assassination much eaiser||Not foolproof|
|Boxxy - Perks|
|Legendary Endurance||Vastly increased stamina capacity and disease resistance||Can fight longer without getting tired||None|
|Legendary Intelligence||Increased Skill damage, improved short-term memmory||Works with Skills that don't scale||Only for Skills that directly do damage|
|Legendary Perception||Reduces likelihood of senses being overwhelmed||Eliminates drawbacks of high PER||None|
|Legendary Strength||Higher base strength, 1/5 of melee damage bypasses armor||Very tasty||None|
|Legendary Dexterity||Higher base flexibility, 1/5 of ranged damage bypasses armor||Not as tasty||Flexibility is wasted on a shapeshifter|
|Legendary Agility||Deal more damage and take less damage when moving fast||Bonuses scale with speed up to 25%||Only amplifies melee damage|
|Legendary Mentality||Mind control immunity, mind magic works on golems/undead||Superbly tasty||Don't have it yet|
|Arms - Fiend Skills|
|Demonic Armaments||Conjure weapons and armor||Don't have to worry about gear||Performance isn't all that great|
|Second Wind||Heal for % of missing HP||Instant and incredibly potent||Long cooldown unless resummoned|
|Demonic Carapace||Temporary defense boost||Instant and incredibly potent||Manual activation required|
|Demonic Leap||Massively boosted leg strength when jumping||Cover long distances||Easy to hit mid-air|
|Violent Meditation||Gain MP when hitting things||Much-needed source of MP||Only works for melee attacks|
|Imbued Armaments||Demonic Armaments gain enchantments||Free enchantments||Enchantments are low tier|
|Combat Reflexes||Improves response time in combat||Boosts defense against rapid attacks||Body too slow to use fully|
|Forceful Persuasion||STR works like CHR when intimidating others||Effective both in and out of combat||A bit too effective|
|Embodiment of Wrath||"Soul power" improves base performance||Free power||Hard to gauge|
|Spiteful Echoes||Melee hits create damaging shockwaves||Cause more damage through armor||Seems lackluster for a 'final' Skill|
|Arms - Hoarder Skills|
|Vault||Works kind of like Storage||Persists between summons||Limited usage|
|Hand of Avarice||Takes an item from the target at random||Instant use, good range||Unpredictable|
|Sense Treasure||Detect shinies within a certain range||Great for finding hidden treasure||Doesn't sense cheap shinies|
|Golden Touch||Petrifies thing on melee hits, only with gold instead of stone||Makes the un-shiny shiny||Shinyness is temporary|
|Arms - Berserker Skills|
|Bloodlust||Melee kills boost damage||Great when dealing with hordes||Useless in all other situations|
|Brutal Fervor||Damage taken boosts Attribute effectiveness||Makes Arms deadlier||Have to take a lot of damage|
|Face Smasher||Teaches Brawler Martial Arts||Really effective with Arms's body||Low MP pool to use them with|
|Berserker Rage||Huge damage boost followed by a period of weakness||Good for ending a fight quickly||Downside is incredibly severe|
|Eye For An Eye||Temporary damage boost against attackers||Scales with damage taken||Ineffective against multiple attackers|
|Battlecry||Rallying war cry||Empowers allies||Also empowers enemies|
|Unchained Anger||Improves Brutal Fervor and Berserker Rage||Powerful Skills become even better||Limited scope|
|Rabble Rouser||Makes enemies more likely to attack the Berserker||Great for drawing attention||Results may very|
|Arms - Berserker Martial Arts|
|Headcrack||Smashes the skull from both sides||Concussion guaranteed||Only works on things with skulls|
|Uppercut||Upward punch with enhanced force||Knocks targets upward||Doesn't do much damage|
|War Stomp||Smashes ground with foot to create tremors||Breaks most enemies' footing||Doesn't work on all surfaces|
|Thunderclap||Slaps hands together to produce a deafening shockwave||Arms can use all six arms||Indiscriminate|
|Shoulder Bump||Empowered body slam||Sends victims flying||Makes Arms vulnerable if she misses|
|Foot Stamp||Stomp on an opponent's foot with bone-crushing force||Really good with Arms's weight||Only works on things with feet|
|Dominating Blow||A straight punch that does huge damage||Arms's hardest hitting attack||Easy to read|
|Limb Press||Simultaneous upward knee and downward elbow strike||Perfect for breaking bones||Deals damage to own limbs on a miss|
|Temple Slam||Grab a target and suplex them head-first into the ground||Arms can use all six arms||Doesn't work on really big targets|
|Dirty Blow||Rising knee strike usually aimed at gut or crotch||Fast and strong||Arms is too tall to use this right|
|Arms - Other Skills|
|Idiotic Strength||Better STR, worse INT||Incredibly potent for a fiend||Max MP becomes really pitiful|
|Trophy Case||Gain power from trophies in Vault||Lots of potential||Collecting trophies takes time|
