Shroud of the Avatar

As I took a leisurely turn about Aerie, I found myself amidst the bracing aromatics of the local farmers. It was there that I was taken by surprise by a woman named Minerva. With cat like stealth she leapt from the darkness and asked if I would be interested in stone soup.

With nerves alert for all manner of dangers, I readied myself for hand to hand combat and commanded she reveal her nefarious intentions toward me.

She stepped from behind the line of strung up unmentionables and pointed to the cauldron of water she had at the boil.

"Stone soup," she declared. "Would you be interested in trying some? It’s coming along just fine, but if you happen to have some onion or potato, that would really spice things up a bit."

"Well, my good woman," I began, "since you have no intentions of causing me bodily injury, I believe I can be of assistance. As it so happens, I never leave home without onion or potato." And so produced both from the recesses of my leggings and held them out for her to examine.

"What a bounty!" she exclaimed. "And in your pocket the whole time? Serendipity indeed," and put them on her small cutting board. She proved to be a mistress with the stiletto, and in mere moments, the tubers were peeled and reduced to cubes.

"I believe I could use your skills on the battlefield," I commented as the ingredients disappeared into her soup.

"Happen to have any mutton tucked away in there?" she asked, gesturing at my leggings with the business end of her blade.

"Steady on with that pointy end," I declared. "If it were a regular day my good lady, I would indeed have tasty meats tucked away in my pantaloons. But fear not, I believe that chiseled figure of a man in the market is sporting some mutton and would be keen to allow us to partake of it. You wait here and I shall bedazzle him with my powers of negotiation."

She clapped her hands in anticipation and excitement and eagerly awaited my return.

In a flash I was back with a hearty shank of mutton at my side. I handed it over and watched as Minerva dressed it with skill and dexterity.

Minerva scoured her shanty of a home and added a myriad of spices and peelings to the mix. The soup soon gave off an exotic aroma and I was anxious to try this creation of hers. I may not be a keen purveyor of Stone Soup, but I am at one with the cooking cauldron.

She invited me to sit and asked for news of my travels and regaled me with some of her own tales. It was a delightful little feast and though her domicile was meager, it was welcoming.

At the end of our time together, she scrawled the recipe for Stone Soup on a parchment and handed it to me. I thanked her for her generosity and smiled at the recipe and the amusing tale of it’s origin.

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Identify yourself nefarious purveyor of ill tidings! Oh, hello my good woman. With your powers of stealth I mistook you for someone else. Stone soup you say? How very generous. And what pray tell is the pivotal ingredient of this soup of yours?

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

After absconding with the ferry boat, and leaving the Ferryman to a watery fate, I realized that I had made two tactical errors. First, while I may spew vulgarities like that of a sailor and enjoy the ale like a seafaring man, I am not one with the sea and found myself at a navigational loss and was unaware of the direction of my destination. Second, in my haste, I neglected to take proper precautions and jumped aboard without proper food, water or ale to negate the effects of sea sickness.

Within an hour I was both hopelessly lost and debilitatingly ill. I regret soiling the waters as I did, but the rocking of the craft left me no choice in the matter.

However, fortune smiles upon the lost and confused and as I lay face down in my own refuse, I felt the crashing of my boat against rocks and sand. Throwing myself to shore, I held on as best I could so as not to fall off.

I crawled to the castle in the distance and thew myself at the mercy of it’s occupants. Oddly, I had paid a call upon Grannus and was received with open arms and a bucket.

I was tasked with speaking to his children in regards to the recent Kobolds attacks. I said I was far too weak in the bowels for such an undertaking, and that if I could simply lie down for a spell, perhaps with a bonny maiden to drape a refreshing towel across my brow, I would be better in no time.

His right hand man insisted I take up the mantle immediately and instructed me to head to the battle camps. He affirmed they were on dry land and my legs would return.

Pressed into service, I entered the battle camps and was told to take some documents and a totem to the leaders in Skrekk. I must say that going into enemy territory while a battle rages sounded like folly, but again, I was left with no choice. I had no Ferryman, so returning from whenst I came was no longer a realistic option.

Within Skrekk, I tried to show my Writ of Passage to the keepers of the door, but they cast it aside and throttled me upside the head with their frightening weapons. I even explained to the little man inside the compound that I came in peace, but since I had not procured the proper gift for his eminence, he could offer me no protection.

