Part 59: Prison of Grah-Hoth"Next stop: demons in bottles."
"Such a pleasant, sunny locale."
"Says you. I'm wishing I could get away with Byff's outfit right now."
"Hey, don't let us stop you!"
"Oh sweetie. Only if you wear the Slime-Stained Tunic for a few years."
"On your face."
"Can we please go smite demons now?"
"Sorry Kane. That's not even a demonic golem, just the regular kind."
"Figures we haven't finished chopping through all the guards."
Fortunately, the Prison Sentinels are pretty nonthreatening.
"Nothing but bones..."
"A remnant from the original demon war, perhaps?"
This dead body has a ruby and some money. Never say no to free stuff!
"You the bouncer? I got twenty here says I can get in."
"I don't think golems take bribes."
"Twenty arrows, I mean."
"Did you hear that?"
"I knew this day would come. Elly's mind finally snapped! One-Eye, back me up here!"
"No no no, this pillar's...whining, or something."
"Weird. Whatever. Let's go inside."
"Prison of Grah-Hoth. All standard warnings apply."
"Okay, now I'm curious. What are the standard warnings for the prison of a legendary demon?"
"More guards. Ho hum."
A Divine Shade, a Golem, and two Guardian Hellhounds. The Shade has two cold-based (and thus undodgeable) attacks per turn and can cause stunning, so it's by far the biggest threat, but this is still peanuts.
"As crypts go, this is really rather nice! I like the magma furnace for heating...though it'd make more sense if we weren't in the middle of a volcano."
"I was speaking figuratively. I mean, I hope I was!"
"I don't believe volcanos often have large interior voids. We should be safe, relatively speaking."
"I'm detecting a pattern here..."
Two more hellhounds and another golem, plus a second golem around the corner where we can't see it.
Golem attacks have knockback. Kane's literally getting ping-ponged between the two golems: the first one attacks, knocks him to the second one, who attacks, knocking him back to the first one.
"I'd be more irritated if I wasn't wearing so much armor."
"Yep. Three doors, three groups of guards."
"Truly, all are amazed at your pattern recognition skills."
"I'm getting guff from Byff now. Byff."
"I'm sorry, I can go back to messing with Kane if you like."
"No, no. I'm just...welcome to the team, Byff."
Anyway, this is another golem/hellhound/shade combo.
"There's our boy, in that urn there."
"But how do we get in? Byff?"
"...and once again, we are faced with a door that's not so much a "door" as a "diagram someone carefully painted on the wall in excruciating detail."
"No lock, no doorknob, no hinges, and it's made out of stone and mortar."
"So now what?"
"We must have missed something. Outside, maybe?"
"Ah ha! I knew I heard something!"
"Score one for Elly's heightened senses, natural and otherwise."
"Hmm, let's see here..."
The same thing happens regardless of which option you take.
"Oh. Well. That's disappointing. It's just a proximity sensor."
"Getting close to it triggered some mechanism somewhere."
This wall is now open, thanks to the crystal.
"This is getting tiresome."
"Okay, into the portal."
"And let's just hope it doesn't dump us out into a sea of magma!"
"No such luck."
"...back in then, I guess."
Note that despite the large visible gap between the pillars, you can't walk through them. I guess it'd just be impolite or something.
Hit the switch and the wall opens:
"You said that already."
"I'm ready. I'm ready. I'm ready! Let's do this! Let's kill ourselves a demon king!"
"Right behind you, Kane!"
"I'll cut it open. Get ready to strike!"
"No...no! GET BACK HERE YOU SON OF A BITCH! Ragh!"
"Kane! Get your ass together!"
"It's okay! We can follow him!"
"Elly! You're a lifesaver. Where is he?"
"He went northwest. Leaving a hell of a trail, that boy."
"Then we'd better get to following him."
"Mind you, to go northwest he would have had to pass through Skarragath..."
"Aww, shit. We have to fight our way out too?"
"I guess Demonslayer isn't going home disappointed anyway."
"Please tell me you aren't pretending it's alive."
"Please tell me you aren't talking to it."
"Doop de doo, nice statue here..."
"Okay boys, time to earn your pay!"
"Nobody's paying us for this. Even if they were, there's not enough coin in the world. That said..."
"Good news, Kane, there's one of those giant fuckers you were getting all doe-eyed over earlier."
And two Cryos Demons, two Mung Demons, and a couple of Frenzied Imps. Plus the Fiery Demon that the Haakai summons. One-Eye very nearly eats it to the Cryos Demons' cold breath, but he dodges everything else, so he's fine.
As the name implies, Frenzied Imps can grant themselves Battle Frenzy (for preposterously long durations: 17 turns in the one example I saw). But they can't really do anything with those turns, so who cares? As for the Haakai, since this is the first proper one we've fought (the Bound Haakai in Pyrog's Lair doesn't count), well, they can charm.
"I thought he'd gotten over his evil tendencies..."
"Evil? You're the lawyer!"
"And you're the cultist!"
"Damn straight, which means I know a thing or two about deprogramming. One-Eye, snap out of it!"
Unshackle Mind to the rescue! Fortunately, the Haakai's turn comes immediately after One-Eye and before everyone else, so Elly can uncharm One-Eye before he gets a turn. Unfortunately, the Haakai can also give all of his buddies Battle Frenzy. How come I can't do that, game? Huh?
(Okay, so Haste has a 30% chance of doing that, but it lasts for like two turns even when it does proc)
"Ha! That's done it! One Haakai down! ...almost too easy, really. Disappointing."
And soon enough, the others are dead too.
"Hm, the Haakai dropped something."
"Oh my. Kane, you need to wear this."
Why Kane and not One-Eye? One-Eye certainly gets targeted by charm spells more often. But Kane is infinitely more dangerous when he does get charmed. Charmed One-Eye seems to mostly try to hit people in melee, which he is laughably awful at. Charmed Kane does the same thing, and will one-shot any party member with ease. Unless he can't hit One-Eye, but I'm not tempted to experiment.
Anyway, this belt brings his mental resistance up to 51%. Lower than I'd like, but a lot better than One-Eye's 37%.
"Oops, we missed one."
"Some fort! It's got holes in the walls, there's magma intrusions eating the floor, and there's dead demons and really dead humans everywhere!"
"An invitation? I accept!"
"Why would he want us to visit him, anyway?"
"Just the thousand, huh?"
"Look, just tell us where he is so we can go get this whole thing over with."
"You know we're going to kill your boss, right? He's not going to accomplish shit."
"Right, that's enough out of you. Hold still."
"...I really hope Grah-Hoth doesn't run away again when we find that keep of his."
It's map time!
Grah-Hoth's prison is an exercise in redirection:
The lone ! is his urn, of course. There's no point in going in through the traditional entrances, unless you feel like killing the guards. To get to Grah-Hoth you have to trigger the crystal, then take the teleporter chain.
And here's what's left of Skarragath:
Haakai and entourage in the north, annoying imp in the south.