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Ramblings of The Mad God, Day 1: Folly

Greed And Failure

The plan: a document of ultimate triumph in Realm of the Mad God. Culminating, no doubt, in a climactic mano-a-mano encounter with the titular Mad God himself, Oryx.

I have plan. I will execute it. I will document it. I shall not waver. It will be flawless. I will be legendary.

The reality: a pathetic non-saga of greed and failure.

I start, as I always start, in the Nexus. It’s a hub-world to store, swap and buy loot, and it’s also a refuge from the constant war which wages outside. I’ll need it later, I’m sure. For now though, it’s my chance to become superhuman even before my adventures begin.

Heroes need to travel light. They love shiny things, almost more than life itself (and all too often lose their lives because they’re busy staring at some glittering trinket on the ground instead of at the Undead Hobbit Warrior that’s dragging a horde of zombie midgets their way) but anything more than, let’s say, 12 invariably priceless pieces of loot and they’re out of pocket-space. That makes the Nexus a beggar’s paradise, or at least it would if beggars wanted magic sceptres and Iron Quivers rather than food, booze and all manner of exciting and deadly narcotics intended to distract them from the abject horror of their day-to-day existence.

So I lurk. I’m an Archer in a natty green cap that clearly identifies me as a stoic, deft fellow of the forest, but I’ve behaving like a starving, diseased pigeon lurching desperately across hyde park whenever it thinks it spots a stale breadcrumb on the breeze. I heard the noise! The noise! The noise that means someone has dropped something which is probably just more crap starting gear but might, might, might be a rare and precious bow. Runrunrunrun. There’s a brown sack full of my hopes, dreams and marginally improved attack value here somewhere…

There! Run! Too late. Another Archer materialises out of nowhere, presumably having just pressed the hallowed F5 Key Of Ultimate Salvation which god-damned cowards use to instantly escape a fight that's not going their way, darts an inch to the left and he’s on the sack. He leaves another behind. I look. I slump. A starting Bow. I look at him, peering at the rag-tag assortment of items he’s carrying. He’s how got an Iron Bow. The bastard. Five seconds earlier and that would have been mine. I’d have been unstoppable. Or, at least, slightly less stoppable.

This cycle of scavenging continues for ten minutes or so, and after a time I’m not in bad shape at all. Let’s see: Iron Quiver, Snake Skin Armour, couple of health potions. Could be better, but could definitely be worse. I’m still haunted by the loss of that Iron Bow though. No matter. There’ll be more. I’m going to have a long, healthy and impossibly rich adventuring career, after all.

To the Realm! Despite being fairly well-equipped, I’m still a tiny, pitiful baby who could be felled by a stern look, so I hang around the coast, picking on pirates and snakes until I’m a little stronger. It’s humiliating, frankly. Snakes? Whoever became famous for beating up snakes? “Yeah, he went to a magical world ruled by an insane deity, but he just shot some reptiles while everyone was battling lich kings and cube gods. Well done him.”

All the while, Oryx bellows about his invincibility, about the many fabulous fiends he’s summoned to defend him. A horde of beefier adventurers rushes past me as I’m disconsolately unloading another arrow into a hapless serpentine throat, and I sigh. They’re off to save the world. I’m just doing pest control.

Impatience gets the better of me. After all, I’m going to be the god-killer: shouldn’t be wasting my time like this. I concentrate on where a group of my more veteran peers are roaming and zzzzzzzzzzzzap! There I am, right with them. The sky is a horde of arrows, throwing knives and magical energies. This is it! This is what’s it about! Heroes, victory, impossible bravery...

“Run away!”
“Nexus lol”
“Give up!”

One by one, my new companions vanish. Apart from the ones who are already corpses. I look down, and without even knowing something hit me I realise I’m a heartbeat from death. If I’ve still got legs, it’s miracle. Something appears on the edge of my vision. Something squidlike, I think. Something a hero would battle, no doubt. I don’t even look at it. Zzzzzzzzap!

I’m back in the Nexus, hoping no-one recognises me. Safe, but shamed. And almost dead. A friendly passing priest wordlessly emits a healing aura and at least I’m no longer visibly wreckage. None shall know my dishonour. Back to battle! This time. This time.

Time passes. Snakes die. Goblins die. Elven wizards die too, once I get braver. I grow stronger. I finally find that Iron Bow. I’m ready. I know it. I identify that horde of adventurers from earlier, concentrate and zzzzzap. Straight to the frontlines, where Oryx's toughest guards roam.

It’s carnage. Fireworks of doom and death and triumph. I can’t see a thing through the horde of other adventurers, but I loose arrows in every and any direction and seem to be rewarded for it. Somewhere, something is dying, and apparently I'm contributing, though I'm not really sure how. I just smile and nod and making convincing noises, but hide at the back of the crowd and spamspammityspam. Hey, battle is easy! I’m growing stronger and stronger, gaining a torrent of experience from the derring-do of the bigger, braver men at the front of whatever the hell this battle is against (I literally cannot see what, if anything, is being slain in such vast numbers) and I don’t even have to do anything. That’s how good I am. I’m unstoppable! All I need to do is hang around here a little while longer and I’ll be more than ready to take on Oryx. This is it! This time! This ti..


No. Noooooo. This wasn't supposed to happen. This isn't fair. I was doing so well! I had such good loot. I had... I had a blinkered hunger for self-satisfaction that caused me to pay no attention whatsoever to what I was actually doing.

Right. Well. Let's try this again, eh? Next time: godslayer. Definitely. Probably. Maybe. Hopefully. Reaching more than level 6, anyway.

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Alec Meer avatar

Alec Meer


Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about video games.