Part 19: Update 017 GIFTS and the Aranea CityUpdate 017 GIFTS and the Aranea City
Alright, this, I want to do.
What? I do not understand your desire to head in this direction.
Ever heard of the panacea?
Well, it's essentially a medicinal cure-all.
And this 'Greymold' is it?
No, but it is suspected, based on its properties, that it would be a vital ingredient for one.
This is what was meant when we talked to that witch in the Tower, was it not?
Not to mention discovering the final concoction would make him rich and famous.
Would I do that?
Look, We can all get what we want! It's just that the limiting factor is the Greymold itself. Even in the Empire, it's very rare and only found the deepest caves. Exile may have more!
Art, as leader, what say you?
Even if we don't find any Greymold, there was that Tower Alchemist who came this way. We can talk to him about the problems facing the tower and from there see who we can give this key and the Demonslayer pommel to.
I dislike the idea of simply handing off a problem to someone else.
We're not, really. We are aware of what Archmage Linda has done, certainly, but we are not in a position to fight that sort of evil. There has to be someone more capable than us out there, and once we find them, we inform them of the problem and give them what we've done so far to them to deal with.
I understand the logic, but I do not like it.
Hey guys, there's something weird with this sign.
She wipes the worst of the webbing off. Who would do that to this poor sign?
First though? Spiders. But that's just a wild guess.
Anyone an arachniphobe?
If we were, we would have found out when we came upon that spider cavern north of that remote temple.
True. Now, I suppose, knowing our luck, that this man we're looking for has been accosted by these spiders and is trapped in a cave somewhere by a horde of tiny, non-threatening critters.
All of whom want to be loved?
Guys, where are we?
A cave. Did we seriously lose track of where we were going?
It seems so. Quite disgraceful.
WE ARE NOT LOST
Come on, we'll do this carefully.
Give me a moment to Magic Map the place.... There!
Well, that doesn't help.
No, but we must look around.
According to the map, there's a body in a small cave to the south of us. We should be able to get at it from the west.
I hope it's not out guy.
Come on, we can sneak around a bit through here.
You see a giant spider. It sees you, and bounces up and down in happiness. "I'm spider!"
Should we be screaming in terror or what?
Um, hello 'Spider'. What is it that you do around here?
"I haven't decided."
I'm leaning towards simple running away.
About what? She too isn't sure what to make of this, but a spider that is talking and isn't attacking...
"I really want to find a mate, and have a whole bunch of baby spiders! But I also want to catch some gnats! It's really, really confusing."
The spider scampers off, looking for gnats.
Right. Thought so. I'm too scared to run. Have to keep going forward.
You see a giant spider. It is singing. It stops singing. "My name is spider! I'm a singing spider. Would you like a song?"
I'm not sure...
"OK... Sometimes I get all hungry/ And then I catch some flies/ They fly into my webs/ They are really yummy guys."
"Neat huh?" Your ears hurt. A nearby spider swoons.
There are none back here. We can relax and regroup!
I think this guy gave up on life.
The corpse contains a Bliss Potion one that blesses its drinker, and provides other effects I haven't be able to document yet.
Now we have to go through more of these... GIFTS to make sure we aren't leaving behind that man to be tortured from the friendliness.
You see a really big spider. It sidles up close to you. "My name is spider." It seems to be trying to use the spider equivalent of a come-hither voice. "I'm looking for a boyfriend spider! Or a boyfriend!"
"Yeah!" She looks at you closely. "You're cute!" She runs up and gives you all kisses. It's very, very strange.
Well, she's broken. What horrors will we encounter next?
You see a large spider. It's staring at you. "You guys are humans! Neat!" It leaps up and down in happiness. "My name is spider!"
"I'm trying to learn magic spells."
oh, have mercy, please? Spells?
"Yeah! Watch this..." It waves its front legs around, and shouts "BOOM!" Then it looks at you. "That wasn't very impressive. I know. But someday I might cast spells as good as an aranea!"
Aranea? Haven't we encountered them before?
Just keep walking...
You see a spider walking around, looking at the webs. "I'm an inspection spider! Neat, huh?"
What is it that you inspect?
"Yeah! My mission is to walk around and look at the webs, to make sure they're safe and stuff. You know, webs are very useful!"
