Part 40: Depths of Nisir 1
Part 40: The Fall
Last time, on Let's Play Dragon Wars...
This time, on Let's Play Dragon Wars...
Yep, falling down the chasm just puts us in the Underworld. We don't even take any damage. Boring! Let's rewind a bit.
Obviously, walking right out into the chasm isn't the move here. Instead, we should do what we always do when we encounter such an obstacle: Use the Golden Boots.
This, by the way, is the specific reason we need the Boots to beat the game. All of the other things we've used them for? Yep, all of that was optional. In fact, the vast majority of the game up to this point has been optional content. However, crossing this chasm is absolutely necessary for beating the game, and the only way to do it is with the Boots. If you accidentally discard the Boots, you can't get another pair, so you're screwed. And if you couldn't figure out that you had to create a wall to stop the fissure to save the city to get the boots, well you'll be spending a lot of time wandering around Dilmun trying to figure out what exactly you missed.
But enough about that. Into the tower we go!
Well uh, we'll just keep going...
I'm sure it's fine, and this is totally not a trap...
DAMMIT IT'S A TRAP WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING
I don't know how we manage to fall for "miles" and land without losing a single point of health, nor do I know why we should care about the air smelling musty, but here we are.
Welcome to the Depths of Nisir. We are officially in the endgame now. There is no turning back.
...Oh, okay, actually we can turn back whenever we want.
These stairs are a one-way route up to the Underworld. That's right, up to the Underworld. We are currently below Hell.
There's another problem: we have hit a complete dead end.
This is the map of the area. There are no secret doors here, nor teleport traps, nor anything else to get us out of this area, other than the stairs leading up and out.
Let's think about this a bit. This is actually an amazing plan. RPG villains love to guard their evil castles with demons, puzzles, traps, locked doors, and all sorts of nefarious obstacles, but why fuck around with that stuff when you can just put up a wall? After all, in an RPG, you can be level 99, wield the legendary swords of the gods, and cast spells that summon Godzilla to level an entire city in the name of dealing a few thousand damage to an enemy group, but no matter how great your powers, you can't go through a wall. Hell, you're lucky if you can jump in most RPG's. Couldn't they just give us some sort of spell that lets you go through a wall or something?
Oh, right, we do have that. Soften Stone. But there's no way a spell like that would work here in the endgame dungeon, right?
Well, there you go. So that's two things required for the final dungeon. Golden Boots (from Mud Toad) and Soften Stone (from Freeport). This also means killing Ugly and his crew is required for beating the game (on a single playthrough, anyway).
Now we can just walk through our makeshift doorway and explore the area...
Those who have played The Bard's Tale may recognize this. It's a "darkness trap." As you might have guessed, it takes out our light source and makes it impossible to create a new one. That's bad. But the even worse part is that the "icy winds of despair" deal damage to our entire party. If you don't know where you're going, you'll keep taking damage as you wander around, and eventually die.
Now, if you look at a guide or already know the area, this is easy. Otherwise, if you saved before casting Soften, you can do some trial and error to figure this out. It's not too bad, but it's brutal if you're not expecting it.
You may have noticed, when we cast Soften earlier, we could see another wall right behind the one we removed. We need to go through that one to safely get out of the "icy winds" area. Once we do that, we can just use the Magic Lamp again to reactivate our infinite light source, and use Bandage to heal up.
Once we've done that much, the dungeon becomes relatively straightforward.
It has a ton of annoying spinner and teleport traps, so it pays to check the automap regularly. The spinners aren't much of an issue, you see a message saying "The floor moved!" and you change direction, and then you can just turn to face in the direction you were facing before. This is trivial if you have a compass active. The teleport traps are nasty because you don't get any indication that you teleported unless you constantly check the map. There aren't all that many of them though; it's managable.
Also, there are a bunch of enemies to encounter down here, but they're generally easy to avoid. In most cases, it's actually easiest to just run away and use Soften Stone to navigate around them, since that sucks up less MP than fighting them.
These guys don't look too tough, but the Lizard Warriors hit for a ton of stun damage and KO our front-liners in one shot, then the Namtar Guards get into range and hit hard enough to kill in one or two hits. By using healing every turn, I can take them down safely, but it takes a while and that MP goes fast.
As you might guess, even one of these is pretty fearsome. It uses a breath attack every turn and has over 200 HP. With my fully-loaded endgame party, I can dispatch it in a few rounds by attacking with Dragon Teeth, using at least one Cure All variant per turn, and throwing some high-cost Rage of Mithras spells at it, but again, it's really not worth spending MP. It's not like they're guarding anything important.
Let's explore the dungeon a bit. Right in the middle of the dungeon is another large chasm/pit area.
(Note that there are no paragraphs in this dungeon. You can't leaf through the Dragon Wars manual and find spoilers for the endgame dungeon.)
There are a ton of doors and it's not obvious which ones we should follow, but this one looks promising. Let's check it out.
A guard barracks? That sounds pretty mundane for an endgame dungeon that is meant to be more or less actual Hell with actual Satan. Or maybe Hell being mundane is the punchline here, and it will turn out that Namtar is really a sadistic bureaucrat from the Lansk overcity. The final boss will be a stack of papers which must be stamped by over 200 different officials, with each one directing you to a different office...
Nah, there's actually a valid reason for this. Let's continue in a bit deeper. There are several rooms in the guard barracks, and behind each door is another encounter with Lizard Warriors and Namtar Guards. Fighting through them will chew through enough MP that we're better off just using a few Soften Stones to dodge the encounters and get to the main event...
Oh shit, it's boss time! Remember Buck? He was the guy from Siege Camp, we had to fight his giant army to save Byzanople, it was one of the most awesome and climactic quests in the whole game. Now he's back, and it's time for the rematch with the general himself! He's probably got an even more fearsome army for us to tear through, so it's a good thing we saved up all of that MP! Let's do this!
Oh, okay, it's just him and his sword. All right then. But I'm sure he's really tough and powerful!
One round. We killed him in one round. He didn't even land a hit.
There's no secret area or hidden arms cache or anything that Buck is guarding. That 85 experience is the only thing we get for beating him.
Still, we did just take out Namtar's top general. And he was a dick to us earlier, before we crushed his entire army and stuff. So I guess that was pretty satisfying.
Next time: More Depths of Nisir