The Let's Play Archive

Dragon Wars

by rujasu

Part 20: Necropolis

Update 20: Stranded on the City of the Dead, Necropolis

Let's go in!

Immediately upon entry, we have to fight the Grim Guardian. Grim Guardian's not too tough to tangle with.

He uses a breath attack every turn which hits from a distance. This would be annoying, but now that we have Major Healing, we can keep up with it.

Speaking of which, if we queue up a healing spell for a round, and we win the battle during that round, the healing spell is still cast. That's why in this screenshot, we see a Major Healing spell as the last action of the battle.

In the center of this room:

This message seems misplaced, like it should have been in Slave Estate or something. There's no indication of a mansion or art or any of that -- this is just a room leading into the city, and there's a pile of loot in the middle of the room.

Stone Trunk is another piece of Lanac'toor. Black Helm gives +3 AC and casts Zak's Speed (+15 Dex for the whole party!) The Magic Chain is just like the Magic Chain we already have, but there is a subtle difference which I'll explain later. Dead Bolt is better crossbow ammunition, it also has a special property which I will explain later.

We'll put the Helm on Kali, Chain on Valar, and save the Bolt for later.

We also get to fight a second Grim Guardian to get into the city; he's no more difficult than the first.

Necropolis is an incredibly painful place to be if you're not familiar with it. The entire southern section of the town is a maze full of forced encounters like this one:

The actual enemies are randomized, so when you see an encounter like that, it's best to run away, come back, and hope for one more like this one:

Most of the maze is just a waste of time. There isn't any great loot hidden in some corner of it or anything. However, there is a secret door in a non-obvious place. Fortunately, I already know where it is, but if you didn't know already, you'd have to map out the entire area, notice the large open area in the center of the map, and walk into walls to find the entrance. In any case, behind the secret door is this guy:

The stone demon has an interesting gimmick. He has weak breath attack and a ton of HP (possibly infinite?) If you try to shoot him down with magic or other long-range attacks, it won't be enough, he'll just keep tanking it until you run out of resources. Instead, the strategy is to just advance 5 times. Once you're in melee range:

He just runs away. Easy enough.

From here, we walk through a long, snaking hallway with no encounters, until we get to the man (?) himself...

Paragraph 114 posted:

In the darkest heart of this palace of the dead you find an incredible sight...the court of Nergal, consort to Irkalla and King of the Underworld. The bloated white mass of Nergal slouches on a throne of skulls, attended by a score of pallid goblins. Worms squirm in his hair, bats nestle in his loins, and rodents peer at you from within Nergal's mouth. About his neck, on a silver chain, you see a large and ornate key.

" my Court!" Nergal roars. "Bad enough I am in exile without fool clodhoppers barging in on me. Goblins! Ghoulies! Bring them here!!"

Well, this is a battle. Fortunately, none of them do any real damage. We'll throw a few Fire Blasts and Big Chills at them, then hit the leftovers with swords until they di... er, become more dead, I guess.

So, you'd think Exorcism would be a key spell here. One little problem with that. According to the manual, Exorcism deals 6-36 damage to a group of undead foes for 5 MP, which is a pretty strong rate. As I've found out while playing through this update, Exorcism actually only targets one foe. This makes it barely more cost-efficient than Rage of Mithras. So yeah, Exorcism is almost useless, even here in Necropolis.

So anyway, about that battle strategy:

Yeah, we're using Big Chill a lot for these larger battles.

The Skeletons take forever to advance. It would almost be better if they were a little faster, since they would have taken a few hits from Big Chill by now.

Skeletons take plenty of hits, but they don't do much damage, so after a few rounds of attacking, we take them down.

Paragraph 115 posted:

"Haw! Most entertaining," Nergal laughs. The hideous god raises one fist and his court of freaks - though you just hacked them to pieces - lurch to their feet like puppets on invisible strings. The goblins and ghoulies look ready to fight's evident the undead monsters will eventually wear you down. "You have entertained me...but you must also feed Nergal and serve Nergal before you can ask a boon of Nergal. That is the law!"

Negal looks at you expectantly. A ghoul titters.

Feed him? With what?

Oh right, those mushrooms we picked up in the Mystic Wood. We'll give him those!

Ulrik: I'm not volunteering. I'm a slave to nobody!
Dolph: Me neither. But I'm sure Louie will step right up!
Louie: Hey!

