I didn’t immediately try the high striker game, first watching those who participated. My official reason was that I was practicing my Analyze Strength skill- and I was. I wanted to see how hard it was to win this game. On Earth, average strength and the right technique was enough to win- when they didn’t cheat to make it impossible.
The first person I saw step up was a big fellow, definitely a warrior type adventurer. I’d seen him around the guildhall… occasionally. He took up the mallet and took a swing. The indicator only went about a third of the way up. A few more swings and he got the hang of it, but he couldn’t get it past the three-quarter mark. It seemed like he had about 350 Strength.
Next up was a blacksmith. At least, he looked the type- but there were a number of blacksmiths in the city. I didn’t know what they all looked like. His first swing hit almost dead on, and he surpassed the halfway point. The next one was even better, but he still didn’t pass the three quarters mark. His Strength was probably around the 310’s to 320’s.
I began to wonder if the game was actually rigged… but that didn’t seem likely. The one who was running it was the guildmaster himself- Timmy. He was the real reason I hadn’t approached right away. Timmy wasn’t a bad guy… but the incident with his brother didn’t exactly make him like me. He hadn’t made things difficult for me… but we weren’t exactly pals. Timmy stood next to the high striker, looking intimidating without meaning to. It helped that he was nearly as tall as the structure itself. That was his half-giant blood at work… and I couldn’t help but wonder how big full giants were.
Finally a contestant came that rang the bell. His hammer swing was flawless and it only took him a single swing to hit the bell. Guildmaster Timmy handed over the token, and I pondered how much Strength had been used. A single swing was a bit hard to get a read on, but watching how he carried himself and set down the hammer… about 400?
This game was definitely geared toward adventurers- or at least people much better than average in Strength. I saw a few low level people try and fail- though calling some of them low level was unfair. They were probably C or D rank at least, but they hadn’t invested all of their points in Strength so it couldn’t be helped. Without my 100 bonus points I would be right on the edge of being able to succeed- and it was much easier for me to train my base Strength.
Finally there was nobody in line… and I figured there was no point in hanging around watching any longer. At some point I was going to try, so now was the time. As I walked up, Timmy handed me the hammer without comment. I knew it was heavy from watching those earlier, but Timmy made it look like a child’s toy.
I stood in front of the lever and imagined my swing in my head, using the most effective techniques from earlier. Then, I gave it a try. My first swing brought it up to about the three-quarters mark. It was a solid hit, but not perfect- and I hadn’t been using all of my Strength. I wanted to win with technique… and my second swing was better. It was just short of reaching the top. My third and forth, however, were in between. It looks like I wasn’t quite skilled enough just yet. I could keep trying until I got lucky, but I knew that was what it would be. Thus, I upped my Strength. I had been using around 400 to 450- it was hard to be perfectly precise, since I wasn’t a robot or anything. My next swing, however, used most of my Strength with only a tiny bit held back. The bell rang… but I was kind of disappointed. After all, could I really say I had accomplished that win and not my free 100 points in Strength? I supposed I could have used Bash, but I wasn’t actually sure if I could use that at less than maximum Strength. It wasn’t the kind of thing you did while holding back.
Guildmaster Timmy smiled slightly as he handed over my token. “Impressive.”
“Thank you.” What else was there to say? ‘Sorry I made you execute your half-brother’? I knew Timmy was a good person, but the awkwardness between us wasn’t going to fade in just a couple months.
I surveyed the other games, but since they were targeted toward adventurers or at least mostly people with above ‘average’ skill or attributes I wasn’t suited for most of them. I managed to win a few, but I wouldn’t be able to do them consistently.
There were a few other Strength-based tokens that I won. The most interesting was the punching machine. While I knew how to fight, punching wasn’t my strong suit. I knew the basics, but weapons were invented because they were better than not having weapons. The only exception was monks, and even they used weapons some.
I took the best stance I could and punched. It wasn’t good enough, but I tried again. It was again a failure… but I had no unarmed combat skills. Finally I just gave up and used Bash. It wasn’t the most optimal skill for punching, but it still added more force. As I got that token, I thought about areas I could improve on.
Later in the afternoon I met back up with Kantrilla. We’d seen each other several times during the day but didn’t spend the whole time together. There was so much to see that we couldn’t both go to what we were most interested in if we stayed together. “So, Kantrilla… did you win a lot?”
Kantrilla shook a sack she had, and i heard the sound of tokens clinking together. “Lots! Though… I couldn’t do any of the Strength based ones. No matter how Lucky I am I just don’t have enough oomph. I got a few magic based ones, but some of the puzzle tokens were too hard…” Kantrilla crossed her arms and nodded seriously, “Luck doesn’t cover everything.”
“Seen any of the others?”
“Halette and Socks have been at the animals section all day. Some high level people brought their pets… I’m surprised they fit through the city gates. One of them has an elephant! Do you know about elephants?”
I nodded, “Big, tough grey skin…” I did a funny gesture with my hand, “And a trunk.”
“Yeah! You’ve seen them before? They’re not local… but… ah. I guess you aren’t either.” Kantrilla smiled, “Let’s go turn in our tokens for prizes!”
I’d almost forgotten about that. We could actually get something for the tokens, even though we didn’t pay anything to try to win them. I wondered what sorts of things we could get… Probably nothing too expensive, but prizes were fun anyway.