"How am I supposed to buy him a gift when I don’t even know him? Is it his birthday? Perhaps an anniversary of some kind? Perhaps I could make his favorite dish?" My query fell on deaf ears and was informed that the only one who might take the time out of his busy schedule to lower himself to speak with me was Krishach.

Although I made my way to "the big house on the left," none would identify himself as Krishach. To add further insult, I was mocked relentlessly for my yellow cloak. The day nearly came to blows as I mentioned it was a hand-crafted item of great quality and I thanked them to appreciate the craftsmanship. They didn’t and the jibes continued.

Dejected, I wandered the streets wherein a merchant took pity on me and offered that I should sit. Sizing me up, he retrieved something to eat and a hearty mug of his "Bullac" or warrior’s drink. Since my last meal was in the sea, I took him up on the offer. The bread was quite suitable, but the beverage took me by surprise. It was a thick, dark liquid with a strong body that tasted of prunes.

The Kobold merchant chuckled at my near gag reaction. "Drink up skinny outlander! Drink up before Kobold guards drag you into street and beat you for sport. I get you some soup."

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Thank you for taking pity on me my good man. Not to seem ungrateful, but I have a question for you. While this freshly churned butter is a treat, I don’t see any bovine in this underground cavern of yours, nor on my way in. What exactly are you milking down here?

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

After getting down to my last few coins in ale money, I was ejected from the tavern for trying to pay my drinks bill with an Amulet of Testimony. Forgetting I even had such a trinket, it came back to me that I was supposed to go to Harvest and hire a boat. Since I was out of the tavern and it looked like rain, I decided to travel on.

Harvest is a lovely town and I admire their fashion sense when it comes to the color yellow. I strolled down the boulevards admiring all the sunflowers, banners and other adornments that gives Harvest an easygoing feeling. I steered clear of the creepy child encampment where the little nippers set fires and throw rocks due to the lack of adult supervision.

My goal was to find a ferryman to take me across the big waters, so thinking logically, I headed for the docks. Alas, he was not there. Next, I tried the tavern as all seafaring men ultimately need an ale to slake the thirst of a long days toil. Alas, he was not there either.

I then looked in the market, the reagent shop, the armory and tried to pull information out of the town crier. All proved fruitless.

Fruit would have been a good choice, but alas, I spent the entire day looking for this miscreant and didn’t buy supplies before the market closed. I tried to buy ale with my dashing good looks, hopes, promises and dreams, but returned to the curb with nothing for my trouble but some lettuce and I’m quite sure it was meant as a taunt, not a gesture of kindness. If they continued their jibes with some tomato and a dash of bacon, all would have been well.

And thus I sat, contemplating my next move and waiting for the sun to rise. If he was a Ferryman of any respect, I would stand guard by his boat and nab him when he came to check for fares.

He threw me off the scent by coming out early to fish. It was mere coincidence that I asked if he knew of any ferryman in the vicinity and he mentioned he was in a position to ferry me to my destination. He was even in admiration of my yellow cloak and said he was ready to journey on when I was.

But we had a breakdown in our communication. Through multiple prompts, gestures and even hand signals, I tried to convey I was ready for the journey and the sooner we set off the better. I had my sailing leggings, the yellow cloak and the amulet. I even had some spare lettuce I was willing to share. We could feed the ducks, it would be glorious!

Yet, no matter how many times he said he was waiting around for me, he wouldn’t relinquish the rod and reel, hop into his rickety boat and cast off.

Defeated, dejected and disillusioned, I assailed the Ferryman with lettuce, tossed him into the sea, thrashed him with his fishing rod and liberated his row boat.

I felt somewhat guilty over leading him on a low speed pursuit over the waves wherein he nearly downed before turning back. But the quest must go on!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

Deadlines kept me out of Release 41, so I was anxious to get back into Release 42 and continue my routine of keeping the Thugs and Bandits in check, controlling the zombie infestation and letting the Elves know I have my eye on them.

But alas, the joyfullness was short lived. As I confronted the evildoers in Serpent Spine Foothills, I realized they attack with the same vim and vigor, and they’re just as astute at sneaking behind to stab me in the back, yet their weapon, if they’re even carrying one, has gone from the Halberd or Axe to the low ranked Spiked Club.

