Trade Article: The Way of the Warrior — a personal tale, by Elowan of Wind

Preface | Introduction | The beginning ... | Thy education ... | The Flower of Britannia | Black magic ... | Training up — as a beginner; as a novice; as an adept; as a master | Virtue Shield | The Noto killer | Some days it doesn't pay ... | I lose my Shield ... | A tale of two thieves | A tale of etiquette | The Lich — revisited | Elowan's Guide to Dungeon Delving

t is a sad fact but true that there exists within this fair Land, pockets of evil that thrives relatively unchecked. That these pools of evil have yet to spill out upon the greater part of The Land is due either to design by the Great God OSI or blind luck. Some impediment to that spillage is owed, in no small measure, to the stalwart and doughty fighters who make it their business to delve into such places both for the adventure, the loot (such as it is), the challenge and — at least it is my fervent belief that this is so — for the shear joy of dispatching such minions to the Nine Hells.

Would that all who venture into such places were pure of heart but alas this is not the case. For evil is manifest even amongst the subjects of our Lord British. Methinks that betimes they rival the most evil of the evil and their actions would cause a Balron itself to blush. To call these fellows pond scum is to give pond scum a bad name. Yet they exist and in variety and often disguise themselves as the Noble or Illustrious and oft times project even a blue aura. It must be kept in mind always, therefore, that cream is not the only thing that floats to the top.

Suffice that a dungeon is not a safe place to travel to or sojourn within. These places are called dungeons but in reality few are that at all. Mostly they are dank, multi-level cave systems wherein these foul creatures — human and demi-human — dwell. My purpose is here is to serve as a sort of Baedecker's Travel Guide to the Underground of Britannia — even though none of these places would be rated 4-stars or even 1. This treatise is not designed to supplant the excellent Hunter's Guide — rather it is to pass along some advice which may serve to keep thee alive sufficiently long enough to greet thy grandchildren shouldst thee chose to venture into these places. This advice will include maps and views of the more 'scenic' vistas as well as 'greeting protocols' for the various inhabitants that thee might encounter therein from time to time.

That these places are dark onto blackest night is a given. In point of fact, darkest night ain't in it; no natural light exists within these places. Therefore, thou shouldst be prepared to provide some means wherein thy immediate surroundings might be illuminated. The basic light spell: In Lor should therefore be in thine armamentarium or better yet thou shouldst carry with thee scrolls for the purpose. Lanterns have been suggested and indeed have been employed by many. Such things are mete only if thou art prepared to drop them at the first sign of danger or unless someone accompanies the party whose purpose is solely to light the way.

I say party because it is the height of foolhardiness to venture into these places on thine ownsome even onto the meanest of these (no pun intended). My advice is to go forth in a party with no fewer than three members all of whom are capable onto themselves. A fourth could be added especially if that person's sole purpose is to provide support and logistics. It would be the duty of said individual to cast In Lor on everyone – preferably via a scroll – and to heal those in need of it. This individual would also keep a Gate scroll and rune handy for those inevitable times that the party finds itself in an untenable position.

A key word or phrase must be agreed upon which would alert all members of the party that a Gate is about to be cast. When the Gate is manifest, all members of the party are to make their exit via it — without fail. This rule should be immutable and implies that all members are to stay within sight of one another. ‘Soloing' is to be discouraged with great discouragement. It is mete as well that the party agree upon another phrase which when uttered by any member triggers the support person to cast Gate — without question. The propriety of such a call can be discussed without the dungeon. Conferences within said places are to be decried.

It goes without saying that the support person must be guarded at all times and should never take the van. Instead this person should stay in the middle of the group and likewise never be last. It is rare for monsters to target anyone but the lead person but sometimes they are fickle. And the human monsters know no such restraint. It is the responsibility of each of the fighting members to initiate contact to prevent targeting of the support member in any event. Which is not to say that this person cannot fight — only that they may not initiate a battle or skirmish. It is likely that the support person will also be the lightest armoured of the group so as to take advantage of Meditation so as to 'recharge' critical mana quickly but such a person need not necessarily be a mage.

It is the responsibility of each member of the party to insure that they are properly equipped for the task ahead. No member should, therefore, expect the others to provide for them. Hence each warrior should be properly attired in whatever armor they feel appropriate. Warriors should be equipped with their favorite melee weapon with a backup weapon at hand. Archers should insure that they have sufficient missiles plus extra. I highly recommend that each of these carry a melee weapon as well. Bows and crossbows are highly ineffective when used as clubs. I would encourage each member to also carry at least 10 potions of Greater Healing. These are easily quaffed during a fight by shipping thine shield whilst whacking away with thine melee weapon. Archers have no such encumbrance. The trick is not to use these for trivial wounds. If food is carried, eating right after a battle will speed up healing as well as recovery of any expended mana. And mana should be hoarded and husbanded at all costs. Hence the advice to carry with thee certain scrolls.

It would be well if each member of the party was sufficiently versed in the arcane so as to be able to cast at least 6 Circle. Seventh would be ideal and 8th useful; but except for Energy Vortex, this circle has little to recommend it. To be sure, Resurrection has a lot going for it but it is a difficult spell to get off – better that it be cast from a scroll. The same is true for any Summoning spells be it elementals or daemons. The problem is that 8th costs too much in mana to be cast ‘from scratch'. However, EV can create a great deal of havoc against a Lich Lord particularly if enhanced with Reactive Armor cast upon the Vortex itself. Be advised that Liches and Lich Lords have the capability of dispelling a Vortex but seem not to manage quite as well when it has been enhanced. We will have more to say about magery tactics later. It has been reported that casting RA upon either an Energy Vortex or a Blade Spirits no longer works for some reason. Such reports are not universal however.

A word about ‘essentials'. Each will have his/her own opinion about what constitutes an ‘essential' but let us agree that for this discussion ‘non-essentials' are those things which contribute not one whit to the endeavor and have little or no survival value. The basic idea is that dungeon crawling requires thee to become ‘lean and mean'. Hence a bag of runes to everywhere imaginable should be left within thine bank box. The only rune thou shouldst carry is to the agreed upon rendezvous place — outside the dungeon. The support person can carry one extra and that to the bank so as to Gate each member to that destination. Wear armor only; leave behind thy undershirt and fancy apron or sash but retain thy cloak. This should be distinctly colored to serve as an identification badge. Sashes are not good for this purpose; they are too hard to see in the heat of battle. If a mortar and pestle is required, let the support person schlep it or leave it behind.

Spread thy reagents throughout thy pack and in individual piles leaving extraneous bags and packs at home. Make an exception only for the special locked reagent box — which thou shouldst never be without. And carry sufficient reagents with thee at all times. This means at least 40 of each variety. Anymore than this should be carried by the support person. Which is also why I've asked thee to leave thy feathered hat at home — to make room for such essentials. I have already spoken of the necessity for having upon thy person a number of Greater Heal potions — preferably the product of a GM Alchemist for maximum potency.

Each member of the party should have within their pack — at least two Recall scrolls for emergencies as well as several Cure scrolls and one vial of Lesser Poison. This latter is only mete if thou shouldst be visiting a place where poisonous creatures are rampant. Drinking this potion prior to entering such a place will protect thee against further attacks by poison until thou shouldst have Cure cast upon thee. Lesser Poison will make thee slightly grumpy and nothing more whereas should thee be afflicted with Deadly Poison by a Poison Elemental — thou wilt be in dire straits indeed.

The support person would be advised to carry upon them a few Resurrection scrolls along with a number of Greater Cure potions as well.

to the lich — revisited