Part 61: The Halls of Chaos and the Lair of AthronUpdate 057 The Halls of Chaos and the Lair of Athron
What is this? Why is this even here? WHO BUILT IT?
I zensse much in the way of Magicsss here.
I guess we're investigating again.
Well, look at it this way, if it's out of the way like this, then it's depending more on secrecy than force of arms to keep people out.
That sounds quite well thought out. How long did it take you to figure that?
Eh, not that long.
Odd, thisss barrier appearz to be a cap of sssome sssort.
You're going to remove it, aren't you.
Already done. Just some lava.
You're way to blase about that.
I'm not planning on walking on it. Are you?
Thanks. Let's sweep this place, counter-clockwise.
Any particular reason for that?
No, not really.
Well, I have noticed a trend where we usually go clockwise around a new place, so this will be a change of pace.
Are you sure about that?
As much as I can be.
Is that were my stash has been going? Are you drinking to deal with the stress?
Of course not!
Look, it's alright to tell me, sister. We can drink together!
I am not a... No!
How about a quick distraction?
Good practice, this sword is huge!
Man, this is easy!
Chester now holds the highest damage single hit in my playthrough so far. Aarth-Tsss doesn't have the Flaming aspect yet for potential triple damage, and Art's DPS is divided by two weapons.
Here's what the sign by the lever states:
And the statues from north to south...
There is that crate we saw. Maybe there's a barrel somewhere and we have to push it here?
That's quite a distance.
It's called Looting!
Well, at least we know this is an Exile location, and not an Empire one.
North-east segment now?
You know what's weird?
It can't be the batches of Quickfire. That's mundane by now.
We've wandered around all this time, and the only thing we've fought was the fungus.
Anyone else saying that would be a recipe for disaster.
After all these previous dungeons with wall-to-wall battles, seeing a dungeon as empty as this one was... creepy. But don't worry, there's enemies to be had still.
Curioussss. Szummoned from a location. Perhapsss to activate thoze statues?
Or it's a trap. We now know of a Crate and a Barrel, and this way is blocked.
So is this way.
And all we have to do is push them into the water, and the current will take them away.
What was that for?
Now I can justify looting the place!
Are you feeling alright?
Check the alcohol.
Can't be too bad if there are windows.
WHAT?!?!? Peregrine, I'm going to hit you!
Why iz that here?
What are you two talking about?
That knife! That's the Blessed Athame! What is it doing here?
That's the cutting-magic knife, right?
Yes! And I left it with Peregrine because he may have needed it at the Tower!
We should check the other cells, in case there's other things here that shouldn't be.
Nothing in the third one either.
Oh, how quiant.
The log shows me casting Wall of Blades. This is the worst tile to cast it on because you can't see the small gray slivers on the gray stonework. Heck, I can barely see the brown handles on the blades.
Why are there handles on them?
And nothing in here either.
Curiousss. Perhapsz a sssecure sstorage?
Would make sense if one of those spots was meant for the Orb.
NO ONE IS TAKING MY PRECIOUS!
One last place to check.
Huh. That's almost too easy.
Never mind. Not easy.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love Shockwave?
Curiousss. Why make the entrance ssso eazy to accesss?
An unmappable Maze. Ah.
No secret passages either. I think this place is a distraction and a dead end. Also, I took the liberty of manually mapping out the area.
I'm abusing the fact that Map Unavailable is a toggle, and going into combat flips that toggle. Being in an 'unmappable' level also flips that toggle. Two wrongs do make a right, but I have to carefully manage my screenshots and exploration to build a composite picture later.
Let's go back then, and deal with those crate and barrel things before coming back here and kicking things until something happens.
Now to deal with these two.
You've seen the map of this floor at the end of the last update, so it should be easy to see how to move the crate and barrel out to the water to get rid of them. Except there's a tiny little detail in the way. You see, pushed objects like these can't be moved over event flags. So the tiles which spawn the items? Can't be moved over, so the easy way of dumping them in the water at the north end of the hall is a no-go.
Except that there are hidden event flags on this level that do nothing. They just sit there and block the movement of the pushable objects, which can cause you and the object to switch places. Very annoying, and I was not about to map out the location of all of them for you all.
Instead, I took this systematically. By removing one object from the level, I can access one of the passages. Resolve that, then come back and remove the second object the process of which spawns a copy of the other object due to flag placement. Then repeat through the other passage.
And once that is out of the way, I can go back, make sure both objects are spawned, and use them on the statues. Simple!
WHY AM I THE ONE PUSHING?
Jusssst quickly crossss to the far zide.
