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Isekai Life in D&D

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  • Isekai Life in D&D

    Cast of Characters (SPOILERS)

    Character Creation

    Chapter 1: Isekai Life & Puppy Angel
    Chapter 2: Isekai Life & AD&D
    Chapter 3: Isekai Life & Spell Selection
    Chapter 4: Isekai Life & Social Engineering

    Book 1: Fire

    Chapter 5: Isekai Life & Big Sister
    Chapter 6: Isekai Life & Lazy Ox
    Chapter 7: Isekai Life & Private Meeting (Features: Masturbation)
    Chapter 8: Isekai Life & Uphill Battle
    Chapter 9: Isekai Life & Rope Trap
    Chapter 10: Isekei Life & Nighttime Thoughts
    Chapter 11: Isekai Life & Two Rings
    Chapter 12: Isekai Life & Cake Slicing
    Chapter 13: Isekai Life & Morning Surprise (Features: Vanilla Sex, Incest)
    Chapter 14: Isekai Life & Rock Candy
    Chapter 15: Isekai Life & Snake Dissection
    Chapter 16: Isekai Life & "The Talk"
    Chapter 17: Isekai Life & Princely Command (Features: Vanilla Sex, Blowjob, Domination, Incest)
    Chapter 18: Isekai Life & Dwarfseye
    Chapter 19: Isekai Life & Double Dipping
    Chapter 20: Isekai Life & Awkward Meeting
    Chapter 21: Isekai Life & Eating Platemail
    Chapter 22: Isekai Life & How I Spent My Vacation
    Chapter 23: Isekai Life & Speculation Intensifies
    Chapter 24: Isekai Life & Ape Beatings
    Chapter 25: Isekai Life & Dancing at the Mouse
    Chapter 26: Isekai Life & Eye Contact (Features: Vanilla Sex)
    Chapter 27: Isekai Life & The Descent
    Chapter 28: Isekai Life & Level-Up
    Chapter 29: Isekai Life & Butler Revelation
    Chapter 30: Isekai Life & Stolen Landscape
    Chapter 31: Isekai Life & Sweet Loot
    Chapter 32: Isekai Life & Dragon Myth
    Chapter 33: Isekai Life & Knights of Esche
    Chapter 34: Isekai Life & Calliope Compromise (Features: 4p, Blowjob, Incest, Domination)
    Chapter 35: Isekai Life & Princely Embezzlement (Features: Vanilla Sex, Blowjob)
    Chapter 36: Isekai Life & Well-Laid Plans
    Chapter 37: Isekai Life & Climax Wait
    Chapter 38: Isekai Life & Fiery Death
    Chapter 39: Isekai Life & Divine Intervention
    Chapter 40: Isekai Life & Old Man Theodore
    Chapter 41: Isekai Life & New Rest
    Chapter 42: Isekai Life & Marking Territory (Features: Vanilla Sex, Cumplay, Titjob)
    Chapter 43: Isekai Life & Lord's Rewards
    Chapter 44: Isekai Life & Lewd Mark
    Chapter 45: Isekai Life & Wedding Night (Features: Vanilla Sex, Blowjob, Dirty Talk, Incest, Titjob)
    Book 1 Afterword

    Book 2: Storm

    Chapter 46: Isekai Life & Circus
    Chapter 47: Isekai Life & Baby Talk
    Chapter 48: Isekai Life & Party Split
    Chapter 49: Isekai Life & Last Goodbyes (Features: 4p, 69, Cunnilingus, Dirty Talk, Incest)
    Chapter 50: Isekai Life & Lakeland Travels (Features: Vanilla Sex)
    Chapter 51: Isekai Life & Night Ambush
    Chapter 52: Isekai Life & Night Counter-Ambush
    Chapter 53: Isekai Life & Spell Debate
    Chapter 54: Isekai Life & Arrow Trail
    Chapter 55: Isekai Life & Safe Haven (Features: 3p, MILF, Impregnation, Monstergirl, Oyakudon)
    Chapter 56: Isekai Life & Morning Problems
    Chapter 57: Isekai Life & Town Arrival
    Chapter 58: Isekai Life & First Recruit
    Chapter 59: Isekai Life & Stressful Moment
    Chapter 60: Isekai Life & Tactical Flour
    Chapter 61: Isekai Life & Goblin Montage
    Chapter 62: Isekai Life & Baker House (Features: Vanilla Sex)
    Chapter 63: Isekai Life & Party Problems (Features: Vanilla Sex)
    Chapter 64: Isekai Life & Critical Error
    Chapter 65: Isekai Life & Blood Promise
    Chapter 66: Isekai Life & Difficult Concepts
    Chapter 67: Isekai Life & Dragon Lore
    Chapter 68: Isekai Life & Planning Session
    Chapter 69: Isekai Life & Rising Distrust
    Chapter 70: Isekai Life & Solo Mission
    Chapter 71: Isekai Life & Stealth Misadventures
    Chapter 72: Isekai Life & Battlement Battle
    Chapter 73: Isekai Life & Dubious Rescue
    Chapter 74: Isekai Life & Three Reunions
    Chapter 75: Isekai Life & Stairway Battle
    Chapter 76: Isekai Life & Harsh Advice
    Chapter 77: Isekai Life & Quiet Moment
    Chapter 78: Isekai Life & Battle of the Tower
    Chapter 79: Isekai Life & Drink Circle
    Chapter 80: Isekai Life & Victory Surprises
    Chapter 81: Isekai Life & Several Reflections
    Chapter 82: Isekai Life & Elven Kingdom
    Chapter 83: Isekai Life & State Dinner
    Chapter 84: Isekai Life & Stark Realities
    Chapter 85: Isekai Life & Comfort Sex (Features: Vanilla Sex, Blowjob, Masturbation, Voyeurism)
    Chapter 86: Isekai Life & The Trial
    Chapter 87: Isekai Life & Royal Vow
    Chapter 88: Isekai Life & Homecoming
    Chapter 89: Isekai Life & Silver Queen
    Chapter 90: Isekai Life & Two Treasures (Features: Vanilla Sex, Preggo)

    Gods, Goddesses, and Cosmology of the Isekai Life World
    Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
    Currently Working On: Banter and chats
    Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

  • #2
    Dramatis Personae

    The Party

    Theodore Esche/The Player: Age 19/30s? An introverted, painfully antisocial and selfish nerd who died of a brain aneurysm in his sleep. Because he never willfully killed an animal in his life, he was granted the chance to live a new life in a "Heaven" made according to his own design. He choose to life in a world based on Dungeons & Dragons, a role-playing game he obsessively memorized in life. Because he was unclear about the specifics, however, he has been plopped down into a world based on Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition, particularly notorious version of the game.
    His character, Theodore Esche, is a geeky but smart and kind prince-in-exile, who is also a Transmuter, a kind of wizard who specializes in Alteration spells. Theodore is more or less a neutral good version of the Player (at least for now...), but both have two goals in common: earning more power for themselves and acquiring a harem of beautiful women.

    Katriana Esche: Age 23. Theodore's elder sister, the princess-in-exile, is a capable and worthy Fighter who would stop at nothing to protect her beloved little brother/fiance. Her feelings for her brother turned out to be more than filial, and so she's become Theodore's first lover and first wife, although her conditions for this relationship are that all of Theodore's wives must be approved by her first. She is currently pregnant with Theodore's child.

    *All images are placeholder until decent fanart/proper illustrations can be made.

    Ashryn Milaneth: Age 116. An elven Cleric and member of the Starlit Order, Ashryn follows Theodore and Katriana because of an augury she had when she was a girl that revealed, among other things, who the most important people in her life would be. Had become Theodore's lover and fiancee, and is pregnant with Theodore's half-elven child.

    Calliope Brevins: Age 19. A classmate of Theodore's from the magical academy they both studied at, Calliope became an Invoker, colloquially known as a war mage, who specializes in Evocation magic. She joins the party in search of decent work in her field and ends up getting wrapped up in the party's quest in short order. Is now one of Theodore's sworn Knight of Esche, as well as his fiancee and lover.

    Voss Durand: Age 21. An ex-house guard who ends up being recruited by Katriana and Theodore for their first quest, and eventually befriends the pair and agrees to fight to help them restore Theodore's rightful throne. A tough if not skilled fighter who specializes in fighting with a spear. Is now one of Theodore's sworn Knights of Esche.

    Smokey Enna: Age 23. A multiclass fighter/thief, the daughter of a human prostitute and a dwarven client, who grew up on that mean streets until she crossed paths with Theodore and company. After some events, she joined the party, and has since become one of Theodore's Knights of Esche.

    Bekker Woodward: Age 61. A skilled butler, formerly of the Gauthi household, who is no stranger to adventure. Joins Theodore and company to make up for past regrets and spend the remainder of his life in a meaningful way.

    Yua Ayanokouji: Age 18. A mysterious swordswoman from an unknown race. Theodore and company had rescued her from slavery in a traveling menagerie, where she was attempting to starve herself to death rather than allow her captivity to continue. Now, she is a loyal supporter of Theodore's cause.

    Raszil Bronzeworth: Age 78. A Gnomish mendicant priest of Suleyar, the God of Secrets. A heavy drinker with a sharp wit, Raszil isn't interested in helping others out of the goodness of his heart, but his a strong sense of curiosity and joins Theodore's party in order to find out what an eclectic group of people are doing together.

    Haseth Qirona: Age 173. A member of the Ravenwatch, the royal guard in service to the elven royal family of the Misty Kingdom.Motivated by a strong sense of duty and guilt for his failures, Haseth joined the party in order to rescue his charge, Princess Kythaela, from a band of marauding goblins.


    Corgiel: The angel of Dog who watches over the player, caters to his stated wishes, and is the "DM" of the Heaven that Theo has chosen for himself.

    Dog: The god of everything, including Theodore's world.
    Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
    Currently Working On: Banter and chats
    Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!


    • #3
      Chapter 1: Isekai Life & Puppy Angel

      I woke up, sitting on a chair in a darkened room.

      I groaned. My head was pounding at first, but the pain quickly faded. It wasn't unlike a migraine brought on by bad weather, only to be washed away with the rain as the storm broke.

      I looked around me. I was sitting in a simple wooden chair, under a soft beam of light that came from somewhere up above. All around me was blackness, but in front and a short distance away was...

      It was a beautiful woman.

      Well, at least I think it was a woman. She had the usual womanly features- a pleasantly plump chest, round hips, delicate features- all wrapped up in a clingy white gown that was figure-hugging but somehow also virginal.

      However, what was somewhat un-woman-like were the pair of floppy dog ears hanging down on either side of her head, and the frenetically waving tail behind her!

      “Welcome, kind master, to heaven.”

      What a welcome! I'm not sure if I'm ready to be someone's master!

      “Uh, excuse me, perhaps there's some mistake....”

      Wait, why am I here?
      Is this strange puppy girl a kidnapper?
      I don't know how valuable I am for ransom, so I hope she doesn't do anything weird....

      “Do not worry, human. Everyone who is kind has value in the eyes of Dog.”

      “Well, that's nice, but are you dyslexic? I think you have that backwards....”

      Wait, did she just read my mind!?

      “You have many questions, but be at peace. I can answer them all for you, and everything will be explained.

      “I can read your mind. You have no need to speak around angels like myself, For we can sense both thought and intention.

      “I also do not have that backwards, I did mean to say Dog.”

      I had to interrupt just there. “Wait, so God, as in the Capital-G God, is a Dog?”

      “Yes, of course. Dog loves all humans. It is why Dog sent almost all of his angels to accompany humans, help them, and be their companions.”

      That is...

      Actually, that makes a certain amount of sense.

      “I am also not a kidnapper.”

      Oh, that's a relief. If only I could be sure you're not crazy.

      “As to why you are here... you are dead.”


      I demand to speak to the author!

      This story has only just begun and I'm already deceased!?

      “Unfortunately, yes. You had a brain aneurysm in your sleep. Snore, snore, pop! And now it's all over.”

      I have a problem with you treating this so lightly, puppy/angel!

      “Oh, I'm sorry... b-but it's not my fault.”

      Exactly like a puppy, even raising my voice in my mind caused the angel to to whimper and took sad.
      Exactly like a puppy, she was able to melt my anger in seconds by sheer force of cuteness.

      I relented.

      “I'm sorry, please continue...”

      Exactly like a puppy, she bounced back immediately.

      “Because you spent your life being kind to all animals, you will now pass on to a 'Heaven' of your own design. Yay! Thank you!”

      The puppy angel clapped and a small amount of confetti dropped from above.

      Was I really kind to all animals though?

      Dogs and cats were scary, so I avoided them. I lived in the city, so livestock and larger animals were never the problem.

      I was a homebody who stayed in his room all the time, so my opportunities were limited anyway.

      I hated bugs, so I never wanted to touch them. Did I really go my entire life without squishing a single one?

      Also, when I thought of a “Heaven of my own design”, I immediately thought of a place where I was a total bastard and could capture a bunch of female slaves to fuck, so I think that kindness test fails in that regard. Sorry, Dog, I hope you are as forgiving as you are fluffy.

      As a further question, what did the Jainists know that they so perfectly emulated this practice....

      “In the past, people tended to chose to be great heroes, or even just kings and rulers, but these days many of the people I see just want to live in the same worlds as a video game, a fantasy novel or a television show....”

      But I had already decided what I wanted to do.

      You see, I had a special talent.

      In terms of written rulesets for games, I was definitely not kind.

      In fact, there was never a rules set I couldn't make my ballgagged bitch if I wanted to. Board games, tabletop games, RPGs... there was a reason I was a homebody shut-in, and it had a lot to do with the fact that even other nerds resented my powergaming prowess.

      But there was something I thought of in particular....

      SenZar! No, wait, too potentially deadly. For all I know, this puppy angel knows the rules as well as I can and can use that dogforsaken system to brutalize me just as easily.

      Then there is only one choice.

      “I want to live in a world based on Dungeons and Dragons!”

      “Oh, that was very determined! Are you sure? This has to be your final answer....”

      Of course it was. Everyone plays D&D. I know the system like the back of my hand. Fighter, Cleric, Rogue... I've done them all and then some!

      But first I needed some assurances.

      “I would also like the standard isekai package! Cute girls everywhere, an inexplicable harem, and lots of typical fantasy elements!”

      I was still a man after all.

      “Not a problem! Are you ready yet? Is there any objection?”

      None at all. Not a thing. Bring it on, standard fantasy world, I will make you mine!

      There was a soft pulse of light and it was done.

      Now, on a glass table before me, there were suddenly four d6s.

      “Now, it's time to make your character! I hope you don't mind 4d6, drop lowest!”

      I did mind somewhat. A point-buy scenario would have been better for my power-gamey purposes. With dice, the randomness could be a problem.

      “Oh, you should have said so before I made your Heaven. I thought dice would be the most fun, so I just did it that way.”

      Well, it's not like it's impossible to work with... let's give it a try.

      Tentatively, I picked up the dice and gave them a roll.

      Five, four, two, one. Eleven. Not a great start.

      Hey! Five, six, six, two! Seventeen, which is at least something good to work with.

      ...Followed by crap. Four, three, one, one, for an exciting score of eight.

      Then, miracle of miracles, two fives and two sixes. That's fantastic, another top-tier number!

      Then, another okay one. Four, six, three, two, for a score of thirteen.

      Finally, four, five, five, two. Fourteen.

      I nodded in satisfaction. I lucked out and beat point-buy levels, and I have two strong stats to work with, so even though it's not six eighteens, I can work with this.

      “So your Strength is 11...”

      Wait, what?

      “Your Dexterity is 17. Lucky!”

      I don't get to assign my scores?
      Why not?

      “Aw, only 8 Constitution? Well, at least there isn't an HP penalty!”


      “Intelligence is 17, very good!”

      Wait, you don't mean....

      “Wisdom is 13 and Charisma is 14! Pretty good!”

      I started screaming internally.

      “Judging from these stat numbers, you can be a Fighter, Thief, Mage, or Cleric! It's too bad, you're just one Charisma point short of being a Druid or Bard!”

      Why did it have to be ADVANCED Dungeons & Dragons!?


      Character Name: TBD
      Race: TBD Class: TBD
      Level: TBD

      Ability Scores
      Strength 11
      Dexterity 17
      Constitution 8
      Intelligence 17
      Wisdom 13
      Charisma 14

      All other stats: TBD
      Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
      Currently Working On: Banter and chats
      Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!


      • #4
        Chapter 2: Isekai Life & AD&D

        Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

        It is legendary among RPG gamers, as the old-school RPG system that reigned for nearly a decade, until eventually being unseated by the likes of Shadowrun and Vampire: the Masquerade as point buy systems because more favoured in the 90's.

        It is also hilariously broken.

