Part 60: The Dark Tunnel and the Waterfall WarrensUpdate 056 The Dark Tunnel and the Waterfall Warrens
So, um, how do we get out of there? I mean, that explosion must have alerted everyone from here to the Abyss.
We could try sneaking out.
Right. And how many people does the Empire have down here right now? How many of them are coming right here as fast as they can?
Art, you have a solution.
Hold on, I think I know what you're talking about.
We're back at For Ganrick!
... why here?
I have no idea.
It iz a localized nexusss for such thingssss. Easssy to locate.
Hold on! What about our boats!
The one by the Teleporter iz lossst to uz.
But the one we left south of Eldaran?
That river is not so wide that we could not use the Orb to fly over and retrieve it.
We should go get it back.
You know, I think that's a good idea. We've been working on huge missions for a while now, I think you deserve a break. How about we go get the boat, then head down to say... Silvar, get refreshed, then.. whatever.
I can get behind that. Something relaxing.
To the west then!
Hold up, wasn't there that merchant to the south? Who had random things in stock? I want to see what he has.
The Magic Bardiche is the same 12/5 as the Magic Slith Spear. The Iron Halberd is still the most powerful weapon in my arsenal.
There it is. Next stop, Silvar!
My actual purpose in going there was to train up my characters. I haven't done a proper skills update in a while, so here we go:
Art, before and after her training. Nothing much here, just some incremental improvements to Strength and Dexterity. That four Encumbrance could be an issue, except she's now wearing the Boots of Speed to keep her at 4AP.
Marianna improves her base stats a little, with 3 points being put into Mage Lore. With the free points everyone else has, this puts us over 22, which should be enough for the end-game stuff in all regards.
Dmurr actually hit 200 HP at some point, thanks to his maxed out Strength. I double-tapped his Luck, then added two points into throwing weapons. I've already sold off two Darts of returning off screen, so I'm likely to trip over a third at some point. Honestly though, I should have just saved it for more luck as that is the only thing he needs. Every other relevant skill is either maxed, or as high as it needs to be.
I put two points into Kai-Lyss' Dexterity, and you can see how his accuracy improved by 50%. He's wielding two weapons because both of them (the Krysknife and the Steel Waveblade P) both had defense bonuses to help him take damage. The last two skill points got put into his Spell Points. I should focus on giving him Luck from here on out to improve his survivability.
Chester is already where I want him to be for the end game, so it was a tossup between Assassination and Luck for his skills. I went with Assassination to help him catch up to Art and Aaarth-Tss in terms of damage output. I also REALLY need to track down Smite at this point. See if it's better for him than his current weapon.
Don't let the raw numbers fool you. Because her weapon has a base 18 damage, Aaarth-Tss is still top damage dealer. Putting her Assassination to 11 means she's doubling her damage half the time. She's another one who is in her end-game build, so it's just Assassination/Luck to decide between or to simply chug down Skill Potions until the difference doesn't matter.
Everyone, remember where we parked the boat, in case we want to come back and pick it up from here instead of getting a new one from Almaria.
So where next?
The Tower, I think. We should report our success. Probably get a cash reward, not that we need it.
Are you feeling alright? Turning down money?
The value of material goods changes when you're dealing with an economy as fluid as Exile's.
Wow, that was a fast trip down here.
Really? You're right. I remember when it was an actual trip....
I wonder what iz hidden behind thoze barrierssss.
Nice meditation room.
Except all that tells me is that the priestess can cast higher power mage spells.
Maybe there's some scroll or wand that makes barriers? We had a few piercing Crystals in the past which can break them down.
That makes too much sense to be true.
I know this book! It's from a group of people who used to live north of Eldaran. They must have been displaced by the Giants!
Interesting. You know though, perhaps we should offload some of our excess gear now? Carrying around this Giant's Club and Shield is getting tiresome.
Goodbye! Perhaps someone, somewhere can figure out how to work around your deficiencies, but I cannot. Now, let's see what he has for sale...
RING OF SPEED?!?!?!? Welp, that's bought, and time to reorganize equipment. Art gets it to help offset her encumbrance issues, and when paired with the Boots of Speed, giver her 5AP a round. If she takes off her Mythral Helm, that drops her down to 3 Encumbrance, and 6AP.
I think I should put some points into Defense for her, see if I can drop the Encumbrance down to 3 without unequipping anything.
Everyone, take a break. Meet me outside the front of the Tower in a couple hours.
Eh, not right now. I need to decompress.
And what about the rest of your people?
You're back, and everyone felt the destruction of the Teleporter, so I assume it was a success?
