“How To” Presents : So You Pissed Off The End Game Boss Already — And You’re Only First Level

Welcome to the How To, the brilliant series of articles detailing how to deal with common problems within the game. Today we are going to tackle a problem that comes up rather regularly around these parts. To note: You are an incredibly unlikeable person who has, within his first five minutes of entering the system, managed to piss off the big bad end boss.

Now I know what you are thinking. What did I do? What kind of person does this? Am I some kind of freak?

I’m a tree! Photo by Yogendra Singh on Pexels.com

No worries. I’m not here to judge you. Freak. I’m here to give you advice on what to do once your totally unique strangeness gets you in trouble.

  1. First, figure out what you did to piss him off. Are you with others? If you are, take the opportunity to discuss the possibilities with your fellow gamers while constantly suggesting that it is somehow one of their faults. This will make you look heroic and will result in the not leaving you to face your doom on your lonesome. In some cases this can even get you out of the situation, some noble patsy tied to a tree and left for the Big Bad as sacrifice.
Ah. A perfect tying tree. Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

But what if I am on my own?

2. Find human shields. Blame them for whatever faux pas your dumbass mouth created, then hide behind them as the terror unfolds. Doing this correctly might level the entirely of your game world’s first Act, but you’ll be gone long before the carnage finishes, save to hunt rabbits and squirrels in the forests to level up enough to functionally compete in the 2nd Act.

The fleshy sacrifice of NPCs wasn’t enough! I’m in Act 2 and the Big Bad is still following me!

3. Every time you level up, put everything into abilities and feats that will keep you from being hit. The Big Bad is not meant to be fought for at least another 50 hours of gameplay. Yet here you are, stuck in the game, with a giant unstoppable monster of doom hot on your tail. There is no valor in dying to it. Kill everything low level enough to die, and any level ups you get, throw them into not dying. I’m talking kittens, puppies, midgets — kick them hard as you pass and watch those xps come flittering in.

Crap. I’ve been everywhere. The whole world is in flames. All of the NPCs are dead. I am the last one here. Dear god, what can i do?

Craaaaap! Photo by Ahmed Adly on Pexels.com

Thanks for checking in with ‘How To’! For more advice, see our companion volume, ‘How To: I am Death, Devourer of Worlds’

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Chapter 3: A Village and a Job

Yenrab stopped upon a high outcrop outside of town and took in a deep breath. A single cloud passed overhead, casting a shadow over his broad frame. Still, he shaded his eyes with a broad and calloused hand as he observed the settlement. It was rather distant, but it felt intimidating to the young man anyways.

He scratched at his chin, dislodged some sort of insect and absentmindedly popped it into his mouth for a good chew.

Advice. That’s what I need.

Plopping his rucksack down in front of him, he pulled out the sturdy adventurer’s guide and opened it at its table of contents. Much of it was unreadable, though a mental voice, perhaps Ghost Dad’s, reassured him that it wouldn’t always be so. He found this to be strange. Not as weird as was this new entry bearing his name, though. Thumbing through the pages in haste, he came upon his entry into the great volume.

Yenrab Atsittab—An imposing and intimidating barbarian known for his love of animals, good morals and bad hygiene.

The rest of the page was blank.

“Well, if that just doesn’t . . .” the barbarian griped. It wasn’t much use complaining about a book written by Jerold Frey at the behest of the gods. Doing such things was blasphemous (Footnote: Strangely enough most blasphemous things coincide with the opinions of the priests, shamans and clerics who pronounce them). Or so he assumed, at any rate.

He closed the tome and shoved it back into his ruck, letting the thing rock as he did so. The book gave good advice, but it was a little frustrating as well. He’d have to adjust to its ways before he went berserk and tore out all of its pages.

The thought made him smile way too much.

No, no, I need it for a quest. I think?