        Well, hilarious if you're sitting down at a table with friends and not about to enter an alleged “Heaven” courtesy of a servant of Dog

        Nonhuman characters could almost never reach 20th level, except in a few race/class combinations. Druids were limited in level by their ability to be promoted within the druid hierarchy. Classes had vastly different EXP requirements to level, and a Thief would level up twice as often as a Mage. Fighters eventually only became good for swinging around magic swords, but Mages started out almost useless and eventually became all powerful demigods of magical might!

        Not only that, but a game where even at first level you had to roll for your HP total. Where bardsong had to play for three rounds before granting any affect. Where enemy saving throws were fixed and could not be altered by the caster's stats. Where being polymorphed against your will carried with it a percent chance to die instantly of shock that could not go lower than 1%!

        AD&D is one of the most brutal game systems out there. To succeed in it requires that a player be at their most cunning, carefully consider every option available to them, and be utterly ruthless when facing their enemies.

        “Are we ready to proceed to the next step of character creation?”

        The puppy angel interrupted my thoughts.

        Clearly I found myself in a dangerous situation. Make the wrong choices, and I was doomed.

        Like a good student, I help up my hand.

        “Yes? You have a question?”

        “How much control over the rest of character creation will I have?”

        “Well, first off, we'll use as many of these fun little charts as possible! Everything else that is a choice, I'll let you choose.”

        Hmm, good so far. Using randomness for everything is somewhat annoying but I least I know what I can and can't choose.

        More importantly, there is a lot of wiggle room there.

        “So, if you're satisfied, we'll proceed with your race selection~”

        Really, though, it was my class that was on my mind.

        In AD&D, race and class selection are intimately tied. If you were to proceed how the Player's Handbook implies you should proceed and pick a race without thinking of your class, you might receive some nasty surprises. Dwarves can only be Fighters, Thieves and Clerics, for example. The nonhuman races were all very powerful, but were very limited in what they could become.

        First, though, I reviewed my Ability Scores.

        My Strength was mediocre. No bonus or penalty to hit chance or damage, my comfortable weight allowance was only 40 lbs., and at best I could lift 115lbs. above my head. I could force open stuck doors a little better than 25% of the time, and could bend iron bars or lift heavy gates only 2% of the time*.

        In contrast, my Dexterity was phenomenal. I had a +2 bonus to Initiative, +2 bonus to hitting with missile weapons, and a -3 bonus to my Armor Class. I certainly couldn't complain there.

        Having only 8 Constitution was really troubling. There was no penalty to my HP, but I only had a 60% chance of surviving being petrified or polymorphed against my will, and more importantly, only a 65% chance of being resurrected if I died. If I died and failed that roll, it was all over for good, considering how often adventurers had to fight giant rats and the like I wasn't liable to end up back here with this adorable puppy girl.

        My other power stat was Intelligence. I would start play as a polyglot with an impressive six languages under his belt. If I were a Mage, I could cast up to 8th level spells, and had a 75% to learn a given spell. My maximum number of spell per level was 14.

        My Wisdom was comparable to my Strength, being similarly mediocre, granting me only a single additional 1st level spell per day if I was to become a Cleric.

        Of the AD&D Ability Scores, Charisma was the red-headed stepchild, always neglected except for the absurd scores needed to become a Bard or Paladin. At 14, I could have 6 hirelings, and all my followers would have +1 morale during large battles. I was likeable, at least, granting me a +2 bonus when determining other intelligent creature's initial disposition towards me.

        I had two priorities when making this character to live in my Heaven.

        One was to maximize my enjoyment. I wanted to be rich and powerful, have a lot of fun, and get laid a lot, all things I couldn't accomplish in my previous life.

        Two, was to play the long game. AD&D had a variety of options that were strong at low levels, but weaker over time. This included races (who were limited my maximum level but had lots of starting abilities) and classes like Fighter. If I wanted to maximize my power level and thus my enjoyment, I had to go for the distance even if it put me in danger at low levels.

        I had briefly considered the possibility at this point that this was a dream or some kind of hallucination, but I dismissed that out of hand. Pascal had it right, and there were few consequences to buying into a dream while it happened. So I'd go all-in on his wager, especially because this seems more interesting than church on Sundays.

        So with reckless abandon, I uttered the first of my choices.

        “I'd like to be Human.”

        The was another soft pulse of light. While the other races had great advantages- spell immunities, low light vision, the ability to sense secret doors and so on- they were all severely limited in how many levels they could attain. Even a Halfling Thief couldn't advance beyond level 15. Further, the limitation of the Human race were already things I was familiar with from my previous life, so there was a low learning curve and what few skills I had would carry over.

        This is where I bitterly wept over my lack of 15 Charisma. If I could have been a Half-Elf Bard, the only nonhuman race/class combination with no level cap, it would be awesome, but alas.

        If you're wondering, while I owned the AD&D core books and memorized them off by heart, I never got around to expanding my collection beyond that. So if you're curious as to why I'm not a Bladesinger or whatever (other than my bad Strength and Consititution in that particular case), it's because I'd rather have perfect knowledge over something weaker than roll the dice on something big.

        Also, I assume that if I qualified for any different classes, this puppy angel would have told me.

        Humans also possess the unique ability to “Dual-Class”, which is (sort of) the AD&D term for 3rd edition and higher multiclassing. At any level I may start over in a new class, keeping my old HP and class powers, but adding the HP and abilities of the new class to my own. There were two downsides- one, your THAC0 and Saving Throw progression also restarted from level 1, so I'd have to plan and compensate for that. Two, using any of my old abilities severely curtailed my EXP gain, but when you're capable of slaying dragons with a single word, no encounter EXP and only half adventure EXP to hit the low bar of a level one character is fine. But that was a problem for the future.

        “I see, I see. So, do you have a class already in mind? You can be a Fighter, Thief....”

        “I would like to be a Transmuter.”

        When going to ultimate power, Mage was the only real choice.

        Fighters got weapon specialization (+2 to to hit and damage? Too bad that dragon still has another 120 hp) and eventually gathered vast armies, but the only one of those two advantages I cared about I had a plan on how to emulate.

        Thieves had their thief skills but a Mage eventually did all of those things better anyway with spells. The only really unique advantage was, again, attracting followers, but when the PHB warns you that a wise Thief doesn't trust their followers, that says something about their quality.

        Clerics did catch my attention- slightly weaker spells in exchange for decent fighting ability, turning undead (particularly good in this edition as many undead are just outright immune to nonmagical damage) and most important, access to the only healing magic in the game. Even Bards didn't get healing until 3e. But, you also got tied to a religion, and this puppy angel hasn't said anything yet about the setting of my Heaven, so I don't know what gods (or dogs, for that matter) would be available. I might only find a crappy religion, that lets you use only lassos and mancatchers or something.

        Also, having had the truth of Dog revealed to me, I don't know if I could honestly worship something else, and might have my powers taken away.

        As for specializing in Transmutation, I got an extra spell slot per day per spell level that I could use for some of the most useful spells in the system. This would double my firepower at level one, and even at higher levels extra spell slots were important. Even a top level mage only received two level 9 spell slots, and I would get three. There were also a host of other advantages, chief among which was a +1 bonus to saving throws against spells of my school (including polymorph, which had a ~40% chance of being a death sentence), a -1 penalty for others being affected by spells of my school (including, say, polymorph which had a chance of being a death spell), a bonus of 15% when learning spells of my school (tempered only by a -15% penalty when learning spells from other schools), and a free spell from my school whenever I attain a new spell level.

        All this in exchange for being barred from Necromancy and Abjuration. Goodbye, Globe of Invulnerability. Since Dispel Magic was made Universal instead of Abjuration in an errata, I didn't miss anything else. Besides, I could always dual-class as a vanilla mage later, or commission a spell scroll.

        The big disadvantage here was my mere 1d4 HP at level one. But if I survived that, and I think I could with my superior powergaming ability, not even the sky would be my limit.

        “Ooh, very decisive! And your starting alignment?”

        “Neutral Good.” In reality, my intentions were probably closer to Neutral Evil, but if puppy angel is asking I'd rather not attract unnecessary attention from Paladins.

        “Okay, record your saving throws and THAC0... and time to roll for your HP!”

        This was it.

        This would determine if my gamble paid off.

        A die appeared on the glass table before me, the soft light glinting off it's pyramidial edges.

        Time to roll the dice!


        One. Single. Lousy. Hit Point.

        For the second time in this process, despair overcame me like a wave.


        Character Name: TBD
        Race: Human Class: Transmuter
        Level: 1 Hit Points: 1

        Ability Scores
        Strength 11
        Dexterity 17
        Constitution 8
        Intelligence 17
        Wisdom 13
        Charisma 14

        All other stats: TBD

        *Yes, really. Those things were separate derived stats.
        Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
        Currently Working On: Banter and chats
        Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!


        • #5
          Chapter 3: Isekai Life & Spell Selection

          One HP.

          My rosy life in another world, powered my immense magical abilities, to reward my life of (technically accurate) kindness and benevolence to animals of all kinds, was fading before my eyes.

          My Heaven was looking more and more infernal by the second. Less like Final Fantasy and more like Dark Souls.

          Technically, in AD&D a person of any class could wind up having abysmal HP. You'd have to roll at least a 15 Constitution to even get +1 HP at level one. Classes with better hit dice just gained improved chances.

          If I was thinking as positively as possible, at least I wasn't a 1 HP Fighter.

          But all the same, a one hit kill character was just not acceptable!

          I raised my hand and looked towards the puppy angel, who was corkscrewing slowly in midair, one hand reaching for her own tail.

          “Excuse me, miss... ah....”

          “Oh, did I not introduce myself? I am the angel Corgiel.”

          Corgiel. Of course. But then, if she's a corgi why does she have floppy ears!? Dog is truly an inconstant diety.

          “Right, ah, Miss Corgiel. Is it possible for a do-over?”

          “Of course not, silly! Your Heaven has already been created, and we're all waiting on you to finish!”

          Ah, well.


          Well, it's simple enough. I just cannot take damage at all. Ha ha ha....

          Part of my strategy just became infinitely more important.

          “So, next would be my movement rate of 12, right?”

          “Yes! And now it's time to select your proficiencies!”

          Ah, yes, proficiencies.

          While future D&D games would have skills and skill ranks, humble AD&D simply allowed you to select a category of skill and master it completely.

          While some of these skills could be of questionable use, many were downright essential, and there would be few opportunities to get more. Of course, if I survived being a one HP wonder, I would get all of them eventually on a long enough timeline, as Wizards gained new nonweapon proficiencies once every three levels, and weapon proficiencies once every six (but only have five weapons to choose from).

          I had to decide carefully.

          “For my weapon proficiency I choose... darts.”

          Darts were the premier wizarding weapon in AD&D. Cheap and easily replaced, anyone with a proficiency for darts could toss three of them per turn, and they dealt 1d3 damage each. For a class that started with a THAC0 of 20, three opportunities to hit per round was fantastic, and the ability to potentially crank out 9 damage with a little bit of luck was great.

          “As for nonweapon proficiencies....”

          Wizards were lucky and started with four nonweapon proficiencies. First, the proficiencies essential for survival: Direction Sense, Swimming, and Reading/Writing.

          Monsters in AD&D did not have challenge levels- indeed, a DM's skill at encounter design was very much an art and not a science, and using the monster's hit dice as the equivalent of a PC level left a lot to be desired. So, straying from the path and hanging out in the wilderness would not be healthy for some time. Further, compasses were actually entirely absent from the equipment list due to some oversight by the developers. I couldn't count on being able to find one in-game. So, Direction Sense was essential.

          Water was the great enemy of all Player Characters. No matter your level, the water did not care- it drowned all within it's cruel clutches equally, making it many a DM's preferred method of assassination. Being able to swim gave me a chance of surviving the deadly deeps, and meant I could board a ship or cross a stream with slightly less risk to my person.

          Finally, the text of the Reading/Writing proficiency implies that all characters without it are illiterate.
          While only the most cruel of DMs would ever enforce such a practice, Dog was at least cruel enough to mock my request for an HP reroll with a small guilt trip about how long I was taking. I could not take that chance. Besides, according to the text of Reading/Writing, I now automatically know how to read any language I can understand.

          As for my final slot... being able to ride a horse without breaking my neck wold be wonderful, but then visions of being fatally slapped by an upset noblewoman or punched by a surly drunk and dying instantly swam through my head. It would have to be Ettiquette, then.

          “Yay! Time for equipment~”

          Equipment was at least very simple. Wizards received their spellbook for free (a blessing, since new spellbooks cost 50 gold per page), and then 1d4+1 x 10 gold with which to buy additional equipment. With trepidation, I picked up the pyramidal d4 one more, and gave it a roll.

          Well, fortune smiles on my financial success, at least. I have 50 gold to spend.

          Twenty darts for self defense, two robes, belt, hat, boots. Backpack, three large belt pouches and four small ones, hand mirror, hooded lantern, some lamp oil, a small tent, and to top it off, a signet ring. I only had a gold and some change to spare, but the signet ring especially was key to my plans.

          Moving on to the most important thing...

          “So, when I select my spells, I'm to use the co-operative method, right?”

          I can't afford to have the DM select my spells for me, and I doubt in this situation I'd be allowed to pick whatever I want. So, I have to control the situation by forcefully offering a compromise.

          “Sure, that's fine~”

          The “co-operative” method allows a player to roll 3d4, and select that many spells, rolling to see if they can learn them at level one. If they fail to learn a spell, the selection isn't wasted, and they can keep rolling and re-selecting until they have all the spells they have coming to them, or they've exhausted the entire list of first level spells.

          I had been prioritizing the list of spells in my head since I selected my class, and I am prepared for anything. I have my essential spells down to three, in case of an abysmal roll. I have enough needs and wants that I should not be stuck thinking of what to chose.

          The dice appear before me. Here goes nothing!

          Eight! As if apologizing for their poor performance earlier, the dice grant me an entirely acceptable number of spells. That should be more than enough for my needs.

          My first selection is...

          “Read Magic!”

          This is critical. As a Universal spell, I am able to learn this without bonus or penalty from my specialization. But, a Wizard without Read Magic is scarcely a Wizard at all. With no ability to study spellbooks or scrolls, I would be stuck having to rely on expensive tutelage for new spells. Luckily for me, I experience success- Read Magic becomes the first spell in my arsenal.


          Armor is a conjuration spell that lowers your Armor Class to 6, and stacks with the bonus from Dexterity. Supremely important for my one HP wonder of a character, this would grant me an AC of 3. Equivalent to a fighter in plate mail who has average Dexterity.

          But, this is a Conjuration spell, so I only have a 60% chance of learning it.

          I roll exactly a 60! I spend a moment panicking before realizing this part of the system, at least, is a meet-or-beat roll- a 60 is just enough

          Next is Burning Hands. There are two good Alteration attack spells you can get at level one, but in my opinion Burning Hands is the better one. Shocking Grasp deals more damage, but you have to touch the other creature- something a Wizard is particularly bad at with their terrible THAC0. Some monsters can also harm you if you touch them, and besides, if you miss you do nothing. Burning Hands covers a small area, potentially hitting multiple targets, and it's up to them to dodge you, bringing my school specialty bonus into play, and it gains +2 damage per level compared to Shocking Grasp's +1. Besides, fire damage is more useful all around than electrical. A much better spell all around.

          Beating a 90% chance to learn the spell is no problem, and Burning Hands enters my arsenal. Of course, I'll be dealing direct damage as little as possible, a true power gamer does not leave his success up to the vagaries of such things as dice. But, having some damage ready for when you need it is useful.

          Finally, I turn my attention to Detect Magic. A useful spell indeed, but not the must-have that later editions make it out to be. However, this turns out to be my first failure- I roll a 78. No Detect Magic for me... which does sting a little. But it is common enough I should be able to learn it later, no problem.

          Next is Sleep. As an enchantment spell, I'm learning it on a 60 or lower, but it is an extremely potent crowd control spell. I roll a 30... great! Sleep becomes the fourth spell in my book.

          The last of the “super important but not must-have” spells is Charm Person. Capable of ensorcelling a person for days or weeks at a time, provided that person keeps failing their saving throw, it's duration is theoretically infinite. But, with a 92, I prove incapable of learning it. Damn.

          “Watch your language, please~”

          Next is Mending. Not useful for most adventurers, I'm sure, but considering that I'll probably experience normal hunger and have to eat in my Heaven, having a good back-up spell that can cast for money is important. As with all Alteration magic, it is easily learned.

          Color Spray proves too difficult for my level one character to comprehend, which is too bad- it is another great incapacitation spell that knocks monsters unconscious with a great spray of light. Featherfall proves to be within my grasp, at least. I won't necessarily die of a fall now.

