Part 40: Gremlin's Gold"Okay, let's leave the sister of the faith to her prayers. We got places to go, right?"
"Sure, let's go kill some gremlins."
"Wait, you're not going to try to convince us to go after the sliths?"
"No, I see how it is. We're going nowhere interesting until we finish up the Great Cave. Might as well spice things up a bit, then. It's been days since I killed anything."
"Y'know, when we first met, I thought you were the non-violent type?"
Our next destination is Gremlin's Gold. Where is that? Dunno! Let's head south.
"Those don't look like gremlins to me."
"Dammit, Kane, you got us lost again!"
"Suits me fine. Get 'em, boys!"
One Gazer, four Vengeful Shades. One-Eye goes first and tries to draw their fire, trusting in his agility to let him dodge. It works, twice. Too bad he needed to dodge three times.
"Dangit, One-Eye, attracting fire is my job!"
Still, everyone else is in fine shape, and once Kane's buffed up, he's pretty untouchable. Everything goes fine until the Gazer gives himself Battle Frenzy and double-taps Elly.
"Well, Kane, would you do your job?"
"I was! Stupid shades just kept me away from the giant floating eyeball."
Still, one Gazer on its own can't really keep up with us.
"One of these days I'm going to figure out how those things cast spells without hands to make the gestures."
Three Flawless Crystals, a.k.a. vendor trash, and a Wisdom Crystal. We now have nine of those. One of these days they'll get used!
"Hey, maybe you can make some kind of antimagic barrier? I'd really appreciate that. One-Eye too, come to think. Speaking of which, let's load up and get back to town."
"So One-Eye, why'd you charge in front like that, anyway?"
"Uhh, Elly farted."
"I did not!"
"I stand by my ridiculous claim."
Anyway, a bit west of the Gazer fight are the gremlins we're looking for.
"Okay people, let's get this over with."
"Come and get it, gremlins!"
"I can feel my headache starting already."
"Daaaang that is a lot of bodies."
"Hey, is that a chest across the lava? Man, forget Lord Chucklefuck, let's grab their treasure and get out!"
"Uh huh. Grab how? Like you said, it's across the lava."
"Simple. Throw me across!"
"And then what?"
"And then I grab the treasure! And...um. Damn."
"Sorry, but we're gonna have to do this the hard way."
Let's finish the upstairs before we go below.
The brown ones are Stinky Gremlins, the red are Spiny Gremlins. Stinkies can spew acid; Spinies can grant themselves Spine Shield, which makes attacking them in melee a bad idea. But they all still die quickly.
"Wait, where did this one come from?"
There are a lot of gremlins in this place, and they spawn in continuously. We're constantly getting into small, trivial fights.
"I think that one's some kind of shaman."
"How do you figure?"
"He's wearing a belt made out of...are those ears?"
And behind him is a Speedy Gremlin. We're rather overlevelled for this dungeon, so they all die before doing anything interesting.
"Careful, One-Eye, this chest might be trapped. Look at all those bodies!"
"Nah, it's cool. I think the gremlins just treat bones like decorations or something."
There's chests full of random junk scattered all over the place. This one, for example, has some pottery, a pair of scissors, and a set of balance scales.
"Hey, this one's not attacking us!"
"Wait, we can talk to you! What an opportunity! Please, tell us about gremlins!"
"Well, then can you tell us about this place, then? You can learn a lot about a culture from what they build!"
"Yeah? How's that working out for you so far?"
"Could be better! But eventually we'll turn your brains to mush, and then you won't be able to swing your swords or cast your spells!"
"Look, before we kill you, I just have one question. Chuckles? Seriously?"
"Right, I've heard enough. Time to die!"
"I am not fat!"
And he turns hostile, allowing us to hurt him. Fool.
His gimmick is that he can summon in more gremlins. This is not very threatening. He can also cast high-level priest spells, though. Like Divine Fire.
"You are the medic!"
"Naw, I'm gonna blast him again instead."
"Hey! Get back here!"
And this is his other gimmick: he runs away to elsewhere on the level. Have fun chasing him down! As we do, we finish exploring the level, and, uh.
"Wow, what a magnificient specimen!"
"I BET HIM GRAMMAR NOT TOO GOOD, THOUGH."
"Why're you talking like that?"
GREMLIN is extra-durable and has a couple of wimpy special attacks. And that's it.
Oh, and there's more than one of GREMLIN. And that Spiny Gremlin gave him a spineshield.