Ignoring the messenger, the notion is quite sound. You must be an expert on webs.
"Yeah! You see, when you like, want food, you can build a web, and then bugs will fly into eat, and you can eat them! Yum!" It looks one of you over. "You're cute! Want a date?"
And now we've lost Karmas!
You see a gigantic spider. "I'm an elder spider! My name is spider!"
An elder? Amazing. The last word is quite flat.
"I am an old spider. I teach the littler spiders of the great Spider Lord!"
"He's a HUGE spider! Like a god! And he makes huge spider god webs, and he catches really BIG flies, and he does stuff, and stuff! It's NEAT!" Nearby spiders stop and listen to this, fascinated.
You see a big spider. It sees you. "I'm a guard spider!"
What do you guard?
"Yeah. Sometimes mean people come, or nasty aranea. When they do, I do this!" [/i]It runs up suddenly, and kicks you on the shin. It backs up.[/i] "That sure shows 'em!"
Um, sure. Good job.
You see a spider. It stares at you happily with its big beady eyes. I'm spider! I'm looking for a cute girl spider! I was on a big mission, but I finished it."
"I was looking for a fly!" It thinks. "But then I caught one! And I ate it! It was yummy!" It thinks more. "Some spiders like gnats more. They're silly."
We should be able to squeeze through here...
A few dead bodies, but nothing worth looting.
Not true. A set of wights are back here, but they don't have any loot worth mentioning.
Damn, well, we must make our way out now.
But how do we get to the other side over there?
I don't know...
You see a very large spider. It's looking at you. "Hi! I'm spider! I'm looking for flies! They're yummy!"
You see a big spider. It's jumping around happily. "I'm hunting for gnats. Other spiders like flies, which are yummy, but I think gnats are even yummier!" It runs around in little blissful circles.
"I'm a spider! I do spider things! Building webs! Meeting cute spiders! Laying hundreds of eggs! You guys are cute!"
Must. Resist. Urge. To. Tell. Ember. To. BURN. EVERYTHING!
But they're cute!
We must flee! They have gotten to her!
Don't be so dramatic. They're like overeager puppies.
You see a spider wandering around, looking for flies. "I'm looking for flies! I met this human once, and he told me there were things called cockroaches, which are really yummy, but I've never found any, so I eat flies."
This comment will have absolutely no relevance in this game. I also wanted to break up the conversations by pointing out that you are correct. Every spider in the Spider Cave is named 'spider' yes, with the lower case 's'. I've been skipping over that comment and going straight to 'job' as my question for a time now.
"Yeah! They're slower than flies, and meatier! And they walk instead of fly! And they shoot fireballs, so you have to be careful! Or is that aranea? They're silly!"
You see a very large spider. It's looking at you. It's voice turns sad. "I'm making a new web. The old one got destroyed. It's making me really sad. I can't work on my mission."
What's this about a mission?
"Yeah! I was on a mission! I was looking for a mate! Then I could have a few hundred baby spiders! That would be neat!" It jumps up and down joyfully.
You see a smallish spider. It giggles when it sees you. "I'm a baby spider!"
Ohh, you're so cute for a baby spider!
"Yeah! I can't build webs yet. They fall down. And I catch gnats, cause flies are tougher to catch! Someday, I'll be a big spider, and then I'll be bigger!" It bounces up and down in happiness.
You see a very large spider. It's looking at you. "I'm looking for a mate. It's tough. All the cute male spiders are busy."
"Yeah! You know, you're kinda' cute!" It runs up and kisses you on the shin.
There is a small difficulty here in the Spider Cave. You see, in order to reach the next plot point, you have to look at the flow of general conversation, and apply it to the specifics. You see, in this 'town', everyone not only responds to 'name' (variations on My name is spider!) and 'job', but also to 'flies' (They're yummy!), 'gnats' (Where?!) and oddly enough... 'mission'.
Once you notice that the spiders talk about their mission, you can start poking at others who don't mention it directly. From there, you can find someone who actually has a response to it...
"Yeah." It suddenly turns sad. Its forelegs droop. "One of our spiders was captured by the aranea. They're smart mean spiders. They live in another cave, to the ..." It struggles to remember the word. "... west! I've been trying to get a nice cute human to rescue her. We could give a reward!"