          Enlarge is my next pick. We're starting to get into the weeds here- if there's room to take advantage of it, Enlarge is a great buff spell for Fighters as it adds a flat percentage damage buff in exchange for some minor penalties. Because it's a reversible spell, I can also choose to memorize it as "Reduce", doing essentially the opposite effect- debuffing enemies, shrinking objects, that kind of thing.

          Unseen Servant proves outside my reach, as does Light. It seems I'll be stuck holding my own lantern like some kind of peasant. Even Cantrip fails. Whats up with this, Dog? Are your dice cursed?

          I finally end up with Tenser's Floating Disc as my last pick. It has a variety of uses- carrying heavy objects a short distance to start, and then at higher levels when it's lifting force becomes stronger I can ride on it, use it to cross rivers, even have it be an impromptu gurney for wounded party members. It's definitely a long-term pick- lifting only 100 lbs at level one for around half an hour isn't going to help do more than amuse children- but it should come in handy.

          Finally done with that brutal culling of my spell choices, I prepare for the final step of my plan.

          “So, Corgiel, do you want to hear my back story?”


          Character Name: TBD
          Race: Human
          Class: Transmuter
          Level: 1
          Hit Points: 1

          Ability Scores
          Strength 11
          Dexterity 17
          Constitution 8
          Intelligence 17
          Wisdom 13
          Charisma 14

          Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

          Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

          Spells Per Day:
          1st Level- 2

          (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Reduce, Sleep

          Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (20), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Oil (Flask, 2), Robes (2), Signet Ring, Small Tent

          Money: 1 g, 7 sp, 4 cp

          All other stats: TBD
          Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
          Currently Working On: Banter and chats
          Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!


          • #6
            Chapter 4: Isekai Life & Social Engineering

            “Sure~! I'd love to hear your backstory!”

            I had very carefully not selected any of my languages up until this point.

            By doing so, I made sure that this interaction wouldn't end until I was ready to do so, but I could still play it off as a forgetful accident.

            Now, Corgiel didn't realize it, but she was trapped, with no choice but to do the thing that all other gamers hate: listen to someone talk about their character's backstory.

            Of course, in the real world, gamers gladly listen to each other drone on, because of an unspoken social contract: You listen to my story and I'll listen to yours. On and on the cycle goes, with resentment simmering, just waiting for the cathartic moment when every gamer has the spotlight.

            I had no truck with that, though. Must be why so many fellow gamers seemed to hate me.

            However, for the seasoned power gamer, character backstories were a potent tool. An insidious weapon, to wiggle into the game and open up cracks in it's defenses.

            “You see, my character is from a fallen and disgraced noble house. He still remembers the day, when he was a child, that his father was arrested for treason and his mother had the servants hide the children away while the house burned. He carries his father's signet ring, and promised himself one day he would redeem his family name.”

            They call it a redemption arc. I call it catnip for story-gamers.

            Nobility is a shortcut to respect and money in all fantasy universes. In most games, the DM is discouraged from having a character be descended from a noble because of all the doors that it opens. The Dungeon Masters' Guide even recommends against having noble characters from the start.

            Sometimes an adventurer can be awarded with a title, sometimes not. A backstory like this, though, almost certainly ensures that it will happen through the course of the story. The DM would have to be completely vindictive or a total noob to pass up that kind of background.

            Plus, being noble puts sex with princesses on the radar, and that's very important in the long term.

            But that was only the appetizer. Now for the main course.

            “My character was then secreted away by an order of mages who owed my family a favour from generations ago, and took my character and his older sister in. While I was tutored in magic, my beautiful, red haired older sister proved to have no gift for it, and instead became a skilled fighter, who works hard to protect her frail little brother so he can become the future ruler of the house.”

            A meatshield to protect me until I have more HP- check. A way to emulate the army-gathering advantage of being a fighter, by having her be loyal to my house- check. Maybe even an incestuous bedwarmer that I can do perverted things with- check.

            “Oh, and she specializes in the longsword.”

            I'm not cruel, after all. This way she has a greater chance of finding a great magic weapon (and wielding it in my name).

            Oh, and finally, the piece de resistance.

            “I also bear my family's heirloom greatsword. It's enchanted so a wizard can use it, but I don't mind leaving it's other magical properties up to you.”

            The duck.

            Every DM wants to maintain control of their game. But, also, most DMs don't want to be assholes. So you put an obvious problem in your background for your DM to nitpick over, so they still feel in control. They don't want to look bad, so they only remove or change one thing. But in reality, you don't care, they discard the thing you want them to discard and the parts of your character that they'd reject normally, get approved.

            A stroke of genius if I do sa-

            “Okay, sounds good~ It's your Heaven after all~”

            Wait, what?

            She didn't even take out the duck?

            ...What the fuck am I going to do with a greatsword I have to drag around!?

            Further, she acceded to the sister NPC right away and without a single complaint. Does this mean Corgiel already knows how she will make my sister betray me? Hmm, I'll have to keep a close eye on her. Sorry, sister, but you're a meat shield, and if I can find another useful fighter minion you might have to have an accident.

            Suddenly, another d4 appeared on the table before. I couldn't help it, I flinched.

            “What's that for!?”

            “Determining your starting age, silly! Come on, get going!”

            I sigh. Yes, she really did mean ALL the charts, didn't she?

            My character winds up starting at 19 years of age, but he has a maximum age of 104. He is 5' 5” (How did I wind up being even shorter in my alleged fantasy realm!) and 166 lbs.

            So much for all that unimportant stuff.

            For languages I end up choosing Elven, Dwarven, Goblin, Orc and Draconian- the five languages most likely to come up- and leave the final slot unassigned in case something comes up during play. If the DM is willing, I can just assign the last slot instantly at need, if not then I'll be able to learn the language over time.

            Finally, my new name. I don't like overthinking this sort of thing, and I write down the first thing that comes to mind.

            “I guess that's that, then, we're ready to go.”

            “Wait a minute.”

            I hold a warding hand to Corgiel so my desire is extra-clear.

            “This is my Heaven, right? But I've already made a very flawed character. My stats are lower than I'd like them to be, I don't have the spells I want, but I have a deep sense of unease with how you reacted to my character background. So how do I know that I'm getting what I want?”

            “Please remember that, as an angel assigned to creating your Heaven, I have a perfect recollection of your life, including all key decision points and factors present each step of the way. I can also sense your thoughts, as I've mentioned before. While I make no claim that there won't be individual parts of your new life in your Heaven that will leave you upset, angry or afraid, I can guarantee that you will, at minimum, be satisfied by the experience.”

            Wait, what is with that legalese-like answer!? I know I've been a jerk in life, is this secret a stealth-hell? Is she straight-up lying to me face?

            Just what is my “Heaven” going to be?

            And doesn't that imply that my experience in my Heaven will come to an end one day!? That's unacceptable!

            “However, I must warn you, there are two rules that you absolutely must obey.”

            I perked up immediately. More rules?

            “First of all, you cannot speak of anything that has to do with Dog or this space, especially how you got here. We can't have people committing suicide in droves to try and attempting to get here, we couldn't handle the influx of new clients~”

            “Secondly, do not try to leave your Heaven. The world will have limits, and in the scenario you created it is possible to breach them. Doing so will inevitably result in the retraction of your Heaven and the abandonment of your soul to hell.”

            Seems simple enough, depending on how easy it is to breach the walls of my Heaven....

            “Good luck, and please enjoy yourself!”

            The whole world pulsed white.

            A life that was both mine and not my own flashed in front of my eyes.

            A flood of memories assaulted me, overwhelming me. It did not hurt, but instead I was swept helplessly along, like I was sliding down a long water slide, and every twist and peak in the dark was a new element or emotional turning point.

            I learned about the history of a brave and noble kingdom, a shining beacon for all the world to see.

            I learned about a king who tried to control the gods and a star that fell from the sky, crushing that kingdom in an instant.

            I learned about the people of that kingdom trying to rebuild, eking out a hardscrabble life, and eventually becoming a nation to be proud of again.

            I saw my father, the latest king hundreds of years hence, being struck down by the noble peerage for the crime of gaining too much sorcerous power, although it was a naked political ploy, to take advantage of myth to overthrow the rightful king.

            I saw my father slain in resistance. I saw my mother burned at the stake from the confines of the hooded robe that was my disguise, hoping in vain that some hero would stop the madness unfolding before me.

            I knew hunger, starvation and pain. I knew strangers taking their time to feed a hungry child and his older sister. I knew loyalists giving us respite from the harsh weather, giving us supplies and a temporary home before me moved on. I knew a noble sister who refused to sell her dignity, and learned how to wield steel in order to buy medicine and food for her ailing brother.

            I saw a great magical academy built into the side of a cliff, and a stern headmistresses listening to my sister with skepticism.

            Then mountains of note pages. Hundreds of arcane formula. Thousands of hours spent in quiet study or at lecture. I knew the elation of my first successful spell. The happiness on a sister's face as she wept for joy.

            I knew the sting of betrayal when my sister presented me with evidence of a certain faction seeking to use me as a bargaining chip in a bid for power. I knew the chill of night, of leaving safety under cover of darkness to once again seek some semblance of life in foreign lands, and maybe, just maybe, the faintest glimmer of a hope that my rightful throne might be restored.

            And through all this, I was still somehow me- still somehow the kid always picked on, the teenager who sought some illusion of control in his life by learning how to twist the rules of a complex game to suit his whims, the man who eventually became a bitter recluse until he died of a brain aneurysm.

            And it all happened in a moment that was somehow also a lifetime.

            Then, as suddenly as it happened, I felt the tickle of grass on my neck and hands, felt the warmth of the sun on my face and the light invading my eyes.

            “Wake up, my sleepy prince. You won't want to miss our destination, would you?”


            Character Name: TBD
            Race: Human
            Class: Transmuter
            Level: 1
            Hit Points: 1

            Ability Scores
            Strength 11
            Dexterity 17
            Constitution 8
            Intelligence 17
            Wisdom 13
            Charisma 14

            Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

            Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

            Spells Per Day:
            1st Level- 2

            (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Reduce, Sleep

            Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (20), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Oil (Flask, 2), Robes (2), Signet Ring, Small Tent

            Money: 1 g, 7 sp, 4 cp

            Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Goblin, Orc, Draconian
            Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
            Currently Working On: Banter and chats
            Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!


            • #7
              Chapter 5: Isekai Life & Big Sister

              I lay there a moment, getting used to the sensations of being two people at once.

              So much information all in one moment was overwhelming, but I was able to rein it in, restrain it. Hopefully I could dig around for new bits of knowledge as they became necessary...

              “My prince? Little brother?”

              Oh, yes. The reason why I “awakened”.

              I cracked my eyes open against the glare, and peered upwards at a goddess.

              Framed against the sun, her deep red hair seemed to glow, even though it was merely pulled back into a short ponytail. She looked down at me with bright blue eyes set in a delicate-featured face with a cute, upturned nose, and a fair but not quite pale complexion. Her expression was creased with worry, and her lips parted as if in mid-word. Her figure was thoroughly hidden by the armour she wore, but my memory immediately provided for what her protection hid- small handfuls of breast, a lithe and athletic frame with just the barest hint of muscle. All in all, a high-tier beauty.

              To say I was at a loss for words would not be wrong.

              “Prince? Are you still sleepy?”

              I attempted to shake the cobwebs from my brain. We were waiting for a ferry, it seems, and I had reclined on a grassy hillside and ended up taking an impromptu afternoon nap.


              So much for a good first impression, even if it wasn't a first impression.

              I turned my head to one side, and spit the phlegm that had been clogging my throat.

              “Excuse me. Sorry, Katriana. I know you don't like it when I do vulgar things.”

              Katriana, that is, my older sister gave me a warm smile.

              “Don't worry, my prince. I think I can overlook it after my little brother was so cutely drooling in his sleep.”

              I flushed bright red. I was a little brother for less than a minute and already I was getting teased.

              Katriana offered me a hand up, which I took. Dusting off my robes, I could see we were standing not far from a calm river bend. The river was broad and deep, and on the opposite bank, at the outside of the bend, was a large city, nestled between the river and the mountains.

              The city of Tresens had survived for hundreds of years, well-fortified and in a very defensible position. The only way into the city was through a series of mountain passes overland, or by crossing the Islingquet River as we were. Tresens itself was ruled by a lord knight by the name of Gilfar, who was a proud devotee of the All-Father. This week, there was a tournament and games to be held in the All-Father's honour, and as a means for Gilfar to recruit for the Tresens military. Nobles and kings from many leagues around were supposed to be there, recruiting talent individuals as guards, warriors, agents or advisors. Mine and Katriana's intention was not to compete, but to get hired, both to augment our dwindling gold supply and to establish new allies for the day when we attempt to take back my throne.

              It seems this world is full of many city-states like Tresens, but few countries. The presence of monsters makes it difficult for kings and others to control large swathes of land. The presence of small bands of independent mercenaries is a necessity brought on by trade- while large-scale transport of goods is impossible, merchants ranging from small-scale peddlers to caravans do exist, and make use of adventurers as guards. Adventurers also serve as messengers, bounty hunters, and all the usual stuff.

              A fat, flat-bottomed ferry was making it's way over to our side of the shore, where, at a small dock, a handful of peddlers waited with their carts, with sundry guards and even a knight with a small retinue.

              Suddenly, I felt a tap on my nose, and startled. But it was only Katriana, smiling kindly after poking my nose.

              “It looked like I was losing you again. It wouldn't do to have you fall asleep on your feet.”

              “Ah, I'm sorry, I'm just tired from our travels... please, don't worry so much.”

              Why was my heart beating so fast suddenly?

              “I worry for you, little brother. I know you're not healthy, so please, just put up with your big sister's doting.”

              Anything for you! Is what I wanted to say. But instead I frantically searched my brain for something not weird and maybe kind of sweet to say.

              “It's not something bothersome. I know you only worry because you care.”

              That must have worked, because it made Katriana smile and little more brightly.

              Score one for me!

              If I become as powerful as Suleiman, will you be my Roxelana, dear sister?

              We walked down to the ferry, just as it was pulling up to the dock. Crossing for lightly-laden passengers was only a handful of copper each, but the horses in the knight's retinue were a silver per, and I saw gold change hands for the peddlers.

              Soon enough, we were off. Katriana and I stayed seated on the bench towards the centre of the ferry. It was a little crowded, but I had the opportunity to take out my spellbook and actually give some thought as to what spells I should prepare for the day.

              I opened up the book, and on the first page, right where I expected to see “Armor” or something, was instead a spell entitled “The Formula of Zher-Ah”.

              What? Oh, custom spell names. Something so universally held as obnoxious nobody ever does it.

              I continued flipping. “Incantation of Adamantine”. “Invocation of the Heatless Forge”. “The Sigil of the Burning Hands”, at least that one was straightforward.

              At least I had the forethought to write down a basic description of the spell before going into the hand sigils, arcane words and whatnot. “Formula of Zher-Ah” apparently means “Reduce”. I guess “Zher-Ah” had something against things being too big if he applies his name proudly to such a basic spell.

              But the hand gestures and arcane words were complex and very precise. On this syllable, make this gesture, and then make sure to stress this vowel... jeez, no wonder I can only memorize two of these things per day. The amount of practice in getting things just right would be enormous.

              About an hour into the trip, I think I had managed to commit to memory the “Incantation of Adamantine”, a.k.a. the “Armor” spell, and “The Hex of Lotus and Willow”, a.k.a. the “Sleep” spell. I took the time to make sure the proper components were at the top of two of my pouches, and after all that we were only two-thirds of the way across the water.

              Katriana had gotten up at some point to watch the water go by, so I carefully stowed my spell book and went to join her.

              We didn't say anything at first, so I had time to look down at the river and examine my reflection for the first time.


              Damn that puppy angel!

              The traits that I had asked for in Katriana had been mutated into something unpleasant. Whereas Katriana was a beautiful red-haired valkryie, I was a short, pudgy ginger. I also noticed for the first time that my big sister wasn't just older, but also topped me by an inch or two.

              I thought I was supposed to have Charisma 14, at least!? Jeez.

              Well, at least she upgraded me in one way. For some reason, I was elevated from a fallen noble to a prince-in-exile, and my sister to a princess. I tried to think of why Corgiel would do such a thing- was it a sign that she didn't actually intend to let me benefit from either level of status at all?

              Having nothing but idle time for now, I thought about what kind of a party I'd like to have. A cleric of some kind, preferably a cute girl who doesn't take a vow of chastity, would be a necessity once I get to level two. An elf, also preferably a cute girl, would be useful for having the elven ability to sense secret doors. I could see a ranger being useful for the mid-range support, or a paladin for the front line healing and general bullshit immunity. Maybe a bard...?

              “I think this is going to be the start of something good.”

