The Let's Play Archive

Avernum: Escape from the Pit

by TooMuchAbstraction

Part 29: Crypt of Drath, Level 2

"So, are we going downwards or what?"

"Oh, I suppose we had better."

But first, we flee back to Fort Emerald for a quick MP restore.

"This is almost pleasant. I mean, if you ignore the freezing cold, the bodies, and the dread whispers of the damned."

"Hang on, that's Imperial armor on that body!"

"This just confirms what we already knew...but I suppose that's better than learning that the tip of Demonslayer was tossed into the sea or something."

"Oh look, more portals. Yes, let's just turn reality into cheese! This is a great idea!"

"I miss cheese."

"Door's kinda locked, guys. I'm guessing these levers are connected to it?"

Pulling the top lever opens the door. Pulling the bottom lever does...something, it's not clear what.

"Oooh, a desecrated mausoleum!"

"I think it's more a decrepit crypt myself."

"Hey, Byff, could you open these barriers? There's gotta be something good behind them!"

"Sure thing!"

"I rather think that's evil, not good. I mean, look at that! He's got two brides, the greedy pig!"

"They're literal banshees, though. Poor bastards stuck with two of 'em."

"Yeah, but he's a vampire. I bet it's a match made in heaven. Er, purgatory?"

"I hadn't realized until this moment how desperately I was hoping to make it through this day without contemplating the marital lives of the undead. Thanks, guys."

"Any time!"

A Vampire and two Banshees. On the plus side, this gives us a chance to learn what horrible things Vampires can do; looks like they have a poisonous breath attack! ...wait, what? As usual, the strategy is to blitz them down before they can get a chance to horribly kill us; the constrained space makes this straightforward.

"Oh come on, they can't have nothing!"

"Ahem. Button."

"Oh, right. Carry on."

"Hey, let me see that!"

"Ahh, excellent! I'll take that, if you don't mind."

"Suits me fine. I'll take the priceful crystals."

The scroll is Return Life; we now have 8 of those stockpiled.

"This layout reminds me of some of the suburbs around the Imperial Capital. Lots of identical detached single-family tombs."

"Marginally more hostile population though. Ow."

That Vengeful Shade (just above Kane there) is pretty nasty, and with our party arranged like this we can't easily pull back so Kane's facing only one enemy at a time. Fortunately, One-Eye's Sniper skill puts random debuffs on targets, and hit the shade with a Slow effect, causing it to miss its turn. Nice!

"Hey Elly?"


"Why haven't you been pestering me about not robbing the dead?"

"Ehh, they're dead, who cares?"

"Plus they keep trying to kill us."

Two Spectres; ouch. We enter combat, they both use their weird AoE attack, One-Eye and Byff both die. Wandering around outside of combat mode down here is a recipe for getting killed very quickly. It's still not exactly easy even when we know they're there, simply because a single Spectre can nearly one-shot Kane from full health, but a little luck and a lot of healing sees us through.

These detached crypts contain a lot of bones, a shielding potion, some crystals, and some basic gear and money. They have no (active) occupants; just the guards we've already seen.

"Well, it's finally happened."


"We've encountered something that smells worse than you do."

"I swear I'm going to get my revenge on you people one of these days."

The Pustulant Zombie can cause the Lightning debuff with its melee hits...what? I'm pretty sure that at some point in development the Lightning effect was some sort of uber-poison/acid effect, since it's attached to a lot of gross monsters. Either that or pustules carry a static charge, I guess.

Mister Stinky here has a gold necklace in his coffin.

"C'mon, Byff! Let's see if we can't find a gay vampire/wight couple!"

"That sounds implausible, but okay..."

"Or...not. Sorry, Elly, your investigations into the social lives of the undead are going to have to wait."

"Oh thank goodness."

"No going through here.

"That had better not be the way forward."

"Oooh, that's rarely a good sign."

"Loot the lab!"

We get an energy elixir and some mandrake root. As for the book..

"I can't help but feel like reading a readily-accessible book in a tomb full of undead is unwise. Oh well!"

"That boy's mania with books has got to stop."

Say hello to three Vengeful Shades and a Mung Demon! We haven't seen Mung Demons before -- they're poisonous and have a wide-area poison attack much like the Ruby Skeletons' fire attack. And the game won't even let you read the book while you're in combat, so you're guaranteed to take four turns' worth of incredibly nasty attacks before you even have a chance to start combat mode -- at which point the enemy has initiative, so they get four more attacks before you can do anything.

Note that only Kane survived the first four attacks, and he's mostly dead, and suffering from Weakness Curse, War Curse, and Slowed. This encounter is literally impossible for the party right now. And I'm reasonably confident that there's no reward anyway!

"I can't help but feel like reading a readily-accessible book in a tomb full of undead is unwise. Oh well!"

"Oh no you don't! C'mon, that thing's dripping hostile magic all over the place! And there's a summoning circle right over there!"

"Uh, I stand with the lady. Let's not drop a barrage of demons and whatever on our heads, okay?"


"Look, for all you know that's some zombie's porn stash. Leave it be, man."

"...that would be very educational. But some knowledge man is just not meant to have. Oh well."

"Hang on, vampire/banshee relationships squick you out, but you're okay with zombie porn?"

"So hey, I wonder what's behind these barriers!"

"Oh, you know, demons driven insane by centuries of neglect in a tiny stone cell. The usual."

"Hey, cool."

