Chapter 11 - Samantha - Present


My first thought, after my vision coalesces to show the collection of ruins once again, is “Oh no!” I’m standing in the same exact spot as when I first started playing.  I see three rundown stone buildings to my left, three to my right, and the larger building with Archie inside directly ahead of me.

Please, let this not be the type of game where you actually lose your progress. I played one of those before, called Tortured Souls, and it was hours and hours of fighting the same skeleton you fought before you died the last time.  If you happened to survive long enough and make it farther in the dungeon to find a campfire, you could save your progress. I’m certain the name of the game is just a cruel joke played by the developers when they were imagining all their customers putting themselves through soul torture just to get one small step forward in the game.

Before finding out if there were any undead animals still alive in the building, I quickly check my attributes:

Samantha (Level 5) Attributes

HP: 200
Stamina: 90

Strength: 1
Constitution: 1
Dexterity: 1
Intelligence: 1
Wisdom: 1
Charisma: 1

Available points: 30
Faith Points: 5

Huh, I guess I had gone up a few levels while clearing out those ruins. I notice the small notifications icon and pull them up.

You Have Reached Level 3!

+5 Attribute Points
+25 Hit points
+10 Stamina
+1 Faith Point


You Have Reached Level 4!

+5 Attributes Points
+25 Hit points
+10 Stamina
+1 Faith Point


You Have Reached Level 5!

+5 Attribute Points
+25 Hit points
+10 Stamina
+1 Faith Point

I got in such a groove bashing and smashing I hadn’t noticed. So if what David is said is right, Archibold is probably level 5 or higher. I was trying to fight a level 5 opponent with the same attributes as a level 1 player.  That explains why Archie stomped me so easily.

Where to put these points... My earlier research into Role Playing Games should help.  I know that if I dump my points into Constitution, I’ll get more Stamina and Hitpoints. That will allow me to absorb more damage and do more special fighting moves. I could also point points into Dexterity, and become more skilled at moving my body quickly and effectively. This should allow me to dodge attacks, strike faster and more accurately. Of course, there is Strength, which allows me to hit harder and possibly even defend better.  I suspect the reason Archie’s first attack led to my own staff hitting me in the face was that I tried to block an attack from a monster that was much stronger than me.

The rest of the attributes look like they aren’t meant for a giant barbarian warrior princess. I wish I could go into the negatives on Wisdom, who needs that...As I think it, I can see my Wisdom drop to 0, and I receive an additional available point bringing my total up to 31. That’s surprising. I’m not really sure if having a stat at zero, or negative, is a good thing, so I quickly put my one point back, but tuck away this little nugget for later exploration.

I stare at Constitution a bit longer knowing it is the first obvious attribute a warrior should invest in but I just can’t do it. I don’t want to stand in one place and absorb damage. I understand Dan’s points earlier, that in a team setting, my job will be to get the monsters to focus on me so that people who are better at doing damage, or healing, or disabling can do their jobs without being stabbed. I hear Helga’s sneering, stupid voice briefly and shudder. Screw it. I want to do it my way, not other people’s way.

I add twenty points into Dexterity, and ten points into Strength. I might not be able to take a lot of damage right now, but I should be able to dodge and defend attacks, as well as hit my enemies quickly and with force. I ignore the Faith Points for now; I have no idea what to do with them and I’ve already spent enough time thinking instead of doing.

I reach down and pick up my staff off the ground. It pulls at my bicep less than before I allocated my attribute points. With one hand in the middle of the staff, I start moving my hand in an infinity symbol motion in front of me, spinning the ends of the staff on my left side, then right, repeatedly.  My eyebrows raise as the staff becomes a blur in my vision. Another notification icon appears at the top of my vision and I instantly inspect it.

Congratulations! You have discovered a new skill: One Handed Spin (Level 1)

A defensive spin of your staff has an increased chance of deflecting multiple incoming attacks at once.


  • 25% chance you can deflect multiple enemies’ attacks and take no damage.
  • 10% chance your deflection results in damaging the enemy for 100% of the damage of a normal attack.
  • Special defense skills with the staff can be discovered.
  • No other offensive or defensive skills can be used while spinning.


