As the students filed in to the Union Hall for the morning lecture, Braam the Stalwart was busy at the board at the front of the room. Faith noticed some different faces from yesterday and she wondered if these were new students or if she just hadn't noticed them before. In particular, there was a brown-haired human male with a small metal puppy sitting at the front table.
"Oh, isn't it adorable!" cried Twila who crouched down to touch the small robot dog.
"BARK!" it snapped at her, clamping its tiny jaws together.
"Stop, Tigrin," the man said sharply. He kicked the puppy across the floor where it hit the wall with a loud clank.
"You didn't have to do that!" cried Twila indignantly. She tried to help the puppy back up but it snapped at her, ran back to its master and wagged its tail happily.
"It doesn't hurt him, he's a construct," said the man.
"I'm a construct and if you tried that on me, you'd find yourself paralyzed for quite a while," said a soft, echoing voice behind them. A purple-plated warforge with glimmering turquoise blue eyes had entered and taken a seat in the back of the room.
"Warforged are different, Compel. You of all people know that. Tig needs to learn to obey, this is just his programming," the man spoke in condescending voice, as if he were talking to small children who just didn't understand.
"Can I begin, Mr. Kyerrh, or are you teaching class today?" Master Braam asked sternly.
"I can, if you prefer," answered the man with the steel puppy.
Master Braam glowered at him, but took a breath and continued.
"Mr. Kyerrh, your homonculus is not required to attend this class. Please put it away as it is a distraction."
"True, Tigrin here probably knows the material as well as you do anyway," answered the man, who leaned over and with a spin and a snap, the small puppy transformed into a compact box that Kyerrh placed in his backpack.
Master Braam's skin seemed to flush almost red in stark contrast to his white beard.
"Enough insolence, out of my classroom!" Master Braam said with controlled anger. The man sighed as if unappreciated, gathered his things together and started out the door. Just before he walked out he looked back at the master and said,
"If you need help, I'll be at the Wavecrest."
The students gaped open-mouthed at the insult. Faith was shocked. Master Braam was one of the nicest, most helpful masters on the island and everyone loved him. Who was this guy to get away with talking to him like that?
The dwarf's face flushed a deeper red, almost purple against his white beard and he turned and stomped upstairs to the private quarters and offices for the Union. They heard some shouting, clearly heard the name "Holman Kyerrh" and a loud thwack and a crash like something had been thrown. Then he reappeared on the steps, carrying an armload of weapons and breathing rather heavily. He dumped the weapons on the table in front of the room and turned back to the class.
Master Braam tapped his black board. The large gold letters said, "Weapons and Weaknesses."
"Let's get down to business. We are going to talk today briefly about some of the types of creatures you may find yourself facing in your career as an adventurer. Today's lecture is an overview only- I highly recommend you research any job you take and find out the dangers beforehand so that you can prepare for them.
By knowing your enemy, you can protect yourself better and do your job more efficiently. Attacking an enemy with weapons it is vulnerable to will do the job more effectively than attacking it with weapons it is resistant to and the longer you take to dispatch an enemy, the more you and your team get hurt.
Enemies may be either resistant or vulnerable to several qualities. Some are even immune to certain injuries. First is the type of damage. Do you know what this is?"
He pulled a sword from the pile on the table and swung it rapidly back and forth. The entire first row of the class ducked.
Malut spoke up.
"A long sword," he answered.
"Correct, Mr. Zughan," said Master Braam. "And what type of damage does it do?"
Malut looked confused.
"It hurts people?"
"Slashing, Mr. Zughan. A sword does slashing damage." He picked up a large hammer and swung it. The front row again ducked.
"Mauls, maces, hammers and fists do bludgeoning damage. Rapiers, arrows and daggers do piercing damage. Miss Compel, what type of damage do your spells do?"
The purple warforged started a little at being directly addressed. Faith was surprised that Master Braam addressed the warforged as "miss." She had no idea a warforged could be female. She snuck another look at the warforged creature in the back of the room to see if she looked any different than the other warforged she had met. Faith couldn't really see a difference.
"Magic?" Compel answered tentatively.
"Correct!" boomed Master Braam. "Now, when it comes to magic, your weapons may be enchanted to do extra damage, either when they were made or by temporary spells cast on them. Know your weapons!"
He picked up a curved blade that shimmered with a purple glow and waved it. The students, getting a little more used to this behavior, leaned far back in their seats watching the blade warily.
"This scimitar is anarchic. Anarchic is an alignment enchantment that causes this weapon to do extra damage to lawful creatures. Chaotic or neutral creatures can't be hurt with this weapon, other than the natural damage a scimitar does.
Weapons can be holy, unholy, anarchic or axiomatic. An aligned weapon does more damage to creatures with the opposite alignment but no extra damage to creatures of the same or neutral alignment."
He replaced the scimitar and picked up a small curved blade on a handle that left a small trail of snowflakes as he swung it in front of him.
"This kama has a magical frost property. It does cold damage, but only to creatures who can be damaged by cold. Cold weapons are not very effective on a water elemental, for example whereas fire weapons will not do extra damage to fire mephits. Pretty simple stuff, no?"
The class nodded, but some had that glazed over look that indicated they weren't listening.
"Let's review: Weapons have a damage type- slashing, bludgeoning, piercing. They may have an alignment that does extra damage to creatures of the opposite alignment. And they may have magical properties that add elemental damage such as fire, ice, acid, electricity, force or even sonic damage. There are other magical enhancements as well that have different effects from bone breaking to curse spewing.
Knowing what your weapons are capable of is half of being prepared. The other half is knowing what kind of creatures you may be fighting. How does one know what creatures they are going to encounter? Mr. Stoutfield?"
"Research, sir." answered Ardan quickly. "Finding out what lives in the area and what works against those critters."
"Correct. How do you conduct research Mr. Stoutfield?" pressed Master Braam.
"Well sir, there's a couple ways," began Ardan. "Some stuff you just know because you've learned it either growing up in the area or from other people who've been there. If you can read and there's a library around, you can look critter up to find out more about them. You can scout out the area if you have time, but mostly you talk to other adventurers in the taverns to find out what they know."
"A reasonable answer, Mr. Stoutfield, thank you. If you have a ranger or wizard in your group, they are most likely to be the ones to find out what's in store for you. Rangers tend to be natural students of the outdoors and wizards have access to written information, such as in the Library of the Twelve. But it's everyone's job to know as much as you can about the dangers you face and that can be as easy as striking up a conversation with the locals or your employer. There is not one way to research your enemy, there are many. Being unprepared has cost many an adventurer dearly so take the time to know your enemy.
If you have the opportunity to team up with adventurers who have worked in the area before, it can be a good idea to include them as they will have a better idea of what types of creatures you will be facing on your mission. But don't rely on any one person to know what is ahead. Gather as much information as possible. Monsters can show up in areas they don't normally live in and the locals are likely to know if something is terrorizing their livestock.
Knowing what you may face allows you to bring the proper weapons and spells and even skills. The terrain may be challenging. Your enemies may sicken or weaken you. More often than not, you can find someone either in the area or through the Adventurer's Union who's been where you are going. Do your preparation as it can save lives.
That is all I have for today. Does anyone have questions for me?"
There were all a little afraid to ask questions as Master Braam was still visibly annoyed. Master Braam, as Master Dern had done before, waved a hand over a parchment and then over each student's neck as they left, giving them credit for completing the lecture.
On the way out, Faith pulled Ardan aside and quickly briefed him on that evening's mission. Like the others, his eyes lit up and he agreed enthusiastically to meet her at the Storehouse after twilight.