Chapter 14: A Crucial Hint
Aldrich then distributed his stat points. He reviewed to himself how exactly the stats worked.
Strength was a measure of physical power.
Agility was a measure of physical speed and coordination.
Vitality measured the total health pool and the durability bonuses a character got from wearing armor. Every point in vitality raised total health by 3.
Magic raised the mana pool and was the scaling stat for most spells. Every point in magic raised total the total mana pool by 3.
Attunement was a stat that indicated how many skills, spells, or units a player could have at any given moment of time. Every five points in attunement allowed a player to attune an additional spell, skill, or unit.
High levels of attunement were also required to even begin to access summoning stronger units.
For fighter type classes, attunement increased the refresh rate of the skill charges they could use per day, but this was not really relevant for Aldrich who used spells that costed mana.
Perception increased accuracy, critical chance, and critical damage. It also gave bonuses to skills and spells that checked another's status. This, for all intents and purposes, was the worst stat for Aldrich to level as he generally did not rely on his own spells or melee strikes to deal damage.
Now that Aldrich's strength was up to a decent level, he dumped 3 points into magic and 2 points into vitality.
Agility: 8 (13)
Vitality: 6 ] 10
Magic: 5 ] 11
HP: 21/21 ] 33/33
Mana: 11/15 ] 33/33
Because Aldrich's Legion Necromancer had stat affinities for Vitality, Magic, and Attunement, he got double stat bonuses from investing into them. This meant that the 2 points he put into Vitality became 4 and the 3 into Magic became 6.
Where other classes only got 1.2x or 1.5x boosts to affinity stats, Legion Necromancers got a whopping 2x modifier.
This might have seemed incredibly good, but it was balanced out heavily by the fact that stronger undead required health offerings to raise, making it a balancing act to decide whether to use a massive health pool to create summons or tank hits.
High level spells also had notoriously high mana costs, and where other caster type classes had passives that offset the cost of stronger spells to large degree, Legion Necromancers had no such perks.
The only spell cost reductions they had were in raising and maintaining undead.
As a result, they burned through their high mana pools deceptively quickly when they were pressured to defend themselves without their minions with offensive spells, exacerbating their weakness when alone even more.
And, most notably, Legion necromancers needed to rely on a massive number of units. Hence why Attunement, the stat that increased how many units one could control, had to be at a high number for the class to be usable to begin with.
Attunement was pretty awful as a stat considering it was mostly non-combat related, but this was because it was assumed that the Legion Necromancer would optimize their combat potential with summons. As one leveled, the quality of diversity of summons increased, and so Legion Necromancers scaled incredibly well with levels.
All in all, this made the Legion Necromancer quite bad at early levels but one of, if not the strongest class late game due to their sheer versatility with proper minion setup and control.
Aldrich's strategy was therefore simple.
Level the basic physical stats of strength and agility to a functional level where he could begin to keep up with Alter superhumans but then invest everything else into magic, vitality, and attunement so he could be an efficient Necromancer.
Already, just with a few points in Magic, Aldrich nearly doubled his ability to use [Chill Bolts].
Defeating Variants in this weak forest was going to be quite easy now, and he proceeded to do just that, actively looking for prey.
Hunting, as the System had said. Always hunting, always reaching experience, for those levels that would make him strong, strong enough so that nothing in this world could deny him the vengeance and justice he was owed.
Aldrich roamed the Variant forest and killed ten more Strikers over the next hour. They were the most common Variant in this area and among the most common in general though he knew that deeper in, there were reports of larger, stronger Variants.
These, though, he had no data on, so he stuck in what was essentially a 'low level area' to kill as many Strikers as possible.
Over time, Aldrich had amassed three zombie Strikers to cap out his unit count to 5/5. Using them like a pack of hunting dogs, he easily tracked down more Strikers, surrounded them, and efficiently killed them with [Chill Bolts] and zombie maulings.
Aldrich returned back to his Sign and first checked his status after his hunt.
Striker (x10) defeated! 100 EXP
EXP Bar: 5/60 ] 105/60
Level 3 ] 4
EXP Bar: 45/120
*Five stat points available to distribute*
Aldrich distributed all of his stats to magic. Attunement was definitely important, but it was not a direct combat stat. All it did was allow him to attune more spells and minions. If he was too weak to obtain spells and minions in the first place, it was a dead stat.
