Chapter 16: Can’t Move for Bad Statuses
While still in Nortius, even before the chibi and his friends went back west to the beginner villages and Karolstrem, I was attacked by researchers.
Maa, I say ‘attacked’, but …
“Oh? You’re headed to the ruins? Hey, if you see…”
“I heard you’re looking for things in the ruins, could I ask you too…”
“The ruins!? Professor, Professor! Come here, quick!”
All I did was ask the obaa-san at the Warehouse if she knew of any rumors about ruins, and suddenly I was completely flooded by researchers struggling to talk to me.
In the end, I couldn’t stand it and asked,
“Why is everyone so worked up about this?”
And was told many things.
Like that there are ruins sprawled out towards the north and east.
Like that although most of the ruins close to Nortius have been explored, the majority of the ruins are unexplored.
Like the ruins are infested with monsters and traps, so even with an adventurer escort the researchers are in too much danger to get anything done.
Like how even the plants are dangerous.
“Understand? Don’t step on any of the mushrooms that look like this. They release spores that attract and frenzy monsters, so it will be a bad situation of you do step on them. Ah, this plant too, with the jagged leaves. If you even just barely brush up against it, you’ll Bleed, and it attracts the desert pumas. And in general, don’t eat any of them.”
This ossan didn’t even bother explaining why I shouldn’t eat any of the desert plants, but for some reason, his warning is very effective.
“Now that you know about the plants, try not to die out there! We need you too…”
Ah, as expected, even the ossan has requests for me.
This is … a lot of quests.
I wonder what would have happened if I didn’t know about the ruins…
Anyway, the only thing I can do right now is just quietly accept all the quests that deal with the ruins and prepare to head out.
A lot of the quests are things like, “Please go out and try to look for …”
Maybe if I can’t find them, the NPCs might still give some sort of small compensation?
“Water … 5 waterskins full, plus that purifier, so it seems that’s fine. Food… 3 stacks of 25 rations. Is that going to be enough? Ah, but there’s the Halloween candy. Lucky~.”
The caramel apples give you a Satiated buff for 2 hours, and the caramels give you that buff for 30 minutes, besides other buffs.
That means, I won’t have Satiety decrease for as long as my Satiated buff lasts!
Haa.. I’d feel better if I could make my own food while I’m in the overworld…
Uuuuun….. but I don’t really want to take the [Cook] Talent…
I’m the type that’s satisfied as long as it won’t poison me, and I really don’t care about other buffs that food can give.
As long as I can avoid an embarrassing death from starving…
It’s totally not ok to take a Talent with such half-hearted aspirations.
Maa, since I have the Halloween candy, I’ll postpone the decision for now.
Or like, I used up all my TP anyway~.
After confirming my supplies, I just need to confirm my Talents before going and getting lost in the wilderness.
Now that [Axe] is Lv15, all the stat reductions for DEX, WIS, and INT are removed. There is only the M(medium) increase for STR and S(small) increases for END and DEF at every level now.
Why were there stat decreases for weapon Talents in the first place?
Nn… maa, I guess that’s just how the devs did it.
I suspect it has something to do with the idea that staffs, sceptre, and wand-like weapons are also used for magic, like a handicap at low levels or something.
But it’s not like I’d ever figure out the actual reason, so let’s just set that aside.
Anyway, I got a new Skill at [Axe] Lv15 called <Axe Sweep>. It has a chance to obstruct the opponent’s next move. On a critical it has a chance to apply a Knock Back.
… Not a Knock Down? I’m a little disappointed.
[Inheritance of the Forest Guardian] also leveled up to 10. Other than the upgrade to <Werebear Form> (CD is only 20 minutes now, and the attack bonus has increased a little), I also have a Skill called <Roar of the Guardian>.
Ooooo, a taunt skill! And an AOE taunt, too!
If the opponent is less than half your Avg Lv, it stuns them for 5 seconds? Way too cheat! … is what I was thinking, but…
Nn, since Avg Lv is usually reduced as you take new Talents, it might not be so OP after all.
In other words, the taunt effect should be the main reason you use the skill.
Besides, you normally can’t tell what level monsters are in the first place, so it’s too risky just to use it if you’re aiming for the stun effect.
Anyway, that’s it for my old Talents.
Now for the 3 I just took.
