Part 63: Slith FortressLast time, we wandered all over creation, tying up all the easy loose ends. Time for a slightly more involved loose end.
"That means we're going to that island cavern, right?"
"Who are you talking to?"
"Haven't you learned by now not to question this kind of thing, Kane?"
Here we are, just north of Sss-Thsss' Castle.
"More die-hard evil sliths?"
"It's up to us to tell them the war is over!"
The wandering encounter visible on the southern island is just a bunch of priests:
Results are predictable.
Shielding Potion, Healing Elixir, and Curing Elixir.
"Okay, enough warm-up, it's time for the main event!"
"You're awfully enthusiastic about this."
"Look, if they wanted to be nice sliths, they could move into that little village over by Fort Emerald. They haven't done that. Ergo, they're fair game."
"I think she's just suffering from withdrawal. We've been fighting nothing but undead and demons lately, and they're physically incapable of satiating her bloodlust."
"Ichor just isn't the same."
"That's odd. Walls? Sliths are awful at walls."
Let me just say this upfront: we are badly overleveled for this dungeon. None of these poor schmucks pose a threat to us, so I'm not going to comment on the fights beyond calling out unique opponents. You can safely assume that One-Eye will dodge everything, Kane will take only scratch damage, and Elly and Byff will rain down arcane fire and eldritch energies to rip our foes apart.
"I don't think I've ever seen sliths make furniture out of wood. Not even cave tree wood."
"Nothing in these desks but garbage though."
"This is more like what I'd expect from a slith camp. Tiny caverns, bedrolls all over the place..."
"Covered in blood!"
"That's mostly new since we got here, though."
"Hey, that's cheating! No fair putting the herbs where we can't reach them!"
That does it for the western exit from the foyer. Time to head east.
"Finally someone thinks to try incinerating their trash."
"That explains the smell. Phew!"
"Isn't this kind of weird? Who builds a couple of normal rooms and then surrounds them with a slith warren?"
"Well that's out of date."
"Yeah, their mighty fortress is looking kind of hollow these days."
"Hey, look at that: think they're trying to summon a replacement for Grah-Hoth?"
"If so, they're aiming a little low on the totem pole!"
The Frenzied Infernal has a couple of Frenzied Apprentices with him; as you might imagine, they all have bonus AP. It doesn't help them.
"Now I'm really confused. Why isn't there a door to the foyer from here?"
"Haha, you said ''foyer''. That's a funny word."
"Hidden" switches on the walls open a treasure chamber (cavewood longbow and a curing elixir) and a reading room.
"Sliths and demons go way back, apparently."
"There, all's right with the world again."
There's one each of the three basic alchemical herbs here.
"Oookay. Magma, in the middle of a lake?"
"This does seem geologically implausible."
"Well, yes. Obviously."
All that's back here is a Flawless Crystal, though. How pedestrian.
"I'll be honest, killing slimes is not my idea of a good time. They don't bleed properly."
"Geeze, this place is a maze."
"Oh, perfect! Hey buddy, what the fuck is wrong with this place? Haven't you guys figured out how to design a decent building?"
"I think it's invoking its right against self-incrimination."
"It'd rather try to eat you than answer your question."
"Oh. Well, it's welcome to try."
There's a dead body here as well, with some robes, a knife, and some rope. That's...kind of grim.
"I don't get the slimes. Weren't we here to fight sliths?"
"I would wager the sliths are confined to the forward sections of this cave system. They must have left the rear sections alone."
"...though I might be wrong."
"I suppose we'd better go save the sliths then."
"You're kidding, right?"
"I mean, if they attack us, then we'll have no choice but to defend ourselves!"
Here's our "boss encounter" for the dungeon. A bunch of sliths, including Chief Tivn'Schah in red and Darkcaller Nuassa (looking like a generic slith, in the top-left) have surrounded a Runewarded Infernal. Amusingly, the demon is actually on a different faction from the sliths, so they'll fight each other.
"Focus on the demon!"
"Aww, I wanna stab the sliths in the back!"
"I told you, not until they backstab us first!"
After one round of combat, we get interrupted by a conversation. Yes, let's pause what we're doing to have a little chat.
"Begging? I wasn't planning on begging!"
"Look, why are you even doing this? You clearly aren't cut out for the demon-summoning life."
"Suits me fine!"
Nuassa then casts a spell...at the Infernal. Byff and Elly hold back for a bit while we team up with the sliths to fight the Infernal. As long as we don't hurt the sliths, they're happy to leave us alone, for the most part. Eventually, One-Eye and Kane are able to chop the demon down, though not without it getting knocked around a bit by the Slith Warriors' combat disciplines.
"Right, that's done. Care to surrender now?"
