Part 23: FreeportSo, we're on this quest to get a fallen hero's skull and carve it into a weapon. We have the skull. Unfortunately, the folks who will be doing the forging are otherwise occupied at the moment. That will be explained soon enough, but in a nutshell, we're going to need to pick up a certain Rather Important Magic Spell in order to get our skull-sword made. There's only one place to find that spell: the city of Freeport.
Update 23: Freeport
Fortunately, our ship can take us straight from Sunken Ruins to Freeport.
Paragraph 45 posted:The sail to Freeport is a long one, and your supplies are barely enough to last the voyage. You sail east and away fromthe majority of the Dilmun islands, headed into previously unknown waters. Once free from the war-torn islands of the Dilmun interior, you are able to enjoy the natural beauty of the maritime world of Oceana.
Presently you come in sight of a glistening modern harbor sheltered in a strange coast. Your charts indicate this is Freeport, and anchor your ship at a dock.
The trip puts us right inside Freeport, which makes sense, seeing as it's a port. We can exit the city and explore the surrounding island, but there's nothing there.
Paragraph 51 posted:You walk beside a clean and stylish harbor. Although you are near the sea, this place has none of the stink associated with Oceana's coastal places...either Freeport is not sinking, or the port is engineered such that seepage is not the problem here that it is elsewhere in the world. The construction here is simple but attractive. There's rustic feeling associated with the unfinished wood railings foliage, and crisp scent to the air. The people of this place are dressed in effective leather and cloth, and seem healthy and energetic. Everyone is armed, and you judge the citizens of this place know how to defend themselves. You are greeted warmly as you approach, but the citizens of Freeport do not tarry to speak. Everyone seems engaged in a mission of great industry.
Remember how I've been saying that whenever a town looks nice, things are fucked? Keep that in the back of your head.
The northwest section of town has an armor shop, a weapon shop, and a healer. The armor shop has Heavy Plates, but those mess with AV too much to be a real option. We can ignore these shops. There's also a town council building in this area:
Paragraph 57 posted:This simple hall serves as the community meeting place for the citizens of Freeport. You are greeted by minor city officials who welcome you to their town and eagerly ask you for information of the war in Dilmun. "These are dark days," the official says. "Soon Kingshome will control all of Dilmun, then Namtar will cast his evil gaze toward the Eastern Isle and our fair city."
The official scratches his head. "It's odd," he says. "My father was an advisor to the court of King Drake at Kingshome. He said Drake was a peaceful old man. His son, Jordan of Byzanople was a regular firebrand...but not Drake. Why suddenly make war on his neighbors? It doesn't make any sense...Namtar must have poisoned him." The official shrugs. "I wonder if something's happened to him. King Drake hadn't been seen in public for over a year when I was last in Phoebus, and that was some time ago. Maybe something happened to him."
This doesn't really tell us anything we didn't know already, but it's slightly interesting. There's nothing to do here, so we'll wander around the harbor to the eastern part of town.
We walk past a couple of empty buildings before spotting this place:
Piers: Order of the Sword? We need to check this place out!
Dolph: Hmm, I don't know...
Piers: Come on, with a name like that, they must be all right! Maybe they'll help us out!
Piers: Hey, that's an axe, not a sword!
I didn't take many screenshots of this fight because I didn't expect it to be interesting. You basically just unload magic on them while they're out of range. However, I didn't kill the front line of guards fast enough and this happened:
Thankfully, Inferno is really good.
And of course, they're guarding a chest.
Stone Hand - This is another piece of Lanac'toor. We also have the Stone Trunk, and we dropped off the Stone Arms at Mud Toad earlier. We still have to find the Head though.
Soften Stone - This is what we came here for. It's Druid Magic. It literally softens stone. This has a few implications, but the main one is that it's the anti-Create Wall. If there is a wall in front of you, and you cast Soften Stone, there will not be a wall. There are a few places where this doesn't work, but we'll still have ample opportunity to make use of it. Kali gets this one.
