Part 13: Update 011 To the Mage's TowerUpdate 11 To the Mage's Tower
As per the voting in the thread, we are going to be headed down to the Mage's Tower this update.
A word to those of you playing at home. This is a mistake. The flow of the story (and other things) intends for you to go north to Formello after dealing with things in Cotra. But the thread has spoken, so it's south I go!
You know, I don't think we actually read this sign. We just usually bypassed it.
Well, here is your chance.
Whew. A few hundred miles to get to the Castle, the centre of leadership in Exile? Man, I hope that's not straight distance.
I have this suspicion that we will eventually go there.
Best that we get new shoes before then.
What about this Mertis? I haven't heard it mentioned before, and it seems pretty close.
We will probably encounter it on our way to the Mage's Tower. Perhaps it is a sort of travellers stop, based on distance?
Well, let's go.
Is it just me, or is this cave getting cooler?
I suspect that since we are away from the water and the geo-thermal vents that keep that ecosystem in motion, the more stagnant portions of Exile will have less moisture and less ambient heat, creating the illusion of chill, even though the local temperature hasn't dropped that much.
How the hell did you find the time to study underground weather patterns what with everything else that's going on?
Unlike some, I am fully capable of multitasking. Such as thinking and walking at the same time.
Karmas, betcha he didn't actually figure that out himself, but read it in one of the books in Corta or Silvar.
While I would appreciate a good gamble, I suspect this is not the case. I will have to decline.
Don't tell me you have some dice on you?
No, sadly. I'm more of a Cards man myself. More personal skill.
Honeycomb? There are bees down here?
I doubt it.
Honey would be quite the luxury, if available at all.
Now there's a thought! When we get out, we take the path and use it to import luxury items.
That would be profitable. Though full of risk.
Can we save the smuggling plans for after we've gotten out?
I have to agree with Art. It would be premature to assume we would have full control over our egress route.
By the curve of the cave, I think we have to go East now.
Farmland. Based around the lake. I suspect there is another lava vent underneath the lake.
And I see what looks like a small town on the other side. Come, let us be off.
No walls. Must be a very secure location if they can afford not to have any.
A farming town, then. Walls would only interfere with business. He looks around, as though measuring the flow of the crowds. Storehouses to the North West, I have been in places like this before. I doubt we will find much in the way of resources for us, save rations for the journey.
Still wouldn't hurt to look around.
Get to it people.
Any particular reason why we have to break into a storehouse?
To kill these rats?
Giant Rats in a grain house. Typical. And pretty easy aside from the tight quarters.
At least this one has no vermin.
It's pretty crowded in here. Split up and talk to people!
You see a stout, striking woman sitting at the bar. She's carrying, amazingly enough, a guitar. She looks at you as if you're nothing special.
What do you do around here?
She doesn't say anything. She simply starts playing. A truly stunning torrent of song pours forth from her guitar. Then she pats it lovingly and looks back up at you.
That's a beautiful guitar you have there. Where did you get it?
She seems pleased you noticed. "I made it. Only instrument of its kind down here. Took me a year. Would have been worth ten years. And now, I'm a minstrel."
You realize you could make a lot of money selling those, right? I mean, more than being a Minstral ever could.
"Well, I travel from town to town. That's not so hard, as there aren't too many of them. I'm on my way to play for Motrax now. That'll be a first."
Motrax? Who is that? The King?
Micah? No. He's a dragon. Lives to the north, far to the north. And he likes humans. I'm looking to see what he would give someone who showed him what human music was like. Plus, I've never played for a dragon before. I bet nobody has. It would be a first!"
"You know, I hear a dragon lives in the honeycomb. But I prefer an audience I know is friendly."
That's not possible! The Dragons are all dead!
She looks Ember up and down. New arrival, huh? Well, the answer is no. Dragons aren't extinct. They are rare though, I only know of Motrax. As I said, there may be one over in the Honeycomb, but I wouldn't go in there by myself.
Good day to you.
Peregrine the Fourth. Freelance Thaumaturge.
A very big title. What do you want?
I'm a recent arrival here in Exile, and I was looking for the Mage's Tower for research purposes. It is south of here, correct?
You're doing research too? What kind?
