Part 54: Bargha"Okay, let's go say hi to the people of Bargha."
"Sheesh, this place really is a fortress. What're they so afraid of?"
"Hello? We'd like to enter, please."
"You're a little old for a guard."
"We would like to enter, please."
"Thank you, dear!"
"This is much nicer than I would have expected."
"Yeah, their builders are actually competent."
"Which demands the question, what are they doing in the Abyss?"
"Oh. Oh, hello, honey!"
"It's okay, we're not going to hurt you. Why are you hiding in the corner here?"
"Never fear! I'm here to protect you!"
"Well wouldja look at that. Our very own preadolescent tail. Better not steal anything, One-Eye, we're being watched!"
"Ethridge the Learned. Schooling of All Kinds."
"Hear that, Kane? Sounds like your kinda lady. Maybe you can compare notes on the finer points of dashing heroism and how to be the dorkiest warrior on the battlefield."
"Cute. What kind of training do you give here?"
"What for? You seem pretty safe, giant bombardments notwithstanding."
"Is something wrong? You're hyperventilating."
"How come we haven't been completely buried by the spirits of all the things and people we've killed?"
"I admit I lost track of our kill count somewhere around that big nephil fort."
"...that bodes ill."
"Aww, we'll be fine! Worst case, everyone gets annihilated when the Creator remakes the world anyway!"
"Thank you for those comforting words, Elly."
"At any rate, can you train us?"
My word, that's a lot of skills. Pity about the price though. I'm pretty sure we can learn all or most of these skills elsewhere for cheaper; Ethridge just gathers them all together in one convenient location.
"Tell you what, hon, let's go deal with your little ghost problem. Be right back!"
"Sure, why not? Maybe it'll send a message to anyone who's thinking of haunting us."
"''Don't mess with these guys, or they'll kill you twice!''"
"May I have your attention please! This is a restraining order! You are hereby ordered to remain a minimum of five miles from Ethridge at all times! Failure to do so will be met by --"
"Oh shut up and attack them already."
Wow. Four Banshees, four Vengeful Shades, and a new enemy: a Slith Avatar. I send One-Eye up to do his thing, and he gets absolutely annihilated.
...let me check my notes. Banshees are level 25, the same level the party is, and Vengeful Shades are level 24. So why are they so accurate? I'm guessing that One-Eye's evasion only counts for certain kinds of attacks -- the Banshee's cold touch doesn't qualify, while fireballs and of course physical attacks can be dodged just fine. Weird.
Oh well, Elly'll just bring him back, right? Wait, Elly! What are you doing?
"Naughty spirits! G̣̝̱̱͇͍̾o̯̹ ̞̗̝̬ͧ̓ͪͤ̓ͧ̚h͍̯̫ͨ̂̒̈͐ǒ̠͆̈m͇͚̞̜͚̼͛͌ͅe͔̼̝̭͐̾̆!͓͉̝̫ͨ͗̌̄͊̐̌"
That works too, I guess.
"You're darn tootin'!"
The Slith Avatar appears to be just a big melee enemy, incidentally, and by this point is wholly unnotable.
"Wait, what happened?"
"You got ripped apart by angry undead. Then Elly destroyed them all with an earthquake."
"Ah, I see. Makes sense."
"We're back! And we kicked those mean ol' spirits from all the people you murdered back into the grave!"
"So, uh, why are you still here then? I thought you wanted to leave?"
"How's the war with the giants going?"
"About as well as can be expected. By which I mean, we are still alive."
The ring she gave us is rather interesting:
We'll give it to Elly, replacing the Ten Blessings Band she got just a few updates ago, to help get her more AP.
Everyone gets poisoned, hooray!
"Well, waste not, want not."
It's just 90 coins.
"You look like you're in charge here."
"How goes the priesting business?"
"I used to be a priest."
"Wait, Avernites threw you into the Abyss just because they got tired of being preached to? What the hell, guys, what the hell."
"Are the giants really that bad? 'Cause we fought some earlier and barely even noticed."
"Yep, we saw the bodies."
"Nice wall, incidentally."
"And what if we needed to go east? For...reasons?"
"Now I really must get back to my duties. Stay safe."
"Bargha Hall of War"
"These people are more organized than the entirety of the Avernite Army we've seen so far."