Still painful walking across Quickfire.
And naturally, my lights go out. Again.
But it's enough to see by.
If there are GIFTS here, I want Kai-Lyss to burn the place down.
ANYTHING BUT THIS!
Vogel, you're a wonderful game designer, and I love you dearly. But why did you have to include the most horrific game mechanic in the history of exploration gimmicks?
Why oh why did you have to include an UNMAPPABLE TELEPORTER MAZE? This is the sort of stuff that The Dark Id wouldn't put up with!
I know, it was a product of the time, when people could afford to spend 15 minutes puzzling it out. I know I did back when I was young and playing on the computer in my dad's library. I miss that old 386.
Each room has two teleporterz, and the activation of either of them ssscoursz the room of sssmall objectsss left behind. I would not recommend leaving a person behind to act as a waypoint. If we proceed ssstraight through to the left or the right, then we will return to the ssstarting point.
Thuzz, the ssolution must be to advance a certain degree to the left or right, then back track.
The firsst question should then be how far? And do we need to perform the backtracking multiple timez?
Or, we could do something to mark each room as we come to them. I mean, this is the 'Spider's Maze', right? So what if we left some webbing behind.
That iz an excellent ssugesstion.
Long story short Go four right from the first room, then one left.
Something is glittering back here.
Why do we have that head still?
Interesssting, a phazzed teleporter.
Right, so now we go the other way.
What's that smell??!?!
Well, score one for subtlety.
Seriously, they didn't even touch me. How is this supposed to keep people out?
No, something else is here...
And that's two keys for two passes.
Except this is different. And totally a trap.
That's it. I don't know what happened that this got thrown out, but I'm going to have words with Peregrine. Many of them.
Back, and with Key!
And a shield.
Yeah, might be useful.
I don't have to pu~ush! I don't have to pu~ush!
Alright, Crate, Barrel, Webs. Let's get moving.
Not going to loot first?
Yea, I think this is required to get past there.
Should check anyways.
Huh. Might as well.
Oh, that's not good.
Pen it in!
Keep it in there!
Crap! One got out!
So, here's the plan. After that first... escape, this is how everyone is standing to prevent another as Chester slowly and carefully takes care of the enemies around him. At the same time, Art can attack an enemy to her lower-left, while everyone else just defends. This way, no new Doomguards can spawn outside the kill boxes until the survivors are easy to dispatch. It takes time, but at this point, it's the best I can do.
When did Doomguards warp my normal tactics so much?
Done! Now to see what's behind the next door. Marianna, if you please?
Way to late, sign.
And this door leads nowhere!
It takesss zkill to manipulate barriersss to contain Quickfire while allowing access.
What do we have here?
Magic weapons and armor, and I'm sure I can pick up Dmurr and shake her more coin will fall out than was in these chests.
Right, let's put this stuff back into circulation, and head back up stairs.
That's my crate. Your turn with the Barrel.
I gave up trying to get this Barrel in via the left side of this structure. I looped all the way around the right for it.
And there are the Websss.
Huh. Those aren't words of power or anything like that.
How would you know words like that?
It's spoken something like ẗ̞͉̰̪́͒̉͗h̔i̥̬̰̤̘̽̍̐͒ͯ̑̆s̰͔̯̜͊̒̍̈̉̏ͪ́
Please never do that again!
I agree. Your accent iz horrible.
But that appears to be all we can do. Unless something has changed in that labyrinth?
Yeah, let's check that out.
This passage wasn't here before.
Actually, it was because I was exploring in Combat Mode to build a map that I couldn't trigger the hidden flags to open up passages.
Hey guys, you lost?
No, we're hiding from you!
Oh. Well, have a nice day.
Another passage that opened up somehow.
And one more. This looks like the end.
I don't suppose you'll let us past?
Glad we got those keys first!
And this uses the other key.
Just some Gazers everyone. Oh, and watch out, if you walk between two pillars, you get shocked.
Asssuming navigation iz reliable, thisss ssshould take uz up to the Knife.
Wait. We were given three passwords.
Well, there are three storage spaces. And I think we can handle anything that comes our way.
So try each one? Which was first?
That was easy.
Let's get out of here, back to the Tower, collect that reward for the Teleporter, then do what's next.
The hatchling iz correct. The Archmage knowsss our next goal ssshall be the third Cryssstal Ssoul.
One long trip later...
Blew up that teleporter for you.
She smiles. "I heard of your deed. Well done, well done indeed! I have been authorized to give you this ..." She pulls a staff out from under her desk. "... as a reward." She give it to you. It is a beautiful, polished oaken staff.