|Earth Affinity||Negates earth damage taken, increases earth damage dealt||Immunity to ground tremors too||Can still be buried alive|
|Snack - Succubus Skills|
|Energy Drain||Leech HP/MP through skin contact||Massively amplified during sex||Quite weak outside of sex|
|Demonic Seduction||Appear especially enticing to mortals by amplifying CHR||A succubus's main weapon||Useless in combat|
|Inivisibility||Temporary invisibility, breaks when inflicting or taking damage||Effective both in and out of combat||Still makes noise|
|Versatile Tongue||Speaks all kinds of language and dialects perfectly||Great for blending in with a culture||Useless in combat|
|Devilish Cunning||CHR improves thinking abilities like WIS||Makes Snack deliciously devious||She only thinks about sex|
|Aggressive Cuddling||Sex deprives partner of strength, easing rape||Can be used in combat||Insanely difficult to use in combat|
|Malicious Torment||Uses mind magic to cause illusory pain||Distraction at worst, crippling at best||Does not cause any damage|
|Penetration Expertise||Magic bypasses a portion of resistances||Great against enchanted gear||Can't bypass Affinities|
|Sins of the Flesh||Sperm intake boosts magical power||The boost lasts for several hours||Must be taken fresh from the source|
|Lustful Echoes||All magic inflicts demonic corruption at a rapid pace||Erodes target's will||Can't be turned off|
|Snack - Succubus Spells|
|Sleep||Puts target into a coma-like state||Universal pacification tool||Easily disrupted by pain|
|Delirium||Forces a state of deep confusion on one target||Can take a combatant out of the fight||Unreliable like most mind magic|
|Mass Panic||Induces a powerful fear against all targets in range||Really good with Crystallize Magic||Range is very short without it|
|Snack - Djinn Skills|
|Amplify Magic||Temporary increase to magic damage done or taken||Potentially deadly||Potentially suicidal|
|Guiding Light||Clairvoyance magic that can be used to find objects or people||Easy to follow, fairly accurate||Depends on the djinn's desires|
|Mist Form||Temporary physical immunity and spell vulnerability||Can sneak through tiny gaps||High MP cost, slow reforming|
|Conjure Catalyst||Creates various magic/alchemical reagents||Convenient||Lackluster|
|Snack - Pyromancer Skills|
|Devouring Flame||Pyroclasm spells cause a lingering damage over time effect||Stackable||Higher MP cost|
|Mana Burn||Devouring Flames last longer and sap MP||Overall improvement in damage||Damage to MP is minor|
|Summon Molten Guardian||Conjure magma elemental as a pet||Semi-autonomous, good fighter||Poor scaling without extra Skills|
|Volcanic Burst||Detonate Pyroclasm Spells early for bonus damage||Best used with Meteor, Inferno||Friendly fire is an issue|
|Tempered Flame||Area Effect fire spells deal less damage to allies||Great for messy skirmishes||Designating allies takes time|
|Fiery Weapon||Imbues weapons with fire damage||More potent than enchantments||Damages the item|
|Reignition||Reignites Devouring Flames in an area, all at once||Devastating finishing move||Very situational|
|Flame Effigy||Conjures a living flame that seeks out a target and explodes||Nigh-impossible to dodge||Poor scaling, no Devouring Flames|
|Snack - Pyromancer Spells|
|Fireball||Launches a fiery projectile that explodes on impact||Great all-purpose offensive magic||Indiscriminate|
|Purge||Removes poison, disease, and bleeding from target||Decent utility||Causes minor damage to target|
|Inferno||Creates a fiery tornado||Covers a wide area||Indiscriminate|
|Magma Missile||Lobs three projectiles of molten rock||Good single-target damage||Must be on ground to use|
|Blast Wave||Burns and knocks back targets around the caster||Creates space||Indiscriminate|
|Flamethrower||A sustained torrent of fire||Damage slowly increases with time||Can't do anything else while casting|
|Meteor||Drops a massive lump of fire from above||Massive damage||Unusable indoors, easy to dodge|
|Backdraft||Snuffs out both magical and mundane flames||Limits damage from Pyromancers||Affects user's flames as well|
|Scorching Ray||A sustained beam of concentrated heat||High damage, long range||Can't do anything else while casting|
|Volcano||Lava continually bursts from the ground in large flying globs||Good area denial||Situational use|
|Scalding Gust||Blast of steam||Superbly painful||Damage dealt is low|
|Fire Ward||Defensive Spell that reduces fire damage taken||Simple, but effective||None|
|Snack - Other Skills|
|Shapeshift||Leftover from origin as succubus||Great for camouflage||Only skin deep|
|Dreamweaver||Mind manipulation through dreams||Can read and implant memories||Repetitive use is ill-advised|
|Conjure Mirage||Create hyper-realistic illusions||Extremely flexible||Only visual, no sound, smell or touch|
