Part 34: The Tomb of Vahkohs and GebraUpdate 029 The Tomb of Vahkohs and Gebra
So, I guess it's today that I'm the voice of reason, right?
What are you talking about?
I'm talking about the fact that the way we're going, we're going to get in way over our heads, right?
But that's when we start swimming!
Oh right, that explains everything. I got your shift as team sourpuss.
Well, I'm just that good at bones.
You really are good.
Is this going anywhere?
Anywhere but there.
Oh come on! It's not even decorated with skulls!
This is where the undead are coming from!
In Art's defence, we haven't been harassed by any of them yet.
Except that one corpse we found. Did you figure out that ring yet?
Bronze Ring of Accuracy. Makes me more accurate with the crossbow.
Not that you're good with it in the first place.
Look, just because I have been focusing on my more priestly abilities does not mean that I will keep skipping my more martial studies.
But I can handle them all!
Yes, but you're you and I'm me. If I was you, who would you be?
You're breaking him, you know that, right?
Don't worry, he'll grow up.
Wow, the lawn is manicured and everything.
And there isn't the same degree of malevolence here that you would find with normal undead.
In fact, they're downright friendly.
Wow! Engraved invitation!
How is this not the biggest, most obvious trap in existence?
Because even Sass would see that?
Let's go find our host, and talk to him about his undead, shall we?
Hrm. Lich or Vampire?
What's the difference?
Can I pull them?
How very meta of you, game.
And there's this set on the other side.
And no one here. That just means there's no one here to stop me from doing this!
Hey, look at this!
Well, that confirms there's more stuff further in. Question is, how do we get to it?
What? Is there something on my face?
I would hate to have to fight our way out past these undead if things go wrong.
What's the problem? I have Dispel Undead.
I really don't want to have to fight my way out. Wraiths and a Ruby Skeleton?
Oh. Now that makes sense.
Mayor Runkle? I thought his ornament was simply egotistical. Now I realize that it's the actual head of a Ruby Skeleton.
Alright, that's pretty awesome. At least he can't command it to shoot beams from its eyes anymore, right?
I hope not.
Ah, you arrive. A vampire, pale, lithe and lethal, sits in the throne. It watches you with amusement. It seems to be sizing up just how much blood each of you contains.
Dammit, we were so certain it was a Lich!
It chuckles. I can see why you would make that mistake. I am Vahkohs. Welcome to my tomb.
It's nice actually, I was expecting you to be in the front hall. So, uh, we gotta ask, what's up?
Oh, I suppose I should be slaying and devouring you. But I wish to welcome you first.
Couldn't help but notice you said first and not instead. It's so odd to see an Undead welcome adventurers.
He grins. My, but his fangs are impressive. Well, this is my tomb, and you are visitors. Lovely, isn't it? Huge. Imposing. Sepulchral. Everything I hoped for. I had my undead servants make it for me.
A self referential word that means that this place looks like a tomb. I must say, I have never seen your like before.
I'm Sass! I'm a Slithzerikai!
Curious. But there will be time for that later.
So, I see you have a lot of undead around here. And in the forests surrounding this place.
They're wonderfully useful servants. They watch the woods for me. Build my home. Keep me company. Don't know what I would do without them. It rubs its fangs with a long, red tongue. But enough chatter. About that slaying and devouring?
You know, you don't have to do that? I mean, we just came along because of the reports of undead, and we can negotiate something, I think we can come to a reasonable conclusion.
Where's the fun in that? I could have killed you long before you reached me, but I've done that so many times, and it gets old. So, instead, I have a little challenge for you.
What kind of challenge?
Not this time. You adventurers are such a greedy lot, so I'll tell you what. I'll let you loot my treasure store! I'll wander off, and let you have your fun. Then, in return, I get to slay you as you try to escape. Doesn't that sound fun? Now, do you agree or disagree?
It's mentally unstable, even for the undead. We can't let it go unchecked.
Undead. Pick the fight.
I agree with Matthias and Delilah.
Yeah, leaving this guy around means more problems down the line. And why are we picking a fight with a Vampire again?
Because he's evil.
Good enough for me. Hey, we agree to your terms!
And we'll start with the Spectre over there.
Now, the initial condition is that we raid his treasury first, right? I mean, that feels weird. Like we're doing it backwards, or something.
