Part 37: Royal Game PreservePart 37: Royal Game Preserve
We just got back from having hundreds of dragons breathing fire on us. Somehow, I doubt that some guy with a bow & arrow is going to be a huge problem for us.
Almost immediately upon entering, we encounter the main gimmick of this area: traps.
These traps are no problem. Just have someone like Piers use the Strength attribute and we're free:
Piers: Haha! What would you all do without me?
If for some reason we didn't have someone with enough Strength, using any weapon in our inventory will do the same thing (yes, even an unequipped bow will work), or if we're not smart enough to figure that out, we could just keep trying to walk, and after a while the rope will snap. It's nothing more than a minor annoyance. Now, we can dodge these traps easily with Sense Traps, but there's one trap around here we actually want to set off.
I don't know why the Bandits have Goblin sprites. My guess is that the Goblin sprite is first in the list, and they never bothered to set a proper sprite for the Bandits, because I'm pretty sure they're supposed to be humans. The Bandit Leader has a generic Soldier sprite, and uses a breath attack for some reason.
They're pretty weak though. We barely break a sweat taking them down.
Paragraph 91 posted:Some bandits were evidently holed up here. Their campfire is still warm. Evidently they were eating a meal when you showed up, as half-finished bowls of gruel stand all around the fire.
They weren't very good bandits, or maybe they hadn't been at it for long. There isn't much loot to be had in this camp. Maybe they were adventurers such as yourselves, turned to crime in these hard times.
Fire Column (or "Column of Fire") is Sun Magic and is not nearly as impressive as it sounds. It costs 5 MP and prevents a group of enemies at 40' away from advancing for a turn. I guess I could see some use for this against melee attackers, to hold them off while attacking with the Dragon Teeth, but I'm pretty sure it's just not worth the MP. I'll keep it in mind though, maybe there will be a use for it in the final dungeon. Battle Power raises Str by 10, but costs 8 MP which is far more than I am willing to pay for such an effect.
So what else is there around here? Well, the Preserve is an open area with a river running north-south through the middle of it. We're on the eastern side. Just over the river, we can see a hut:
I believe this is the only area where that hut sprite is used. Naturally, it's a place of interest, so we'll have to cross the river.
Now, there are two possible approaches here. One is to use the Tracker skill here.
The Stag does not attack. It just waits, and is easily killed.
But of course, we get no meaningful reward for taking it down.
Paragraph 92 posted:The magnificent stag lays dead. As you kneel beside your kill, the shaft of an arrow buries itself to the feathers in the sod between your feet. You look up and see an old but very dangerous-looking man aiming yet another arrow at you.
"This is the private preserve of King Drake," the old man says. "An' you have been poachin'." He glances over your party before continuing. "These bein' hard times, I imagine ye gots to eat... but that was a prize animal ye just killed, and I've gots to do me job."
The man keeps his bow half-cocked and watches you closely. He seems to be waiting for you to make the first move. Maybe it would be worth winning his trust.
Hmm. Looks like a place to make use of our negotiation skills (by having Kali use Bureaucracy).
Welp, that didn't get us anywhere. This actually kicks us out of the Preserve map entirely, so we'll have to come back in and find Jack once more. This time, we'll try going straight to his hut, making sure to use Sense Traps as it is surrounded by snares.
Paragraph 96 posted:An old man leaps to his feet and lunges for his bow when you enter the shack. "Glory be - ye got past me snare!!", he exclaims. "That's quite a feat, but it still don't do to go bargin' in on honest folks without so much as a knock!"
"Me name is Old Jack," he continues. "I'm the game warden hereabouts." Jack keeps his bow half-cocked and watches you closely. He seems to be waiting for you to make the first move. Maybe it would be worth winning his trust.
Here we go again. What happens if we just fight him?
That sounds imposing, but Jack is nothing. His bow does very little damage, we can take him down easily. He does attack from 100' away, but it's not really a big thing.
Yep, all you get for killing Jack is 57 exp and a single Magic Bow. We already have one of those, and it's not nearly as useful as the Gatlin Bow (it does have much greater range, but it doesn't do enough damage to matter).
There is a more "correct" path here, though it won't get us any additional loot or experience. Remember, Old Jack is guarding the private preserve of King Drake. We have Drake's Signet Ring. Let's show it to Jack.
Paragraph 74 posted:Old Jack's eyes grow bright when you show him the signet ring. "His majesty..." Jack whispers. You sadly shake your head, indicating Drake is dead. Tears form in Jack's eyes as he sighs. "Me poor, poor king...I knew ye'd come to no good with that demon Namtar!"
After showing him your ring, Jack treats you like an honored guest, forgiving all your misdeeds in the forest. "I'm a King's man, ye got ta believe that," he says. "I love me King an' I never disobeyed him. But I never like the looks o' that Namtar - he's a very devil, he is! It must have been 'im wot killed old Drake."
Old Jack pauses to spit. "Someone's gotto bring Namtar down, and clear the way for young Prince Jordan to take the throne. You've got the ring, so you're it!"
Old Jack solemnly hands you his bow. "This here's me bow, I call her Nevermiss! Drake gave her to me when we were both boys, and she's never failed me. Now I give her to you, to shoot down that foul Namtar!" Jack is hesitant to release the bow, and even as you hold it his eyes linger on the weapon. "She's like a lady, she is... you treat her kind. You treat her kind."
Jack is abruptly eager to leave. He refuses to leave the forest, saying it's his only home. He wishes you all good luck and melts into the woods.
He will never be seen again.
Pour one out for Old Jack, folks.