Part 15: Formello
"This is nice. Bucolic, even."
"Heads up, got some cattle incoming."
"They almost look like cows. Kind of. If you squint."
"...have you been sneaking from Elly's booze stash?"
"C'mon, let's check out the town."
"Still with the walls. I guess it's not always peaceful here."
"Byff, you liked the farms? Well, this feels like home for me. Kind of. Probably about as close as I'm gonna get down here. C'mon, let's take a look around."
"Another job board, another group of hapless townsfolk to fleece. What trivial jobs can we accomplish for the innkeeper today? Perhaps he wants us to buy his groceries?"
"...is Motrax the innkeeper?"
"Don't know, don't care. Here, Elly, carry this sack."
"And why should I? You can carry it yourself, One-Eye!"
"Kane? Byff? ...yeah, okay fine."
We grab all the quests, of course.
"Cows! And lizard cows!"
"Don't mind my friend. He's spent a little too much time communing with nature."
"If he thinks lizards are cows, then I hope one of you knows healing magic."
"...yes. We have that angle covered."
"Lizard tending's a rough life, eh?"
"Wait, dragons? Nobody said anything about dragons."
"I thought the Empire killed them all! They're way too powerful to be left alive! How could they miss one? Let alone five!"
"Still not carrying that sack. You can deliver it to Mr. Motrax yourself."
"Heeeeeeere lizard lizard lizard! Want some of Mr. One-Eye's meat stash?"
"Huh, would've thought that'd get a reaction."
"It did! He's a hungry lizard! Um, can someone help get him off my arm, please?"
"Oh, Byff. You've got to be firm! O̱̼͗͒f̹̞̥̦͙̦̎ͪ͂͛̆̓̈́f̶̰̠̯͈̫̯̑̿̈ͮͤ!̡̱̝̘͕͔̬͔̓͌ͨ͒̉̋̾ ̲͖͈̬̉͛͠B̤̻͈̰̼̹̎ͯ̚ͅa̖͎͈͇ͫ͋ḏ͍͙͍̰͍̠̌ ̫̬̦͓͙͌̏̎͛̏l̟̩̮̯͉͌̍̄̓ͭ̊͡i͌̐͑͌͗͠z̸̳̻̅͋̓̋à̯̳̳͓̞͍̌̚r̩̮d̦̰̼͓͔̉͛̇ͬ̾̎̚!̨̭̙̳̮̖̤̲̑͋ͩ̚"
"I don't think lizards listen to the Word, Elly."
"Maybe I could serve it a cease-and-desist letter?"
"Oh, for --" *whack* "There."
"Yay, I still have both my hands! Thanks, One-Eye!"
"You gonna be okay, buddy?"
"While One-Eye pretends to be comatose, how's about we leave the lizard pen and keep exploring?"
"You're short on food? Mushrooms got hit by the blight or something?"
"Oh dear! Perhaps we can help? I know we have plenty of --"
"You leave my meat stash alone."
"Darling! I have wonderful news for you!"
"Would 140 pounds of mushroom meal help?"
20 sacks at 7 pounds per sack. That's a lot of mushroom bread.
"I would have given it to you!"
"But the gold will be fine, ma'am. Thank you."
This is the first of the quests we can get to retrieve large quantities of some specific good. Mushroom meal can be sold for cash normally, though; Jen just gives you a better price than you could otherwise get, as well as a modicum of experience per bag delivered.
"Mushrooms are fine and all, but what about your food that bites back?"
"I get the distinct impression you'd like us to buy something."
"Okay, let's see it."
"...I almost think we'd be better off starving."
"Good gravy lady, your dentition is amazing!"
"And I think we're done here. You have a nice day."
"I'm almost more scared of her than I am of the dragon. That grin cannot possibly be natural."
"Hey, if you've got it, flaunt it! She should be proud of her teeth!"
Right next door:
"Oooh, a fellow pursuer of knowledge! What are you up to lately?"
"The chart? Do tell!"
