88 Erebus Acts All Leader-y
Thank the gods for over-30 AGI.
This Dungeon is gross and awful and wet. But, thanks to my Agility, as long as I keep moving relatively swiftly, I don't sink too deep into the bog water.
I secretly believe that with god-tier AGI, like +60 or +80, it could be theoretically possible to run across water like a wuxia hero.
Right now, I feel a bit like Legolas in LOTR when he's light-footing it across the snow and the rest of the Fellowship is slogging behind him, chest-deep and miserable.
Naturally, Nightfury is Gimli in this analogy.
"Fuckin' hell, who the fuck designed this shit dungeon?" he is currently grumbling.
I have a feeling the LiveStream may have already cut off Nightfury's vocals, since the number of BLEEPs they'd need to block out his stream of profanities would ruin the atmospheric Dungeon music.
His AGI is the lowest in our Party, so he's trudging so deep in the water, he has to hold his bow awkwardly above his head so it doesn't get wet. The Bog water won't directly damage it, but it will lose durability faster if wet, and the water increases the bow's weight, which throws off Nightfury's aim.
The fact the small weight change affects his shooting so drastically is actually a testament to his high level of skill and the precision of his shots.
Not that I plan on admitting that.
Instead, I focus on running actual circles around Nightfury's slow butt as he keeps lumbering forward. My job is killing off mobs before they get too close to him and "accidentally" splashing him enough to get his pink hat all wet but not enough to mess up his bow.
Okay, that second part is more a side perk than an actual part of the job description.
Every time one of the underwater grindylow mobs does manage to sneak past me, I snatch the nasty water demon by its horns and throw it into the air. And every time, without fail, Nightfury perfectly shoots the punk mini-demon in mid-air.
With a wink at the LiveStream camera, I pull out a flask from my belt that I secretly bought from an NPC silversmith while everyone else was refilling their potions.
It's engraved with the Dreamworks Nightfury wearing my Nightfury's floppy hat and horns.
My Nightfury hates it so much he gnashes his teeth every time he sees it.
It's the best.
"Cheers, mates!" I toast the LiveStreamers doing the Erebus Yeets Shit Drinking Game.
"I hope you die of alcohol poisoning," Nightfury deadpans.
"No worries, Grumpy Gus! I would never desert you on a Dungeon raid!" Stab, slash, slice.
"I don't need your dumb ass, Boxers Bro!" Shoot, shoot, Triple Arrow Explosion!
In a lull between mobs, I undo my belt and equip it gun-belt style across my shoulder and chest. Then with a grin, I unequip my pants and give Nightfury a rose-patterned booty shake.
A Boxers Bro specialty.
Cursing my name, he's so annoyed he doesn't notice the slight discoloration that denotes a sinkhole. Suddenly, all that's visible of my Draegkyn pal is his hat and the bow he instinctively hoisted even higher.
My stomach lurches in alarm. It's too early for him to have the racial swim skill yet, so I rush over to pull Nightfury out of danger.
He comes up coughing and spluttering, but alive. Then I notice the symbol next to his name and curse.
Total Submersion Weakened State.
For going underwater without the right gear and the Swim Skill, he now has a temporary debuff that adds double weight to his gear, increases his Stamina consumption, and adds a Chilled State that will cause his hands to tremble and mess up his aim.
There's only one way to cancel the debuff, and I can see in his eyes he knows it, too.
"No, nonono. It's fine. I can fight like this. I don't need—"
"Yeet yeet, dragon brotha!" I toss my sopping wet teammate toward one of the boulder platforms dotting the dungeon landscape.
"Gods daaaamnit," he yells as he flies.
Then he sighs.
Me and a few hundred random strangers on the internet chug our drinks.
"You're welcome!" I call out to Nightfury when he lands. "Now stay up there until you completely dry off and end the Weakened State."
We'd considered having Nightfury use the platforms to fight before, but he's the slowest member of the Party, and since we're doing a speedrun, it makes more sense for him to constantly move forward. As the most nimble, I paired up with him to keep him alive, and since I can Taunt, we haven't had any trouble taking care of our share of the mobs.
The other three are staying far enough ahead to draw their own mobs, but not so far we can't all come together every time we come across a mini-Boss. My Fickle Fortune is still active, so splitting up makes the most sense since we're facing 100% of the mobs, and we need to be as efficient as possible.