|Fire Affinity||Negates fire damage taken, increases fire damage dealt||Useful vs many opponents||None|
|Claws - Stalker Skills|
|Stalk||Silent movement without causing air disturbances||Like Stealth, only better||Doesn't hide from plain eyesight|
|Counterspell||Can 'cut' magic to dispel it||Works on barriers, too||Some forms of magic can't be cut|
|Rending Claws||Damage and bleeding on natural weapons||Makes claws and scythes deadlier||Still useless against heavy armor|
|Blood Gorger||Drinking fresh blood gives a temporary Attribute bonus||Stackable||Not as potent at higher Levels|
|Detect Magic||Sense magic and enchantments||Quite accurate||Very short range as base stalker|
|Magic Resistance||Self explanatory||More potent than enchantments||None|
|Mana Leech||Rapidly drain MP from nearby targets||Good against low-MP enemies||Why not just kill them?|
|Spider Sense||Give spider-like hyper-awareness||Sense Danger that actually works||Easier to overload senses|
|Peerless Gluttony||Can eat a LOT of food, improves Blood Gorger||Translates into more Demon Silk||Stalker is harder to satisfy|
|Silent Echoes||Silence all targets within a short range||Prevents speaking and chanting||Affects everyone indiscriminately|
|Claws - Webstalker Skills|
|Steel Thread||Enchanted webbing that's super strong||Can be used as a weapon||Still highly flammable|
|Weaver||Weave webbing into complex patterns and shapes||Great for handling Demon Silk||Limited combat applications|
|Impact Webbing||Fire a glob of sticky webbing that explodes on impact||Long range binding||Can be broken with brute force|
|Empowered Claws||Enchant claws with element based on species||Reliable source of ice damage||Cannot be used with Counterspell|
|Claws - Rogue Skills|
|Assassination||Sneak attack for massive damage||Can kill most targets in one hit||Can't be used in the middle of a fight|
|Misdirection||Makes noises as distraction||Does what it says with no drawbacks||Alerts targets, prevents Assassination|
|Evasion||Helps when dodging attacks||Basic survival Skill||Too basic|
|Silent Sprint||Sprinting is faster and makes less noise||More mobility with Stalk or Stealth||Low impact|
|Cheap Shot||Attacking a weak point can cause stuns||Just an all-around useful Skill||Somewhat inconsistent|
|Deadly Acrobatics||Better air control and damage from jumping attacks||Makes a stalker even more agile||Damage boost a bit weak|
|Blade Finesse||DEX increases slashing damage with one-handed weapons||Claws's claws count||Her scythes don't|
|Adrenaline Rush||Reduce damage taken, stamina consumption and pain||Good for rushing a target head-on||Reckless, risky|
|Claws - Other Skills|
|Venomous Sting||Can poison melee targets||Wide variety of poisons available||Ineffective against strong opponents|
|Webspinner||Greatly improved webbing accross the board||It's good, I guess||Messy|
|Clear Ice||Optical camouflage on demand||Claws can be both shiny and stealthy||Not completely invisible, MP cost|
|Cold Affinity||Negates cold damage taken, increases cold damage dealt||Mobility not hampered by ice||Borderline useless for offense|
|Jen - Monk Skills|
|Disciple of Chaos||Obtain 'guidance' while meditating, a form of clairvoyance||Can be shockingly accurate||Can be shockingly inaccurate|
|Ki Manipulation||Replace MP with Ki, enabling special Skills||Ki recovers much quicker than MP||Can't use Spells|
|Flow Perception||Can sense flows of energy, air and water||Jen says it helps read an opponent||I don't see how|
|Empowered Strikes||Ki increases melee damage||Especially strong against undead||Consumes Ki with every hit|
|Parry Expertise||Helps when parrying attacks with a weapon||Good against enemies of similar size||Less good against bigger ones|
|Ki-Imbued Skin||Harden skin with ki for defense||Tougher than mithril plating||Can't use with armor, consumes Ki|
|Projectile Deflection||Helps when deflecting physical projectiles||Can completely shut down Rangers||Of little use against most other Jobs|
|Path of the Tiger||Teaches combination-based Martial Arts with unarmed strikes||Fast, significantly lethal as monster||Useless against heavy armor|
|Wholesome Being||Poison and disease resistance||Negates two common nuisances||None|
|Strength of Stone||Improves STR and END while grounded||Improves both defense and offense||Jen flies a lot|
|Purity of Thought||Better control over emotions, resists manipulation||Less likely to be mind controlled||Also limits positive emotions like joy|
|Healing Hand||Use Ki to restore HP and heal wounds||Mends broken bones in combat||Unsuitable for sustained healing|
|Diamond Soul||Surpress effects of environment, hunger, thirst and exhaustion||Function normally in harsh conditions||Still need to eat and drink as normal|
|Flurry of Blows||Rapidly repeats a Martial Art up to six times||Greater overall damage||Can't stop mid-Flurry|