"Bernie, if we ever get a court system down here, I'll pay you a retainer to come in as an expert witness whenever I need to really confuse the issue. Sound good?"
If you ask him how he ended up in Avernum, he says "I think I just said more Truth than they were ready for up there!" Yep, keep it up buddy.
"So hey, you do potions and scrolls? Let's see your work!"
Nothing we really need, though this should give some context for the items we expended while fighting the sliths.
"Thanks for your time, sir!"
"Alright, let's gear up."
"What, you really think it'll make a difference?"
"If I'm gonna go off to face a dragon, I'm sure as hell not going to die without a fight!"
"Hey, he's not going to eat you! You're delivering his food, not being it!"
"It could be both!"
"...can I help you?"
"You sell gear, right?"
"So let's see the goods."
"Damn, none of this will help any!"
"You know, if you're worried about Motrax, he's really very friendly. He likes humans."
"With roasted mushrooms on the side and a keg of ale, I'm sure!"
"Ahem! Changing the subject, who's the man in the painting, dear?"
"Came down together, eh? What'd you do, rob banks as a couple?"
"Okay, we're done here."
"I guess we are. Have a nice day, ma'am."
Formello has a full suite of town stores, but sometimes they're pretty dry. Jasmine's the worst of the lot by a fairly wide margin, having only two dialog boxes of any substance and no real characterization.
Also, she has pincers for
"Hey, maybe some religion is what I need!"
"Wow, buddy, you have it bad."
"Didn't we encounter a nice young man from this religion back in Fort Duvno?"
"Let me check my notes...aha, Caius! Wanted to travel, had a bottle opener on him."
"Good man, that."
"He was a crap evangelist though. So what's the deal with your church anyway?"
"I don't believe it. He's actually found religion."
"To be honest, I'm pretty much going to keep doing what I've been doing, but now I have justification for it!"
"Erm, does that little spiel usually work so well down here?"
"You'd be surprised, daughter. Though I admit his enthusiasm is a bit unusual."
"So what's the deal here? Just pray to, uh, luck that I don't get disemboweled or, say, flambéed?"
"Lady, you are preaching to the choir. Uh, maybe literally! Want to hear me sing?"
"Oh, phooey. Us doomsday cults never get this kind of attention."
"I'm glad that One-Eye is feeling cheerful again. Thank you, Mother. Anything else you can do to help us?"
"Oooh, knowledge! Sign me up!"
"Lady, I am all over that!"
Mostly similar to (and more expensive than) what you can get at Fort Dranlon, but she also offers Ward of Thoughts, which improves the mental resistances of the party. It's never going to be enough to provide surefire protection for Kane and One-Eye, but anything that reduces hairpulling when fighting enemy priests is welcome.
"You do realize that priests rarely teach mage spells, don't you?"
"Yes, thank you. That had occurred to me. Belatedly."
"Are these wars causing trouble? What would you do if we had peace?"
"Because y'know, we can totally bring you some peace if we get paid for it."
"Oooh, I bet I could dig up some records for you!"
"So hey, anything we should know about around here? Besides the kitty war?"
"Awesome. Thanks for the tip, boss!"
"We have got to work on your respect for religious authority."
"Can we please go now? I heard there's a library in Formello, and I want to check it out!"
"Right across the street, my son."
"Oh hey, we have a delivery for this place too!"
That package we picked up underneath Cotra a few updates ago.
Scrolls of Spellward and Return Life. Handy.
"Brother of the realm of knowledge!"
"Ooh! Ooh! Spells please!"
As with the priest spells, this is just a more expensive version of what we can get at Dranlon, plus one more spell. Spray Acid is a decent single-target attack spell, plus it covers the target in acid which deals damage each turn. Not bad for boss fights.
"Thanks! What else do you do here?"
"Oh man I gotta write this stuff down!"
"Haven't seen him this excited since, uh, the giant lizard pen."
"I think it's charming."
"It occurs to me that magic is strictly regulated aboveground. I hadn't thought about it, but I guess it's more of a free-for-all down here? You could teach me spells?"
