The Let's Play Archive

Dragon Wars

by rujasu

Part 7: Slave Camp

Update 7: Slave Camp

All right, you voted for the Slave Camp, so let's make this happen!

Well, this is awkward.

Dolph: Hmm, maybe we should turn around...
Piers: Screw that. Time to kick some ass!

Kali: Hey, wait a minute! We're not your enemy! Let's talk about this!

By using Kali's Bureaucracy skill, we're able to avoid a conflict here. It's not required to do this, but the result is much more positive than if we had just killed the escaped slaves. The slaves actually have quite a bit to offer us. For example, checking out the first couple of houses, we can get some background information we wouldn't have learned otherwise:

Paragraph 22 posted:

This shack has been set up as a universal shrine for Dilmun's many religions. A priest welcomes you and escorts you around the shrine. The majority of the shrine is devoted to Irkalla, the Queen of the Underworld, and her consort Nergal. The priest explains worship of Underworld gods always spreads during times of strife, perhaps because people come to view their own world as an extension of hell. Also represented is the man-animal Enkidu, patron of the Druids, and the obscene Refeek, god of things better left unsaid. The priest lets you worship or observe as you see fit, neither condemning nor encouraging your actions. "These are hard times," he says, "you had better pray to them all. We can use all the help we can get."

Once again Irkalla and Nergal are referenced, but this is the first we hear of Enkidu. Enkidu is more of a side character, but his name will come up again. Refeek is just a one-off joke, he is never mentioned again.

Paragraph 88 posted:

Within this building you find a group of old men gathered around a table. They're playing dice and speaking rapidly to each other in a dialect you can barely understand. You are noticed and welcomed into the game. The men play for the joy of it. There's a complicated wagering scheme involved, but no money ever changes hands, and the men don't seem to care if you're rich or destitute. After a while, you begin to make sense of their speech. It seems these men are residents of the Dilmun interior, displaced to this island of outlanders by war and oppression. From them you learn a little of recent events in Dilmun. The Dilmun interior consists of several large islands, each of which is dominated by an autonomous city-state. Warfare has been frequent between the rival cities, but no single nation has ever been able to rule all the others. Each city keeps a dragon captive somewhere within its walls - if total disaster ever threatens, the dragon will be let loose. This would almost certainly lead to the destruction of both sides, but itserves as a deterrent to conquest. Recently, the city of Kingshome launched a bid for empire. Kingshome's imperialism was aided by a sorcerer - Namtar the Beast From the Pit. Thanks to Namtar, all magical opposition was quickly overwhelmed, and Kingshome made rapid gains. For some unknown reason, the conquered cities never launched their dragons against Kingshome. The youngest of the men arrived at the camp just a few months ago. So far as he knows, nearly all of Dilmun's cities have been conquered or lay in ruins. The city of Byzanople on the King's Isle remains free, although it has been under siege for several months. He also mentions a city called Freeport in the Eastern Isles, but his companions scoff when he does, saying Freeport is more myth than reality. Nevertheless, the young man asserts he'll find Freeport someday - as soon as he can find a ship bound for the Eastern Isles. Since the war, very few ships travel the interior waterways, and it has become increasingly difficult to use Dilmun's many bridges.

There's more than just exposition though:

Paragraph 63 posted:

Several people are huddled around a fire. One of them offers you some stew which you eagerly accept - it's bland and watery, but it's the first hot food you've had in days and you eat every drop. After your meal you doze off by the fire, grateful to at last be in the company of charity and good will. When you awaken, you feel as if you've been reborn.

As it turns out, this free heal isn't entirely necessary, but it's kinda cool that our heroes get to eat and sleep every now and then.

Paragraph 68 posted:

The door to this hut is open, and from within you hear someone singing. Entering the hut, you see a simple room...a pile of straw serves as a bed, while a candle bums on a large rock that passes as a table. Behind the rock you see a sadman who seems very old. His eyes are empty sockets and both his hands have been amputated at the wrist. You wonder why a blind man burns candles when he's alone.