The way down from this height was rather steep and all at once, Yenrab was tired of walking. It was time to get a move on. Yenrab gazed about him, staying alert to any possible dangers that might beset him. He pulled his rucksack back onto his shoulders and strapped it firmly against his body. He then took a running leap. Yenrab soared for a moment and then his stout legs caught the ground and he slowly surfed a wave of gritty, loose soil to a copse of trees.

Clever that, he thought to himself, his legs thanking him for the shortcut. Weaving his way through bushes and trunks, he made his way forward.

***

Yenrab ambled into that colonial town, the first he had found in these Western Reaches and perhaps his ticket to a new life. Orcs, humans, half-orcs and even a big dumb-looking ogre stopped what they were doing and stared. The fires of their labor or the goods of their livelihoods were left neglected in their curiosity. Yenrab didn’t like it. He paused, his eyes furtive as he slowed his pace through this strange and novel place. His eyes searched theirs and he did just like they did, watching the settlers warily.

Eh, he thought after a bit of it, this is nothing. They are just curious. And this is their home. I should have expected this.

He softened his gaze, giving them an open-eyed gleam that signaled, back in his tribe, merriment and laughter packaged into one large bundle of exuberant muscle (One Large Bundle of Exuberant Muscle would, by the way, make for a clever band name. You are welcome.).

No one budged. Yenrab shrugged and stopped looking at them.

Around him everything was new and cosmopolitan. A city! Fair-skinned humans, large ogres and tusked orcs went about their business dressed in leathers, skins and furs. It was disappointingly a lot like home. But there were things that were different. Like that thing over there. A merry little sign stood festooned with dyed strips of paperlike aster bark, written in Orcish as well as a couple of other languages, posted here near the town’s entrance.

Place for Ships” it read proudly.

An astonishing name and not one that was regular for settlers – who seemed to like pretty words with extra meaning – or so the shaman had said. Like that big, big city he had visited once with the old man. Gennopolis. The sound a disturbed magical fish makes when pulled from a lake and stomped on desperately as it breathes flame all over your boat (Flame breathing fish are well worth the effort though. Expensive, tasty and you can use one to cook all the others). Not a practical name at all. Gennopolis didn’t even have a lake!

No, this was a small colonial outpost of little report with the tremendous name of Place for Ships. He’d be proud to have been its author. It was a very to-the-point name made by a very to-the-point person or by some ruler, that, well, he doubted was known for nonsense or tomfoolery.

Beyond the sign, wooden ramps led out into the ocean, with three large ships tied to them, triangles of fabric stretched across their centers. Newly risen buildings stood stout and proud on a grid-like pattern, wafting the aroma of sweet pine and oak, with a hint of sap, their construction so recent that their age could be determined through smell.

Humans, orcs and ogres lugged trunks of timber through an entrance in the wooden palisades, with men of trade awkwardly holding weapons at the gate. A sweaty man wearing chainmail with metal greaves, a shield and a longsword that gleamed bright in the light of noon was overseeing the settlers’ work.

He gazed back at the people near him. A couple of dirty little children were making fun of him in the corner. He gave them a monstrous glare and they squealed and scattered. He checked the faces of the adults again for some kind of reaction. There wasn’t one, most of them had already gone back to their work.

Good news, that, he thought, relieved that they didn’t think of him as some random monstrous encounter.

He stayed rooted where he was, feeling both safe and fascinated. 

Make way for the queen! he thought, surprised at the bustle in the town’s folks’ steps. It was almost desperate the way they haggled, scraped, battered and scurried.

Here money seemed to rule as the chief. People exchanged their coins, trading furs, crops and machined materials from other lands. His eyes gleamed with childish delight as he spied a few fancy things that really looked quite nice. 

At one stall, an awkward and gangly young man weighed the merits of a light silver necklace in one hand against a golden brooch in the other. He swayed the chain gently and rotated the brooch, letting both glitter and sparkle. The merchant nodded and grinned, a gesture that the young man enthusiastically returned. He dived his hand into his purse and slapped coins onto the shopkeeper’s oaken counter.