|Timeless Body||Greatly reduces the degenrative effects of aging||Maintains the body's prime condition||Doesn't increase lifespan|
|Unleash Potential||Temporary buff to Ki and Ki-based skills||Scales with FTH||Jen's FTH is low|
|Perfect Physique||Amplifies STR, maintains optimal muscle mass||Don't have to do muscle training||Unimpressive for a high Level Skill|
|Spirit Guardian||Jen's Ultimate, automatically blocks attacks||Can stop even massive hits||Rapid strikes overwhelm it|
|Jen - Path of the Tiger Martial Arts|
|Rending Assault||Channels Ki into claw swipes that cause heavy bleeding||Good damage overall||Doesn't always puncture skin/hide|
|Savage Sweep||Channels Ki into a sweeping kick that cleaves like an axe||Can catch opponents off-guard||Easy to read|
|Nerve Strike||Channels Ki into a pinpoint strike that disables limbs||Renders the target defenseless||Only works on humanoid targets|
|Solar Glare||Channels Ki into a blinding flash of light||On demand flashbang||Also blinds the user|
|Rising Fang||Channels Ki into a crushing strike to the throat's windpipe||Excellent exploitation of a weak spot||Only works on humanoid targets|
|Jen - Warrior Skills|
|Toughness||Improves defense from armor||Good adventurer Skill||Jen doesn't use armor|
|Evasion||Helps when dodging attacks||Basic survival Skill||Too basic|
|Penetrating Strikes||Piercing weapons dig deeper||Works for ranged weapons too||Jen doesn't use piercing weapons|
|Blunt Weapon Affinity||Reduces recoil when using blunt weapons||Can hit hard targets easier||Doesn't boost damage directly|
|Blocking Expertise||Dulls impact when blocking attacks||Helps when parrying is impossible||Intended for shields, not staves|
|Dense Muscles||Boosts STR effectiveness||Makes Jen's high STR even better||Requires Toughness|
|Deep Reserves||Raises stamina and energy capacity||Fight for longer without feeling tired||Rarely comes into play|
|Armor Break||Melee attacks more effectively damage defenses||Allies benefit from this too||Requires Penetrating Strikes|
|Body Check||Boosts tackles, body slams, shoulder charges and so on||Great for throwing foes off-balance||Jen doesn't have much weight|
|Arms Race||Harder to be disarmed, easier to disarm||Very useful against adventurers||Less than useful against monsters|
|Jen - Griffin Skills|
|Wind Assisted Flight||Uses innate wind magic to help with flight||Lets Jen fly||Jen can't fly without it|
|Rip and Tear||Bleeding and slashing damage boost||Synergizes with Path of the Tiger||Ineffective against armored targets|
|Dominant Bloodline||Easier to intimidate others, extra HP per END||Extra survivability and utility||Jen's appearance isn't intimidating|
|Air Raid||Activate for dive-bombing attack||Absolutely devastating if it hits||IF it hits|
|Echolocation||Sense targets through extreme hearing||Lets Jen fight without relying on sight||Vulnerability to sonic attacks|
|Jen - Harpy Skills|
|Dustoff||Upward gust of air that can be caught by wings||Great for rapidly gaining altitutde||Seems unusable in midair|
|Snatcher’s Grip||Boosts leg grip strength||Leg grapples become a viable attack||Not everything is grabbable|
|Piercing Plumage||Hardens feathers into throwable knives||Cheap ranged attack option||Weak damage|
|Dazing Screech||Sonic attack that stuns and disorients||Useful in many situations||Friendly fire is an issue|
|Jen - Perks|
|Legendary Strength||Increased base strength, melee damage penetrates armor||It's just good||None|
|Fizzy - Paladin Skills|
|Champion of Chaos||Catch glimpses of possible near futures||Predict an opponent's next move||Not 100% accurate|
|Toughness||Improves defense from armor||Works with Fizzy's mithril plating||None|
|Strength of Faith||FTH boosts melee attacks similar to STR||Especially strong against undead||None|
|Holy Scripture||Teaches Holy Spells and midly increases their effects||Provides healing and versatility||None|
|Divine Wrath||Temporary boost in physical damage and magic power||Extremely potent while it lasts||None|
|Bonecrusher War Art||Teaches Martial Arts that emply a mace and shield||Adds some much needed flexibility||None|
|Parallel Plot||Creates up to three independent alter egos to aid in combat||Fight, cast and use Skills at once||A tiny bit maddening|
|Pure Skill||Random chance for an attack to deal significant damage||Free damage||Unpredictable|
|Beacon of Faith||Increased FTH gains and FTH effectiveness||Empowers Spells and Skills||None|
|Radiant Presence||Radiate cleansing holy energy, scales with FTH||Fizzy becomes blindingly shiny||It's temporary|
|Condemn||Activatable to bind a target with holy shackles||Helps control the fight||None|
|Sanctify Item||Curse removal, imbue item with holy energy||Makes shinies even shinier||None|
|Instant Payback||Return portion of damage taken to attackers while active||A creative form of suicide||None|