              Katriana's words made me look up. We were finally pulling into the city docks, and riverboats of various sizes surrounded us.

              Katriana, though, was looking at the buildings rising ahead with hope in her voice.


              Character Name: TBD
              Race: Human
              Class: Transmuter
              Level: 1
              Hit Points: 1

              Ability Scores
              Strength 11
              Dexterity 17
              Constitution 8
              Intelligence 17
              Wisdom 13
              Charisma 14

              Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

              Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

              Spells Per Day:
              1st Level- 2

              (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Reduce, Sleep

              Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (20), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Oil (Flask, 2), Robes (2), Signet Ring, Small Tent

              Money: 1 g, 7 sp, 4 cp

              Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Goblin, Orc, Draconian
              Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
              Currently Working On: Banter and chats
              Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!


              • #8
                Chapter 6: Isekai Life & Lazy Ox

                The ferry docked with a clunk, and passengers were let off while the peddlers go their wagons ready. The docks were busy, as travellers departed riverboats, new arrivals asked for directions, longshoremen hustled about their work, and sailor meandered about.

                “Aaaah!” Katriana sighed aloud while stretching her back, or at least as much as she could in her mail, once we were on shore. “Wooden benches don't work for me. I'd almost rather have had to swim.”

                I glanced around the busy docks, only pausing to grab one of my belt pouches and glare at a street urchin who was fumbling furtively at the drawstring. “Maybe we should get out of the crowds before we decide what to do next? It's a little close down here.”

                Katriana nodded, and lead the way onto one of the thoroughfares coming off the dock, and deeper into Tresens.

                The city seemed to be shaped like a half-wheel, with the river as the hub, and large, wide streets radiating away like spokes. The cliffs of the mountains above hugged the sides of the city, including what seemed to be a large fortress built into one of the cliffs, and above on a series of escalating terraces crops were grown.

                Opposite the fortress, there was a large, circular structure- the arena or hippodrome or whatever it is that the tournament itself would be held in, I presume. The streets were packed with merchants, visitors and citizens alike, making travel through the city to be something of a slog.

                After my close call at the dock, I kept a careful eye on my belt pouches. I never realized just how easy a target you become if you keep your inventory this way.

                “We'll need an inn to operate from, so we can leave our things in relative safety,” I mentioned to Katriana.

                She nodded in agreement. “You could do with a bath before we go meeting prospective employers, as well.”

                The streets were too busy to argue that last point. Having no local guide or even much idea of how the city was laid out, we wandered freely until we finally discovered an inn.

                The buildings was on a side street, near what appeared to be an open market. The sign had no lettering, just the image of a farmer napping while leaning on a large horned animal, and below that the universal images of a keg, a bed, and a crossed knife and fork. It seemed a warm and welcoming place, and even now, just after midday, the sounds of friendly talk, laughter and music drifted out of the doorway.

                As we entered, a boisterous and fat man in fine clothes and a fresh apron greeted us. “Welcome to the Lazy Ox Inn!” he said with a smile, “Two of you, eh? Well, I hope you don't have horses, because there's no room in the stables. But I'm sure we can cram you in somewhere. Will that be one room or two?”

                “One room with two beds, if possible, please,” Katriana said returning the man's smile. “We'd also like a bath before dinner if we could.”

                “Well, then! It'll be seven silvers for the night, and baths are five copper for hot water, though if you don't mind a cold bath we'll not charge.” The innkeeper nodded as if agreeing with himself. “Evening meal is extra but porridge and bread in the morning comes with.”

                I felt my sadly flat and limp coin purse, did some mental math and sighed. Such extravagance would leave me with less than a single gold piece remaining.

                By the time I came back to the conversation, though, Katriana was already counting coins out to the innkeeper. I hope she had saved more than I did. That splint mail wasn't cheap, and she had a longsword, warhammer and shortbow besides.

                Satisfied, the innkeeper summoned a pair of serving girls in white and red livery, which I suppose was the official uniform for the inn. One was instructed to lead us upstairs to our room, while the other was to heat up the “boiler out back” and get the bath ready for guests who were bathing early.

                As we heading up the stairs to the third level, I had opportunity to appreciate the cute, nubile serving girl in her frilly apron and knee-length skirt.

                But that came with it a question. Had I actually dug myself into a hole with Katriana? A close, big sister character was fine for eventually giving me access to an army and keeping me safe, but if I H her, what opportunities would I then be squandering with other characters? Katriana, after all, would be a more or less permanent party member.

                And then there was the question of my unappealing look. Perhaps a somewhat unsightly but magically impressive and accomplished wizard might end up a womanizer, but surely any harem situation would be off the table?

                Katriana wanting to share a room was also an ambiguous sign. Did she want her brother to see her naked, or did she see him as such a sexual non-entity that it didn't matter?

                Why was Heaven so difficult?

                Our room was small, with two beds and just enough room between them to sit across from one another without our knees touching. A medium-sized chest with a flat top also served as a nightstand, with the only place to put a candle being the floor while you rummaged around at night. A single high-set window with shutters but no curtain let light into the room. As it turned out, the door could be barred to prevent entry at night, but the chest did not come with it's own lock- that we had to provide for ourselves.

                Of course, I never realized it would be a problem, so I didn't buy one. Neither had Katriana.

                Still I had some idea at how to protect ourselves from theft.

                With the majority of our belongings pack away (except for Katriana's armour and arsenal, which would not have fit, I crumbled the tip of the slightly used candle's wick between my fingers and rubbed a reasonable facsimile of a mystical sigil onto the chest.

                “What are you doing?” Katriana asked, “The inn has guards on each floor, although I'm sure you missed seeing them with how spacey you've been today.”

                “I don't know how much to trust the people of this city yet,” I replied, “So until we can get a decent lock, I want to protect our things. Besides, everything is precious right now. How much do you have remaining after paying for our bath, room and meal?”

                Katriana grimaced. “Four silvers and a handful of copper.”

                Ah, so she was beggaring herself.

                She must have noticed the dismay on my face. “I will not stand for my brother to go around road-stained and smelling like a mule!” She then drew a little closer to me. “You're a prince, little brother. My prince,” There was a heavy emphasis on the 'My', “Please, it hurts my heart to see you dirty and ragged like some refugee.”

                Well, I guess at least she was looking out for me. “I hope you know how to find work, fast, then,” I muttered, but left it at that.

                The maid was waiting outside for us to finish getting settled, and lead us back downstairs to the bath. This time I noticed there were guards- on our floor, a heavy set, thuggish looking guy with a crooked nose, and the floor below had a younger, wiry man with a scowly face. Both had heavy looking cudgels on their waist and they wore that same red and white colours as the maids. I wanted nothing to do with either of them- the first looked like the kind of person who could have killed me with a single punch even before I ended up with one HP, and the second looked like he would pounce on you and bite your ear off or something crazy like that.

                The serving girl must have noticed me staring, because she piped up. “Brandl and Mo look dangerous, but they're very dedicated to their jobs. They keep the inn safe, nobody will disturb you while they're here.”

                I was somewhat skeptical of that considering the number of adventurers in town, but hopefully the security theatre and good intentions of the other guests would be enough.

                The bathhouse was a sunken, stone-floored room with four large kettle-like baths. Two of the baths were already partway filled with steaming water, with a spare bucket of hot water standing by. The maid moved a cloth screen to separate the room in two before giving us a curtsy and leaving. The implication was clear: boys' side, girls' side.

                I stripped and bathed in silence. It felt somewhat awkward, washing just a few feet away from a beautiful woman I was lusting after.

                In fact, by the time I finished scrubbing and settled into the tub, I was treated to an image of Katriana's silhouette through the screen, as she was leaning over for some reason.

                Now, I enjoy porn on a pretty regular basis... well, I did, before I died the first time. But for some reason, the silhouetted suggestion of hip, leg and breast had a very powerful impact on me.

                Well, when else would I enjoy this level of privacy?

                “Are you alright? I hear a bit of splashing....”

                “Oh, just scrubbing! Don't worry about a thing!”

                Later, after cleaning myself again, drying and getting dressed in fresh clothes, Katriana and I were heading down to the common room for dinner.

                I thought the Lazy Ox had been busy before- now it was positively packed with people. A dozen servers in white and red rushed around with trays of drinks and food, people talked ever louder over one another in an attempt to be heard, and a pair of musicians playing a flute and a fiddler respectively were completely lost in the din.

                Katriana and I managed to snag a bench opposite another adventurer- a medium built man in mail with a sword on his back and a spear leaded up against the wall nearby. Nobody had the seat on the bench next to him- I guess he had come alone. While a serving girl plopped frothy mugs of ale in front of us without asking, the adventurer smiled- mainly at Katriana, of course. A little monster inside started to scream, but I patted it down. After all, I doubt this guy was a prince in disguise.

                “I'm Voss!” He said over the noise, and gave us both a nod, “You look like adventurers, too! You here for the tournament?”

                “No, just looking for work,” Katriana replied, “I'm Katriana and this is my brother Theodore.”

                “My brother”, thanks, Katriana. Maybe I'm further off her radar than I thought. I guess it could be worse, I could have been “just my brother”.

                “What about you?” Katriana continued.

                “Same,” Voss replied, as a serving girl came by and put down dinner rolls before us.

                Soon, a thick vegetable and mushroom stew arrived, though I noted with some jealousy that Voss had been able to spring for a version with meat in it. Oh well, less chance of food poisoning this way. I dipped my bread in the gooey meal, surprised by how hungry I was suddenly, and listened to my sister and this douchebag talk.

                “Is it just you two?” the other fighter asked.

                “For now,” Katriana said noncommittally. Smart girl, that implied we might be meeting up with someone later.

                “Sorry for prying, it's just that a party always finds better work than a solo,” Voss continued, perhaps sensing my and (evidently) Katriana's unease at his probing.

                “You worked with a party before? What happened to them?”

                “No, actually. I was a soldier, part of the house guard for one of the nobles in this city. Figured if I was to get anywhere in this world, I ought to strike out on my own and try adventuring.”

                That's why he had the same accent as everyone else, I suppose.

                “So how about it? I wouldn't mind partying with a mage and a pretty one like you.”

                I clutched my roll a little more tightly.

                “We'll see. If we find work that could use an extra sword, we'll keep you in mind.”

                I must have been very hungry. I guess I was used to snacking more in my previous life. My stew had disappeared in no time, and I was stuck forlornly running a finger through leftover gravy once my roll had vanished.

                Suddenly, a hand poked my shoulder from behind.

                I craned my neck around to see a slender, weedy-looking guy in blue and black livery looking down at me.

                “Excuse me, you are a magic user, are you not?” he said with a self-important air, “My lord may have a use for your talents, if you'd care to hear him out.”


                Character Name: Theodore
                Race: Human
                Class: Transmuter
                Level: 1
                Hit Points: 1

                Ability Scores
                Strength 11
                Dexterity 17
                Constitution 8
                Intelligence 17
                Wisdom 13
                Charisma 14

                Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                Spells Per Day:
                1st Level- 2

                (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (20), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Oil (Flask, 2),
                Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!


                • #9
                  Chapter 7: Isekai Life & Private Meeting

                  Following the servant, Katriana and I wove our way around serving girls and chattering guests eating dinner. He lead us to the back of the inn, where there were private dining rooms for more exclusive and richer guests. He opened one of the doors for us, holding it so we could duck into the intimate space.

                  A glowing fireplace lit the small room, which was dominated by a round table. Around the table were three other people- a pretty, silver-haired elf woman in white robes, a dwarf in brown with a big, bright red mohawk, and an older man in finely tailored silver and green clothing.

                  The servant brushed by me to stand next to the man. “May I present my lord, Ricard Parett, and his lifelong companions, Abbess Mariska of the Starlit Order and Lord Gogol the Giant-Slayer.”

                  The elf gave us a serene nod. The dwarf gave a brief grunt and went back to tearing apart the whole chicken he was in the middle of devouring. Only the human stood and greeted us with open arms.

                  “Welcome, welcome! Although I suppose it's not my room to welcome you to. All the same, I am glad you accepted my invitation. Ignore my servant, I'm no real lord. Please just call me Ricard. I am something of a vagabond and adventurer, you see.”

                  There was an awkward silence, and I eventually realized that Katriana was keeping quiet because I was the one the servant specifically asked for.

                  “Uh, right. I'm Theodore, and this is my sister Katriana. We're adventurers, although we're just starting out.”

                  Ugh, why am I so lame?

                  “Of course, of course, just the adventurers I need. You see, I'm in town for the tournament- one last hurrah for me with the old party before I settle down to run my vineyard and enjoy my time with my wife and children. However, during our travels, a very important item belonging to me went missing, and unfortunately, I am booked with appearances at parties and visiting old friends all the way up to the beginning of the tournament.

                  “What I'd like out of you and your sister, is to journey back into the mountain pass we traversed to get here, and find this item. Find it and bring it back to me, and you will be suitably rewarded.”

                  I gave him a skeptical look. “What kind of a reward?”

                  Ricard barked another laugh. “Straight to the point, eh? Well, my boy, I can offer you one hundred gold pieces if you find and return the item to me. It's extremely important that I have it back before the tournament begins in three day's time.”

                  Hmm, it must be a pretty important item, then, if he's offering that much.

                  “Alright, we can do that,” I replied, “What can you tell me about the item, and where you last saw it?”

                  “It's a magical ring, fit for a man's hand. I'm sure, as a magic-user, you can detect it's presence.”

                  I couldn't, but I held my tongue. Without that gold, Katriana and I had one more night's stay in the inn between us.

                  “I know I had it on my person before going to sleep the previous night. It had gotten dark on us before we could make it to Tresens, and rather than risk the descent with only lantern-light for me and my footman here, we chose to camp in the pass. When I awoke, the ring was gone.”

                  “A thief of some kind took it, then? It's hard to imagine a cat burglar in a mountain pass.”

                  This time the elf spoke up. “We were not foolish enough to rest without posting guards,” she said with some amount of disdain, which I guess I earned because of course they'd post a guard, being seasoned adventurers. “However, I believe I had sighted a pictsy following for some of the previous day. It may have invisibly snuck into our camp at night.”

                  The difference in pronunciation wasn't lost on me. I tried to “remember” what I already knew about pictsies, but I could come up with nothing other than they're flying, mischievous humanoid creatures of some kind.

                  The elf sighed, noting my puzzlement. “A pictsy is a small, mischievous type of fae creature. They can go invisible at will, usually know a bit of magic, and some can even inflict a kind of insanity. They're about one or two feet high, and have wings like a butterfly's or insect's, although some of them lack wings and have strong legs like a cricket.”

                  I nodded. At-will invisibility will make this difficult, but we don't need to kill the thing, just get the ring back.

                  “Alright, we'll return your ring by evening on the third day. You can trust us.”

                  We had a few more questions from there, concerning where they saw the pictsy and where they had camped for the night, but once we had the directions firmly in our minds, we departed the private room.

                  “Do you really think we can handle this on our own?” Katriana asked, once we were back in the noisy common room.

                  “Probably. At least I think so,” I replied, “A ring is very large for such a small creature. Imagine having a wheel made of a heavy metal like gold in your backpack... you couldn't move it very far all at once. I'd imagine the pictsy stashed the ring nearby where it was stolen as a prank, or that it has a lair in the area.”

                  “So, then, we're not really looking for the pictsy, but the pictsy's cache or lair. Got it. Still,” she said, chewing her lip, “I can't help but feel something is up.”

                  “What do you mean?”

                  “Did you notice the dwarf and the elf? Every time the ring was mentioned, they'd share a glance, and the elf lady was rolling her eyes sometimes.”

                  No, I hadn't noticed that.

                  “Well, I doubt that they're playing a trick just to be cruel.”

                  “I feel the same way, but still....” Katriana sighed, “I think we might need help.”

                  Immediately my mood soured. I bet I knew who she was going to ask about, too. “What do you mean?”

                  “Well, think about it. We might not be the only adventurers they spoke to about this, and we could use the extra help cornering the pictsy if it's going to be trouble. Besides, we don't know the area that well, and we could use a guide.”

                  Well, she wasn't wrong.


                  We approached the table were Voss was sitting. He had been chatting with the group next to where we were sitting- a troupe of performers of some kind, I think- but smiled when we sat down in front of him.

                  “How'd your meeting go? Did you accept the job?”

                  We explained what had happened, the nature of the job, and that something fishy seemed to be going on behind the scenes. Then, Katriana asked him point-blank if he would consider joining us.

                  “Yeah, sure,” he said, waving for another mug of ale, “It does seem like you two could use someone to watch your back. So, we split everything three ways?”

                  I thought about it- one hundred gold doesn't divide evenly by three and I don't want to be making change. “No, we spend four gold on a bit of a feast to celebrate our first quest as adventurers, and discuss if we're going to work together in the future. Then, we divide what's left, which would be 32 gold pieces each.”