Yenrab felt more than a little jealous at the ease of the exchange. He could imagine a life such as this.

Upon the spirit of the Bear, I vow this, he thought. I shall end my days surrounded by pretty doodads. And cats. And maybe a dog. But definitely doodads (The wonderful thing about doodads is that there is one for every occasion).

Across from the stall, under an awning marked “Blacksmith”, a sweaty orc was covered in blackish grit as he pumped a bellows underneath a heap of magma-like coal. “Hotter, damn you!” he growled at it as he readied it for work with iron and steel.

Yenrab felt silly. For a moment he had thought it was like the tribe. This was not at all like the tribe. Here they worked fine metals, built tremendous structures and created the things that the tribe traded for.

“Oh my!” came a high feminine voice, followed by mirthful squeals (The most dreadful sound on the planet to a young straight man is the sound of young women giggling).

Yenrab glanced back and forth. He had again become an object of curiosity.

“Jedrah above!” exclaimed the woman, trying to get his attention. She stood in the middle of the dusty street, her two companions a step back and flanking her from either side.

He spun. There he was, a gigantic beast of a man wrapped in smelly and raggish furs. He brandished weapons of steel made by people not his own. Of course, he was scaring the ladyfolk. As women of Icegard, they stood tall and strong and wore short swords at their sides.

Yenrab peered into their eyes and realized that they were not at all intimidated. Why would they be? They wore manufactured leather shoes, tanned fur trousers, cotton shirts and fancy leather vests. He wore little and what he had was primitive and coarse. These women of Icegard stood proud, their hair zipped civilly into tails protruding from the backs of their heads and scabbards held short swords at their sides. He blushed and realized that it was he who felt overpowered. He wondered if he should flee.

“Who are you, my handsome man-monster?” asked the leader of the trio as they advanced on him. Yenrab glanced back and forth, not sure at all what to do.

“Uhm . . . uh . . . I’m . . .  uh . . .  Yenner . . . Ab . . . Ats . . . uh . . . It . . . Tab . . . er . . .”, the teenager trailed off and coughed, his green-tinged face turned yellow as the red of his cheeks mixed hues with his genetic heritage.

“What a tremendous color!” gasped one of the woman’s companions in clear joy. “How absolutely delightful!”

“Ha, yes, absolutely. So, Mister Ma Yenner Ab Ats Uh It Tab Er, is it? That seems like a tragically long name for such a strong and tall man of the wild.”

The two girls tittered and their eyes narrowed with intent upon his humiliation. The locals about him stopped again what they had been doing, this time to see what fun the girls were laying down on the dumb barbarian.

The youth cleared his throat, deciding backtracking would only embarrass him further. He puffed out his chest. “It’s Yenrab for short.” His head swam and he couldn’t really think right. 

If only they weren’t so damn pretty.

“What do you think, ladies? Should I forgive him?” the leader asked, her left cheek dimpled as she grinned to her companions.

“I think maybe he should pay the entrance tax first!” the woman to her right exclaimed, her auburn hair glittered as it caught the sunrays.

“Well, Mr. Yenrab, do you have money with which”—she paused and raised a calloused yet stately finger—“to pay the entrance tax?” she asked, prodding him after each word.

Yenrab felt off-balance. He patted about his pouches and pockets, making a show of being an honorable being, but he knew he didn’t have anything to pay with. And yet—there, in one of his pouches, was a hard circular shape. He reached in and pulled out an object that shone white-gold in the summer light. The ladies gasped, while some of the onlookers whistled. How did that get in there?

He examined it closely in surprise. One side said: “Adventurer” The other said: “Destiny” The Great Bear, his jaws open and teeth sharp, was stamped into one side of the coin, while the Great Bear’s hairy behind was stamped onto the other. He bit his tongue to stop from breaking into a sacrilegious chuckle (Is it really sacreligious, though, to laugh at the jokes of a self-deprecating god?).

