Part 19: Ancient Crypt; Fort Draco"So now what?"
"Tower of the Magi!"
"I'd like to finish up exploring around here first. As I understand it, we should run into a river if we go further west; let's see what's between here and there."
"For example, an ancient crypt doubtless full of undead that want to eat us."
"You're a horrible tour guide."
"Aww, someone beat us to it!"
"Howdy, guys. Any luck?"
"So, no? What're you hanging around for then?"
"What, can't just take the treasures and leave the tormented souls for some other sap?"
*bap* "Bad One-Eye!"
"Say, this is some door here. How d'you get it open?"
"How's the adventuring life suiting you?"
"Ah hah. Well, you take care now!"
"Seriously, this door is impressive. Check it out, One-Eye!"
"Man. I don't even know where to begin."
"Right there, apparently."
"Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go!"
"Byff, honey, this is obviously a trap. Door opens, we go through, it slams shut. Then with the screaming and the dismembering."
"Hey, you got the door open? What the hell!"
"Well, uh, it's open now."
"Nah, I'm not going to go venturing into a place that wants to play silly buggers with us."
"Oooh, nice. Poison arrows?"
In previous versions of the game, you could make or find poison, which could be applied to your weapon (including bows). It'd eventually wear off, but until it did, enemies you hit with the weapon would be poisoned. Poison was still of pretty marginal utility though, compared to just killing things faster.
"And what's that?"
"Y'know, there are poisons that can kill people and make it look natural. Just saying."
"Hey, if it was me I sure as hell wouldn't choose to be down here. I'm just saying there should've been an alternative. Bet she could've offed the guy and made it look like a heart attack."
"It's trickier than you'd think. Especially if you're the primary suspect."
"So wait, you asked to come down here instead?"
"I guess maybe it's different if you're near the capital. The Empire never bothered me much."
She doesn't know anything about the crypt, if you ask. How would she? The door never opened for her.
Incidentally, in previous versions there was a secret passage you had to find to get the door open. Now it just opens by itself . I think this works a bit better, honestly, since it doesn't imply that the adventurers out front haven't learned basic dungeon navigation techniques.
"So are we going in?"
"I want to see how this thing works. And besides, it'd be rude to turn down an invitation, wouldn't it?"
"I don't think normal rules of etiquette apply where the undead are concerned."
"Screw politeness, I bet they've got cash in there. You have any idea how hard it is to find an un-looted tomb these days?"
"Okay then. Here we go!"
"Amazing! These aren't sliths, or anything else I don't recognize. What were humans doing down here so long ago? And what happened to them?"
"Getting zombified, is my guess."
"...yeah, let's not walk across the narrow bridge."
"I doubt it matters much. We're in for a fight no matter what."
These are just skeletons; they're a bit more dangerous than goblins. The local zombies are also no real threat to us.
"Die, monsters! You don't belong in this world! Charge!"
"Yep! There goes the door! Guess we're stuck here, oh well."
"Not to worry, I've been thinking about that. I bet if we repeatedly freeze and thaw the rocks at the entrance, we can have them down in a matter of days, no problem!"
"Let's kill the local monsters first, hey Byff?"
"Oh fine, if we must."
Not pictured: the three zombies that were here before Kane sliced them apart in a single turn.
"Alright, our first bodies to loot!"
"These corpses look a little more recent than the ones we just dispatched."
"Ha, yes, of course! The crypt lures adventurers in, then locks the door behind, kills them, and steals their belongings! It's a predatory, self-sustaining organism!"
"I don't think the crypt is alive, Byff."
"Well, is fire alive?"
"This is fascinating and all but I'm gonna loot these bodies now."
"Oh come on, they're not even trying to hide this switch."
"Which suggests that this pool could be a trap."
"Hm, looks fine to me."
"Really? It's glowing."
"Hey, worst case we waste a resurrection scroll on your corpse."
"Sometimes I worry that we treat life too cheaply these days. Specifically, our lives."
"Eh. Bottoms up!"
"Oh man. This is amazing. I bet I could beat the entire thieves' guild at cards simultaneously!"
Everyone gets tagged with this Enlightened buff for 15 turns, but it's not immediately clear what we're supposed to do with it. Nothing's throwing mental attacks or Death Curses at us, and a good thing too.
