Part 32: Ogre Caves
"And STAY OUT."
"We did it!"
"Great job, boys!"
"Heh heh heh heh..."
"Wow, that was intense."
"Ha ha ha ha ha ha!"
"Uh, you okay there buddy?"
"BA HA HA HA HA HA HA!"
"Oh dear. He's gone crazy again."
"I'M STILL ALIVE!"
"Oh, is that all?"
"And technically it's not ''still alive'', it's ''alive again''. We went through quite a few resurrection scrolls there."
"I can't believe it! I thought for sure you crazy bastards were finally going to get me killed! Uh, permanently! Picking a fight with a fuck-off giant demon and you're all ''yes this is a great idea'' and then it actually worked what the hell?"
"Seriously, if there was a ranking for worst survival instincts in the caves, we'd have to place near the top! And there's some pretty stiff competition there, let me tell you!"
"We have seen some pretty unwise people here, haven't we?"
"Look, I'm a reasonable guy, right?"
"You shut it. All I'm saying is, we are not getting paid enough for this."
"We fought countless undead, stole from a lich, reconstructed a legendary sword, and died...how many times, Byff?"
"You expect me to have kept track? I dunno, maybe eight?"
"Good enough. Eight times. And what did we get? A sceptre made from rock that nobody knows how to use!"
"Hang on, we forgot to pick up the sceptre."
"Oh, frabjous day, a breastplate."
"Look at it this way, it increases the durability of the guy who's getting hit instead of you."
"Just put the damn thing on already."
The Crystalline Plate is really nice for Kane, of course. We'll trade his old Fibrous Breastplate to One-Eye, who's been wearing the Mercuric Leather for +1 AP; that in turn goes to Byff.
Oh, and serious talk about Adze-Haakai: we went through 2 Energy Elixirs, 3 Speed Elixirs, 1 Speed Burst scroll, and 3 Scrolls of Return Life over the course of the fight (each of which resurrected more than one party member). Dropping the difficulty down to Normal did not make that fight easy; it just made it possible. Of course, now that it's over, we're bumping the difficulty back up again.
Will we need to drop it again in the future? I suppose that depends on what order we do things in!
"Okay, let's get away from these crazy mages."
"You realize we aren't done here, right?"
"By all that's still holy what now?"
"Oh, I think you'll enjoy this."
"You're under arrest!"
"You psychotic bastard!"
"You give mages everywhere a bad name!"
"Uhhh, boys? She's...not all there."
"Your crazy plans nearly doomed us all! Do you have any idea how powerful that demon was? We nearly died up there!"
"We did die up there!"
"Don't remind me."
"Whoah hey Nelly, voices?"
"That sounds bad. Is that bad?"
"And what are the other mages here saying?"
"I'm inclined to agree. This is nowhere near punishment enough."
"Yeah. I really wanted to punch her in her smug face. It's not punchably smug any more though. "
"If it's any consolation, she's probably lost her magic. Can't cast spells if you can't concentrate properly. It's gonna take a lot of therapy before she can be a threat to anyone again."
We can tool around and talk to the townsfolk here. Most of them have slightly altered dialog, acknowledging that the demon is dead now. I'm not going to bother screenshotting it all, but here's the apprentices:
We can also ask about the onyx sceptre, but nobody knows what it does. It came down with the First Expedition, it's magical, it's valuable, and that's about it.
There's a few more interesting people, though.
"Archmagus X, we destroyed the demon haunting this tower!"
"Wait, for a warrior?"
"Oh. Too bad none of these rewards involve any money!"
Lethal Blow is great, as it amps up your critical hits and crits do a lot more damage. I think Lethal Blow may even apply to critical hits from spells. Spellcraft is of course also welcome for our casters, as it makes their spells 2% better per rank. Byff and Elly have both hit 10 ranks from training in that skill, so they can't get any more except by buying them here. Buying ranks in Mage Spells just saves on skill points though.
"Hey, it's the crazy dude! Hey crazy buddy!"
"Indeed, we forced it to retreat to its hellish home."
"Define ''safe''? You're still in a tower of crazy mages. Hell, one of 'em's even crazier than she was before."
"There goes the smartest man in this place."
"What about --"
"Including us. See, he's leaving."
This boosts our reputation; we're currently "Popular" with a score of 22.
"Hail, Kelner. We've fixed the greivous mistake made by your leaders."
"Oh, well. That was kind of disappointing."
"He's gone back to his studies! Truly the greatest reward we could have hoped for."
"If we ever find any cake down here, I'm eating your slice."
"Hey, Ambrin! We killed that demon!"
"The...demon that had invaded the upper floors of the tower and was going to enslave us all?"
"Sounds like a prank by the apprentices. Vow of silence or no, they can be pretty creative when they're bored."
"...nooooo, it was Linda."
"Oh, well then. I'm sure she knows what she's doing. Hey, are you going to kill those ogres for me or not?"
