Part 8: Slave EstateUpdate 8: The Great Estate
Let's check it out!
Entering from the south, we walk east along the wall and find a plaque.
(The message is signed by a fellow named "Mog" if that wasn't clear. No, not that Mog.)
Louie: Anyone else have a bad feeling about this place?
Dolph: I probably would if we hadn't literally just walked through Hell to get here.
Ulrik: Louie has a point though. It's too quiet.
Kali: I agree. I can sense the trees trying to warn us of something.
Piers: Explore the perimeter. We don't know who, or what, could be inside.
Ulrik: And let's have a look at those statues.
Dolph: I dunno, they all look like the same guy to me.
Walking around the perimeter, we see that the Estate is a huge building, surrounded by water on all sides but the south. There are entrances on the east and west. There is also a guardhouse with two entrances attached to the Estate at the northeast, and a small house (unattached to the main building) in the northwest corner.
Piers: I say we should split up. Ulrik, you go with Kali and the squishy mage and take the east side. I'll go in the west side with the new kid. We'll go in weapons drawn, and catch the enemy in a pincer attack!
Louie: Splitting up? That sounds like a terrible idea! We should stick together.
Dolph: Wait. We should check out that house over there first. Maybe we can find supplies there.
Ulrik: I'm with Dolph here. Let's check the house.
The inside of the house is barren. However, walking outside, Kali notices something.
Louie: Everyone run! It's the Bigfoot!
Piers: No. Let's follow the tracks. Whatever kind of creature this is, it will be no match for my Firesword!
Piers: Let's go in!
Louie: Are you crazy?
Piers: I came here to kick ass and slay demons, and... and I'm gonna do at least one of those things today!
Madrick: Please. All you do is stand in front and buy time until...
Kali: GUYS. Knock it off.
Ulrik: We have no idea what this thing is, or what it's capable of. We should get a better sense of the situation first. Let's check out the guardroom. Maybe we can beat an answer out of someone.
Louie: I should just leave you guys and take on the bridge guards myself. At least then I won't get eaten alive!
Our heroes approach the guardroom...
Piers: Ulrik, you go with Kali and the squishy mage and take the east side. I'll go in the west side with Dolph and the new kid. We'll go in weapons drawn, and catch the enemy in a pincer attack!
Madrick: Hey! How dare you order me around like that! And you watch what you call me!
Ulrik: All right, let's do it.
Kali: That was anti-climactic.
Dolph: Well, the guards may not be around, but their equipment is just sitting here for the taking.
Sadly, this loot is unimpressive. We have enough Dragon Stones already, and the weapons are useless to us. As with the Slave Camp, it's possible to get here before getting a full assortment of basic weapons, but at this point we have no use for a Shortsword or a Hammer. The Ruby Dagger does add +3 AV, but the damage rate is so low that it's not worth it.
Kali: There's definitely something wrong here. Why are there no guards at such a large, lavish house? For that matter, where are the slaves?
Ulrik: Yeah. We should investigate.
Piers: We should eviscerate!
Louie: We should RUN!
There's a door to the south of the guardroom, leading us into the mansion proper.
Paragraph 105 posted:There are evident signs this chamber was formerly the lair of a beast or large animal. A pile of straw in the corner indicates where a large creature could have slept. The walls scraped with claw marks, and the room is pervaded by an unpleasant odor. The room makes you feel instinctively uneasy.
Louie: Why are we still here?
Kali: I see something moving, by the door...
Piers: Draw your weapons. The enemy approaches!
There are only a few encounters in Slave Estate. They're all scripted (so we actually have to fight these guys to get through this door, for example), and they're mostly with packs of Goblins. Goblins are pretty easy, though they come in large-ish groups. Elvar's Fire will come in handy.
Piers: Prepare to die, goblins! Taste the fire of my Firesword!
Dolph: Taste the fire of a thousand suns!
Madrick: Taste the fire of my... FIRE!
Louie: I've got this one!
Madrick: Hah! Such inferior minions stand no chance against my magic!
Piers: Hmph. As if I needed your help. You'd be goblin food if I wasn't standing in front of you.
Louie: Quiet! The beast will hear you...
Kali: Let's see what's behind this door. Maybe those goblins were guarding something!
Kali: Room's empty. Where is everyone?
Louie: Those damn goblins must have killed them all... or the beast did...
Dolph: No, that doesn't make sense. No corpses. Not even a drop of blood...
Piers: Quick, let's check the other rooms.
Piers: Whatever this thing is, it must be pissed off. Stay on your guard.
Louie: You don't have to tell me twice!
Going through another door, we find the third and final goblin encounter:
Madrick has no skill with Bows, but every source of damage helps.
Paragraph 99 posted:In this stuffy bedroom you find a journal. From it you determine the master of this house was a man named Mog, a rich aristocrat who made his fortune in the mining business. By all accounts he was a crude man - wealthy but uncultured - who fancied himself an artist. The journal is largely given over to a remarkably frank account of Mog's failure as an artist.
Mog admits to experimenting with alchemy in pursuit of his art. At one point he confesses using a potion to transform living flesh into stone, but the artistic results were not satisfactory.
Near the end of the journal Mog mentions "acquiring an apprentice" by supernatural means. It seems this apprentice was originally supposed to assist Mog in his art. Toward the end of the journal, Mog admits the apprentice has begun producing incredible works of art which Mog displays in his garden and calls his own. Mog hints that the apprentice demands a terrible price for his art, and that he fears him. It is possible the apprentice might not be human.