"Uh huh. I'm not going to tell you how to do this thing, but I'll tell you exactly what not to do just so there aren't any accidents. I know how that works."
"I'll teach you spells, Kane!"
"...thanks, Byff. Maybe someday."
"Anyway, how'd you manage to build this thing? Even on the surface this many books in one place would be a bit unusual."
"I keep saying, guys, Tower of the Magi! We should go there!"
"See, I have enough experience hanging around with you to know that an entire tower full of people like you has got to be dangerous."
"You're going to deliver dinner to a dragon! What do you care about danger beyond that?"
"Don't taunt him, Elly."
The library has two rooms, and a second green mage dude to talk to.
"Hello dear! Keeping things clean?"
"Leeeet's get Elly away from the precious and irreplaceable tomes before the fireworks start."
"Yep. Right this way, lady. Out of the library and into the...arena?"
"Hey, anyone feel like sparring a bit with an angry priestess? You'll live! Probably!"
Oh hey, Cave Lore! And Blademaster too, of course. Each skill in the game has at most one teacher for it. Since skillpoints are fungible, it makes sense to purchase the cheaper skills instead of the more expensive ones, and Cave Lore is about as cheap as they get. Though if we wanted Kane to really double down on Blademaster, then we could train him normally to 10 points (the cap) and then buy an additional 2 points on top of that.
Buying Cave Lore for everyone is a reasonable investment, but we're a bit short on funds to actually train everyone. Kane and One-Eye get training, and our reserves are spent.
"I wanna learn, but...we're out of cash. "
"That man was ridiculous."
That's it for shops, but we aren't done exploring Formello. This town is huge.
"I wonder if anyone's tried to saddle a giant lizard? Can you ride them?"
"I tell you what. You ride the lizard, I'll sell tickets. We'll make millions."
"Heeeey, a bar!"
"I'll get us some drinks. Hey, what're you having there, sir?"
"Uh, curiosity about your drink?"
"Astutely observed. You must be a sage!"
"Oh hey, magic items. The best kind! What'd you learn?"
"Y'know, you don't look insane to me. And I think I'd know."
"You, my friend, have had too much to drink."
"And on that note, barkeep! What can we get here? Preferably not purple."
"Y'know, I could get used to this stuff."
"Okay, why can't we get a room?"
"I knew it."
"So hey, you're a barkeep, you hear things. Any jobs we can do around here?"
"Oh? You want some sugar? And where do you think we could get some sugar?"
"I have some --"
"Ssh! He's doing a thing!"
"That sounds awfully unethical to me. Surely that sugar belongs to someone already!"
"Well buddy, it's your lucky day! We just happen to have a bag of conflict-free sugar here."
"Do you mean the two you stole from Fort Avernum, or the one we found buried in hostile alien caverns? Because I don't think any of those qualify as ''conflict-free''."
"Surrounded by unsubtle lummoxes. Has nobody any appreciation for the art of a good lie?"
An easy 500 gold, but we can only do it once; the other bags of sugar are just vendor trash (and worth a lot less). They presumably only exist so you can get more if you immediately sell the first bag.
"Well, thanks anyway, barkeep."
"Nice park, this."
"Hm, which reminds me..."
"You're being a nice statue, right?"
"Right. Good statue. Carry on!"
"Not the sewers again!"
"Look, anything people want to hide is something we should know about, right? We're the good guys here, right?"
"Hey, I know what this means!"
Let's just put up Cloak of Curses and Ward of Steel. And cast a few combat buffs. No reason. Certainly not a monster in that obvious alcove.
"Oh look, a giant salamander."
It's fast and has firebreath, but it's alone and we're directly underneath a town (i.e. full heal) so we have no reason to hold back. It dies easily, dropping a Ruby (vendor trash) and having a Gold Ring (more trash) and a healing potion in its nest. I have trouble believing that you could get Dispel Barrier (needed to get in) without being able to kill this thing.
"Wait a second, I know that Crown sigil."