Part 57: Pyrog's Lair"Yeah well, much as Pyrog'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."
But before we go kill Pyrog, let's tell the mayor of Bargha about the giants! And get our health/energy restored; that fight with the giant chief pretty well tapped out Byff and Elly.
"We killed the giants' leader. They should bother you less often from now on."
And...nothing. Not even a reputation boost. Thanks for nothing, mayor!
Let's head just a little ways east of the now-empty Giant Castle.
"Fuck me that's a big gate."
"Yeah, yeah, help me with this key? You hold that end...okay, and turn on three, one, two, three!"
And then we get dumped into a fight with some giants and a couple of slingers, completely without ceremony. Oh well, whatever.
"...this isn't a dragon lair."
"No, that must be further east."
"Lair of Pyrog. Leave offerings at entrance."
"This looks a lot more promising. Shall we?"
"It might be unwise to go stealing this stuff just yet."
"No no no, this stuff is crap! I was expecting a lot more impressive from a dragon."
"Maybe the more valuable items are in a more secure location?"
"Not a lot of ceremony here either. Small lair. And giant servants instead of ghosts? I am not impressed."
"Feeling more confident, then?"
"Fuck yes, let's do this. Yo! Pyrog!"
"Yeah, yeah, fuck off, you're a little bitch dragon."
Okay okay, so we could ask her for some exposition. She'll tell us a bit about her siblings, note that she's only in the underworld because the Empire's routed her from the surface (merely temporarily, to be sure), proclaim her might and power, etc. etc. etc.
You're not here to listen to a dragon yammer on about power. You're here for a fight. Let's fight a dragon.
Note that the giants in the hall aren't hostile yet. This is actually intentional.
She gives herself Battle Frenzy, and then takes a big bite out of Byff.
"Oh, cut the theatrics, you still have half your face left!"
Her melee can cause the Lightning DOT and hits hard, but if it can't one-shot anyone then I'm not really worried about it.
"Uh oh, someone didn't get the memo that this was a private duel."
Regular, hostile cave giants reside in the caves to the east of Pyrog's hall, and one of them noticed the fight. We could probably have cleared these guys out before talking to Pyrog, but what fun would that be?
Anyway, only one turn after the fight starts, we've done enough damage that Pyrog decides she'd like that help anyway:
Also, she spends her turn missing Kane in melee, summoning some undead, and then casting Howl of Fear...which sticks on Kane and One-Eye.
"Wait, what's going on? We're fighting a dragon! Whose dumbass idea was this?! I'm outta here!"
"Wait, Kane, not that way! There's a --"
Irritating. Kane and One-Eye are both out of commission offense-wise, Elly and Byff are both badly hurt, and everyone's surrounded by giants. On the plus side, Pyrog has become inexplicably enamoured with One-Eye, and is happily chasing him across the battlefield.
"GET THIS GIANT LIZARD AWAY FROM ME!"
"Hold still, won't you!"
Terrified or not, One-Eye makes an excellent dodge tank. So that's one threat dealt with.
The real problem is the giants, and more specifically the damage they're doing to our casters. Everyone's spamming Group Healing scrolls to try to keep them on their feet, not least because our best option for killing the giants is Elly's Divine Retribution spell, which deals excellent damage to everything close to her (i.e. everything)...but means she's too busy to provide any healing herself.