[Bolstered Dexterity] has no skills, as expected. It’s just a stat-boost talent after all. Although [Bolstered Endurance] had a passive at Lv15… maa, I guess I’ll have to level [Bolstered Dexterity] to 15 to see anything interesting.
[Discovery] has a passive that increases my ‘perceptiveness’ and ‘sharpens my senses towards things worth discovering’. What does that mean…? Or like, doesn’t that feel like it doubles up with [Sharp Senses]?
Not that it matters, since I took it knowing it might overlap. Anyway, [Sharp Senses] states that its perception boost is for hostile mobs, while [Discovery] doesn’t make that distinction.
[Counter] properly has a skill. <Reflect>; 5% of damage taken is reflected for 5 seconds once activated. Nn, well isn’t this a not-so-useful skill… right when I decided to become a DEX/STR hybrid and focus on dodging rather than enduring…
Ah, although it seems like I’ve been focusing more on DEX/END … are? Isn’t that weird?
Well, I’m not disappointed with [Counter] and [Discovery].
And I’m actually not just saying that.
I think in this game, around Avg Lv12-15 is when your Stats start to look random.
What I mean is, it’s when you start adding new Talents, but before you can take all the Talents that you’re intending to that will support your playstyle.
There will even be some people will take Talents for roleplay instead of playstyle right away, so their stats will REALLY be all over the place for a while.
Like that, I figured it was ok to risk it and just take things that sounded interesting, since I won’t fall too behind.
Anyway, because I used to only focus on STR/END builds, I’m still a little undecided about where I’m going to be taking my character stats.
I need to be careful this doesn’t turn into a STR/DEX/END build.
… Or maybe that will be okay?
Well, for now let’s set all that aside and walk out into the hard-dirt and rock desert.
“Haa… Should I have started in the ruins directly near Nortius?”
I decided just to head north and a little west of the town first, since that’s the direction the researchers said was the most troublesome for them to go, but there doesn’t seem to be much going on…
Lone coyotes and the occasional horned rabbit show up from time to time.
They were delicious.
Wandering in a generally northern direction, I soon reach a fork in the path.
Unn… I say it’s a fork, but actually, I’ve run into that river again.
Alongside it is a path that climbs into the dry, cliff-like hills.
Should I just follow the river by walking along its banks or head for the cliffs?
Maa, they say idiots like high places~.
Anyway, I climb the path that goes upwards.
It’s easier to look down to see what’s located on areas below you, but you can’t look up and see the landmarks on the higher ground, right?
I finish climbing to the top of the cliff and look around.
There are more plants here, since the river is there, but no trees, huh…
I’d like to get a better look at the area around me before I keep wandering…
Oh yeah, I have that thing, don’t I?
I pull out the spyglass from the Wayfarer’s kit and take a look around.
Hard rocks and rocky ground everywhere. Oh, are those cacti?
It looks like a harsh, uncomfortable place to live.
I prefer this kind of desert to a sandy desert, though.
I can barely tolerate sand on the beach, where you only have to walk through it to get to the ocean.
If I had to cross an endless land covered in sand to get to the ruins, I don’t think I would be able to last.
Down below, far to the north, I see things that don’t look like natural formations.
The rocks look a lot redder over there, too.
It’s hard to tell exactly what’s over there, but I’m excited as I put the spyglass back into the kit, and then the kit back into my Item Bag.
Let’s be off!
Walking along the top of this cliff, I wonder if there’s some sort of history to this place.
I mean, do cliffs normally look cut off right along a river, and then follow its every bend?
Did the ground sink in an earthquake or something? Ah, no, but then there’d be no reason for the edge of this cliff to wind exactly like the river below…
Am I thinking too hard about the environment in a game?
Thinking random thoughts like that, since I couldn’t sense any monsters, I got careless.
The result of my carelessness…
A plume of spores explodes into the air.
This is… eh…
I can hear a rumbling sound in the distance.
Don’t tell me … this is one of the plants I should avoid touching-.
I look down at my left foot.
Un. A mushroom laid there, completely squashed flat.
Ah… haha… there’s a dark shadow in the distance. It seems to be getting bigger bit by bit…
I initially wanted to activate <Enhanced Seeing>, but it seems like I won’t need to.
The shadows in the distance come into sight just when I finish thinking that I might need <Enhanced Seeing>.
This is … the result of stepping on the Disaster Shroom.
A large crowd of monsters.
It’s about the size of that monster train at the northern beginner village.
The difference is: bigger monsters and higher levels.
