Part 69: Freeholdin'Last time, we annihilated an Imperial outpost and recovered a dragon's scroll. This update, we're doing every single quest for Kyass, and there's a lot of them. Apologies to those in the audience that don't like him, but the rewards are too great for me to pass up.
"A fun little diversion. Shall we continue to the Great Cave to pick up Kyass' new recruit?"
"You don't want to?"
"I just don't really care one way or another. Lead on, my legal friend!"
Take Bargha's teleporter to the Tower of the Magi, and then from there go to the Castle.
"Wait, I thought we were going to Patrick's Tower."
"We are, but Captain Houghton here wanted us to check in on Kyass, remember?"
"I swear, without me to remember these things for you, you'd be completely lost."
"Sir. We checked in with Kyass. His intentions are unchanged: he plans to expand into any uninhabited territory he can find."
250 coins and the Archer's Band, a ring that gives +3% missile damage. One-Eye's using a ring that gives +6% missile damage. Oh well.
"Do you think something needs to be done about Kyass, then?"
"I don't get it; why is this such a big deal? Can't we just leave him where he is?"
Let's try a different tack.
"Frankly, this feels like a job for the military."
"Or for diplomacy."
"Yeah, we have more important things to do."
"Eh, sure, why not? I'm happy to tell you we'll poke him out of his little hidey-hole. Might even do it someday. Maybe."
The reward for this quest is a necklace that gives +6% armor and +1 melee weapons / lethal blow. Really not very impressive. I guess a completionist could extract the maximum value from the Freehold (buying all their spells and training) and then stab them in the back, but we won't bother. Kyass is just not a priority for anyone except for Houghton, and we aren't here to satisfy his paranoid delusions.
"Okay, now to Patrick's Tower?"
"I suppose we may as well."
Except you can't teleport straight to Patrick's Tower, so we go by way of Dharmon.
"For a center of magical learning, it sure is kind of a pain in the ass to go here."
"Didn't you say the teleporters were a demonic disaster waiting to happen? Maybe Patrick's just smarter than he lets on."
Arcanist Lethem, the potential recruit, is underneath Patrick's Tower. He's kind of a jerk: the first time we came here, we had to fight his magical artillery fungus. And he had the temerity to set up a level-3 barrier guarding nothing important.
"Ahem. We found some place that may be more accommodating of your talents than this tower."
"Kyass's Freehold is looking for mages, and isn't too picky about what they specialize in."
"An open invitation to rob you blind? Don't mind if I do!"
Not that he has anything of value.
"Back to Kyass, then? All this walking is boring. Can't we kill something?"
"Elly, we just slaughtered an entire Imperial outpost."
"I don't like to linger on the past."
Back to Dharmon, then the Tower, then Bargha, then the Freehold.
"Kyass. We spoke with -- oh, he's here already."
"Haha, looks like the road beat the shit out of you, dude. How'd you travel?"
"And how's the Freehold treating you?"
"Hey, Lethem! ''Can you teach me any magic?'' "
"Wow, that was actually reasonably polite."
"I suppose all he really needed was to feel needed."
"Well then. Kyass? We brought Lethem here."
250 coins, a Wisdom Crystal, and a Restore Life scroll. Nice. Alas, we've now hit the money cap, and Hrror's prices are still at Expensive. I guess we'll buy a rank of Hardiness for Elly at 1260 coins, just to get some overhead, because Kyass isn't done with us yet.
"Banished? What for?"
"Do you at least know where he is?"
"I guess we start at Fort Spire and work our way north, then."
Cue a lot of walking...
"Hello, Bohman. Do you have any mages scheduled for banishment?"
"Hail, Ward. We're looking for a mage."
"Odd? Howso? Because sister, I know odd."
"Wait, if mages get banished for what they might do, then why the fuck isn't Linda in the Abyss?"
"Look, can we talk to him?"
"You got it, lady."
Indeed, if we go upstairs, the portcullis that used to block access to the cells is now open.
"Hello, hon? You're Ashworth?"
I swear. Every single mage. You can ask them to teach you spells. For the record, if you ask (which we won't):
"How's life treating you? You know why you're here?"
"Oh? Where'd you come in from?"
"You seem okay to me. Why wouldn't they want you around?"
"Oh, poor baby. You okay?"
"Preaching to the choir, hon! You just have to learn to talk back!"
"Hey, for a point of comparison, what kinds of stuff do you hear? Because I have these crystals talking at me all the time, but it's always stuff I can't quite understand..."
"People can be jealous of power, yes."
"Hey now, I take exception to that!"
"He's just not used to talking to other crazy people, Elly. It's nothing personal."
"I guess you're right."
"Hey, so, we found a place where even crazy mages can find gainful employment!"
"Well, on the plus side, they'll respect and use your power. On the minus side, they're in a remote, hostile hellhole."
