Part 38: Taking the Pilgrim Ferry to NisirPart 38: Let's Dress Up as Pilgrims
Today, we shall set sail for Nisir. While we have our own ship, it is unable to reach Nisir, due to Smuggler's Cove being too far away.
This means we'll have to head for the Old Dock on King's Isle.
You may remember, the last time we were here, we could have hopped on the pilgrim ferry to Nisir. But at the time, Namtar was still in Kingshome, so we didn't have much reason to go there.
The only way to get on this boat is by using the Pilgrim Garb to blend in. You'd think drawing our swords and comandeering the ship would also be a possibility, but I guess that wouldn't be very heroic.
Paragraph 85 posted:It is several days' sail to Nisir, the Mountain of Salvation, but the route is easy to follow. The great mountain Nisir seems to rise from the roots of Oceana and reach to the heavens - it is easily the tallest mountain on the planet, and you are in sight of your destination for most of the journey.
The harbor at Nisir is clogged with pilgrim's vessels. Several hundred robed figures crowd the docks, slowly passing through the harbor's only exit into the interior. The great mountain of Nisir looms above you, stem and forbidding. You sense a moment of destiny is at hand.
Paragraph 82 posted:Nisir, the Mountain of Salvation, rises above you to an impossibly great height, seeming to rip the sky. Although it is daytime, when you look up you can see stars near where you guess the summit of the mighty mountain must be. It seems to you the mountain must push through the very atmosphere of Oceana to produce such a sight.
Ahead of you, a long line of pilgrims slowly files past the sole gate leading from the harbor.
Note that we cannot sail back to Old Dock from here. We're going through that door one way or another.
There are three ways to get past these guards.
1. If every member of the party is wearing a Pilgrim Garb, the guards "eye you suspiciously but allow you to pass." There is an unlimited supply of Pilgrim Garb in Kingshome, but carrying seven of them is too much of a burden on our inventory.
2. Fight them and win.
3. Fight them and lose or run away, get thrown in prison, and then break out of prison.
What shall we do?
Piers: Tell me, what would Old Jack do in this situation? Would he run and hide? No! He would stand and fight!
That's right, we're going to take on these guards with the power of Brute Force! And by "brute force" I obviously mean we're going to spam attack magic, because that's pretty much the only reasonable strategy for hard fights. I mean, I could try to use debuff spells or something, but I've found that the best debuff status in this game is "dead."
Of course, even if we throw all of our AoE magic at them, we can still get shitty damage rolls. We just have to hope that at least one of our mages manages to hit hard.
Piers is back to using the Sword of Freedom. Generally it's a better option than a Dragon Tooth due to higher damage output, and after Dragon Valley there's less need for meleeing at 60'.
One thing I've found during this playthrough: Fire Storm is actually still quite good. While the damage/MP ratio is lower than that of Inferno, having 60' range means it just hits more stuff than Inferno or Big Chill. 20 MP is still a lot to spend for a spell, but it provides an amount of reach that nothing else does.
Insert about a half dozen more shots of Inferno, Fire Blast, etc. here. You get the idea.
Oh and a bunch of people gain levels here. Everyone is at level 10-11 by now.
Also we went through our MP supply pretty quickly. Good thing we picked up so many Dragon Eyes.
With those guards out of the way, we don't have to worry about breaking out of prison. We can just make a left here and march on toward Nisir, completely ignoring the prison area.
But you know what's even more fun than breaking out of prison? Breaking into prison.
Of course, the "alarm" indicates that we'd normally be fighting these guys on our way out of prison, but they're just as unhappy to see us regardless of which direction we're going.
This is a bit trickier than the other battle. The enemy groups are spread out just enough that we can't easily hit them all with one giant Inferno or Big Chill right away. It's a pretty similar strategy though. Inferno is cost-efficient enough that we can just about use it every turn here. The Stosstrupen, as always, will stun us in one hit but won't do any permanent damage, so if we can deal with the Guards quickly, there won't be any real danger here, though we'll still have to throw a healing spell every turn to keep everyone awake.
As you can see, getting stunned by Stosstrupen messed up my party order a bit, but everyone is at full health (the red bar on top) despite being low on stun points (the green bar underneath), and we've taken out the majority of the attack force.
Yeah, it's not looking good for this one remaining guard.
There are three cells in the prison. The first two can be unlocked easily, but are empty (one is the cell we would have broken out of, had we been captured). As we walk up to the cell at the end of the hall, we hear someone crying. Madrick attempts to pick the lock.
This prison cell is one of the few "hard" locks in the game. A character with Lockpick 1 cannot open it. I'm not sure why one cell would be harder to open than the other ones, but in any case, Dolph has a higher Lockpick skill, so he can open it.
Let's see who's inside!
Paragraph 83 posted:A prisoner lies babbling in the corner. "A secret tunnel connects this prison to the Nisir", he says.