|Fizzy - Martial Arts|
|Grand Slam||A wide swing of the mace||Hit with extra force||Easy to read|
|Shield Wall||Completely blocks a melee attack||Can shrug off huge blows||Timing needs to be very precise|
|Heavy Gong||A horizontal mace strike||Especially effective against armor||Slow|
|Rebound||Deflects a projectile Spell||Can be reflected back at its source||Spells can be too powerful to deflect|
|Love Tap||Downward strike that makes the target bounce||Allows for better control during fights||Ineffective on heavy targets|
|Gag Order||Strikes the throat with the shield's rim, preventing Spell use||Can be used silently||Very short range|
|Nail Strike||A lunging strike with the mace||Sharp and fast||Not suitable for all maces|
|Arms Trap||Disarming technique that uses the shield||Especially effective against axes||Useless if target has no weapon|
|Hammer Toss||Hurls the mace as a magic-guided projectile||Superb ranged damage||Have to get the mace back|
|Shield Throw||Hurls the shield as a magic-guided projectile||None||Fizzy can't deatch her shield|
|Fizzy - Spells|
|Holy Light||Basic single-target healing Spell||Fast chant, potent healing||None|
|Consecrate||Consecrates an area with holy energy||Good against undead or Blight||Relatively useless otherwise|
|Cleanse||Attempts to remove diseases, poisons and magical afflictions||General all-purpose support Spell||Cannot remove curses|
|Judgement||Smites the target with holy energy||Exerts physical force||Can be blocked or evaded|
|Holy Infusion||A massive boost FTH, WIS, MNT and healing recieved||Improves certain Spells and Skills||Somewhat situational|
|Lightning Bolt||Basic lightning-based projectile, learned outside of Job||Can be used repeatedly by Parallels||Weak due to relative low INT|
|Parallel Zero||Puts Fizzy in full control of her body||Normal state||Normal state|
|Parallel One||Allows one Parallel to control parts of Fizzy's Body||First Parallel handles Spells||Drains MP|
|Parallel Two||Like above, but with two Parallels||Second Parallel handles Skills||Drains MP more rapidly|
|Parallel Three||Like above, but with three Parallels||Third Parallel doesn't do anything||Never used since Null is not a fighter|
|Fizzy - Metal Golem Skills|
|Heavy Metal||Heavier and more durable armor plating||Great synergy with Toughness||Extra weight is sometimes an issue|
|Armored Charge||High-speed rushing attack||Instant acceleration,s trong impact||Can't stop once activated|
|Advanced Joints||Extra mobility, flexibility, and all around agility||Allows for delicate crafting||Used to compensate for golem limbs|
|Magnetize||Push/pull metallic objects||Usable on most adventurer gear||None|
|Engine of Destruction||Build up body heat while rapidly regenrating MP||Resistances don't reduce MP gained||Constantly taking damage|
|Shock Absorption||Dampens physical force of sustained impacts||Less likely to be knocked down||None|
|Heat Exchange||Vents heat build up, dealing heat damage in an area||Great finishing move||Resets Engine of Destruction|
|Geomagnetic Grip||Like Magnetize, but more control and affects more materials||Can strangle people with own armor||Short range|
|Fizzy - War Golem Skills|
|Magitech Cannon||Arm cannon that firest deadly lumps of heat||Excellent long-range option||Slow fire rate|
|Lightning Warp||Short-range instant teleport with electric discharges||Mobility and damage in one||None|
|Physical Augmentation Module||Transforms the body into one of several configurations||Vastly imrpoved versatility||Vulnerable while transforming|
|Animate Armor||Make a minion out of unenchanted armor||Controllable via Parallels||Reserves % of MP while active|
|Tactical Readout||Provides a number of vision-related features||Includes night vision and aim assist||None|
|Fizzy - Other Skills|
|Metallopathy||Can 'talk to' metal objects||Invaluable when working with metals||Limited combat applications|
|Lightning Affinity||Like other Affinities, but with lightning||Prevents self-harm with other Skills||None|
|Static Field||MP-fueled electricity generator||Multiple offensive and defensive uses||Stunted movements if disrupted|
|Runic Feedback||Spells create runic charges that empower magic||Faster than Residual Feedback||Activating it consumes all charges|
The provided reading materials were a comprehensive list of each of the group’s abilities, including its own. The shapeshifter had of course omitted certain things for brevity’s sake, such as Mastery Skills or those related to Artisan Jobs. While it was true some of those were potentially useful in combat, such as Boxxy’s Alchemical Fortitude giving it a higher tolerance for ingesting potions, they were superbly passive and relatively low impact. It was the same reason why non-Legendary Perks were also excluded from the list.