"Ahhh...sure thing, sir."
Ambrin's dialog is completely divorced from the demon questline. I guess Jeff Vogel didn't want to have to write four sets of dialog to combine the ogre quest and demon quest combinations.
"Elly, was he insane?"
"'Fraid not, Wangster."
"Never call me that again."
"He's just very absent-minded."
Now that we're done with the Tower, here's the map:
Clockwise from the top left: a staircase to the teleporter, the miscellany shops, the alchemist, the temple, a stairway to that little library/lounge area (which in turn drops into X's library), X's library, the stairway to Adze-Haakai's lair, Linda, and Ambrin.
The teleporter's on the left, the aforementioned lounge on the right.
"Guess we'd better go kill those ogres then."
"I was kind of hoping to get a vacation after the demon thing, y'know? Head off to Mertis, get a few steaks, just take things easy for a bit?"
"That does sound nice. But those ogres have taken hostages. Who knows what they'll do to them if we don't rescue them?"
"Kill the ogres, then take a vacation?"
"Now there's a plan I can get behind."
"Ambrin said the ogres are northwest of the Tower..."
This is just a wandering encounter, of course. A group of ogres like this is no threat to us now; they have no spells and nonthreatening melee.
"Is that like a weather advisory? Forecast shows a goblin front moving through the area from the west, with a slight chance of zombiestorms?"
The ogres are just north of the sign.
"Well, let's get in there and tear that place to bits. Sound good?"
"Aww, they have a puppy!"
"I think that puppy is bigger than Elly."
Worgs can't even touch us. We're pretty overleveled for this dungeon in general.
"Surprisingly industrious, considering how brutish ogres are."
"Remember, they have a mage around. The ogre magi are smart. And mean."
"Oh, hello! You're not an ogre!"
"Geeze, he's ugly."
"Oh, be nice! I bet giant women think he's handsome!"
"Then why's he hanging out with a bunch of ogres? I bet he's just searching for a size queen."
"A what --"
"Aaaand we're done here. More fighting less talking please yes?"
Haragul's main claim to fame is that it takes 11 attacks to kill him -- so, he still dies in one turn, thanks to Adrenaline Rush. He drops a Belt of Endurance, which is vendor trash for us.
And no, I'm not turning the difficulty up to Torment.
"Heh, trust ogres and giants to make really obvious trigger plates."
"I guess the definition of ''subtle'' depends on how big your hands are."
Some petty cash, an ensnaring wand (junk), and a shielding potion (mostly junk).
"All lined up for you, Byff. Light 'em up!"
"Oooh. And right next to the kitchen, too. I hope these weren't the guys we were supposed to rescue."
"Yes, well --"
"Hard to get paid if your quarry's dead before you find them."
"Hey look, they put a treasure room in their pantry."
Four Emeralds and a few coins. One emerald has a nominal value of 200 coins; we get a bit less than half that when we sell them, so this is a nice payday.
"I'm not eating that!"
If you do decide to eat it:
"Hey, frozen worms! Haven't seen one of those in awhile!"
"Do you think the ogres are using them as natural food preservers?"
"Nah, I bet they just like the taste."
There's actually a whole bunch more ogres and worms that start attacking us from behind shortly after this screenshot. Between the ogres and the Frozen Worms' breath attacks, Elly's kept pretty busy healing everyone. So no, this isn't a complete cakewalk.
"Success! This one's still alive!"
"Now let's just hope he's not magically bound to silence..."
"Hey, no problem. How'd you get captured anyway?"
"So why not make with the flashy lights and break your way out?"
"Nnnnot really answering my question, but okay."
"Go on, get out of here. We'll guard your back."
"Told you ogre mages are smart."
"Who puts a tracking spell on their food?"
"Hm, didn't think there were any nephilim down this way."
"No tracking spells on these ones?"
"Or they didn't have the magical training to know about it. Or they didn't care."
"These must be the magus' personal books!"
"Hmph. If I wanted to be a summoner, I'd be focusing my efforts on figuring out how to reliably contain demons."
"Dude, not cool."
"Yeah, yeah. I said ''if''. What's in this other book?"
"Serves you right. C'mon, stop scratching yourself all over and let's go."
As far as I can tell, this does literally nothing.
"We'd've been here sooner, but we were kind of busy dealing with a demon lord. Bigger fish to fry, that kind of thing. But come on, let's tango."
Tk'Hera has a bad case of apostrophization. Remember kids, apostrophes are not vowels! You can't just sprinkle them everywhere in a name and expect it to work.
Anyway, she has a bunch of attack spells, and enough AP to cast twice per turn (). She's also totally immune to energy damage, but Byff can just douse her in acid instead of using Lightning Spray.
After one turn of combat, she enters pissy boss mode:
"Ha! Try and hit me now!"
"If you insist!"
"No, in melee!"
"What, do you think I'm stupid?"
