Chapter 22: MythDrannorBusters
I sort out the big haul of loot from Zhentil Keep, and put away all those Bracers to a mule character. I'll need money for some Hold Monster scrolls (4500/piece) and lots of healing potions (1600/piece) for the Oxam's Tower optional challenge.
We have a suspicion about the guy at the Standing Stone, which is confirmed.
Alma: -- Back to square minus one. Immortal spirit, probably backed by the Pool of Radiance, occupies the body of some strong monster, has an army under his command, just like back in Valjevo Castle. But this time, we have bonds that are controlled by him. And now he shares control with no one else. The dice was loaded in his favor from the beginning, he knew we would find a way to remove the other bonds.
Szilva: -- Never lose hope. The sun rises every morning, and it washes away all fears, worries and doubts from yesterday. Without hope, without renewal of spirit, evil would win every time. Lathander, the Morninglord, the Heavenly Inspiration, the Conquering Dawn embodies all of that and more. We have his sacred relic with us, which allows us to harm extraplanar spirits like Tyranthraxus.
Eper: -- For once, I welcome your preaching. Thanks, I needed a morale boost.
And to break the doom and gloom, the comic relief gallops by:
Citrom: -- Yes, run after her endlessly! Serves you right, you drooling idiot!
The ruins of Myth Drannor are not a friendly place. In the first area, resting is impossible as we're attacked by the local fauna immediately: giant spiders (poison), phase spiders (blink, poison), and thri-kreens (paralyze). The other residents are elven spirits, the long-dead builders of the place, and they've seen enough looters, so they're easily offended. After a few steps, one of them appears:
The spirit tells us he has seen the thri-kreen enter some enchanted webs, and then they say a word (krrkik) and gain strength.
Barack: -- Does this web have side effects like the magical muscle-increasing dust I'm using? I have so much trouble with all the extra hair...
We find the web she speaks of in a building nearby.
Eper: -- I don't like this... Entering spider webs voluntarily is for chosen ones who die in an idiotic fashion.
And Eper is right, we are attacked by spiders as we enter the web, which limits us to 1 MP and decreases to-hit.
Eper: -- If I had an electrum piece for every time we walked into a trap, despite my warnings...
Narancs: -- ...it still would be less money than if I had an electrum piece for every time you rushed us into danger, because, 'treasure'!
But the real surprise comes after the spiders are dispatched.
Barack: -- You shouldn't play dirty tricks on me, or I'll tell on you to my mom!
Citrom: -- That's supposed to frighten anyone?
Barack: -- My mom is a very high ranking druid. Once a bullying boy ripped my shirt, and she summoned an elder water elemental which drowned him! And laid waste to an entire village before its time was up, teeheehee. My mom is very supportive.
Citrom: -- Your mom is dangerous, I take back what I said. And... a lot of other things I said about you earlier.
Random encounters here are pretty dangerous because of the one-hit kills, and the phase spiders' blinking is excellent defense for them. At least Cloudkill works:
In the southeast corner, another spirit speaks to us.
Eper: -- As I was saying...
Szilva: -- I sense that this spirit is pure of heart. Figuratively speaking, of course. We should trust her.
Eper: -- You trust people with a pure heart? They're the ones who turn into blind zealots most often...
Barack: -- Oh, I'm sooooo envious! I should've become a Swanmay! Alma, you're already our leader, leave some fame for us, too!
Alma: -- I always give you all the responsibility you can handle.
Barack: -- Meanie!
As we approach the central building, a strange figure appears. He says: 'Hail, bonded ones'.
Narancs: -- Catch him by surprise? You mean, like hiding in his bathroom?
Citrom: -- Or sending him a prank gift, which drains the Pool of Radiance when opened?
Alma: -- I'm just happy that we have an ally here.
Inside the building, we fight a large group of thri-kreen and find some treasure. The mantis warriors are less dangerous than the spiders.
The east building has a lot spiders, and one of them drops Szilva, the only one who can remove poisoning, another one drops Barack. This triggers a hasty leave, then a visit to Ashabenford's temple. The building doesn't have any treasure, just bones.
Near the graveyard, a chance encounter happens with a patrol of the Knights of Myth Drannor. A quick understanding is reached that we share a common enemy, and they promise to help us with the final battle by creating a diversion.
Narancs: -- If there will be a final battle at all...
Barack: -- Oh don't be such a sourpuss. In my favorite books, the final battle is epic and the heroes are victorious!
Citrom: -- In my favorite books, the final battle is tragic and the heroes are eternally damned.
Eper: -- In my favorite books there is a hollowed-out part where the merchant has hidden the key to his personal treasure chest.
We meet a lone Red Plume warrior. He talks about his ancestors by disturbed foul spider-things, and promises a magic bow
, caemir, ancestor, foul spider things, bow - radiates magic
Narancs: -- Since when do humans have elven ancestors? This guy is either a con or another rakshasa.
Szilva: -- *casts Detect Magic* The bow is real, not an illusion, and it's strongly magical. Maybe he's partially elven, like, had an ancestor from Myth Drannor many generations ago?
Eper: -- Easy reward. We killed any number of foul spider-things already.
Alma: -- All right, let's do this... But I also think it's strange that a Red Plume walks here alone.
Another ambush, Narancs's hunch was right. It has far fewer monsters than in random encounters, plus one rakshasa, no big deal. Still in the graveyard:
Alma: -- No, you don't.
Eper: -- Whyyyyyy? What need they have for it? Are there beauty pageants or balls for elven spirits? And if we don't take it, some other looter will! At least we respect them whenever it doesn't lessen our loot!
The last building in this area has a spirit guard at the entrance. He is pleased with our presence, recounting all the occasions when we acted honorably. He grants passage to the building behind him, which is a noble, maybe even royal family's huge, multi-level mausoleum by the looks of it.
