84 Karma“s Only a Bitch if You Are
|[ VIDEO ]|
The final section of the Redcap Dungeon Highlight Reel doesn't take place inside the actual dungeon. The video cuts from the moment Boss Baron Redcomb dies and opens on Erebus, standing on a stone wall high above an angry crowd.
The rest of the Chaos Party stands behind him on the crumbling parapet, varying expressions on their faces. Kara Geir's coral lips quirk into a smirking half-smile, Taliesin is beaming a 100-watt toothy grin, Nightfury looks bored and surly, and Nanuk is expressionless, mouth a thin line, blue-white eyes cold and stoic.
Iridescent black wings dramatically fanned out, Erebus spreads his arms as if welcoming the bloodthirsty mob below to his humble castle abode. "What a lovely surprise! So many of you came to congratulate us on our legendary victory."
One Player steps forward. He's turned his floating player tag to Visible, so everyone can see he's Oh Ur Dead, a Lvl 9 Rakshasa. He spits, crimson face twisting in disgust. "Don't misunderstand, you prick! We're here to kick your ass, not kiss it!"
Erebus pouts. "Too bad. With that long demon tongue, I bet you'd be great at—"
Nanuk karate chops Erebus in the side. "Finish that sentence in front of my baby brother, and I will literally kill you."
Clutching his side, Erebus drops the fake pout immediately. "Sorry, Nanuk."
Angry at being ignored, Oh Ur Dead raises his clawed fist menacingly. "We saw your so-called hype video. You insulted every player in this game," he growls. "So what if you survived your Dungeon run? Now you're going to die anyway. Karma, bitch."
The camera zooms in on Erebus as a dangerous grin stretches across his pale face. His shadowy tattoos flow across his cheek and forehead, and as he draws his dual blades, one eye glints silver-white, and the other, chasm black.
A collective shiver races through every enemy standing in the shadow of the D'Raven. Most viewers watching from the safety of their homes instinctively back away from their screens.
"Now you're the one misunderstanding," Erebus says coolly, twirling his blades. "Karma's only a bitch if you are."
He steps forward to the edge of the ruin wall, and as one, every player in the angry mob instinctively steps back.
The Rakshasa included.
Oh Ur Dead's even more furious when he realizes he backed down, so he raises his voice to rally his troops. "What are you all quivering like babies? It's twenty against five!"
"What?" Oh Ur Dead whips his head to look up and see who spoke.
"Twenty against one," Taliesin explains again, yawning. "We wouldn't want to ruin Erebus's fun."
And with that, the rest of the Chaos Party takes a seat on the parapet, and Taliesin pulls out a deck of playing cards.
"No fucking way," Oh Ur Dead protests.
Erebus leaps off the high wall like a champion diver, flipping and twisting in the air. The Rakshasa doesn't even have time to scream before Erebus lands a Fangbite on his broad demon shoulders.
They're face-to-face, daggers digging deep into the demon, and Erebus smirks. "Yes fucking way," he whispers, then head-butts Oh Ur Dead with enough strength to halve his remaining HP.
The video then cuts back up to the ruin wall, where it stays on the Chaos Party playing a very intense game of Go Fish. Crashes, thumps, explosions, and various screams punctuate the air, and the wall shakes a few times, but none of Erebus's party even bothers sparing the fight a glance.
Right as Taliesin takes Nightfury's Queen, and the Draegkyn threatens to rage quit for the third time, silence falls on the battlefield below.
"Finally," Nightfury sighs, flinging his remaining cards.
Cut Scene to the Chaos Party posing on a rocky hill in the PvP zone right outside the Dungeon. Redcap Castle fills the background. Erebus stands in the middle of the group, with the others artfully arranged around him, almost like a band album cover. Nightfury's sitting on a rock, lower than the others, hiding his face in shadow under his hat.
His current sigh is a seamless transition from the last clip.
Piled haphazardly below them?
Twenty dead players.
Their bodies haven't disintegrated yet because of one of the game's latest updates. Now, when Players die in-game, they have to wait 15 in-game minutes (5 minutes in real life) before they can Resurrect (respawn).
