Part 24: Tower of the Magi, Part 1"Ahh. Rest up, boys. Big day tomorrow."
"Surely you of all people haven't forgotten!"
"Okay! Let's go!"
"Someone's in a good mood. But let's take our time a bit, see the sights, eh?"
"Remind me, why do we listen to you?"
"Heck if I know. It's not my dashing good looks and charm?"
"Hang on, I recognize this stuff!"
We get two Spiritual Herbs from this patch, and it'll regenerate every so often.
"Thanks for paying for that cave lore training, guys!"
"Jeeze, this place is a maze."
"I wonder why the tunnels are shaped like this?"
"I wonder who left their campfire unattended here?"
Free Speed Elixir.
"Okay, I think I remember which way we're going, and we've gone awfully far south. Shouldn't there be a road around here somewhere?"
"Ehh, it'll sort itself out."
"You just like being lost, don't you?"
"I like exploring. You never know what you'll find. Speaking of, that wall looks suspicious...ah!"
"Sorry guys, looks like it's been locked."
"So? Show me the lock, I'll pop it open."
"No, I mean magically. You have to know the appropriate cantrip to activate it."
"Bah, that's cheating."
"Don't mind if I do!"
See how expensive those razordisks and steel javelins are? And that's as good as throwing weapons get -- there's nothing stronger in the game. I'll defend archery, but throwing weapons are dreck.
Also, if you attack this guy, you face off against a Wizard and a bunch of Vengeful Shades. It takes approximately half of the enemy turn to wipe the entire party. So best to just leave that guy alone, really.
"Thank you, strange old man!"
"That's it! It has to be!"
"It's the Tower! Fellow academics!"
"Byff. Hold up a second."
"Something big happened, off to the north. We'd better check it out."
"But the Tower's right there!"
"This won't take long, I promise."
"My word that's a big pentacle. What did they do here?"
"Hard to say...but I'm guessing someone in that tower is either really desperate or really stupid."
"Those both sound like pretty awful options. Can we have a third one please?"
"Maybe they're breaking new ground in high-energy magical research?"
"Is that a thing?"
"Dunno, but it stands to reason that if you throw a huge amount of magical energy at the universe, something interesting should happen."
"I'm sticking with stupid and/or desperate. We'd better pay careful attention in the Tower."
"...you may have a point. Damn, that puts a damper on the whole thing."
"Oh, it can't be all that bad, surely! Enjoy yourself, Byff. We'll keep an eye out for bogeymen."
"You will? But you don't have the right kind of eyes to see them. And I haven't seen any signs of their spoor either, so I don't think they're around here."
"Sometimes I think you do this on purpose, Byff."
"Oh, never mind. Let's just go to the Tower."
"Right you are!"
"Okay, yeah, those guards look a little twitchy for my tastes."
"I'm sure you'd be twitchy too if you were surrounded by mages all the time."
"No, that's different. I'm just naturally twitchy, period."
"Man, now I'm all depressed. This isn't the nominal homecoming I was hoping for."
"Aww, don't let it get to you! Let's just see the sights and forget about any ominous shadows and errant magical discharges!"
"Hang on, shops? In a center for magical research?"
"And there's demand for your services here?"
"Makes sense. He buys this stuff, then the mages buy from him and see what they can figure out."
"Might as well take a look then. Let's see your wares!"
This looks like junk (and it is), but scrolling down shows more interesting items:
The Samaritan Sandals make your healing spells 5% more effective, which isn't very interesting, but the Ivory Band is seriously tempting. Too bad we're so short on cash right now. Or, rather, we will be, as soon as we find someone who sells spells.
In the original game and (I think) the first remake, Brantford's shop had a random inventory that periodically refreshed. You could find any non-artifact item in the game here, including such rarities as Boots and Rings of Speed, which gave permanent AP bonuses. A lucky player could get ridiculous gear extremely early by simply buying it at one of these shops.
"And what do you do, dear?"
"Anything of use for the more, ah, applied sort of person?"
"Skilled? How skilled are we talking about here?"
"So you noticed it too?"
"It'd be very hard not to notice how all the apprentices are jumping at shadows."
"What do you sell the mages, then?"
"Yes, this makes sense. Mages need a ready supply of writing supplies, same as any scholar. May I see?"
Elly's using a copy of the Apprentice Belt, which gives +1 magical efficiency; there's also a pair of Drake-Hide Gloves off the bottom of the scroll, which give +3% magical damage. Byff already has a pair of those, but we might want to buy a second pair for Elly.
"Honestly, what are they up to? Do you know?"
"Oh, I don't think that's happening. Someone around here is going to get cross examined."
"Hey hey hey, this isn't our fight! And I don't want to get involved with a tower full of crazy spellcasters!"
"No, Kane's right. How can we fix the problem if we don't know what's going wrong?"
"Simple, by leaving! And pretending we never saw anything!"
"We're not doing that."
"The hell you say?"
"Let me amend: I am not going to do that. If you're too scared to stick around, that's your call."
"Greetings, grandmother. What is it you do here?"
"That name sounds familiar for some reason..."
"Oh, right, him! And we found his cottage...his ransacked, half-destroyed cottage. Oh dear."
"It's entirely possible he's still alive, Byff. We didn't find any bodies. Or even any blood, as I recall."
"We can hope."
"So what's keeping you so busy, anyway? Boss is away, that means it's time to take things easy, right?"
"Geeze, you too?"
"Well, can we buy anything from you?"
"You seem to be busy doing alchemy, anyway. Perhaps we could borrow your facilities to make some potions?"
