“Ok, so there’s no escape, what do we do then?” I say to Dan as I stand up from my unceremonious landing on the forest floor.
“I don’t get a script sugar, I’m just here to advise you. I’d start with looking at that Undead Chipmunk Corpse, see if there are any clues on it.”
“Makes sense, by the way, what’s the deal with Undead Chipmunks? Aren’t they supposed to be like ‘Undead Roxnards’ that look like chipmunks but have scales or something?”
Dan and I start walking back along the path of my sprint, into the three walled ruin.
“Maybe in your typical game but the developers of Incrementum took a different approach. Most of the flora and fauna in this world is from the history books of Earth. Humanity has killed off so much of it in the real world that they figured it would be new to most players anyway. Toss in a little undeath and boom, players have something novel to smash.”
“That...actually makes sense. I’ve heard of a Chipmunk but never actually seen one. Ah, here we go.”
I inspect the furry bundle, two icons appear above it. The first icon looks like a blanket and the second a pile of dust.
“Whatever you see after inspecting, just focus on it to get a name and any description of it, and then think ‘inventory’ to move it into your own bag.”
I concentrate on the fur blanket icon and some text appears.
Tattered Chipmunk Fur. You might be able to sell this or use it to create clothing.
Interesting, I don’t have any desire to create clothing but money is freedom. I think ‘inventory’ and a rustling sound accompanies the slight increase in weight of the bag hanging from my belt. That’s an awful small bag...
“Bag look too small? Incrementum is guilty as any other game -- your bag is ‘magic’ and can hold way more than it really should.”
Good enough for me. I concentrate on the second icon and I see:
Essence of Undeath. Ineffective in such small quantities.
I read the text to Dan and he shrugs. “Maybe you need more of it?”
Eh, could be. I walk out of the dilapidated gray building. There are a half dozen other small structures spread throughout the clearing. The farthest building from me has giant green pine branches hanging over it, almost covering the entryway.
Six buildings? With how many undead per building? Ugh, this is going to take forever. I run to the closest building on my left and plant my feet, skidding to a stop. This building is slightly bigger than the last and has four creatures inside. The closest is another chipmunk, digging in the decomposed floor. His eyes look bloodshot to me, one slightly larger than the other.
Before Dan can say anything I heft the staff higher in front of me with my right hand and reach across with my left hand to grip. The rougher finishing of the wood runs across my hands as I raise the two meter plus long piece of wood above my head.
I run towards the Undead Chipmunk. Once I get within two meters I bring the staff down in front of me with all my might and shout “VENGEANCE.” I feel like an idiot but I’m also happy to take out some rage on this varmint.
The critter turns to my left and calmly steps forward to avoid my staff. The ground shakes under my feet from the impact of my slam and I hear a whomp as dirt and pine needles are forced into the air. Drats. A tiny icon appears in the upper right-hand corner of my vision but I don’t have time to figure out what that means.
Bent over at the waist with my staff sunk into the soft churned ground, I start to stand up and the boney chipmunk darts forward, biting my left wrist before stepping back. As his teeth sink in a see a red bar come into being above me. It sinks from being full to 10 percent empty. I step back, grab the middle of my staff with my right hand and shake my left while scowling at the chipmunk. I swear it is smiling at me as its little devil teeth glinted from between its stupid lips.
“Smaller creatures tend to be fast, you might have more luck with quick, lower powered attacks instead of that impressive slam. Cool idea by the way, even if it was a total failure.”
“Shh Dan, I’m figuring it out.” I agree with the latter part of his comment, though, the slam is really cool.
I grip the staff with one hand 1/3 up the shaft and the other evenly placed between that hand and the staff’s end. I spread my feet to shoulder width and face the chipmunk. As I approach it, I bend at the knees slightly so that I can reasonably reach the chipmunk’s head with either end of the staff.