“Heeeh… Look at all this prey…”
My voice kind of falters.
Yeah, it’s a lot.
In an instant, I do the only thing I can do in this stampede.
Eh? Monster train?
There’s no one else out here!
Besides, I have a secret technique to avoid turning this into a real monster train.
Luckily there’s that river below…
If you knowingly make bad decisions, at least do it with pride!
With a battle-cry, I use the step-in method to hurtle myself into empty space and grit my teeth.
The gut-wrenching feeling of falling long distances plus the wind whistling past my ears…
Right before I hit the river, I close my eyes; like that’s going to help anything.
Ah, it was too shallow after all.
As soon as I emerge from the surface of the water, I let out a yell.
That is real adrenaline coursing through my veins!
Shaking the water from my eyes, I look up at the top of the cliff.
As expected, the monsters are all clustered around the edge. After being unable to reach me for a few minutes, they should de-aggro and go back… hopefully.
Monster trains might be hateful things, but to be honest, it’s not like you’re breaking the game or something. There’s nothing against running away if you have to.
It’s a matter of, what’s it called… common courtesy.
If you have to run away, you’re expected to do two things:
1) Avoid running into areas with other players.
2) Avoid running into areas with lots of other monsters.
Well, accidents happen, but in general it’s not hard to run away without wrapping anyone else up into your problems.
Iyaaa, it was good that I tested whether cliff-diving was effective when no one was around! If the monsters had tried to run around to find a way down the cliff… well, that would definitely have gotten a few people caught up in it!
I awkwardly swim to the bank of the river.
The awkward is because I broke both of my legs and dislocated a shoulder.
My HP is also at 25%… the devs aren’t messing around with fall damage.
I clamber out of the water like a fat seal, rolling over and lying flat on my back, staring at the sky.
Well, since this is a VRMMO, I just have to wait for both Broken Leg bad statuses and the Dislocated Shoulder bad status to time out.
“Ah… my right leg is going to be broken for another 10 minutes, huh…”
I lift my head a little to look at the cliff.
“Ok. So I shouldn’t try to jump anything much higher than THAT.”
But THAT is still survivable~!
Laughing quietly to myself, I relax and let myself lie floppily on the ground, broken legs dangling in the river, waiting to recover.
10 minutes later, I had almost dozed off.
“Ah, that’s dangerous. If something attacked me, I’d be dead, huh…”
I pulled my feet out from the river.
I’m lucky there weren’t any monsters in the river either.
To think I was snoozing in a VRMMO… it actually happens a lot more than you’d imagine.
Sometimes people tired from a full day at work will just nod off while waiting for their HP and MP to recover.
When you fall asleep in real-life, you seem to fall asleep in VR too.
And just so you know, it’s not like you go AFK or something. You’re just completely vulnerable.
“Well, alright then, let’s see…”
I look to my left, then I look to my right.
Then I look at the map.
Hm… the area’s I walked through are still uncharted area…
“Haaa… I didn’t expect places in the overworld to remain uncharted even when you visit them. Ah, no, it’s stranger that the maps automatically fill in like that in other games, huh?”
Let’s see… I can see what direction I’m facing at least.
Iyaa… it would suck if I ended up following the river the wrong way, back to the canyon where we were attacked by bandits.
Activating <Enhanced Seeing>, I slowly follow the river in a mostly northerly fashion.
10 minutes later…
… I spotted a corpse.
“Ooii… are you dead yet?”
This cat beastkin player lying defenselessly on the ground next to the river doesn’t move an inch as I call out to him.
Except for his tail.
I wonder if he can’t move or if he doesn’t want to move.
“Looks like you can’t move, huh~ …”
I kind of want to mess with such a defenseless guy, but … if you don’t know the person at all, sometimes your playfulness can be assumed to be harassment in a bad way, so I control myself.
“Ah… twitch your tail once for yes, twice for no. Are you suffering from a Bad Status?”
Ok, so yes.
“Is that why you can’t move?”
“Uh… I have an HP, MP, Antidote, Paralyze Heal, and Blind Dispel. Which do you need– ah, sorry, that’s not a yes or no question. Um… need a Paralyze Heal?”
“Then… Antidote? It’s only a Common Low-Grade one though…”
It’s not easy, but I manage to pour the antidote into his mouth without spilling too much of it.
If we were a party, medicine would be treated as having been administered as long as you get kind of close to the other’s mouth, but since we’re not in a party the correction isn’t applied.
