Part 35: Dragon Valley Part IPart 35: Dragon Valley
Remember how, last time, the battles were stupidly easy and all we did was solve a bunch of simple puzzles? Yeah, this isn't going to be like that. We're going to be doing some serious combat today. So before we do anything else, we're going to head to the Underworld for a recharge.
Also, we have some unassigned skill points for Madrick, and I'm going to pour them all into Spirit.
Remember, Spirit x 2 is MP, so Madrick now has 44 MP, which is a big number in this game.
As I said in the beginning, I wasn't going for a fully-optimized party here. The downside to this is that Dolph kinda sucks. High Dexterity isn't all that useful for a mage and he only has 30 MP. If I was really min-maxing, I would have made two pure mages (probably High and Sun with one of my melees getting Druid from the statue) with as much MP as I could give them and maybe a few points to HP, while giving the lores/abilities to the two melee fighters. But this will be fine.
We'll set sail for the Sunken Ruins, as it shares an island with Dragon Valley.
There's no introduction or "Read paragraph 365" to start off. Instead, the first thing we'll run into here is a battle, which really sets the tone for what's in store here:
As the game helpfully tells us, Fangers (which look like turtles but are meant to be baby dragons) are the weakest enemies in this area. Which is good, seeing at they sometimes show up in packs of 25. The single Dragon Warrior isn't a huge problem. He hits hard, but he's a single melee attacker and he's 120 feet away. The real problem here is the Cockatrice, who will just sit back at 60' away and use a breath attack on our whole party, forcing us to either waste turns advancing, or try to kill it by slinging 10-point Rage of Mithras at it. The first approach is the way to go, but we can't advance through those Fangers. Additionally, the Dragon Warrior advances at 30' per turn, so it will also be in front of the Cockatrice before long.
So, the best approach for now is to take out the Fangers in one turn and start advancing. Obviously, we're going to need magic to quickly dispatch a group of 25. Valar will cast a 10-point Inferno and Madrick will throw in an Poog's Vortex to pick up the remnants. Elvar's Fire might be enough, but if it leaves even one Fanger standing, that will prevent us from advancing on the Cockatrice next turn. Better to use the extra MP and make sure we get it right the first time.
We're off to a good start; a Cockatrice attack can hit for a lot more than 1 damage. We got lucky.
The Fangers advanced into melee range, so Louie is able to take one out, not that this will matter much.
Good. We got all of the Fangers in one turn, so we can start advancing on the Cockatrice.
OK, now our front four and Valar will attack the Warrior. Dolph & Madrick will heal.
Awesome. We still have to advance three more times through the breath attack, of course.
Damn. We're still 20' away and need to heal. Have I mentioned that I hate these breath attacks?
At least Valar can get some shots in with the Gatlin Bow.
I may have gone overboard on the healing this turn. One more time advancing.
I just want to emphasize that this is our 8th time getting hit by Cockatrice breath in this fight. Remember, we're advancing, so we don't even get to do anything this turn.
And there's the 9th.
Finally. See how much of a chore that fight was? Well guess what, that's just a standard-issue battle here in Dragon Valley! Yep, we get a scripted encounter just like this every 2-3 steps, plus random battles (which are frequently even worse than the one we just faced) whenever the game feels like it! Doesn't that sound like fun?
Fortunately, there's a way to make this area a lot less frustrating. We'll hang a left here.
One thing I do like about this area is the buildup. These tough battles are just the beginning. You actually randomly hear a dragon roar sound every few steps, which is cool. Of course, it would be cooler on something better than an IBM internal speaker.
We'll take another left here.
Dear Dragon Valley,
Even with a pretty strong party, we are not going to win this battle. 5 Cockatrices will stun our whole party faster than we can heal up. The one Fanger will advance 50' in one turn and get in our way if we try to advance. And the Mage... well, we'll talk about him later. The Mages around here are in their own special class of evil.
Anyway, this battle is semi-random, so the best thing is run away, come back, and hope we encounter something beatable.
Okay this is fine.
One thing I'll point out about this fight is that I used Fire Storm. It's less cost-efficient than Inferno, but being able to hit everything from 60' out for good damage is useful. As you can see here, it didn't give me a great return for the 20 MP (2/3 of Dolph's total) I put into it.
Here it is. This is what will make the rest of this area significantly easier.
The Dragon Tooth is a weapon. It is a melee weapon, and it hits for 2d20 damage. That's not as good as our current melee weapons, but there's a key difference: the Tooth hits from 60' away. Despite having range, it's still a regular melee weapon, no limited ammo or need to reload. And we can pick up as many as we want. It's an infinite supply.
All of our front four will be equipping Dragon Teeth for this area. The Sword of Freedom just got benched.
Fights against 7 Cockatrices will still be impossible, but something like this becomes much easier. Everyone attacks the Cockatrice, Valar casts an Inferno, and that's pretty much it. The Cockatrice gets in one breath attack instead of nine.
We continue north, getting a couple more (relatively reasonable) encounters.
Which we win. Thankfully there are no encounters with large groups of Cockatrices or Mages this way.
Ultimately we want to take a left from here, but let's take a quick detour to the right.
These are nothing special. Vorn's Guard raises AC by 2 during combat for 6 MP. It would be more effective to sink that MP into Cloak Arcane, which lasts for multiple battles, not that we really need it anyway. Sala's Swift raises Dexterity by 8, which is a nice bonus, but again, only for one combat. It's not worth spending valuable MP on. Cowardice makes foes run away, unless they resist the spell, as it "works best against weaker opponents." I shouldn't have to explain why that isn't worth it. However, there's one cool thing worth pointing out here:
Madrick has now learned every High Magic spell in existence.
Now where were we?
Paragraph 134 posted:In the very heart of the valley you find the sacred hive of the Dragon Queen. The Queen sits atop a mountain of eggs, some of which hatch young saurians even as you watch. The Dragon Queen is colossal - easily ten times the size of any beast you've confronted thus far. She fixes you with a fierce glare.
"You carve your way through my valley," she hisses, "destroying my creatures, and now enter the presence of the Mother Dragon. You will die for what you have done, but you will die slowly...as food for my brood."
The Dragon Queen rears up and prepares to breathe a blast of poisonous fire.
All right, epic boss fight time! Let's do this!
OK, so they're 150' away, which should give us plenty of time to throw up some buff spells, wait for them to walk into Dragon Tooth range, and...
OH GOD WHAT
Well I hope everyone has enjoyed Let's Play Dragon Wars! We lost the war with the dragons, but I hope everyone had a fun time and enjoyed the ride! Stay tuned for my upcoming LP of Windows Solitaire!