The Rampaging Infernal gets two cleaving attacks per turn, and hits reasonably hard, but not as hard as Spectres do. He also has a lot of hitpoints, but as we're in no danger of getting one-shot, that just means Elly spends more mana on Minor Heal.

The other cell also has a Rampaging Infernal.

"And...they kept a lever back here? With the demons?"

"Or maybe the demons carved it in their spare time. Incarceration can do strange things to one's mind. Even if one isn't a demon and therefore presumably insane to begin with."

"Eh, might as well pull it. We're in deep already, right?"

"I do not understand crypt design."

"I'm more interested in how they managed to keep a boat afloat after all these years."

The lever in the demon cells opened the gate here. From here we can reach some small herb and mushroom patches, as well as this gate:

"With the way this place seems to work, there's probably a lever around here somewhere."

"Not that I'm complaining, but this isn't sound defensive design. Why put the levers on this side of the gate?"

"Because old Drath is trying to lure us to our deaths, obviously. Wouldn't be much fun for him if we hit a blank wall, gave up, and left, right?"

"I bet there's a lever back here, for example."

"Guess again, One-Eye. Also, I blame you for the injuries I'm about to receive."

Six Quickghasts. Quickghasts in the original game had a native nine attacks per round, each of which could cause slowing. Fortunately they weren't very accurate or durable. In this version, they still cause slowing, and they're more accurate, but they only get two attacks per turn. At least they're still pretty fragile, and we have a natural chokepoint in the doorway.

"See? No lever. Unless they hid it in one of the chests."

On the plus side, we get another invaluable Speed Burst scroll, which is the only reliable way to give the entire party Battle Frenzy in a single action. These things can be literal lifesavers.

Also, an Aranea Fang for Hodgson in Fort Emerald.

"Okay, then the lever must be back here. We've exhausted everywhere else."

"Zero for two, buddy. Also, a pre-emptive ouch."

Three Ruby Skeletons, a ghost with the special title "Honored Dead" which presumably makes it a miniboss of some kind, and two ordinary Cave Demons. What are those guys doing here? We've been chopping them up since the Nephar Fort.

Fortunately, again we have a nice chokepoint. Unfortunately, there's a lot of health to chop through to get to the Honored Dead...

Why is that unfortunate? Because he can cast Charm spells. Kane managed to resist the first two though! Go Kane!

Not the third one though.

"Ahhh! They're behind me!"

"Hey! Snap out of it, man! You almost hit me with that stupid hunk of iron you call a sword!"

"Not to worry, I can fix this!"

"Ahhh! They're behind me!"

"So turn around and hit them then."

"Right, right. Don't know what I'd do without your sage advice, mate."

Fortunately this is a much better position from which to fight, so that works out nicely. Unfortunately, the Ruby Skeletons won't chase us into the hallway unless we stand in the doorway to lure them out. Eventually we manage to lure out the Honored Dead though.

"You're a horrible ancestor! You bring shame on your descendants!"

Our friendly ghost here has a frequently-critting, cold-damage melee attack...but again, he can't one-shot Kane. His big trick is casting Charm Person, and we appear to have drained all of his charges, or spellpoints, or whatever -- or at any rate he doesn't cast the spell again before getting exorcised.

"Oooh, check out the boots that ghost was wearing!"

"Something about that sentence seems strange."

We'll give them to One-Eye, who's needed better defenses lately. They replace his ancient Sandals of Dexterity.

"Well, that was fun!"

"And yet still no lever. How do we proceed?"

"It's gotta be around here someplace..."

"Hold up! There we go."

"There'll be a lever back here! This time for sure!"

"See! See! There it is!"

"And there's the guards. Of course."

Not only that -- see that wall segment that just popped open, back around the corner? There's two Ghosts back there.

This screenshot taken immediately prior to Elly having her soul sucked out through a frost-rimed hole in-between her shoulderblades.

"Motherfucker! They ambushed us!"

This calls for Tactics. More rationally, it calls for noticing that that wall segment opens the instant any party member steps far enough along the corridor to see the Skeletal Warriors at the other end -- even if we're already in combat mode.

"Engaging plan Counter-Ambush Ambush. Ready, Elly?"


Elly then runs far enough south to open the wall, then retreats again so the Skeletal Warriors don't activate, letting us deal with "only" two Ghosts.

Oh, except there's three of them. And it turns out that all Ghosts know the charm spell.

"Okay, that's it! I can't take it any more! If you won't take a bath, then I'll make you bathe in blood!"

"Hold on a second Kane let's not do something we'll reg--"

Ahem. Take two makes a minor but important difference in Kane's positioning, so that only one Ghost can see us at a time.

This spares us from their preposterous alpha strike, after which we're able to chew through two Ghosts in one round of combat. Things go much more smoothly when half of your primary offense isn't busy killing the other half.

"Right, that should be all of them..."

Surprise! There's actually four Ghosts!

"What were they even doing back here? Playing the world's most tedious game of hide and seek?"

"I suppose when you're undead, you have to find some way to pass the time."

"Now c'mon, let's go pull this lever already."

"You seem awfully eager to proceed."

"Sooner we go deeper, sooner we can leave. Or die. Either way I'll be quit of this place."

"You're assuming that Drath won't raise your corpse from the dead to replace these minions of his we've been destroying."

"...oh, shit."

"Well, there's the lever. What are you waiting for?"

"It to turn into cake."

"That seems statistically improbable."

"I'll wait as long as it takes!"

"Oh, for --" *pull* "There."

"Come on, let's get this over with."