Part 3: Under Fort Avernum
"So this is it. Welcome to our new home."
"Strange, there's nobody here. I wasn't expecting a reception committee, but surely there would be guards?"
"Well that's disquieting. Surely there's someone alive down here. The entire place can't be a tomb, right?"
"Brr. I just wish they'd let me keep my cloak."
"I'd been meaning to ask about it. Not to put too fine a point on it, but uh...you're a tad underdressed."
"Yeah, believe me this isn't intentional. Long story short, I got a magical curse on me, any cloth just kind of shreds apart. Leather's fine, but you try wearing a leather shirt in high summer, see how you like it."
"Well, then I have some good news for you."
"Allow me to declare "dibs" on your behalf."
"Gee, thanks. I'll pass."
"Or on second thought...cripes that was a cold breeze."
And no, the game literally will not let you proceed until you pick up a mangy old cloak and put it on.
"I can already tell we're going to love it down here."
"People! Civilization! We are not alone! Hallo-oo! Anyone there?"
"Me and my big mouth." "Alright, kitties! Hear now the Word! H̽͛͆̔҉͕̮̞å̜̦ͭ̚͘n̵̲̣̬̼̱̦̻ͦ́̾ͩ͞ͅd͚̫͓̖̩̞̫̮̯̏̒ͧ̏ͯ͑̚͘s̼͚̈ͩͨ͡ ̤̼̬͎̪ͨ̃͜͜o̴̘͕͙̯̍̀͑ͩ̕f̷͙̎ͭ̿̎̋̍͞f͎͉̥̹̩͕̅̏̈̓̚̚ͅ!̨̻̻͍͖̄̄͌͂ͅ"
"<Agh! Kill the bitch!>"
"Wow, okay. Don't piss off the lady."
"Admire later, fight now!"
Smite is the basic offensive spell for priests. Hits one target, does decent damage, but it can miss and is a little expensive to be casting every round.
(Shut up, game, she's fine)
"Now, barbarians, fear the might of my magical prowess!"
"<Frank? You okay there Frank?>"
"<Aw crap dude. This has not been a good day.>"
And this is the mage basic attack spell. A lot cheaper, but more enemies resist fire than do energy. Byff's spell does less damage because he's dumber and worse at spells than Elly is.
"Those who deny the Words shall come to ruin. It is done."
"Ma'am, you just scared the hell out of me. All I ask is that you stay pointed at our enemies."
"In the meantime, we've found some supplies."
"A decent pair of pants! Dibs! I don't have to run around in my pyjamas any more!"
"All yours, mate. Personally I prefer a little more freedom."
"Yes, we've noticed."
"Giant rats? But they won't appreciate how amazing it is when I roast them!"
"Do it anyway, there's good eating on those things."
"What? You want I should let good meat go to waste?"
"My word, there's a lot of vermin here. Reminds me of my bar exam."
"You had to fight giant rats to get a law degree?"
"No, I...metaphor, chum, metaphor."
"I'm not going to question the hoarding habits of rats. Yoink."
"I'm sure that helmet must be flearidden."
"Then they'll be joining good company. Like I said, yoink."
"Weaklings and malcontents? So we aren't the only ones down here?"
"I don't think I like you. Would you care to hear the Words?"
"Whoa whoa whoa slow down. You must have some motive for doing this, locking yourself up with the new arrivals. What do you want with us?"
"Oh he is so getting a talking to."
"More importantly, he mentioned others down here."
One-off conversations like this one, that can't be repeated, often have various reaction options that all do the same thing. No matter which we picked here, Lagran would have left afterwards.
"And here they are. Hallo, are you all right?"
"No, honey, we aren't thugs. How are you all doing? How did you get here?"
"Nice. What'd you do?"
"Diplomacy, my friend. Will these others be all right?"
"Fair enough. I'm guessing you need our help?"
"Normally I would not offer my services for free...but dealing with this bandit serves us all. I'd be happy to help drive him off, and I imagine my compatriots feel similarly."
"Thank you so much for volunteering us. You get to take point."
"Suits me fine."
Friendly conversations like this one, however, can have more ramifications. We could have asked for a reward, but these people are destitute so it couldn't have been significant.
"Seems the kitties are in cahoots with the bandits. Fantastic."