“Is this enough?” Yenrab asked the gawking trio. He hoped he was using this gift, clearly given him by his totem, the way it was intended. Between the book and this, he had a feeling he was being pushed ahead into something he didn’t have any understanding of. Not yet, at any rate. Still, it seemed like the proper place to use this new and particular item.

The lead woman cocked her head.

“Are you enough, Mr. Yenrab?”

Her companions copied her cocky pose and expression, backup dancers to the rhythm of her attitude. Some of the men around them laughed in a bawdy fashion while others whistled. Yenrab grunted, realization dawning within his brain.

“I’m famous, or so I’ve come to understand out in the wilds. I mean, I’m not like, you know, famous famous (the infamous famous squared), but people know of me. And it looks like I have tax enough to buy my way in here. I think, ya know, I’m more than enough. I might well be more than you all can handle,” Yenrab said, emphasizing the last with a tremendous smile, dirty canines exposed to the air.

Yenrab relaxed, his formerly taut body loosened as he took charge of the situation.

This is an encounter to be defeated, just like so many things in this world, Yenrab told himself, actually feeling excited to be in the midst of something he well understood. The way the men moved, chuckled and hooted about them made it well-known to him that this was something akin to the tribal tales and poetry slams during Autumn Festival. He wasn’t the quickest wit, but he could hold his own.

The woman smiled and shifted her hip to the side.

“I’m happy to hear you say that and I welcome you to the city, Mr. Yenrab of the tribes without. I’m the leader here and you can call me Garnan Chaine, or just call me Myrrh, as it is my first name and I don’t care for titles. You aren’t the first barbarian to enter our town, but you are the first to get my sense of humor, so I guess I like you. 

Here’s the rules. No weapons in hand unless the bell tower rings. While you are here, you are part of our garrison. You help defend this place and I swear to the gods I’ll put a knife through that tough skin of yours if I see you running. If you want to join Gardit Chalna’s forces, I’ll give you a run-through and see if you are worth it. And if you are just passing through, well, I’ll buy you the first round.”

“I don’t drink, Garnan Myrrh Chaine or Myrrh. But I’d appreciate the company all the same. What happened to all those other guys who didn’t impress you?” he asked in wonder.

“I took their weapons until they left. Well, except for the one I married. That poor Otplainer (Icegarditian slang for foreigner or person not of Icegard) got sentenced to life. I make him run the bar, so don’t get handsy,” the woman advised. “Though I bet you could take him, you’d still have me to deal with when you got finished.”

“I appreciate the warning, Myrrh. Maybe if I’d come here a few years earlier . . .”

“A few years earlier and you’d have been twelve by the looks of things.” The woman laughed. “You are damn handsome and I appreciate the sight, but let’s be honest—you aren’t going to stay around and I’m a married woman.”

“Yeah,” he agreed. “Plus, I’ve got a mission it would seem, though the Great Bear hasn’t told me directly. Just a book, a coin and some disappearing older guy with a beer belly, so far, but all of those portents are telling me I need to get a job and go on an adventure. In order or at the same time, I’m not really sure.”

Myrrh nodded.

“Gods and quests, ruins and danger. Yeah, you do seem like the type to do such things, a god over your shoulder or not. Well, I don’t know of any ruins or legends about, but I can get you a guide job at the tavern and the rest, well, I suppose is prophecy.”

“Or destiny?” the young man asked as he pushed his platinum coin, the tax, into her hand.

“Whatever it is,” she said, staring in fascination at the gleaming bear anus of her coin with the word Destiny engraved above and below it. “I bet that no matter what you do in the next month or so, you’ll end up with an adventuring party. And,” she noted thoughtfully, looking away to a single cloud floating through the light-blue sky, “I bet at the start of it all, it is going to stink.”