"I guess that's what you need if you're going to hold off a literal giant army with a bunch of societal rejects."
"Maybe we can get a better view of the battlegrounds from upstairs?"
"Or a better viewpoint, so to speak. Hello, sir."
"Aww, it's holding up surprisingly well!"
"Mayor? I half expected the military to run this place, but you're in charge?"
"How's that war going? Are the giants much for warfare?"
"Hmm. That seems odd; if the giants swarmed the Abyss, then it'd be only a matter of time before they reached the Great Cave. Who have you been asking for help?"
"Cheers, boss. One giant extermination coming up."
"Oh, I say. We shouldn't exterminate them."
"You have to leave at least a stable breeding population, or else they'd go extinct!"
"And...? What's so bad about that?"
"Oh, hey. What's your opinion on the other town in the Abyss?"
"I admit our reception there was a bit of a shock."
"Anything else we can do for you while we're here?"
"C'mon, let's go back downstairs."
"What, no expression of lust over the knowledge contained in these scrolls?"
"Hmm? No, just wondering how in blazes they got here."
"I apologize for any offense, ma'am. Seeing any large collection of books in these caves is still surprising."
"So, you sell these things?"
"What, even in Avernum?"
"You haven't forgotten what happened in the Tower of the Magi, have you? With Adze-Haakai?"
"Mm...no. I hope you're wiser than to want to get a working knowledge of demonology, ma'am."
"So what do you actually do, then? Like, to make ends meet?"
"Identify? What's that mean?"
"Truly, we live in a brave new world."
Very subtle, Mr. Vogel. But yes, items in the original game were by default unidentified. If you had large amounts of the Item Lore skill, then they might be identified automatically when you picked them up, but otherwise you had to haul your useless crap to a town vendor and pay them 5-50 coins per to tell you that those items were in fact useless crap, before you could take said crap over to the merchants and flog it for money.
There's still tons of useless crap in the game, of course, but now you can just huck it all into your loot bag and forget about it. Much more streamlined.
"You mentioned a dragon? What dragon? Because we already met the nerdy one."
"Erika's journals mentioned one Pyrog that was working with the giants. And that the whole thing could only end in blood."
"I don't wanna fight a dragon!"
"Oh come now, we've killed worse by now, haven't we?"
"I don't know. Have we?"
"Should be fun finding out!"
"Where is Pyrog?"
"...so we can avoid it and keep our colleague's blood pressure under control. Ahem."
"In any event, do you have any Return Life scrolls we could buy? We're a little low for my tastes."
"...so the only actual service you provide is scaring people by telling them about dragons. Lady, your shop sucks. Goodbye."
I think in the original game, in addition to identification she would sell alchemical recipes. I could be wrong.
"That was a little rude, One-Eye."
"Anyway, now that that tedious talking is done, I can check out the books!"
Remember that sidequest? Because I completely forgot about it!
"At least 25% of these appear to be pornographic in nature."
"Ooh! Anything spicy?"
"Right, let's go."
"Hello? What sort of shop is this?"
"Well, there's your problem. You should be a brash, loud, and confident healer! Nobody wants a doctor who isn't sure of their work!"
"Ahem. Sounds like busy work."
"Okay, could I buy some healing? It'd be nice to get patched up without the temporary blindness and the writhing tentacles and so on that I usually get from Elly."
"What, you're still not used to it?"
"''Tolerate'' and ''like'' are not the same thing, you know."
"...though at those prices, maybe I'll just get used to suffering."
Bargha is a "full-service" town, which meant in the original game that it had to provide identification, healing (of petrified, killed, or obliterated PCs, as well as more conventional ailments), and someone to buy your vendor trash. Two of those services are obsolete in the reremake, of course.
Oh, right, and a food shop.
"Whoof, that cheese has some kick to it. Got any for sale? Maybe we can use it to take out those giants."
"Which enemies in specific are you talking about here? I get the impression you aren't exactly in short supply."
"And what did the Abyss use to be like?"
"Yeah, yeah. We're working on it. How much for a cheese?"
"You're not actually buying one of those things, are you?"
"Why not? You and Byff keep soaking up all our money, I figure I deserve a few recreational expenses."
"Like trying to make a giant vomit?"
"Look, a man needs his hobbies, okay?"