In so much as what happened could be called 'success'.
We got there, finally. Khoth is being help captive by the Empire, by the way. We got there, and infiltrated through a water-damaged wall. We found the instruction manual, which told us how to create a demi-portal.
His face goes pale. I can see how that might be useful.
Oh, that wasn't the worst part. We had to get a key to get into the control tower for the portal. And it was in the Commandant's office. We got there, and found the Commandant.
I'm not going to like this, am I?
No, you're not.
It was Rook.
I'm sorry. I'm sure I didn't hear you properly.
No, you did. It was Rook. He had this defeated look to him the moment he saw me. Tried to pry some of my history out of me, but I wouldn't give it to him.
There is the possibility... you know that Garzahd has some affinity with mental spells. Perhaps some sort of Geas?
No, but it's nice of you to try and make me feel better.
An Art that is unable to focus on what is in front of her is an Art that can go forth and slay Garzahd for such an affront.
Heh. You really can't do that sort of motivational speech, can you?
He huffs. Do I look like a teacher to you? Besides, you set the bar so low anyways.
Still, thanks for trying.
I know you'll do them right. Go on, get out of here.
So, what's our next stop?
There's a place I want to visit. Should be easy as we have Firewalk and the Orb.
What plasse would thiz be?
Oh, just a short trip through a lava field.
Nothing's here. Well, aside from the skeletons of demons being used for home decoration.
Is this your summer home, dahling?
No, it's a place I wrecked a few years ago, Been meaning to check to see if anyone has moved in recently, and only now got the time.
What waz here?
A Blessed Athame.
A what now?
I have to agree. What is that?
A knife uzed for sssanctificed cutting.
This section of tunnels is just a mirror of sorts to the set on the other side with the hidden Empire fort where we got the Grey Passs. Nothing of real interest, except for a couple forced encounters.
I would like to return to Slith Waterssss to determine the extent of current Empire advancesss.
I like that idea. He's been helping us out so much, we should return the favor.
And I too.
Done! Now, where did we leave that boat?
Last time I was here, it was pretty much a straight run down to get the Crystal Soul Evidence, and kill that one guy for his Boots of Speed and Dispel Barrier. Time to explore a bit more thoroughly.
What purpose is that tunnel? It just loops right back around?
When watersss rize, thisss tunnel floods.
And north of here iss the watersss that zseparate the Giant Landssss from the placess of Exile.
There was a side passage back there. Better check it out for intruders.
They're rising from the water!
We haven't killed Chitrachs and Nullbugs for ages!
Not since the Vahnatai lands in any force.
And this is that Basalt Cube that we still have no idea how to enter.
We ssshould not be here.
Why is that?
Even I know of thisss placsse.
There was a Lich down this way. I dealt with it about... five years ago? Yeah.
No. You may have tried, but you failed.
Then we are going in there, and trying it again!
And even if the Lich is still around, then I know a friendly face here.
Well... this place has been remodeled since my last time here.
What did it look like?
Something like this?
Why don't you light something up?
The magicss in thiz place prevent suuch thingss.
One of these days, I'm going to find a 'Dark' Dungeon, and see if things like torches run down fast as well as magical sources of light.
None of our people have been here in yearsss.
Let me check something...
We might have survivors!
Well, they are survivors of a sort.
Were survivors, you mean.
Perhapsss... I can see it...
Yeah, this place has been rebuilt since the last time I was here.
Alright, we keep this quiet, and low light. There should be a friendly ghost in one of the side passages, so check your fire.
Friendly? Here? Imposssssible.
You'll see. In fact, this ghost is quite unique.
There is no reason for us to pick this fight. Moving on!
Secret passages... how typical.
I don't know, I mean we are quite used to spotting them at this point.
Normal Ghasts, and not Quickghasts. So far, this entire place has been underwhelming.
Here we are...
In the corner lurks the dim shade of a Vahnatai, long dead. It looks at you sadly.
<Who are you>?
Its voice is barely audible. "I was Galthos."
What are you doing here?
"I haunt this place, and give warning."
A haunting? Why?
"My soul is trapped here."
A warning about what?
It's translucent form grows red for a moment, apparently in anger. "Farther in, these caves host a foul, wicked creature - a lich!
HOLD ON! Why are you still trapped here?
"Until the lich is slain."
I killed the damned Lich years ago!
It howls in anger. You have a hard time hearing it. "One of my people, who studied wicked magics. I was sent by Elika-Bok to negotiate with him."
For a moment, I thought he said 'Erika-Bok', and tried to imagine that psycho arch-mage as a Vahnatai.