Fair enough, perhaps these are Thugs in Training, but the same was true of the other foes I faced. After knocking them head first into the dirt and withstanding their paralyzing attack, I used to take great relish in relieving them of their weapons, which I could then sell for ale money or perhaps salvage for my own metal working needs. That sadly is no longer the case.

It seems another avenue of earning potential has been pinched off. I’m beginning to wonder how an adventurer is supposed to make enough coin to afford rent, weapons, armor and furniture. Most people expect a little gold for the goods they sell. Some are willing to work for wishes and dreams, but not many.

Let us not forget that rent for a Village property is 1000 gold per day. As it stands, over 100 thugs will have to be crushed by the Sword of Smiting in order to get the paltry 10 gold they might be carrying. At the current respawn rate, that’s more than an hour of mindless grinding and waiting. For a game that wasn’t supposed to have a lot of grinding, I seem to be finding all of it.

I was under the impression there were adventures to be had and enemies to quell, which has traditionally resulted in gold and loot worthy of being of sold. I’m not entirely sure how the masses are supposed to afford goods and services when there is no coin for the effort.

So clearly I am misguided and seek enlightenment on how visiting the Oracle became the highest paying job in the realm.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

In the early hours of the morn, there was a terrible ruckus at the town gate. Under the impression this was another delusion brought on by the Flesh Flayer Bitters, I did my best to ignore it. But it was persistent and soon I was off to discover the nature of this disturbance.

To my great surprise I was greeted by catapult fire and nearly took a flaming cauldron to the head. I immediately ran for shelter to survey the scene and get my bearings. A wayward Scout informed me that a siege had broken out and we had been swept up in the fracas.

Who the devil would want to lay siege to our town? What had we done? Is this some of retribution about that unpaid tavern bill or revenge for those pewter mugs that keep falling into my satchel? Either way, the situation seemed to have escalated violently before I could even come up with a plausible tale of deniability.

As this sort of miscreant behavior could lead to a broken crafting pavilion or smashed drinking establishment, I sallied forth to find who was in charge of this rabble and demand an explanation.

This was met with great resistance as I was soon beset with archers and thugs doing their best to cause me great personal injury. I put the thugs in their place then turned my attention to the archers. Those beguiling halfwits gave me yet another terrible arrow related knee injury, but I persevered and put an end to their villainy.

Storming up the hill to to quell the flaming cauldrons of oil that were surely going to hurt someone, I was pushed back by a multitude of siege engineers. They took great pride in their catapults and felt I was unqualified to handle one. They did me the indignity of tossing me down the hill and followed it with taunts and rude hand gestures.

I managed to exact revenge on one or two of the blighters, but they are a crafty lot and soon tossed me down the hill again. As I sat next to flaming wagon, I heard a commotion approaching. Taking shelter, I realized it was Oba and Alley. It appears they had been roused by the interminable noise and had come to investigate as well.

Sizing up the scene, they rushed up the hill to take umbrage with the siege engineers for their reckless behavior. Realizing the tide had dramatically shifting in our favor, I quickly followed suit.

I summited the hill to see that negotiations had broken down and the siege engineers were now talking to the business end of Alley’s sword, while they bathed in the cleansing power of Oba’s Ring of Fire. I joined the fray as best I could and soon took great satisfaction in looting their pockets and tossing them down the hill as they had done to me.

But this revealed a new menace. In the distance, a darkly cloaked figure loomed. I considered the situation as bleak, but Oba and Alley raced down into the valley. Alley lashed out without the need to discuss terms. Oba the nemesis in a wall of fire.

Realizing the tactics, I scurried down to join and did my best to stab this intruder right in the back side. He proved quite wily and agile, but try as he might, he wasn’t able to hide from fire and in the confusion backed himself into a corner. That’s when Alley and I laid into him.

It was only a matter of time before he was cut to ribbons. In all the tumult, he left behind his robe, which I have now taken possession of. It took a few dunks in the Devotional waters to remove the detritus and aroma, but it’s now quite a fashionable piece. Hopefully we’ll have no more of these shenanigans, at least, not at such an early hour.

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Now see here, a siege engine is no sort of plaything. This sort of behavior is going to lead to an accident.

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Looks like the tide has shifted! No point in running now!

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You’re not the only one who can play with fire my friend!

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Haha! You’ve committed one of the classic blunders!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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