“Question,” Jen raised her hand.
“What?” Boxxy replied. “You’re not going to complain about my spelling again, are you?”
Though the feathery Scribe most definitely wanted to point out the numerous mistakes in the shapeshifter’s rushed handwriting, there was another far more important concern on her mind.
“Isn’t Fizzy a superbly unfair existence?”
The harpy had almost instantly noticed that the golem could generate MP with Engine of Destruction and heal herself with Parallel Plot while in the middle of combat. Not to mention that certain Paladin Skills were ridiculously beneficial to her mechanical constitution.
“Yes, she is,” the monster confirmed. “You can’t overpower her with brute force, the only way she can be defeated is if she gets obliterated by magic in an instant or if her Spell-casting is silenced for long enough.”
The harpy-griffin hybrid lowered her hand, her tight-lipped micro-expressions hinting at either jealousy or envy. Though she had known the golem to be a powerful entity after fighting both against and alongside her, this was the first time she’d been able to grasp just how absurd her Skill synergies were. Though her own monsterfication had given her similarly potent combinations, they were not quite at the level of ‘functional immortality.’
“You sure it’s a good idea to give this bird-brain so much info, boss?” Kora spoke up. “She used to be our enemy, you know.”
“And now she’s not,” Boxxy pointed out. “She needs to understand all of our weaknesses if she is to cover for them, and vice-versa.”
“… If you say so, boss.”
The hoarder demon clearly had some misgivings about this whole thing. The stubborn, pig-headed attitude all fiends suffered from was no doubt going to be an issue. It wasn’t as if ‘be more of a team player’ was an order that could realistically be forced on someone like that. Thankfully her newly awakened desires gave Boxxy an opportunity to motivate her.
“Do your best to cooperate with others and I’ll give you suitably shiny things in return.”
The demon’s eyes lit up and she turned her attention back to the list of Skills, eager to earn her keep. The rest of Boxxy’s posse were already taking this seriously enough, so ideas on how to best utilize their combined skill sets started flowing almost immediately. Jen realized that she could benefit immensely from Fizzy’s Holy Infusion, which amplified the effects of the FTH, WIS and MNT Attributes. This would not only greatly improve her Ki-based Skills, but also help lessen the impact of mental attacks and stun conditions. It might even counteract the debilitating side-effects of Boxxy’s Dark Infusion, though she was loathe to actually partake in that. Even if the Warlock’s temporary physical boost would be immense given her Attribute scores, getting immobilized for even half a second would prove deadly in high-Level combat.
The golem herself already had a number of combination moves planned, usually involving either Kora or Boxxy. Hiding in either their Vault or Storage and leaping out for a surprise attack had been something she had already grown used to. If the hoarder wore her armor or the shapeshifter was using Metal Mimicry, then she could use her Magnetize Skill to propel either of them at high speed towards a target. Xera’s fire-based Spells and Skills, on the other hand, could rapidly bring her body temperature up after a Heat Exchange had cooled her down. Doing so would allow her to keep generating MP, enabling her alter ego to keep pumping out support Spells. She could also use Drea’s Steel Thread as an improvised conductor to shock people from afar with her Static Field, provided the spider silk didn’t catch fire in the process.