"Y͔͍ͤỏ̩̚u̫̯̺̥͉̠ ̣͉̘̪ͤ͊̉m͇̩̩ͥ́͛̈a͖̜̙͓͓̅̈́͑̇̆y̻͍̰̲̞͆ͧ̉͗ ̱̪l̲͐ͩ̏ͩ̏o̹̻̰͕͉̺o͈̾̄k̦͓͎͈ͩ̔ͅͅ,͕̥̬̖̟͍̫ b̳͚̪̰̺ͩ͛͂̃ͣ̑̓û́ͮ́̍t̪̘̦̯͍̱̞͛ ̤̂d̻̪̻̅́̐͑̓o͊͊͋ͨn͈̺̼̰̙͎ͨ̿̊'ͩͭ̾t͚̲͇ͥ͒̈́̎ ͖̭̳͖͊͋̑ͭ͑t̩̜͚̻̠̪ͣ͛̓̂ő̥̇̎̋̊ͮ̉ù̒͋̎c͈͚̹̩̘̏͂ͯh̙̼̝̟̼ͣ!̺̙͓̫͂"
A few turns of desperate scrambling later, and things are looking much better. One-Eye and Kane have regained their sanity, several of the giants have been retributed into the ground, Pyrog is still fruitlessly gnawing at One-Eye's shadow, and everyone's still alive...though I admit that Byff conked out for a bit there, before Elly brought him back.
Weirdly, several of the giants remain non-hostile. Suits me fine.
"Ragh! Dodge this!"
"Sure, no problem."
This is with a Ward of Elements up, mind you, but that fire damage is still pretty pathetic, Pyrog.
One Slinger left, plus an ordinary giant, Pyrog, and her summoned lizard. Kane's switched to the Alien Blade, since Pyrog's immune to fire.
"Ha! I expected better from one of the legendary dragons!"
Oh, so that's why the rest of the guards weren't hostile. This is mildly problematic, as Elly's nearly tapped out and Byff is looking low on energy, too. Fortunately, all of the melee giants mob Kane and One-Eye, which leaves Elly and Byff relatively safe -- they just have a couple of slingers pelting them with rocks.
Or so I thought; one giant discovers Elly exists, hits her twice on the head with a club, and down she goes.
"Oh dear. But not to worry, I have a plan!"
"Does this plan involve bringing Elly back to life?"
"Eventually! But my positioning is perfect for something better! Pyrog!"
"Prepare to receive electroshock therapy!"
Byff's fatigue counter has finally expired from when he triplecast at the start of the fight. And with Pyrog and her giants so nicely grouped-together, how could I resist? Three Lightning Sprays is all it takes.
Which is good, because Byff only had enough energy for four.
"Holy shit Byff."
"No, I think that's more Elly's domain. This was science!"
"There's no better kind!"
"That was fun!"
"And we're still alive...mostly."
"Yes, let's get Elly back to Bargha before she starts to fester."
Total resources expended: four Group Heal scrolls, two Healing Elixirs, one Energy Potion, and one Speed Burst scroll. In truth, this is not that hard of a fight if you approach it more intelligently than I did. In particular, wait to expend your Adrenaline Rushes until after Pyrog activates her guards, so you can rapidly kill them and keep the number of active targets under control. And maybe try to maintain some semblance of formation instead of scattering your party members across the battlefield.
Still, we pulled through, and without any reloads required. Back in Bargha...
"Hi guys! I had a bad feeling when I saw that club coming down. We make out okay?"
"That depends on how big the dragon's hoard is."
"Then let's get back there and check it out!"
On the way back from Bargha, I mistakenly enter both the Giant Castle and the giants' docks before finding Pyrog's lair again.
"See, I knew any dragon that displayed crappy loot like this couldn't be all that dangerous!"
"And now you're going to steal it all, right?"
"Steal, fuck no. Loot, fuck yes! We earned this crappy loot!"
All of these items are indeed marked as Not Yours, so if you wanted a couple of sacks of mushroom meal and some incense without provoking the dragon, too bad.
"Hmm, I wonder how much this rug is worth?"
"I am not helping you carry this back to civilization!"
"Aww, fine. But lemme at that dragon hoard!"
"I for one want to make certain there aren't any more giants around before we start rolling in loot."
So we explore east of the central hall.
"Hey guys, your boss is dead. Because we killed her."