The handsome and kindhearted monster man nodded in deep contemplation, smiling broadly. He joined Myrrh and her companions in heading off to the tavern, talking curiosities and pasts. The men of the town nodded and went back to their tasks, happy to be pioneers in this brave new world.

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Chapter 2 – Ghost Dad

How to be an Adventurer—An Introduction (Footnote: Unlike many readers, Yenrab was kinda enough to start his reading at the very beginning.)

‘Welcome to a new world, neophyte and be prepared to delve into its depths. In this place, we exist precariously between planes of existence, as I hope you know. We live in a land full of terrible, yet beautiful, magic. Power that infuses everything, though it is often unnoticed. You can find great things by wandering these lands. And you have already completed the first and most important step in any star-destined adventurer’s journey—take this. It is dangerous to go alone!

So, on to step 2. It is simple, really. Find companions! A tavern is the standard go-to for the man on a quest for an adventure. As the gods have willed, it is the divine cliché of our world. Go to a bar, get people drunk, talk to the bartender, hear some rumors about some cache and easily gather together a well-balanced party of clerics, wizards, fighters and rogues with which to slay monsters and gather treasure. The most important thing here is to have fun and remember, in the bar, on the eve of your first adventure, always trust these armed adventurer neophytes because, well, that’s how it always goes. It is as the gods have told it to be.’

***

It had been some days since his fateful exodus from the tribe. Yenrab felt a small and lingering sadness, but he didn’t dwell upon it.

It wasn’t his way.

He’d been lumbering forward ever onward, not sure of his destination. He trusted in the Great Bear to deliver him there. After all, that bug buggy Ursine in the sky had always delivered before.

He marched and marched, pausing only to sleep, to sup, or to relieve himself, reading lines from the tome as he did so.

How to be an Adventurer.

It was a strange book. It seemed to mock the whole premise and yet, if he were truthful to himself, that was the way these things always worked in ballads.

Also the language was quite peculiar. He doubted that the book was written in Orcish. (For those of you not in the know, Orcish is simply English, but written very badly and with an accent.) Orcs didn’t really adventure so much as get killed by adventurers.

It had to be a glamour of some sort. Magicked pages made to fit the eye of the reader.

He wondered what would happen if an illiterate paged through it. Perhaps the end of everything? Or maybe a massive tome full of wonderfully descriptive pictures?

Chapter one made it pretty clear what had to happen next. Yenrab was working his way down the west coast of the Reaches, searching for one of those many outposts and colonial towns created by hardened ogres, humans and occasional demihumans of Icegard. Their nation was in the midst of a half-millennium-long civil war and so people who got sick of the fighting were more and more often tasked with making new lands for their gardits on these wilder shores. Maybe these lands would bring them peace. More likely, they’d give them new things to fight about.

Still, the settlers had something that Yenrab sought. He had to find a tavern, whatever that was. The tome’s cover gleamed in his head as he thought about his future. How to be an Adventurer. Find a tavern. Get people drunk. It didn’t say I have to get drunk though. Lucky that.

And so, on the fifth day of travel, he shaded his eyes against the magnificent brightness of the sun and its resounding glare off of the waves of the Athatian Ocean. It was all so beautiful and yet so lonely. He sighed an orcish bellow of contentment. Birds scattered up and outward from the trees, chirping in protest.

“My lord,” a balding, middle-aged man stated. He rose out from seemingly nowhere as he hunched over a longish pipe. How he had gotten it to light was anyone’s guess.

“Holy Bear alive! (The scriptures are fuzzy on this point, but the Great Bear at one point entered a cave and did not come out again for five to seven months! It was a true miracle.)” Yenrab stammered. Everything had been so quiet for so long now that he’d fallen into a kind of introspective fugue state. He couldn’t remember much of what had transpired on the way. Still, even with that chasm in his memory, this didn’t seem right.

“I’m not the Holy Bear, but I might know a thing or two about him. So, this is where it all begins, eh?” The man rubbed the shadow of beard at his chin and coughed as he spectated about appreciatively. It started to get on Yenrab’s nerves.

