The Let's Play Archive

Dragon Wars

by rujasu

Part 34: Magic College

Part 34: The Magic College

So here's the college. We'll have to walk around the perimeter to find the entrance.

Aha. That must be where the door is. It looks like just a wall, but that's why we need the glasses. We have to use them here.

(Note: using tracker doesn't do anything, even though there are tracks.)

Not sure what this guy is talking about, but let's enter.

I still don't know what this voice is babbling about, but evidently this is a puzzle involving a literal firewall. Hmm, fire you say? Whatever shall we do to combat that?

Duh. That was easy. If we didn't have Ice Chill, we could have used Big Chill here (same effect, much higher MP cost).

Paragraph 141 posted:

In the next chamber, you see fires identical to the first. "Very good," the voice intones. "You have potential, but I detected a flaw in your form. Please negotiate this wall of fire for me, that I might study your finer points."

Well, okay, not sure what the point of making us do this again is...


Welp. What else do we have?

Well I'm not going to cast a fire spell on fire, this other stuff doesn't seem useful... what does Reveal Glamour do again?

Son of a bitch. THAT is what Reveal Glamour does. Now we know.

Again, we could use Mage Fire, Elvar's Fire, etc. but Fire Light for 1 is the cheapest option.

Another puzzle down.

Paragraph 142 posted:

"Now you are learning. Not everything is as it seems," says the voice. You enter a chamber occupied by a stone gargoyle. The gargoyle's gaze is fixed on the door through which you must exit the room. "To be seen by the gargoyle is to know death," says the voice. "Yet the gargoyle sees the exit. What to do, what to do...?"

Meh. We can take on anything. Gargoyle, bring it on!

Oh shit! Guess we really are going to get stoned at college.

Nice fake-out, I thought for a moment this might actually be a Game Over.

Remember that, kids. Getting stoned is an easy way to fail your next test and get kicked out of school. Don't get stoned.

Let's try that again. The trick, of course, is to not be seen by the gargoyle. Hiding won't work here, we have to use the Cloak Arcane spell to turn invisible.

Paragraph 143 posted:

"Now you have learned to listen. are half-way home," says the voice. You detect genuine admiration in its tone. "This college exists in the rarified atmosphere of the true academic, but not everyone you will encounter appreciates the Art. You must learn to deal with such ruffians." Out of thin air, a huge warrior appears, wielding a sword in both hands. "I'm gonna split yer lobe, highbrow!" he

Casting Reveal Glamour doesn't help us here. If we walk over to the barbarian...

All right then, let's break out the offensive magic!

Huh. That's new. Well, let's try the old-fashioned way...

Geez, this guy takes a beating and dishes one out too. Let's go a few more rounds...

After tanking about another 100 damage, he stuns Ulrik too.

Finally. I don't know exactly how much HP this guy has, but it's a lot more than I remember him having. Even at my high level, he is a threat to kill someone (and no, the voice doesn't magically heal people who get killed). It's actually better if he stuns people. If someone is stunned, they won't be targetted again unless they're healed. But if he hits someone and doesn't stun, he could kill him or her with his next attack.

So yeah, this is kind of a trick. After a bunch of "use the right spell" puzzles, this time around you're supposed to just go bash the guy's face in. Also, if we run away or get our butts kicked, we get thrown out of the school again:

Of course, it's not a big deal, because any time we flunk out of the college we can just walk back around to the entrance and start over like we're brand new students.

[QUOTE - "Paragraph 144"]"I'm sorry that was so brutal, but I had to prove a point," the voice explains. "Some people can't appreciate such times, you must rely on more direct measures." You find yourself in a chamber over which is suspended a hugeblock of granite. The block is hung by a cable...the cable trails to a wall and down to the floor, where it stretches across the floor as a trip-wire. It doesn't take much intelligence to
figure it would be unhealthful to trip on the wire. The voice is strangely silent.

[QUOTE - "Paragraph 145"]"That was novel. I don't think I've seen that solution before." Across the room you see your mysterious host. "I am Utnapishtim, also called the Faraway. I have been your teacher, now you must teach me something. I want to see something novel and new. Give me your best go first." The wizard waits for you to act.

Wikipedia tells me that Utnapishtim is a character in the epic of Gilgamesh. As previously mentioned, there is a pretty long list of character and place names in Dragon Wars that are taken from Gilgamesh, and from other mythologies. I am not knowledgeable enough on the topic of Mesopotamian literature to really add much to this topic, but it's there.

This is the final puzzle, and it's a bit tricky to describe. We're in a 2x2 room with a door directly to our north, as indicated in the following map:

That armored dude in the SE corner is us. The green "U" in the NW is Utnapishtim. If we go west, we get a note that Utnap is to the north. If we go north, we get a note that he is to the west. If we go to the northwest...

