Part 25: Tower of the Magi, Part 2Continued from previous post
"Hey, Byff? It's behind you!"
"Gah! Very funny, Elly!"
"No, really! It's behind you!"
Reading the book summons a Cave Demon. It takes most of the party's turn to kill it, but on the plus side it drops a Platinum Ring, a.k.a. a couple hundred coins.
"I don't like this place."
"You and me both, buddy. But imagine the havoc that would be wreaked if that demon got loose. Nowhere would be safe."
"Fine, then let some other enterprising group of adventurers deal with it!"
"There is no one else."
"Who said that?!"
"Apologies for intruding. Your fight attracted my attention."
"It wasn't much of a fight, to be honest."
"Wonderful, glad to hear it."
"You seem to be awfully interested in us. Nothing better to do than stare into a pool?"
"Some damn fool brought haakai royalty to the tower and thinks they can control it."
"Solberg? Is he the sane member of the Triad?"
"Blunt, but accurate."
"Oh, you don't have the half of it. Okay, we'll go check in on Solberg."
"But he's hundreds of miles away! It took us weeks to walk all the way down here!"
"That I can help with. Find the teleporter; it's in this tower. And it will help you travel more quickly."
"Thank you, young man! We'll see what we can do about that demon, then."
"Okay One-Eye, I know the drill by now."
"I didn't say anything!"
"Hmph. Not much back here."
"On the contrary!"
At level 3, the Haste spell has a 30% chance to give the party Battle Frenzy (for +5 bonus AP, which is huge) for 2 turns. This is kind of dumb, honestly, since in many situations you can cast Haste before starting the fight, so you can just keep casting until you get the frenzy effect. Or save and reload until you get it, I guess. I'll try to avoid such shenanigans though.
"I think these must be the apprentices' study hall."
"Hmm, this looks important."
"I think this is even more important, Byff."
"I wonder how they learned its name? Demons are notoriously cautious about giving their names away."
"Hey buddy, know anything about this demon business?"
"Don't harass the poor boy, One-Eye. He can't help us."
"Hmm, Bigby's Grasping Hand? This must be the advanced course."
"Uh, Byff? The ceiling is on fire."
"Hm, so it is. Someone let their elixirs get a bit out of hand."
"How do you even do that?"
"Oh, too much energetic herbs. They're surprisingly flammable."
"Pardon me sir, we're adventurers. Are you the instructor here?"
"Why force the students to silence? Shouldn't they be able to ask questions?"
"We ran into Konig earlier. What does he do?"
"I think he's just trying to stay as far away from this place as possible."
"Well, in any case, I'd like to learn whatever you have to teach."
And here's the next tier of mage spells! Cloak of Bolts enhances the damage from missile attacks -- so basically it's a spell that boosts One-Eye's damage. Minor Summon is a summoning spell and thus basically worthless. Blink casts an area-of-effect ensnaring around your current location, then teleports you to a nearby location (I think at random), which could be handy if Byff gets surrounded.
But Lightning Spray is the real reason we're here. It does strong energy damage with a conic AoE, like Elly's Call the Storm spell. It is, to be honest, the only mage spell really worth buying just now, considering our cash constraints. We'll just have to be satisfied with Cloak of Curses for the time being.
"Hey look, d'you have any odd jobs for us? I mean, saving the tower from immensely powerful demons is all well and good, but I'd like to get paid for a job that's less likely to leave me a smoking hole in the ground."
"What, can't just lead the apprentices on a field trip and kill it yourselves?"
"Ah ha! Were you involved with its summoning?!"
"Oh, we're going to not tell Linda. We're going to not tell her all over her face, if she's responsible for this."
"Hey, what's up with this book?"
"Have you killed that ogre mage for me? No? Then the book remains blank."
"Hm, just another storeroom. Might as well loot it."
"Honestly, One-Eye. Must you steal everything of value you find?"
"With the way these guys have been carrying on? I don't trust them with a sheet of paper. They'd probably give themselves lethal paper cuts."
"I must say, this is quite a step up from the Library of Formello."
"Ahh, at last a properly practical room."
"Magical destruction isn't practical?"
"Not so practical as magical creation, no."
"Somehow I don't think we're supposed to be here."
"You're grinning. Stop grinning."
"Byff? A consultation, please."
"Ahh. See that silver wire there? It's carrying a magical charge. We'll need to earth it...hang on, let me get a bowl and some water...Elly, can we borrow one of your iron bars?"
"Hunh. These mages make weird traps. Still, nothing exploded. Nice work."
"Keep your eyes peeled for signs of demon summoning, guys."
Note the cat that someone allowed to run loose through the horribly dangerous magical laboratory. And no, it's not a talking cat.
Just a pack of five Scaly Imps, crammed into a 2x4 cell. Byff kills most of them with Lightning Spray.
"The circle's safe. It's keeping that door closed, though."
"Guessing that haakai is on the other side?"
"Yep, more demons. At least this one seems to be safely imprisoned."
"Speak, demon. What is your duty?"
"Seems to me you're a prisoner here. You're awfully happy for a captive."
"Come on, boys, let's just ignore it."
I really wish you could attack friendly units in this game.
"Restricted Area! Danger! Stay away!"
"...where's the button? Who makes a corridor with two magical barriers that just dead-ends into nothing? By all that's holy, they really are insane here!"
"Take heart, chum, there's another barrier back a ways that we haven't checked yet."
"Oh, very well done, Kane. Well done indeed."
This much Cave Demon is a lot of HP to chew through, especially with the Hard-mode penalties. We throw up buffs, and Byff casts Haste -- giving us all Battle Frenzy. Kane throws out four attacks in a single round (by using Adrenaline Rush), which is frankly absurd.