The man stops singing and swings his head in your direction when you enter. "You must be the outsiders everyone's so excited about," he says with a firm voice. "I can smell Purgatory on you. Please come in. I'd like to see some new faces...provided I could see."

You learn the man's name is Carson. He was a sorcerer at the Temple of the Sun, in Phoebus. "That was before Namtar rose from the Pit," says Carson, pausing to spit. "Damn Underworld types should stay in their own world."

You talk with Carson well into the evening, pumping him for information. You learn that Namtar is either a demon or a man - Carson seems to use the terms interchangeably. About a year ago Namtar appeared at the court of King Drake in Kingshome, and was welcomed as the court magician. Within a year, Kingshome had mobilized and began making waron its neighbors. At the same time, Namtar announced a general ban on magic, using his secret police - the Stosstrupen - to enforce the ban. A great magical war ensued, which Namtar and the Stosstrupen won handily.

"Now sorcery is all but dead in Dilmun," Carson continues. "Take a look at me. Ten years learning Sun Magic and it leads to this! All the old Masters are gone...Lanac'toor was finally driven over the edge and shattered into a score of pieces; Zaton exiled to the deep wilderness; and Mystalvision..." Carson is silent for a long time, then says, "I can't prove it, but I always thought Mystalvision was wrapped up with Namtar. He's the High Priest at the Temple of the Sun. Our Order fell to Namtar so quickly...we must have been betrayed. Beware of Mystalvision!"

You talk with Carson late into the night, but learn little else of value. He is either unwilling or unable to teach you any magic. Heeding his advice, you take your leave of the old man.

So, for reference:

Lanac'toor - High Magic Master, dead (also, spell it backwards)
Zaton - Druid Magic Master, MIA
Enkidu - another Druid Magic guy
Mystalvision - Sun Magic Master, currently in Phoebus (also a dick)

Namtar - Supreme dick
Stosstrupen - Namtar's police, also dicks

Areas we've heard about but haven't visited: Phoebus, Kingshome, Freeport, Byzanople, and Lansk.

This is Kali's cue to use Bandage. Casting a healing spell works too, but Bandage is free.

Paragraph 19 posted:

After about an hour, the sick man's fever breaks. He props himself up on one elbow and smiles. "I was dreaming," he says in a weak voice. "I imagined I floated on a vast black pool far beneath the earth. I think it was in the Underworld. I saw a goddess bound in chains. She was stranded on an island guarded by monsters." He laughs. "I guess I had a fever."

The man tries to stand up but finds he's still weak. You help him sit up. "My name is Ulm," he says. "I guess I have you to thank for breaking my fever. The guards at the bridge beat me up, and I just can't seem to bounce back." Intrigued, you encourage Ulm to continue. "I escaped from Purgatory through a secret door in the wall. I tried to cross the bridge north of the city, but I didn't have the right papers, and the guards beat me. I've been coughing blood ever since." Ulm's eyelids begin to droop, and in minutes he's asleep again. A moment later his body stiffens, and Ulm dies. At least his final moments were pleasant ones.

Worth noting for when we cross the north bridge. But that's not the real story here...


This is all the man had left in the world.

Madrick: Lame. He has scrolls and I can't even read them!

Greater Heal is, as you might imagine, a more powerful healing spell than Lesser Healing. However, it costs twice the MP and is only slightly more effective, making it not so "great." In fact, it is the least cost-efficient healing spell in the game. It is Kali's first Druid spell though.

Sun Stroke, however, is twice as efficient as Mage Fire, albeit only reaching to 20' rather than 30'. Furthermore, it's a variable-cost spell, similar to Mage Light or Guidance. While those spells last longer based on MP used, Sun Stroke does 1-8 damage per MP. So it can be a one-MP Mage Fire, or in the hands of an accomplished Sun Magician, it can hit for significant damage. For dealing with one enemy at close range, this is the most efficient damage spell. I'll give you one guess as to what order of magic Sun Stroke belongs to.

The next place we visit, however, is the real reason for coming to the camp.

Madrick: Yes, another meatshield! Finally I can move to the back row!
Louie: ...

