Part 39: Blosk"So now what?"
"We keep exploring the Great Cave!"
"Who put you in charge of where we go, anyway?"
"See, that's what I've been saying!"
"Look, let's just check out this town, okay?"
"And then another town or two, maybe a fort..."
"So what is this place, anyway?"
"According to the map, this should be Blosk."
There are an awful lot of towns in the Great Cave. Fortunately, we don't have to visit all of them right this instant.
"It's kind of depressing how practically every town we visit has a school for teaching people how to beat each other up."
"It's a popular passtime these days, Byff old chum."
"I know, I know."
Actually this is because you used to need trainers if you wanted to benefit from your levelups. And sages are everywhere because you used to have to pay them to identify your items.
"Okay, so what's the deal here? Most of these guys look like beginners."
"Yeah, let's see what you have."
Blademaster could be handy, but at 2k per point it's ridiculously overpriced. Plus the Formello trainer sells it for slightly cheaper.
"You don't talk much, do you?"
"Haha, poor guy isn't really cut out to be a teacher, is he?"
"Guess we don't need anything, then."
"Mmm. What d'you all say we eat out tonight, hey? Hey toots, anything for sale?"
"This is a huge kitchen for just one person. I mean look, there's three ovens and six tables!"
"I guess this is a major military town?"
"Well yeah, there's soldiers everywhere. See?"
"Pleasant lot, aren't they?"
"We can't all have your charming disposition, One-Eye."
"Ahh, and there's one of our mysterious friends again."
"Aww, poor guy. Hanging in there?"
"You know, I know just the fellow to get you fixed up. How do you feel about slith stonemasonry?"
"Oh fine, suffer in silence then."
"One-Eye? Why are we rooting through someone's messy bedroom?"
"Remember? You wanted to be an enforcer for the mob. Well, here's our chance..."
"One of these days this shit is going to catch up with you, you know that, right?"
"It already did. S'why I'm down here, remember?"
"Hey, someone's watching us."
"Crap! Quick, get out!"
"Sure am! Perfectly legal and aboveboard adventurers!"
"Subtle, Elly. Hey, nice sword you got there, kid."
"Yeah? And what're you going to do with a real sword?"
"Oh, I like this kid. Can we keep him?"
"Heh. You like scaring adults like that?"
"Sure, here ya go."
"Oh no you don't. At least give us some info in exchange."
"...that'll do. Get outta here."
"You got a soft spot for gutter rats, eh One-Eye?"
"Ehh, just memories, that's all. C'mon, let's go."
"Come here often? Er, I mean, this is your forge?"
"Well, maybe when we're done with the sliths, you can get some days off, eh?"
"Ahem. What fort do you supply, anyway?"
"Wait...there aren't any mines around here. Where do you get your metal from?"
"Oh man, you're my favorite person all day! I seriously have like 200 pounds of iron in my pack. Here, catch!"
"No, wait --"
"Relax, I wouldn't actually do that to anyone who's not One-Eye."
"Aww, you know you love it."
460 coins for 23 bars of iron. Not a ton, but a lot better than just selling them.
"Okay, well, we gotta go!"
"Wait, can I get your numbers first?"
"Well, One-Eye? Need to restock?"
"Restock? I've been using the same arrow over and over again for months now."
"You mean you never noticed?"
"But wait, how --"
"But if it'll make you feel better, we'll talk to the fletcher anyway."
"For the sake of my friend's sanity, what all do you sell here?"
As you may have guessed, in the original game, you had limited stocks of arrows for your bows.
"Wait, really? What makes things hectic?"
"I guess it's harder to re-use your ammunition when you shoot it over a wall."
"Oooh, dish on the surface story!"
"You. I like you. Let's see what you got!"
Oh hey, a source for longbows that aren't made of cavewood! The better longbows deal slightly more damage. In fact, Yew Longbows are better weapons than the Bow of Storms:
The DoT that the Bow of Storms adds doesn't do as much damage in practice as the extra damage from the longbow, considering that One-Eye typically shoots the same target several times in a row and the DoT doesn't stack.
