arms feel like lead. And if I have to hear the dull thump
of the training dummy any more I know I shall go mad. Methinks
that I hear it in my sleep betimes. But my swordsmanship has
increased to above 25 the most I can hope for at the
dummy. I confess to having a new appreciation of Carin
who is an expert with the broadsword. Now I must switch to
repeating all this with a mace. Oh ye merciful gods! Perhaps
I will do as one of my new friends hath suggested: find a
Grandmaster Armsman and buy some training in the mace. Using
the mace will increase my strength whilst I practice. And
well it should too the bloody thing is heavy! But I
mislike it for other reasons. Methinks it is a paltry weapon
and slow into the bargain. My dexterity hath increased along
with my swordsmanship and I find that I can swing the sword
much more rapidly than ever before. But I misdoubt the same
will be true of the mace.
But a passing adventurer hath given me a notion. This fellow, whose face
bore the scars of many encounters and brushes with death, swore by the
war axe. He says that it is much more
destructive than the sword or mace and can be swung almost as fast as
a sword. Besides, he said, he loves the way it "sings" when it is swung.
He let me try it. I must admit that the "whooping" sound of its passage
through the air is most satisfying. I am resolved to buy one today. But
as for practicing mace and improving mine strength he agreed that
using an actual mace is better; at least until my skill is greater. He
also suggested buying the training and so I shall. In the training of
it my strength will increase into the bargain.
Yesterday was interesting and somewhat titillating into the bargain.
I am classed as a lowly "newbie" here in Britannia. Not such a bad lot.
The citizens of this fair city have adopted an amused tolerance and are
kindly disposed toward us. The local baker is always good for a bun or
two should the occasion demand which seems often of late. I find
myself eating more than I was used to at home. But then I am more active
as well. I find that if I keep my stomach reasonably full at all times
my skills seem to improve more quickly. I know that I heal more rapidly.
I erred in stepping outside the bounds of the city a day or so ago and
was set upon by a boar. Admittedly I started the fight. I had never realized
just how ferocious one of these creatures can be! Luckily for me someone
came along and dispatched the beast before it had torn me to pieces. The
fellow offered to heal me but I declined. I felt that it would do me good
if I hurt just awhile longer. Ordinarily this might have taken some hours
but my kindly rescuer suggested that if I was to eat that I'd find myself
healing much more quickly. He also suggested that when I practiced magery
the same would be true for my mana. I was surprised that he knew of my
interest in magery. He just smiled and shook his head. "Thee has the look."
He then disappeared into the surrounding forest and I beat a hasty retreat
back into the relative safety of the city limits.
But I was speaking of yesterday. We "newbies" tend to stick together.
There's some comfort in being miserable together methinks; it is certainly
more interesting. In any event we always end up "talking shop" and a discussion
of raising one's skills is almost always a part of the conversation. It
seemed to be the consensus that certain skills contribute to ones intelligence.
That is, practicing the skill increases one's cognitive ability. This
is important for many reasons, not the least of which is an improvement
in spell casting ability and the ever essential mana. The skills that
seem to help the most are: Anatomy,
Speak; Item ID; and Arms
Lore. It is said that Taste ID
will also do it but the thought of quaffing the contents of unknown bottles
just to establish the "vintage" is beyond my desires.
I'm not too particularly interested in learning overmuch about armsmanship
perhaps later. But I felt that improving my understanding of anatomy
would be of value and finding out who killed and/or looted a body might
come in handy some day. There were certainly enough corpses littering
the streets these days to practice on. Accordingly I donned my "apprentice
robes". These are not, as one might suppose, gray. I have found that folks
are suspicious of anyone in a gray robe regardless of their auras or notoriety.
Methinks this is because thieves surely the laziest breed in the
Land wear these robes to a faretheewell. In my group of newbies,
we've chipped in to buy a dyeing tub and all our robes are dark blue.
The only downside of that is that we are forever being stopped and asked
questions about any number of things of which we know absolutely nothing
of course. I am puzzled by the reactions of people when this happens
though. Perhaps they have confused us with someone else. I know not.
I also banked everything except my spellbook and wandered over to
the square in front of the Mage Shop. On the way I examined a corpse but
was unable to discover anything about his death. I was chagrinned to find
that some passersby mistook me for a looter and called out vile names.
It was unpleasant but interesting nonetheless. At least I knew something
more than I had known a moment before.
