Part 17: Phoeban DungeonUpdate 17: Escape From Phoeban Dungeon
Stuck in a tiny dungeon cell with no way out, we do the only thing there is left to do: keep walking into the door to pass the time.
This continues on for several days.
Piers: Ugh. Not enjoying this being packed into a 10x10 cell with six other people.
Valar: Seriously, you're complaining? The day after I meet you guys, you get me drafted into the bad guys' army, then we turn on them to join a different army, then you drag me all the way back here and get me thrown in a dungeon with you all!
Kali: Oh yeah, well how do you think I feel?
I have no idea why the person says "courage" here. Seems like it should be a passcode or something, but it isn't.
A few more days pass.
Paragraph 101 posted:You receive a note with your feeble meal for the day:
'I am Berengaria, Acolyte of the Temple of the Sun. Mystalvision has gone mad. He punishes me and the others for no reason. He has been corrupted by Namtar.
'We of the Sun serve justice; you must believe that. Mystalvision has brought dishonor to our Order. These are dark times. You have been unfairly imprisoned.
'I have unlocked your door, and made certain the jailor is drunk. If you are cautious, you should be able to sneak past him and escape. The jailor's room adjoins the cell block. Look for the secret door in the south wall of the jailor's room - beyond is a passage that leads to people who will help you. I regret I cannot give you a weapon...just doing this much has placed me in great jeopardy.
'Should you escape, meet me at the Icarian Triumph tavern in the northeast quarter of the city. I'll have something for you.
"For justice and the Sun, I remain your friend---
Berengaria's a pretty good dude. We are now free to explore the dungeon -- we will have to do something about that jailor though. First, we'll walk around the cell block for a bit. Most of the cells are empty.
This one isn't, so we'll pick the lock and check it out.
We can't do anything with this guy. He's not very helpful. That's not even a real hint.
Paragraph 102 posted:This is the jailor's room. The fat jailor snores in a drunken slumber. He's slumped over his table, but there is a rope tied to his hand, and a bell tied to his rope. Should he stir, the bell will ring, possibly summoning guards. The jailor is asleep, and doubtless very drunk, but turn-keys are notoriously light sleepers.
Naturally, if we try to just walk forward, we get a battle:
This battle is very winnable. Alternatively, we could try running away.
And yes, getting thrown back in our cells means waiting another nine days for Berengaria to let us out. Instead of getting Paragraph 101 again, we get this message:
We could go and trip the alarm again and win the fight. That works. However, there is a more elegant solution. Instead of just walking past, we can use the Hiding skill to sneak by the jailor.
This tips us off about the secret door, which is pretty important information if you don't already know about it. For now, we'll just go north.
The game actually plays a sound effect over the internal PC speaker for the rumbling dragon, one of the few times when the game plays a sound effect out of battle.
Paragraph 104 posted:In the dark shadows of the dungeon you find a pit, at the bottom of which is a frothing dragon. The beast is constrained by a series of chains, but it seems to you the saurian could hardly be bound by such puny restraints. Suspended above the center of the pit is a wooden platform, on which a demented hunchback struggles with a bound prisoner. The hunchback is about to push the prisoner into the pit, evidently intending him as a sacrifice to the dragon. The prisoner struggles as best as he is able, but his hands are tied behind his back, and he is weakened from long captivity. The dragon thrashes back and forth, impatient to receive its meal.
(Ugh, that dialogue. Normally I have good things to say about the writing in this game, but the hunchback's dialogue just utterly ruins this part.)
Clearly we're not going to watch a man be sacrificed to a dragon! We'll have to intervene.
Paragraph 89 posted:You restrain the hunchback and prevent him from hurling the prisoner into the pit. Tears flow from the hunchback's already swollen eyes. "Buth Gethtrude must eat!" he mumbles. The dragon's thrashing intensifies, and the great beast begins beating its head against the side of its pit, setting up a great rumbling through the dungeon. "Now thuh manue hath hit thuth windmill!" the hunchback howls, trying to flee down the narrow causeway to the edge of the pit. He doesn't make it...with a great booming, the dragon lurches from from his chains, bumping against the platform on which you stand. The hunchback is hurled screaming into the maw of the dragon...but now that that beast is free of its chains, no mere morsel can satisfy it!
You flee the scene as the dragon smashes at the supports of the dungeon, and in so doing at the foundation of the entire city of Phoebus. You find a crazy path to the surface uncovered by the dragon's rage. You flee the vicinity of the city and watch from a nearby hill as the dragon claws its way to the surface. Before long, Phoebus is a flaming ruin as the dragon takes its terrible toll. The city destroyed, the dragon slowly rises into the sky, and flaps off to the east.
Shit. Phoebus is just gone. This means anything we missed in the dungeon, and whatever Berengaria was going to give us, are also history. Obviously, this is not the best option. Let's rewind a bit. This time, we will allow the prisoner to be eaten.
Well, actually that option sucks too, but at least we get to explore the rest of the dungeon now. There are a couple of rooms next to the dragon pit; we'll check them out first.