Paragraph 93 posted:

"BRAAAAAP!" Nergal is crude. "That was delicious...l will hallucinate later, and imagine Irkalla working for aliving." Nergal shifts his ponderous mass on his throne, leans forward, and leers. "And now you will serve Nergal!"

With impossible speed, Nergal grabs the volunteer with both slimy hands. His jaw seems to drop down to his belt as the black maw of his mouth is exposed. He quickly slips the volunteer's head into his mouth, and clenches his jaw with a sickening crunch. The volunteer's body stiffens, then goes limp, collapsing to the ground without a head.

All is silent. Nergal smiles.

Welp. So much for Louie!

Oh. I guess we're good then!

Kali: Louie! I'm so glad you're alive!
Louie: Am I alive? Or am I one of Nergal's undead minions now? I can't even tell...

And as always, the key comes with a pile of extra loot:

Well, most of this stuff is crap. The Holy Spear is a thrown weapon and is therefore terrible and useless. Fire Light, Big Chill, Insect Plague, and Scare are all redundant.

That leaves Inferno.

Inferno is Sun Magic, and it does 1-4 damage per MP used to cast it. The bad news is that this is less than Sun Stroke, Fire Light, or Rage of Mithras.

The good news? While those spells hit one enemy, Inferno hits all enemies within 40'.

For comparison: Big Chill hits all enemies for 4-24 damage for 15 MP. Inferno does roughly the same damage range, with greater range, for 5 MP.

Inferno is unquestionably the best combat spell in the game. It is borderline game-breaking. Combat in this game just got a whole lot easier. It's a shame we can't have both Sun Magic casters learn it, but we'll have Valar learn it as he has more MP.

Of course, don't forget to pick up the Silver Key.

So, it's fortunate that there were no lasting consequences of Louie's head being eaten. But what if Louie had actually been killed by that cutscene, or, for that matter, in the combat leading up to it?

There's no revive spell, and no, you can't just cast a regular heal spell on him:

However, here in Necropolis is the one and only place where we can revive dead characters.

This is technically a part of the Magan Underworld map, but we can't actually get to any other part of the Underworld from here. So no, this isn't a way for us to get back to other parts of Dilmun. We still have to find a way out of Necropolis.

Well, well, well! (Yes, I know, I'm hilarious.)

For this to work, we have to use Arcane Lore here. If the one person in your party with Arcane Lore is dead, it sure sucks to be you.

Paragraph 128 posted:

You sprinkle the ashes on the dark waters of the well, which abruptly begin to swirl. Although the night of the Underworld is absolute, you think you see a reflection of stars in the swirling black waters. The motion of the water intensifies and the ashes are sucked into the depths.

You stand back as a ghostly apparition rises from the well. At first the form is a shade, then a ghost, then a spectre, then a living corpse. Gradually the shape takes corporeal form...blood, bone, muscle, teeth, hair is restored.

The ashes are restored to life!

Not sure why it's assumed a dead person is turned completely to ash, but whatever. This is how you bring people back to life. It's inconvenient, and it takes half the game to find it, but at least it doesn't cost anything other than time.

Back to the surface. There's one room we haven't checked out yet.

It's another long, snaking hallway, but as soon as we advance forward...

There's a Spider encounter on every tile in this hallway. It's tedious, and the Spiders actually hit for enough damage to be threatening. As a kid, I remember this sequence being one of the reasons I dreaded going to Necropolis to revive someone. The spiders were dangerous enough that I'd have to fight one, save, fight another, etc., reloading if someone died. Sure, I could walk over to the revival well, but then I'd have to fight all of the spiders over again since going downstairs changes maps so the encounters respawn...

It turns out there's a way to avoid all of this. Just cast a fire spell. Pretty much any spell that sounds like it has to do with fire will work. Mage Fire will work. Sun Stroke won't. Fire Light or Inferno for 1 MP are good choices. They all have the same effect:

Just like that, no more spiders!

So, here's our ticket out of Necropolis: jumping into a portal. Step on it, and...

This is right outside Slave Camp, conveniently right next to the recharge pool.

The portal actually takes us to a semi-random location in the game. From what I've seen, there are six possible destinations:

- Outside Slave Camp
- Outside Purgatory
- Guard Bridge
- Mud Toad
- Smuggler's Cove
- Bridge of Exiles (new place!)

Most of these are on Forlorn or Quag, in places we're almost certain to have visited before Necropolis, but it's still kind of interesting.

Our next update will consist of freeing Irkalla and getting even with Long John Ugly and his crew for dumping us at Necropolis. Stay tuned!