Teleportation and Portal creation. You?
"Research. I'm going to the library at Formello, to learn how to make a special sort of crystal."
"A piercing crystal, it's called. A long, thin blue crystal. You throw it at a magic barrier, and it dispels the field! I'm going to try to make one. A crystal, I mean, not a barrier."
Are you sure that's such a good idea? The magic of Dispel Barrier is a proprietary knowledge in the Tower from what I've been told. Crafting items able to replicate that spell would make breaching barriers a more common event, and a major security hassle.
It's not like I'm going to sell them! No, I need to do it in order to move up from Apprentice to Journeyman. Or at least make the attempt and document it well.
Ah, a much more reasonable plan. You must be careful about the creation of expendable or even refreshable items with spells in them. Healing isn't so much of a problem but...
I understand, sir. I suppose I won't have too many marks deducted for even talking about it?
I don't think you'll have to worry about me in that regard. Just be more careful in the future and know who to trust.
i günah üçün məni bağışla"
"I am Esther. Welcome to this tiny island of peace."
You see a noble-looking woman in long, flowing robes. She wears a wooden ankh.
((I'm confused. I know I've mentioned this game was heavily inspired by Ultima, but this mention of the Ankh continues to confound me, in addition to the other times it shows up. Like every time we see a 'good' altar. It's an Egyptian symbol meaning 'Eternal Life' or thereabouts, so I'm wondering if this was a case of parallel thoughts leading to the same symbol used in religious connotations without offending people, or a deliberate shoutout? I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter.))
"I am Karmas. Forgive me, but it has been a while since I had a chance to pray propery, even if it not in a place of my own faith."
"Of course, I understand completely. So few places to rest ones soul in this endless exile we find ourselves in. Take what time you need."
"If you do not mind, may I ask what you are doing here? This town does not seem...." He lets his question trail off.
"Serving this village as best I can. I provide much more healing than I should have to. I have helped fight the undead on occasion as well. I wish I could rely on goodness more and spells less."
"They appear in the Grim Cavern, and come out to raise havoc. We really don't know what makes them appear. They aren't a terrible threat anymore, but once they were a horror to behold."
"oh gods, gotta get away from the dragons"
You find a man hiding back here. He seems terrified to see you.
"Don't tell anyone I'm back here, please!"
"I won't. Why are you hiding back here anyways?"
""I'm supposed to go with a caravan back to the Great Cave. But the undead are too much for me! They're horrible! The beady eyes and stuff! I'm staying here, where it's safe! Now go away."
"Alright. I'll find somewhere else then."
"A farmer's market."
Supplies, basic armor and weapons. I pick up a bronze spear for Duncan. Polearms deal a lot of damage, so in a few levels after I've trained up his combat stats, he'll start hitting hard at the expense of defense.
"And what do we have here?"
"Auction house for farm animals. Well, if we ever decide to settle down, I think this could be useful."
Map of Mertis. It's honestly not much of a town. Not even a statue to talk to.
"Everyone got their stuff?"
"Good to see successful farms.
All three event points say the same thing, so don't worry about hitting up all of them like I did.
Why are there NO MAPS!?!?!?
South some more.
You'll find a lot of times you'll get ambushed in a fight in these tight caverns when you reach a corner and a random encounter hits you. This one consisted of two Ogres and a single Ogre Mage. The Mage loves the spam Slow Group, so Peregrine and Ember were busy countering that while Karmas moved in for the kill and the others took down the Ogres.
The Ogre Mage can also cast Flame Strike, a Fireball++. It's painful. I really shouldn't be down here as a second Ogre Mage would have meant a TPK. But hey, nice experience! Ember level up'd!
There! That's the tower. Now, before we get in, there is a request I would like to make.
Please allow me to take the lead. I am most at home in a facility of such higher learning and would be the best choice in getting the information we need from the residents.
And I'm not?
You do not have the same formal educational background I do, so no.
I have no problem with that. Anybody else?
Better him than me.
I concur. A legitimate plan.
Good. So, how do we get in?
This was far harder to find than it should have.
I vaguely remember from my first playthrough of this game that I had an annoying time getting into the Tower because you can't walk through rubble, and I hadn't made the logical connection between hidden passages inside and hidden passages outside. Finding this was a revelation.