You know, I suspect we wouldn't have been able to get back here until we agreed to Vahkohs' little game.
I wonder how he would react if we just tossed this stuff into the lava?
The Halberd is cursed, and the ring, I don't remember at this point.
Wonder what these are?
Nice spells, once I can cast them.
And now we fight our way out.
Yeah, this is going to be a slog.
Wights, Ruby Skeletons, Spectres, Spirits and Skeletons. I'm pretty sure I've checked them all out before, but here's the Wight anyways:
I haven't seen Stinking Cloud in ages! This nifty little field curses everyone in it, as you can see the poor party in. Darned Spirits and their Mage 2.
Forgot about those. And they haven't forgotten about me! I know it says Paralyzing Touch, but that's really Slow. And 3 hits can be quite lethal, especially if they gang up on one person.
This is getting annoying. When will we get out of here?
I mean, seriously, the door to the place is wide open! And it's still daylight outside.
You want him to come after us at night? I don't think so!
Vampires actually start with 120 HP, I was just blowing through it before Matthias got the chance to cast Scry on it.
Yeah, screw this!
Really? Really? It thinks it can get away with that?
It does seem like it.
The creature turned to mist, and fled. We need to track it down.
What if we don't?
I don't care to find out.
At least figuring out which way the levers go to open these inner gates wasn't that hard.
I love the name of this little room.
Hold on, I've mapped everything out there's a gap we need to check.
Yeah, that's suspicious.
How long is this passage?
Curses! We need some way to dispel this barrier!
Hold on, I have this crystal I confiscated from Sass. It's one of the Piercing types, right?
Yes, that will work!
Save it. It's passable.
Please ignore the extra piercing crystals. I was cheating my way in at this point, because I know the penalty for failure. If you're following this LP on your own game, don't attempt this dungeon until you have Dispel Barrier, please!
Ugh. Let me get the Firewalk up.
This place is sooooo evil!
I got absurdly lucky with this fight I'm out of gas in terms of what I can do, and managed to pit the demon in the corner while people healed up the brawlers. I can't even take the risk of loosing someone's turn to Scry him.
And stay down!
Let's see what we've got here then.
Ugh, I can feel the malevolence.
Who would be dumb enough to fall for that?
Yay! We saved their home!
Nope. Not gonna fall for that one. You don't deserve your respects.
So, Vahkohs. Optional dungeon, despite the mayor telling you about it. Rather, what's unique about it is that if you 'kill' Vahkohs and then leave, you are afflicted with The Curse of Vahkohs, which is... well, I'm not sure exactly. I know it exists. There's an option dealing with that in the Editor, but beyond it I don't know. I presume it's bad.
But getting rid of the curse involves destroying that crystal, so I'm in the clear! I also cheated to get out of the dungeon, because I wasn't about to go through that lava/force barrier/quickfire gauntlet again.
And that's done. Let's go report that to Mayor Runkle.
The undead still spawn in the region though, and this is what they say when you encounter them:
* * *
... And that's what happened.
I see. Well, we had heard about this Vakos character before, so it's nice to know he's been put down. Now we just need to deal with the undead out there, who knows how many there are.
Vahkohs, sir. You forgot the two 'h's in his name.
Don't care. It's dead, so I can call it what I want. Thanks. Look, while you're in the area, can I trouble you for something more?
What would that be?
We've been getting reports of something weird going on with the islands to the south. The Empire may have a policy of religious freedom, but whatever is going on down there seems to be skirting the line.
You mean the Anama?
I wish it was them. Them, I could deal with. No, there's something mad down there, and I'd rather you go look at it.
I don't see why not?
Of course! Anything to spread some joy around.
That's why we're going. Where we go, the other people don't come back.
This is weird.
Um, excuse me?
The only town where the generic townspeople talk, and this is what they have to say? Oh dear.
I don't expect much from here.
You meet a sour faced little man in monk's robes. I am Kawas. What brings you to our boring little farming town?
Looking around at the behest of Runkle. You wouldn't happen to know who is in charge around here, would you?
He looks at you coldly. I am in charge of welcoming people to Gebra.
That didn't answer the question.
I tell people all the things Gebra has to offer.
It is a quiet, uninteresting town. Perhaps you should return to Storm Port. It's much more interesting there.
