A Few Small Repairs

I’ve never been much for playing spell casters. Still don’t. But the Artificer, more like a fusion of Rogue and Wizard, has grown on me like inoperable skin cancer. They are awesome.

Being new to Wizardry gameplay, I realized that, while you have a limited number of spells, you can learn any of them through scrolls for later swapping out in your spell list. That versatility makes for gameplay I’ve not enjoyed except as one of my Monks.

One of them is Cure Admixture: Remove Poison. This is an area-of-effect ability! Throw one potion and everybody gets cured.

I was already impressed with Cure Admixture: Cure Serious Wounds while playing with a handful of fellow Tyrs Paladium guildies in the Red Fens quest, The Last Stand, hard difficulty. Several guildies were dealing with mobs on one side while a couple of NPCs and my pet were managing nasties on the other. Both sides were getting a beating.

Our hireling clerics were worthless. Update 11 causes the more reliable of the clerics I’ve used not to heal themselves or their employs regularly, as well as charge into fighting even in defend mode.

My repeater allowed me to to stay more or less in between the mobs. After dropping down a flame turret for crowd control, I targeted one of the party and threw a couple of Cure Serious Potions in their direction. Two heal bursts welcomed their depleting HP. I moved to target the NPCs on the other side to repeat the needed heals and turned a few fish men into pincushions.

Throwing potions is an awesome idea. Unlike scrolls, I needn’t place them in my hands. Looks like thrown potions are faster to use than scrolls as well. And I can load up on potions for long adventures. Can’t wait to use this ability during huge raids like the Shroud, where heals are needed without getting too close.

Another joy of being an Artificer: You are a master of constructs. I had been flagging myself fast for Vault of Night (save VoN 1, Tharashk Arena, thanks to some guildmates, where we ate the place for lunch) just so I could see what Arcammedes (my Arty) could do inside Haywire Foundry.

I entered with Syracuse and one Cleric hireling on Normal (didn’t want to push it). Beforehand I was worried that I couldn’t get my repeaters with enough firepower to take down the nasty iron golems at the end fight. But then, as I was enraptured by inscribing spells, I found one that would help: Inflict Serious Damage. By spell alone I could break the golems as I kited them around, if I had to. To help in spell points (which I’m learning quickly that Artificers have fewer than they could use), my action points went into enhancements to increase that  bit.

I also looked into using force damage against those robots. I had just acquired Recoyle from Threnal to help here, and thought that adding a Power V shard to it in Cannith Crafting would help, too. But, like Coyle himself, Recoyle now gives me problems. The craft was successful but sent the augmented Recoyle as a Level 15 weapon–worthless to my Level 10 character. Guess I’ll have to run a part of Threnal again sometime. Twice, really. I could use the Mantle of the Worldshaper, too.

I pulled the lesser-damage Thought Spike and moved on. At least I recrafted some armor with a little more SP if I needed it–without sending its level requirement into the stratosphere.

My journey through Haywire’s factory was, in short, a domination. Keeping an eye on Syracuse (a powerful little intimitanking pet) to ensure he stays attacking (a glitch sometimes stops him from doing so) and the zerging hireling, I pressed through the factor nicely, thanks to good trapfinding, a crafted +3 Screaming Repeating Light Crossbow of Lesser Construct Bane with a frost elemental weapon imbue and Battle Engineer skills to bring the weapon to a +5.

I came to the moment of the final fight. At least I remembered the rune wheel puzzle solve quickly and kept Syracuse from dissolving his face too much on the attacking oozes. Thought Spike went back on (was using Khyber’s Fury for its moderate fortification and fireball shot that makes breaking collectables ridiculously easy) and out came a few +1 Construct Bane bolts to go with my Construct Bane crossbow.

The repeater made it easy to lure out each of the adamantine dogs first, leaving the three iron golems. When the red-named RC1 showed up, I welcomed him with an Endless Fusillade before kiting him about, taking opportunities to break his insides through a few spells of Inflict Serious Damage as I ran about. A few shots later, RC1 was scrap metal.