"Well, at least we killed them. And hey, there's a box here."
"Oh my. This is a blessed athame."
"And what's that do?"
"It's an enchanted knife that can cut through magical bonds."
"Worth much, is it?"
"We're not selling the one-of-a-kind magical lockpick, One-Eye."
"Oh, well, when you put it that way."
And no, you can't use this to open the bars we couldn't pass earlier.
"I don't see anything else we can do in this lab. But we still haven't found this Linda person. I hope she's not upstairs."
No, she isn't; she's in a lab next to the gardens.
"Excuse me, ma'am. Are you Linda?"
"Ah, you are. Please, take this."
"It's a subpoena."
"Oh you massive dork."
"I demand you tell us everything you know about the demon you have summoned."
"...my word. What a hostile witness."
"Ahem. Let's try that again, shall we, Kane?"
"You're part of the Triad, ma'am?"
"Yes, we'd heard that Solberg is in hiding."
"Hmm. I can't imagine why he wouldn't want to be here."
"That third one is X?"
"Wait, usually? Does he move it?"
"So, what're you researching these days?"
"Hey, magical weapons? That sounds fun!"
"Shattered, you say? Hey Byff, you don't suppose those sword fragments we found are Demonslayer?"
"Yes, that sounds plausible. But we'd have to find the tip of the blade if we wanted it reforged. Archmage Linda, do you know where we could find that?"
"No. I suggest looking in the most dangerous places you can find. Either you find it or you get killed, either way you'll stop bugging me."
"Cute. What about these other items you mentioned?"
"What? I wasn't going to say anything."
"Oh, good. Maybe we're finally starting to learn not to blab everything as soon as we learn a secret."
"Ahem. What about that onyx scepter? What was it for?"
"Lady, you scare me. And that takes some doing. C'mon boys, let's let the crazy mage lady be."
"For the moment. We can punch her later, once the demon is dead."
"Meanwhile, why don't we break into these cells and mess with her experiments?"
"Wow, I haven't seen that many eyeballs in awhile!"
Oh shit. Gazers are nasty pieces of work. They have the ability to grant themselves Battle Frenzy at will, which gives them double turns, and they can spend those double turns casting a host of nasty spells, including Charm Foe.
We buff up, and the Gazer responds by dazing One-Eye and then hitting him with massive lightning damage.
Good job just barely surviving, One-Eye!
"Don't mention it...medic!"
Gazers are also immune to energy damage and highly resistant to spells in general, as well as highly evasive -- they even dodge attack spells somewhat frequently.
Fortunately, they aren't that durable, and this one falls to an extensive chopping session and several firebolts from Byff.
"Cripes, what was that thing?"
"Gazer. Nasty thing. Good job going for the eyestalks like that, Kane."
"It's like nothing I've ever seen before!"
"Wonder what it was doing with this wand? It doesn't even have hands!"
The "Lighting" status effect (which One-Eye got tagged with when he almost died) deals heavy energy damage to the target each turn. The scroll is Powerlash, which attacks a radius around the user like those old Radiate Ice scrolls.
"Well, that was fun. Let's do it again!"
"What are you people doing?"
"Oh, don't worry! We're officially licensed adventurers!"
"Sure. Just give me some paper and a pen and I'll write us up a license."
Much easier -- two Scaly Imps and a Fiery Demon. The demon presumably has a firebreath ability, but he only gets one turn and spends it on melee. Our reward is a Return Life scroll and a Wisdom Crystal.
"If I go back there and find you've been disrupting my work, I will be very annoyed."
"Then it is my considered opinion that you should probably not go back there."
"Byff? You're up."
"Damn! It didn't work!"
"Ah well. We'll just have to come back later."
Yep, it's a level-3 barrier.
"Flora/Fauna Modification Lab. Limited breathing recommended."
"Wait, are we going into the lab, or did we just leave it?"
"The latter, I believe. These appear to be mage quarters."
"See? Nothing unusual at all."
"Except this guy's taste in porn! Wowza."
"You put that away, One-Eye!"
"One last place we haven't filled in on the map. This way."
"Stairs to Portal Tower"
"I think we just found our shortcut back to Formello."
"The pylons? What pylons?"
"I believe she refers to those pillars we attuned ourselves to under various towns."
"This seems potentially dangerous."
"...and you don't think it's a bad idea to spend all day here?"
"I always did like bald women."
"What about using the portal? Izzat dangerous too?"
"So how do you put these pylons down?"
"Erika's gone into seclusion? That's a shame."
"Right, well then, you have a nice day."
"Oh, boy. The other fantastically unwise thing they've been up to!"
"Hm? What's so unwise about teleporters?"
"C'mon, Byff! They're holes in reality!"
"So? They're a well-understood form of magic. Bore a hole in the fabric of the universe at one location, drive it through to the other end, pop back into reality, and you connect the two places without having to occupy that pesky distance in between. Simple stuff. Kind of fiddly and expensive though."
"We just went over what happens when you spend too much time poking at other dimensions, Byff."
"You're saying demons could come through here?"
"Well, no, this one looks to be too well-made for that. But if you get even a little sloppy, sure. They'll find a crack you didn't plaster over and squeeze on through, like water through a leaky pipe. And don't get me started on the sabotage potential."
"So this one's safe?"
"It is at the moment, yeah."
"Then if it's all the same to you, I'm not going to worry about it."
"And what do you think will happen when that haakai gets loose? This portal connects throughout all of Avernum, right?"
"Guess there really won't be anywhere to hide, chum."