Luckily, I chose this Dungeon for the race on purpose. There are tons of paths through the misty Bog, and based on the time the Horsemen posted for their Hard Mode clear, I know which path they're taking. It's the one posted during the beta and labeled the "most direct path" to the Final Boss.
During my Movement Speed testing assignment in the beta, the devs opened Blackguard Bog to me as a single-player Dungeon, then constantly manipulated my AGI and gear to see how different options affected Movement in the bog water.
I spent so long running around this Dungeon, I actually found three routes faster than the one published online.
The shortest route distance-wise auto-triggers the Blackguard Hidden Boss, so it's normally only the second-fastest path time-wise. But since I know my Fickle Fortune will trigger the Hidden Boss no matter what path we choose, I went ahead and chose this path for my Chaos Party.
At least this way, we can know exactly where the Boss will appear.
And even accounting for the 100% mob spawn rate, even if the other team doesn't trigger the Hidden Boss, we should beat them by forty minutes at least.
Actually, given how much better everyone is doing than I'd thought, we might beat them by a full hour.
For obvious reasons, we had Taliesin open the Blue-Tier Chest we received for clearing the last Nightmare Mode casualty-free. Thanks to our boy's Luck, it contained the third piece of the blue-and-gray armor set Kara's been collecting.
With the set bonuses, her defense is way high now, so she's finally able to take on the high-DPS Tank role she's been gunning for. She alternates between spear-and-shield and only spear, and she's so talented at Blocks and Parries, she barely needs her shield to avoid damage.
I'm so used to just taking hits so I can move in as close as possible, or Dodging all hits because I'm in the Red Zone and two breaths away from death, I'm pretty sure Kara's actually better at Blocks and Parries than I am.
(I really wanna spar with her sometime soon.)
As the lightest member of our Party, Taliesin races around in shadowcat form, wreaking havoc and having the time of his life. Nanuk splits his time between Healing and busting heads with his magic staff. The mobs are so small, his boomerang isn't super useful except when we fight the Bosses.
I send them a message via the Party Chat, explaining what's up with Nightfury, and they desert their current mobs to move even further ahead. I run around to grab their mobs and as many other mobs as possible and bring them back to Nightfury, since he won't be able to move off his rock for a full minute.
To snag the last few stragglers, I yell, "LEEROYYYY JENKINS!" and hightail it back to Nightfury.
[Taunt (MAX): The trash talk skill. Allows you to immediately draw Aggro from enemies within 15 meters and maintain Aggro for 8 seconds. Cooldown: 2 Minutes
Lee-Roy Jenkins Bonus: Double Range for Aggro Draw, +2 Seconds Aggro Maintain
Boxers Bro Bonus: If you Taunt in your Underwear (no trousers or other bottom gear/armor equipped), +5 meters Base Aggro Draw, +2 Seconds Aggro Maintain
Note: Player-Created Bonus \\\\ D'Raven Erebus]
[Creator Bonus: +2 Vitality, +1 Charisma, +150 Reputation at Taverns]
I look up and salute the devs, who I'm sure are watching and have been waiting for me to trigger this skill bonus.
Then, chuckling to myself, I get to business slaying monsters in my undies.
Soon enough, every last monster has taken its last breath, and Nightfury is debuff-free and ready to jump back into the fray.
[Chaos Party Chat]
Erebus: all right, peeps, we're on our way. remember not to cross the red-tipped marsh plant barrier until we catch up!
Taliesin: yes, mom, we know (◔_◔)
Kara Geir: it's cute when you get all Party Leader-y
Nanuk: I never knew you had it in you. So proud. ( ✧ ⌣ ✧)9
Nightfury: ew. he's blushing. it's gross.
Erebus: am not
Nightfury: *sends image: pink-cheeked Erebus reading his messages, smiling like an actual normal person*
Erebus: damnit dragon
Erebus: *sends image: Nightfury, face as pink as his hat, mouth open in shock as he realizes Erebus is now carrying him bridal style across the Bog*
Erebus: boo and me'll be there in a jiff! ^_*
Taliesin: hurry up, lovebirds! Hidden Boss tiiiime
Erebus: love you, too! \u003c3