"And there he goes. Was this really a good idea?"
"Probably not! But it's done, so no sense worrying about it now. No lingering on the past, remember?"
Incidentally, you might have noticed the switch on the wall of one of the cells.
Seems someone tried to dig for freedom. There's no body here, but there is a Flawless Crystal.
"Well, back to the Freehold, I guess."
"Hey, Kyass! You need to install one of those teleporter pylons."
"I thought they were horribly dangerous?"
"They are. I don't care. I'm sick of walking."
"Anyway, we found that mage you wanted."
350 coins and a Rod of Alacrity, which casts Haste. I haven't made use of Haste in ages, since most of the party can get two-action turns reliably anyway.
"He's here already? How? We came straight here from Fort Spire!"
"Best not to question it, honey."
Indeed, he's in the "Sage's Hall":
"Hello, Ashworth. Safe travels?"
"Ha, better than Lethem did."
"How's the Freehold treating you?"
"Hey, can I compare notes on -- "
"Oh. Well, okay then."
Incidentally, Evysss has expanded her spell list and brought her prices down to Slightly Expensive now:
Almost there! Back to Kyass.
"Okay, Kyass, any more little services we can do for you?"
"A message. What message?"
"May as well."
"At least it's close."
As you may recall, Bargha's mayor lives upstairs of the Hall of War:
"So much for diplomacy!"
"Warfare is just diplomacy by other means, haven't you ever heard that before? Also: at last, a fight!"
"I'm just impressed they were able to train these hounds to hide so well."
These Guardian Hellhounds are unreasonably durable. And immediately after we finish them, some Trained Basilisks show up.
"Our formation could use some work, boys!"
Kane and One-Eye end up getting stunned, but no big deal; most of our damage was coming from Elly and Byff anyway. Eventually...
"Dude, what the hell?"
"We're just trying to be diplomatic!"
"So if you don't mind, please take this message..."
"Now would you care to explain why we were just attacked?"
"Listen buddy, Kyass doesn't command us."
"What was that message, anyway?"
"I take it you aren't interested?"
"Well, like I said, we don't take orders from him. He's paying us, that's all."
"Guess that's another job done. Back to the Freehold!"
All these quests could in theory have been accomplished while exploring other areas, but it just so happens that we found the Freehold very late in the game, so this is mostly just a lot of backtracking. In any event, you're always going to have to walk back to the Freehold to get your rewards, and that never gets more convenient.
"Message delivered, diplomacy performed! With gusto!"
400 coins and a Stout Oak Shield:
It's not very good.
"Okay, what's the next task? I assume there is a next task?"
"Be right back!"
"One, two, three, four, five..."
"...ninety-nine, one hundred! That should be long enough."
"...really? How dumb do you think he is?"
"He's got the shittiest scouts known to man, or else he'd know we killed that overseer ages ago. He can't be all that bright."
"Good news! The giant overseer is dead! And, uh, everything else in the giants' castle."
500 coins and the Rat Tail Band:
C'mon, Kyass, you're not even trying now. Your earlier rewards were much better!
"Okay, now what?"
For the record, this is how Kyass describes Drath:
"Oh no you don't."
"Look, Byff, you haven't even done anything with it yet."
"You're stealing all my toys!"
"Hey man, we all fought for that tome. It's as much mine as it is yours."
"He's right, hon. And I've a feeling we need what Kyass is selling."
"If it's any consolation, we can come back to check on it any time, once we're done with our other tasks."
"And maybe Evysss, and Lethem, and Ashworth will all be able to figure something out by studying it."
"...fine. Just take it, then."
700 coins and the Spear of the Fen:
Even if we had a spear user, this isn't very impressive, but at least it's worth a lot. For the record, Rita in Patrick's Tower also wants the tome, and will give us 500 coins, a Restore Life scroll, and a reputation point. And Thantria offers 1000 coins and a suit of Radiant Plate Armor (40% armor, 6% evasion, nothing else).
"Okay. Are we done? Any more tasks we can complete instantly?"
Hooray! Time to go shopping! Evysss now has a third tier of spells, and her prices have dropped to "Pretty Average", which is pretty much as cheap as anything in this game ever gets. Which...means that the actual average price is considerably higher!
Might as well buy all the spells, even if we don't plan to use them. Byff gets two of everything mage-y, and Elly gets two of everything priest-y.
The only spell left to buy is Summon Shade, for Elly, which Evysss doesn't sell. Everything else has been purchased, and the spells that are only level 2 have a spellbook we need to find, somewhere, to learn the level-3 version from. And we're down to 590 coins. So we go sell all the loot we've accumulated over the last several updates, and get back up to 10753 coins.