In the early game, like with most mage type classes, magic was the primary stat to level for Legion Necromancers.
Agility: 8 (13)
Magic: 11 ] 21
Mana: 3/33 ] 3/63
Now, at 66 total mana, Aldrich finally had a mana pool that he could work with as a mage. With that settled, he checked his wristwatch. It was 10 P.M. and the date was now October 31, 2117.
A day had passed since he and his friends had died under Seth Solar's fists. He sat on a large rock beside the Sign while Adam and Elaine sat beside him.
His three Strikers curled down by his feet like sleeping dogs, though they were always vigilant for threats.
"Almost feels like we're camping," said Aldrich as he looked up. As an Undead, he had perfect night vision, and when he looked up, he saw stars speckling the sky, painting up the bright and vast milky way. "You know, that was one thing I wanted to do together. When we all became heroes.
My parents took me out once and seeing the stars like this without city smog and pollution to cover it up was amazing.
Glad you guys can enjoy it too."
Aldrich looked to his side to see Adam and Elaine staring up but with dull eyes and open mouths. Their skin was pale, cracked, and rotted in patches. There was no sign of recognition there, just adherence to Aldrich's mental command to look up.
"Though I guess it's not the same," sighed Aldrich. He balled a fist and looked down. "I swear to both of you, with this new undeath I have, I am going to make sure Seth Solar, Ghost, and all those useless wastes of oxygen that make up that group will suffer."
That was when Aldrich noticed something. The white glow of the Sign illuminated a faint glint of glass under the leaves.
Aldrich cocked his head and immediately investigated it. He uncovered a pile of leaves to see a pile of empty syringes. He inspected a syringe and narrowed his eyes.
Its contents were nearly empty, but there were unmistakable traces of light blue liquid.
This was X, a heavily addictive narcotic popular among younger, wealthier folk. He remembered the technician at Blackwater he had tried to blackmail for information about which students he sold drugs to.
Looks like some of them involved Seth Solar's gang.
However, it did not seem like Seth Solar was the type to do this drug. X had pretty serious side effects including weight loss, causing skin to pale, and constant jitteriness when off of it.
Seth Solar had not exhibited any of those symptoms. Nor did the rest of his crew.
Then, Aldrich remembered. A thin, gaunt face. Pale skin. Lean, bony hands.
Ghost was the one that did these drugs, and it seemed like he dumped his needles here so he would not get caught.
Aldrich snapped his fingers. "Here boy," he said, beckoning a Striker to come to him. He held out the syringe to the zombie wolf-beast, and it curiously sniffed the object.
"Find me as many of these as you can," said Aldrich.
Within minutes, the Strikers uncovered a massive pile of syringes buried in a shallow pit. Not to mention other drugs and the shattered remnants of his, Elaine, and Adam's Eye-Phones. Judging by how many syringes there were, he figured that Ghost came here basically every single weekend after partying out in Haven.
Aldrich shook his head. Seemed like this was the routine dumping spot for any illegal things for Seth Solar's gang. That included Aldrich and his friends' corpses too. That was all they were reduced to.
Illegal trash to be buried with used up syringes.
What a sick **ing joke.
But this was a massive hint. This meant that at the very least, Ghost came here routinely to dump his needles.
In fact, considering it was only 9 P.M. on a Sunday night, it was highly likely that Ghost might even be coming back tonight.
Seth Solar might have been a sociopathic monster, but he had his own pride to consider. He and the others in his gang went out to party on Fridays and Saturdays, but not Sundays as they had training awaiting them on Monday.
All of them except Ghost who was likely too addicted to X to back out of a Sunday trip for a free hit.
Aldrich immediately went back to the Nexus using the Sign. He had little time to waste. He had to get everything ready before Ghost got here between midnight and 2 A.M.
As the glowing light of the Sign enveloped him, he took in a deep breath, feeling the weight of the moment settle on his shoulders.
For seventeen long, long years, Aldrich had faced nothing but abuse. He had been beaten, spat on, called worthless, and told to die for the sake of humanity's evolution.
The world had torn his parents away from him without a second thought, torturing them and breaking them apart when they were some of the only precious lights of good left in this dark world.
The world had torn his friends from him under a merciless, uncaring fist.
All because Aldrich was powerless.
But now, he had power.
He remembered his last words to Seth Solar and his gang before he died.
He swore he would be their judgement.
This would be the first trial. His first judgement.