"C'mon, guys, we're just trying to kill your leader. Can't you let us through?"
There are a lot more gremlins running around now. I think Chuckles' passive summoning ability is the culprit.
"What amazing dentition! I never dreamed there were so many kinds of gremlin!"
"Dude, you need some orthodonty, pronto."
"Finally! Found you again, Chuckles!"
"Whelp, guess I'll be going then!"
"S͈̲̜̬͑t̘̻̱̝͖ͥ͊̎͊ͩ̀̂a̳̬̙͆n͇͍͎̳ͦͤ̓ͮ̿ͫd͕̯̘͆̿̄ͬ ͇̰͎͂ͫͣ̾ͅsͭͤͅt͍̪î͙̝̮̮̝̱͑͐̉̃͆l̹̓̚ͅl̞͚͖̙̓̽͛ͮ,̭͒̓̑ͅ ͗b͖͒ͮý̪̳͙̯̺͍̰ͫ ͇̩̻̜͂ͪt̯͎͙̪͓h͕̹̹̦̺̒ḙ̫̞ͪ̀̄̐̉̅͒ ̎̂W̠̹̪̣̯̻̮̊o̗̟̭̝̾̌́̄̎̒r̜̤͚͎ͪ̍͒ͨd̮͙̺͔̍̂͋̾!̱͆̂̈͐"
"Hm, wonder what he meant by that?"
"The sewers, maybe?"
"Nah, that wouldn't stop us."
"Normally yeah, but, I mean. Gremlin sewers."
"Or he could be by the entrance. I don't understand gremlin logic."
"I'm beginning to suspect that's because they're completely illogical."
"Not so, not so!"
This fight goes poorly for Chuckles.
"Ha! Not so tough now that you've stopped running away, are you? Eat smiting!"
Chuckles drops a very nice set of boots:
With these and the Mercuric Leather, Byff gets +2 AP, allowing him to doublecast on every turn -- as long as he doesn't move, anyway.
"Come on, let's go turn in that bounty."
"Hey Leith, here's a gremlin head for you!" *thunk*
"Did you really have to put it down on top of all my papers? Oh, well."
500 coins and a reputation increase. We're now Amazingly Famous!
"Right, now let's go loot the rest of those bastards."
"Wait...they stationed guards? How did we miss these guys the first time around?"
No big deal though. Basic gremlins and some Submission Fungi, whose ranged attacks all miss.
No coins, oddly enough, but we do get a Speed Elixir.
"Now, how to get the gremlins' gold? Gonna have to think like a gremlin for this one. Elly?"
"A dozen healing spells coming right up!"
"Oh now, that seems a bit excessive."
"E̝ͯͭx̦̯͈́̄̀̓̈̈́c̘̞͍̗̝͙͈̎̓e̞̖̯̩̹͓̥͊̾̎͂̏̚s̉̓ͪ͗͐̎s̙i̤̳̭̩̭͌v̪͕̠̬̜ͅẹ̲ͩ̅̃ͮͬ̃ ̙̦̻̲̼i̐ͧͩͤs̟̒ͣ̔ ̺̞͕̀ͭ͋̓m̱̹͍͙ͭy̙̞̳̺ m͉̹̘̝͓͕i͍̟͇̟̮̗̪ͯ̚d͍̙͐͐d̜̙l͈ͥͪ̎̎ȅ̲̺̉͆ ͖̻̈́͑̃n̞̘͇͉a̿̐m̻̝̜̉͌ͅe̩̭͖ͩ!͍͈̰͔̙̜̅"
"Oh, that can't be good. One-Eye, you okay?"
"Please stop doing that with your head. Necks don't work that way!"
"Okay, boys, we'd better work fast. Gremlin brains is crazypants town, and I don't know how long he'll last."
"Right. We have two teleporters and two staircases on the ground floor, One-Eye. Where to?"
"is that all"
"Quick! Follow him!"
Note that just because we've killed Lord Chuckles doesn't mean the other gremlins are gone. We regularly get accosted by every flavor from basic Gremlins all the way up to GREMLINs.
"Is it too late to express reservations about using magical portals erected by insane giggling demons?"
"Okay, so which portal's the right one this time?"
"Heeeheeeheehee thE RIghtone IS!"
All of the incorrect portals just dump you back into the maze, and possibly spawn in more gremlins; it's hard to know. Good thing quicksave/load exist!