And in the course of this LP, I couldn't remember where the damn thing was, so I spent a few minutes looking.
Alright, everyone ready?
Well, let's do this.
The Tower of the Magi is different. The entire pallet of the town hasn't been seen before. Until now, all we've seen are the blue-green ground, the dark purple cavern walls and the colours of the terrain. The Tower has tiled floor everywhere and burgundy walls. It's such a massive visual disconnect from the rest of Exile that only enforces the fact that this place is different.
A nice pool. Although the spot of lava in the middle is just gaudy. And there's no one here, so we might as well go around and find people.
Where is everyone?
You know, if I was me, and I am, I think having a second outer wall to act as a baffle in case some experiment got out of hand would be a good idea. And made sure that people knew about it just in case.
I don't understand your logic some days. We are supposed to be responsible users of our power.
Actually, she's right. A young apprentice is staring into the pool. He looks very nervous. "Welcome, visitors. I am Kelner." He is sizing you up, as if wondering whether to trust you.
Peregrine the Fourth, 1st Exile Escape Committee. Pleased to meet you. If you don't mind me asking, what are you doing back here?
"I am an apprentice. I come to this pool often, to contemplate."
I suppose this pool is good to contemplate over, but what could assail you so?
"I contemplate many things. My life. My lessons. And the things that are happening in this tower. If you knew the name of the thing we have brought here, perhaps I would share my contemplations with you..." He looks sideways at you.
This is one of those things were simply rattling off random answers won't help now, would it?
Then I shall leave you to your contemplations. Good day.
Well, that was a bust. Time to go in the opposite direction.
Ah, this brings back memories. I wonder if they have the same 1st Year initiation rite?
What are you talking about?
See that apprentice over there?
Try to talk to her.
You see a homely young woman, maybe 16 or 17. She wears the robes of an apprentice.
What's your name?
She looks at you sadly.
Can you speak at all?
She gives you a look of fear.
It's a common thing. First year apprentices are magically silenced so that they can't cast spells. It saves on the deaths. And means that people will listen and pay attention more.
No! You don't derive like that! You have to root that, then alter that exponent! Who wrote this shit?
An old man putters about this laboratory. Sometimes he seems senile, sometimes alert.
"I'm Ambrin. I and Konig are the day to day teachers of the tower."
Peregrine the Fourth. You're a teacher?
"I am a teacher, and have been one for many years. You can buy spells if you want." He chuckles. "Don't ask the students for help. They are forbidden to speak without permission."
((He sells level 5 spells, well out my reach at the moment. I'll have to come back much later.))
Konig? I've heard that name before...
"Yes. He's away. Looking for some sort of crystal cave. Don't know anything about it. He said he was going to Cotra, I think. Pity he's away. He's the one who teaches Firestorm. If you see him, ask him about it. Maybe you could learn it too!"
I REMEMBER HIM!
Well then, do tell him to come back soon. I can't handle all the students myself.
Are there not other teachers?
Sure! But not anyone can be in charge. That's my job!
Makes sense. Where's the library?
Off to the east side.
This is Brantford. He identifies stuff and sells things too. However, his inventory is randomly shuffled every so often, meaning he can sell any non-unique item to you if you're willing to wait long enough and pay his price. I won't be coming back here often, but when I do, I'll try to remember to check up on his inventory. Of interest in his inventory now is the Crystal Rod, which casts Turn Undead 4 times before expiring. But considering the spell is only 1 SP, I skip. He also buys anything we have that we can sell. A nice replacement for Fort Duvno in this region.
Zathnia. The red line under her graphic is the result of a misalignment in the graphics files that I corrected on my end after I had finished recording the update. She also sells a couple minor recipes. Although she does have something interesting to say for those interested in Alchemy:
She pauses from her work to look up at you. "This is not my shop, I'm afraid. It belongs to Cortath. I can teach you some recipes, if you want, but I am very, very busy."
"He travelled north to try to find some Graymold for some sort of salve. Healing. Not my area. If you're looking for him, he probably visited Phyllea, in Fort Draco. Ask her about him." She says all this quickly, while grinding some sort of yellow powder.