Louie doesn't come with any loot, and isn't especially great at anything in particular, but he is a person, and we need all of the persons we can get. His 16 Dex and 15 HP mean he should be able to hold his own in combat, but the 16 Int and 16 Spr are pretty pointless for a guy who doesn't use magic. The 2 Hiding and 2 Pickpocket is also not an optimal arrangement of skills, and he has no weapon specialty. Still, he is far better than his predecessor, "Empty Character Slot." He'll be taking the 4th slot in our party, so we'll have Madrick/Dolph slinging arrows and spells from the back while Louie is up front with Piers, Ulrik, and Kali.

Of course, this is an RPG, so we certainly can't just leave someone be. Using any Magic knowledge as a skill here gets him to warm up to us:

This is a pretty good collection of loot! The Citizenship Papers can help us get over the bridge Ulm told us about. The weapons here are okay, but we really only want the War Flail. Since we don't have a flail specialist in the party, we'll have Louie take the War Flail and the Chain Armor. The other weapons aren't really worth it. The War Axe does decent damage but costs too much accuracy. Madrick can learn Fire Light (similar to Sun Stroke), and the Dragon Stones are nice to have. If we go around behind the house, there's even more loot to find:

When we find a locked chest, we need someone with the Lockpick skill to open it. Remember, Madrick has a Lockpick of 1 and Dolph has a Lockpick of 3. If we attempt to unlock it with anyone else, we'll get this:

Since this is an easy lock, Madrick can open it. There's a random chance for him to fail, but that doesn't matter much since you can just keep trying until it works. However, some locks simply cannot be opened by a first-level Lockpick.

We can now outfit our entire party in either Chain Armor or Brigandine, so the Leather Armor is useless now. I guess it's helpful if you manage to escape Purgatory without stopping at the Arena. At this point, I just discard all of the Leather Armor we have, it's not like it would sell for much even if we were near a store.

Healing is the higher-level healing spell for High Magic. Similar to Greater Heal, but more cost-efficient. Sense Traps and Cloak Arcane are also High Magic spells with variable-time effects. Sense Traps is self-explanatory; there are traps in the game, and this spell will point them out. Cloak Arcane increases the entire party's AC by 2. It's powerful, but expensive. Scare is combat magic for Druids, and I don't think I've ever used it much.

Anyway, that's pretty much all there is to Slave Camp. We get an extra party member, some decent information, and lots of new spells and loot. However, we can actually exit Slave Camp to the south, where we'll find one other nice thing.

This pool restores both Health and MP. This makes it much better than the campfire, and is a nice way to cast free spells without trekking into the Underworld.

So that's a wrap for Slave Camp. But what happens in an alternate universe where we battle the slaves rather than explaining ourselves?

Not a tough battle.

Paragraph 18 posted:

The camp is deserted. Apparently everyone who lived here was slain in your recent battle. You notice signs of habitation, but whoever lived here was dirt poor. It's unlikely you'll find anything of worth in the camp. Glancing back at the pile of bodies left in your wake, and then at the bucolic scene of the camp, you sense there was probably a better way of handling this situation. The man who confronted you seemed a lot like yourself. Maybe he mistook you for authority from Purgatory, and only sought to defend himself. This was probably a time for words, rather than swords.

Yeah, in this case, the game does not hesitate to tell you that you fucked up royally. If you do this, the houses will all be empty. The locked chest behind the wizard's house is still there. The wizard isn't around, but if we go into his house...

Locked doors don't usually give this message. Maybe it's there because it's early in the game and you're expected to still be learning. Anyway, the door is easily unlocked, so we can get at the chest...


Yeah, this is an absolutely miserable fight. So, to recap, by fighting your way through the Slave Camp, you miss out on lots of info, an actual party member, and some of the loot, and to top it all off, you have to fight this asshole. Technically, it doesn't mess up the ending or anything; you can keep going and the rest of the game will play out fine. However, missing out on Louie, even if he's a so-so character, is a pretty severe punishment.

Good thing we didn't do that. Instead, we now have six well-armed heroes, and picked up a few more useful spells. Our party is in nice shape for this stage of the game.

Voting Time: Where shall we go next?
- Slave Estate
- Over the Bridge
- Revisit Purgatory