Part 44: Patrick's Tower"Which just leaves the conventional defenses at Skarragath. And this Patrick person knows how to deal with those."
"Sounds like that's what we need to follow up on first, then. Any objections?"
"Alright, then let's get moving."
Patrick's Tower is not hard to find: it's along the southern edge of the Great Cave, just southwest of the island where we fought a bunch of basilisks awhile ago.
"Patrick's Tower should be around here somewhere..."
"Wait, are those bandits?"
"Yep, looks like. Let's go, guys!"
We get three Soldiers on our side to help out against a force of Rogue Warriors, Rogue Archers, and a Rogue Mage. They're not particularly relevant; by the time the Soldiers get their turns, everything is dead. We now thoroughly outclass these second-tier bandit enemies.
"Well, it's not nothing, but I guess we'll take it."
Especially since it's a Speed Burst scroll, which is actually useful.
"Well, I'm liking what I see already!"
"Nice-looking place, anyway. How come we haven't heard about it before?"
"Actually, someone mentioned it awhile back as having one of the best libraries in Avernum."
"Yes, books. If you don't mind, I'll take the lead here."
"Be my guest."
"Lead us straight to the kitchen? You could have told us you were hungry, Byff!"
"Actually, something smells good."
"Man, what's in that bowl?"
"I guess it smelled better than it tasted, huh?"
"What kind of ingredients do you need, anyway? I think we still have some sugar around here somewhere..."
"You stay away from my emergency stash!"
"Aww, poor guy. If we ever find any garlic, we'll be sure to let you know!"
I'll go ahead and spoil this now: there's no garlic in the underworld. Not this time around, anyway. Sorry, Marco.
"Excuse me, sir, are you in charge of the guards here?"
"I detect the faintest hint of sarcasm in your tone."
"That doesn't sound so bad to me!"
"Hmph. You know, they could have just ejected you from the army and left you to beg for a living."
"But he doesn't appreciate what he has here!"
"From the look of things, neither do any of the other guards."
"Okay, enough pestering the testy folks with the swords, hey?"
"Let's check the basement instead!"
"What is it with you and exploring the underground of every town we visit, anyway?"
"Simple: people put stuff underground that they don't want other people to see. Which is exactly the stuff we want to check out!"
"I can't fault your logic."
"This is...a hydroponics farm for alchemical fungi? Amazing!"
"I think I'm getting allergies. Achoo!"
"Nice going, Kane."
"Oh, shut up and shoot them!"
The other color is Burning Fungus. They're all carefully-spaced so that you can't hit more than two at a time with AoE spells, and they have fairly powerful ranged bolt attacks, but that's pretty irrelevant because they aren't accurate enough to hit us anyway.
"I hope we didn't just disrupt someone's experiments."
"Are you kidding? With our luck, there's someone topside who was hoping to pay us for what we just did."
"Or maybe we just destroyed someone's guard forces."
"Could be. There's a first time for everything!"
"I'm curious what the Empire's teaching methods were like."
"You weren't a sanctioned mage, Byff?"
"Nah, never passed the entrance exam. And even if you pass, they dole out knowledge incredibly slowly. I learned what I knew through experimentation instead."
"Man, how did you get away with that? The Empire clamps down on unauthorized magic hard."
"Well, it helped that I was from Valorim. There's a lot of wilderness out there."
"Excuse me, are you done bothering me yet?"
"Nope! What'd you do as a mage for the Empire?"
"Oh man, dish on the horrible thing you did to get sent down here!"
"See? That's what I'm talking about! High-five!"
"So what are you doing down here, then? Trying to make new plants?"
"Got it in one."
"Do you really need to make plants that try to kill people though? At least, I assume those things in the previous room were yours."
"We are so not sorry."
"I guess that explains why they put your antisocial ass down here."
"And what exactly would you have us do instead, then?"
"Screwball! People're just trying to stay alive. That's hard enough already, isn't it?"
"Anyway, not all of us lack ambition."
"Believe me, I'm working on it."
"Not this shit again!"
"Look, everyone needs a hobby, right?"
"Okay folks, let's leave the nice mage alone before he blows a vein in apoplexy."
Note the "teach me magic!" dialog option. Picking it results in him dismissing us out of hand:
Can't blame him, really. Also, only one of the barriers down here is breakable right now; it leads to a chest with some mandrake root in it. The other will have to wait until we find that level-3 Dispel Barrier spell, wherever it is.
"Ah! Here we are."
"Excuse me, sir."
"Pardon me, please, for not standing to greet you. This old body doesn't obey me like it used to."
"That's quite all right, sir. Are you still in charge of this tower's activities?"
"Wait? What for?"
