At the end of the first month, we had to give an account of our progress. On the outside, it really didn’t seem like much for the expense. We had kept track of everyone’s attributes as they reported them, and while many of them grew considerably stronger in one way or another that didn’t mean anything on its own. We had a few dozen people with very basic proficiency in magic and weapons, and all of them were slightly more proficient in at least one area. They could all fight a horned rabbit, or maybe two. We didn’t have anyone try more because of the lack of equipment- though some of the archers and magic users could take out a handful of them in a short time if they were nearby but not in a group.
Overall, the expenses weren’t really worth the costs from a strict standpoint of what adventuring the trainees could do. While a few could likely provide for themselves as A-level adventurers, that was already the case for some of them, especially those who were big and strong to begin with.
Some of them had been trained in healing… but the total so far was likely a wash. Kantrilla had to spend time teaching them instead of healing and their combined efforts hadn’t really been any more than she could have done alone.
As for the more intangible things… we had given a few dozen people hope, keeping them off the streets in one way or another. They had a chance for a new life and to get away from their problems… even if it was getting into a rather dangerous career path. That said, some of them would clearly be choosing to learn crafts or other supporting abilities that weren’t directly adventuring.
I presented the final report to Timmy and waited nervously. They didn’t happen to be in the office but I knew the rest of my party was nervous too, because they had become invested in the idea along with me in the month of preparation and the month of actually putting the idea into practice.
Timmy carefully read over the papers, pulling out a very large monocle to help him occasionally. Perhaps it was just a magnifying glass. That brought up one issue we had run into… not everyone had perfect eyes. That was a given, but adventurers needed to be able to see. Glasses were rare, expensive, and imprecise for the most part. It wasn’t impossible to make good glasses, but those with the necessary skills were usually instead working on magic items. Healing magic could help, but it took time and effort for each individual- or much more effort all at once similar to when Father Thomas had healed me. Of course, it took less power to fix most vision problems, but most people also weren’t as powerful as Father Thomas either. Kantrilla was an accomplished healer, but she lacked decades of experience and attribute growth.
Occasionally, Timmy would ask a question about how things were worded or details I had forgotten. Finally, he reached the end. “Very well, I have come to a decision.” Timmy folded his hands in front of him, “I am sorry to say… I cannot increase the budget for this project with the results I have seen so far. You will have to make do with the same level of financing as this month.”
“That… umm…” I didn’t know what to say, mostly because I thought the meeting was about whether the project would be cancelled or not. I also wasn’t entirely sure what he meant, and maybe I was just getting my hopes up. Maybe he just meant we could only continue if we had any money left over- and we didn’t.
“Well then,” Timmy’s deep voice boomed out even as he spoke gently. “We both have work to get back to. The additional finances will be in the same account every month. Do continue to keep up the quality reports.”
With that, I was out of his office… but he had implied that we had at least another month- or possibly several. It would be a little bit too much to say he had approved the project to continue indefinitely, but if we continued to show promise he likely would. For that, the second month would likely have to have real results. If we could get together a few good sets of starting gear we could have one group out hunting monsters every day to get them some real experience… both practical and level-based. That said, before they got too much experience, we would want them to figure out what class they wanted so they could gear towards that. Changing class after you already had one took significant effort, and though most people learned what they intended or fell into a class that fit them it wasn’t always the case.
One detail about setting up mini adventuring parties was the people themselves. Though most of our trainees were hard working and good, and we hadn’t yet had to get rid of any… they were still people. That meant they got along better with some and worse with others. We also didn’t want to make people think they had to permanently stay with the party we selected for them. For that, however, we needed people who could swap in and out of parties. That meant making them choose a role, or a couple if they could fill them both. For example, paladins could be front line fighters and backup healers, whereas sorcerers like Kasner could be ranged damagers or battlefield controllers. Clerics could heal and provided buffs and if they put in the time and effort they could be decent on the front line. It was also possible for someone to know how to do damaging magic and healing, or even all types of magic in general… but they only had so much mana and time to practice.
Scouts were also important, and while having everyone with some level of awareness was good, having people who could spot tricky traps was even better. Dungeons were tricky sometimes, and those with the capacity to notice something new that was wrong could save lives just by avoiding a suspicious area.
There were some issues we ran into- a number of street kids were too young to fight well. All of them were young, but some of them weren’t even teenagers and were not only small but lacking in physical attributes- and mental attributes- in general. They did grow very quickly, but most equipment also wasn’t the right size for them. On the less practical side, I also didn’t feel great about the idea of sending pre-teens into dungeons… though having them hunt horned rabbits wasn’t a bad idea either. At some point, they’d have to choose a profession or be a real adventurer. We weren’t running a charity… though that was actually half the idea.