I chose a time of day when I knew the square would be busy. This is
a time of greatest danger from thieves but since I wasn't carrying anything
they could steal, I felt safe enough. It is a curious fact but true: for
some reason, if thee should keep thy spellbook within thy main pack, it
is impossible for thieves to steal it. But if thy book is placed within
another bag or pouch, then it might be stolen. My friends and I tested
this wonder and found it to be true (we did so out of sight of the guards
I do assure thee. Already one of my friends was killed for peering into
a merchants backpack). He reported that when he was resurrected, his spellbook
was still with him. I must conclude from this that thy spellbook is safe
from even death itself if kept within thy backpack itself and not within
another bag or pouch.
I love the Mages Square around the dinner hour! It is a hive of activity
and sound! People scurrying hither and thither. Magical gates opening
and disgorging travelers from faraway places; others opening to whisk
folk to equally distant places; summoned animals appearing and disappearing
much to the disgust of the guards who are obliged to kill the evil ones.
Several mages are here selling scrolls of various potency; one of these
is Lady Haginor. She always stands in the same place and always at the
same time of day. Her prices seem reasonable certainly less than
the Shop itself charges but still beyond my modest means. I stand about
a pace or two away so as not to annoy her and invoke a magical macro that
I found. It isn't long before she becomes suspicious.
"What is it thou art doing, Elowan? Ye young scamp!"
I bow and with a straight face I answer her: "Admiring thy classic
"Faugh! Beauty is it!?" Actually, she is beautiful but her husband
isn't at least I don't think so. One of my friends does
"Yes," I reply.
"Thou art practicing thine Anatomy skill aren't thee?"
I bow again. "I confess that thou hath caught me out, dear lady. I
"How can thee tell anything at all? I'm wearing armor under this robe."
"True but I can tell enough."
"Ye scalawag! Come closer!"
"Oh! I dare not, milady. Thine husband is as big as a house!"
"Faugh! He is a pussy-cat. Come closer." I remind her that a snow
leopard is also classified as a "pussy cat" but she reaches over and yanks
me to her side. She is wearing an interesting perfume that stirs in me
not intelligence. I gulp.
"Now then, this should make it easier. But mind where thee puts thy
"Lady!" But believe me when I say that I was hard pressed to keep
mine hands under control. She ignores me though I can see the faint smile
playing at the corner of her mouth. I continue with my anatomy lesson
all the while she taunts me with ribald comments which do nothing for
suppressing my libido. I will have to wash out my small clothes tonight
without fail. I grit my teeth and soldier on. Strangely enough I find
that in concentrating on the task at hand my animal urges fall away from
me and I can actually feel my cognition improving as if a veil had been
lifted from my mind. It was unsettling.
I also discovered that a rather comely lass had stationed herself
nearby and seemed to be practicing on me what I was practicing on Lady
Haginor! In short time the three of us became the brunt of many ribald
but good natured wisecracks. From time to time a thief would fall to the
halberd of the ever watchful city guard at which time I and Belana (the
lass I spoke of) would walk over and examine the body. One time a thief
even tried to steal my spellbook! Clumsy oaf! He died at my feet! But
he was stupid and chose instant resurrection only to die repeatedly when
he tried stealing again. Soon there were multiple "corpses of Bob" littering
the square until he finally grew discouraged and ran off. No one seemed
to pay any heed to the bodies! They just casually stepped over them and
went about their business as if this was nothing out of the ordinary.
I have come to find that this isn't out of the ordinary at all! I must
confess that this gave me pause and cause for some deep soul searching
and examination of my basic beliefs.
The magic macro did its job through all of this. In no time, my Anatomy
skill had increased to above 25 and my cognition along with it
almost 6 points! Gadzooks! But I also found that my Inscription skill
had also improved just by watching Lady Haginor inscribe scrolls. Even
my magery increased somewhat from all the spell casting going on about
me. Altogether it was a wondrous and rewarding day.
I sip the last of my wine as I read this passage in my journal. It brought
back a flood of memories, most of them good. Those were halcyon days
those early and formative days of my youth. Everything seemed bright and
new. But even then there was a darkness nibbling at the edges of my consciousness
something not quite "right" but I was unable to put my finger on
it until much later. Already the ever present and faithful Malcolm hath
refilled mine glass.
I remember the Lady Haginor well. Alas when last I saw her, her notoriety
had declined considerably. She confided in me that this had happened by
accident within one of the dungeons of the Land. I believed her
this hath happened to many and in a like manner.
I strongly urge thee at this stage, to buy as much skill training as
possible. Of course it takes money to do this and it will be necessary
for thee to indulge in menial tasks at least at first in
order to accumulate the wherewithal to advance thyself. On the day described
above, I was fortunate to make the acquaintance of many adventurers of
both high and low fame. I even met some of the legendary figures of current
Britannia for the reliability of the scrolls of the Lady Haginor was renowned.