Anyway, we're not buying just now; gotta save money for spells!
"Thanks, fletcher man who doesn't sell arrows!"
"Oh look, an open invitation."
"You...you do know how to read, right?"
"Sure, but you gotta read between the lines too, buddy! If people don't want us to go in there, then there must be something important inside, ergo we need to check it out!"
"See? A trap too! Kind of a cheap one though. Disappointing."
"I take it back. This is disappointing."
An Ensnaring Wand and 5 bars of iron. Oh well, at least they're easy to unload.
*cough* "Phew, I'd worry about what this does to my lungs, but with the way life is down here, it probably won't affect my mortality any. Still, haven't you heard of respirators? There's flour everywhere!"
"Yeah, see, that's not healthy. What're you doing here?"
"Well hey, people have to eat, right?"
"Hey, didn't someone way up north want mushroom meal? How much are you charging?"
"Oh no you don't. I'm not hauling this stuff hundreds of miles."
"Ehh, no profit in it anyways. Let's go."
We can break into her storeroom and steal a bunch of sacks of meal.
"Hey, another job board!"
"Haaaang on a second. We have that intel!"
"And we beat up that undead horde, too!"
"And the fungus!"
"Nice, three out of four!"
Demel the miller is right next door:
200 coins, a Group Heal scroll, and a Speed Burst scroll -- excellent.
Captain Scarlet is the jerk in Fort Emerald who didn't want our help. Joke's on her, she's getting it anyway!
This gets us a Ruby Breastplate. It's not great.
But while we're in the area, I get a hankering to tidy up a loose end. Let's go revisit that crumbling slith fort that we got the intel from.
"Hey, what gives? We cleared this place out!"
"We'll just have to clear it again!"
Which is easy as that Slith Flinger is the only occupant...downstairs, anyway. Upstairs?
"I have a bad feeling about this."
"Oh, relax. We'll dose you two to the gills before we toss you in there."
"Now get in there!"
Remember these two? They can breathe fire twice per turn. Good thing One-Eye's dodgy as hell now -- he actually avoided two of the three blasts sent his way, and he has just enough HP to survive a third hit. Fortunately the fourth action the drakes got was spent on summoning some chaff.
"Why does nothing die when I hit it any more?" "Ow! And stop biting me!"
"No, no, this is good! Keep its mouth busy!"
"If it's chewing then it'll be too busy to breathe, and eventually it'll suffocate!"
"S'all good, Kane, I'll keep you healthy!"
"I don't like this plan!"
But yes, staying in melee range provides the drakes with distractions so they don't breathe on us so often. It's utterly vital for survival.
"Alright! Now get your chewy ass over here, Kane!"
"I get the feeling you guys don't respect my authority."
"I respect that you're harder to chew on than I am, now c'mon!"
"...especially since we're on our own now. Whelp."
"This seems to be happening a lot lately."
"Way I figure it, our mages aren't getting enough exercise."
"What does exercise have to do with it?"
"Well, you get more exercise than any of us, right? And look at you, you're buff as hell. Scarred as hell too. And you were a weedy scrub when we started out."
*Oof* "Gee, thanks."
"And I've been pulling shit off that I wouldn't have dreamed of doing a year ago. Hell, I dodged a literal fireball! Meanwhile our two eggheads spend all their time trying to pierce the veil or what-fucking-ever."
"Yeah, but Elly has a literal ton of random stuff in her backpack. Doesn't seem to slow her down any. You can't tell me she's not in shape!"
"Man, I dunno. Maybe if she swung that pack at the enemies more often she wouldn't be a small pile of ashes right now. Speaking of, at least she'll be easy to carry."
"Oh hey, we won. Neat."
And no, there's no reward for doing that besides having easy access to the box with the sliths' plans in it.
"Hi Elly. One-Eye thinks you don't do enough push-ups."
