Part 6Update 6
"Perhaps he left a note? Such as that piece of paper on the table?"
"Hey, you're right! Oh his penmanship is terrible."
"The Ice Mine? That's a thing?"
"Are you sure you read it correctly?"
"Either that or ice cream like I said, his handwriting would make a five year old wince. I guess I can ask around about it and do some shopping."
The shops now have new equipment, and we can actually afford upgrades well, for Rooks anyway. We don't have any other party members at the moment, but that's a temporary circumstance. As a note, we can't summon an additional spirit to fill out the party either. It's one at a time, although you can switch out in the exploration view and as a free action on Rook's part in battle. The Ice Blade is elemental, but still probably our best option. And what seam mail would be is anyone's guess.
"I guess this has to be it not like there's any other mines around here ice or otherwise "
"It certainly looks like an ice mine. And feels like one."
"You're an elemental spirit do you really get cold?"
"Well perhaps not as such, but "
"You've got to be kidding me. Well, if this is an actual mine that explains what happened to the miners."
Palette swaps, palette swaps as far as the eye can see! And that's only the tip of the iceberg, appropriately enough for where we are. Most of the enemies are either neutral, or at the very least aren't strong against Sylph.
"This is going to take a while."
We could burn through a Return Ring to go back, but that goes against all my item hoarding principles so Rooks gets to walk back to town.
"Okay, second try wait, stairs? Progress!"
"I am sure of your eventual success."
"You know, you talk a LOT more when there aren't other people around. I really need to find Axs."
"Oh yes, progress."
"Shouldn't be that hard to find I mean, how long ago did he even leave?"
So, a word or two about the ice dungeon. It's a huge maze, with multiple stairways and tons of dead ends. There are four sets of stairs down from the entryway, only two of which actually go anywhere.
"I don't have to walk back! And y'know what Sylph, you're on the bench. Come on out Efrite."
"IT IS COLD HERE. I DISAPPROVE."
"At least that makes sense coming from you."
"IS MY PRESENCE REQUIRED FOR THIS?"
"Not really, but at least you've got a bit more muscle on you than Sylph."
"PLEASE EAT THIS IMMEDIATELY."
"Don't mind if I wait, what are you trying to say?"
"I DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT."
"Oh for the love of SYLPH!"
Also nearby - a Fire Card and some Medicine, which is a higher grade recovery item.
As a note, I don't actually know if any enemies can petrify you in this game. It's entirely possible Rooks has that spell just for this moment.
"Ugh oh, thank you, Rooks!"
"That's all right, but how the hell did you get here? And why were you a statue?"
"I've uh kind of got some bad news about her "
"What? Oh, about her getting kidnapped? Yeah, I know about that that."
"You're not exactly the stealthiest person around. Salah was with him, right?"
"Yes, he will try to retrieve the Enchanted Jewel. I'm worried about how he'll treat Salah, especially once he doesn't think he needs her anymore."
Our new companion joins us at whatever level Rooks is currently at. You can see from his stats that he's a powerhouse on the physical end, but useless at magic. And...
"Wait, did they steal your weapons and armor too?"
"I guess? Wait, where DID all my stuff go?"
"I trust you, so I won't ask for any promises this time. We'll get you some new stuff next time we head back to town. In the meantime, I think I have a spare shield."
"Okay, that'll help back to town we go!"
"Seriously, a battle axe and how did we get two iron shields?"
"Don't ask me, you're the one who was doing the buying."
"Whatever. Anyway, I battle axe and an iron shield pretty stereotypically dwarven. You can just strap the other one on and call it armor."
"You don't have much luck with companions, do you?"
"You don't know the half of it."
"Another dead end what was this, a storage room or something? What did they store here?"
"Your guess is as good as mine, but I don't see anything left behind."
"Is this what you've had to deal with the entire time I was a statue?"
"Pretty much, yeah."
"Balls to this. I think I was better off as a statue."
"These things are enough like pigeons that they'd probably have just shit on you."
"Still thinking about it."
"How many floors down are we now? I've lost track with all the stairways."
"Three. It's a dwarf thing."
"Yeah, I should have known from the very slight differences on the monsters down here. Rookie mistake."
"You mean a 'Rooks'ie mistake, right?"
"Don't make me stab you."
Yes, those are multiple palette swaps within the same dungeon. I'm coming to understand the love for this game, but they really didn't break the budget on enemy designs.
People have mentioned before, but the enemy cards are actually animated and move through three or four frames.
"Deep ones? Aren't those ocean creatures?"
"Ocean or ice mine, it's still a water thing."
"So do you think these guys are here to clear out the mine, or are they here for Ariel?"
"If they're not asking questions, I'm not either."
"What is with this place!? There's miles of corridors, but they don't lead anywhere."
"Sometimes you end up delving some strange, twisty passageways when you're following a vein of ore."
"I've been meaning to ask about that. When they call this the Ice Mine, did they mine ice here or something else or what? I don't think you get ice out of holes in the ground."
"I wish I could answer that question, but I had no part in this mine."
We're picking up levels steadily adventuring through this place. At level 17 we get some of the keys to actually surviving an extended dungeon crawl. Restoration of Spirit revives a destroyed spirit with full HP and MP, while HP restore is a battle spell for Efrite that restores about 100 HP. Since he regains MP passively, this greatly extends our endurance on dungeon crawls.
"Whoa, those are a couple of big boys."
"The good news is that they crowd out anything else. Just aim for the kneecaps."
Trolls are an encounter in the bottom level of the mine, but they give 100 XP and 220 GP each. They're actually an improvement over most other groups.
Paralyze All is another great crowd control option that can lock down an entire screen full of enemies if you're lucky. Even if you're not, it can still shut down a couple so it's usually worth a try.
Did I mention that this dungeon is freakin' huge? There are three floors, and there's enough treasure that the map I've been using goes all the way through the alphabet and restarts over again with a different case. It's a massive slog that takes literally hours to clear.
"Okay, this is a huge space this has got to be "
"Not without some kind of door or other way to keep the riffraff out."
"Alright, screw it. We're going to get a good night's sleep and coming back."
At some point I might have cheated and went back to grab Axs some plate mail. Without the ability to use the Ice Blade he lags behind a bit on offense, but he's not constrained by enemy elements. All the honey has helped to keep Rooks competitive even in Strength and Endurance with a dwarf, and his stats are a bit more balanced. Next update: We'll finish this damn dungeon.