                  Voss barked a laugh. “I like how you think, magic man.” He extended his hand across the table. “Let's get to the bottom of this, get the man his ring back, and make a lot of money, right?”

                  We shook on it.

                  After making plans to meet up the next morning in front of the inn (Voss lived in the city nearby and only was there to enjoy a meal and make connections), Katriana and I headed upstairs for an early rest.

                  I had something on my mind and wanted to be blunt about it, so while Katriana barred the door, I sat down on my bed and started, “Katriana....”

                  “I know, I know,” she said, turning the face me, with a kindly smile. “My prince doesn't like anyone who flirts with his big sister. Well, you don't have to worry. I would never fall for a blunt commoner like that.”

                  I was dumbstruck. Did she see through me so easily? I guess we have lived together our whole lives. Meanwhile, she continued.

                  “I only mentioned Voss because we know nobody else around here and I didn't want to go walking up to complete strangers to talk about it. Hopefully he works out, maybe he won't, either way, the crown princess has better things to do than fool around with shabby adventurers.”

                  Well, then.

                  “Actually... there was something else.”

                  “Oh?” she said, sitting down across from me.

                  I decided to be as direct as she was being. “I've decided that if I can identify the ring, and if it's powerful enough, we're going to take it. We will have to flee the city, and will have to convince Voss to come with us or at least not to turn us in, but a magical item is precious and could help us regain our kingdom.”

                  Katriana gave me an unreadable look. “Well... whatever you think is best, my prince. But please try to keep in mind our reputations, as well, and the kind of enemies we'd be making.”

                  I had thought about that stuff, and it wasn't a perfect plan, but for a Ring of Free Action, a Ring of Mind Shielding, or a Ring of Spell Storing, I'd be willing to take the chance. I didn't mention what I was specifically looking for, though- considering what had happened with my spellbook, I had no idea if mentioning an item by it's generic, Dungeon Master's Guide name would break Corgiel's rules.

                  Things were kind of awkward after that, and Katriana and I curled up for sleep shortly after.

                  I was woken partway through the night by a squeaking sound.

                  I was sleepy and half-aware, as expected, but there was definitely something creaking in the room, but it seem too rhythmic and regular to be someone sneaking, or Katriana quietly struggling with a thief. Katriana...

                  I heard a very hushed whisper, “Please, you don't...” followed by something I couldn't quite make out, then a short, low moan.

                  Katriana was masturbating. Had to be.

                  Despite her previous words, jealousy inched into my mind. I could only hope she was thinking about me, and not Voss or even Ricard.

                  I uncomfortably lay in bed, with a growing boner, listening to my sister get off.

                  After the sweetest, most innocent orgasm I'd ever heard- the squeaking stopped as she had a sharp intake of breath, then she slowly moaned it out- I waited until she rolled over and tried to go back to sleep.

                  When her breathing became slow and regular again, I lifted up my blanket and, as quietly as I could, took care of myself in turn.

                  Tomorrow was going to be a long day, and I didn't want to be kept up by my horniness, right?


                  Character Name: Theodore
                  Race: Human
                  Class: Transmuter
                  Level: 1
                  Hit Points: 1

                  Ability Scores
                  Strength 11
                  Dexterity 17
                  Constitution 8
                  Intelligence 17
                  Wisdom 13
                  Charisma 14

                  Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                  Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                  Spells Per Day:
                  1st Level- 2

                  (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                  Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (20), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Oil (Flask, 2), Robes (2), Signet Ring, Small Tent

                  Money: 1 gp, 7 sp

                  Companions: Katriana (Level 1 Fighter), Voss (Level 1 Fighter)
                  Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                  Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                  Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!


                  • #10
                    Chapter 8: Isekai Life & Uphill Battle

                    Katriana woke up first, and had to shake me awake. I guess I did end up sleeping pretty poorly after all, despite my best efforts, but at least my older sister let me sleep until after she was out of bed and had a moment to stretch. After last night, it would have been a little awkward to have to watch her stretch anyway.

                    While Katriana started strapping her armour on, I cracked open my spellbook to memorize new spells for the day. My sister caught on before I did, though. “Why are you doing that? You didn't cast anything yesterday.”

                    Right. In AD&D, your spell slots don't free up until you use the magic you've memorized. I was stuck with Armor and Sleep until I used them. Crap, I was hoping to prepare Featherfall. We are clmibing into a mountain pass after all.

                    But, opening my spellbook did remind me of one thing. In AD&D, Armor lasted until you took a certain amount of damage. I took the little square of cured leather from one of my pouches, did the associated mudra with my hands, and cast the Armor spell.

                    I was now protected by the Armor spell literally until I died. Or took a cumulative 9 damage, at least. Or someone cast a dispel on me. Provided I got through today with just Sleep prepared, I could memorize a new spell tomorrow morning.

                    After a quick breakfast of porridge flavoured with honey and a couple hunks of bread each, we headed outside to wait for Voss. Neither of us spoke much... did she feel awkward after masturbating?

                    ...Wait, did she realize I was listening, or heard me afterwards?

                    “Hey! Good morning!”

                    Voss' cheerful greeting startled me out of my thoughts. Katriana waved to him, and he jogged over, the weapons in his harness jingling with every step.

                    When he stopped, he seemed to notice whatever tension was in the air. “Uh, bad night?” He asked, glancing between us.

                    I interjected before Katriana could. “I always have a hard time sleeping on new beds. I guess maybe I kept Katriana awake last night with my tossing and turning.”

                    Katriana suddenly stood up straighter and looked away.

                    Crap, she did hear me.

                    Well, at least she wasn't accusing me of anything....

                    “Right....” Voss replied, “Well, we're off to the northeast pass, right? Judging from the directions you mentioned, it should only take us til about noon to get to where that party camped, so we may as well get going.”

                    With that, our not-quite-together party was off.

                    The ground elevation started to increase substantially before we even got out of the city. The actual city gate was at the top of a hill, then rolled down a short slope before ascending again. It was a stupid place to put a city gate, until you realized that any invaders would have to somehow get a catapult to the top of a mountain first before they knocked it down.

                    After half an hour, I was tired. Another hour later, I was gasping as I hauled my way up the mountain. But, hey, at least Katriana was talking to me again.

                    “Theodore, give me your pack.”

                    Greatfully, I handed it over. Just what do they make spellbooks out of, anyway!?

                    “Are you alright? Are you sure you can handle this climb? Your face is all red.”

                    I took a moment to just stand and pant before replying. “If I... haaa... can't climb a... haaa... damn hill... haaa... how am I going to... haaa... get our home back?”

                    That had an immediate effect on my sister. Her concerned frown bloomed into a beautiful smile, and she even rubbed my back for a brief moment.

                    “That's my pr... ah, that's my brother,” she said, before stepping back, “Take all the time that you need, I'll take care of your things for now.”

                    This stupid sister. You're supposed to be the one falling for me, not the other way around.

                    “Wow, you two are really... close, aren't you?” said Voss from a little further ahead.

                    Katriana had to shade the sun from her eyes before answering him. “I've taken care of him my whole life. When I was four years old, my mother took me over to his crib and made me swear a blood oath to protect him.”

                    “Hey, you two are nobles or something? I didn't realize....”

                    “Don't worry about it. Our circumstances have changed since then, and we're adventurers like you, now. But I'm never going to forget my oath.”

                    Voss chuckled.

                    “What about it?”

                    “Oh, I was just wishing that I had a sister like you....”

                    Katriana playfully threw a rock at Voss' thigh, impacting with an audible thump. Voss laughed it off, though, cheered by the teasing.

                    I also grinned, hoping that every adventure would start this way.

                    Well, maybe without Voss.

                    As expected, we arrived on top of a crest overlooking the city, where there was an obvious firepit, although a couple days old. While Katriana and Voss went to investigate the site, I was left on my own to catch my breath and rest a bit.

                    I ended up staring back down into the river valley. The view was incredible. Immediately at the foot of the slope, the city spread out over the valley, bustling with activity, only stopped by the natural border of the river, which wove through the valley like a green ribbon. I was momentarily shocked by the view.


                    At some point Katriana had stepped up beside me.

                    “Yeah,” I replied, looking back out at the valley, “Thanks for carrying my stuff all the way up here.”

                    “Of course I would. Don't worry about those kinds of things, I'm sure with all this travel we're doing, you'll get stronger someday soon. Come on, Voss has found something.”

                    Voss was on the far side of the campsite. He pointed to a crest off in the distance.

                    “See that weird, regular shape in the crestline?”

                    I had to squint, but I was able to pick out the shape. A regular, trapezoidal ridge, coloured to match the surroundings, jutted just about the crest. Likely, if you weren't more or less level with it, you wouldn't be able to see it- from below the mountains would obscure it, and from higher above it would be camouflaged.

                    “It's some kind of ruin,” Voss continued, “Never been there myself, but I've see it from here before. People say it's bad luck to approach, maybe even haunted. I don't know if anyone's ever explored it, but there's no place else for days around to hide, except for the city, box canyons and crevices.”

                    “That doesn't rule out the pictsy hiding in a natural setting,” I pointed out.

                    “Well, sure, but I figure it's worth rolling the dice on the only structure around that isn't guarded before searching ever nook and cranny on the whole damn range.”

                    I gave it some thought. He certainly had a point.... “Why didn't you tell us about this before?”

                    “I was hoping we'd find some more evidence up here. Tracks or something, but no dice.”

                    Ha, I guess not, considering he would've made a Wisdom check.

                    “Well, let's have a break first, shall we?” Katriana suggested, “It is almost midday.”

                    Unflavoured oat wafers and plain water was the menu. Considering that I had initially completely forgotten to buy food or a waterskin of any description, I was grateful for what Katriana handed me.

                    Making it to the ruin was a three-hour trek, first going all the way down a shallow defile (easy), then a two hour slog back up to the next crest (I had to give Katriana my pack again).

                    Finally, we were just below the structure. It appeared to be two stories high, roughly rectangular in shape, and sat at the top of a fifty (ish) foot tall cliff. The only path up to the dark entrance was a narrow switchback, barely four feet wide. We would have to approach in single file.

                    Luckily, I didn't have to volunteer to go last. Katriana, seeing the situation, suggested we all stash our packs at the bottom of the cliff. “I'll go up with my sword and shield out,” she continued, “Then Voss with that spear, to strike around me, then Theo.”

                    Feeling the ominous air surrounding the place, we nodded. This was it, our first real foray into the unknown.

                    We were unmolested as we entered the darkened ruin. The place smelled stale and dusty- a handful of high windows caught the afternoon sun, meaning the interior was only gloomy, and not truly dark. As we stepped inside, Katriana moved off to my left, with Voss spreading out to the right.

                    Once I crossed the threshold, we all froze, waiting for something to happen.

                    After a tense moment, Voss turned to me and said, “Guess it's empty.”

                    As if triggered by the noise, a scraping, shuffling step sounded from deeper within the tomb. We all tensed once more.

                    Creaking along with a shuddering limp, three yellowed, ancient skeletons with flickering, fiery eyes entered the room.

                    Voss, his voice high-pitched, screamed, “The dead walk!” Even Katriana took an involuntary step back, repulsed by the sudden appearance of the undead.

                    My mind whirled. Skeletons- absolutely normal skeletons, with numbers matching our party. A worthy encounter for three level one adventurers... is what I would have said if my life wasn't on the line.

                    Skeletons had a single hit die- a d8, common to all monsters, with no bonuses or penalties, so they could go down in a hit or two. With an Armor Class of 7, we could hit them fairly easily- a natural roll of 13 or higher would do it, not counting any to-hit bonuses from stats. But they could also hit back, and dealt 1d6 damage with each strike. More than enough to kill me. They also happened to be immune to Charm, Hold, Fear, and more pertinently, Sleep, the only other spell I had memorized.

                    Sudden, a thrill of fear ran down my spine, and I looked to Katriana. How had she rolled for Hit Points anyway? Did she also have one HP? It was possible. And while I was at it, how did she do for constitution? Damn..! I need a meat shield for my meat shield! Charge in there, Voss!

                    But, no, I had to remain calm and be very careful. We could survive, but only by being very lucky and very cautious.

                    I did some quick math. Even with the extra attacks from her favoured weapon, she had better average damage making only two attacks with her mace. Voss, I didn't know about, but his sword had a way better damage range than his spear. As for me, I only had one choice- spam darts.

                    “Katriana! Voss! We can do this! Switch weapons, mace and sword, now!”

                    Katriana easily tossed aside her sword and pulled the small mace from her belt. Voss shot me a doubtful look and dropped the spear to unsheath his longsword- something made a little awkward by the low ceiling.

                    “Okay, this is what I want you to do- both of you go straight through the skeletons, one at a time, from right to left. Attack the same one until it's no longer a threat, and then move on, okay? We need to get numbers on our side.”

                    “Right!” “Y-yeah, sure!”

                    “Right, go!”

                    By this time, the slow moving skeletons were halfway down the stubby entry corridor towards us. Katriana was already prepared for them, though. Springing forward with a shouted “Ya!”, she swept her mace upwards in a backhanded attack, smashing right through the skeleton's ribcage and splintering the skull to bits.

                    The skeleton on the far left staggered towards her with bony claws raised, but she easily shoved it away with her shield arm. The other skeleton seized the opportunity, raking at her neck and producing a flash of blood.

                    This is when Voss chose to storm in, coming up on Katriana's right and slashing from the side at the skeleton that had struck her. Bone chips flew.

                    What could I do? I only had one target, so I let loose.

                    Three attacks with my darts, all three directed at the skeleton Katriana had shoved away. All three flying true, right into the thing's skull. Zip, zip, zip, and it crumbled to dust. Even I was surprised. Half a d3 each and it still went down.

                    Katriana's wound must have affected her, because she swung wide at the skeleton, deflecting off Voss' shield but doing nothing more than startling him. As Voss turned away from the skeleton, it pounced, carving a deep scratch into one of his cheeks.

                    Voss was quick with the return, however, striking back with a backhanded blow that drove the skeleton back a step.

                    I clicked my tongue in annoyance. I couldn't even throw my darts, not with a 50% chance of nailing Voss right in the back.

                    Katriana jumped forward again, coming up on Voss' left side and slamming her mace into the skeleton's skull, putting it down for good.

                    For a second things were silent, as we all caught our breath. Then, there was a slow creak from deeper within the ruin.

                    We hastily retreated, heading back down the switchback to our packs.

                    My companions looked anxious, as they slapped clean rags to their bleeding wounds, but I was relatively happy. That could have gone a lot worse.

                    And even better, I now had a plan.


                    Character Name: Theodore
                    Race: Human
                    Class: Transmuter
                    Level(XP): 1 (72/2500)
                    Hit Points: 1

                    Ability Scores
                    Strength 11
                    Dexterity 17
                    Constitution 8
                    Intelligence 17
                    Wisdom 13
                    Charisma 14

                    Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                    Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                    Spells Per Day:
                    1st Level- 2

                    (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                    Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (20), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Oil (Flask, 2), Robes (2), Signet Ring, Small Tent

                    Money: 1 gp, 7 sp

                    Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

                    Companions: Katriana (Level 1 Fighter), Voss (Level 1 Fighter)
                    Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                    Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                    Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!


                    • #11
                      Chapter 9: Isekai Life & Rope Trap

                      “Hey, are you alright? Let me see that?”

                      Katriana allowed me to lift her makeshift bandage to look at her wound. Miraculously, the clawing attack missed her jugular and her windpipe, but the three slashes looked fairly deep. Not that I had Healing proficiency, something that was locked to Priest classes like Druid and Cleric, for some reason. Because the people who needed nigh-exclusive access to that sort of knowledge were the characters who had easy access to magical healing.

                      “What do you prescribe, lord physician?”

                      “Well, if you can joke, it can't be that bad.” I was mainly grateful that Katriana had at least two hit points. Maybe even three. Let's see....

                      “Your turn, Voss.”

                      He grimaced as I took a peek at his wound. It was only a glancing scratch from one of the claws, and definitely looked a lot less threatening than Katriana's wound.

                      So, in conclusion: Katriana had at least 3 HP, and Voss at least 2. Hopefully they both had a lot more, though.

                      “Alright, well, keep the pressure on, and when you've both stopped bleeding, I have a plan for dealing with the skeletons, using the best weapon in our arsenal.”

                      “Oh?” replied Voss, “And what would that be?”

                      “Well... one of you brought rope, right?”

                      It only took us twenty minutes for us to set up for my plan.

