Part 32: BOOM
Chapter 24 - BOOM
Music - "Halls Beneath the Ground"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)
13 Sembten 1218
I'd better keep moving. I'm sure there will be more orcs coming any minute. At least down here, I won't get surrounded as easily as on the surface.
I looked over my equipment and...
Blast. This shield's buckling badly. I wasn't thinking. I should have had my gear checked out while I was at the barracks instead of talking to that scrawny kid. Oh well, not much to be done with it now. At least my shield spell will never need the care of a hammer.
This tunnel's got a bat problem; better than an orc problem, anyway.
I spoke too soon.
These orcs, like the ones in the house were lightly armored so as to not make much noise. They weren't any tougher than the poorly equipped bandits in the woods. Once it had quieted down, I took a look around...
Wait... why are there three ways to go? Crap.
Apparently before the invasion, the smugglers had been smart enough to try adding additional exits to the tunnel. The only problem was that I didn't know which tunnel was the one I was looking for.
The southern fork dead-ended in a room piled high with beams for supporting a continuation of the tunnel - now postponed indefinitely.
The northern fork was shorter and had more braces, as well as a large, unhappy scorpion. At least my choices were resolved back into one again.
Two crossbow wielding orcs came charging down the tunnel. In the dim light, they didn't see me until it was too late for them, and my dagger got a workout.
Great... another fork. These smugglers were really busy. I'll try north first...
There's a way up, but let me check my map... The supply train should be south of the last town, not north... I'll try the other way before committing.
The giant orc was startled, and swing his axe up with such speed that it lodged in the ceiling! I took that opportunity to retreat and try to think of a strategy.
It wasn't long though, before he pulled his axe out in a shower of dirt and came charging after me.
Your buddies didn't like this spell, how about you?
It was working... sort of, but it was taking too long. I didn't want to make too much noise, but...
Ah, to hell with it.
Hold still, please!
There was another way up behind the giant orc. I decided to take some precious minutes to actually read the instructions on the explosives I was carrying.
This seems simple enough... Although I don't like that part about "variable blast radius," not one bit.
The sun was just starting to come up.
I wasn't down there for that long, was I?
I didn't have time to worry about the passage of time, I'd come underground right at orc central. But the good news is that it was also at the Supply train...
I had to make this fast. I grabbed the explosives from the top of my pack..
I charged right into the middle of the fortifications containing the supplies. I forced the glass vial in the top of the barrel down until I heard it break on a metal rod fixed into position. There was an alarming hissing sound, and the barrel started to grow warm in my hands.
Toss the bomb...
I tossed the bomb and blindly ran the only way I knew was an exit. The fact that it was full of Orcs didn't concern me as much as it probably should have.
The orcs weren't expecting me to run the other way.
The initial explosion caught the orcs dead center. Several of them flew over my head, flaming like comets. They smashed into the ground near the shaft entrance. I turned to see a raging fireball growing hotter and bigger... I wasn't going to get away! I wasn't...
18 Aventuris 1214
Groghammer nodded to the class, "Right, let's see what yer got..."
Tom stepped up and cast the Meteorstrike spell. The fireball wobbled uncertainly and burst into sparks that showered the stones well off the mark. He gave a rueful smile and tried again. This time it almost reached the target before disintegrating, showering the dummy with sparks.
Groghammer grunted. "Not totally horrible, but ye've got a long way t' go. You, Eloric; yer up. "
Eloric's first fireball wobbled slightly, but struck the dummy intact on the leg. His second shot was surer and struck the dummy square in the chest.
"Good, good," Groghammer said, "but of course, ye've probably had some elvish trainin' before, correct?" Eloric nodded affirmatively. Groghammer looked at the class. "The elf has done this stuff before, Don't get it into yer heads that it's as easy as he made it look. Mister Liro - step up!"
I focused my mind, trying to put the year of preparation to work. My first casting sent the fireball wobbling erratically; shedding sparks until it finally hit ground. The second shot I took maintained its shape without shedding, but missed the dummy narrowly.
"Good concentration, Mister Liro!" Groghammer boomed, "Yer aim was horrible, but that wasn't all bad. Good cohesion for a first-timer. Alright, Mister Baird, let's hope ye've learned something."
William Baird winked at one of the young women before stepping up, a confident smile on his face. Then an intense look of concentration came over his face, He created a fireball in front of him, and it rapidly grew larger. "What d'you think yer doin' Baird?!" Groghammer snapped. Baird lost control, and the fireball surged in size. Time seemed to slow down. Baird began to scream as the fireball engulfed him and it continued expanding toward towards the rest of us.
Suddenly, Groghammer cast a spell and a shimmering purple field blocked the fireball from engulfing anyone else. When we had time to recover from the shock, someone ran to fetch a healer. But the look on Groghammer's face, I doubted that the badly burned Baird would survive.
Baird was lying on the ground, moaning painfully. Groghammer turned to the rest of the class and spat on the ground. "I hope this learns ye somethin' about carelessness. If it weren't for Spellshield, the whole lot of ye'd be cinders," The anger faded from his voice and he turned to look at the healers trying to give aid to Baird. "Now go, the lot o' ye," Groghammer said softly, "Get out 'o here."
"About the Game" posted:
- Spellshield is the same as Aura of Guarding, except for elemental damage, either from spells or weapons. It's excellent at dealing with enemies with elemental attacks, and it's also good at handling the damage from magical traps.
I got the shield up just in time, but the air pressure sent me flying through the air. I hit the ground hard, with my head.
My consciousness started to fade. I heard heavy clonking footsteps approach. There was a large orc coming.
"S-Smiruk?" I asked hopefully, although I couldn't hear for the ringing in my ears. The world grew dim... but even with my blurring vision, one thing became clear about the green face looming over me.
WIRRUG NATUHL, ETEL... Wait a minute, you're no orc!
It wasn't Smiruk. Everything went dark.
Next Time: Second Wave
Behind the Scenes
I've just finished clearing out the absolutely gigantic sewer dungeons. The good news is that I'm not going to show them off in the thread for fairly obvious reasons, but they will be in an extra fake update for completeness sake.
The other exit from the tunnel goes to a small orc encampment a little ways northwest of the supply cart.
As an addendum to my notes on the dagger, Mana Drain is considered Spiritual Damage, so enemies which have a high spiritual resistance provide less mana, or none at all if they have 100 Spiritual Resistance. Mana Drain is an excellent way to recharge your magic when fighting low-damage enemies. It works well when combined with Aura of Guarding.
You don't get any experience for orcs that get caught and killed in the explosion.
I had to put in the "It's not Smiruk" line because if I didn't, the tension of the cliffhanger would be undermined by people going "Oh, it's OK, it's just Smiruk." Well, actually it ISN'T Smiruk.
What's fake in this update?
- I exaggerated the scope of the explosion. You don't get thrown away.
- An orc doesn't really approach you.
Here's the actual footage from bombing the supplies.
Video - Bombing the Supply Train