During that time, the V-Haven pumps extra happy feel-good scents into their pods, and runs a diagnostic to make sure they're mentally, emotionally, and physically okay. This hadn't seemed necessary during the beta, but during the first day of the official game, many new players had been unprepared for the drastic shock of the realistic deaths.
Dying in virtual reality packs a significantly greater punch than dying on a computer screen from the safety of your own gaming chair.
Psychologists on staff with Vir-Tech suggested the forced lock-out before Regen for two reasons:
1) It gives the V-Haven time to make sure a recently-killed player is stable and ready to play again. If the player's elevated heart rate, adrenaline levels, etc, don't go down, the V-Haven can force log him out into the Real World so his brain can fully accept he's still alive.
2) 15 minutes of forced "time out," so to speak, is a harsh punishment for death that will make Players try harder not to die. Several mental health professionals have expressed concern about the mental and emotional toll repeated deaths within such a realistic game setting might cause, at least at first, before everyone's brains have truly gotten used to VR.
Once the players have acclimated, the 15-minute Resurrection penalty might not be necessary anymore, but for now, the devs and psych staff are simply seeing what kind of effect this change has on the players and on gameplay itself.
Under this update, when a Player dies, his avatar stays where it fell for those 15 minutes (unless someone moves the body, like Erebus's party just did). This also makes it more difficult for the survivors to keep battling, since it's like a real battlefield, where the fallen warriors get in the way and fill the space.
When time's up, the body disappears and Resurrects at the Player's last Regen Save Point. This is usually in a Town/City, but there are exceptions. For example, when you die in a Dungeon, you Resurrect at the Dungeon Exit.
If another Party member (who doesn't die) knows a Revive Spell, a dead Player can be Resurrected right where he fell within those 15 minutes, but only if the Player's "ghost" also stays nearby.
The ghosts are small smoky wisps that float directly above the dead avatars. Ghost players can't hear, but they can see in gray-scale. There's a spell for dispelling the ghosts, so the dead can't spy after death, but no one's learned it yet.
Most of the ghosts from this battle have already chosen to go to their Regen Save Points, where they will be floating around for the next fifteen minutes. They probably don't want to spend any more time with the crazy D'Raven than they have to. Plus, you can only access the forums and in-game chat once you've left your avatar's body behind.
Oh Ur Dead, however, has chosen to remain.
Erebus doesn't seem to mind the spectral company. In fact, he looks right at Oh Ur Dead's ghost and grins.
He pulls down his pants, moons him with his rose-covered boxers, and...twerks?!
"Until next time," he croons at the ghost, then blows him a kiss.
Nanuk and Kara karate chop Erebus at the same time.
The pained grin on his face tells the viewers he absolutely thinks it was worth it.
Erebus schools his expression back to his neutral smirk and stands straight, looking through the camera into the very souls of the viewers.
"So now you've seen a glimpse of what we can do.
If you want front-row seats and the ability to truly see how to beat a Nightmare Mode Dungeon, join us at 08:00 for the very first Viren's Refuge LiveStream. We'll be tackling Blackguard Bog, which is, of course, child's play for the Chaos Party, but others seem to struggle with it."
He shrugs, like he can't imagine why in the world anyone would find one of the most difficult Dungeons on Realm One hard to beat.
"Most importantly, however, I think we've proven who the best party in Viren's Refuge truly is. I've heard some plebs say the Four Horsemen Party is top of this game, since they stole so many First Clears yesterday."
Erebus sneers, and the rest of his Party's expressions range from unimpressed to disgusted.
"Pathetic," he spits.
"Polemos, Limos, Loimos, Thanatos. Hacks, the lot of you.
Grabbing First Clears on Hard Mode? Anyone could do that! You're not proving you have skills, you're only proving you love stealing EXP from everyone else and that all you care about is Ranking."
The camera zooms in on Erebus's face, highlighting his flat stare. "Again, I say, pathetic."
The camera zooms back out, taking in the body pile, the dark castle in the background, and the Chaos Party, looking stronger than ever.