From these I learned much in the friendly exchanges and some of these
were wont to confer largess upon me and in no small measure. The Lady
herself was kind enough to help me fill out my spellbook and has ever
been willing to discount her wares to me. I treasure her acquaintance.
There are few opportunities to practice thine arcane art as a novice except
those lower circle spells such as Reactive Armor,
Heal and Greater
Heal. Thou mayest not utilize offensive magery within the towns
except upon thyself and never field spells. To become proficient requires
practice and considerable gold. In order to practice it is important to
find a safe place where thou mayest do so without too much danger of being
accosted by thieves or worse. Though I must confess to be having some
difficulty conceiving of something worse than a thief. Of all the easiest
paths in life that of a thief is perhaps the easiest. In my view,
only the lazy and the shiftless take this route. It is only a step from
there to murdering Pker.
The dullest town within the Land is without doubt Ocllo.
Here may be found nothing whatever of interest. Being as it is
on an island, it sees little casual traffic. Since it holds nothing of
value or challenge it sees little by way of adventurer traffic
either. It does possess two advantages beyond it is dullness: it has an
excellent Mage Shop and few, if any, thieves. By and large it is a waste
of time for thieves and it is small size means that the guards are everywhere.
When thou hath arrived at the point wherein thee can cast Recall successfully
or even before if thou buyest a Recall scroll I would hie
me to Ocllo straightaway. I would do this only when I had sufficient funds
say 7000-8000 gold to sustain me for magery is profligate
in the extreme. There on the sward before the mage shop (inexplicably
yclept The Zoo though I suspect it is because the Mage shop is the busiest
in Britannia), I wouldst (and I did) practice my magery without fear of
disturbance. The bank is nearby, as is the Inn. And of course, the source
of additional reagents is at thy back.
Thee should constantly gauge thine level of magery using the Skills cantrip
whilst thou doth practice thine art. And I recommend the purchase of a
Mages Hat whilst thou doth practice as well. Forget not to remove it should
thee go hunting as the wearing of it increases thy intelligence whilst
it taketh away a like degree of strength and dexterity. Remember that
dexterity helps thy Tactics which improves thy ability to strike with
thine weapon. As thy Tactics skill improves so too doth the strength of
thy blows. Thy strength is a measure of how well thee can withstand the
blows of thine enemy.
It is important that thou shouldst attempt those spells that are the
most difficult practical. Remembering always that it is success in the
casting that increases thy skill not failure. In this way thine
magery skill will advance the faster. It is also important that thee should
do what is necessary to improve thine intelligence because even should
thee have the magery to cast a specific spell it will avail thee not if
thy mana is insufficient.
The usual magery level required for each circle are generally said to
be these in order: 1/ 6/ 16/ 26/ 36/ 46/ 66/ 76. I do not subscribe to
this view. In order to have a reasonable chance of casting a spell of
a certain Circle it is my view that the requirements are more on the order
of: 10/ 20/ 30/ 45/ 50/ 55/ 70/ 85.
That is not to say that it is impossible at lower levels but for certain
it is impossible at the levels generally advised.
Thou shouldst also make the majority of thy spells those that consume
the least of thine reagents. I am indebted to the former Dark Lord Rich
for the following:
- Archcure Garlic, Ginseng, Root. 9g
- Curse Garlic, Shade, Ash. 9g
- Fire Field Garlic, Silk, Ash. 9g
- Magic Reflect Garlic, Root, Silk. 9g
- Paralyze Garlic, Root, Silk. 9g
- Blade Spirit Pearl, Root, Shade. 11g
The costs for lower order spells are not relevant and in my view, until
one gets to 6th level, I would not even consider costs in choosing which
spell to cast.
It is very important that the spells cast not be cast by rote. That is,
it is not mete to cast the same spell over and over again. Generally,
combining a lower level spell followed by a higher level spell and repeat,
will advance thy magery much faster than otherwise.
Remember too, that with the exception of field spells, casting offensive
spells upon thine ownsome is not illegal and will help to preserve and
enhance thine resistance to eldritch energies. Be prepared for a long
and arduous struggle whilst enhancing thine art. Make it a habit to take
frequent breaks to maintain thine other vital skills and attributes. On
occasion thee might venture from the town and dispatch the occasional
hind, hart or goat wandering about outside the justice zone.
The inscribing of scrolls is a useful exercise which will enhance thine
intelligence and advance thine magery to some degree. Thee will find that
practicing a combination of skills even onto alchemy will assist greatly.
Do not forget to continue thine practice of Anatomy during this stage.