Spell Staff - The Spell Staff is a mace-type weapon, it requires Low Magic skill and adds +5 AV, +8 AC. The downside is that it does terrible damage. Madrick doesn't attack anyway, so giving it to him works.
Charger - So, you know how some magical items have a limited number of charges? This is a Sun Magic spell which recharges them. This means all we have to do is stand on a re-energize pool, and all magic items have unlimited charges. Dolph gets it, not that it much matters who we give it to.
Next door to the Order of the Sword is the tavern.
Well, that's certainly a fitting name for a bar. Let's check it out.
Yes, there is a recruitable character here. His name is Halifax. No, I don't know what the connection is to the password in the Phoeban Dungeon. No, he's not better than the guys we already have. With some leveling, he might be, but the difference isn't significant. And no, we're not getting him. But there are a few rumors to be told, so let's listen to them.
quote:The barkeep says, "I hear Lanactoor's statue can be sought in the broken cities, tombs, minds, and swords."
Well, okay. We already did the cities (Tars Ruins), tombs (Necropolis), swords (The Order of the Sword right next door to this tavern), so what about the minds?
quote:The barkeep says, "I hear that magic can soften the dwarves stingy hearts."
We need the dwarves' help with building our Roba-weapon, so this hint will be relevant very soon.
quote:The barkeep says, "I hear there's said to be a powerful gem that will bind the will of a dragon."
Obviously getting a dragon on our side would be pretty helpful. Especially when we consider that this is a game called Dragon Wars, which definitely means this game is about dragons. It's not like the game had a sloppy, last-minute title and setting change... oh wait.
Back in Phoebus, we actually heard a hint previously that the Lansk dragon guards a "powerful gem" -- both hints are talking about the same thing. So now we know of at least one reason to visit Lansk.
Apparently the Brew's Brothers' customers are too drunk to offer any other useful information, as the barkeep has only heard these three rumors. Moving along, we'll check out the Tars City Council.
Paragraph 56 posted:A tall and powerfully built man with a greenish complexion greets you when you enter the building. "I am Tarkas, first citizen of Tars," he says. You learn that he and his fellow officers fled here to Freeport when their home city of Tarswas destroyed by the legions of Kingshome. Tars was previously the foremost city of the Isle of Forelorn. Now Tars is a sad ruin, while Purgatory passes for the isle's only city. If you explore the ruins of Tars, Tarkas says, be sure to seek the hidden chambers beneath the city - they might still contain fabulous treasures.
Tarkas is bitter when he recalls the ruin of his city. "We were betrayed," he says. "We relied on our dragon to defend us. We didn't dream Kingshome would be so bold to assault us when our dragon was healthy and awake. When they lay siege to our city, we released our dragon...and the beast did nothing! A hundred years of blood sacrifice to that terrible dragon, and what good did it do us in our hour of need?"
Tarkas grows animated as he speaks, accidentally smashing a table as he excitedly flails his arms. "I tell you, Namtar found a way to usurp control of our dragon! Since Namtar rose Kingshome against all of Dilmun, dragons have all but vanished! Namtar controls them somehow...but no man can control the saurians without paying a terrible price. If someone could learn what he's done with the dragons - and learn how to wrest their control from Namtar...then Kingshome would learn a thing or two!!"
I guess this is useful if you somehow missed Tars in the early part of the game, or didn't go to the underground section. We've already been there, but still, this is kind of interesting. Even some of the least important areas in the game have a decent amount of lore attached to them.
There are two more shops in the southern section of the city. "Bewitching Potions and Elixers" sells only Dragon Stones. They're somewhat pricey and we don't need them right now, but it's good to know where we can find some if we need them. The other is "Magic Inc."
We just got Soften Stone, and the other spells are pretty pointless. Oh well.
So, something worth noticing is that there's a small island in the middle of the harbor.
