Part 26: LanskUpdate 26: Lansk
Paragraph 64 posted:You stand before the gleaming city of Lansk. The streets are clean, the people are orderly, and while the city is walled, there is no gate. None of the busy citizens you spy carries a weapon. The city shows no sign of war or occupation. However, it does seem like a very rich place, and you can detect a faint smell of dragon in the air....
I'm guessing dragon is not a pleasant smell, but I can't say for sure. Let's walk forward a bit.
Paragraph 35 posted:This massive central structure dominates the city of Lansk. Unlike the walls that surround this city, this structure is fortified and prepared for war. Armed Lansk guards patrol the battlements, looking stern and ill humored. Written warnings in a variety of languages advise passers-by to keep their distance. And not without reason, for within the structure, visible through a thick glass panel, you see a dragon. The beast is huge, completely filling the fortress that is its home. It must weigh at least eighty tons. The dragon is asleep, but no less fearsome for all of that.
A plaque explains the dragon is maintained by the city as its primary means of defense. Should disaster ever threaten the city, you read, the dragon will be set free, destroying both the city and the army that would conquer it. The dragon is maintained by expensive blood sacrifice - primarily by hurling criminals into the dragon bunker.
The dragon is impressive, but you feel vaguely disappointed. This isn't a fearsome flying saurian; it's an overfed monster sitting in a cage.
"Destroying both the city and the army that would conquer it" does not sound like a great defense strategy, but I guess it's supposed to be like nuclear weapons where everyone tries to keep peace by threatening each other with the suicidally dangerous option.
The city of Lansk is best described as a big square donut around the dragon bunker. You have the wall around the city, then inside that wall is a ring of buildings, and inside the ring of buildings is the bunker. So the best way to explore the city is essentially by taking two round trips: one for the buildings facing outward, one for those facing inward. We'll take a left and go around clockwise.
One of the few really big in-game text dumps (normally we'd have to go to the paragraphs for this sort of thing). Get used to this sort of thing in Lansk. It makes me wonder if Rebecca Heineman was a fan of Bureaucracy, which came out a couple of years before Dragon Wars.
We get handed the Papers. If we walk back in, we'll get handed more Papers. Unfortunately, if we go in when our inventory is full, it doesn't cause some crazy overflow glitch or anything, it just notices that we're full and gives us an appropriate message:
So, we'll walk around looking for the appropriate place to get our papers stamped (the Office of Interior Affairs, apparently).
Hmm, is something going on underground? Maybe it's just the dragon having a stomachache or something.
Well that's a sufficiently bureaucratic name.
There must be some joke I'm not getting here...
There aren't many encounters in Lansk, but the ones we do face are annoying. See how this guy is 150' away? That means we have to advance 15 times while he does this:
And of course, our glorious reward for this intense battle:
One experience point. Hooray Lansk!
Department of Lubrication? The names get more absurd at every turn.
Wait, I thought we were supposed to get our papers stamped at the Office of Interior Affairs? Can we get them stamped here instead?
Apparently yes. (Actually, this is the only place we can do so. There is no Office of Interior Affairs. I'm guessing that's intentional and part of the bureaucracy joke.)
As we move on, somewhere along the line we find a building with a chest in it containing a Druid's Mace. I'll spare you the 248th "You have found a locked chest" graphic, so just take my word for it. Anyway, the Druid's Mace is not a very powerful weapon, but it can be used to cast Cure All which is the most powerful healing spell in the game. I'll talk about Cure All more when we find the actual spell.
Continuing on, we find the Quarter Masters Office:
This is a call back to Slave Estate, but otherwise it's meaningless. Not entirely sure why it's even here. Next.
Ah, this is where we're supposed to turn in our papers!
They won't accept the papers unless they're stamped first. Fortunately, we got them stamped by Lubrication.
Finally, we have the Governor's Pass. It allows us to safely cross the War Bridge to Quag, where we have already visited.
Really? That's all Lansk has to offer? A whole bunch of bureaucratic BS just to get to the next island? Isn't there anything else going on here?
Well, we know this is a bureaucracy and money changes everything, so let's see if we can bribe anyone for more information, better items, whatever. It's not like we're using our gold for anything anyway. We'll try this guy at the Visitor's Bureau first.
Huh. Useless, but interesting that it actually produced a message. Let's try it at the Governor's Office. That sounds like a good place to offer a bribe.
Hmm, okay. Department of Lube it is.
Perfect. We'll offer 50 gold.
Not enough, eh? This had better be good. We'll have to offer 500 gold.
So that's what the vibration we felt was -- there's a whole other city underneath Lansk! (Remember the Lansk outpost building in Magan Underworld with the stairs leading up? That's another way into the undercity. There's even a third way in; we'll learn about that soon.)
We head over to the western side of the city, which is where we first noticed the vibrations.
And so we shall descend into the Lansk Undercity, which we will find to be a stark contrast to the monotonous upstairs version of Lansk.
Coming up next: The Lansk Undercity!
One final thought: Lansk is generally not a dangerous area, but if you eversee this encounter, run like hell:
There is one spell in the game that hits an entire group from 90' away, and that Mage is the only thing that casts it. You can win this battle, but it's not worth the trouble.