Spine Shield, of course. Kane would kill himself if he attacked her, so he just boxes her in so she can't go anywhere, and the rest of the party uses ranged attacks. One turn later...
"She broke her staff!"
"Why do I feel hungover?"
This puts War Curse and Weakness Curse on everyone, and gives her Haste -- which is redundant with her innate AP bonus, as she'll still only ever cast twice per turn. She also casts Slow though, which is kind of annoying, especially when Byff misses his turn and is thus unable to reverse it with Haste. Still, we manage, and soon she dies -- with no fanfare, even.
"And there's our good deed for the day."
"Hello? Earlier this morning we banished a greater demon?"
"Oh right. I forgot about that."
She drops a Scroll of Return Life and a rather nice necklace:
Elly gets it.
"The mage is dead. Go on, get out of here!"
"Man, we gotta do everything for you?"
"You know, the magus probably controlled the exit anyway. I can't imagine she didn't know about a secret passage out of here."
"And there's the way out."
"I hope you all don't feel bad about what we're doing here. 'Cause you shouldn't."
"This may be the entrance to an entire hidden river system. Who knows what lies down that way?"
"Now will you leave?"
"Gee, thanks, how kind."
"Oh come on, it's not like he has anything valuable on him anyway!"
"Why is there even a secret path from the cells to the river, that only the ogre mage could access?"
"Maybe it's in case she gets hungry and needs a midnight snack?"
There are an awful lot of NPCs that you can just leave in dungeons instead of freeing them. They aren't required for quests (our quest in this case was to kill the ogre mage, remember), they're just hapless captives. You're typically rewarded in experience and reputation for remembering to let them go.
"Hey now, this looks promising. One-Eye?"
"I...what the hell is this lock? Byff?"
"Got me. I bet there's a key around here somewhere, though."
"Maybe she left it under a rock around here?"
"Or maybe one of these lava worms ate it."
Lava worms are noticeably less durable than frozen worms. There's five more around the corner, but Byff takes them all out by double-casting Icy Rain.
"This one at least, I can open."
The chests contain money and a gold necklace.
"And I think I can explain that lock from earlier. It was a facade, a fake. You're meant to go in from the side, here."
"Cute. I wonder who she worshipped?"
These chests just have some basic armor and weapons -- and this magical spear:
It can replace Elly's cleaver, though that also means losing the Medic's Shield she's using, which improves her healing a bit. Still, her healing's already more than good enough, while more damage is always helpful.
That's it for the Ogre Cave. Before we go, here's the map:
Bantam's in the top-right, with the tomes and the mage's room to his southwest. The other ! is the treasure room/shrine.
This would be a fairly difficult dungeon if you went south from the Eastern Gallery right after finishing the opening portion of the game. At that point, ogres are tough and hit hard, the various worms are a nasty surprise, and an ogre mage is a serious threat.
"Alright, let's go get paid."
Back in the Tower...
"Ogres are dead, sir, and we freed one of your apprentices."
At level 3, Protection has a 50% chance to give everyone a very brief Regeneration. It is...not great.
"Why do the mages keep handing out priest spells?"
"'Cause they're all bonkers, buddy. C'mon, let's get out of here."
"Actually, there's one more stop we should make."
"Is it urgent? Because there's a Mertis steak calling my name."
"We really ought to tell Solberg that the Tower is safe...ish."
"Oh, right! Completely forgot about him!"
Before we do, we're basically done with the Tower environs. Here's the outdoor map of the area:
Way at the northern edge is Mertis (and northeast of it, off the map, is the Spiral Crypt); southeast of that is a patch of Spiritual Herbs. Then the Ogre Cave is over to the west, and the Tower is the last !, in the south. South of the Tower is that weird mage merchant and his entourage of fuck-off powerful spirits, and east is Solberg's hidden message.
Anyway, we take the teleporter to Formello, grab our boat, sail down the river a bit, and go to Solberg's home away from home in the middle of a lava sea.
"Hello, dear! Just thought you might like to know that we dealt with your little demon problem!"
"Yeah, so it's safe for you to go back. And you really should. The Tower's kind of...leaderless right now."
"Why do these rewards never take the form of money? Or precious jewels? Or enchanted objects?"
These are the three highest-tier mage spells in the game. Learning them is your real reward for completing the Adze-Haakai quest. Arcane Summon is of course kind of useless like all summoning spells, but Cloak of the Arcane makes all your spells more powerful, and Arcane Blow is a massively powerful conic AoE attack spell.
There's just one problem...
"I...I lack the training to understand your lessons."
"Well then you'd better go study the fundamentals a little more. I'll still be here when you get back."
"What about returning to the Tower? They need leadership! From someone who's still mostly sane!"
"Look, do you have any idea how hard is is to pack up your belongings when you're as old as I am? And no moving company will ever come out here! Take your time, I'm not going anywhere."
"And I believe that wraps up our business with the mages."
"Let's go take a break for a bit."
"Food! Music! Alcohol! I need them all!"