"Hey, nice bow."
"Nice to see someone who doesn't call us voles constantly."
"I'm in! Sign me up!"
"Geeze, keep it in your pants, man."
"I still say that picking a fight with the Empire is a horrible idea."
Johnston will buy our vendor trash. He also sells ranged weapons, of course.
The hell you say it's not as good as what's in Avernum? He's got a copy of an otherwise unique bow, for crying out loud! The Farsight Longbow is one of the best bows in the game, so if for some reason you were running multiple archers, you might actually want to buy it.
How he managed to get his hands on a set of Razordisks (they're sold in stacks of 6 each, so he has a half-dozen) is beyond me, though.
"Bargha has a teleport pylon? However did they manage to accomplish that?"
"Don't know, don't care, let's go sell that library location to X."
Back in the Tower of the Magi...
"We found a library in Bargha, in the Abyss. Though I'm not sure its contents contain what you're looking for."
"Or maybe they do! We won't judge!"
"That sounds about right. We'd like to learn from you please."
If this is your first access to Lightning Spray, then something has gone badly wrong. We don't really need any of these, in fact. Oh well, we got some experience for finishing the quest. Back to Bargha!
"The Black Serpent Inn"
"Yeah, you'd think a bunch of lawless types fighting a desperate war against rampaging giants would be drinking more or less constantly."
"Wait, hang on -- we have a message for the innkeeper here!"
50 coins and some experience, for a nearly zero-effort messenger job.
"Quite the kitchen you have here. You feed the entire town?"
"Got it in one."
"Could make a nice break from One-Eye's cooking. Sure, why not?"
"If you ever feel like contributing to the cooking, go right ahead, I'm not stopping you."
"Why would I do that when I can pay people to cook for me?"
"And why aren't you offering rooms?"
"You know, that's a better excuse than most innkeepers have given me."
"So what's new in Bargha?"
Uh, I think you meant the East gate there, buddy.
"That's not exactly new, but oh well...do you know why they're attacking here?"
"Yeah, the mayor's already asked for our help in fighting them."
"Please, be my guest. Any giant you kill is one less for us to deal with."
"What's your take on the Abyss?"
"I was wondering when you were going to contribute to this conversation!"
"I figured I'd let you guys run through your topics before we got to the meat of things. It's only polite."
"Ahem, I was speechifying here."
"Oh, sorry! Do go on."
"See, that's what I'm talking about! Emperor Hawthorne needs to be taught a lesson!"
"My words of caution go unheeded as usual."
"Yeah, yeah. Look, we keep running into the Scimitar's agents, and they keep giving us the cold shoulder. Or directing us to you. So can you help us out here?"
"Wait, this is a secret organization?"
"Could've fooled me."
"We'll be right back!"
"Oh man you guys this is so cool! I always wanted to be a secret agent!"
"Picked a nice place for it."
"Don't have to yell, mate."
"So hon, before we go haring off to join up, could you give us just a skosh more information about your little group? I'm guessing it's a foregone conclusion --"
"Nnnnngh shut up shut up shut up"
"-- but the rest of us would like to know what we're getting into."
"Yes, we've seen some of their outposts."
"Former outposts, once we were done with them. Now c'mon, let's join up!"
One of the consequences of a high reputation. I don't think I've ever made it here with a low enough reputation to not meet this check, but I'm pretty sure there's no special sidequest he sends you on if you aren't renowned enough already -- he'll just kick you out until you've made a big enough name for yourself.
"We already --"
"No, no, go on, tell us about this no-doubt harrowing and incredibly difficult mission that we deserve to be richly rewarded for."
"Yeah, that place was kind of a pain in the ass."
"Though you're kind of overselling the gremlins, hon. They're kittens!"
"Okay, scaly kittens with really mean claws. And questionable hygeine."
"Anyway, we smashed that orb already!"
"Eh, no, I think we'll pass. Good luck with your rebellion!"
"What my friend meant to say is that yes, we would be honored to join isn't that right One-Eye."
"I swear, you're just winding me up for your own amusement."
"You only just now realized that?"
"Oh, shut up and let's go."
"Whoo, I wouldn't fancy trying to get in here if they didn't like us. Good thing you like us, right ladies?"
"This place is nearly as big as the city above it!"
