The second level of the dungeon was not much different from the first. The biggest difference was that there were occasionally diagonal pathways. In a normal sort of area they would have been obvious, but that wasn’t the case in the dungeon. The only indication was there was that the light didn’t stop.
I was actually getting used to the strange darkness of the dungeon, though it still wasn’t easy to see. The only good part was that goblins stuck out against the dungeon walls, being the only things that didn’t absorb light. If we had better light it wouldn’t be an issue, but we only had what Kasner and Alhorn could conjure up. Kasner was a lightning mage, so unless he had a lightbulb I wouldn’t expect him to be good at producing light. Alhorn was a paladin, which actually inclined him toward light magic- but his casting abilities were secondary so there wasn’t much to expect there. I briefly wondered if I could learn light magic… but it would take time to learn any sort of magic unless I had higher mental stats. They weren’t low, but I wasn’t exactly spending any time training anything but focus.
The traps on the second level were harder to find and harder to avoid. They would sometimes cover the entire width of the hallway… which meant we had to go around and down a different corridor. While some of us could jump over the trap, we couldn’t be sure if there wasn’t another one just behind it… and Kasner would have trouble. He wasn’t unfit- he walked around all day with us after all- but his small size made it hard to jump far. If he actually had equivalent Strength to a normal human he would be able to jump further because he would have less mass to move. Kantrilla wasn’t exactly athletic either, and she had armor weighing her down. Either way, though, it wasn’t a good idea to try to jump past any such traps.
There were also tripwire traps. Those we could actually disable… in a sense. When Halette found them, we would retreat to a safe distance and shoot the tripwires with an arrow. We even carried around a handful of broadhead arrows so they could actually cut. This strategy wouldn’t be effective in higher level dungeons because some traps could fill an entire corridor with fire or lightning when set off, but where we were the effects were quite local.
The goblins themselves were also stronger and better equipped. Since they were higher level, they were worth more experience and we could earn more money. They were also more dangerous, but Halette and Socks continued to train their senses and were getting better at avoiding ambushes. If we weren’t put in a bad spot, we didn’t really have any trouble.
The third day exploring the second level, we came across an armored goblin. He was much bigger than the others- though still only about four feet tall. His iron armor would be especially effective against arrows, swords… and even Kasner’s lightning magic. Though it wasn’t hard to hit an armored target with lightning, it would prefer to flow through their armor and not their body in most cases. We had heard about these kinds of goblins, so we weren’t entirely unprepared.
We prepared ourselves for a hard fight but… *Thwack* *Crunch*… with the sound of crumpling iron and bone, he was defeated. The armor was cheap iron after all, and my ironwood club carried the force of nearly 500 Strength behind it. I looked at my club… it was somewhat bruised from the impact- even being made of ironwood. It wasn’t a problem to defeat just one… but if I wanted to do more I would need something different. The next steps up from ironwood were significantly more expensive. The other option was to get something like a warhammer- it would be just as effective against armor and more durable. The only problem was it had a smaller striking space. Nobody made clubs entirely out of iron, so that was probably the best choice.
Fighting in armor was hard. It was hot and sweaty… much more than normal fighting. It tired me out very quickly. That was why I didn’t wear my armor while training… until I realized that was entirely the wrong way to go about it.
Wearing armor while practicing with my new warhammer made it much more difficult, but that was the point. If I didn’t push myself I wouldn’t grow. Strength was easy to train… but everything else needed more work.
I didn’t like training Toughness, because it required taking hits. In real combat it wasn’t a good idea, so I only trained it on purpose by sparring with Alhorn. I certainly didn’t want to leave it untrained, since I was wading around in melee I was bound to take hits occasionally- even with Martial Trance and even if I had infinite mana to constantly use it.
Constitution was actually quite easy to train with armor. I could just swing my weapon as normal… or go for a run. Usually they weren’t very long runs. My muscles were perfectly capable of continuing, but my lungs got tired, I overheated, and just generally felt exhausted.
Probably thanks to All In, muscle tiredness from exertion usually went away overnight, but I would still feel tired and without energy. In total, everyone spent about four days in the dungeon, two days doing various training, and one day of total rest each week.
We stayed near the entrance of the second level for a few weeks to make sure we could handle it properly. Halette, Socks, Kasner, and Alhorn had been adventuring in the first level effectively for some time, which is why when Kantrilla and I joined we were able to get to the end of the first level and into the second fairly quickly. At the end of the month, we felt we were ready to move a bit deeper.
|All In (Strength)|
|Club Mastery (4)|
|Dodging Mastery (3)|
|Melee Weapon Mastery (3)|
|Halberd Mastery (2)|
|Bow Mastery (2)|
|Sling Mastery (2)|
|Ranged Weapon Mastery (2)|
|Warhammer Mastery (1)|
|Armor Mastery (1)|
|Analyze Strength (2)|
|Martial Trance (2)|
|Whirlwind Attack (2)|