The Let's Play Archive

Dragon Wars

by rujasu

Part 9: Guard Bridge

Update 9: Guard Bridge, Featuring One Weird Trick For Getting Tons of Experience

Today, we're going to cross a bridge. Trust me, it's more exciting than it sounds.

First off, let's actually distribute some of these skill points. Increasing Madrick's High Magic and Dolph's Sun Magic to 3 will increase the effectiveness of Fire Light and Sun Stroke. I also increase Madrick's Spirit by 2. He'll be casting lots of Elvar's Fire for us, so might as well give him some MP to work with.

We'll also be able to make better use of these two spells, casting each for 6 MP so they last a while. Cloak Arcane raises the whole party's AC, and Air Summon gives us an extra party member. Both of these things will come in handy here.

We'll throw our new, easily-replaceable temporary party member up front as a meat shield. Kali can move to the back row and cast Mage Fire or Lesser Heal.

These guys can be tough if you're not prepared for them. We're probably a bit overprepared, but they can do a bit of damage. One thing worth pointing out is that at this point, enemies will frequently start off 10' away rather than 30', so if we run from battle, they'll get a full round to swing away at our low-Dexterity characters as much as they wish. This can make running a bit riskier, since our fast people will run, leaving Madrick exposed to melee damage. Not that it matters here; we're going to Fight!

This is Sun Stroke for 4. It packs a punch. We could cast it for up to 6 if we had a really huge enemy in our way, but at this point, anything dealing double-digit damage is going to kill something.

Mage Fire, meanwhile, is already starting to look puny. Hopefully we can find something better for Kali.

Elvar's is still our early-game MVP. Even doing just 5 damage here, it makes this battle a cakewalk. The next round, we easily clean up the remaining three baddies.

So those guys weren't too tough, and they'll never re-spawn. But they were just the trainees. The real bridge guards are up ahead.

Paragraph 12 posted:

Just ahead you see a bridge. The bridge is covered and armored doors bar the way across. The bridge appears to be the only way to cross the water and reach the land beyond. A pack of guards lounge before the entrance to the bridge. As you appear, they snap to attention. A guard with a narrow forehead and small eyes approaches you.

Apparently they didn't notice us killing off their band of trainees right the fuck in front of them, but hey, whatever. Maybe the guards are all facing the other way and don't expect anyone to be coming from Purgatory. Anyway, before we chat with them, there are actually a couple of spots to check out right next to the bridge. First, to the left:

Let's think back for a moment. The master of High Magic was Lanac'toor. According to Carson, he was shattered into pieces and scattered about. The part that isn't mentioned here but is included in the Dragon Wars Manual (which I recently found my original copy of!) is that he was first turned to stone. That's a rather important detail, actually. And of course, rather than dumping his stone body parts in the ocean like an intelligent villain, Namtar opts to put the pieces in places where they can be found, and possibly put back together. But it's not like they were put in places so easily found that we would have already stumbled across some random stone body parts by now, right?

Oh, right. We found both of his arms in the same spot. I mean, they were at least buried in an abandoned ruin, but still.

Anyhow, off to the right:

It sure is convenient how many weapons are just laying around out here. How does nobody find this stuff?

It's decent loot. As far as I know, the Bladed Flail is exactly the same as the War Flail we already have, but the Helm/Shield are free AC and we can use those Dragon Stones to recoup the MP we're using.

Sunlight is -- you guessed it -- a Sun Magic spell. It's actually "Sun Light" in the menu and it's exactly the same as Madrick's "Healing" spell. Heals 1-6 HP for 3 MP, cheaper than Greater Healing, etc.

Well, we managed to pick up some Citizen Papers in Slave Camp. Let's try using them here.

Well, it looks like we have a decision to make here! Let's vote on whether we should pay up or fight our way through! On one hand, 70 gold is basically nothing, and we just had a battle...

Just kidding. We're going to continue kicking ass.

Piers: Just try and stop us!

One guy? One fucking guy?!

Well, there is a random factor at play here. If we run away and come back, there's a chance of a different number of enemies...

Two. It's capped at two. Huh.

Well, to be fair, they don't go down easily.

And they can hit for a bunch of damage. This isn't enough to one-shot anyone, but it's close.

But with our powered-up magic, it takes only two rounds for us to take these two out.

And hey, more levels!

These Rats! show up immediately after the guard fight. I didn't even have time to heal Louie.

Not that I needed to. Rats! are no threat whatsoever.

Paragraph 13 posted:

You're in the middle of the bridge. Although the bridge is covered, you can hear water rushing beneath you. It is astonishingly loud. The bridge is longer than it appeared from the outside. You recognize now that even a good swimmer would find it impossible to swim from one island to the next. This bridge is the only way across.

Well, that's wonderful. Anyway, ready to see a way to cheese the game for lots of experience points?

Pressing the ESC key pauses the game. Pressing it again unpauses the game. If we press it a bunch of times, we can rapidly pause and unpause the game until another Rats! encounter shows up.

Hey look. That is one huge group of enemies. They don't do any damage, but battling all of them will be long and tedious and...


So, we could sit around for a while and rack up a ton of experience doing this, and gain as many levels as we want. This is one of two ways which we could really break the game open and create super-strong characters. But for now, let's play the game fairly and win without doing anything cheap like that.

There's nothing else on the bridge. Let's explore the next island!

But first, these guys. Get used to seeing this image. There are a lot of goblins in this game. Fortunately, they're in perfect Elvar's range.

Just ahead of this bridge is another bridge:

"Heavily guarded" they say? Maybe this one has more than two guys?

But we don't have to just charge ahead to the next bridge. There are things to do on this island as well. Of particular note is a town guarded by our favorite foes... more Goblins!

Wait, how did THEY know? They were way across the island. Regardless, we have an Elvar's Fire for them too.

Again we're reminded of Carson, who was a sorcerer at the Temple of the Sun in Phoebus. So this is the hotspot for Sun Magic, and the home of Mystalvision, who we have been warned of.

There's also a magical forest, south of Phoebus. So with that in mind...

Voting Time!

Possibilities for our next destination:

- Phoebus!
- Magical Forest!
- Cross Another Bridge! (and do stuff once we're over there)

If there is a tie or nobody cares which way we go, I'll roll a die. Note that things get much more wide open from this point, so it's possible that we could do one of these three for Update 10, and not get to the others until Update 20 or so. So... choose carefully!