While I waited for the troubles with the assassins to die down, I spent time in town learning from people about their various classes. Ervin was an Archer. Watching him shoot was quite pleasant. There was a lovely sound as the bow was drawn, then the arrow flying… and later hitting the target… *Swoosh* *Thunk*. It was so satisfying.
Ervin taught me how to use the bow- specifically the longbow. That was the one that was most suited to my Strength. I was consistently hitting the target at 30 yards by the end of the day, but definitely not the bullseye. Meanwhile, Ervin could hit the bullseye from 90 yards away. His accuracy was excellent, but I still had some doubts. “I’ve noticed the arrow takes a long time to arrive. Couldn’t your target just… step to the side? It seems to be a full second of travel time.”
Ervin nodded. “Sure, if they know to dodge the arrow. Many monsters don’t necessarily know that. Ambush situations are great, as even if they hear the sound of the arrow coming most won’t know to dodge. Shooting into packs of monsters increases your chances, or those that are relatively immobile. Being closer helps too, but of course then you are more at risk. In a real party, my job is to cause as much damage as I can before monsters approach into melee, or deal with flying targets. Against monsters that have magic users, it is my job to shoot the casters or anyone else on the backline. If all of the monsters have made it into melee combat, unless they are particularly large, my job is to wait for an opportunity to shoot them without shooting my allies. Arrow travel time can still be a problem, but you just have to make do. Sometimes you can predict a dodge, and even if the enemy dodges it can give casters on your side time to finish casting spells.”
I nodded. “I knew you must have solutions, otherwise you wouldn’t make it to a higher level.”
Ervin nodded, “Eventually, everyone is good at what they do… or dead. Such is the adventurer’s life.”
Everyone else at the guild was very kind, taking time to demonstrate what their class could do. They even taught me, though it was only how to use various sorts of weapons in most cases. Teaching me class skills would have been impossible or at least very difficult for both teacher and student. It was still nice to hear about what they could do, though it was fairly easy to intuit some things from the names of the classes.
I learned the basics of many new weapons, more than what Sgar had taught me. Spears, axes, crossbows, slings, hammers and maces… though it became clear that what was useful depended significantly on the situation. Generally it was better to use whatever you were most trained in as long as it somewhat fit the situation.
I found that crossbows were… not amazing. Not that I didn’t think they were well engineered, but they were slower to fire than bows, and not necessarily more powerful. Specifically, I already had enough Strength to use a longbow which made it much more convenient to use. Slings were quite fun, and I found they could be quite powerful… but my accuracy with them was not as great. That said, any attack that actually connected would be significant.
The most important thing I realized during the training was I needed more versatility. I could certainly shoot a few wolves before they approached close to me, and if I went up against goblins or other things that used weapons or had range, I would need something. Spears or javelins would work, but they were very limited in the amount I could carry along with other weapons, for bulk if not for weight. A bow and arrows took up about the same space as a brace of javelins, but I would have more arrows in a quiver. Slings, meanwhile, took up almost no space by themselves. Only the bullets were relevant, and a pouchful of those could easily fit on my belt.
The end decision came based on practicality. I couldn’t leave a bow strung continuously without damaging the string. Thus it would take some time to string before, and unwinding a sling from around my arm was a bit faster. In a pitched battle or war this wouldn’t be an issue, but out in the wilderness hunting monster it mattered. There wasn’t too much off a time difference between the two, at least not if I practiced stringing the bow. The more important part came later, if I failed to kill the enemy. I wouldn’t have time to properly stow a bow, or at least I could use that time to shoot another arrow before drawing a melee weapon. The same was true of a sling… but it wouldn’t be easily damaged if I just tossed it to the side. Even if it was, it was easier to replace. The ammunition was also slightly more recoverable and could be replaced by half-decent rocks found on the ground… but the space became the determining factor. Since I was already carrying other larger weapons, the sling seemed like the best option. I would just have to practice more with my aiming.
I also added a dagger to my repertoire of weapons. It wouldn’t be my first choice of weapons. In fact, it would be my last choice of weapons, which is exactly what it was for. It was what I would use when it came down to that or my fists. Unless I was a Monk or someone with great toughness, my fists just wouldn’t be as good as any sort of weapon.
I began to immerse myself in training with all sorts of different weapons… not from a practical standpoint, but because it was fun. Sometimes I would get ‘in the zone’ and hours would pass without me noticing. Eventually, however, the troubles in the city cleared up, and I knew my finances would do much better if I actually went adventuring instead of working a labor job. That actually got me somewhat excited, because I would be able to test myself in real combat again. I wanted to see how I would do.