This looks like Mystalvision. It is not. And this looks like a battle. It is not. If we choose Fight or Quickly Fight, we get a "you chose poorly" message and flunk out of the College. No, really:

If we choose Run, it just moves us back one tile and we get to take another course of action. Of course, the only option left is to just go north through the door and into the next room.

[QUOTE - "Paragraph 146"]This time it is Utnapishtim in the flesh who greets you. "Well done!" he says. "Having learned to listen to me, you've learned you don't have to listen to me. Lanac'toor could not have done better." The old wizard shows no concern when you tell him Lanac'toor is dead. "There's death, and then there's death. I wouldn't worry about Toor."

Utnapishtim shows you to a cabinet, within which are three magic items. "For completing my gauntlet, you may selectone item. I offer the Soul Bowl, the Laugh Staff, or the Sing Ring. Which will it be, my friends?" The wizard looks at you with a hint of impatience. From the way he introduced the items, you judge he does not want you to select the Soul Bowl.

The Soul Bowl? That sounds like it should be the name of the annual football game between the College of Magic and the University of Kingshome.

Of course, the Soul Bowl is what we should select here. If we do, we get this message:

And then we get our parting gifts:

These are all High Magic. If we had a second High Magic user, this stuff would be really useful, but we only have one, and he has already learned most of this. Still, Madrick learns Group Heal and Fire Summon. Group Heal is useful, it does exactly what it says on the tin and is identical to Major Healing. Fire Summon is the most powerful summon spell, and is useless because it's a summon spell and we have 7 characters. It's a shame, because if there was a slot to fit a summoned party member, Fire Element would be pretty nifty:

Note that if we had selected the Staff or Ring here, we'd still get our High Magic scrolls but no comment about Zaton. Both items are useless. They're not even weapons or armor or anything, just more garbage items which take up inventory space. I'm fairly certain there is no possible use for them in the game (outside of Irkalla sacrifice fodder, and we've done that already.)

Anyway, it's very important that we select the Soul Bowl and not one of the others, because we only get to choose one. Once we have made a selection, we are locked out of getting either of the other choices forever.

Oh. Where did that come from?

If you walk back around to the entrance, you can start the College over again, solve the same puzzles the same way, and get all the way up to the previously-pictured 2x2 room with the fake Utnapishtim. There's one problem.

Soften Stone doesn't work. The only way out is to go to the tile with the fake Utnap, choose "poorly," and get kicked out of a school we've already graduated from. In a nutshell, this is because of the limitations of 1980's scripting. The door is meant to be a one-way door, so when you walk through the door, it changes to a wall. It never changes back, because there's no reason for it to change back. Once you go through that door, you've solved the final puzzle and beaten the dungeon, so there's no need to go back after that point.

So how is it possible to graduate a second time? Well, any changes in doors/walls such as casting Create Wall or Soften Stone will reset when you move to a different map. So if we exit the College map out to Dilmun and come back in, the doors all reset and we can complete the College once again. This means we can get all three items, or even multiple copies of an item. There is no reason to do any of this, unless you screwed up the first time and got something other than the Soul Bowl, or if you have multiple High Magic users and want the duplicate scrolls.

That's all for the Magic College. More of a Magic Diploma Mill if you ask me, but whatever. As Utnapishtim suggested, let us pay our respects to Zaton. His grave is in the Mystic Wood.

Use the Soul Bowl.

Paragraph 79 posted:

There is a deep rumbling as storm clouds gather. Abruptly rain begins to fall in relentless sheets, threatening to flood the stone, the forest, the entire world.

A supernatural hush falls over the glade. Even the pelting rain seems to fall silent. Suddenly you arc surrounded by animals - bears, dogs, deer, ducks, and even a penguin. You turn and see still more animals crowding outside the door to the shrine. You see a lion lay down beside a lamb. The animals are waiting for something.

Above the stone appears the ghost of Zaton. The ghost speaks. "My friends, I am forever in your debt for liberating my soul. By restoring me to the world, the world restores itself. The natural order is reestablished. Man and beast may again live in harmony."

The animals begin to excitedly roar, bark, and bray. "My time in this world is done," Zaton says. "But for you brave adventurers the task is just beginning. Namtar is evil! He must be destroyed! To you I grant the boon of knowledge...use it well!"

We already have most of these. Invoke Spirit is another useless summon spell.

On one hand, all we got for this entire quest was a bunch of scrolls, mostly for spells we already had or didn't need. On the other hand, summoning the ghost of Zaton and restoring natural order was pretty cool.