Continuing with our saga, it seemed the easiest of the jobs on hand was finding a bar of mithril in the wine cellar. So I trekked back to the ruined village.

It sure was dark down there. Even with torches, I could see very little. The one thing I dreaded most was missing something important and having to backtrack to find it.

The torches didn’t seem to last very long. After a couple had burned out, I checked my inventory. Eeep! No torches. So I blundered around in the dark for awhile. Then I noticed (finally) that torches are held separately from the inventory. I still had four left. Sigh.

Yes, there were traps and I set them off, naturally. Fortunately, none of them were lethal. Did get poisoned, but a cure potion was waiting up ahead, so that wasn’t too bad.

Of course, a few critters were around, too. I keep wondering: how do they get there? I have to jump through hoops to get doors and grates opened. Yet the salamanders and bats are waiting behind these locked doors.

Speaking of locked doors, I wandered around and found one. Then I came across another door. Thought it was the same door. Wandered again and found myself back at the locked door. Lost patience. Stood there and burned it up with my fire dart spell.

After searching the area beyond (which didn’t lead anywhere else), I went back out and found the unlocked door. Of course, in there was the key for the door I’d torched. It was just one of those days.

I finally got my hands on the mithril and chugged out quickly. Zipped back to town and collected my reward, a nice chunk of cash and enough x.p. to reach level 2.

But I was still irked by the prices in the shops. There’s only so much “old school” struggle I’m willing to put up with, and exorbitant items aren’t part of that. It was time to practice safe hex.

Finding the right field in the char file was easy. I bumped Mercantile to 10 (it was originally 1; I’d found a book to give me the skill). That helped a little, but everything was still way over-priced.

Upped it to 20. That was somewhat better, and I found I could now sell stuff for list price. The buy rate seemed to be changing at roughly 5 to 1, or five off for each point of skill. Which meant, if I went up to 30, I ought to be able to buy a little under list. And so it turned out.

While I was at it, I gave myself a little sword skill. I’d found a nice steel longsword, and didn’t want to sell it. And having no weapon ability at all was becoming a drag.

Now I can save a little mana by chopping up critters that are almost-dead, so long as there aren’t too many of them. Works well enough, although Zarkon isn’t all that skilled (yet). Fortunately, one good shot is usually all that’s necessary. It’s too heavy to have as a primary weapon, so I keep it as the alternate and switch as needed.

So now it was off to deliver that potion. The guy was supposed to live west of the Salt Coast. I plodded down south and then west to the West Salt Coast. He wasn’t anywhere around.

I did come across some nasty thugs and it took awhile to dispose of them. Found a cemetery and stayed just long enough to touch the sign (something was moving in there) so I could quick travel to it later.

Then I went back east, took a few steps north, and – haha – there the guy was. He had some interesting things to tell me. I won’t say anything more for the moment.

Having cleared the “to-do” list except for the book, I went up north. Came across a lady with a missing husband. Haven’t found him yet, but I suspect he’ll be D.O.A. when I do.

Went poking around a swamp and got chased out. Killed several fungus critters, but then three more showed up and mana was too low to do anything (by the way, the Air Shield spell works very nicely indeed). Turned around, and headed south. Ran into a pair of Noxamanders who hadn’t been there before. Sidestepped them, and kept going to the boundary and across. Whew! That was a little too close.

Speaking of mana, I’m not getting much on level up. Zarkon has reached level 4, and each time, he’s received only 6 mana. That’s despite increasing Perception and Intelligence each time (standing at 22/19 right now). Anyone know if there’s a cap to this?

I’ve found a couple of Neat Items. One was an amulet that gives +4 meditation (faster mana regen, yes!) and a helmet that bops Int by 2 (so it’s 22/21 really) though that didn’t seem to help with mana gain.

Matters have eased up a little, but the game certainly isn’t a walk in the park. I’d say it’s evened out a bit more, but critters still have the upper hand, mainly because of numbers. What I need are SMD: Spells of Mass Destruction! Heh.

Now it’s time to rest up and get back to the swamp. There’s a body I have to check out. Maybe it’s the missing hubby…