The webstalker in question didn’t have much to add to the discussion. She knew she could rely on the others to help set up her ambushes, and was certain they counted on her to ‘gift-wrap’ troublesome targets in her sticky thread. It was the sort of teamwork that did not rely on gimmicky Spells or Skills. Or at least that’s what she thought until Xera pointed out her illusion could help mask both Drea and her webbing. Combined with Arrow Traps, Spell Crystals, Glyphcraft, and two monstrous Artificers’ worth of explosive devices, she could help create death traps the likes of which she had never thought possible. That notion appealed immensely to her arachnid sensibilities, and she suddenly found herself quite excited to start exploring and experimenting.
Xera then chimed in to remind everyone yet again of her own supportive magics, limited as they were. Amplify Magic was the most potent ability among them, though it could very well be a double-edged sword if used inappropriately. Fiery Weapon could add that extra spice to nearly all of them, while Fire Ward and Backdraft would be immensely useful should they attract a dragon’s ire. Which, considering where they were going, seemed quite likely.
Jen, who had felt a bit left out thus far, politely informed the djinn that she was mistaken. Apparently the idea that dragons on the Shattered Isles only breathed fire was a somewhat common misconception. Dragons could wield any of the primordial elements depending on their species, with some even using holy or necromantic energies. This also meant that the aforementioned Fiery Weapon might prove far more useful during the festival than the djinn had been led to believe.
The harpy also inquired whether Boxxy was capable of feeding Xera’s Sins of the Flesh Skill, which the slutty demoness answered with a negative response accompanied by a look of infinite sadness.
Kora, on the other hand, was her usual blockhead self and was having trouble thinking of any new tactics or strategies. To begin with, she didn’t like any plan that was more complex than ‘hit things really hard’ or ‘toss the shiny gnome at people.’ She was a front-line fighter whose job description was to turn herself into a target that was impossible to ignore. From then on it was a simple matter of letting Fizzy keep her as near death as possible so her Berserker Skills could exhibit their full power. She also wasn’t going to complain if a certain ice-spider kept her targets from moving around as she pummeled them into a thick red sauce, but those sort of things went without saying.
That said, all three demons had a lot to think about thanks to the Warlock Skill Boxxy had gotten in the aftermath of Eren’s defeat:
Description: The unbreakable bond between master and servant allows the Warlock to lend a portion of their arcane might to a bound familiar.
Requirements: Level 85 Warlock, Malefic Union
Activation Time: 3 seconds
Cost: 30% of max MP
Range: 2 Meters
Effects: Conjures a semi-autonomous grimoire and binds it to a summoned familiar.
The grimoire will follow its bonded familiar and respond to their mental directions.
The grimoire cannot recover MP and starts with 60% of the MP used in its creation.
The grimoire can use any Spell its creator knows of at 30% of their regular effectiveness.
Increases the grimoire’s Spell effectiveness ratio by 3% per Level of this Skill.
Increases the grimoire’s MP by an extra 2% of the MP used in its creation per Level of this Skill.
The grimoire persists until its MP is exhausted, it is destroyed, or a new one is created.
The six-armed demon’s biggest problem thus far, at least in Boxxy’s opinion, was her pitifully low reserves of mana. Her new Hoarder Skills were significantly thirstier in terms of MP costs than her Fiend or Berserker abilities. Her master used this opportunity to inform her that it would be lending her one of its fifty two Artifacts. The article in question was a glowing crystal vial on a string meant to be worn as an amulet, and was aptly called a Portable Mana Battery. It could raise the hoarder’s maximum MP by a staggering 500, nearly doubling her magical reservoir. It was worth noting that the Battery did so by directly affecting the MP total without going through the INT Attribute. Which was a good thing in this particular case, as it circumvented the downside of Kora’s Idiotic Strength Skill.
Even with the hefty MP cost and reduced magic power, these ethereal books would no doubt prove immensely powerful. For one thing, they allowed Boxxy’s arcane might to be put to use while it was otherwise occupied. Xera would have an entire spellbook’s worth of toys to confuse and befuddle her opponents, though Drea was far less enthusiastic. Something about having a talking book floating around her at all times just didn’t sit right with her, mostly since it would give away her position. The upside was that she found the conjured grimoires to be rather flavorful. Kora’s one-track mind only saw the thing as a source of Dark Infusion. It was still quite the invigorating incantation, even at a third of its normal potency. Still, she admitted it would be handy to have one of those fancy books around should she face a ranged combatant that was able to give her the run-around.
The shapeshifter also used this opportunity to declare that Arms was not the only one who would get this treatment. When the time of the Dragon Festival came, it would use its vast armory to completely gear up all of its minions and allies in as many Artifacts and Masterworks as chestily possible. It had already picked out the optimal equipment to distribute to each individual, including the demons. Snack, for instance, would have the Crust Controller staff to massively amplify her Pyroclasm magic. It had a Spectral Cowl set aside for Claws to let her phase through solid matter, though doing so would drain her HP. The Divine Decree was a ring oversaturated with holy energy that would be of huge help to both Jen and Fizzy. It even had a staff called Branching Path that Ambrosia’s spriggan vessel would find most useful.