"I suppose that explains how they've managed to hold out against the giants so long -- they have an entire extra army."
"And their own prison. Hmph. I'm amazed they don't just kill every Imperial they find."
"Let me handle this."
"Refresh my memory, scum. Why are you here?"
"Maybe you didn't hear me properly. Why are you here."
"Ah, yes, the Dervishes. Go on, share your opinions on them. This is me asking politely, you understand."
"And where is home?"
"...we'll see. Let's hear about this fort again, see how your memory's holding up."
"...I don't make promises I can't keep, kid."
"He's just a kid. Can't be any older than 16 at most. What the hell's he doing down here?"
"You okay there?"
"Yeah...just, ugh. Poor guy. Children like that don't deserve to be down here."
"None of us deserve to be down here."
"Well yeah...but some more than others, right? There's degrees of injustice here, is all I'm saying."
"Are you Rogow? We were instructed to talk to you."
Hello, bizarrely out-of-place black-and-white LARPer photograph.
"You have quite the underground army here."
"What do you mean, cell?"
"So why all the secrecy? Why are you so hidden?"
"Anyway, we're ready to help. What do you need?"
"! You know of an exit to the surface?"
"Awww, this isn't the kind of revenge I was hoping for. I thought you'd help us assassinate the Emperor!"
"Shush. What can we do to find this exit?"
"Oh, well, if Erika's involved, that's a different matter."
"Yes, the psychopathic recluse. She's in on this?"
"Look, just...where is it?"
"And what about this password? Do you know it?"
"Look, escape is great and all but I was kind of hoping you'd be fighting back more directly. What are you actually doing here?"
"Let me guess -- that Icarus password?"
"Nice classical reference, by the way."
Honestly it feels a bit weird to have a "real" cultural reference in this game. I suppose I should have spoken up about it earlier when Ourobouros got mentioned. The Avernum setting usually does a great job of feeling very different from other fantasy settings (let alone our own "real" mythologies), but there's occasional moments like these that just don't work as well.
"You think we're in danger?"
"I think we've been to literally every other town down here, now. Can you remind us of where some of your agents are so we don't have to revisit every one of them?"
"Speaking of, know about any other Imperial outposts?"
"Say no more, we're on the case!"
"What my gallant and dashing friend here means is, we were already planning on paying that group a visit."
"Oh, hey! Did you know about Thantria, that bitch under Formello? Claims to be a diplomat, if you can believe it."
"Hmm. King Micah's going to owe us an awful lot, awfully soon..."
"Are we done here? I think we're done here. Thanks, ma'am! We'll do you proud."
On the way out...
"Warning -- Unsecured Guards!"
"Now what do you suppose they meant by ''unsecured''?"
"Scaly cows? Where?!"
"Hell of a defense system. How do they avoid getting eaten by it?"
Besides the Crocolisks, there's some Guard Basilisks...and these guys:
"This seems excessive. Also, why are we killing the Scimitar's guards?"
"If you know how to call 'em off, be my guest!"
"Icarus! ...nope, no good."
"Oh come on! I didn't even want to steal from you guys!"
"This is what you get for being curious!"
"So I guess we'll be turning around now, then?"
"Fuck no, we went to all this effort, we're taking our reward."
"Our reward for slaughtering our allies' guard dogs."
"You heard me."
This reward is pretty impressive, actually -- a bunch of money, some graymold and mandrake, a few expensive-if-outdated pieces of equipment, and a Return Life scroll.
"Man, and that was only in one of the chests! What's in the other one?"
"Lest you forget that the people we've so eagerly agreed to work for are not nice people."
"You know what'd help us feel better? Beating the shit out of some giants. C'mon."
"Bet this is the secret passage out of town."
"Let's go kick some enormous ass, eh?"
And we're done here! Here's the maps, before we go.
Top to bottom, left to right, we have Marlowe's Victuals, Johnston the Fletcher, the Black Serpent Inn, the sage/library, Prynne the Healer, the stairs to the pylon chamber, and the stairs to the mayor's office. The secret passage to the giant lands is in the northeast (just south of a passage to an underground provisions room), and the passage to the Scimitar cell is in the northwest.
That aforementioned provisions room is in the northeast -- there's nothing of interest there, really. Calder's passageway is in the northwest.[/i]