"Such a ringing endorsement of your skills."
"On second thought, I still don't want us using up our only dose of graymold."
The book she mentions is pretty simple:
"I think we'll be leaving now. Take care, and stay safe."
"Well now. That's a bit better."
"This temple does feel a bit more relaxed than the rest of the place, doesn't it?"
"Hi boss, pleased to meet you. You're in charge here?"
"So who needs protection? This seems like a completely safe and normal location; what could possibly be wrong here?"
"So much for sarcasm, chum."
"My strongest weapon, useless. Curses."
"You mentioned pilgrims? Do you get many here?"
"Oh, I am all over that!"
Oh baby. There's some great spells here. Unshackle Mind finally lets us cure mental afflictions, like dazing, stunning, and above all charming. It's single-target, but a hell of a lot better than nothing. And Mass Healing is the group-heal spell, which is invaluable when you get hit by AoE attacks. Mass Curing cures physical ailments (like poison, entanglement, and slowing) for the entire party. You don't need it often, but when you need it, you really need it. And of course, Heal is the bigger version of Lesser Heal, which is good because Lesser Heal isn't really keeping up with enemy damage so well any more.
We get two ranks of Mass Healing and Unshackle Mind, and one rank of Mass Curing; the rest will have to wait for more money.
"Oh man, that's better. But hey, don't suppose you know any really strong spells? You'r not holding out on us, right?"
"An...anvil. Okay. That's not a physical component of the spell, right? I swear there are limits to my carrying capacity. What's this spell supposed to do anyway?"
"Oh go on, this sounds fascinating!"
"Y'know, Boutell the smith in Fort Draco had a gigantic anvil."
"...so are we famous enough for you?"
Aw, geeze. Now I really wish I hadn't spent all that money on Cave Lore earlier. Oh well, we'll just have to come back later. Ward of Steel, of course, reduces physical damage taken by the party, and lasts until you return to town or cast another ward spell. Divine Fire deals heavy fire damage in an area, similar to Icy Rain except stronger. It's one of the best attack spells for priests, but it's expensive to cast. And if we bought it now we'd be shortchanging Byff on the spell front.
"So what's the deal with your temple, anyway? The Path of the Blue Way or something?"
"Uh, I know what dwells beyond, buddy. You prrrobably don't want to mess with those guys."
"Ah hunh. Yeah, never heard of anyone nice out there! But hey, good luck with your search for bizarro anti-demons!"
"Wait, hang on. That's what's going on here, right? Someone's probing between realities or exploring other dimensions or whatever it is you guys call it?"
"Called it! ...also, fiddlesticks, this is bad."
"Haakai? What the blazing hell is that?"
"Astutely put, One-Eye. It's a demon lord, one of the strongest."
"Wait, one of those is here?"
"Oh dear. That circle to the north was a summoning circle, wasn't it?"
"That does seem likely."
"Okay, new mission, folks. We find whoever did this, and we punch them in the face."
"Now you're talking my kind of language!"
"Also, we should probably figure out what it takes to kill a demon lord. Or banish it, or whatever."
"That...is going to be tricky."
"Guess we'd better go find some mages, then. If anyone knows, they will."
There's some alchemical herbs in the chest here.
"I guess you would find stairs in a tower. The place looked kind of squat from outside."
"Much as I'd love to have a glass of wine and read some books, there doesn't seem to be much of use here."
"That's because you aren't paying attention, buddy, and didn't see the secret button."
There's also a scroll of Group Healing and a somewhat-used attack wand just lying around here.
"...which leads to another reading room. Okay."
"Might as well take the stairs from here."
"Er, excuse me, sir?"
"...okay. You're X? Are you in charge around here?"
"Nothing good! So how're things going for you? How's life?"
"You're a teacher? What do you teach?"
"Bargha...no, I don't think we've found any place named that. I don't suppose you could teach us something anyway?"
"Obviously senile. So hey! Nice library!"
"Erika Redmark! Yes, that's right, someone said she was down here. Oh you poor Imperial bastards, do you understand what you've done?"
"You haven't heard of her? World-famous archmage? Incredibly powerful, incredibly arrogant? If she's down here, then someone topside has made a serious mistake."
"Okay, that's neat. Kind of academic though unless she's nearby though."
"I doubt it. She'd be in charge here if she were, instead of this Triad thing. And she doesn't need to summon demons to gain powerful. She's powerful enough already."
"Speaking of the Triad, I note only one is actually bothering to take charge. No wonder things have gone to hell here; the government's checks and balances are out of whack!"
"Yeah that's great. Since X here isn't going to help us though I say we go somewhere else before he starts trying to drop anvils on us."
"Double-walled. This tower is a fortress."
"That would seem to make it much like the other locations we've visited so far."
"And this should be the proper entrance to X's library."
"Oh come on, they aren't even trying to hide these things now!"
"Hello? What are you doing here?"
"You're safe, son. What's wrong? What are you looking for?"
"So they summoned a Haakai lord, brought it to the center of Avernum's magical strength, imprisoned it, and tried to control it? Elly, I'm going to go with "stupid" over "desperate". Even the desperate don't try to strike deals with demons that completely outclass them."
"Actually, I've thought of a third option."
"They could always be insane!"
"You guys are not doing a good job of selling me on this whole "protect the mages from themselves" mission."
"Would access to a treasure room help?"
"Now you're talking!"
"Hey, found a book that looks important."
"Hey, Byff? It's behind you!"
"Gah! Very funny, Elly!"
"No, really! It's behind you!"
Continued next post