"Hang on. Live magma? This crypt is ancient! It should have cooled off centuries ago!"
"Byff, you're surrounded by the undead, and this is unnatural?"
"You're not meant to violate the laws of thermodynamics!"
Did you see the switch in that last shot?
"Man, this place just keeps on giving. And we've hardly had to fight anything!"
Three emeralds, a Terror Wand (a.k.a. about 1.5 emeralds in sale value), and some cash.
"Hey, are you in charge here? 'Cause we're shutting this place down. It's an unsafe working environment."
Dunno what the Sentinel does, beyond attack Kane and then die in four hits.
"Maybe he's in charge?"
He's durable enough to survive a round of combat, anyway. Not two rounds though.
"Hey, nice shoes! Mind if I --"
"Guess that means I can take the Blessed Boots you have then?"
"I don't think so, buddy."
"My word, there's a lot of bodies here. Even some that aren't moving!"
"This place used to be huge! Who knows how far back those corridors used to lead? If only I had a team of archaeologists, think of the things we could learn!"
"Can we kill the wights first?"
Most of the bodies are pretty well-equipped with armor and weapons. Nothing we need, of course, but it'll sell well, and money is is the principle reward from these dungeons now that we've passed their level range and thus aren't earning much experience.
"Too bad this rug is so faded. I bet it's still worth a pretty penny."
"We'll have to liberate it from its owner first. Hello! You're definitely in charge!"
This is the proper boss fight for the region. So Kane and One-Eye both use Adrenaline Rush and she dies in six hits.
...hm. I'm not making this sound very exciting, am I? Sorry about that.
"Rug liberated, let's loot!"
Thexa has a pretty decent necklace, which One-Eye takes:
And there's a button that opens a secret passage:
"I still want to study this place, but there's something to be said for more immediately practical knowledge."
"Sorry, Byff. Maybe next time."
"This is just uncanny!"
I'd never noticed before just how few of the early spellbooks are for mages. For priest spells, we've found Minor Heal, Curing, Call Storm, Heal, and Ward of Steel now -- while mages have only gotten Bolt of Fire and Cloak of Curses.
"...is that it? We're done here?"
"Looks like it. If only those tunnels hadn't collapsed!"
"Well alright, let's go then. Kind of disappointing, really."
"Ah yes, the door's closed."
"Oh, now this looks fun! I love puzzles!"
"Well, get to it! We'll wait for you to finish."
"Long way down, that."
"How's it coming, Byff?"
"I think I almost got it! If I turn this wheel while pressing this lever and...no, that just resets this bit. Blast."
"Gotta get this bit around to an odd number, only things I can do to it move it by an even amount..."
"So, anyone know any jokes?"
"Suddenly I'm sorry I asked."
"Face it, Byff, this door's smarter than you are. It's been hours."
"I know I can solve it! I'm just missing some vital little clue!"
"Anyone thirsty? I'm thirsty. I'm gonna go get a drink."
"Thirsty? Oh! I bet that enchanted water would help!"
"Well, yeah. Duh. But that's cheating!"
"Wait, you mean we could have been out of here and on our way by now? That's it, Byff, you're getting dunked in the pool."
"Hey hey hey wait! Stoooooop!"
"There ya go, take a nice long drink."
"This is a nonconsensual baptism! I don't want this!"
"And now get this door open!"
"...wait, I just had to hold this lever down? And then the wheel keeps turning? That's it, this puzzle is dumb."
"Hi guys! We cleared the crypt for you!"
"Not even going to say thank you? Oh well."
"Hey, didn't Mother Claudette want us to tell her the secret to getting out of this place?"
"Hey boss! We completely trounced that crypt you were worried about."
"Awesome, thanks boss!"
The Clover Boots give +3 Luck, which is actually quite nice, since luck improves all of your resistances. We give them to Kane. And then Elly gets Kane's Blessed Boots, because if Byff wears too much heavy armor he won't be able to cast mage spells any more.
"Also, we spoke with Motrax."
"That may take some time. We have no idea where Khoth is."
"Well, back to the tunnels!"
"Oh my. Bath. Now!"
"Last one in's a rotten egg!"
"That would explain the smell."