It was the fastest and easiest end to iron golems I’d ever done on any toon that didn’t have a smiting weapon.

Hell, I even got to enjoy destroying the mithral dogs that lined the exit out of the place as it was about to blow up.

Conquest, Ransack, Ingenious Debilitation. Getting 10,000 XP for my trouble on Normal wasn’t a bad thing at all. Nope. Not at all. I am SO going back there and ransacking the place.

Doing the Made to Order quest is next on my list. More golems to break.

Maybe it’s the computer tech in me that loves the Artificer class so much. There’s so much to tinker.

And so many bad, bad machines that have “PC LOAD LETTER” inscribed on their bodies.

It’s time for a few small repairs, I say, loading up my Bolts of Baseball Bat.

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Machines in My Ghosts

Would you believe me if I told you that I barely know what I’m doing?

I didn’t think so. I couldn’t do my job if I didn’t balance the right spell while making fine adjustments on my growing inventory of devices. The newest tool I’ve been learning to upkeep since receiving one from my professor, the rune arm, is particularly challenging to keep working without blowing up in my face.

The professor doesn’t have to cut me a break, but he does. He’s used to teaching humans on the ways of House Cannith, home of the arch-craftsmen of Ebberon. I’m just an orphaned Drow lucky enough not to be wolf food years ago.

I hear a metallic creak at my feet. Syracuse, my pet defender, looks up at me. He’s a smart dog. I pick up a small metal cog and fling across the workshop–a bit too hard. It sails through a small pane in a window.

Syracuse dutifully leaps straight through the window, smashing it to bits. Not the first time it happened. I walk over and apply a repair spell on the window. After the fourth time I broke it (and the third time Syracuse leaped through it) I converted the window into a construct that holds panes and restores itself.

“You’re really intent on leaving, aren’t you?” the professor said.

I returned to my bag. One of my crossbows sat by. It needed something more, later. “Yes. I need to find why I was abandoned,” I said.

A series of hard, fast footsteps introduced Syracuse, the cog in his metal teeth. Sometimes I could swear he was smiling if I didn’t remember that I’ve not added any emotional gears and detachable plates on his face.

The professor stood up, his one adamantine leg partially glistening in a sunbeam popping through the skylight above. “There had to be a reason why. Maybe it’s best not to know. You of all people should know not to browbeat the drow.”

The professor shouldn’t assume that the irritation I felt wasn’t a racial thing.

Growing up entirely with humans has left me in a disadvantage. I’ve learned the history of drow, some tribal stories. But to other drow, I’m completely an outsider. I can’t seem to make them answer anything. It’s not as if I have a distinct difference in appearance. Maybe it’s my accent.

I finished packing, adding the last of my ingredient bags.

“You’ll write, I hope, Medes? It gets awful quiet when you’re on your adventures.” The professor looked distressed in a way I could understand, for once. It was…nice to know somebody wanted me. He was one of two men that found me. His partner had since passed on.

“I will, papa.” I walked over to kiss him on the cheek.

He patted my hand. “And, here,” he said, handing me a parchment. “It’s a special infusion you should know. This one creates a turret of flame that attracts and damages enemies. And don’t forget to continue to work on your crafting.”

“Don’t worry,” I said. The professor and I had made a meager living in the upkeep of iron constructs. Once in a while we’d get a beautiful adamantine in our shop for repair, which kept us fed for months. But it was a long time since one showed up. I needed to leave home, not just for finding my parents–anyone who can tell me who I am.

The professor would survive with the resources we had for the winter. But If I were to stay…

“I’ll send you some platinum from my jobs when I can,” I said. “Don’t futz with the furnace this winter, okay?”

The professor nodded.

“Don’t you end up getting killed. Syracuse!” he shouted at my pet. “Guard her. Guard her well.”

The construct barked enthusiastically.