Hrror's also dropped his prices to Pretty Average, and added a second set of skills to learn:
Everyone buys 2 ranks in Hardiness, and One-Eye picks up two ranks each in Gymnastics and Sharpshooter. We're back down to 533 coins. So much for all the money we've been hoarding since, uh, buying some spells from Erika.
"Now what? Something we don't have to walk to, I hope."
"Hmm...Thantria wanted us to check on Kyass. I think we can call that job well and truly completed."
"Hey, so we can double-dip on all this work we did!"
"Why are we helping Thantria anyway?"
"First, because she has my brother hostage. Remember? ...though if he hasn't managed to find a way to escape by now, he's no brother of mine. It's been over a year now."
"And second, because we're going to get as much money out of her as we can before we tear her apart and drop the pieces in the nearest latrine."
Thus, a quick walk-to-Bargha-and-teleport-to-Formello later...
"Hello, insect. You're very, very late."
"Oh, I'm terribly sorry. I got distracted by some fancy mushrooms."
"Cute. Status report."
"Kyass has been aided. Kicked some addict out of one of his towers for him. And gave him a dragon tome, and found some mages for him, did some diplomacy, bought him groceries..."
For reference, all you need to do to qualify for Thantria's reward is the first Kyass quest, evicting Cenac.
500 coins and an Incantor's Ring:
That's actually really nice, for an easy-to-complete quest.
"Now, I have more work for you."
"These papers will be returned to the surface and to Imperial control, as it should be."
"...you did hear what I said earlier, right? No dragon papers for you, lady."
"Yeah, yeah, who gives a shit?"
"You should. But because I am merciful, I will give you another chance."
"Madam, why does the Empire want this tome so badly?"
"She said it, I didn't."
"Yeah, so, here's the thing."
"And what would you do with this exit if you knew where it was?"
"I'm sure. What if we don't tell you?"
"And do not forget your brother, Richard Wang. If you grovel enough, I could perhaps be convinced to forgive you, but not if you fail us on this matter."
"So, here's the thing, Miss Bitch."
"Get ready, guys."
"Richard Wang is a dick. Fuck him, fuck you, and fuck the Empire for thinking it can control me! One-Eyed Wang bows to nobody!"
"Oh man, I've been wanting to say that for so long."
"I see. Our dossier on you was incomplete. You will not live to regret your treason, worm."
Properly speaking, you can aggravate Thantria into turning hostile by just breaking into her chambers. Or by coming back and taunting her after you assassinate Emperor Hawthorne. Her four golems -- left to right, an Ember Golem, Enduring Golem, Justice Golem, and Cryos Golem -- remain non-hostile for the moment. But after getting whacked in the face a few times, she'll activate the Ember Golem:
Thantria herself is a powerful mage with enough AP to cast twice per turn. And she'll continue to activate more golems as she gets hurt. The Ember and Cryos golems of course have fire/cold powers.
Y'know what, we bought all those spells, let's go ahead and break out a summon.
...sure, we'll see how you do, Lizzie. Don't die now, y'hear?
Thantria can really put the hurt on -- dualcast Fireblast can nearly kill Byff from full health. Elly! Why don't you haul out a
They're doing an admirable job of distracting the golems, at least. The Enduring Golem appears to be immune to Arcane Blow, which is a little disturbing.
Noooo, Lizzie died. At least Thantria is nearly dead.
"See this, Thantria? This is what you get when you try to control people!"
"For your insolence, you will die slowly! You and your entire family will be sent to the gulag! Even if I die, I will have my vengeance!"
"Hahhhh...I've been wanting to do that for a long time."
"Not that I object, but what about your brother?"
"Biggest asshole I've ever met, including all those jerks we've fought down here. Fuck 'im, I'm glad he got captured."
"Aww, that's a shame. Family should hold together!"
"Lady, you never met my family."
"Hey, enough moping! How's the loot situation?"
Elly gets this. Thantria also has a Wand of the Inferno. And in her quarters...
"Huh, Mrs. Imperial Spy was a slob. I wouldn't have expected that."
In the chest is money, some jewelry, a Wand of Death (impressive-sounding but really not that powerful), and an Invulnerability Elixir.
All that's left of Thantria is a bloodstain.
"And good riddance."
Incidentally, don't go telling the mayor of Formello that you killed Thantria.
Hm, I thought this reduced your reputation, but it appears not.
As for the fight, it's a very good thing that Thantria's golems disappear when she dies. The Enduring and Justice Golems didn't have a chance to show off any special powers, but I've no doubt they'd happily lay the hurt on us if we gave them the chance. Much better to hold off the golems with a few disposable minions while you blitz Thantria down as fast as possible. As it is, Elly and Byff both used over 95% of their energy reserves by spamming powerful attack spells. And Mass Healing. And those summoning spells aren't cheap either.
...I guess they were worth it to keep our casters alive though. So okay, maybe summoning spells don't completely suck.