"Ahh. I feel almost human again. I used to have a spring like this, back home."
"Okay, enough moping. Let's get going."
We'll tell the Silvar innkeeper about this place the next time we're passing through.
"Anyone want a new pair of lizard-skin boots? We have plenty of raw materials."
Just basic Giant Lizards, no big deal.
"We've been climbing for miles now."
"Huff...you're damn right we have. Rest break?"
"Surely it can't be this easy. Is there really a path to the exit so near to civilization?"
"Of course not. Damn."
"They can't have found all of the exits, Byff! Take heart."
"Oh, there must be a way out, no doubt about that. The air would've gone stagnant decades ago otherwise. But how far away is it?"
To give you some sense of what a maze this place is, here's the map:
The !s are, left to right, the ancient crypt, Motrax's cave, and the ancient battlefield where we got the stone key. The hot springs, unmarked, are in the northwest corner, and the blocked surface exit is in the northeast. The tunnel to the south leads to Formello, and we're about to head westwards. In fact, there's a road that leads from the south tunnel to the west tunnel, running along the southern edge of the cave system.
The map is very similar to its layout in the original game. You can see how it's basically square, because Exile 1 had square zones with discrete loading between them (though loading was usually quick and not noticeable). Consequently most areas are clearly made up of one or more square zones patched together.
"A town! It'll be good to put our feet up for a bit."
"I want another bath."
"Place like this, I'll definitely need a drink."
"It's only going to make your headache worse in the long run, you know."
"In the long run, I plan to not be here any more!"
"Ah. In that case, drink up!"
"Hello, ma'am, can we assist you?"
"I can't help but notice that you're looking for something; perhaps we can help?"
"No offense, ma'am, but I think that lizard is faster than you are."
"Damn ssstraight I am!"
"Aww, you're adorable!"
"Poor baby. If it's any consolation, that ribbon looks perfect on you."
"Ahem. Anyway, ma'am, you said you're a sage?"
"Yep, you know us all right. Already been there though. Thanks anyway! And if you want my advice for your little lizard problem? Bribery. Works every time."
"You have a familiar, Byff?"
"Not any more I don't. She's probably gone wild by now. Oh well."
"Yeah, yeah, this is fascinating and all but where's my damn beer?"
"I need a drink!"
"Pfaugh! That shit is vile!"
"Man, this soot just gets everywhere."
"I can't fault your logic, but this dirt still gets on my damn nerves."
"So what's life like as an innkeeper in a mining town?"
"Yeah, good luck with that. I'm sure my stomach's coated black by now."
"Ah, yes, I think I can imagine. And, not that we want it, but I'm guessing your room isn't available for rent?"
"Yep. I don't want that room. Alright, take care, Doc."
"Holy geeze it's loud in here."
"I SAID WHY'D THEY PUT THE FOUNDRY RIGHT NEXT TO THE INN?"
"Because ya need ready access to booze to run a foundry, mate!"
"You in charge here?"
"Oh now, that seems improbable."
"It's certainly...impressive. My word."
"Is it hard, running the forge?"
"Do they really need so much wine?"
"Oh come on now, Kane. I thought you were smart!"
"Ahh, and that's where we come in!"
"Good news! We don't really need all of this alcohol. You want some?"
"If you don't mind, let's move on before my head implodes."
"No worries! You all take care now, hear?"
This is another quest like the mushroom meal one; we got 84 coins and some experience for our 7 bottles of wine, which is pretty marginal but wine can't otherwise be sold at all. And, notwithstanding that we don't have very much of it right now, it's all over the place, so it doesn't really hurt to dedicate a slot of your nigh-infinite inventory to hauling booze around.
"Hang on, there's someone else in here...HEY THERE!"
"Wait, you're Bill? I thought he was Bill!"
"We both are! Saves time!"
"But...never mind. What's going on?"
"So what's the big deal about this stuff anyway?"
"Any special metals around here? Gold, that kind of thing?"
"Ooh, those sound lovely! What do you do with them?"
"Okay, I think we're done here!"
"Not, mind you, that it's a lot quieter next door."
"This shouldn't take too long. Hey there!"
"Never before have I quite so much appreciated the meaning of the phrase ''top-heavy.''"