"Let me guess, the way forward now is to go back into the portal we just came from?"
"Hey, no, but that's a wonderful idea!"
"Right, down the stairs then. And I'm cutting you off."
"Oh thank the Law."
"What? DONTYOULIKEME, Kane?"
"I like you better when you're not capering all over the place. And drooling. Now come on, let's go."
"I have the worst headache. Healing spells! Please!"
"Not from me, buster! It'll only make things worse!"
"There, feel better?"
"Stands to reason that a healing spell from a lawyer would counteract the effects of a healing spell from...whatever Elly's source of power is."
"Gremlins're dead. Again."
"What is this, a pantry? It's full of meat. But what's with the crystal then?"
Got me. The button on the wall opens a passageway behind a magic barrier:
"Hmm, gremlin drinks. They're notoriously fond of powerful alcohol. Maybe we've found their wine cellar?"
"Well, help yourself."
"Don't mind if I --"
The leftmost and rightmost fountains poison everyone! Oh, those gremlins, wacky pranksters that they are. The next-leftmost fountain hastes everyone instead...not that there's anyone handy to fight. And the one behind the barrier?
"What...the gremlins have access to powerful barrier magics? This is insane!"
"Yep, sounds about right."
There's ladders on the left and right, that take you back upstairs. We'll start with the left.
Two Chompies, a Speedy, a Holy, and a GREMLIN just around the corner. This place would be a pain in the ass if the enemies were a legitimate threat.
"It seems we're spoiled for choice."
"Come on, it's obvious these are all traps."
"Call it residual intuition?"
"Look, just take the stairs."
"Oh, those stairs."
"Yes, these stairsairsairsairsairsairsairs --"
"You can thank me later. Let's go!"
Incidentally, just being able to cast Bolt of Fire twice per turn with Byff is making these fights massively more pleasant. Hooray for AP-boosting items!
We could take the portal, but it just dumps us back a ways. This ladder is much more interesting.
"Can it be...? Byff, tell me you can dispel this barrier!"
"Sure thing, no problem."
"This had better be worth it!"
That's 596 coins' worth of cash, a platinum ring and gold necklace for vendor trash, some mandrake root and graymold, a Rod of Alacrity, which casts Haste, and a sword:
"Ew, it's all slimy."
"Doesn't matter, we're taking it with us!"
"Hey guys, while you were examining your sticky, slimy swords, I found something that Byff is probably more interested in."
"Y'know, or not. I don't judge."
"You lied, this isn't interesting at all."
"Oh hey! That's handy."
Alright! We're no longer solely reliant on Scrolls of Return Life for resurrection in the field! There's just one problem with the spell, though:
At 75 SP, it's just a mite expensive. Priest spells in general tend to be more expensive than mage spells, which is why Byff gets the AP bonus gear instead of Elly -- she can't afford to cast spells every turn.
The other problem is that Elly is ironically one of the more likely-to-die characters in the party right now, and she can't resurrect herself.
"Alright, let's get out of here and forget the place exists."
Ha ha ha, not so fast. We haven't explored the areas reachable from the stairs in the maze yet. They're straightforward areas, without much of interest except some Almarian Wine and some magical notes, until we get to here:
"This appears to be a message scroll. Wonder who it's for?"
"We could, y'know, open it."
"What, and break the seal? That'd be interfering with the post service!"
"And yet I find it hard to believe we'll figure out who the message is for if we don't open it..."
Before we go, here's the map of Gremlin's Gold, much good may it do you.
Marked are the box the message was in, and the Restore Life spell tome.
The southern half is reachable from the initial two staircases in the maze; the northern half only after you pass the teleporter section.
"I hope someday someone figures out a spell that can raze entire dungeons to the ground, because man, fuck this place."
"You said it, buddy."
"Hey, a patrol! Let's ask for directions."
"What fun would that be?"
"Hey, Fort Remote! Yeah, let's go there!"
"Hang on, that farmhouse is occupied. Let's check that out first."
"Ahoy the farm!"
The line about "I had a lot of food, but gremlins" makes more sense when you realize that in the original game, gremlins would steal food with every successful melee hit. And in that game, you needed food if you wanted to be able to rest.
"Good news, hon!"
What are the gloves?
You could save a skillpoint on someone by carrying these around, but I think we have more Tool Use than we really need, so they're not that helpful, sadly.
"Okay, west to Fort Remote, they said..."
"Looks boring! I can't wait!"