                      The switchback that lead up to the entrance of the ruin started from the bottom of the cliff, rising twenty-five feet to the right of the entrance, before turning 180 degrees and rising the rest of the way. I imagine that when whoever built this place was working, they probably had a pulley system outside the entrance for lifting materials... but that doesn't matter right now. What was important was that at the top of the path, you had to turn 90 degrees to actually see inside the building... or rather, I should say, if you left the ruin and walked in a straight line, you'd fall off a fifty-foot cliff.

                      Using a length of rope and some pitons that Voss had provided, we strung a tight rope across the entrance to the ruin about six inches off the ground. Anyone caught unawares would trip forward, either falling down on the narrow path with no room to manoeuvre, or go spilling over the edge for a nice, hearty 5d6 damage.

                      A sentient being might see the rope. Or be too wise to fall into an obvious trap. But for a dumb, Intelligence 0 skeleton, they'd fall for it every time. Maybe they'd get lucky and happen to step over the rope... and for that reason, Voss would be positioned on the path beyond the door, to fight skeletons that made it through with Katriana's mace, and also to smash the ones that fell but didn't clear all the way to the cliff.

                      There was a small chance that a skeleton with high HP might survive the fall. To counter that circumstance, Katriana would be positioned at the bottom of the climb to finish them off before they could rise again. She's be far enough away that they wouldn't fall directly onto her, of course.

                      As for the bait... unfortunately, it had to be me.

                      I don't know the character sheets or stats of Voss or Katriana, but I did know I had almost the highest Dexterity it was possible for a human being to start with. I also knew that my armor class was tied with Katriana's (probably, I still didn't know her Dexterity score) with the Armor spell, and that I had such a good score without being burdened by a shield or armour.

                      I also had a decent enough missile attack adjustment that I could just nail one with a dart if I needed it's attention.

                      There was also just enough room on the path outside the entrance, opposite the switchback, for me to dodge to the right and get out of the way... hopefully.

                      There existed a possibility that whoever animated the skeletons ordered them to “defend this ruin” instead of “kill all interlopers” or something similar, which means that the skeletons likely wouldn't attempt to leave the ruin. If that was the case I'd have to come up with some other idea.

                      It wasn't a perfect plan. There was a lot that could go wrong. But, in terms of defeating a bunch of skeletons with zero further damage to the party, it was the best that we got.

                      “And what if you find a monster that isn't a skeleton?” Katriana sensibly asked while I was explaining this plan.

                      “I regroup with you two, we destroy it if it followed me out of the tomb, or we formulate a new plan if it didn't.”

                      Like I said, not a perfect plan.

                      When I reentered the ruin, padding softly, trying not to attract more attention, the first thing I did was kneel at the site of the earlier battle, and try to recover my lost darts.

                      No good. The tips were all completely fouled by the force I struck with. Oh well, a small price for throwing darts like a motherfucking boss.

                      I straightened, took a deep breath, and yelled.


                      Hopefully that would have been enough to attract at least one monster.

                      Instead, it attracted four. I guess these skeletons really cared about their mothers.

                      I turned and fled, only looking back to make sure the skeletons were following me at full tilt. Well, full tilt for the undead, at least.

                      I smoothly hopped over the rope and ducked to the right, putting one hand on the side of the ruin to steady myself.

                      ...And exactly as planned, four skeletons stepped out of the ruin, caught the rope, and went tumbling ass over tea kettle down the cliff.
                      My heartbeat pounded in my ears as I watched them go over, keeping an eye out for errant claws, grasping hands....

                      I didn't relax until I heard Katriana from below. “Worked like a charm! They're all done!”

                      Across me from, Voss shook his head in wonder. “Damn. I honestly didn't think that would work.”

                      I sighed. “I had some doubts, too, but we're okay so far. Check the tension in the rope, please, while I catch my breath.”

                      “You got it, boss.”

                      For the second round of the trap, yelling didn't work, so I ventured a little further into the ruin. Outside of that short entry hall, there was an archway with no door, that lead to a long, skinnier corridor with a handful of rooms branching off on either side, ending is what appeared to me a solid-look bronze door. This time, when I tried yelling, I could hear skeletons grinding to life in one of the side rooms. I stomped my feet, yelled again, and waiting until I could see the whites of their skulls.

                      Three skeletons came rushing after me as I hopped the rope and stepped to one side. This time, two of the things went straight over the cliff, but the last steeped over the rope like it was nothing, turned to face me... and was clobber from behind by Voss.

                      In a one-on-one situation like this, Voss fared much better. He kept his shield up, warded off all the skeleton's attacks, and bashed away at until it stopped moving. For my part, I stayed back and stayed quiet, not wanting to draw attention to myself. By the end of the encounter, there was another destroyed skeleton, and Voss was uninjured.

                      “I thought the point of this was to avoid situations like that,” he mentioned wryly.

                      I shrugged, running the numbers in my head. With 3D10 skeletons per encounter group.... “We might be done soon. Have a break while I check the rope.”

                      I mean, it was only fair since he was just fighting for his life.

                      To get the next set of skeleton's attention, I had to go so far as to use my mirror to peek into one of the side rooms and throw a rock at one of them. I guess there are even lazy undead.... Either way, that time it was only two skeletons, and the trap once again worked like a charm.

                      The next time, I found a single skeleton slouched in a corner or one of the rooms... I thought I might have to walk up and slap it to get it going, but once it was mobile it was just as fast as the others, and just as clumsy.
                      This brought our kill count up to 13.

                      “Are their numbers dwindling or something?” Katriana yelled up.

                      I shouted down. “Let me make sure, I want to be absolutely certain before we move in.”

                      Three more skeletons, coming in singles, followed me out and took the plunge, one after another, easy as cake. There was one moment, where the tip of my toes caught on the rope, that I thought I was in real trouble, but I was able to recover decently enough, and get out of the skeleton's way when it fell.

                      I sat with my back to the outer wall of the ruin, resting, while Voss waved Katriana up.

                      When she arrived, she ignored Voss trying to hand her back her mace, and instead threw her arms around me.

                      “Aaah, you're alright! I was so worried down there!”

                      I patted her arm. “Yeah, I'm okay. A couple close calls, but otherwise, it all went beautifully.”

                      When she finally let me go, Voss handed over the weapon sheepishly, a little embarrassed by the display of affection.

                      I hoisted myself up. “Are we ready to continue our investigation?”

                      The side rooms were filled with little more than smashed pottery and niches carved into the walls. So, this was a tomb of some kind.

                      There was only one urn intact in the whole place, a fist sized jar glazed with a blue and gold flame designs and sealed with wax. It was the only thing that seemed remotely valuable, so I tossed it in my pack. It could be worth unsealing later.

                      Soon, we found ourselves at the bronze door. Katriana put her ear to it and gave it a listen, and we each took a chance it turn. Just silence.

                      “Well, here goes...” Katriana pulled the bolt, put her shoulder against the doors, and shoved.

                      The door opened slowly, ripping away from the wall as thousands of gossamer filaments tried to hold it close. Once those tore it slammed open, showing us a tall, cylindrical stairwell.

                      It had to rise at least thirty feet, socketed with windows here and there. A circular stairway curled around the outside of the room, but what immediately held my attention were the webs. Every surface was coated with them, and they crisscrossed the room freely. Above us, a dozen fat, cat-sized, yellow and black spiders lounged in their webs... and as we examined the room, some of the started to descend towards us, sensing new prey in their midst.


                      Character Name: Theodore
                      Race: Human
                      Class: Transmuter
                      Level(XP): 1 (382/2500)
                      Hit Points: 1

                      Ability Scores
                      Strength 11
                      Dexterity 17
                      Constitution 8
                      Intelligence 17
                      Wisdom 13
                      Charisma 14

                      Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                      Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                      Spells Per Day:
                      1st Level- 2

                      (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                      Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (17), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Oil (Flask, 2), Robes (2), Signet Ring, Small Tent

                      Money: 1 gp, 7 sp

                      Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

                      Companions: Katriana (Level 1 Fighter), Voss (Level 1 Fighter)
                      Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                      Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                      Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!


                      • #12
                        Chapter 10: Isekai Life & Nighttime Thoughts

                        Oh, how video game RPGs have desensitized people to the danger posed by spiders.

                        In video games, the spider is often an early game enemy. It's weak poison saps a handful of HP at a time, but out of a pool of hundreds if not thousands. That's if it poisons you- a very rare event.

                        However, Large Spiders were a deceptively deadly enemy in any AD&D game. Armed with a 1 damage bite, they seem harmless (Well, not to me, but to most people...) but their bite kills slowly and quietly, often without people knowing.

                        You see, fifteen minutes after the bite occurs, you roll a saving throw vs poison. With a +2 on the roll, to be fair. But such a bonus is often too little, too late, for when a failed save happens, the unlucky victim immediately takes 15 damage.

                        That's right, not, say 3d6 damage or something that might give you a chance. Fifteen. As in, even warriors with mediocre luck bite it at SECOND level. Clerics have to be extremely lucky to survive at second. Rogues have no chance until at least third level, and a Wizard is incapable of surviving until fourth. And, universally, for all first level characters, it is simply save or die.

                        “Move!” I yelled, fetching half a handful of sand from a pouch. Katriana stumbled back, letting me squeeze by. Once I was at the threshold, I tossed the fistful of sand into the air and canted the Hex of Lotus and Willow.

                        Thankfully, most of the spiders went dormant. Or torpid, or whatever. Four of them kept descending towards us, and I stepped back, letting Katriana forward again.

                        “Okay, I bought us a little time, about five minutes,” I said, “Voss, you need to go back to the packs, and grab my two flasks of lantern oil, a torch and a flint. Go!”

                        “Yeah, okay!”

                        As he ran off, one of the spiders lowered into view of the doorway, and Katriana slashed at it, leaving part of it's abdomen still hanging from a web , and the rest of it, trailing goo, to drag itself into the shadows of the tower to die.

                        “Why are you still here? You should have run!” yelled Katriana, as another spider tried to crawl into the corridor from along the wall and ate her sword for it's trouble.

                        Why was I still there? It's lot like I could still help. Sure, Voss was more likely to get to the packs and back up here quickly, but there's nothing stopping me from backing away.

                        And then I realized something odd. More strongly than ever, I loved Katriana. In one sense I had just met her yesterday- hell, I even remember thinking “Please die for me, meat shield” when I was making my character with Corgiel. But I could also remember how much she cried when her first pony had to be put down because of a broken leg. Challenging each other more and more, seeing who could garner more praise from the castle tutors that day. How proud she was when the Master of Arms had to call off her lesson because she was so strong, she was making his shield arm ache.

                        “I can't leave you here! Their poison can kill!” One of the spider feinted, darting away as her blade clanged off the stone doorframe, only for her to thrust and skewer it, the flick the corpse away on the backswing.

                        “I would never leave you to die alone!” I shouted, and, despite it seeming like a maudlin and empty statement to half my mind, I meant it.

                        Katriana smiled as she dispatched the last of the descending spiders, but didn't reply. Maybe it was kind of an awkward situation, but at the time I was just glad that none of the spiders could hit worth shit.

                        All the same... the spider had d8+1 health. Even assuming that Katriana had a modest Strength bonus, she could only hit them half the time and even then, sooner or later one would have the HP to survive being one-shotted and be able to attack on a turn when she only had one attack. We had been lucky so far- extraordinarily lucky, considering how well I must have done on the roll to determine number of creatures affected by sleep. That would not keep up.

                        We kept an eye on the remaining spiders from where we were standing. They were just starting to become active as Voss came charging back towards us, with an armload of flasks and torches.

                        “Well, I don't know what the panic was, but I came as fast as I could.”

                        Really? What are you, a 0th-level Warrior?

                        “It's the venom. They're actually surprisingly dangerous,” Katriana replied, more kinder than I would have been.

                        I just wordlessly snatched up one of the clay flasks and launched it into the room. I badly overshot the centre of the room, and the flask exploded against the far wall. The second flask was more-or less on target, shattering in the floor of the room.

                        By that time, Voss was able to ignite one of the torches and toss it in the room. The lamp oil ignited immediately, the flames spreading quickly among the webs.

                        “Come on, let's get out of here,” I said, “This will take some time to burn out... we may as well make camp so I can memorize some new spells.”

                        “Yeah, I hear you. Well, not about the spells. But it's been an exciting day,” Voss replied.

                        We left the fire to burn.

                        Outside, the sun was beginning to set. It would have been foolish to attempt to make it back to the old campsite in the dark, and nobody had thought to bring firewood of our own, so we spent the night crouched against the side of the cliff, passing jerky and a wineskin back and forth in the dark while we watch the lights blink on in the city below.

                        “So, will you tell me about these circumstances yet?” Asked Voss.

                        Katriana looked at me for an answer, so I did. “Oh, uh, no, we'd rather not right now. We just met yesterday, after all.”

                        “Oh, well then.”

                        An awkward silence threatened to settle in, so I cleared my throat. “Uh, what about you? What was your life like?”

                        “Ah, nothing so exciting. My dad and mom were a butler and house guard respectively, so I followed my mom's example and learned the spear and the sword so that way I didn't have to spend time cleaning up after someone else. After awhile, I just felt stupid standing at attention all day while nothing happened, so I decided to make something happen in my life.”

                        “Your mom and dad supported you in this career change?”

                        “Mom did, she's the house guard quartermaster now. Dad didn't, said adventurers lived stupid and died young.”

                        “I see....”

                        Katriana and Voss started talking about something else, but almost immediately I started to doze. Having Constitution 8 is tough, I suppose, and I did a lot of climbing and running that day.

                        At some point, Katriana poked me awake, and pointed out at the city. “Look, Theo, part of the city is burning....” But I barely registered the bright spot in the distant town before I conked out again.

                        I suppose because of that, I was awake much earlier.

                        I started awake sometime before dawn. I was still in a sitting position against the cliff, and I could feel someone warm leaning against me, their head on my shoulder. As I stirred, the head

                        “Hey, Theodore, is that you?” I could hear Voss whisper in the darkness way off to the side. Good, it was Katriana cuddling me....

                        “Yeah, ooooh....” All of a sudden I could feel how sore my back and butt were.

                        “Not easy, is it? Too bad we couldn't pitch a tent in this rock.”

                        I was still sleepy enough that I had to think before I knew what kind of tent-pitching he meant.

                        “Anyway, now that you're up, I'm going to get some more shut-eye, okay?”

                        “Yeah, that's okay, I'll stay up.”

                        I heard shifting- maybe he was lying down? And I had nothing to do but sit there and wait for the sun to come up.

                        Katriana leaning against me felt so good that I decided to put up with the pain of the rocks awhile longer. Besides, it would help me stay awake.

                        I spent a little time thinking about what Voss said, and what my life on Earth was like. Here was someone I've done nothing but vaguely resented since I met him, but when he was dissatisfied with life he decided to go out and actively try to change things in an attempt to make it better. When that happened in my previous life... well, I did a lot of nothing, stayed at home, and eventually died for no reason despite not taking any risks.

                        And now, by chance, I had been given another shot.

                        Suddenly I groaned and wanted to slap my face.

                        I set all those spiders on fire.

                        I was given another shot because, by accident, I had never harmed an animal, and on my second day in this new life I set a bunch of spiders on fire.

                        So, I guess this was it... I had one chance, maybe as many as seven if Katriana survived to rez me. Less if I failed my abysmal Resurrection Chance roll. And... somehow, knowing the chances and understanding the mechanics made these thing seem more apparent. Maybe I would have tried harder in my previous life if I knew exactly what the percentage chance of dying was....

                        I guess now, I knew I had to make it count.

                        When the sun was up high enough that I could read by, I slipped away from Katriana and opened my pack. Right on top was that odd little jar. Was it newer then all the other jars in the ruin? It certainly seemed more vibrant.

                        Aw, to hell with it. Hoping I didn't catch Mummy Rot, I broke the seal and looked inside.

                        Within was a scrap of paper with odd markings on it.

                        I puzzled over it a bit, but couldn't figure it out. Maybe some kind of runic script, or a substitution cypher? 6AM on a mountainside wasn't the time or place for solving this. I put it back in it's jar, and slipped it back into my bag.

                        Next, I grabbed my spellbook. For today's spells, the Hex of Lotus and Willow was obviously a top-tier lifesaver, and I also chose to go with Burning Hands. If that bastard pictsy tried going invisible, I still had a chance to toast him even if I couldn't see him.

                        When I was putting my book back, something in my bag caught my eye- my coin purse, which I had stowed while I was adventuring, was open instead of having the drawstring tied. I took a peek, sighed, and shook my head.

                        “What's wrong?” Katriana said with a sigh, and she blearily walked up behind me.

                        “That little bastard knows we're here,” I replied, “He took my signet ring.”