"She is long dead."
Yeah... wait. They're waking up again maybe someone at Elgi remembers her?
What were you trying to negotiate?
"To try to dissuade him from his rituals. But when I arrived, he was completing the rites to attain immortality in lichhood. I suffered the worst of luck."
I can guess as to what your luck entailed.
"I arrived just before he completed the ritual, and he slew me instantly, just to keep me from bothering him. And, with the magics he was unleashing, my spirit became trapped here until he dies."
"Oh, how I suffer, how my loneliness afflicts me! But I can hope my ordeal ends soon."
Sure! Just tell me how it survived last time!
I do not know...
Alright! We destroy everything this time, then Kai-lyss will set everything on fire!
It will not work. Nothing worksss.
What's gotten into him?
This place is very bad for the Sliths. They kept sending people in to eradicate the Lich, but they all failed.
Gonna have to do something serious to kill the Lich this time. Hopefully it won't involve too much effort.
Then what do you expect down here?
Oooh! Platinum. Very valuable. We can sell these later. You carry them, Chester.
And here we are, ready to get into the Lich's lair.
You mean again for you. It's the first time for the rest of us.
Any other, I would have sssslain them for this folly.
The way iz clear.
This room zaps you for minor damage for every step you take. It's annoying.
The Lich is back there. Shall we?
Well, we're already here, so let's do it.
Well, I'm glad that I preemptively slowed the enemy and hasted myself! This gives me a chance to re-haste before the enemy can properly lay into me.
Death Arrows in action! You might have to squint, but each enemy has a little red 'crosshairs' over them with a '2' in the white box leading from Kai-Lyss. This means that each enemy is going to take a Kill spell once I hit the space bar, while I still have two unused targets. Too bad I can't stack targets.
Just die already!
And stay dead!
Now, let's see what was on the back of these walls...
The Magic Battleaxe is a unique weapon, but not good enough to replace anything in my inventory already.
I'm already Blessed and Hasted from the fight against the Lich. This battle is easy.
No more demons. That's nice.
I can't see anything out this.
But the Lich is dessstroyed. Once we leave, I can Quickfire the location.
The Lich is...
"is dead now, and I thank you."
We will be dessstroying thiz place sssoon in fire. What of your fate?
Let me burn...
That's not good...
I've circled in green the tile that just opened up and spawned the Quickfire. Before this, the location was empty there was no Quickfire there when I went to kill the Lich. Now, see where the purple dot for the party is? Guess what? You can't outrun the quickfire normally.
Come on! We can seal off the exit!
Well, at least we don't have to set the fire.
A suicide option?
After that, I feel like water. Lots of it.
Well, we are on a lake.
I was thinking something else, actually.
Hey, you wanted to check your waters, and these count!
Other placesss first!
You're no fun.
What's that way?
Nothing we need to conssern ourssselves over.
Yes! My Cave Lore is useful!
Then you can carry them, silly.
Hey! I'm carrying your platinum bars!
And thank you for that.
These are safe to eat.
If you click on 'Eat More', then you simply get this same pop-up message again and again. There is no negative or positive result from this that I can tell.
That iz enough. Let usss be off.
Wait! I don't have to update my Random Basilisk Count because the party decided to leave them well enough alone! This doesn't seem possible! I must be imagining things!
And that's enough exploration. Now it's my turn.
DON'T YOU DARE!
This place is REAL?
Welcome to the Waterfall Warrens. This is a maze of narrow water passages, complete with waterfalls serving as one-way blocks. Emphasis on the maze. Once you get out the bottom, you have to circle all the way around the south, then up the west side of the Slith waters except the connecting part for the north and south waters is in the east....
I HATE YOU!
WHY NO DRY LAND?
Welp, no going that way into the Abyss.
And here is the exit! Scree Caverns to our right.
WE ARE NOT GOING BACK!
Yes, we are!
What purpose does this serve?
Curious. Who is Irving?
Just say NO to Basilisks.
Ah, just the sound of water.
Why don't we use the Orb?
Because the last person to try and use the Orb to traverse these warrens... well... I took it off their corpse.
I could use a drink of water that isn't trying to drown us.
Thizz one iz uncontaminated.
There's an AI exploit involving this encounter, which I need to remember to point out when it becomes relevant... probably around the last dungeon.
Almost done exploring.
STOP WITH THE WATERFALLS!
Oh, just one more trip!
I don't think I will ever be dry...
Uh... where did this come from?
No. Seriously. I've been through here. WHERE DID THIS COME FROM?
Did we remember to report back to the Tower regarding our victory?