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TDL BK I, CH 14: Monster Creation

Chapter Fourteen: Monster Creation

[The fame of your dungeon grows! +1 AP]

[Error! Dungeon incomplete!]

[Achievement invalid!]  

[The fame of your dungeon grows! +1 AP]

[Error! Dungeon incomplete!]

[Achievement invalid!]  

[The fame of your dungeon grows! +1 AP]

[Error! Dungeon incomplete!]

[Achievement invalid!]  

From the moment the physical portal was established, the dungeon interface went crazy, constantly bombarding Dunstan with these notifications. It still hadn’t stopped. He was forced to go into the settings and temporarily disable notifications. That notwithstanding, Dunstan was giddy. This represented a whole new avenue of possibilities. Azan was a big place. While he didn’t have access to complete or detailed maps, he could surmise that it was at least Eurasia big. That meant what — a couple of billion people at least. Assuming each notification represented a single person, he stood to gain that many points just by spreading word of his dungeon.

Better still, it said “your dungeon”. The choice of words was significant. If he was right then each dungeon he made would count separately. The prospective point gain from multiple dungeons left him dizzy. Be that as it may, this new discovery put him on the clock. It didn’t matter how many AP he stood to gain. Right now, he couldn’t gain any points until he finalised his dungeon. Clearly, that should be his current priority.

For the next couple of hours, Dunstan worked like a man possessed. Traps, fixtures, monsters everything were already placed in a manner he felt would provide the maximum effect but he went over everything with a fine-toothed comb to make sure. With the promise of more points on the horizon, the purse strings were loosened and AP was spent with focused care. Soon, his principal areas; the burial chambers, the primary tomb, the ancestral hall and the temple were complete. All that remained were his ascended monsters.  

Dunstan chose to start with the elite monster. A new screen opened up in front of him

[Welcome to Creature Synthesis!] 

[Elite template generated. x3 to all parameters!] 

[Please select base template]

Undead

  • Specter 
  • Skeleton Warrior
  • Skeleton Mage
  • Ghoul
  • Wight

Beasts

  • Brantled Deer
  • Foetooth Leopard
  • Dire Wolf
  • Dire Scorpion
  • Dire Mosquito
  • Dark Speckled Cobra

Elementals

  • Stone Giant
  • Ember spirit

Plant

  • Waving Aloe 

Dunstan was surprised to see he had that many templates. The list even included creatures from his jaunt in the desolate fields. Sadly, most were unsuited for his tomb dungeon so for the base template, he chose a spectre. However, he made a mental note to come back to the scorpion template. It would be great for a trap he had in mind. After choosing, he was presented with new options.

[Add supplementary materials/template?]

[Yes | No]

Selecting no gave a third option.

[Input new legend or use base legend?]

[New | Base ]

At first, Dunstan chose [New Legend], just to see what that would bring. The answer was a big text input screen. Groaning, he went back and chose the second option. 

[Synthesising new elite monster…]

A vision opened in front of him, darkness engulfing everything in its path like a thick veil. An eerie silence spreads and the air grew heavy with a sense of foreboding. Then came a soft rustling crescendo that sounded like whispers of the unknown coming from the lengthening shadows. 

It wasn’t a complete darkness, merely dim like a moonlit night. perfect for shadows. Dunstan tried looking up to check if there was a full moon but couldn’t. The vision was less a dream and more like watching a movie clip. As in, the camera was trained one way and there was nothing he could do about the forced perspective. The focus of this reel then was a spectre. 

The spectre was a translucent pale blue figure that was humanoid in shape but distinctly inhuman. It looked like someone had painted a person only for it to come out wrong. To erase their mistake, the artist swiped the edge of their hand over it but it was too late. The paint was already setting. All they had accomplished was smudge the image and leave streaks on the canvas. It was haunting, an uncomfortable mix of uncanny value and the instinctive revulsion that came from viewing the dead. 

It did not help that against the darkness of this fake night, it seemed to be luminescent even though it was clearly not shedding any light. This not-glow was attention-grabbing. Regrettably, all this did was draw the eyes and remind the viewer of just how inhuman this thing was. It had no eyes for one. No face too for that matter, at least nothing distinctive enough to be called one. It did have a mouth though, a dark empty hole that swallowed light. Its hands were all wrong. The fingers were too long. They did not even look like fingers but instead like claws. As for its lower half, there wasn’t one. It simply trailed off into spectral wisps that streaked through the air, like the artist never got that far in his work.