                        Character Name: Theodore
                        Race: Human
                        Class: Transmuter
                        Level(XP): 1 (1143/2500)
                        Hit Points: 1

                        Ability Scores
                        Strength 11
                        Dexterity 17
                        Constitution 8
                        Intelligence 17
                        Wisdom 13
                        Charisma 14

                        Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                        Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                        Spells Per Day:
                        1st Level- 2

                        (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                        Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (17), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Robes (2), Small Tent

                        Money: 1 gp, 7 sp

                        Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

                        Companions: Katriana (Level 1 Fighter), Voss (Level 1 Fighter)
                        Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                        Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                        Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!


                        • #13
                          Chapter 11: Isekai Life & Two Rings

                          “It would have been easy- he wouldn't even have needed to become invisible, because it was so damn dark out.”

                          We were preparing for a another ascent into the ruin. Voss was sharpening his spear, while Katriana mended a popped rivet in her splint mail with a bit of twine. Having been awake the longest, I was already set to go.

                          Voss shrugged at me. “Well, at least we know he probably is still in there, and if not, he's close.”

                          “Either way, it's going to be a tough fight,” Katriana stated, “Invisibility at will? We're going to be relying on you, Theo.”

                          I sighed. “Yeah, I know. I'm hoping that when it seems us coming, it just runs away, leaving it's stash.” It would probably only have half a hit die, after all.

                          “What if it follows us?”

                          “That's why we're going in the morning, so we can be in town by sunset. Even if it can go invisible, I think it's avoiding town for a reason. If there are no other obstacles and we're quick, we can get the honey before the bee even realizes what's going on.”

                          Katriana acquiesced at that point, and soon we were ascending the ramp to the ruins, then carefully stepping over our rope trap to get inside.

                          “Should we take it down?”

                          “There might be more skeletons upstairs....”

                          We had our packs on our back, this time, of course.

                          Voss lead the way, with Katriana coming up from behind and me in the middle. We all kept quiet, trying not a raise a stir, but of course Voss' chain mail rattled as he moved. We couldn't be completely silent.

                          When we approached the stairwell, it was full of the smell of smoke. Voss moved in cautiously, looking up, but the webs had all been burnt down and the floor was littered with the scorched husks of dead spiders.

                          He looked back at me, impressed. “100% effective, good job.”

                          I nodded. “The real challenge is going to be when we have to fight something smart, like orcs or robbers.”

                          “You have such pleasant thoughts.”

                          The bronze door wouldn't close anymore, as it was too warped by the heat, so we left it hanging open, and then proceeded to ascend the stairs.

                          Thankfully, the whole structure appeared to be made of mortar and stone, with no wood buried in the walls at all, so the stairs were still sound. At the top was another bronze door, even more badly warped then the open below. Voss handed me his spear when he got there.

                          “So much for being quiet... let me handle this.”

                          Bracing himself carefully on the landing, he shoved with all his might and slowly the door squeaked open.

                          The second level was a large space, littered with humanoid skeletons, although these ones were fragmented and didn't move. Near the back was a stone altar which had been smashed until it cracked in half at some point. So, this had been a temple at some point... but what had happened here?

                          “Oi, yew big jobbers! Yew stay awai frumme treasure!”

                          An arrow the size of a ballpoint pen shot out of nowhere and caromed off the stone doorway. Great, the pictsy can both go invisible and has a ranged attack.

                          Voss let out a big battlecry and ran into the room. The attack briefly made the pictsy visible- it was vaguely male, about a foot and a half tall, and crouched on the ruined altar on long, folded legs like a grasshopper's. It also had a pair of insect wings mounted somewhere on it's hip/butt area.

                          Voss aimed a swing at it, and it leapt back, dodging out of the way before vanishing again. I cautiously moved up beside Voss, while Katriana took up a defensive position between me and where the creature had vanished.

                          The pictsy appeared again, leaped wide of Voss, and unleashed another of it's arrows which penetrated all the way through Voss's forearm. He swore loudly, fumbling his spear a moment before he could retaliate, but it was all the pictsy needed to duck away.

                          I calmly stepped forward, canted a spell at the pictsy and made the Sigil of the Burning Hands. Fire arced towards the creature, which ignited immediately with a screech and fell limp to the ground, still burning.

                          “Well, that's that,” I said, dusting my hands.

                          “Nrrrgh! Easy for you to say!”

                          Voss was clutching his arm, which had the pictsy's arrow lodged in it, protruding about an inch on each side.

                          My first aid from high school almost failed me completely. “Well, it's better to keep the arrow in until it can be looked after....”

                          I got a glare for my efforts. Katriana came in then to smooth things over.

                          “Why don't you have a sit, Voss? We'll look for the stash, and when we go back down the mountain I'll carry your gear, okay?”

                          We proceeded to search the room carefully while Voss grumbled about his arm. While my searching was fruitless, eventually I noticed Katriana silently waving me over.

                          She was holding a small velvet bag that looked heavy with the objects inside, but more importantly, she gestured at me with a heavy-looking ring in her hand.

                          “I think you're right,” she said, “This is too precious to give back! You need to wear it at all times, and we should get as far away from this city as we can.”

                          I held up the ring so that I could look at it, and my eyes widened. Made out of heavy gold, the front of the ring had a flat, squarish plate into which were set eight stones, made to look like they were shooting stars falling from heaven. Seven of the stones were a dazzling array of colours... the last was dark and cracked.

                          Could it be... this was a Ring of Wishes!?

                          And they rolled the maximum amount of wishes, too! Somehow, the old fool had only used one wish! I could understand not having eight wishes all in a row, but to have this ring and only wish for one thing seemed....

                          With a shock, I realized what was going on, and popped the ring into one of my pouches.

                          Then I faced Katriana. “We're taking it back for the reward.”

                          “A-are you sure...?”

                          “Yes, absolutely. It's also very important that Voss never lays his eyes on the ring directly, okay?”

                          “Well... alright....”

                          Still giving me a doubtful look, she handed me to bag with the rest of the treasure. A few coins- including a surprising amount of what appeared to be platinum coins- and a pair of small vials, only containing a dark brown, viscous liquid, the other something watery and a pale lavender. And, of course, my signet ring.

                          I stowed the bit of treasure in my bag for later. “We'll sort this stuff out in town. Come on, we ought to get Voss to a healer.”

                          The trip down the mountain was easier than the trip up, by far, with the only added aggravation being Voss' complaining. Despite how long it took us getting up here, we were down and back to the city shortly after noon.

                          We dropped Voss off at a physician, paying the three gold for his fee out of the treasure bag.

                          As Katriana and I, tired from a day's worth of walking, slouched into the Lazy Ox, the innkeeper was there to greet us. “Back again, eh? Unfortunately, we've already sold your room to another couple, you're not going to be able to get it back.”

                          I waved it off. It's not like we could have afforded to rent it for a night we weren't going to use it, anyhow. “Do you have something available a little more upscale, then?” I asked, “If so, we'd like to rent it for a week.”

                          Katriana stared at me wide-eyed at that, and the innkeeper looked at me appraisingly. “You smell like smoke,” he said flatly.

                          “Oh, right, we'll need baths, too, and a private dining room for tonight with a feast for three.”

                          My sister and the innkeeper stared at me for awhile. Then he grunted and replied with, “Sixteen gold for all of that, meals included.”

                          As I counted out the coins from the treasure we found, Katriana gave me a look. I sighed, and said, “Don't worry, I'll pay it back out of my earnings from the quest.”

                          We had a seat for a bit while the room was being made up, and one of the serving girls brought out some wine with rolls and butter for us to enjoy while we waited. We were both pretty tired, so we snacked quietly and just waited.

                          That's when the city guard showed up.

                          To be fair, it was only three of them- two took up stations next to the door while an officer came and stood in front of out table.

                          We must have looked anxious, because the first thing that the officer did was hold up his hands in a placating gesture. “Please, relax. I'm investigating last night's arson, and you were reported as being suspicious. May I ask you a few questions?”

                          “That fucking innkeeper...” I muttered, while Katriana put her hand on my wrist to calm me.

                          The officer chuckled. “You're a sharp one. Well, let me assure you that smelling bad isn't a crime, at least not in this city. It's just that you disappeared overnight, and returned smelling of smoke, so of course I have to do my job and ask some questions, just like the innkeeper had to protect his inn and bring you to my attention, right?”

                          “Very well...” I replied, cautiously.

                          “So, where were you two last night?”

                          We explained to him the quest that we were hired for, and why we were smelling of smoke. I even took out my signet ring to “show him the ring we were asked to find”, although I wouldn't want to pull out the actual magic ring in front of him. Luckily, we were far enough from home that the officer didn't recognize our house sigil on the ring, or things might have gotten more complicated.

                          “So, can anyone vouch for this information?”

                          “I believe I can, Sir.”

                          The elf who was with the guy who hired us glided across the room to stand by our table. Smiling at the guardsman, she introduced herself. “I am Abbess Mariska, high priestess within the Starlit Order. These are the adventurers hired by my friend, Ricard Parett of Pendleton.”

                          “Ah, I see. My apologies, Abbess.” The guard straightened. “Now, I'll have to distribute your names to the city guards, as per my duty. Please try to stay out of trouble for the remainder of your stay, alright?”

                          Once the guards had left, Abbess Mariska smoothly sat down at our table. “Forgive my interruption. I hope that you were successful?” Noticing the crude bandage on Katriana's neck, she tsked. “Oh, poor dear. Please, allow me?”

                          She laid her hands on Katriana's shoulders, and prayed. There was a brief glow of silver light through the bandage, which Katriana removed, revealing only pink, fresh skin, without a scar or blemish.

                          “If you have Ricard's ring, I'll be happy to pay you and pass it on to him,” the Abbess said after.

                          Taking out the ring and carefully cupping it in my hands, I passed the ring on. Smiling the Abbess took it from me and had a quick peek before stowing it a sleeve.

                          “It still makes my heart ache a little to see it. Oh, well. I am impressed that you didn't run off with it, however. You're more potent than I initially thought.”

                          She opened up a small bag, and began pulling pouches from it. Soon, we had four small purses in front of us, with twenty-five gold in each.

                          “Now,” Abbess Mariska said once the counting was done, “I am wondering if you'd allow me to hire you, now that your duty to Ricard has been discharged?”

                          Katriana and I shared a glance. “Well, we'll hear you out at least.”

                          “As the guard mentioned, last night someone set fire to the temple of Yphion, the Goddess of Rivers, killing the high priest and some of his acolytes within.”

                          Katriana cut in. “Why is everyone so certain this is an arson?”

                          “Fire is forbidden from the temple grounds as it is offensive to Yphion. During the day the temple is lit by windows and cleverly placed bowls of water reflecting the light. At night, the priests occasionally pray for magical light, but mostly then conclude their prayers and supplications at sundown.

                          “Now, an arsonist is dangerous to any city, but the situation has me wondering- what were the acolytes and the high priest doing there after dark?”

                          I nodded. “You suspect assassination, or some kind of hate crime.”

                          The abbess giggled, a beautiful, musical tinkling. “Just so. Now, I have a reputation, as do my companions. We cannot look into this directly as the culprit would see people of our status coming from a mile away. However, if someone were to see to it on our behalf, they could be amply rewarded.”

                          “How amply?”

                          “Let's say, one hundred gold for coming to a conclusion on the cause of the fire, three hundred for capturing the culprit?”

                          I looked at Katriana again, who gave me a slight nod. “Well, we'll have to check with our third associate, but we can do this task for you.”

                          “Wonderful!” Mariska said, “Thank you! Please assume this task on the morrow, you two look like you could use a night off first.”

                          She stood and gave us a small bow, before heading upstairs to (presumably) where she came from.

                          Soon, a servant came and guided us up to the second floor and our new room. It was larger than the last, with a writing desk, couch, two chests, and a single large, four-post bed. Katriana kind of blushed when she saw it, and muttered something about sleeping on the couch.

                          We were packing away our things when she finally asked. “Okay, you have to tell me- why did you change your mind on the ring.”

                          I sat on the bed and gave it some thought. I couldn't say that it was suspicious that a DM would gave level one characters access to such a ring....

                          “When I saw it, I thought it was a ring that granted wishes, which doesn't make any sense,” I began, “It seemed to have one one wish missing. If that was the case, why hadn't at least one other wish been used? And why was the ring necessary for the tournament? Couldn't he just wish what he needed to wish for at home? And further, when you saw it, you told me I had to make use of it... but wouldn't you have your own wishes you'd want to ask for?”

                          Katriana caught on immediately. “Oh. I thought it was enchanted with some kind of powerful protection magic. I know you can't use armour, even if it didn't interfere with your spells, so I wanted you to have it.”

                          “Exactly. It isn't just a magical ring, it's a cursed ring, that makes whoever possesses it think that it's the kind of ring they most deeply desire. I'm guessing that, among Ricard's party, his dwarven buddy doesn't care about magical rings, and Abbess Mariska is strong enough of will that she sees through the enchantment.”

                          Katriana smiled, and ruffled my hair before sitting beside me. “That's my prince.”

                          I smiled back at her, then took a deep breath. “I've been thinking, Katriana, and I've decided something.”

                          “Oh, what's that?”

                          “I want to take our kingdom back.”

                          “Well, of course you do, so do I...”

                          “No, but I really want this. I don't just want to make a living as adventurers and dream of it, I want this to be our goal. Every decision we make has to be made in light of it. And, eventually, we'll have to set down plans and actually do it.

                          “I want to take back our home, and be king... and I want you to be one of my queens.”


                          Character Name: Theodore
                          Race: Human
                          Class: Transmuter
                          Level(XP): 1 (1402/2500)
                          Hit Points: 1

                          Ability Scores
                          Strength 11
                          Dexterity 17
                          Constitution 8
                          Intelligence 17
                          Wisdom 13
                          Charisma 14

                          Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                          Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                          Spells Per Day:
                          1st Level- 2

                          (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                          Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (17), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Robes (2), Small Tent

                          Money: 1 gp, 7 sp

                          Undistributed Treasure: 10 cp, 4 sp, 123 gp, 1 pp, two potions (viscous brown and watery lavender), four large belt pouches.

                          Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

                          Companions: Katriana (Level 1 Fighter), Voss (Level 1 Fighter)
                          Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                          Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                          Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!


                          • #14
                            Chapter 12: Isekai Life & Cake Slicing


                            Katriana's eyes went wide and she just stared at me, so I repeated myself.

                            “I want to be king, and I want you to be one of my queens.”

                            There was another long pause.

                            “I don't even know where to begin with that statement,” she replied flatly.

                            I let another moment pass. “I notice you're not saying no....”

                            Katriana stood up, and started pacing the room rapidly. “I'm your sister. You know, I behaved! I saved myself! I knew that you might need to offer my hand in order to seal an alliance or something in order to get us the support we need!”

                            “I appreciate your dedication, but we will learn to do without. You're still not saying no.”

                            “I'm your sister. You're my brother. Incest is illegal practically everywhere.”

                            “Well, when I'm king, I'll get to make the laws, so I can allow us to get married. Hell, we can go and do it right now, if you wanted. Nobody around here knows who we are, so we can go to a temple and get it done right now... but I understand if you don't want to do this right this instant. Also, you're still not staying no.”

                            “Okay... but what did you mean by, 'queens'?”

                            I took a deep breath and gathered my thoughts. “Well, for one... I know I'm weak... and if we were to have a child, the chances of that child inheriting my weakness is more likely because we're family. If nothing else, another wife would mean we, collectively, are more likely to produce a good heir.”

                            “That's another good reason for us not to get married. You should save yourself for a wife you can get a good heir from.”

                            “My second point is... We're going to need a lot of strong allies, and if we work hard to make a loving family for other adventurers who are willing to fight for their husband....”

                            “If that's the case, why shouldn't I just have a whole pile of husbands?”

                            She was getting angry now, I guess because I was disarming her arguments so rapidly.

                            “Do you want that?”

                            I didn't want that. But I don't think she did either.

                            Katriana sighed. “No, no I don't.... I didn't mean that seriously....”

                            “I do, though. Well, wives, at least. I think... it's just the kind of person I am. I want to leave my heart open for other people who want to belong there, I guess.”

                            “And you want one of those people to be me.”

                            It was a statement, not a question.

                            “Yes, I do. You're more than my beloved sister... you're my sworn protector. You've fought so hard for our dream, and you've put your life on the line for me so often, and you've never given up hope. You've always looked out for me, and you're so courageous.... How could I not fall in love with that person?”

                            She blushed and broke eye contact, which had to be a good sign.

                            “...I need to think about it.”

                            “I understand, take your time.”

                            She turned towards the door. “I'm going to go for a bath now, and I think I should do that alone.”

                            “That's fine, go ahead.”

                            I tried to be nonchalant, but in reality I was disappointed that I wouldn't have another chance to see her in the bath. I suppose things were going well, overall, though.