“Ya know, I think, with all that just happened here, with the appearing and the lord part and now the ‘oh, this is where it all begins’ nonsense, maybe I deserve an explanation?”

“Humph,” the pipe smoker snorted and considered the young barbarian’s face. “Maybe, young Yenrab, if you would hurry the pace, you’d find out! A magic book about becoming an adventurer doesn’t simply fall into the lap of any passerby.”

The man paused. “You can read the book, yeah?” he asked with some hesitancy.

“Yeah, I’m reading it. Most of it isn’t there though. I thought, well, ya know, it would appear more and more to me as I did whatever it wants me to do.” Yenrab reached thick fingers through his rough strands of hair, scratching at his head. “But maybe it’s broken.”

“Everything is as it should be, Yenrab. Now, get a move on before it is too late! Oh and get a job, you lazy bum!”

Those final words seemed to echo and diminish after they were said. Yenrab just stared, trying to stamp down on the feeling that his life was becoming overly dramatic and not just a bit cliché.

And then the portly middle-ager was gone. Which was a shame because, while Yenrab had expected such to happen, he had also expected sparks, smoke, or magical rainbows to play the man out. As magical visitations went, this didn’t rank highly (Footnote: His worst though was the time some fairy tried to take his fallen tooth from under his pillow. He’d been saving that for dessert).

Tracing equations through the air, he thought on the matter—on how one could nail a scroll to a post near the ceremonial pit where people could rank goods and services of other tribesmen. Then he mentally crumpled the paper with sorrow. The tribe would never allow it. They never let him do any of his ideas. And he had left them anyways.

Everything had been so slow and gentle these fine days and he almost didn’t want to get to a tavern or town. Once he got to that town, whichever it was, life would pick up.

He knew this.

Everything would change.

He knew this as well.

And he wanted it to. He really did. Especially after Ghost Dad, or whatever the hell that was, had made a point of chastising him for his plodding.

But, you know, tomorrow. Not today. Or maybe the day after.

He walked slowly along the edge of the ocean bluffs, occasionally pausing to peer over the edge into the waves or to try to piss on some crabs scuttling through the sandy dunes. He laughed when he finally got one. He was a little sad when it stopped moving and sort of just slumped.

That seems like something I should get checked out, he thought, as he pulled his trousers back up from the ground. He was the sort of guy who dropped everything to his ankles when he peed. Easygoing, they’d say back in the tribe.

Raising his hand to shield his eyes against the glare of the sun, he could see a settlement in the distance. “Time to stop dragging my feet,” he said aloud. He shook his head and chuckled to himself before breaking into a jog forwards.

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The Dragon of Mordiford

There was once a small girl who wished with all her heart for her own pet. Many children in the village had pets from dogs to cats to pigs, and Maud felt left out. Muad out of frustration wandered the forest one day despite being told not to. That it was magical.


There she came across pieces of shell and a small light green creature with translucent wings that was no bigger than a tiny puppy. She decided to take it home.
Her mother and father knew immediately that the creature was a wyvern and told her to take it back or the village would be in trouble.


Instead of taking it back Maud hid the baby dragon. She fed and played with it and it grew and grew under her loving care. But the Dragon who was now huge could no longer be sated with just milk and craved something more. Meat.


The dragon saw all the villagers and their animals as prey and when Maud wasn’t there to soothe him by rubbing his claws and giving him hugs the dragon would hunt. Sneaking into the middle of the night and taking the prey for himself, whether it be human or animal it did not care.


The townspeople growing desperate asked for help. It came in the form of a shining night named garston. He in his full set of armor went out and slayed the beast, avoiding its raging fires he plunged his lance through the dragon’s throat and killed Maud’s pet.


Maud, grief stricken, lay down beside the dragon cuddling into it and mourned the death of her pet.

Thanks for reading

S.McC

P.s here’s a link to my books