The chipmunk bunches up its hind legs and parts it shiny teeth before it leaps at my face. By instinct, I step back with my right foot and lunge forward with my left hand, clipping the chipmunk in the side of the head with the end of my staff. A red number five appears and disappears from above the chipmunk as it falls onto the ground behind me and to the right.
I take one step and bring the end of my staff down on its rear left leg, where I hope I’ll strike a knee. It shrieks in pain and slowly backs away from me. In addition to the red 2 that appears above its head, I see a small icon that looks like a crawling man above its name.
I shift my hands on the staff and grin to myself. Yelling, “VENGEANCE ROUND TWO”, I bring the staff above my head and bring it down, imagining Helga’s fat bulbous nose sticking out of the chipmunk’s face. This time, the chipmunk does not dodge my slam. The force of my staff presses its body into the ground. A red ten appears above its head and my golden experience bar appears, only 50 percent empty now.
Dan walks up behind me, rubbing and clinking sounds hit my ears, it’s impossible for him to move quietly in so much armor.
“Oh, I’m so excited, your first staff fight! Well done. And only 10% health loss too. You could do that nine more times before kicking the can. Did you see any icons appear during that fight? You may have acquired some skills. Just think about the game interface and what you want and it will happen.”
I think about the icon in the top right, and four windows appear.
Congratulations! You have discovered a new skill: Staff Defense (Level 1)
As you practice blocking your opponent’s attacks with your staff, this skill will go up in level and effectiveness. This skill has the following effects:
Congratulations! You have discovered a new skill: Staff Offense (Level 1)
As you practice striking your enemies with your staff, this skill will go up in level and effectiveness. This skill has the following effects:
Congratulations! You have discovered a new skill: Two Handed Staff Bash (Level 1)
Wielding your staff with two hands and smashing your foe from above yields additional damage. At higher levels, this skill will gain effects.
Congratulations! You have discovered a new skill: Joint Breaker (Level 1)
Targeting the joints of your enemies allows you to deal moderate damage and slow their mobility. At higher levels, this skill will gain effects.
Huh, so I only had a 2.5% chance to deflect that chipmunk’s leaping attack and do damage at the same time. Lucky me.
“What skills did you learn Samantha?”
“Oh, you can’t tell? Let’s see, Staff Offense (Level 1), Staff Defense (Level 1), Two-Handed Staff Bash (Level 1) and Joint breaker (Level 1). Staff offense...” Dan jumps in.
“If you just think about the window, and imagine sending it my way, I’ll get to read it. The game invents skills as you take actions so it is entirely possible I have never heard of what you learned before.”
I think about each of the windows and imagine them hitting Dan in the forehead. His eyes cross a bit and then his eyebrows raise.
“The offense, defense, and bash skills are all pretty common but Joint breaker is interesting. You aren’t the inventor of the skill, otherwise, it would be more powerful but it’s new to me. That will be very useful against fast enemies. I’ll make a note of that...I imagine other blunt weapons can perform that skill as well.” He pauses for a few seconds. I’m surprised that he makes a note of it. Is he a game historian or something? I guess flighty Dan has a schoolboy side.
“No time for notes Dan, off I go.”
I decide to take a different approach fighting the next two undead varmints. I perform Joint Breaker first, following up with Two Handed Bash and a normal strike. After the second one falls, which I think might have been a ferret, the game presents a bright yellow icon in the top corner of my vision. When I think about it, a window appears in front of me:
Congratulations On Your First Level Up!
You Have Reached Level 2.
+5 Attributes Points
Dan smiles. We step back from the remains on the ground in building number two.
“Grats! You should have received a few more attribute points to spend, more hit points and more stamina. Hit points represent how much damage you can take before dying. Stamina allows you to perform more skills in quick succession before having to wait for stamina to recover.”
Attributes, I think.
Samantha (Level 2) Attributes
Available Points: 15
“I can get used to rewards for hitting monsters, Dan. Bring on the chipmunks!”