A thick fog rolled in and dissipated in a matter of moments. The open field and practice dummy were replaced with a view of a small village of earthen huts surrounded by a wall of wooden spikes. For a moment he just took in the scene. He could see people moving around in the muddy streets. The smell of woodsmoke hung in the air. Distant birdsong played at the edge of his hearing. This was all in his head, he knew this, but the scale was amazing.
“Well,” a gruff voice called from somewhere behind him. “That took you long enough.”
He turned to see a large green skinned figure dressed in simple leather armor leaning against a tree. Their head was shaved down to stubble, they had two sharp looking tusks jutted from their bottom jaw, and their eyes were a shock of gold.
“Do I know you?” As he spoke he realized his voice had changed. It now had a soft melodic edge to it.
“Focus on me for a moment.”
The name ‘Quinn’ hovered over the Orcs’ head.
“Don’t say it.” The Orc waved a hand. “Here, you’re Valandril and I’m Gorbix.”
“Gorbix.” He nodded as he said the name. “What do we do now?”
“You see that village down there?” The orc picked up the long, wicked looking blade. “They’ve got some trouble with a troll nearby and we’re going to handle it for them. Of course, we have to go talk to the mayor and accept the contract first, but this quest is the same for everyone, it’ll teach you the basics of how things work, and then it’s up to us to make find our own adventure.”
“We just roam around and do things?” Valandril watched as the orc began to walk toward the village.
“No,” Gorbix laughed. “We quest for glory!”
“By the Seven Gods, elf.” The orc shook his head. “We can fight to save this world, or destroy it. If you want, you can spend you days harvesting herbs along the countryside, or you can become a gladiator and fight all manner of beast and man. We can fly to the stars and visit far off worlds, control mechsuits the size of small skyscrapers, or if you’re in a bit of a mood, we slaughter every person from here to coast.”
“Yeah.” The orc stopped and turned to face the elf. “There are quests along the way, treasure, a bit of glory to be had, and even a poker tournament if you’re interested.”
“It couldn’t hurt to check it out.” Valandril caught up to the taller orc.
“Greetings friends.” A village waved as they approached. He was dressed in a sleeveless burlap tunic, long muddled-blonde hair, and an axe over one shoulder. There was something familiar about his face, but Valandril couldn’t quite place how.
“Greetings, human.” Gorbix switched to a low tone. “The NPCs are pretty robust. They’ve got a good selection of dialogue and characterization, but if you play long enough you’ll find a the point where things start to loop.”
“We have a nice Inn if you’re in need of rest.”
“We’re looking for work.” Gorbix waved a hand at his elven companion. “Do you know of any trouble in the area that needs sorting out?”
“You should speak to the mayor about that.” The villager leaned in. “We have a troll problem.”
Valandril watched the village walk off into the forest.”Where does this all come from?”
“There is a framework out there that the main system runs on, but the details are filled in with your brain. Everything you’ve ever seen, read, or imagined get accessed when they need something done. Take my sword for example.” Gorbix held up the blade in question. “It’s basic shape and condition are programmed in, but the details are filled in with your brain.”
“That’s pretty cool.” The elf nodded in appreciation. “Where’s the mayor?”
“Follow me.” Gorbix strode through the gates to the town and headed down the main street with purpose. “I’ve done this a few times now. This is one of the better starting points. The skills carry over to the other setting so you’re not out of your depth when you switch. If you start out in the space opera section with laser blasters and starships it’s hard to transfer over.”
“But a shield and sword carries over to a space battle?”
“Plasma sword and a kinetic barrier.” The orc winked.
“Plasma sword?” Valandril thought for a moment. “Isn’t that like a light-”
“No, no, no, no.” Gorbix waved a hand back and forth. “That’s a copyright protected piece of intellectual property. A plasma sword is simply a plasma based weapon in the shape of a sword. The most common configuration is a saber, but there are other options.”
“I’m guessing that happens a lot?”
“Oh yeah.” Gorbix stopped in front of a wooden longhouse in the center of the village. “Are you ready to meet the mayor?”
“A few things before we go any further.” The orc turned to the elf. “Don’t let anyone know your real name. Your account is connected to your personal information, and there are people out there who would hack your accounts. I know your name because we’re in class together. If you had added me from inside the game I wouldn’t have that information. Play it safe, keep your personal info to yourself.”
“I’ll try to keep that in mind.”
The orc turned back to the door. “Follow my lead. If you start another character you’ll have to do this all over again, so I’ll run us through the fastest conversation path I can.”
**Running a bit long & winding, breaking it up into 2 pieces**