I just need 60% to make it in…
I seem to have succeeded, because a few seconds after I finish, he slowly moved into a sitting potion.
He attempts to say something.
Aaaah… this is the first time I’ve seen someone suffering from dehydration in-game.
I hand over a waterskin.
He doesn’t drink greedily like a dehydrated person normally would in the real world.
Instead, he’s keeping a close eye on his Hydration meter.
Now that I get a good look at him, he has a quiet, standoffish air to him. You know the type; the kind who’d rather be by himself reading or something rather than with people.
… The kind that I used to bully in high school. *Cough*
A-anyway, I wonder why that kind of person chose to be a cat-eared character… ah, no, there’s nothing wrong with kemonomimi, hai.
His hair color is … dark red. The cat ears and tail are a blackish-brown.
“So why did you end up paralyzed on the side of the river?”
He stops drinking a moment and shifts his gaze awkwardly to the side, brows knit in displeasure.
He’s silent for a second, then turns his face away as he mumbles,
“… I got dehydrated and drank from the river. *Tsk*.”
… What’s that “tsk” for?
Uun… but to drink from the river…
“So… the river water’s poisonous, by the way.”
I say, just for formality’s sake.
He gives me a bit of a glare, but right after he sighs and says,
“Haa… I seemed to keep making bad decisions. I only brought 2 waterskins, I didn’t buy the map from the Cartographer, and I didn’t take the escort quest… So in the end I ran out of water while trying to find the researchers’ town.”
He turned his face to the side again and pulled at his bangs.
… Huh? Is he trying to hide his embarrassment?
I take it back. He’s kind of cute.
“I see… and so you drank out of the river, not knowing about the poison. But why did you only bring 2 waterskins? The stack is 5, right?”
He caps my waterskin and frowns, looking me up and down.
“Hmph. My Carry Weight limit wasn’t enough. Not all of us can put every Talent towards STR like a musclehead would.”
Tch. I was right the first time. So uncute.
Eh? Wait, there’s a weight limit to our bags? I didn’t notice.
“But, um … thanks. I thought I’d have to restart from the village all the way back in the forest.”
While I’m feeling insulted as well as slightly curious about the weight limit, he suddenly bows and thanks me.
The village in the forest … assuming he’s not talking about a beginner’s village, that would be the second village the caravan stopped at.
Ah… yeah, that’s pretty far back.
“Don’t mention it. Unfortunately, Nortius is in the opposite direction from where I was going, but I can point you in the right direction…”
The catkin guy gets a kind of gloomy look.
“… Even if I get to Nortius and refill my waterskins, I wonder if it will be enough…”
He returns my waterskin and moves to stand.
“How come? If you stick around the town, you can level up nicely as long as you’re under Avg Lv 15.”
Well, with people beginning to take other Talents, that estimate is pretty rough. I hope he understands that I mean his combat and utility Talents should be around Lv15.
The catkin frowns, thinking.
“I’m looking for some hidden ruins…”
He finally says, a little awkwardly.
“The Hidden Ruins of the dragon valley?”
“… The Hidden Ruins in the Valley of the Fire Worms.”
“Right, what I said. Do you have the [Scribe] quest, maybe?”
The catkin is startled by my question.
“Ah … no, but you took the [Scribe] quest, huh? I took one of the other Talents. It’s too bad you can only take one of them. I kind of wanted to take that one too…”
“Wait, what? Hang on. What are you talking about?!”
Oops, I think I scared him.
As I calmed down, he explained.
Apparently Andre the Traveling Scribe wasn’t the only NPC that handed out quests for Talents.
There was one in each cardinal direction beginner’s village, but you could only accept one of the four.
Aaaaah, so I should have taken my time and browsed all the villages after all… ah, but since I wanted the new hunting grounds all to myself, the way I did things was better?
“… Ugh. What were the other 3? I need to decide whether I need to make a detour soon…”
I pitifully asked while ruffling my hair.
I don’t know whether he’d tell me, though. He has the same kind of vibe as me, in that he’d want to keep the things he discovered a secret.
Un… although he gives off an aura that makes me kind of want to try to hassle it out of him, I do my best to resist.
Like monster trains, it’s a tacit agreement among (most) gamers to not force other people to reveal their advantages in a game.