Is it really that quiet here? There was an undead problem just on the other side of the boat ride, you know.
He looks at you blankly. Hmmm. Come to think of it, we don't have anything to offer. Just some crops. And dull people. Fortunately, it's very easy to return to Storm Port. Why don't you?
* * *
This merits worry.
Is it something in the water perhaps? Or in the food?
And why is this corner of town blocked off by trees?
I like Sass's question best.
What is this building? It's set into the ground so the trees cover it better.
Do we knock first?
I don't think so. This place is far too suspicious.
Door's not even locked. Heck, the only thing keeping it closed is interia.
Or it could open when I breathed on it.
SPEAK NO WORDS! PAIN IS THE WAY!
Meet the Mad Monks. For some reason, these enemies stand out most of all in my memories of the game. Now, at first glance, these guys look like your normal brawlers, except as you get deeper, you see things are... more terrible than they first appear.
First thing, Armor 15, and Skill 25. That's a massive amount of damage reduction right there, and the Skill of 25 means that these guys are amazingly accurate. Add on top of that enough speed to attack twice in a round, and three attacks each, and the Mad Monks can tear an unprepared party apart in short order.
I am not unprepared. Blessings and Curses can take a huge bite out of how dangerous they are, though dealing damage to them can still be a chore. Just focus on one at a time, keep your health up, and you'll be square. Having so many priests in the party actually makes this fight relatively painless.
Why would they attack us?
I don't know that.
I do. They're a fringe cult that believes in words of power, and that speaking the right ones will result in their god coming forth to unmake the world in song, or something like that. About the only thing that really sticks out about them from all the other generic apocalypse cults was that they had a reputation for filing their taxes on time.
Interesting, but I doubt that's relevant.
Slap of pain? I don't understand.
I don't think anyone does. That's why they're mad.
Alright, we should poke around the island, see if these people have a base somewhere. I mean, this building is empty, so they can't be from around here. And I doubt the 'greeter' would be of use.
Nice farmland though. Just no effort being put into it beyond sustenance.
I'm pretty sure every last 'boat ride' uses the same dialogue and price at this point.
These islands are remote.
Actually, this is the south-eastern most corner of the overworld map!
Nothing. No habitation, no random monks. Nothing.
Ah, good. It worked.
Did you seriously do that?
You shouldn't do that. It's dangerous.
This particular encounter includes generic monks and Assassins! I haven't seen those since, oh, the Great Cave in E2.
We can cross here. The water is really calm. Just wade and climb onto the sandbars and rocks.
A welcoming party. How convenient.
But we know how to handle them.
One fight later.
Come on, there has to be something out here...
Maybe it's hidden with magic?
Actually, it's because I haven't triggered this quest yet. And the rewards for this quest are massive endgame so.
Fine, back to the Mayor. Maybe he can sort some of this out.
* * *
Now, remember how in Bolton, there was that Acolyte falsely flagged as hostile? Turns out I forgot that Charm was a combat only spell, so I have to start a fight to talk to him. Let's do that.
Now will you be nice to me?
Yes. I apologize for my behaviour. I thought you were here to eat me. This is the sort of man who's only comfortable when surrounded by piles of books. His eyes must be very weak he has to lean forward to make you out. In addition to books, there are many odd items scattered about the room.
I'm Oppenheimer, he closes his book as he says it. A cloud of dust rises up, making him cough. I'm sorry about the lack of light.
What do you do here?
I'm a sage, specializing in items.
Nice! Being a sage must be fun.
It's a very lucrative field. I do identification, of course. In addition, I also obtain items for resale. If you want to sell anything, you have but to ask. Its nice to see adventurers in these parts, by the way.
Yep! We're adventurers!
I heard about what you did to the slimes. Everyone does. On behalf of Bolton, I thank you.
If we hadn't, this guy would basically say Hey, Slimes are back that way. Go deal with them! And while I'm here, let's get stuff ID'd.
Nice! 'many things' means status effects. This will probably go on Matthias, if only to counter the occasional Disease.
No idea where I grabbed this, but I'm glad I did. Look at that value!
Just as useless as previous versions, only now with more weight!
I think I'll keep this stuff. For later.
And I think I'll end the update here. Next few locations are pretty thin on the ground, but I want to see how the update after than looks before I decide how to handle some poor pacing on my part.