A heavy silence hung in the air the instant Boxxy mentioned the slumbering dryad.
“How do you plan to deal with the treacherous shrub, Master?” Xera was the first to speak.
“Calling her ‘treacherous’ is a bit harsh, don’t you think?” it argued.
“No, it really isn’t,” Fizzy coldly rebuked it. “She led you on for years, intent on turning you into her drug-slave. And she will no doubt try to do so again once she wakes up. That is not something I will permit.”
“Indeed,” the djinn nodded. “If it were up to me, I would see this entire tree turned to ash and cinders. However, it is not up to me. So tell me, oh wise Master of mine, how will you deal with the whorish vegetable when the time comes?”
“… I don’t know,” Boxxy finally admitted. “I want to stay on her good side if at all possible, but I have no idea how she will react if I decline her invitation to drink her nectar.”
“Question,” Jen raised her hand once again.
“You don’t need to ask permission,” the shapeshifter admonished her. “Asking is free.”
“Alright,” the harpy nodded. “From what I can gather, the dryad in question owns this tree and is responsible for your Honeydew addiction. Is this correct?”
“… That’s one way of putting it,” it answered evasively.
“More like the only way,” Fizzy grumbled.
“Was it her intention to cause this affliction?” Jen pressed on.
“Don’t be stupid, of course it was,” Xera rolled her eyes. “She practically demanded my Master partake of the stuff on a regular basis. How could it not be?”
“Well, she might not know this ‘nectar’ of hers is habit-forming,” the Monk suggested. “Could be she’s following some instinct without being consciously aware of its impact.”
Jen was not actually aware of just how ancient the dryad in question was, nor did she know that it was one of Ambrosia’s peers that revealed this addictive property in the first place. She was, however, intimately familiar with how insistant a monster’s instincts were. The harpy had been steadily coming to terms with her own new and strange urges, so it wasn’t hard for her to imagine something similar was happening to Ambrosia.
“That is… a very good question, actually.”
Jen’s perspective, though partially born from ignorance, had nevertheless given Boxxy something to think about. It had just assumed the dryad was doing all this on purpose because it never truly trusted her ever since she broke out of the dungeon’s influence. Come to think of it, this whole thing had started well before that particular incident. It seemed odd that Ambrosia would willfully endeavor to poison Boxxy’s mind under those circumstances. After all, a dungeon master was programmed to revere the core’s owner and despise outsiders by default. Lavender was living proof of that.
“You can’t be serious!” Fizzy exclaimed. “You’re seriously buying this bird-bag’s delusions!?”
The harpy in question couldn’t help but take offense to the golem’s words and tone, though Boxxy stepped in to deescalate before things got out of hand.
“Look, I’m not saying that’s what happened,” it stated firmly. “I just think it would be unwise to ignore that possibility. Stranger things have happened.”
“Ugh… You know it’s stupidly unfair when you use that excuse, right?” the golem complained with a groan.
“And you should know I don’t play fair,” it said jokingly. “In all seriousness, however, I wish to at least speak with her before making a judgement. I’ll prepare everything beforehand, just in case we need to leave this place for good.”
“… Alright,” Fizzy conceded. “But if the first thing you do when you see her is latch onto her nipple, I’m zapping you unconscious and dragging you out by force.”
Jen’s hand shot up yet again despite Boxxy assuring her she didn’t need to ask permission, though the shapeshifter was fairly certain what her query was.
“Dryad nectar comes out of their nipples,” it informed her. “The only way to drink it is straight from the source, as it were.”
“… Okay?” she tilted her head in confusion. “That’s not what I wanted to ask about, though.”
“… It wasn’t?”
“I just wanted to know when this Ambrosia person is supposed to wake up.”
Boxxy sighed deeply as it hid its featureless face in its palms.
“Don’t have an exact date, but in a month or so,” it finally answered.
Having been constantly accompanied by one pervert or another for the majority of its lifetime had made the creature expect vulgar questions and remarks at every turn. That realization made it feel a bit defeated and depressed, which certainly did not help its current volatile state of mind. Thankfully Jen wasn’t like that. Though unexpected, her presence was something of a grounding factor that helped remind Boxxy that the company it kept was a collection of extremes and exceptions. Whether the harpy realized it or not, her peculiar sensibilities and simplistic personality made her the most normal and well-adjusted member of the group.
Which was saying something considering she was a harpy-griffin hybrid who had faced an old god in combat just a few weeks prior.