Yesterday morning, I was heading to the Stealing Creation lobby where it dawned upon me these two things:
1. I sucked at defending myself in any other style than mage since melee left me prone to piling, and ranged was just plain ineffective at my ranging level.
2. Neglecting my thieving level had left me open to scoundrels who mocked me by taking my stuff, the most annoying being runes, and I can't block them when I'm attacking some other target. Granted, they usually died moments later when the others caught up and piled that person (in general the stealing folk were lower leveled and had no other way to defend themselves), but nonetheless I wasn't about to let some random schmuck gain amusement from my sucky thief level.
With that in mind, I decided to go train thieving for a bit.
A few bits of teleporting, a pile of tuna, and a carpet ride later, I was at Pollnivneach (horrible name for a town, really), maple blackjack (o) in hand. I'm not really clear on whether it's more effective than the (d) model, and I thought having some defense would be handy should the victim get quite cross, but I wasn't about to lose out on some potential increase in bludgeoning effectiveness, however undocumented it may be.
Pointing at the nearest smooth-chinned bandit, I quickly tugged him into Ali the dyer's house. After shoving the woman out of her shop/home (the sun would do her good, I thought), I wedged said bandit into a corner, and began switching back and forth between knocking him senseless and cleaning his pockets of any gold that was tucked in them.
And then the madness of tedium began to set in.
After the first few runs, I noticed that I was gaining a significant deal more gold than I was spending in cooked tuna. Indeed, if I was spending any at all; the fish was basically free, having been obtained through a few years of mind numbing fishing at the Karamja docks, enduring both fire 'begz0rs' and the piles of burnt, smelly fish next to burning flames that could never harm the dock in a million years. Regardless, 24 tunas were nothing compared to the 10k or so I gained from every trip, and it was slowly increasing with each level I got.
A few more runs in, I had gotten the technique down right, and could now subdue the fellow quite handily. His protests against my efforts to steal and his attempts to retaliate were none too effective if I quickly managed to pick his pocket before he could draw his blade to assault. Then he would suddenly draw silent as if nothing happened. The same would occur if I fled to the roof. For some reason, a scant moment was enough to make him forget every single time I had liberated the contents of his wallet while he lay on the ground snoring for the duration of two seconds.
I started to get more philosophical by every run. How did both my character and the bandit hear and see yellow birds when dizzy, when neither of us had ever seen a canary in the whole of Gielinor? Why were shaven bandits more challenging to steal from as opposed to ones possessing more facial hair? How did the man possess enough coins in his pocket for me to purchase a set of dragon boots (for indeed, I had managed to gain that sum eventually) and yet was only wielding what was either iron or steel equipment? Was there some reason that he refused to wear a helmet to shield himself from the regular head trauma that I continued to inflict? Why does he attack me when when I talk to him normally yet completely trust his curiousity to me when I lure him? When I was away, couldn't the man just open the curtains and escape? Why did Ali the dyer show similar signs of being curtain challenged? Had I sent her out of her property a few hours ago and forget to give her some sunscreen? (Edit: yes.)
And then the truth started to seep in.
I had just spent a few hours smacking a poor, nearly defenseless man around while I cleaned him out of every gold piece he owned, and not only was I allowed to participate in this senseless act of psychotic, criminal sadism for ages without any consequence (unless you count a couple randoms that gave me some noted snapdragons as punishment), the game was encouraging me at every step with fanfare, fireworks, and congratulations.
Meanwhile, this guy was just minding his own bandit business, and suddenly I, some crazy stranger who has no other business in town, arrive out of the blue, trick him into getting hopelessly trapped in a cramped, tie-dyed building, and now I visit him on a regular basis to beat the daylights out of him with a studded thumping stick and take his money, and no doubt he hasn't eaten yet plus he probably has a family depending on his banditry paychecks to get by. I can hear the kids now, asking bandit mommy, "Why hasn't daddy come back from work yet?" and mommy has to say "daddy is just out on some important bandit business" while the kids complain that they're hungry, and she has to sit there worrying where the heck her husband is.
In fact, that probably explains his sudden memory loss and lack of will to fight back. Every time I have the gall to pick his pocket right in front of him before he is about to strike, I steal a bit of his soul too, and bit by bit, he loses the spirit to attack me. Also, there's only so many knocks to the head before a man forgets why he is trying to kill me when I leave his sight for five seconds. Sometimes he remembers that I have killed his leader when I accidentally address him like a human being, but that is quickly lost in the haze of bruises that I have given him. When I ask him to follow me, he hopes that I will lead him to freedom, even though it is mostly futile thinking on his part, or maybe he hopes that I will consider some mercy for his act of submission. Also futile.
In the meanwhile, I consider my time away at the Shantay Pass a nice respite from all the torture (hitting that guy repeatedly without killing him is hell on the tennis arm), and since I get a tidy sum to use, I take the path of sloth and bribe the guard even though I could get a pass for just 5 coins, all because I don't want to have to use the extra slot that I could use to carry a tuna, and if he looks the other way nobody is the wiser to my coming and going, which is good when you're trying to not be found out when you have a kidnapped victim in a windowless building who the authorities are no doubt looking for.
And what is all this pain and anguish upon one man's shoulders for? Besides the levels, all I really want is a slightly reduced chance at getting my runes stolen from me by lower leveled players, many of who I have fired large balls of energy at just for trying to gather clay nearby, while they clearly posed no other threat and wanted some points. One had asked for mercy, and I had granted it but called him a wuss. After a few moments of contemplation and silence, he immediately commenced to kicking the barrier I had set up, and I had struck him down on the spot for his contempt. Stealing the runes was their only joy in life, having one upped somebody that to them, was just another higher leveled character who held no sympathy while they camped near their spawn point and collaborated with other players to blast whoever ventured outside into oblivion, while their hurling of armorless players with the Redemption prayer on was all for naught since I had a full load of food and took bites between bouts of setting them ablaze and casually mentioning that the conflict was not going too well for them. (And yes, I was quite polite about that, instead of the "haha pwnt those noobs" you usually hear. That's just rude, really.)
I had considered giving up this whole act of depravity altogether to take a stand against this immoral behavior and prove that mangling another human being for profit wasn't the only way.
And then I noticed that I had hit level 65 and could move on to smacking some Menaphites.
I hope the purple guy I trapped in that hut can last for fifteen more levels than the bandit.