The 7th happened to be the day of the big in-game event which, like most RPG in-game events, consisted largely of a bunch of monsters attacking towns and lag becoming really bad.  Loose fellowships were formed, and Sashi Mu found his little level 3 sorceror self in the middle of a bunch of guys who were way more powerful than he.  Luckily, his crappy studded leather made it easy for everyone to know who to shout at when they wanted a drink or their armor polished.  However, Mu’s luck was shining today as usual, and after a couple of minor Banderling attacks, he felt his connection slipping.  Disgusted, he wandered off through the rest of the "big event", cursed to watch a rerun of "Arliss" until he felt it was safe to return to Dereth.

Luckily, the invading forces were very polite, and left a wake-up call.  A banderling raver, for the uninitiated, is not something that a low-level mage should ever think about fighting when alone or in a group of less than 20.
After such a disappointment, nothing gets one’s spirits up like beating on defenseless monsters and stealing their stuff, the province of every noble adventurer throughout time.  Here in the catacombs, all types of people are represented.  For example, we have Kensai Musashi (!!!), a minor noble looking to recruit worthy vassals (and yet he did ask Mu), and Xchrisx, a guy who spent a lot of time asking "wheres a bettre dungoen???/ tihs place sux!!11"
Sashi Mu’s mind was not on the allegiance system, or vassals and patrons, or even where Xchrisx might go to find some 1337 monsters to trash, but rather on his horrible outfit.  The vestiges of Britannian tailordom remained strong within him, and the clash between his gold chain gloves, blue boots and cowl, and studded leather curiass grated on him almost as much as the need to update his website with something besides a fluff piece.  Fortunately, he did manage to find a replacement shirt; unfortunately, it was even uglier than his previous one.  However, it did offer some better protection, and being a slave to fashion, he pretended the ensemble "made a statement" other than "I’m colorblind".
So confident was he in his new duds that he felt it was a good idea to attack kiddie drudges with his pathetic Mu-Jutsu.  Amazingly it worked, no doubt largely due to the force bolt he had opened up with, mortally wounding the critter.  It’s a good thing his new armor is a bit thicker than his old set, as by all rights anyone who tries to throw a haymaker like the one on the right deserves to get slaughtered out of mercy.
Of course, confidence can be a bad thing as well.  The pose Mu is in and the little sparklies around him mean he has just fizzled Force Bolt 3 times in a row.  The pose the Drudge Prowler is in means that Mu would soon be dead.  This was an especially bad day… in a place where normally he makes it through alive and richer, Mu died 3 times in the Shoushi Grotto doing solo runs.  Luckily, his suicidal vengeance instinct brought him back quickly each time to pound the hell out of his killers and retrieve whatever piece of pathetic property he had lost.  Some say you could hear Mu shouting obscentities at the corpses afterwards, but he is an excitable sort and given to gloating.
Now some of the newer critters around the underground are, uh, real showoffs.  This perky li’l fella apparently forgot to change out of his neon posing pouch after his shift at the local Chippendale’s ended.  It may have been an intimidation tactic, if the local monsters had heard those "Men of Shoushi" jokes Sashi Mu pretends to ignore.  Just goes to show you… ya can’t take it with you.
At this point in time, most of the people inhabiting Dereth are polite, generous sorts.  Lord Hert here, for example, actually sat down, exchanged some gifts, and had a talk with Sashi Mu in the middle of the grotto, as powergamers whizzed by heading for the good loot spawns.  Lord Hert was also looking for vassals… it seemed everyone was doing it.  No wonder; from what Mu could understand, the allegiance system sounded like the greatest pyramid scheme ever.  Sashi Mu decided he would have to eventually get in on the gravy, as long as he didn’t have to deal with people like Locknar, some newbie whom a manaless Mu ran to aid, fistfighting the drudges while Locknar looted the corpse of Mu’s kill and ran away.  Thanks, guy.  You make me feel like I’m back on Atlantic.
This is the Spire of Serenity in Shoushi, Sashi Mu’s home town.  This full screen is here for the edification of people who want to see such things, for some reason.  The top of the screen holds important information… the red bar is hit points, the yellow bar is stamina, the blue bar is mana, and the yellow asterisk tells you "U DIED AND U SUK!", i.e. you are suffering from temporary stat loss because u died and u suk.
The Spire of Serenity is a good place to just sit and meditate, which is to say Sashi Mu went there to wait out some of his vitae penalty.  This is somewhat akin to macroing off kills, except that the in-game "support" staff doesn’t come around and put you in jail when your nosy neighbor narcs on you.  Here, trying to drown out the overheard mumblings of Synthetic Deity’s constant magic experiments on local shopkeepers and the convertsations of adventurers talking to "mules", he drifted off into a serene bliss, giving thanks that at least he wasn’t in Britannia.

 

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