                            Having nothing better to do for Katriana's bathtime, I lay on the bed and quietly contemplated the two potions we had gathered. Identifying items was a service that cost 1,000 gold. Even the Identify spell, which I didn't have, require components that cost 100 gold per casting- it was not cheap.

                            Potions could be identified by taking a small sample of them... but the core rules didn't have a mechanic for doing this, it was more of a vague allusion to allowing it. Worse still, there was such a thing as “potion miscibility”, which was the unpredictable effects of combining two potions. They might combine really well, having increased strength, or eve making one effect permanent. But then, they could combine to make a lethal toxin, or even produce an explosion. You had to let one potion digest completely before taking another.

                            Well... at least I could identify one?

                            Katriana returend to the room to find me retching over the chamberpot, spitting occasionally.

                            Immediately she ran over to me and laid a hand on my back. “Theodore! Are you okay? Did something happen!?”

                            I spat in the chamber pot one last time. “I identified one of the potions.”


                            “It's an oil that neutralizes acid.”

                            “Why did you do that by drinking it!?”

                            “Uh, well, it seemed like the thing to do....”

                            Katriana sighed at me. “But you're okay, right?”

                            “I think so... it just tasted nasty.”

                            “What a troublesome little brother... go have your bath, they're waiting for you downstairs.”

                            Leaving the two potions in Katriana's care, I went down to the bathing area and had a relaxing, if solitary bath. I enjoyed the hot water's ability to relax my tense muscles, and it wasn't until the wash water came away with threads of black and brown in it did I realize how I was covered in soot and grime.

                            Adventuring is dirty work, I guess.

                            My two robes were soiled, so before my bath I had to give a serving girl two gold to go buy me a clean robe and get my laundry done. She waited nervously on the other side of the screen for me to toss over my robe, so I had the excuse of waiting on fresh clothes while I luxuriated in the hot water.

                            I also took the time to enjoy myself, thinking of Katriana in a modern wedding gown the whole time. After all, privacy was a luxury for an adventurer.

                            When she returned, I had a nice, dark-blue dyed robe in contrast to my two brown “travel” robes. I gladly changed- I had long since started to turn pruney- and was informed my laundry would be ready on the morrow.

                            I returned back to the room, to find it empty. Katriana, the potions and the quest reward were both gone... so I assumed at some point the servants came to tell her the private dining room was ready.

                            So I went downstairs and had a serving girl direct me to the dining room.

                            When I entered, a sumptuous feast was laid out before me. A whole roast chicken, dripping with butter and gravy, dominated the table, but there was also a tureen of some kind of cloudy broth, a plate of steaming slices of ham, a plate of roast potatoes and a bowl of various fruits and cheeses. A steaming fresh loaf of bread accompanied everything, with a butter so finely whipped it spread like whipped cream. Katriana and Voss were there, already tucking in. The latter levelled a chicken leg at me with his unbandaged arm and smiled widely.

                            “There he is! We thought you had been in the bath so long you might have washed away.”

                            I smiled back as I lowered myself into the chair next to Katriana. “Well, I had to make myself presentable for my fellow adventurers, right?”

                            The feast was delicious. I ended up enjoying the ham especially, and I'm not afraid to say I ended up eating it with my hands. If you have ham that delicious (and no fork) you'd eat it that way, too.

                            It was not lost on me that, for a meal made up of dishes that would be considered relatively simple back in my original world, the fact that I had nothing to eat for the previous three days except bread, stew and beef jerky made it seem a tremendous luxury.

                            After most of the meal had been devoured, we cleared a space on the table started divvying up our treasure. First, I made three piles- two piles of 32 coins each, and one of 18, explaining about the expenses I paid for out of the treasure to Voss and Katriana. This was our quest reward, split up like we agreed.

                            Katriana ended up shaking her head and sliding six gold over to my pile. “If it's for our inn room, I don't mind paying half...”

                            Next was our looted treasure. Ten coppers, four silvers, 25 gold coins (I had used the former platinum coins to pay for the rooms, so the additional gold came from my quest reward supply), one platinum piece, a vial of oil of Acid Resistance and the other, unidentified potion.

                            I explained to Voss about how I identified the Oil of Acid Resistance, and he nodded that he understood. Then, before I could stop him, picked up the lavender potion, uncorked it, and took a tiny sip.

                            He nodded. “Tastes soapy... but the pain in my arm went away a little. Maybe some kind of healing potion?”

                            “Alright,” I said, taking the potion from him and returning it to the centre. “I have a method for dividing up this treasure so that it's fair. First, we need a volunteer, and since it's my method, I'd like it to be one of you two.”

                            “Sure, I'll do it, then,” said Voss.

                            “Okay, so here's what I want you to do- divide the treasure into three even piles, keeping in mind the special properties of the potions.”

                            Voss gave it a bit of thought, then ended up putting the healing potion with the one platinum piece, then dividing the rest of the coin evenly- 12 gold, 2 silver, 5 copper. One pile then received the Oil of Acid Resistance, and the other received an extra gold coin.

                            “Okay, now, Katriana, I want you to pick the two best piles from these options, then remove treasure from the #1 pile until it's equal with the #2 pile.”

                            “One platinum piece is the same as two gold, right? So I add it to the worst pile?”

                            “No, you're making a fourth pile.”

                            “Okay, here I go....”

                            She removed three gold from the Acid Resistance pile leaving our piles as:

                            #1- Platinum piece and healing potion
                            #2- Oil of Acid Resistance, 9 gold, 2 silver, 5 copper
                            #3- 13 gold, 2 silver, 5 copper

                            “Okay, so now, I get to pick which pile I want,” I said, reaching over and grabbing the second pile, with the Oil of Acid Resistance, and pushing it over to my already fat stack. The Oil would be a useful tool to have, just in case, and besides, with my singular hit point I definitely wanted one of the other two to have the healing potion.

                            “Next is Katriana's turn.”

                            Wisely, she choose to take the potion over cash, which left Voss with the big pile of coins.

                            “Hey, you want me to have all this extra money? No problem!”

                            “So, what do we do about the fourth pile?” Katriana asked.

                            “Well, normally, I'd divide it into three and then Voss would pick one and then you'd pick one, but since it's three coins that's pretty easy.”

                            We each added an extra gold to our respective stacks, and everyone was all the happier.

                            “So, what's next for us, then?” Voss asked, “Did you want to keep working together, or was this a one-off thing?”

                            “I think we want to keep working with you...” I said, giving a significant glance to Katriana.

                            Katriana gave me a nod. “We even have a new job already lined up, from the friend of the person who gave us that last one. She wants us to look into the arson of the temple that you may have heard about. You know, the one we saw burning from the mountainside.”

                            “That's not the only thing...” I added, putting the jar with the cipher rolled up inside on the table.

                            I explained the circumstances under with I discovered the cipher while they puzzled over it.

                            “That tomb has been outside this city so long that it's not common knowledge, according to you, Voss, why it's there or who built it. But this city plays host to adventurers once a year. The spiders reproducing every year makes a little sense, but the skeletons and any remotely useful treasure should have been cleaned out long ago. Only one explanation makes sense- the skeletons were raised only recently, and were protecting that area for this reason- to guard this dead drop.”

                            Voss looked surprised. “Dead drop? What's that?”

                            “It's where a message is left in hiding, for two people to exchange notes without having to physically meet. One person drops the message at a prearranged time, and someone else comes to pick it up.

                            I don't know who is doing this, and we don't have someone offering to pay us for this, but I'm sure there would be a reward from the city for finding smugglers or necromancers or something. Whoever is doing this is obviously engaged in something shady.”

                            “And you weren't able to decode the cipher at all if you're not telling us what it says...” Katriana said thoughtfully.

                            “Well, for my part, I'd rather get paid,” Voss said, “You already have a quest lined up for us, and they're offering coin, so....”

                            Katriana shook her head in response. “I don't know, this cipher could be big. And if they're raising skeletons right by a major road, that could be trouble for some people, right?”

                            Well, then. It looks like it was up to me, after all.


                            Character Name: Theodore Esche
                            Race: Human
                            Class: Transmuter
                            Level (XP): 1 (1402/2500)
                            Hit Points: 1

                            Ability Scores
                            Strength 11
                            Dexterity 17
                            Constitution 8
                            Intelligence 17
                            Wisdom 13
                            Charisma 14

                            Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                            Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                            Spells Per Day:
                            1st Level- 2

                            (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                            Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (17), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Oil of Acid Resistance, Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent

                            Money: 33 gp, 9 sp, 5 cp

                            Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

                            Companions: Katriana (Level 1 Fighter), Voss (Level 1 Fighter)
                            Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                            Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                            Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!


                            • #15
                              Chapter 13: Isekai Life & Morning Surprise

                              I sighed. “Voss is right. We already have a job with a paid backer. We owe it to her to stick with that... Sorry, Katriana. I guess I shouldn't have muddled the issue.”

                              Katriana shrugged it off, and peered over the coded message. “It's alright, there wasn't much of a better time to bring this up. Besides, there's nothing saying we can't work out the code while doing this other thing. Do you even have any idea what kind of cipher it even is?”

                              I was about to open my mouth to tell her I had no idea, but then realized I did have some. “It's not a rotational cipher nor is it a substitution cipher. The pattern of runes or characters doesn't work out. I think it might be a keyed cipher of some kind, in which case we're out of luck until we find someone who knows the key or a copy thereof.” I suppose that Reading/Writing proficiency came with some advantages....

                              The silence was deafening. “Yeah, that was a whole bunch of words you just said,” Voss replied after awhile, taking the opportunity to top up my goblet with some wine.

                              Things wound down after that point. We chatted some more, ate some more food, discussed briefly what Voss intended to do with his earnings- he didn't outright say it but I'm pretty sure he was headed to a brothel as soon as he was out of Katriana's sight- and just sort of chilled. Voss had finished off most of a pitcher of wine by himself, then bid his goodbyes and listed out of the room at a tilt, forgetting his spear and pack while he did so.

                              “Ah, well,” I said as I put his bag on the tabletop where we couldn't miss it, “I'm sure he'll be grateful for these in the morning.”

                              “There are three rules,” Katriana said.

                              “Wha...?” I replied, not comprehending either her suddenly serious tone or expression.

                              “Rule number one, you're not bringing anyone into this that I don't approve of.”


                              “Rule number two, I get to marry you first. I know you're eventually going to have other wives you can be less careful about, who will be your official queen or what have you, but I want you first.”

                              “O-oh, I understand now.”

                              “Rule number three... don't forget about me, okay?” Her determination seemed to leave all at once. “I'm giving you everything for just a part of you, so... please make sure I can have that little bit, alright?”

                              I could hear my heartbeat in my ears. Who could hear that kind of a confession without their pulse quickening?

                              Gently, I took her hand, clasped it in both of my hands, and looked her in the eyes. “I could never forget about my beautiful, loving and intelligent sister. If these are your conditions, I agree. You're giving me your heart, so I promise to do whatever is in my power not to break it.”

                              Immediately, Katriana slid over to where I was sitting on the bench and straddled me, taking my face in her hands and kissing me deeply.

                              While I was momentarily distracted by the taste of wine on her tongue and the feeling of her lips, I did feel a little bad.

                              After all, as any power gamer would tell you, her three rules boiled down to 1) you have the extra step of passing an easy Charisma check to sleep with anyone, 2) marry her first with no mention of restriction on other fiancees or lovers, and 3) make time for her as the harem grows larger, which should be easy because why have a harem if you're just going to obsess over the latest acquisition? Just be a playboy if that's the case.

                              Katriana grinding into me brought me back to the present. I had the obvious reaction to having a beautiful woman straddling and kissing you, and her grinding hurt a little, but I didn't mind in this situation.

                              Eventually I broke free of of her kiss. “Hold on a moment,” I said, undoing the belt of my robe and unwrapped myself until my hard cock popped free.

                              Katriana bit her lip anxiously. “Here...?”

                              Without waiting for a response, she slipped out of her breeches, and went back to straddling me, using a free hand to guide my cock inside her.

                              There was no resistance, just the warm, moist feeling of her walls enveloping my cock. She sighed happily as she settled onto me. It felt like bliss itself.

                              Pleasure flooded into me. I couldn't handle it anymore, and I immediately lost control, clutching Katriana as the orgasm ripped through me. I shot my cum deep inside my sister, shuddering while Katriana held me close.

                              “Yes...” she sighed, “Thank you, my prince....”

                              “Are you sure that's okay? Did you even, you know, finish?”

                              “Mmmm...” She shifted thoughtfully, “We will figure it out. As for the other thing... You're not done yet, right?”

                              I barely managed to remember to grab Voss' stuff before we heading upstairs. It was a little awkward taking his spear upstairs- no question, I had no proficiency- but the promise of a second round with Katriana was a strong incentive to get it done quickly.

                              We deposited our things just inside the room, and I barely had time to slide the bar over the door before Katriana seized me for another long, sensuous kiss.

                              Before I knew it, we were both naked, and I was laying on the bed while Katriana rode my cock once again. Her creamy pussy felt even better, the extra lubricant easing my entrance into her. She decided to stay upright as she slid up and down on my cock, looking down at me sensually as I was treated to the bounce of her breasts, and the writhing of her body.

                              Our sex was... I don't want to say “pure”, that's probably the wrong term to use for any act that involves creaming your sister. But it was simple, and very, very good. I was fine with that- we'll have plenty of time to get weird.

                              This time, she came just before I did- the spectacle of her having a moaning, shuddering climax pushing me over the edge one more time.

                              Once I finished filling her up with even more cum, she rolled onto her side, facing me. “Oh, god, that was-” then she moaned loudly as I slipped my fingers inside her.

                              I mean, I couldn't let our first night together as an engaged couple end on a 2-1 score, right?

                              We were pretty exhausted after that, so we didn't say much. Eventually, she curled up, using my arm as a pillow, and fell fast asleep.

                              A few things struck me as odd from our coupling. First of all, that puppy angel apparently made some concessions to my own... beauty standards, I guess? I hadn't really noticed before, having been busy dealing with skeletons and burning spiders and all that, but neither of us had much in the way of body hair. Bathing was also readily available. Hell, even though it was largely wine and ale on offer, I've seen people drinking just straight water- something that would have been a death sentence in certain parts of human history.

                              So, some of the dungiest parts of the dung ages were avoided entirely, and I wasn't going to complain.

                              At some point, I must have drifted off, because it seemed as though I blinked and there was sunlight filtering in through the windows, and Katriana was watching me with her head pillowed on my (numb) arm.

                              “Good morning, my prince,” she said with a loving tone, reaching out with one hand to stroke my cheek.

                              “Good morning,” I replied, smiling.

                              “I can't even comprehend what we did last night,” she said, quietly, “Everything just felt so right... why did I ever try to bottle up these feeling I had for you?”

                              “Well... it's not what other people consider 'okay' or 'proper',” I replied, “We're going to have to change the world to get them to accept us.”

                              “That's fine, I know you can do it.”

                              We rose out of the bed and tried to awkwardly wash the smell of sex off of us with the pitcher of water by the washbasin, then got dressed and ready for the day.

                              After a brief breakfast of plain oatmeal and fresh bread, we headed outside, Voss' stuff in tow, ready and equipped for a day of wandering around the city.

                              Voss was casually slouching against the inn, looking hung over as hell. He was happy to see his missing stuff, however. “Glad I don't have to go back to some of the other places I found myself last night.”

                              I didn't want to ask.

                              We were just getting ready to head off, when someone called my name.

                              Jogging up to us from down the street was a silver-haired woman in silver-trimmed white robes. She was beautiful, in that ageless could-be-twenty-could-be-forty kind of way that elves were, with fair skin and purple eyes. While it was hard to tell with her robes, she seemed soft and slender, but her chest was large enough that it swayed independent of her torso when she ran.

                              The girl (?) had to stop for a moment and catch her breath when she got to us, but afterwards (and seeing our suspicious looks, she managed a curtsy with her robes.

                              “Forgive me, I did not mean to startle you, Lord and Lady Esche. I am Ashryn Milaneth, an acolyte of the Starlit Order. High Priestess Mariska asked me to accompany you on your task.”


                              Character Name: Theodore Esche
                              Race: Human
                              Class: Transmuter
                              Level (XP): 1 (1402/2500)
                              Hit Points: 1

                              Ability Scores
                              Strength 11
                              Dexterity 17
                              Constitution 8
                              Intelligence 17
                              Wisdom 13
                              Charisma 14

                              Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                              Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                              Spells Per Day:
                              1st Level- 2

                              (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                              Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (17), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Oil of Acid Resistance, Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent

                              Money: 33 gp, 9 sp, 5 cp

                              Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

                              Companions: Katriana (Level 1 Fighter, fiancee), Voss (Level 1 Fighter), Ashryn (Level 1 Cleric)

                              Sexual Partners: 1
                              Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                              Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                              Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!