"Graymold salve! What do you know about this?"
"Say for the sake of argument we wanted to track down this salve; where would we start?"
"We'll be right back, sir."
"I hope like hell this place has the facilities we need!"
"They seem to have every kind of mold imaginable -- achoo! -- so maybe we'll be lucky."
"We'd better find this Kai person, anyway."
"My word, I'm impressed."
"Ehh, it's probably all romance novels and comic books."
"That sounds like wishful thinking to me!"
"You shut up."
The central pedestals have catalogs:
"Hello, new to the tower? Welcome!"
"Reading is a waste of time? But you're in a library!"
"Ah, she's looking for the really good romance novels."
"What are you researching right now?"
I tried to follow up on this blatant hint, but couldn't find anything. In the original game, Rita had a few hints for some of the more obscure magical items that had no obvious effect when used -- like the Bow of Kag, which was just a bow that used twice as much ammo as normal. Items in this game are much more self-explanatory, though.
"Can you tell us about Patrick? He seems to have seen better days."
"Yes, we're working on that. Hopefully we can help."
She doesn't have anything useful to say about this though; she just directs us to Patrick.
"Anyway, you said you had a use for us?"
"You would characterize a dragon as a ''pest''?"
"Well, she's certainly not friendly!"
"Fan-fucking-tastic. Just what I needed to look forward to."
"Look, no offense, but if we're talking dragons here, then there'd better be a damned good reason to do this."
"He means a reward."
"What's in these papers that's so important?"
"If I knew that, I wouldn't need you to get them, would I? But others we know about are also looking for them."
"We would much prefer that you give us those papers, and keep them out of the hands of our enemies."
"Right you are."
"Well, thanks for the break. It's back to the books for me."
"I hope you find what you're looking for."
"Same to you!"
"I'm curious what these larger books are..."
There's two more pedestal books, one in each corner.
"Ha! Poor chump's probably dead by now."
Next to the second book is a switch:
"Who puts a secret switch in such an obvious, public location?"
This opens a small closet nearby.
"More alchemical herbs! We may need these to make the Graymold Salve."
"Dude, you have, like, an entire apothecary already. How much mandrake root do you think the salve needs?"
"Yeah, yeah, okay. I'll put 'em back."
"Whoah, let's not get crazy now!"
"Don't mind us, we're just breaking into the bedrooms and stealing everything that's not being observed. So your possessions are perfectly safe!"
"Oh dear. Anything we can help with?"
"Aww, hope you feel better soon, buddy! So you can get back to...whatever it is you do here."
"Scrolls? What were you studying?"
"Really? We've mostly just been selling all the crystals we find."
"Except for the ones that talk to us!"
"Right. Except for those. We have a big pile of those taking up space in my pack, for some reason."
"Wiser? Or crazier?"
"I've never heard of anyone on the surface making crystals like these. Is this a newly-discovered art? Who makes them?"
"Well hey, you know where we could find any more of 'em?"
"You've been more than helpful. Thank you, and I hope you feel better soon."
"I guess we have one last reason to head back to good ol' Fort Avernum someday."
"This really is a center of learning."
"Wait, so what's so great about the Tower of the Magi then?"
"The Tower appears to be primarily for the instruction of novice magicians. What I've seen of this place is more like a post-doctoral research facility. Much more my speed."
"That sounds about right."
Yes, there's two NPCs with the same sprite. At least they each stick to separate rooms in the library.
"The First Expedition? That batch of psychotic bastards?"
"That sounds about right, yes. Oh look, we found a horrible place and everyone we send there dies. Sounds like the perfect place to stash anyone we don't like much!"
"So what do you research here, then?"
"Man, everyone's sick here!"
"You're searching for items brought by the First Expedition? Because we've found a few already."
"Have you found that one?"
"Guess we'd better keep a lookout for that spear."
"Not like any of us can use spears anyway."
"So that's a no, then."
In the original game, Smite was a hammer, but there's no blunt weapons in this version.
"Okay, besides the spear, what else?"
"Check, no, and check. So we're two for four on First Expedition artifacts. Not bad!"
"I don't suppose you'd let us borrow them to do some research?"
"Maybe once we're done with them."
"Okay, hope you feel better, hon!"
Let's check out the pedestal nearby:
It's not often a game gives you an opportunity for your characters to go
"Hello? Are you Kai?"
"Now how did you know that?"
"He's the first guy we've met, aside from that loony in the basement, whose robes are stained and bleached."
"Ah ha! Wonderful."
"So, uh, what's cooking?"
"Why work here, so close to the books?"
"That seems grossly irresponsible."
"So, par for the course with what we've seen from mages down here!"
"Yes, what if you were to damage the books?"