You'll find this a lot in the game. Some person will mention someone else who knows something, and will have to name-drop, or say something to them to get them to reveal their secrets. Thank goodness for the talk-save option!
Throndell; he sells healing as well as Level 5 and Level 6 Priest spells. Will have to come back much later for those.
Meet Glenda. Here's what she sells:
See the fifth one down? That's a Medium Energy Potion. It restores SP as a consumable. At 200g a pop, you can be very certain I'm going to stock up eventually.
Must become richer!
Hello, Ma'am. I am Peregrine the Fourth. He is very formal with this woman.
A young woman with short dark hair sits at the desk, writing. Leaning against her chair is a short wooden staff, carved in the shape of a twisting serpent. The runes on her robe seems to indicate she is a person of great power.
"Greetings. I am Linda, of the Triad."
I am not familiar with the office of the Triad.
The Tower of Magi is run by three mages. I control research. X in is charge of teaching. And one of us is absent."
X. He may be of aid to you. He's around here somewhere.
You said you are in charge of research. I was looking for...
Linda cuts him off. "Of course! This is an ambitious time for the tower, a time of great and auspicious happenings. Right now, I am trying to find information on the First Expedition."
I've heard of them!
Hush! We agreed I would do the talking!
"Yes, I suppose you've heard the rumors. Many years ago, when these caves were first found, the tyrants above sent down a variety of troops, led by a group of adventurers. These adventurers had a wide variety of magic items: several weapons, several peculiar items, and finally a scepter. They were all killed, to a man and woman, and the items were scattered. And we want them."
"We cannot yet reliably make magical weapons. That's why we want these so badly. There was the Runed Halberd and the greatsword 'Scrioth.' And, more importantly, there was the giant-slaying hammer 'Smite,' and greatest of all, the sword 'Demonslayer.' Demonslayer was shattered, alas. But if the pieces were found, it could be reforged. The Sceptre is a strange and powerful item, only usable by the greatest of mages. I would say more about it, but I won't. Suffice it to say this is a great and auspicious time for the tower." She smiles, in a disturbingly sharklike way.
I must congratulate you on your choice of materials to research. You wouldn't happen to know where I could find a book relating to the construction of portals and teleportation amidst this grand library?
And what makes you think I'd help some nobody mage who just walks in?
Pardon us, Honoured Archmagus. By your leave?
THE SHEER UNMITIGATED ARROGANCE!
I can't believe that! That! That was totally uncalled for!
You did ask her for a favour.
Still! She could have named her price, or something! But dismissing me like that? How rude!
What is it, Art?
I've sketched out a map to try and figure out where this X could be.
Now, assuming this large section in along the south is labs a certainly given the residents, I don't think we'd want to try exploring there. That leaves this space in the upper right corner and the lower right.
I suspect the lower section rather than the upper. Size of the area.
It wold behove us to check both. Secret passages and whatnot.
People write them?
X, I presume?
You see a strange man, middle aged, calm and confident. He has a staff, carved in the shape of a cobra.
He nods to you. Welcome to my tower. I am known as 'X'. I am of the Triad.
Tower of the Magi
And what is it that you do here, sir?
"Mostly I teach, but lately I have been researching a new spell, which would make an anvil drop on someone's head, even from a long distance. It would be a wondrous spell. I wouldn't have a chance to find it without this library."
That sounds interesting. What may this spell be?
"Yes. Powerful spells. But I've been busy lately, and haven't time to do any teaching now." He thinks. "But wait! We could trade! I have heard rumors that somewhere in Exile there is a man with a giant anvil. Find it would be a great help in my research. I'll make you a trade. You tell me his name, and I will teach you spells."
Yes. To learn level 6 spells, you need to find the guy with the largest anvil in all of Exile. So X can figure out how to drop it on people's heads.
For some strange reason, X is popular.
I'll see what I can do. About this library?
"Yes. One of the many gifts of Erika Redmark. About whom the less said, the better."
I understand completely. When I have what you seek, I will tell you.
Here's the current map of the Tower of the Magi:
Next up, I deal with some side quests and exploration before I head back to Formello. Maybe level a couple people enough to pick up next tier spells and other things.