I left. The usual bustle of House Cannith, of hisses and steam whistles and blindingly bright metals adorned homes and shops and constructs, even a few people.

As much as I like it here, it is not my home. Machines have crept into my memory of my infancy. I remember the smells of sulphur and grass, in the place where I was found, alone and left to die in the Searing Heights.

I need to know why I was abandoned. And once I learn why, perhaps I can return. Perhaps I can rid myself of this…anger that keeps me from being–well, whatever I need to be.

My first mission is in search of a tool I’ll need if I’m ever to survive for long. The professor said I’d never be able to wield one. I know otherwise. A rune arm will be the difference between nights in a cramped, warm inn or death on the plains outside Stormreach.

Syracuse looks up at me as we leave the enclave and head through the marketplace. I pat his head.

“You’re going to get a lot more to chase and chew on than just a rusty cog, little guy.” I load my repeater. Adventure…and answers, await.

A Test of Faith

We found the cleric, half-dead, in a recessed hallway inside the tomb of Delera Omaren I.  She told us (after some rehabilitation) that she had survived alone after her party abandoned her only through her ability to periodically turn the hordes of undead that would amass by the door she had locked.

The strain of so defending herself  had greatly and steadily weakened her. By the time I and Lynncletica had arrived (and by accident–I was reviewing Lynn’s skills in eliminating undead), she said she had perhaps one turn ability left before she would have succumbed or became one of the undead.

The cleric called herself Arcangela.

That was about as much explanation as we were able to get from the woman before she collapsed into unconsciousness for three days. We returned her to the dojo to recuperate.

On day four, I found myself out in the meadow. Seated along our pond was the cleric. I approached and sat, but Arcangela seemed to barely notice me.

After several minutes, she asked, “If I cannot defend myself, how can I do as my faith asks?”

I thought a moment and said, “What do you wish to know?”

Arcangela sighed. “I want…I need to know something beyond armor. Yet I need to be the best destroyer of the undead hordes. You’ve heard of the terrors in the old necropolis. And yet, I cannot manage the filth that has corrupted Delera’s tomb.”

“You could join the Path of Harmonious Balance,” I said.

“I know of it,” she replied. “It isn’t as effective in controlling many mobs of undead.”

“It isn’t,” I admitted. “But you become extremely good at destroying them one at a time.”

The cleric shook her head. “There must be a better way.”

I stood up. “Perhaps for you the path must fork. Perhaps a…fusion 0f the skills of martial art with the divine art.”

Arcangela didn’t answer for several heartbeats. “But I may never live up to my full potential in a single vocation.”

“And yet, you may be the stronger cleric for it. What you cannot outgun, you may outrun,” I said.

The cleric stood up, shakily. “What would I have to learn?”

“It’s what you would have to unlearn that may be more important,” I answered. “For one, the heavy armor slows you greatly. Your protection would come from agility. While the martial arts would be very helpful in direct defense, your powers of destroying undead would not be greatly diminished.”

“And what might be the disadvantages?”

I shook my head. “Highest level spells may be forbidden to you. Healing spells may not be as robust as you would like. Your martial arts skill may be too weak in some places. I know of a few in Stormreach that have learned the fundamentals of the martial art–perhaps only two levels of training–and then continue in their primary vocation.”

I sat back down. “I challenge you to consider the third level, to accept two paths, that of Harmonious Balance as well as your clerical path. Many of my skills are similar to yours but not as potent. And yet, I will survive longer, for the monk renews herself through ki, which doesn’t require rest or potions to renew.”

The cleric nodded but said little else except, “I will consider what you said.”

I left for my quarters to think a bit more about Arcangela’s plight. She seemed–angry that other adventurers sometimes saw her only as a tap to survive themselves but cared little else for her skills. For my part, I wish I knew more on how to fuse the realm of cleric and monk. How much training in one may weaken the other training?

Perhaps Arcangela and I will learn together, once she decides.