These guards are in one of the rooms, but they're not actually guarding anything. We can just walk past them. I don't know why the game makes these guard encounters and doesn't put them in front of the doors they should be guarding.
Paragraph 106 posted:This torture chamber is a vision of misery. The walls are lined with chains for securing prisoners in place; the center of the room is occupied by racks, iron maidens, a fire pit, and other horrible instruments. In the corner is a hole into which are hurled the grisly remains of stubborn heretics. A dying druid is stretched on the rack. You have rescued him from his torture...at the same time, it is evident he will soon die. There is nothing you can do to save his life, but perhaps you can ease his final moments?
Remember how that one guy said they were torturing the druid? Well we got to the part where they're torturing the druid, and it turns out that they're torturing the druid. That one guy's advice really came in handy!
Anyway, we want to use Bandage here.
Hmm, okay, the word is Halifax. Remember that one for later. What's in the other room?
Oh, great. You again.
Fortunately, Mystalvision & company are much easier this time around. The Old Jailors are easier to contend with than 10 Stosstrupen. Also, if we run or lose the fight, we just get sent back a step and can start the battle over again. Much better than getting thrown in a dungeon cell.
Round 1, we melee the Jailors, use Sun Stroke with Dolph and Valar, and Big Chill with Madrick. The Jailors get knocked down like bowling pins and fail to do any damage to us.
Mystalvision advances to 30' and hits us with Elvar's Fire. Interesting that he uses a weaker High Magic spell here, rather than Inferno like he used in our previous encounter.
Also, we manage to take him out with Death Curse. Interesting how the game does not use a personal pronoun for Mystalvision. There's no ambiguity to his gender, and I don't recall the game giving this treatment to any other enemies.
Yep, we'll be seeing him again. We didn't actually kill him. That actually kind of justifies how easy this battle was -- we haven't seen his true power yet.
Also, he leaves a bunch of scrolls behind.
More evidence that Mystalvision does more than Sun Magic. Wood Spirit is for Druids, so we'll give it to Kali, but it's a summon spell so we don't actually care.
Some spells that are Sun Magic: Disarm Trap is another cost/time spell, it protects us from traps. I don't know if that's different from Sense Traps because I've rarely ever used either. There are not that many traps. Holy Aim increases AV. Also not exciting. Dolph gets both spells.
Major Healing is the one we care about. It heals all allies. Naturally this is much more valuable than spells that heal one ally. We'll give it to Valar with his 32 MP.
There are two more rooms in the west of the dungeon. One has a pointless encounter with guards, so we'll ignore it. Instead, we'll go to this room:
The weapons and armor are all garbage at this point. If you get here earlier in the game, the Chain and Scale Armors might have some use, but the other stuff is Purgatory-caliber. We don't need any of it, but we'll grab the Shovel.
The word, you say?
...Yeah, I deserve that for making such a terrible joke.
If we hadn't found the druid earlier, we might be inclined to think the password is "Courage," but of course we know it is "Halifax". Or "HALIFAX", or "haLiFaX". It's not case-sensitive, which I guess makes sense because we're meant to be saying the word rather than writing it.
This is where the real loot is.
The Blow Horn casts Whirl Wind. The Magic Ring gives +1 AV and +2 AC, I give it to Ulrik to boost his accuracy a bit. It also casts Whirl Wind. I don't think I've ever used Whirl Wind, but maybe I'll find a place where that's useful? The Magic Quiver provides unlimited ammo for Bows (it's listed as having 64 arrows but that number never decreases), but it's actually a bit weaker than the regular Arrow. It's not all that great right now, but we will eventually find a very good use for it.
By the way, we have to say the password again to get out of this room, so don't forget the word!
With that, we've cleaned out the Phoeban Dungeon. Remember that secret door behind the jailor? We have to go that way to get out. This means that if you fight the jailor, you can easily get stuck in this dungeon unless you already know where the secret door is (there's another secret door leading out, but you'd never find it without randomly walking into walls.)
There are two ways to get past this cave-in. One is to simply use Climb:
This puts us on the other side of the wall. We can turn around and climb back over it if we forgot something. We can also get past the wall by using the Shovel:
Again, works in either direction. It doesn't make the wall go away or anything like that. This is the only use for the Shovel, and we didn't even need it for this since we had Climb. We can discard the Shovel.
It's important to get all of the treasure down here before going up the stairs. There's no way back into the dungeon after this.
And we're dropped off in Phoebus. There's actually no hurry; the game doesn't give us a timer to get out of Phoebus before the shit hits the fan or anything like that. But hey, it's a game from 1989. Since we have plenty of time, let's go have a few ales with Berengaria at the tavern.
Like I said, we'll be meeting up with Mystal again. The isle of Nisir is the home of the Mountain of Salvation. We won't be visiting there for a while.
The Ominous Fellow isn't actually a battle, by the way. He immediately runs off. Not sure why they didn't just use a dialog box or make us read a Paragraph.
Now let's meet up with Berengaria and get wasted!
Aww. The revelries will have to wait for another day!