"When you find the swamp within the mountain, know you are near Namtar!"
See, the one other empty cell contains a secret door, which leads to the tunnel. So if you're not strong enough to beat the guards, you can go that way. Of course, if you can't beat the guards, you're probably not ready for this part of the game yet.
Anyway, we don't need the secret tunnel. We've massacred the entire guard for this area (the hundreds of pilgrims do not seem to care about any of this or interact with us in any way) so we can just walk outside and take the normal path to Nisir.
Hmm, what's that statue over there? Let's take a look at it.
Paragraph 84 posted:The pilgrims stop one-by-one to kneel before this elaborate shrine before continuing. The shrine depicts the image ofthe Universal God, a faceless deity that looks in all directions at once, and raises its arms to encompass both earth, heaven, and underworld. You note with relief that not even Namtar has dared to undermine the basic faith of Oceana.
The pilgrims evidently expect enlightenment and salvation to result from their visit to Nisir. You expect salvation of a different kind - the sort that can come only from sending Namtar to his doom.
Damn right. Namtar's going down.
The Universal God has been mentioned a few times before among other religious figures in Dilmun, and we've seen other shrines of him. But while we've personally met and obtained the aid of Enkidu, Zaton, and Irkalla, we know little about the land's most popular diety. Shouldn't he really be more of a factor at this point?
More on that later.
That's all there is to the dock. It's time to make our way up the great mountain of Nisir. Remember, this is "easily the tallest mountain on the planet," it reaches "to the heavens" and is not only the site of Salvation for all residents of Dilmun, but the setting for the final showdown with Namtar, Mystalvision, and whatever literal beasts of hell they have in store for us. There's no turning back now. The only thing to do now, is to begin our ascension. Bring on the giant mountain!
Yeah, this is how they represent "tallest mountain on the planet" in Dragon Wars graphics apparently. Even for a 1989 game, this is pretty weak. We'll just have to use our imagination.
Paragraph 98 posted:You climb the Mountain of Salvation for several hours, but the summit seems to draw no closer. Several pilgrims drop from exhaustion along the path...the road to salvation is not for the weak of heart.
But a fraction of the way up the mountain, the path abruptly cuts into the rock. A level plain has been cleared in the side of the mountain. This is evidently the place to which the pilgrims travel. Turning around, you look out at the world of Oceana from your lofty perch on the world's highest mountain. To your alarm, you see you have long since risen above even the highest clouds. The sky is purple and strange stars twinkle - the huge bloated mass of the sun fully fills half the sky. Truly, this place is close to God.
Instead of going straight ahead, we'll start by taking a left here. This is actually the path the pilgrims are following, not that the paragraph gives us any indication of that.
We can encounter pilgrims along the way. There's not much point to this, they just run away immediately. I guess it's to show that there are other people on the mountain, but it's generally pointless.
The path ends here. What could be behind the door to our left?
Paragraph 97 posted:The long line of white-robed pilgrims ends at this rocky shrine. One by one the pilgrims pass before a huge and powerful image of the Universal God. There are no guards here. None are required. The God keeps its own order beneath its own roof.
Looking up into the faceless face of the god, you feel the hand of destiny upon you. Namtar has not yet attempted to supplant Oceana's primary religion...but can that day be far away? The gods risk disaster when they come to the world in person - they must work through champions to see their will is done. The Universal God seems to need a champion, a legendary hero to serve the cause of Freedom. Roba of Freeport was such a hero. Will you be another?
The God requires a sign.
Well now. God stands before us, seeking the sign of the destined hero. What next?
Piers: My name is Piers Paardersen. I wield the mighty Sword of Freedom, forged in the great Clan Hall of the Dwarves, from the very skull of Roba of Freeport. I have bested Enkidu in hand-to-hand Combat. Together with my companions, we have liberated Byzanople, slayed dragons and demons, freed Zaton and Irkalla, and travelled the world.
We have come to destroy Namtar and his army. We are the destined heroes you seek.
We are now officially on a mission from God to kill Namtar.
And a few other things just happened.
All party members gain 500 Exp, as is normal for this sort of event.
All party members gain +3 Str, +3 Dex, +3 Int, and +3 Spr. Remember, 1 Spr = 2 MP. You'll notice that Piers's Power (MP) is still at 24, but if we go into the skill point distribution menu, it will update to 30. That's right, all spellcasters get an extra 6 MP out of this. This is a permanent buff and is the equivalent of adding 18 skill points, or nine level-ups. Our actual level and skill points are unaffected by this, so it's not even slowing our experience curve or anything. This is massive.
And one final thing. See that #40 next to the Sword of Freedom? The Sword just got a new ability. What does it do? Surely after the bonuses our entire party received, this can't possibly top that, can it?
There really is a God folks. And he's on our side.
Next Time: More Nisir