"Oh, I wouldn't mix up anything especially volatile here!"
"But when we walked up, you said to tread carefully..."
"Any oaf who can't respect orders is not someone I want to talk to."
"It occurs to me to wonder, where did all of these books come from?"
For the record, the second option results in this:
"Well, color me impressed."
"Anyway, we're in need of an expert. Are you a researcher of alchemy?"
"What kind of mixture, he said while suspecting the answer already?"
"I have some suggestions for where you could start looking, in fact."
"Supposing we found this recipe. Just supposing, you understand. We'd still need its primary ingredient, right? Graymold? Where would you recommend we search?"
"Okay, I can't keep quiet about this any longer. Kai, we have the recipe. And the ingredients!"
"Still haven't found that graymold patch though."
"Details! We have enough anyway. I'll share the recipe with you, on one condition."
"Oh? And what's that?"
"You let me make it. I just need your facilities."
"This is highly unorthodox. How am I to know that you won't blow up the entire tower?"
"Aaaugh! You can watch, as closely as you like, and step in if I do anything wrong! But by all that's holy, man --"
"That'd be knowledge, for Byff anyway, I believe."
"-- Magic is all very well and good, but on the surface I was an alchemist! It's my calling in life! And none of the bastards down here are willing to share their methods! Your alchemists are all close-mouthed, small-minded weasels with delusions of grandeur! Completely at odds with all your openness about sharing magical spells!"
"Okay, okay, I get the picture. But if you have the recipe and the ingredients, what do you need me for?"
"Like I said, the facilities. I don't have the resources needed to assemble everything I need myself, but I dearly hope you can manage them. I'll need a gas burner, a silvered cauldron, some graduated flasks and measuring spoons, a distillation rig, a titrator, some very high-quality scales, a thermometer, a syringe, and -- and this is important -- a magically sound-deadened room."
"Ahh, one of those recipes that actually is sensitive to vibrations."
"Isn't it just. Can you manage it? Please."
"Shouldn't be a problem. It'll be a bit of a cramped little closet with both of us in there though."
"Wonderful! Then let's get to work!"
In actual practice, you just tell Kai the recipe, then he adds an item to his potion-making interface:
Energy elixirs are a worthy use of our spare herbs. With Byff and Elly double-casting offensive spells in most engagements, their energy supplies can run low shockingly quickly.
But we're here for graymold salve.
In our universe, this takes a little longer, but eventually...
"It's done! And I feel whole once again!"
"All right, Byff!"
"Phew. You certainly know your way around an alchemy lab. Sorry for having doubted you."
"It's all right, I understand. Now, we'd better get this to Hathwisa."
"She's in the northwest corner of the tower, across the hallway there."
One sad change from the original is that every character in the game is always standing. Hathwisa here is supposed to be in bed (as the original game had a generic sprite for "occupied bed"), but I suppose she's defying doctor's orders.
"I hope this works."
"Was there ever any doubt?"
"After so long without practice, and with such a difficult recipe? I was far from certain."
"Ahem. How are you feeling, dear?"
"Need anything else? Tea? Fresh pillows?"
"Come on, let's go tell Patrick the good news."
"Sir, your wife has been cured. She's still weak, but I feel confident that with rest she will recover."
"Yes, one of my guards was keeping an eye on you, and came to told me as soon as he saw."
"Okay...thank you, then."
"Hey, we're trying to track down how to kill Grah-Hoth. Rone said we should talk to you about getting a Royal Seal?"
"How did you do that, anyway?"
"We're going to have to go to that prison at some point. Where is it?"
"Hmm. That sounds familiar, eh Kane?"
"I can't imagine what you're talking about."
"Rone said it was important, so we'd better get it. But we were blocked by an unopenable gate partway in. How do we get past?"
"Oh, that's what the key's for. Okay. You could have said in the first place."
I assume the conversation is structured this way, with Patrick not mentioning what the key is for until after you've talked to Rone, so you can get the reward for healing Hathwisa (the key) even if you haven't learned about Grah-Hoth yet and thus have no real use for it.
"One last question, sir. I'd be honored to receive training from someone with so much experience as yourself. Do you provide lessons?"
"I understand. Thank you anyway."
"Button in the desk, he says..."
"Geeze, paranoid much?"
"Man, this guy's handwriting is terrible. I can't read any of this."
"Purple notebook, remember?"
You can get in here without curing Hathwisa, but if you don't know to look for the notebook, you don't get anything out of it.
"Well, that's that, then. We should head back to Akhronath for the Royal Seal, but reaching Grah-Hoth's new prison will take a little more effort. He said it was west of Fort Spire..."
"That's quite the trek."