He looks pretty conflicted, ne…
“… Other than [Scribe], in the northern village there was [Herbalist], in the western village there was [Crystalographer], and in the southern village there was [Trap Master]. That’s the one I’m doing the quest for. All of the quests are located in those ruins.”
“[Trap Master] … is it for dismantling traps?”
“Both making and dismantling.”
“Hmm… any chance for a lockpick skill coming from there?”
“Of course not. That’s still prohibited.”
Of course… since people complained that lockpicking in VRMMOs was basically training people to be criminals, so it’s illegal to have anything like lock-pick simulators. Instead, there’s usually a magic skill somewhere in the VRMMO to open locks without a key.
…Cheh. The fun things are always ruined by someone complaining somewhere.
If there’s no lockpick, then I don’t regret not taking [Trap Master].
I’d rather bulk up STR and END to either run through or just straight up destroy traps instead of take the time to dismantle them.
Well, I don’t really know what merits and demerits [Herbalist] and [Crystalographer] have, especially [Crystalographer], but … un. I think I managed to choose the Talent that most interests me.
“I think I’ll stick with [Scribe] … what a relief.”
“… Every single one of those unlocks completely different quests and new areas, you know? Is it really ok to not go and investigate?”
Eh? Really? Still … wait.
“… I don’t know anything about [Crystalographer], but … [Herbalist] can help you get to a new area?”
I mean, I can see [Trap Master] unlocking hidden passages or something, and [Scribe] deals with maps, so … but [Herbalist]?
“According to the NPC.”
Is what the Catkin said.
Maa, even though he seems sullen and slightly uncooperative, this guy doesn’t seem like a bad guy, and if his carry weight limit and the previous accidental PK is any indication, he’s going to need some help.
I’m also interested in seeing how multiple quests will work in the same dungeon (that is, I’m assuming the Hidden Ruins area is going to be a dungeon), so I say,
“Since we’re headed to the same place, we might as well party up.”
He frowns again, thinking deeply, before he finally says,
“I-if you insist…”
Un, good. I kind of want to see how this guy fights with little to no STR stat.
[Spirit of the Wild Hunt]Lv12
[Inheritance of the Forest Guardian]Lv11
Avg Lv: 10
About the Game
Combat Talents: Magic side
Every Magic has its own focus, though the Skills aren’t strictly limited to that focus.
The following Magic Talents are the ones available when you start the game, but…
…are they the only ones, I wonder… (Ans: No, some more niche options open at Avg Lv10)
Other than [Heal], derivatives do not open until far later on for most magics, at Lv 35.
[Heal’s] first derivative opens at Lv15.
Also, magics that are not strictly combat focused are categorized as Auxiliary Talents.
[Fire]: A magic that focuses on dealing big damage to one opponent
Lv1: <Ember>, <Fire Pierce>
Lv5: <Fire Lance>, 1% MP increase
[Water]: A magic that focuses on dealing decent damage to one opponent, as well as offensive debuffs
Lv1: <Water Ball>, <Water Pierce>
Lv3: <Cold Mist>
Lv5: <Water Lance>, 1% MP increase
[Wind]: A magic that focuses on supporting buffs, as well as minor AOE damage.
Lv1: <Wind Needle>, <Wind Boost>
Lv3: <Wind Cutter>
Lv5: <Wind Mail>, 1% MP increase
[Earth]: A magic that focuses on decent AOE damage, as well as offensive debuffs
Lv1: <Earth Needle>, <Tremor>
Lv3: <Rock Throw>
Lv5: <Unsteady Earth>, 1% MP increase
[Light]: A magic that deals minor target damage, minor AOE damage, and supportive buffs.
Lv1: <Light Bless>, <Light Pierce>
Lv3: <Light Shower>
Lv5: <Light Mail>, 1% MP increase
[Dark]: A magic that deals minor target damage, minor AOE damage, and offensive debuffs.
Lv1: <Dark Curse>, <Dark Pierce>
Lv3: <Dark Shower>
Lv5: <Dark Mist>, 1% MP increase
[Heal]: A magic that focuses on recovery and anti-BS buffs
Lv1: <Light Heal>
Lv5: <Lay on Hands>, 1% MP increase
<A/n: Some of the magics that open at Avg Lv10 are Ice, Electric, Holy, Hex, and Shadow. There might be others. While these magics may be more powerful, they may also have more specific – and limited – uses … I seem to have stopped planning at that point, so, maa, it will be an exercise for the future.>