  • 3 seconds (2.94 with  current modifiers)


  • 5 stamina per second

Ok, so I can do Flurry of Blows, and run out of stamina quickly, but keep the enemy immobilized, or do One-Handed Spin and keep my stamina for longer, and potentially do more damage. I won’t use one handed spin while fighting Archie since there is only one of him and I need to actually hit him with my staff if I want to win the fight, but it might come in handy if I ever team up with people my own level.

I think about the skills I’ve learned so far and a helpful window comes up in front of me.

Skill summary:




Staff Offense

Level 1

20% to Level 2

Staff Defense

Level 1

20% to Level 2

Joint Breaker

Level 1

10% to Level 2

Two Handed Staff Bash

Level 1

10% to Level 2

Flurry of Blows

Level 1

1% to Level 2

Side Kick

Level 1

1% to Level 2

One Handed Spin

Level 1

1% to Level 2

Not bad - clearing all the undead beasties out of the ruins has led to some pretty good progress in my core offense and defensive skills, as well as
Joint Breaker and Two Handed Staff Bash. I guess if this does turn out to be a repetitive area where the monsters come back to life after I die, at least I’ll get more skill progress.

I sigh and decide to rip the band-aid off, walking quickly to the first ruin on my left.  I put one hand on each side of the doorway and poke my head into the roofless building.

Yes! No Undead Chipmunks in sight.

I pull my head out of the rundown building, turn to my right and stride over the pine cones and dirt toward Archie’s building. I stand in front of the entrance, planting my staff in the ground on the right, and shout, “Come on out Archibold, I’m out and I’m a bit upset with you.”

Archie’s stooped shoulders emerge from the stone doorway, followed by his giant skeleton frame. He still holds his club and small shield.

“Are you going to run this time betrayer or can we end this here without the cowardly fleeing?”

“Your goddess warned you, Archie. It’s not my fault you didn’t listen to you own goddess.”

With that, I grab my staff with two hands take two large steps forward and whip my staff down with all of my new strength, aiming for Archie’s left side.  He brings his shield arm up to block my blow, probably expecting the same feeble strength he had encountered when I tried to block his club and got hit by my own staff. Unfortunately for him, ten points into Strength make a big difference.

My staff hits his shield hard enough to snap a third of the shield off in one clean piece. I see the red bar above Archie’s head dip slightly and he freezes in place, off balance and a bit shocked that my attack managed to do so much damage.  His pause gives me enough time to recover from the bash.  I step back and poke the leading edge of my staff at Archie’s left ankle, hearing a satisfying crunch as Joint Breaker lands on his unprotected foot. Far more health than I was expecting disappears from Archie’s health bar.

As soon as I crunch his ankle, Archie brings up his club and swings at my extended left arm. I manage to bring my staff up in time to dodge his attack. I take a step back. Wow, this is a lot easier with my attributes invested. Archie swings his club and I bring up my staff to block his swing but I misjudge the arc of his club; allowing it to swing under my raised staff, striking my left ribcage and breast.

Oh. My. God.  Supposedly the pain I felt while in the game is only 30% of what it would be in real life. 30% of being hit in the boob with a wooden club by a giant skeleton is still an impressive amount of pain.

I reflexively bring my staff up and hit Archie in the face with it, wanting only to hurt whatever hurt me so badly.  Archie cocks his arm back to hit me again, hopefully not in the same boob, but I have already brought my arms back, and twist my hips this time as I bring my arms around with all my strength. I hear the air whistle in protest, the end of my staff tearing through the air. I barely notice the loud crack from my staff connecting with Archie’s skull. All my attention is on my chest, as Archie’s club crashes into my left breast again.

Oh, no. No. No. No. I bend over and cross my arms over my chest trying to squeeze the pain away.  I can see Archie now lying on the ground in front of me, a staff shaped hole in the side of his bleached skull explaining the cloud of bone dust settling around me.

I hear Dan’s voice.

“Is this a bad time?”


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