"Oh did he now?"
"That's not what I said!"
If I were playing this game "properly", I would probably have gotten Elly and Byff access to the Hardiness skill instead of the Gymnastics skill. 10 ranks in Hardiness makes characters a lot more durable against elemental attacks, while 10 ranks in Gymnastics gives you a 20% evasion rate, about a 65% chance of starting with 1 bonus action point, about a 26% chance of getting 2 bonus APs, and so on. Very nice, mind you; just not very reliable.
Anyway, back to Blosk.
"Uh huh. Master of everything, eh? Like what?"
"Uhh...when was the last time we actually tried to use a wand?"
"Against Drath. Stupid Wand of Death missed every time."
"Well, he was a lich."
"So yeah, I think we'll pass. Thanks anyway."
"Oh dear. Byff, hon, let's go outside for a bit, okay?"
In the interests of posterity, here's what he has to say about wands:
This was a lot more relevant in the original game, where Wands of Carrunos were common item drops; I think we've seen only one of these wands in this game.
"Okay, so what's in your library, then? Mystic scrolls?"
"Ah, "historical romances". Look, do you actually do anything?"
"Oh, okay. This oughta be good. Sure, we'll hear your song."
"What's going on in there, you two?"
"Nothing! Look, man, stop singing already!"
"Look, can you show us what you have for sale? Something useful, please?"
The Electrum Bauble is ancient trash; we had one way back. It's just +2% armor. Purging Crystals cure physical ailments for the entire party, but we have plenty and hardly ever get tagged by physical ailments to begin with.
"...no, see, I said useful. We're adventurers. We got practical needs, dig?"
"Yeah? What kind of message?"
"Oh really. Interesting. Okay, sure, we'll take her your little message."
"Can we please leave?"
"Oh good, you're done. Guys like that just rub me the wrong way."
"I heard singing. Why was there singing?"
"Trust me, you don't want to know."
"Oh, I dunno. I think I remember most of the words; I'll have to repeat it for you sometime, Elly."
One place left in Blosk to visit.
"Oh, good. Innkeepers are usually sane."
"Now you've done it. Bet she'll be yammering on about talking mice or something."
"Innkeeper! You --"
"Oh hey, you're Mayor Vicky!"
"That I am."
Drakeskin Shield; gives 10% fire resistance. Eh.
"Wait, you're the mayor?"
"Why put you in charge? You don't talk to mice, do you?"
"Right, I'm cutting you off."
"But I haven't even had anything to drink yet!"
"You have to go to the Castle? I thought those necklaces let you communicate at a distance."
"Love you too, Vicky. Don't ask us to do you any more favors. Though, uh, you don't have any more jobs for us?"
"Already got one, but thanks!"
"Nope! We're dedicated lazy, undisciplined mercenaries!"
"Look, I hope the rest of us can still get a drink. What're you offering here?"
"Okay, let's see this fine meal then."
Amusingly, this actually places a Roll and a bottle of Ale in your inventory.
"And let me guess: your rooms have become infested by miniature ogres, and until you can get an exterminator they're not fit for inhabitants?"
"Nothing so exotic, I'm afraid."
"Alright, goodbye Mayor Vicky!"
"Hey. How's things?"
"I'm trying to reconcile what I've heard of the Scimitar with what I've seen of the Abyss. It's not working."
"You're just trying to operate on too small a sample size, that's all."
"Uh, sure Byff."
"Oh hey, there's a priest here!"
"Wow, you're really...geeze, how many bottles is that in front of you?"
"Yeah, you said the Holy Chance? Man, I think I converted to that religion!"
"It was something like that, anyway!"
"Yeah, that's the one! Preach it, sister!"
"Hey, that sounds fun. You got it, lady."
Let's, uh, rewind a bit.
"Hey, if you've been wandering around so much, you must've seen some interesting sights. Any interesting stories?"
"Oh, well, okay then."
"Okay, let's leave the sister of the faith to her prayers. We got places to go, right?"