Inside two suits of armor "guard" the stairs up.
Eper: -- Look at the craftsmanship, it's from before the Weeping War! Worth a lot to art collectors even if it isn't magical! I wonder...
Alma: -- *shoves Eper towards the stairs*
And it's strong stuff: staff sling +3 (Szilva), ring of invisibility (Eper), ring of prot +2 (Narancs), a light crossbow +5 plus 12 blessed quarrels, which kill rakshasas on hit.
Szilva: -- See? Doing the right thing brings payoffs, too.
Eper: -- *tears in his eyes* Just like my old ring... I will be backstabbing enemies with extra nostalgia power.
The ring of invisibility is a very strong item in the Gold Box games, it works like an endless Improved Invisibility. Cannot be targeted by ranged attacks incl. spells, no disengagement attacks and not broken by attacking. This item causes me to rearrange some gear, Eper gets the Bracers AC 2 from Citrom and instead of using ranged attacks, he will dart around the battlefield (MP 12, no armor), happily (back)stabbing everything.
Backstabbing is difficult in the GB engine. Every time a unit is attacked from behind, it turns to face the attacker. But every unit is capable of only one such turn every round. If another attack comes from behind (which must be another direction than the one which provoked the free turn) during the same round, it becomes a flanking attack (to-hit bonus), or a backstab if it's by a rogue. Since the engine doesn't display which round is the current one, and there are often other mobs behind a target's back, it can be difficult to execute backstabs.
Having visited everywhere, we move deeper into the ruins. The second area is what I call 'Rakshasa Town'. Just past the south entrance:
(By the way, both plumes of smoke are animated)
Narancs: -- Now here's the problem. Is this a rakshasa, or an illusionary rakshasa created by a rakshasa, or an illusionary rakshasa created by an illusionary rakshasa created by a rakshasa, or...
Alma: -- I never turn down a peaceful offer. Tricks didn't help the rakshasas we met so far, right? They won't help this one, either, if he just plays with us.
The rakshasa introduces himself as Tirsheya, and has an offer for us. Their kind loves gambling, and he suspects that another player is cheating. He says the nearby storehouse has proof. If we kill the monsters guarding it, we get to keep what's in the storehouse, he's only interested in the proof.
The storehouse is guarded by a pack of hell hounds and margoyles, the two common monsters in Rakshasa Town.
After the fight, another rakshasa appears with a full retinue. He gives us a choice regarding the two of them:
Alma: -- We've given our words to Tirsheya, he didn't cheat us, nor did he threaten us. Easy choice.
In this fight, we have our very own rakshasa! Sadly, he leaves after. It was really cool to have a basically magic immune target on our side, with spells of his own.
As we progress deeper, Nameless appears another time:
We were getting on with it...
The buildings here are mostly ruined, but we find a park-like place. Here, we spot a hobbit rushing into the dense bushes, a hell hound chasing after him.
Eper: -- Yes, the little ones are in danger! That's exactly how conning works!
Disregarding Eper, we chase the hobbit, and walk into another rakshasa trap. After the fight, we must turn back. Trying to rest in Rakshasa Town triggers an attack immediately, like in the Burial Glen.
On the way back there is another random encounter with two rakshasas, I fight to the very end, but fail, need to reload. That combination of magic immunity plus AC -4 plus starting behind a wall of melee mobs is a real killer. And I can't prebuff since it happens randomly.
We leave the ruins for R&R, and come back through the other entrance. What follows is the most shameful, shortest adventuring day of this Let's Play. During the battle, the lightning bolts decimate one mage, a Stinking Cloud disables Szilva and Eper, then when the two rakshasas run out of the higher level spells, one of them charms Barack. I still win, but only with three party members standing. Barack had to be Hold Monster'd and coup-de-grace'd after two failed Charms of my own, charming doesn't expire by killing the caster. I need to turn back after moving two tiles...
On the next trip, we discover a man chased by hell hounds.
Eper: -- Alma, 'fess up, you're a masochist, you like lightning bolts ripping through your body. You want to rescue this illusion, too?
Alma: -- Yes. I'd rather err on the side of compassion.
But the man isn't an illusion. He's an escaped slave of the rakshasas.
Szilva: -- Choking on your own words, Eper?
Eper: -- I won't, until that treasure is in my hands. Whispers are whispers.
Eper does choke on his words after we find the hidden treasure as indicated. A long sword +5, gauntlet of dexterity and... a girdle of storm giant power!
But when I equip it, it is bugged just like all the other Stregnth-raising options: it sets Str to 100, which has no bonus at all. I was, really, really frustrated at this point. There are two difficult battles before us, and I really counted at least on this Girdle to help.
Maybe it's not the code, it's the character data, since the problem is everywhere? A suspicion arises that it's the transfer from Pool of Radiance which twisted the Str values, probably along with Szilva's changed charisma. I check the data in a hex editor, and YESSSSSS, the problem is there. A pair of values lists each attribute's base and current value, and all of the characters have 64h (100 decimal) or 32h (50 decimal) as the base value, and 11h (17) as the modified value. Just a few edits, and then a reload. The characters look okay, the girdle works! But the walls have disappeared from the iso display. Another save and reload fixes the wall problem, maybe the character files have CRC?
And then I test the other options, Enlarge gives 22 Strength, as it should, with a level 11 mage. Frustration is replaced with joy. We really needed those Strength boosts for the remaining challenges. This boosts melee DPS by about 150%, better to-hit and much higher damage combined. Enlarge's duration is measured in turns (that's 10 rounds), it's possible to cast it upon entering an area, and having the buff on basically full time.
Eper gets the girdle, and turns into a murdering invisible stabber.
Edited by Endrosz, 16 January 2015 - 10:39 AM.