"Hey boss, nice forge. What's banging?"
"Wait, with an anvil like this, right next to the primary source of metal in the entire country, and there's still better stuff elsewhere?"
"If you're so great, what do you do for a challenge?"
Hint hint. Once we get the tip of that weapon we've been assembling bits of, we can get it repaired here. The game outright tells you what it is if you check your special items page, but the party has no reason to know its name, which is why I've blocked it out here.
"Say, we have some bits of weapon here. Want to take a look?"
"Guess we'll need to find the tip of the blade then. Who knows where it landed up."
"Well, let's see the gear then!"
Good prices as far as these things go, but the stuff that's an improvement over what you can easily find in dungeons is way too expensive to be justifiable. Then again, that's true of literally every armor or weapons shop in the game.
We can also sell stuff to him, so we pick up another 1400 gold by unloading the contents of the Ancient Crypt.
"Well, take care of yourself, Boutell. I'd hate for you to die of the black lung before we found that blade tip."
"Never mind the noise, having all the buildings so close together is making me claustrophobic.
"It saves on building materials, plus smaller structures are easier to defend. Hello, dear! What do you do?"
"I can believe it. ''What's this metal? Is it worth anything?'' I bet you get that a lot."
"I don't suppose you know any more adventuring-related recipes you'd be willing to share?"
"Store-bought potions just aren't the same!"
"What's this about aranea fangs? What's an aranea?"
"Nice. You got yourself a deal!"
Note the button in her workshop?
"Hello. What's this?"
"Ha! I like you, lady. What's up?"
"Hang on, you look like an alchemist. Could you --"
"Let's leave the poor dear alone, boys. She's obviously busy. C'mon, now! Shoo! Shoo!"
"Whatever! I wonder if this river connects to the Eastern Gallery lake?"
"Nope! Want a boat? I'm your option."
"What's a boatwright doing in a mining town?"
"We're not really in the ore-shipping market, hon. Anything else to do on the river?"
"That sounds like us, all right."
"Well, why not? We've got the cash."
"Please doing business with you!"
"I'd object, but we spent like twenty times that much just getting tutored about the caves."
And we'll need this boat eventually anyway.
"Hey Byff, this looks like the store for you!"
"Very funny. Rub it in, why don't you?"
"Launderer for a mining town? You must do amazingly good business."
"Supplies? Like, ''supplies'' or actual supplies?"
"This store is amazing. How do you keep it so clean?"
"Sensible head on those shoulders. Heard anything interesting lately?"
"Look, I'm sure the boys don't care, but I need clean clothes. How much?"
"Ahh. That's much better."
"She scrubbed my skin! I'm all raw now!"
"I was clean earlier! Well, and then we came here, and I got dirty again. Not my fault!"
"Carlos' Meat & Munchies"
"Alright, my reserves are getting a little stale. What've you got?"
Note the cost of a bag of mushroom meal, over four times what we'd get for turning it in to the ration lady in Formello.
"Mm, a little sooty for my tastes."
"Hey, activated charcoal is a good thing if you have heartburn."
"Noticed your cows wandering loose outside. At least I assume they're yours?"
"Okay, you're trying to get at something. I'm guessing you have a suggestion as to places we might want to investigate?"
"Guessing we need a passcode before he's going to tell us what he knows."
"Ingot Storage. Keep out!"
"It's a little disturbing how casually you picked that lock with a guard starting right there."
"You want I should act tense and suspicious?"
Stealing from the ingot storage is a little tricky with the guards wandering around outside, but it's doable. Unfortunately, all we get is bars of iron. What else did you expect to find in the ingot storage?
"Phew. The dust is overwhelming."
Nothing worth stealing here, though.
That's all we can do for now at Fort Draco. Here's the map:
They cram an awful lot of shops into a very small area. It's kind of weird, really, that there's so many conversations for what is basically just an outpost town. Obviously there's a couple of things we'll have to come back for later.
"Clearly there's only one course of action now."
"Let me guess: Tower of the Magi!"
"Ooh! Two courses of action! But no, I was thinking of using our newfound boat."
"I'm curious about those spiders, though. The talking ones? That sounded weird."
"Three courses of action! Man, I'm spoiled for choice!"