Kali: So Mog made the statues in the warehouse, but the apprentice made the ones outside and the one in the courtyard. But what happened to them?
Louie: It has to be that beast! He ate them both, bones and all!
Piers: Shut up, Louie.
Kali: All these shattered mirrors. We're due for about 100 years of bad luck!
Paragraph 103 posted:These are the private chambers of the master of the house. The curtains are drawn across the windows permitting little light to enter the room. In the murk, you can see that this room, like the others in the house, is strangely devoid of wall hangings...and that no mirrors are present. The Master is in, sitting in his favorite chair. He wears the garb of an artist - specifically of a sculptor... and he wants you to be his next masterpiece!
Piers: See? This guy isn't so tough. Let's take him down!
Piers: OH GOD RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN
Louie: See, what did I tell you? You see huge tracks like that, you run the other goddamn way!
Paragraph 1 posted:In this dark chamber are warehoused several sculptures of decidedly inferior quality. Mostly they are crude attempts at busts, or full-figure nudes of decidedly pornographic intent. Whoever produced these disasters, it could not have been the same artist that created the rest of the artwork you've seen on the estate.
Dolph: I still think these statues all look like the same bearded guy with a stick, just like the ones outside.
There's an encounter behind one of the statues:
By now we've taken a full trip around the mansion, leaving only the courtyard in the center.
Paragraph 117 posted:Here in the open garden you find an unusual statue. It is of an apparently wealthy man, if the quality of his garments is any clue. He is in poor shape, and appears to be afraid of something. The quality of the work is excellent, but the statue is very unflattering.
Kali: I just don't get it. What does this all mean?
Madrick: I think I know. This statue... this is the real Mog.
Piers: Wait, what?
Madrick: That creature we just saw... it's a Gaze Demon. It can turn people to stone just by looking at them. That was Mog's apprentice -- the statues it made are real people, turned to stone in an instant by its gaze.
Piers: Seriously? You're suggesting Mog was so obsessed with art that he SUMMONED A DEMON to make statues for him?
Madrick: Suggesting? There is no doubt in my mind. That creature is a Gaze Demon, and this statue is a man who has been turned to stone.
Piers: How do you know so much about this?
Piers: You tried to summon one of these demons yourself, didn't you?
Madrick: ...Shut up.
Kali: If that demon turns things to stone, why didn't it turn us to stone?
Dolph: Probably because the programmers never implemented a Petrify status in this game.
Ulrik and Louie: Huh?
Kali: So why does that thing hate mirrors?
Madrick: The Gaze Demon is not immune to its own gaze. If it sees itself in the mirror, it will turn itself to stone!
Dolph: So we just have to put a mirror in front of it!
Madrick: Right. In fact, there might be enough of this one left to do the trick.
Piers: Let's go then!
Piers: Shit... quick, someone go grab the other half of the mirror! Do it from a distance this time!
Kali: Here, I got it!
Louie: We... we did it?
Madrick: Yes. We've defeated the Gaze Demon!
Dolph: Why did we do this again?
Louie: I'VE BEEN ASKING THAT ALL FUCKING DAY!
So, what do we get for solving the puzzle of Slave Estate and defeating the Gaze Demon? Nothing. It's cool, but doesn't really accomplish anything. We don't even get any gold, experience, or items for doing it. But it's not all bad news. Remember that empty room with the creaky floorboards?
This is the good stuff. Most of the loot in Slave Estate is junk, but this chest alone makes up for everything.
Gauntlets: +2 AC. The key is that very few items in the game fill the "gloves" slot, so these will be relevant even at the endgame.
Helm: +1 AC. Our first helmet-type armor. Again, helmets are rare in this game so this will be useful for the whole game.
Arrow: We already have plenty of these, but they're consumable so it can't hurt to have a fresh pack.
Shield: +2 AC. More protection for our front-liners, which is awesome.
Magic Lamp: No, this doesn't grant wishes or anything. What does it do?
Oh, okay, it casts Mage Light. And it has 20 charges, so we'll be able to cast it another 19 times without using MP. But wait. Mage Light is a variable-time spell. So how long does this last?
The answer is indefinitely. That's right. Unless we walk into an anti-magic field, this light source will never go away, and will last for the entire game. This is awesome, both for convenience and for saving MP. In short, the Magic Lamp is super-cool.
There's one other thing. If we look at the automap, there's an empty spot in the NW corner of the house, almost as if there's another room there. That's because there is another room there -- we can walk through the wall in front of us, to find...
Louie: Aaaaagh! Snaaaaaaaake!
Piers: Dammit, Louie.
And there's another chest in this room! This one must have even better stuff!
Also, there are more mirrors over here for some reason:
You can get as many mirrors as you want from the other room, so I'm not sure why this is here. It would make more sense if this was the only place you could get a good mirror to beat the Gaze Demon, but the "broken" mirrors work just fine for that. The snake encounter is really easy too, so really there's not much point to this room. But it's a secret, so I might as well show it off.
And... that concludes our tour of the Slave Estate!
Honestly, other than the chest with the Magic Lamp, there's nothing important here. You can easily skip the Estate and have no trouble with the rest of the game. It's a completely pointless diversion, really. That said, if you haven't guessed, it's one of my favorite areas in the game. The paragraph format really shines here. It's solid storytelling, especially for 1989, and it's just a cool place to explore without a ton of encounters all over the place.
Voting Time: For the next update, we can cross the guarded bridge or revisit Purgatory. The latter is completely optional and we can do it any time we want to.