"Since we've so graciously provided everyone in the game the opportunity to LiveStream, we're issuing a challenge. Four Horsemen, you want to prove you're more than hack Rankers? LiveStream yourselves attempting a Nightmare First Clear. Blackguard Bog. We'll give you until 08:00 to get over there. Both of our Parties will start at the same time, and it'll be a race to the First Clear.
If you don't show, the world will know why."
He silently mouths the word "pathetic" one last time.
Then the camera moves to Taliesin. "Ossa from Ossa's Insights will be hosting an official online gambling den for this upcoming event! In-game currency and Federation Credits both accepted. Click the link in the video description for more details and to place your bets.
Do you think the Four Horsemen will show up or wuss out? Which Party is truly Number One in Viren's Refuge? Will anyone be able to clear the toughest under-Lvl 15 Dungeon in the game in one shot? These bets and more, all available on Ossa's Insights!"
Erebus spreads his wings and draws the camera back to center.
"We are the Greatest. We know it, and soon, you will, too.
And the world will see that the so-called Four Horsemen suffer from delusions of adequacy.
Chaos Reigns Supreme."
With that mic drop, the video freeze-frames and once again distorts and crackles, turning Erebus into a sci-fi work of art while the dead players strewn at his feet become disjointed Picasso bodies.
Another frenzied thrum of Taliesin's lyre punctuates the audio, and the inky-black jagged CHAOS REIGNS returns to the screen. Then the golden words "A Tales of Taliesin Production" flies across the video, and the screen goes entirely dark.
A single line of white text appears in the center of the black screen:
"Chaos Party will Return. Blackguard Bog Nightmare LiveStream. 08:00"
• RELATED COMMENTS •
Nobody: holy hells!! shit's bout to GO DOWN
Kvasir: "delusions of adequacy" omfgggg
Thanathot: yooo @Polemos @Limos @Loimos @Thanatos y'all get a load of this shiz yet?!?!
I_Am_Inevitable: Resurrect is 15 mins, right? and all the bodies were piled for that last section...so moral of the story, erebus killed 20 players in 15 minutes
--- F3AR R3AP3R: less than 15. boi still had enough time to make a damn speech
--- I_Am_Inevitable: fuck. hadn't even thought of that
Brian: OMG. Guys. Am I imagining this, or....is Erebus BOXERS BRO?!?
--- Bowjob: No, BB was wearing different boxers earlier.
--- Erebus: It is indeed I, Boxers Bro! The wonderful @Arachne at Silken Strands provided me with these brand new undershorts!
--- MothaEffinOedipus: MOTHAEFFIN PLOT TWIST
--- i♥boxersbro: !!!!!!!!!!!!!
lil stevo: is that the One Punch Man theme "Hero" playing in the background while Erebus is beating up 20 dudes at once?
--- Taliesin: (￣▽￣)
--- lil stevo: boy, why you gotta be so extra i stg
KaliSutra: we could fuel like 100 cities with the Power of Erebus's Egoism
Ash Ketchup: I bet erebus has a motivational playlist called "I'm Godly" that's just Lizzo's "Good as Hell" on repeat
--- Erebus: *shares link to Playlist 'Don't Hate Me Cuz U Ain't Me'*
--- SoullessButHappy: ... this is literally 100% Lizzo, Beyoncé, Queen, and battle anime OSTs
--- Definitely Just a Swan: 100% unsurprised
--- Harry's Pot: ^^ same
--- Thanathot: ^^^
--- Jade Thorn: ^^^^^^^^
--- notice_me_erebus_senpai: uh...i actually really like this playlist
--- yourmomgavemehermes: MOOD.
Kvasir: soooo...we all watching that livestream, right?
--- Odin'sEyeball: fuck yes.
--- MothaEffinOedipus: fuck yes +1
--- gratuitousgigi: i still have an exam in a few hours and i still have no idea what this game even is and i still have no idea what the hell i'm doing with my life.
--- gratuitousgigi: so obvs fuck yes +2
--- Shadeslayer: FUCK YES +100000000000