Before Dunstan’s stunned eyes, the spectre laughed and faded away. He wanted to turn and look for it but the fixed perspective of the vision prevented that. He needn’t have bothered. The spectre appeared a second later with a shroud of white light, its presence somehow more intense than before it left. At that, the vision faded leaving Dunstan with a new notification.

[New elite monster created!]

Name: Unnamed 

Race: Specter | Caste: Elite

Class: None | Tier: 1 | Lvl: 6

Title: None | Grade: Common

Parameters

  • Vitality: F | Mana: C | Strength: E
  • Intellect: D | Endurance: A | Resistance: D
  • Agility: C (B) | Perception: C

Skills

  • Beyond the Veil | White
  • Spectral Form | Green
  • Spectral Attack | White
  • Ghostly Wail | White
  • Psychokinesis | Blue

[New monster: Elite Specter | Tier 1 *| Common (White) created!]

[Comprehensive Monster rating: …]

  • This monster lacks a legend
  • This monster has no distinguishing characteristics
  • This monster has 1 special skill(s)
  • This monster has average parameters
  • This is a common-grade monster.
  • This monster belongs to a special caste
  • [Overall rating: D | Barely average]

*All monsters and their parameters are rated ‘in tier’.

[Generate new monster? Price: Free ]

[Yes | No ]

“Hold up…what?” 

Dunstan stared at the interface in confusion. The rating ‘D | barely average’ seemed to be burning itself into his eyes. That made no…wait. This had to be because he did not add a legend or supplementary materials. Why though? How did that affect the process? The answer, he would learn was … a lot. 

After a couple of hours of experimentation with the different options, he ended up with something radically different.

[New elite monster created!]

Name: Edith Mirthtree

Race: Specter | Caste: Elite 

Class: None | Tier: 1 * | Lvl: 7

Title: Widow of Sorrow | Grade: Rare/ Blue

Parameters

  • Vitality: F | Mana: B | Strength: D
  • Intellect: B | Endurance: A | Resistance: B
  • Agility: C (A) | Perception: B

Skills

  • Beyond the Veil | White
  • Spectral Form | Green
  • Spectral Attack | White
  • Ghostly Wail | Green
  • Psychokinesis | Blue
  • Command Lesser Undead | Green
  • Sword Arts | Green
  • Ghostly Lightning | Green

Even the introductory vision had changed. Instead of a featureless figure, this spectre took on the appearance of a beautiful lady of noble bearing, decked out in fashionable robes. It was only when the ‘camera’ drew closer that her countenance changed into a monstrous spirit, a quick warning right before she lunged at you. Dunstan liked it. Of the four monsters he had synthesised thus far. This was easily the best. 

The Widow of Sorrows had eight skills to the generic elite spectre’s five. [Ghostly Wail] was spontaneously generated. Swordsmanship came from notes that encapsulated his experiences learning the skill that he penned on the spot whilst Ghost Lightning came from a few small pieces of lightning crystal he originally planned to give to Melqart.

Dunstan wasn’t sure of the degree to which the notes on sword arts helped but it clearly had. In his tests, he had already noted that giving a monster a sword during synthesis resulted in them carrying it when they spawned. Adding stories of swordsmanship and swords to their legends or lore text seemed to give them the skill and doing both gave them well… both but at a higher rarity depending on the materials.

Realising that there was a need to develop a consistent narrative, Dunstan made sure to buttress his last creation’s connection to swords with everything he had learned. He gave her a sword originally belonging to a female member of the party that attacked him in the wilderness. Wrote a note summarising some of the basics of the sword arts. Finally, he added mentions of her being trained by her grandfather in swordsmanship as a child.

According to her legend or lore text, she was the favoured granddaughter of Mylos ‘Swordsong’ Mirthtree, the principal occupant of the tomb. Widowed early in her marriage, she returned home and was married off to yet another warrior who died an early death. Widowed three times and betrothed four times, she became regarded as a bad omen. Edith would live out the remainder of her days in the family manor, alone and depressed until her death and internment in the family crypt.

Dunstan loved the legend he created. A beautiful lady unfortunate in love and life, the favoured grandchild of a legendary warrior and now a lonely ghost roaming the halls of her family’s crypt. It was excellent and fitting for his dungeon. The only thing he could stand to change was to give her a proper sword skill instead, however, he was worried that giving her one of the sect’s techniques would expose him. As it stood, he was already lucky the interface interpreted his hastily scribbled notes as a skill.

‘Wait?’ he wondered. ‘Could I crib bits of other sword techniques and have the system consolidate that into a new technique?’

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