The other red one is a Cave Giant Overseer. He drops a shiny thing:
I guess that's an upgrade? Energy damage seems to be more common than cold damage. I'd give it to One-Eye (who's using a necklace that gives +18% cold resistance and nothing else), but he dodges all fire/energy attacks anyway.
"I'm surprised she didn't have the giants worship her."
West of the hall is more of the same.
"May I have your attention please! This property has been condemned! Please exit in an orderly fashion and hurl yourselves into the nearest bottomless chasm! Thank you."
"This would appear to be their larder."
Mysteriously non-hostile Frozen Worms, check. This dungeon is a little wonky with the variable hostility thing. I swear in previous playthroughs I've made it through the Pyrog fight without activating some of her guards.
The corpses have been stripped of their valuables, but mercifully retain their pants. Even Pyrog won't stoop to that level of incivility. Not until she eats them, anyway.
"Okay, that's everyone! Let's get to lootin'!"
On the ground is a golden goblet and a bottle of Almarian wine. And some bones.
"No way someone that vain has no treasure."
"Right, search for secrets then."
There's two switches on the back wall.
"I vote we go the way without lava."
"Surprise! They're both lava."
"Well, good news is, this looks like a treasure hoard. Bad news is --"
"Wonderful! A chance to use Demonslayer again!"
Leathery Wardbeast, Fiery Wardbeast, and an ordinary Mung Demon. The Leathery has cold- and acid-based powers and is incredibly resistant to physical damage: even with Demonslayer, Kane's only hitting for 20 damage, vs. 80 against the Mung Demon. One-Eye dealt two damage with his bow.
Kane and One-Eye settle for taking out the Mung and Fiery demons, while Elly and Byff team up against the leather daddy. It's nothing we can't handle, though it's fortunate that we returned to town before coming here; Elly and Byff needed the energy recharge.
"Enough delays! Lemme at the stuff!"
Around the central lava pool are chests containing:
- 33 coins, a Steel Breastplate, and a Bronze Halberd.
- 79 coins, a Spineshield scroll, an Ensnaring Wand, and the First Expedition Boots:
I guess Kane can finally get an upgrade to the Clover Boots he's been using for years now. His defenses suffer a bit (each Luck point gives 1% resistance to everything), but hey, more offense.
- 39 coins, an Invulnerability Elixir, and a Scroll of Return Life.
- a Cavewood Longbow, a Robe, and a Rod of Succor (casts Mass Healing).
"No barrier can slow me in my pursuit of knowledge! Literally!"
"Yes, this should make for fun bedtime reading."
"Didn't someone want us to retrieve this for them...?"
"Easy, Byff. Down, boy! We can hand it over after you've finished reading it!"
And on the table is a scroll of Recovery (a.k.a. Mass Curing, useless), yet more Graymold, and some Mandrake.
"Guess that's it then: both corridors lead to the same place."
"Or we could open this secret passage. Sheesh, man, pay attention to your surroundings!"
"Whooo! This looks important!"
"Okay, you two have fun!"
The Bound Haakai can summon weak Fiery Demons at will, is highly durable, has a rather small confines to fight in...and deals no damage whatsoever throughout the entire fight as Kane parries every attack he makes.
And you can avoid the Bound Haakai if you can dispel the barriers. I don't know if they're level-3 or not; unfortunately there's no easy way of checking.
"Now, what's so important as to warrant such guards?"
"Oh. Oh well. Yoink!"
"This must be one of the brooches Erika's notes mentioned."
"We now have four of the things, without even making any special effort."
"Excuse me? We fought a dragon for this thing!"
"Elly said it before I could."
"Er, I meant we haven't been actively looking for them."
"I guess that's just what we get for being thorough explorers!"
"I believe you mentioned that if we couldn't handle Pyrog, we wouldn't be able to handle Grah-Hoth, right?"
"...shit. Me and my big mouth."
"Let's go shove this sword through a demon tyrant."
"Pointy end first?"
"I'm not picky."
Here's the map of Pyrog's Lair, before we go: