Part 55: Giant Castle"Let's go kick some enormous ass, eh?"
"And here they are, buttocks at the ready."
"Okay, you. We're taking Bargha off the menu! Now scram!"
The green guys are Cave Giant Diviners; they have some minor spells of both types, like Slow, Summon Aid (the second-tier summoning spell), and Heal All. It doesn't help them.
"The giants appear to be very big on signage. I hadn't realized they were literate!"
"Okay, okay, but I give them full marks for effort."
"When I said we were taking Bargha off the menu, I didn't mean it literally."
Just east of the Giant's Castle is a small...island? I guess? You need the Orb of Thralni to reach it, anyway.
Hey, more mandrake root! One of these days I'm going to convert them into something useful, I swear.
"Okay, who's for a frontal assault on a fortress of giants?"
"I was really hoping we'd be able to find a secret back entrance or something."
"Sorry, chum, looks like it's the front door or nothing."
"There's a smaller portcullis over on the side here, but it looks like it doesn't open from this side."
"I have a bad feeling about this..."
"Hey, what's thiiiiiiiiiiii --"
"Those devious bastards!"
"Why'd you step on that trap door, anyway?"
"More to the point, why did the rest of us all jump in after him?"
"Oh, shut up and figure out how to get us out of here."
"Easy, there's a switch here."
"Hmm...too small for giant hands, unless their children are exceptionally gifted at mechanisms. Who could have made this?"
"I believe I've found your switchmakers, Byff."
"Oh, you poor dears!"
"Here, have some food. Where'd you come in from?"
It's possible to reach the Giant's Castle without passing through the Abyss, hence this rather redundant recap.
"Not very nice to call the people who are here to rescue you ''voles''."
"We're planning to route out the giants and leave Bargha in peace. Do you know anything useful about them?"
Who are you calling "the humans", kid?
"A dragon, controlling giants? Interesting."
"Anyway, why aren't you working on any escape plans? Are you just going to sit here in the darkness until you starve to death?"
"Wait what. A Nephar? One of those brutes?"
"Okay, take it easy, buddy...lady?"
"Female, from what Zed said."
"Anyway, how did you end up here?"
"A third? And where are they? Getting provisions?"
"Care to share your opinions on humanity?"
"Does this really serve a useful purpose, Kane?"
"So, about those escape plans?"
"...what fort would this be?"
We razed this fort ages ago, and then returned somewhat more recently to steal the blade of Demonslayer from the crypt. Hrethra is a long way from home, and her mate is almost certainly dead.
"So! About that gate?"
"What kind of traps?"
"Oh, we know about that one! Thanks, Kane!"
"Hey, you guys are the ones who decided to jump in after me."
"...let's try the second gate, then. Know where we could get a key?"
"You can count on us. We'll get that gate open, clear the way, and then come back and let you know when it's safe."
"S'weird, seeing a human and a nephar working together like that."
"I think it's charming. People are people, and if more people treated other people like people then maybe we wouldn't get into fights so often."
"And now that word has lost meaning."
"C'mon, let's make good on our promise and clear a path."
These are just ogres, with a Hulking Ogre in the back. They're here to lure you out.
Because there's an Ogre Mage hiding around the corner. Surprise!
...I mean, they're ogres, so they get reduced to a thick paste pretty quickly anyways. Even if we weren't overleveled for the giants, ogres are still way past the use-by date. The Ogre Mage has the courtesy to drop an energy elixir though. Much obliged!
There's little ogre camps all over the place here. Many of them have ale, which we can take back to Spire to sell to that slob of an innkeeper.
"Hm, more mutant lizards."
"Why do you call them mutants, anyway? They're just a different breed."
"Yeah, but they have superstrength. Like, for lizards I mean. And they're all muscly and -- "
"Hold that thought, what the hell is this thing?"
It's a miniboss, is what it is. The Virulent Blob can summon Unstable Masses (which explode when hit), and is implausibly durable. It doesn't have much in the way of direct attack itself, though, so a few rounds of beating on it secures victory. There's a few more Unstable Masses and Draining Slimes around the corner, but the tight corridors mean they can be safely put off until their boss is dead...dissipated...whatever you do to a slime to kill it.
For our troubles, we get a bit of Graymold.
"Shall we head on up?"
"Better to clear the underground first. Let's not get attacked from behind."
"My kingdom for some punctuation."
"Looks like easy pickings. I'll handle this."
Cave Giant Diviner! Why he ran nearly into melee range before casting his spell, I don't know. Too bad for him, because for a cave giant, he appears to be made out of tissue paper. Also, he ran out in front of his friends, when he really ought to have been hanging back and providing backup for...
"Could you folks turn around and help me here?"
"But this blank wall is so fascinating!"
...these guys. Boatmaster Wurga doesn't appear to have any gimmicks; he's just a big giant. The other red giants are Slingers, and can hurl pretty damaging boulders. They pick on Byff, for reasons known only to giants.
Our reward, once the carnage is over, is an ugly necklace:
"...I think maybe I need to work on creating a spell that can burn this place to the ground."
"It's made out of rock, dude."
"Some rocks can be burned. You just have to get them hot enough."
"Why is there a torture chamber just off of the boatworks, anyway?"
"Well, there's our way out. Once the giants are dead."
And back behind the barrier is a Wisdom Crystal and a high-level attack wand that is still useless as everything dodges wands these days. I don't know how Jeff Vogel implemented wands, but they just don't scale at all. Use 'em early or sell 'em.
"Looks like we've run out of assholes to kill. Time to go upstairs?"
"It's either that or hang around down here until we starve to death."
"Speaking of which, how's the meat stash doing, One-Eye?"
"Not bad. Could use more sugar though."
"Heeeeere, giants! Giants giants giants! C'mon and get your stabbings!"
"These are the smallest giants I've ever seen."
"That's because they're goblins."
"Yeah, I know, I was -- oh for fuck's sake Byff."
"Huh, this one's actually wearing armor."
Just another unusually-durable giant. He does have one special ability: he can cause an earthquake, damaging everyone and attempting to stun them -- but everyone resists being stunned.
He drops a Speed Elixir. We have eight of the things...maybe I should consider using them sometime.
The earstwhile smith's forge. The switch opens a passage to the plaza outside:
And there's another switch on this side to open the same passage. I don't know why they didn't just put a door here.
"They appear to understand basic aerodynamics, anyway. I'm glad they haven't found any trees strong enough to make a giant-sized atlatl."
"Javelin thrower. A giant-sized one could probably put a hole in Bargha's walls from over a mile away."
"Hey guys, don't mind us, just passing through, oh and we're killing you all, hope that's okay, have a nice day."
"Well, there's the first way out. Assuming we could make it past the trapdoor."
"I could probably jump across, but I don't think the rest of you would make it."
"Maybe we could fill the pit with giants and walk across?"
"...let's call that Plan B."
I get the impression that Jeff likes writing signs for the Giants. They sure have an awful lot of them.
"Well, shall we crash the party?"
"Sure, why not?"
"Well, when you put it that way..."
"How did I get talked into this again?"
"Man, I don't know, and I'm the one that did it."
Three Mutant Lizards in front, and on the stage there's three regular giants, two Slingers, Overseer Fnargh, and Lady Hrrub. Why can't there ever be a boss named, like, Bob? Or Steve?
"Yes! This is what I live for!"
"Oh, step aside, hon. Let me handle this."
"...what just happened?"
"Elly happened. This is why I stay the fuck out of her way."
Anyway, the Overseer appears to be a beefed-up Slinger, and his lady love is a beefed-up Diviner. Their Slingers allies are honestly more annoying, since they go after Elly and Byff more often; Fnargh spends most of his time fruitlessly trying to pin One-Eye or plinking Kane for minor damage, and Hrrub goes down to Kane's focused stabbings.
"How many times do I have to stab you in the shins before you fall over?"
Mind, it does take awhile to drop Fnargh.
Cue earthquake, which nails everyone except for One-Eye.
"Oh, like you people have never had to dodge earthquakes before!"
This attack does heavy damage to everyone and has a chance to cause stunning. It's really unpleasant! Fnargh can and will use it every round, too. It's a good thing Elly consistently resists being stunned, because without her mass healing, we'd be in serious trouble.
Four turns of focused hacking later:
"Hahhhh...that was fun!"
"And people call me the berserker."
Weirdly, neither the Overseer nor the Lady has a special drop. Not even a potion for our efforts!
While we attempt to loot the dining hall, we get interrupted:
Beefed up Diviner, yadda yadda. He at least has the decency to drop a Speed Burst scroll.
(The switch opens a shortcut to the stairs we took from the basement)
"That is a lot of animal bits."
"And these are the largest alchemical tools I've ever seen."
Some more Graymold, and a bunch of money.
"Hello, the kitchens."
"Don't eat the meat."
One-Eye actually manages to miss a goblin, at 95% odds against.
"Okay, what the hell."
The red giant this time is a Cave Giant Overseer. As for the mysterious Incantor, he's really in the wrong place -- he dies in three shots from One-Eye and one Arcane Blow from Byff. He drops a Wisdom Crystal though!
"That was strange. What is a human doing working with the giants?"
"Hmm...no badges or letters on his person. I still wouldn't be surprised if he were an Imperial agent."
"Well, he's dead now. Good job."
"In fact, I think they're all dead. Every single giant. Nice job, guys! Now let's find that exit."
Ignore that the screenshot shows the door already open.
"Let's go tell those two that they're free to escape."
"Oh yeah, nearly forgot that bit."
"Good news! Everyone's dead!"
We get some experience and a reputation boost from this. Our reputation, at 41, is now "Worshipped". Which I personally find alarming, as we are not good role models!
Before we go, here's the maps for the Giant's Castle:
We start in the bottom-left area, with the boatworks just north of there.
Nothing particularly special. The ! is the hall with the big fight, stairs to the underground are in the north and east.
"I want to see the dragon!"
"What, Pyrog? But she's supposed to be in cahoots with the giants!"
"Exactly, and much as I'm loathe to reduce the dragon population, this seems likely to be my only chance to examine their anatomy in detail. Posthumously."
"Let me get this straight: you want us to go kill a dragon for you so you can study its innards?"
"Oh, I'll help with the killing too. I don't mind."
"Fuck it, why not."
"You want to fight a dragon?"
"Yeah well, much as it's a fucking dragon, I bet it's still weaker than Grah-Hoth. So if we can't handle Pyrog, then we're fucked anyway. And the worst a dragon can do to me is eat me. Demons are a lot nastier."