"I don't like your tone, mister! N̥̫̗͍͋̈͗̑̓ͫ̀ͮ͢͞ọ̦ͮ̈́̓̓̉͋̆͐w̶̦̦ͧ̇ͥ̓ ̴͎̦̗͕̟͐ͩ̎͑͛͊̍͘a̴̝̲̹̥̎̾ͫ͞p̸̻̙̳̩͎̤̝͛͆̽͌̄̈́͑̆͌́́o̧͖͇͙̒̽̄͟ĺ̡̘̟̝̭͉̻̼̰̭̐ͥ͒́͐ͦͣ͠o͈͖̻͈̟͍̬̽̌ͬ̕͟͞g̠͍̻̲̻̭̜̏ͯ͌ͮ́͝ͅͅi̼͎̮ͥͫ̈́̈͢z̨͙̲̱̭̓ḛ͔̫̯̠̅̈̀̋̈̋ͫ!̛̫̻̳̝̇̊͑͋͐̌͆̚͢"
"I picked up some javelins back there. Let's see how the ol' throwing arm is doing."
"Ahh, that brings back memories."
Wang is more specialized than any of our other characters so far and thus has great damage (compare to Kane's melee damage)...but he only got 6 javelins.
"Bandits! Fear my massive venomous worm!"
"You keep that thing away from me!"
Call Beast is pretty worthless, summoning an AI-controlled low-level monster. It's too expensive by far for what amounts to a minor distraction.
"I'm guessing these were the "servants" that bandit was referring to. If this is all he can lord over then he can't be much himself. Let's keep moving."
Very subtle, game. Though I guess this is the tutorial.
"Bandit. We've a score to settle with you, I believe."
"Face it, buddy, you've lost. Give up. We'll make it quick."
"Well, let's get this over with."
"You aren't going to be killing anyone, little mister!"
Exactly what it says on the tin. Most damage in this game is from melee, so this spell is invaluable.
"Hey, Mr. Lawyer Man, be a buddy and keep him busy while I snipe his friends out."
"No problem, his aim's awful. Been hitting that skribbane a little hard, there?"
"Shut up! And hold still, damn you!"
"You're all alone! Now s͈̬̤̥͉̗͑̒͗͐̄͂̄ͅẵ̯̹̀͂͊ỳ͍̝̝͖̱̬͓͕̘̉͞͡ ̷̷̙̟͇ͩͫͬ͂̚ͅyͣ́̇҉̯̤͈̫̙̝͈͞͠o̵̯͇͉͗͊ͮͬ̽̾ũ̵͓̻̤̪̪̦̥͝r̵ͦ̇ͨ҉̺͓̭ ̨̋̇ͯ͆͋͗҉͖̺͍̟͍̳̩̰p̵͓͎̫̌̈́̒͜ͅr̬͖͖̝ͩͯ̕͠ã̝ͪ̅͜͞y͖ͦ̔̎̿e͐̈̍͡͏͍̩r̢͔̠̪͉̋̌ͥ̈̋̆ͥ́s̲ͭ̎̅̆̽̉͋͘͝!̝̲̰͌͞"
"Oh god, it smells like a tavern back alley!"
Stupid plot powers!
"What's the worry? This can't possibly have any ramifications down the road. He's just a bandit."
"Anyway, he's gone, and good riddance. Let's go tell that nice lady that she and the others are free."
Speaking to Brissa here gets us an experience bonus, enough for everyone in the party to level up.
"Cheery lady, isn't she? Well, shall we go as well?"
"My word, that roof is...high."
"Don't fight! We're on your side!"
"And where were you when we first arrived? I thought everyone was dead for a bit there!"
"Sounds like the idiot bandit that tried to take us hostage. I trust you captured him?"
"Ahh, no worries. We kicked his ass once, we can do it again. By the way, we kicked his ass."
"Ooh, ominous! But why didn't you stop him?"
"Wait, you people actually check your targets? There goes like 90% of my wrongful death lawsuits."
"...not that I can really object to that."
"I don't plan on staying long. How do we get out of here anyway?"
"Just because you never found a way out doesn't mean it doesn't exist! I'll find it, or my name's not Magus Byff!"
"Anyway, deary, tell us more about yourself! You're the greeter here?"
"Avernum is what we call this place. Countless miles of tunnels, caverns, and icy subterranean rivers. It is your new home."
He smiles sadly.
"In ancient times, Avernum was one of the names for the underworld. It was the place where souls were sent to be judged when their lives were over. Appropriate, yes?"
"So why be the greeter? I can think of more pleasant occupations."
"Not down here you can't."
"Supplies are good. All we have is our clothes and Byff's new cloak."
"...so I see. Incidentally, do you mind standing downwind?"
"And what about this information, then? I have no idea what this place is like. Besides ''not pleasant''."
"And why can't I just stay here? Surely you could use another helping hand!"
"Oh, poo. Well, thanks anyway darling!"
"All right. Now what?"