006: Looting and afterwards
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And I’m back in the bandit fort. Oh, that’s interesting - the blood hasn’t even started to congeal from those slit throats. I was pouring through books for quite a while… Death’s office takes no time? That’s good to know. Means I can’t hide out there if I need to hide, but it also means I can take my time. Which I guess is part of the boon, huh? Play-by-post takes an age.

So I make up a song praising me, and sing it:

“Jimmy! You’re so great.
Jimmy! You’re wonderful.
Jimmy! You’ll circulate.
Jimmy! You’re like a bull.”

OK, I didn’t say it was a GOOD song. At least there’s nobody here to see me making an idiot of myself.

Then, of course, I need to declare myself my high priest: “Jimmy, though hast pleased me! I anoint you my high priest!” … and I feel a bit light-headed for a moment.

So I guess that means it worked? One way to find out… I concentrate for a minute, and summon my eidolon… which, because I used “Expertise” from Mythic traditions to pick up the Synthesist Summoner version, basically gives me a skin-tight transparent power suit. It comes with claws, but I’m mostly using it for skill boosts… but it also comes with a strength of 16 base, and another boost for me reaching 2nd level. And I already know exactly what all it should do, so…

I bend down and pick up one of the bodies, lifting it above my head. Oh yeah, the difference between a strength of seven and seventeen is great.

Of course, I’m still naked and alone in a strange place… but the first aspect of that I can fix now. After all, I still need to loot the place. And the dead guys aren’t going to be needing their shirts and pants, now are they?

Fortunately, Prestidigitation has a cleaning option. Because EWW, these guys don’t know a thing about hygiene. Also, it gets the blood out. After which… they don't fit. My chest is squishy enough that I can get into the shirt, but I can't seem to get the pants over my caboose: They tear when I try. Well… the scraps make workable padding for the too-large shoes, at least.

I take my time and walk around the camp with Detect Magic… and something bothers me: I saw five guys. The guy at the top of the gate, and the four that ambushed me. How in the world did just five guys set up a full palisade? There’s also way more tents than… ah. It wasn’t just five guys. These were the guys left back at the camp while… banditry. And one ran away. I better hurry, then.

I quickly pull on what clothes I can, and clean it as I go, searching the area for… yes, a backpack! I stuff it with things that look like they might be worth something - pretty much whatever glitters, especially under Detect Magic… I only find one ring that does that last, though: they didn’t leave much magic stuff behind - grab two bows and rapiers, plus arrows, from the fallen, and skedaddle. While yes, I’m considerably tougher now… these were just thugs. I don’t want to test my luck against the bandit lord running the place yet.

I use my newfound Mythic power to cast Pass Without Trace as I head deeper into the forest. I don’t much care where I end up yet - I’m lost anyway - but I don’t want to be followed, given that I just killed four of the men of whoever runs that place, and looted hopefully the most valuable stuff they left behind. And Pass Without Trace will let me NOT leave a trail. Once I’ve been walking for a good half-hour, I sit down and go through the stuff I grabbed.

OK, so… the rapiers are close to worthless… but I do have a spell… I spam Masterwork Transformation for a while, targeting the bows, rapiers, arrows, and even the backpack one at a time. Why? Well, normally the spell isn’t a savings: It costs material components sufficient to make up the difference between the normal and masterwork version of a thing, but turns the thing into a masterwork item. I don’t need components, however, thanks to Telepathic Casting from a Formian Worker (it’s part of the subtype entry for Formians), which means for me it’s free money when I sell the stuff. And also a slightly better chance to hit things if I’m using a weapon… which, honestly, I probably won’t any time soon. Most of my spells are at-will now, and that’s better, by a lot. In close combat, I'll just use my Eidolon's claws.

I also sit down and check the magic doohickey I quickly grabbed. One quick Identify spell later… huh. A Ring of Arcane Signets. Well, that’s… useless. I can already cast Arcane Mark, I really don’t need it. The rest of the stuff is all just mundane. Some smooth colored bolts of cloth, gold and silver jewelry, coins… valuable stuff, but not the sort of thing that’s useful for a bandit on the prowl. Which also kind of explains them leaving the ring behind, even if they know what it does.