Paragraph 52 posted:To the south is a little island in the harbor. Standing in the center of the island is an anvil, plunged to the hilt within the anvil is a brilliantly gleaming magic sword. There seems no way to the island...the water here seethes and boils with magical energy. It doesn't take much imagination to surmise a swim to the island would be fatal.
A Freeport citizen notices your interest in the island. "That is the Sword of Freedom," he says. "Many years ago, the great hero Roba delivered it from the Underworld. After many years of adventuring, Roba retired here and founded our city. Shortly before his death, Roba built this magical island to protect his sword."
The citizen is silent for a moment before continuing. "Legend says that so long as the sword remains in the anvil, no harm can come to Freeport," he says. "At the same time, Roba warned a time would come of great strife on Oceana. He said a champion would appear one day to claim the sword. He who wields the Sword of Freedom will quell the strife in Oceana, but at the same time will doom our city. Such is the sacrifice we must someday make."
I'm guessing this would not be a good time to point out that we have their dead hero's skull in our backpack. (Using Roba's Skull here does nothing.)
So, you might be a bit confused at this point. If Roba's sword is right here, why are we supposed to get his skull and make a weapon out of it? Well, clearly the answer must be that the Sword of Freedom alone is not enough, and we will need additional super-swords to defeat Namtar.
quote:The citizen wishes you well and leaves. The Sword of Freedom is just out of your reach. It seems to taunt you. How to get it? How to get it...?
Not really much taunting going on here, as we already have the way to get to the Sword. Use the Golden Boots, hop to the island. This won't be the last time we do this, either. I'm sure I've said it before, but the Boots are the most critical item in this game.
Paragraph 27 posted:You at last stand before the Sword of Freedom. The hilt of the fabled blade is just inches from your grasp. A hush comes over the city of Freeport. The furiously boiling waters previously surrounding this isle have subsided. You look up and see the citizens of Freeport have gathered all around the harbor, waiting to see what you will do next. Some of the citizens appear happy, others are proud, many just wear blank stares. One large man stands silent, but tears roll down his cheeks. You smell a faint scent of ozone. Somewhere, a baby cries.
Wait just a damn--
Piers: The Sword of Freedom! The blade which I am destined to wield!
Dolph: Dude, I think this is a trap.
Piers: I shall raise this fallen hero's sword against Namtar, and with the help of my comrades, we shall free Dilmun from his tyranny!
Kali: Piers, it's definitely a trap.
Madrick: As much as I'd like to see hilt-for-brains look like the fool that he is, my magical skill confirms that this is in fact a trap.
Piers: I have no fear. I shall cut Namtar into ribbons, and send every piece of his defeated body back to the Pit they came from!
Ulrik, Louie, Valar: IT'S A FUCKING TRAP YOU MORON!
The game is not kidding about this. Following this event, every building in the town is abandoned. (I assume we'd still be able to get the Soften Stone spell from the Order in the Sword if we hadn't already done so, but I haven't tried this.)
Of course, we know better, so we won't actually do it this way. Let's rewind a bit.
At this point, we can cast Sense Traps, Disarm Trap, or Reveal Glamour, and this happens:
The good news is that doing this avoids one of our party members dying. The bad news is that the people of Freeport lose their shit anyway.
Of course, there's a third option here: just don't do anything at all. Leave the fake sword in the anvil. Nobody else is going to set off that trap, and as long as nobody does, Freeport remains ignorant of it. We've done everything we really need to in Freeport, but it's better to leave things alone so the shops stay open.
This sequence makes a bit more sense if you visit Freeport first, before going on Irkalla's quest. However, because Soften Stone can only be found here, the game ensures that you must visit Freeport before forging Roba's Skull. The idea is that you're meant to learn about the Sword of Freedom first, then you find Roba's Skull and forge it into a new version of the Sword.
But to do this, we will need to find the dwarves. And possibly soften their stingy hearts.
Next Time: Dwarves