I'm the only one who has the skill to use this as a weapon, but I can't use it to its full potential.
Sssadly, none of uz can.
Neat. Where's Peregrine?
He had to go to the Castle. He said you would be back, and to tell you he was taking care of the thing you found out about with the Teleporter.
Oh. Thanks. Look, he comes back before we do, tell him we went to talk with Erika.
Of course. Good luck with whatever it is you are doing next.
One teleport later, I make a side trip to upgrade Aarth-Tss' weapon.
Let me make up the difference...
Oh. You. I suppose only one of your ineptitude could cause so much destruction.
Eh, it's not like you did any better. So, now that that's out of the way, what do you know about the last Crystal Soul?
"I know not where the Crystal Soul is, but I believe the dragon Athron does. He is west of Mertis. If he asks who sent you, tell him 'Redmark.' He knows and respects me, and may let you in. When you learn what he knows, return and ask me of crystal souls."
I'm sorry? What was that? Redmark saying she doesn't know something?
Leave, before I do something the dragon can't.
Oh, you must be sour. Did the explosion tip your tea or something?
You don't have to be rude about it!
How can you possibly get away with that?
Ssshe iz more powerful than both of uz by ordersss of magnitude.
Oh, you don't know her like I do.
Anyways, to Athron! Thankfully, we've been there before.
Hey! It's that place north of the Honeycomb you said we shouldn't go into, right?
Good memory! Know how to get there?
Let me think...
Yes, I did!
Those are still big statues.
They are no one.
But there is something!
This wouldn't be a bad fight, and the only real annoying part is the SP drain the Eye Beasts can pull off. Poor Art loses most of hers, so I have to rest afterward.
So, for the record, this is the fourth Dragon lair we're walking into. Motrax was nice. Sulphras was nice enough once we set him-her-whatever free. Pyrog is dead, and Kothar was out of his lair and we couldn't rescue him.
Never thought I would get to see all of them, that's all.
Definite remodeling since last time. Less hostile statues and mazes for starters.
So lets head over here.
If we were any further sssouth, we would be outzide again.
Wait, what's the difference between an interloper and an intruder?
The first actively disrupts what is going on, the other just shouldn't be there.
Sssecurity on the portal.
To the wessst.
And the gates are closed.
That explainsss the use of the zigilss here to operate them. Let me experiment...
Thisss appearsz to be the correct activation. We will need to go around the middle gate through the secret passsage.
I can tell, this takes uz back to the beginning.
Alright, let's try that again.
Dammit Athron! Redmark sent us for some...!
This flail might be useful...
Don't care. Let's just deal with this.
Not a problem for uz.
Let's try this again.
Look! I know she's an ass, Athron, but you know me! I've done you fair in the past. Just because Redmark
Right, let me cast Firewalk.
Without that, thisss would be zo much harder.
One last time!
LISTEN YOU SENILE OLD LIZARD, JUST BECAUSE REDMARK SENT US DOESN'T MEAN YOU GET TO BE STUPID! HAVEN'T YOU EVER HEARD 'Don't shoot the messenger'?
Don't yell at me, Art. You finally stand before the dragon Athron. He towers above you, three times your height, and looks down upon you with distrust and grim distaste. When he exhales, little flames comes out.
Greetingssss, oh Mighty One. We apologize for disssturbing what occupiez your time.
For a brief moment, his expression turns from anger to pride. "I am looking after my brood." The anger returns. "And I deal with disturbances."
A brood? What?!?!
"For the first time in five centuries, new dragonlings are about to hatch."
His voice swells with pride "The mighty spawn of me and my mate, who rests on the other side of the world. A dark doom awaits any thief who would interfere with them."
Remember this for much later.
What disssturbances would dare take your attention away from your hatchlings, Mighty One?
"Commander of the Empire forces down here. A mighty mage. Hopefully someone will kill him soon."
Working on it. Have some things to do first.
That iz correct. We actually came here to asssk about the Crystal Soulsss, and the location of the last one.
Athron cocks his head and thinks. "Yes, one time when my spirit was travelling, it detected another spirit in distress. I went to it, but could not get close. It had been stolen from its home, and was definitely Vahnatai. And I know its hiding place."
And where iz that place, Mighty One?
"It was in the Empire fort Akhronath. I can tell you little more."
Thank you, Mighty One. We ssshall trouble you no more.
Thank you for your time. I don't babysit. Come one everyone, back to Erika.
Oh! Off-screen, I bought a dozen more Skill Potions. Who should I use them on? Stats are in the last update, and they are still current.