The question really becomes, do I want to invest my Mythic power into this ring? It needs to be a magic item… Probably not… I mean, my plan for the Mythic portion is mostly independent of the base item - I want a ring for convenience and for one of the Mythic abilities, but it still takes up the slot… and I can only do that investment once. A magic signet ring… not a great choice. Most things I'll be able to duplicate with spells or class features sooner or later, and I'll be keeping this ring basically forever. I want some hard-to-duplicate effect as the base, or something where the ring's intelligence can invoke itself and help me out in a fight. Not something any Wizard can do out of the gate. So a Ring of Spell Battle or a Ring of Telekinesis or something: Not a cantrip.

Well… there is the combining magic items clause… of course, it’s the second thing added that gets more expensive and takes longer… eugh. So not now. I’ll need to make something suitable, I expect. But that still leaves a question: Where do I go from here?

I don’t really have any specific place I need to go, do I? So really, I can just pick a direction, and follow it until I hit a road, river, or something else, then follow that downstream. And Know Direction is a cantrip… but Locate City is probably better. So… nearest village is… I focus for a moment… ah, that way. I start walking, regularly recasting to make sure I’m on the right track. Thinking a bit, I also start maintaining Invisibility and No Scent on myself. That won’t stop everything from finding me, but very little should be able to detect me well enough to start a fight with both of those running.

As I go, I think. OK, so… I just killed four people. Why doesn’t this bother me more? It really should. Am I a monster? OK, they did trap me, tell me they were going to turn me into a pleasure slave, and then killed me when I fought back. And then I killed one in his sleep, and more in mostly-honorable combat. My later actions… probably not lily white. And admittedly I do have it on good authority that death isn’t the end. Still. They were PEOPLE. And I killed them.

So why isn’t this bothering me? Am I in shock? Has it just not sunk in? Am I serial killer material?

Hmm… Death did mention something about being able to talk to his Champion… does it work the other way?

“Hey Death?”

I hear his voice, although I don’t see him, “I was wondering how quickly you’d figure that one out. What can I do for you?”

“Am I evil?”

“What brought this on… perhaps those four bandits I collected at your hand?”

“Yes. I … don’t feel anything about it. Seems like I should?”

“Well… what you should and shouldn’t feel is beside the point. But… hmm… let’s start with ‘why’d you do it?’, shall we?”

“They trapped me behind their walls, made it clear they were going to turn me into a slave so they could slake their lusts. I didn’t want that.”

“And what does that make them?”

“Very evil people.”

“Indeed. And you fought… what other outcomes could there have been? What else could you have done?”

“I could have just run when I woke up…”

“And what would have happened after that?”

“I suppose they would have found someone else to victimize, sooner or later.”

“Would that have been a better outcome?”

“No, not really.”

“Mhm. Any other options that you could see?”

“Maybe… find a way to tie them up?”

“And what then?”

“Take them to the authorities?”

“Do you know any?”

“No… maybe the nearest city?”

“Would you be able to find one without their deaths to level you up?”

“... I got lost checking up on a river…”

“So that’s a no. Perhaps an earlier branch point… what might you have done before they killed you?”

“Hmm… surrender? No, I’d rather die, I think… maybe if I hadn’t gone in originally?”

“Well, what would have happened had you never encountered them?”

“I suppose they would have found someone else to victimize, sooner or later.”

“Would that have been a better outcome?”

“No, not really.”

“Hmm. So… can you think of anything you could have done that could have led to a better outcome than what actually happened?”

“No, I can’t. And yet…”

“‘And yet’. Indeed. So… no, you’re not evil. A bit chaotic maybe in not giving that first one a chance to fight back in the night… but not evil. If it’s any consolation, had you managed to tie them up, transport them, and turn them in, the constabulary in the nearest city would have acted as judge, jury, and executioner based on your story and their read of the prisoners. Well, depending on his mood.  Sometimes he just wants to skip to the end and cut them down arbitrarily, it depends on the day. But those men would never have passed muster anyway, their most likely end would have been a quick execution. This world is not inclined to mercy. So….” Death trails off, and I get the impression of a shrug.

“So I did what I needed to, and it was probably for the best. Thanks.”

“Fundamentally, I’m here to serve. All of us are supposed to be.”

… wait… “Is that ‘everyone’ us, or ‘deities’ us?”

“Question seven. You’re on a roll.”

“Of course. Thanks.”

“You always have my ear. I won’t always be able to answer, but I always listen.”