"<We'll use your souls in our next summoning!>"
"I think that's a no, Kane!"
"Nobody ever wants to surrender."
And then Elly and Byff spammed high-powered spells at them and they died. All of them except Nuassa, who lasts long enough for her gimmick to kick in.
"Ḻ͑͛͆ͮ͐e̬̘͚͇͋̊ͬͤͮͅt̝'̮̥s͕̩̫͔̺̹̳͑ͦ̊ ͖̊̋ͨ̐ͪ̎ͅp͑̊̈́ͭ̓a̽̾̔͐͌̋̓i͎͕͓̣̘̞̠̋̍̈́̆̔̔n̩̻̯̲͍̳ͤt͂ͧ͆̄̓̚ ̝̠̺̦͈̲̆̑̅̄ͅt͇͈̤͈h̖̘̰ͭe̋ͦ̾̿ͬ ͓̬̯̪̞͙̗̈́ͨͭ́wͫ͗̂̈́͛a̩͕̘͙͕ͩ͋̅̒l̪̇l̲͚͖ͭ̀ͮsͯ͂ ̝͉̦ͅr̥ͯ͆͌͗e̝̞̗̗̞̼d͕͓̺ͩͪͬͣͨ̊̚!̇̽̄̅"
...almost. Divine Retribution is a hell of a spell.
Okay, okay, we'll reload and let her gimmick kick off. This time we just choose the "attack" option when she tries to posture at us.
Nuassa's gimmick triggers based on health thresholds, so if you're able to burn her health down quickly enough, she won't get to summon anything. Otherwise, you end up facing a Fiery Demon in addition to whatever else is still around.
In this case, it's just Nuassa and the Runewarded Infernal, which takes awhile to kill since only One-Eye and Kane can really hurt it. Incidentally, the Fiery Demon uses its turn to attack the Infernal.
And that's it for Nuassa's gimmick: she just summons a demon of a type we've killed dozens of.
"Well. That was bloody."
"I know! Wasn't it great?!"
The chieftan had a Slith Warspear; I think this is our third now. More uniquely, Nuassa dropped some Radiant Gauntlets:
Hit chance caps out pretty quickly in this game; past level 15 or so you're extremely unlikely to miss your targets unless they badly outlevel you. So these are not really that interesting.
In the chest in the corner:
"Ooh! I wonder what this opens?"
"It's a perfect match for this other onyx key we already have, which let us into Sss-Thsss' castle."
"Aww, cheer up! I bet there's treasure behind these barriers!"
"Hey, that's true!"
"This isn't treasure!"
"Hooray, demons to destroy!"
"At least one of us is happy."
"Stupid regressive library loaning policies..."
Leveling up Mass Curing just lets it cure more physical ailments, but it's pretty rare for multiple party members to be suffering from more than one physical ailment to begin with. That said, if you end up in a situation where several party members have been slowed, ensnared, or immobilized, Mass Curing can fix all of those and really simplify your life.
...I think that's happened to me once? And it was before we had access to the spell.
All three of these guys are Runewarded, in fact.
"Man, what's with this discrimination against honest spellcasters?"
"Never fear, Elly! One-Eye and I shall deal with these foes!"
"Just for that, I'm gonna let you solo these chumps."
And so we do! One-Eye throws the occasional healing spell Kane's way, but otherwise he's more than capable of taking on three demons on his own.
"Are you done yet? I'm bored!"
"Look, these things take time, okay?"
"Okay, all done!"
"So what's in this chest that was so important, anyway?"
"Eh, nothing much."
Wand of Carrunos (remember, these are actively harmful), Corrupting Baton (energy damage in conic AoE), some coins, some Graymold Salve, a Powerlash scroll (wide-area energy damage), and an Invulnerability Potion. Not bad, really. I still find it really weird how freely the game distributes Graymold and Graymold Salve, though, considering that finding the recipe and ingredients was a major quest in the original game.
That's it for this dungeon. Here's the map:
This doesn't really make clear just how weird the layout is. There's a bunch of scattered rooms made out of brick, but they're separated by winding twisty "natural" cave passages. Who built this place? And why did they build it like this? Unfortunately, we'll never know.
The dungeon is primarily here to give you an alternate source for the Onyx Key needed to reach Sss-Thsss. Nuassa and her demons are in the northeast, naturally. You might think you can skip all the slimes in the center and west parts of the map (that entire warren is full of slimes and basically nothing else), by taking the passageway on the eastern side of the map, which leads straight to the laboratory. Unfortunately, that passage is blocked by a portcullis that can't be opened, so you're forced to go through a lengthy detour. The portcullis room does however have another passageway into the room with the Frenzied Infernal, so you don't have to have Dispel Barrier to get in.