Chapter 10 – Wilderness survival
Further southwest of the monastery is the wilderness, a land unclaimed by any nation. You may ask, why would any kind of land be unclaimed? Well, the wilderness holds no resources and extremely little value. The Kingdom which owns the wilderness would be responsible for road maintenance and monster attacks, these things take resources, but the wilderness simply isn’t worth the expenditure. As such, the wilderness neither has roads or regulation. It’s a hot spot for players who rob the many traveling NPC traders. if a player was hired to protect the wagon, PvP combat would arise, but many times the bandits would simply leave the NPC trader alone, as PvP doesn’t provide any benefits, and the spoils from robbing the wagon isn’t worth the trouble of going through other players.
Killing NPCs earn you a bad reputation though, your karma points decrease and other NPC merchants are less likely to trust you or provide you service, hence there’s generally no point in going down the bandit playstyle unless you are already self-sustaining. Currently the game has only been released for about close to a month, Dan, Nic and I are nearing level 50 but we’ve yet to accomplish any real objectives in the game yet. We’re traveling to explore the world in hopes of finding the end game content.
Today, we’re at the edge of the wilderness where we met up with the quest informant, Hanzou, who is giving us a run down of the situation.
“Lately, the giant scorpions have been increasing in number. Commander Regus thinks it may just be part of the natural ecosystem spike, but the numbers are starting to pose a threat to our Kingdom’s merchants. We’d like for you to thin out their numbers slightly so that our merchants may travel with less worries.”
“How many would you like us to kill?” (Me)
“Just bring back the stinger of 10 giant scorpions and I will reward you accordingly.”
Alright, the quest seems easy. The three of us set forth into the wilderness, while in the wilderness players receive a debuff “Fatigue”. It starts at one stack and slowly ramps up in intensity, it mainly affects movement and combat strength, but if you reach the maximum number of stacks, your character passes out and you wake up in the nearest Kingdom’s inn. Players with higher STA ramp the Fatigue stacks slower. It’s easy enough to combat Fatigue, you just have to rest in the shade for a while and the stacks start going back down. It’s just another thing to track aside from HP and MP. Shade is rare in the wilderness, but you can create your own shade by digging in into the sand, so it’s not too difficult to survive, just really uncomfortable. If you bring your own shade like an umbrella or a wagon, then you would have no problems in the wilderness.
We didn’t have any of those luxuries before coming here, so we’ll have to do this the hard way. First up is identifying the giant scorpion burrows, Dan has it down with his Zoology profession. Scorpions are mainly nocturnal, so during the day they’ll be hiding underground, but due to their size, the pits that they dig to hide in are large and easily give away their location, looking for them is not difficult, getting them out of the burrow is the problem.
“Y’all got any ideas to get them out?” (Dan)
“Hmm.. If we find the opening to their burrows, I can try throwing some poison potions in, see if that attracts their attention.” (Nic)
“And if it doesn’t?” (Me)
“Then I’ll just go straight in and bash it I guess. No fashion like old fashioned.”
“Sounds like a dangerous and rash thing to do. I like it.” (Dan)
“Well, if there’s no other choice I guess.” (Me)
Yea we’re all acting like it’s reckless and we shouldn’t do that, but I’m pretty sure everyone’s excited to finally part of a big fight again. I mean, the zombies were slow and easy, plus we spent most of the time exploring the monastery rather than fighting, so now everyone’s itching to test out their new equipment. Everyone’s gonna go ham.
“Hey, here’s a burrow, let’s try that poison potion thing.”
Nic throws the potion as far as he can into the burrow, a shattering splashing sound is heard, but nothing after that. Could it be that the scorpions are immune to poison? Or maybe Nic just doesn’t have enough STR and couldn’t throw far enough.
“I’m gonna go have a look.”
Nic goes into the tunnel while we wait outside. After a while he comes back out with the tail sting of a giant scorpion, it’s as big as a soccer ball and honestly, pretty scary.
“You solo’d the scorpion?!” (Me)
“Seriously? You didn’t even invite us in on the fun? How could you, I thought we were friends.” (Dan)
“Ayyyy lol nah, it was already dead when I went in, I just cut off the stinger.”
“Already dead?” (Me)
“Yea, because it was dark, I couldn’t really see properly, the torch wasn’t that bright, but from the shell of the scorpion, whoever killed it probably used a piercing-type weapon. Arrows can’t carry that kind of penetration, so probably a spear-type weapon?”
“Hmm.. let’s try to find more, we’re down one stinger now, so we should probably have more chances to fight.” (Dan)
We roam around to find more burrows, occasionally taking short rests in the shadow of boulders and large cacti, but every single one of the burrows that we entered had the same scene – dead scorpion, spear-type wounds. We gathered up our 10 stingers easily, but without getting to fight anything, we felt rather disappointed. We returned to Hanzou and gave him the report.
“All the scorpions you found were already dead you say? That does indeed sound queer, we’ve been monitoring the area for a while now, but no adventurers have entered or left since you guys arrived.”
“It’s possible that the scorpions were fighting each other for territory, but to find 10 dead in their burrows? That’s not any simple territory skirmish.” (Dan)
“True. I will report to Commander Regus for now, here is your reward, thank you for your assistance.”
We got our reward but left unsatisfied. Our next destination is across the wilderness so we’ll be going in again, we might get to fight some active scorpions at night. The thought brings back a little hope to us. Evening is fast approaching, thus we made haste to cross the barren wasteland.
Even though it was already night, the moon was bright enough to guide us on our way. However, no scorpions have been sighted, and our spirits were starting to fall. Oh wait nevermind, that’s just the Creme de cassis buff running out. A few rodent-like animals were running about, they were about half a human’s size and scurried around hurriedly, probably scavenging for food.
“Hey, wanna try and kill one of those rats?” (Nic)
“Just for fun?” (Me)
“Sure why not, lemme try out my bow skills.” (Dan)
Dan draws his bow, aims at the shrew and fires. A painful yelp was heard and Dan rushes over to finish the prey, seems like the rodents don’t put up much of a fight. We continue moving, everyone’s kinda low on energy but in order to get new quests we’ll have to go to the next town to turn in our current quests, so we have no choice. While we’re walking, Daniroh’s just randomly firing and killing the rodents who walk too close to us, practicing his bow skills on easy prey.
“Are you hungry again Nic? We just had dinner, this game doesn’t even measure hunger levels and you can still be hungry all the time?” (Dan)
“What? That wasn’t my stomach rumbling man, I thought you were using some new skill with your bow and arrow that was causing that sound effect.” (Nic)
“Guys shhh…” (Me)
I get them to quiet down so we can tell where the sound is coming from.
It slowly gets louder, it seems to be coming from the front.
“Oh nice, a fight? FINALLY!” (Nic)
“Looks like there was a similar triggered event boss like with the crabs eh?” (Dan)
“Oh so that’s why you were just randomly killing the poor shrews…” (Me)
“I figured I’d get some practice along the way” *shrug* (Dan)
When the rumbling stops, a large sand shrew stands in front of us, it has long claws and spikes on it’s back…. wait a minute, this isn’t a sand shrew, it’s a sandslash! Could this be the poke- uhhh reason why the scorpions were all dead in their nests? Hanzou did mention that the scorpions preyed on shrews, maybe they triggered the event boss themselves? Can mobs even do that?
“Yo it’s rolling over, I don’t wanna get hit by those spikes.” (Dan)
“I got it.” (Nic)
Nic holds out his shields in front, but the spiked shrew simply rolls over the shield and bounces behind us, makes a u-turn and rolls back towards us.
“I don’t even have a chance to stab at it when it’s spinning this fast, and my arrows will probably get deflected off.” (Dan)
“Yea, it’s just rolling around, we’ll have to find some way to stop it. Nic’s shields aren’t large enough hmm…” (Me)
While we were thinking, Nic’s just letting the shrew use his shields as a stunt ramp. Looking at the scenario gives me and idea.
“Alright I’m gonna try something, Nic just keep doing what you’re doing.”
“Hmm? Alright, this guy doesn’t even deal any damage to me anyway.”
I observe the shrew a few more times to get the timing right, then I dash over behind Nic. The nest time the shrew ramps up into the air, it’ll only be able to go in one direction, and that is straight down, where my sword will be waiting for it.
Here it is, it bounces off Nic’s shield and I start using Earth Splitter, right as I brought my blade up, the shrew flies into the blade.
My blade hits the shrew, but it doesn’t cleave and the shrew continues to roll on my blade. The skill continues through and the shrew is launched into the air, good thing I have high STR. The shrew can’t shift positions in the air, and is slowly losing it’s spinning speed. As it plummets towards the ground, Nic charges over and aims to Shield Bash it towards Dan who had found a nearby scorpion burrow. If it flies in there we’ll be able to fight it in an enclosed area where it has nowhere to roll around.
“He lines up the aim, he shoots, HE SCORES! GOAALLLLLLL!!!” (Dan)
“Top-tier commentary Dan, now let’s go in and finish this up.” (Nic)