"A bunch of mean people came here once. We webbed them all in a cave. You can't get to it now. If you freed our friend, we'd take the barrier down and you could go in and take their silly things!"
That sounds... useful.
Praise the gods!
I've got webbing in places I don't want to think about!
But they kiss nice!
Oh gods, I never want to go into there again!
Nothing special about this point, but I did want to show off the slight graphical glitch here. I like to think of it as flavour for the cavernous walls, rather than anything more.
So, why did we agree to help them out?
Do you want them to follow us around, pestering us for stuff?
Hey, I can hear some water over that way. Let's see if we can get some clean water to wash the worst of the webbing off.
That's a pretty wide river.
This particular body of water is a natural boundary in Exile. We won't be able to cross it for a while. This is because it's part of the Demo Barrier. Around here is a great unpassable chasm that prevents westward movement, and could be gotten rid of by purchasing the game.
Seventeen updates in, and we haven't even finished what's available in the DEMO. That should give you a better sense of scale as to just how huge this entire game-world is. And how awesome the game is for giving players enough gameplay to really make it interesting.
But in the full version? You can take a boat from Corta/Silvar and eventually make your way all the way up here if you so chose. I'll be doing that... eventually.
Actually, I just checked my master map, and it seems this particular body of water goes all the way north and south through Exile. I can work with that. Anyways, back to the game.
Back north it is.
Do we seriously have to go in there?
Same reasoning as before.
What about hero worshipping?
Come on. Maybe Duncan's alchemist is in here.
Fire at the entrance. A good sign?
The magic map makes me think the prisoners are in this back cul-de-sac here.
Then I suggest going up this right-side passage. After the rescue, we can come back down along the left.
Sounds like a plan.
This will be a thing from now on. If you see me in a dungeon, and I don't have my party hasted and blessed, then I'm doing it wrong.
Aranea cast Slow, Flame, Minor Poison, and are semi-decent in melee combat. Actually a decent challenge in prepared encounters like this.
Except I have Major Blessing, and everything goes my way way. I LOVE THIS SPELL.
They're protective runes. Peregrine, some help?
Hrm. Yes. I see. This junction here?
Yes, it looks like Aimee's Rosetta?
Close. More like Patrick's version.
And in summation?
Protective runes to keep something in. Multiple layers.
What does that mean? It is a trash pit back there, look at the filth.
I'll go look.
Meet Imps. They are the lowest grade of Demon, and outside of the breaking that Major Blessing allows me to do, are the first 'demonic' type enemy you're supposed to face. They take little damage from Fire, cast Fire, Poison, Slow and Curse, oh, and are probably the most dangerous enemy in the entire dungeon. But I bullrush them under Major Blessing, and they go down pretty fast.
Wow, that's not a good sign.
And yet, the Aranea were able to construct defensive runes to keep them contained. That speaks much of their magical prowess. It's too bad that they are hostile. There is the possibility of learning much from them.
Well, there's some more for you to discuss things with.
This never happened, but I wanted to show it off anyways as this was the first time it happened. Not when someone died, but because of what happened to poor Peregrine. He got OBLIDERATED. This is deader than dead, and it's called Dust.
Being dusted is pretty bad. You can't be resurrected, and I'm not even sure that you can be restored at a church! How does it happen? Well, you take massive damage. And for Peregrine this was enough.
Also note the usual AI. The two Fireballs were targeted straight onto Rook, rather than a more sensible spot just south of Rook where the AoE could have hit Ember at the same time. It seems then, that the AI will always centre an AoE effect on an actual PC rather than on an empty spot in order to damage more targets.
For the record, the enemy that brought this pain upon me was the Elder Aranea. They are very dangerous foes as they can reliably do 30+ points of damage with their Fireballs. In dealing with them properly on the second try, I waited out of their sight, cast Major Blessing (sense a theme here?) and then rushed into the room with them, ignoring the normal Aranea to take them out.
Wow! That was a difficult fight! I thought I was a goner there for a minute.
It must have been a close one for you to drop your pretentiousness there.
Be silent, worm.
Peregrine's all better now!
Indeed. A proper blitzkrieg is a good thing when dealing with spellcasters.
Anyways, let's go deal with the prisoners.
Hello? Rescue service!
Go to the left as you leave, we have secured that route. Do not go down the centre path or to your right.
And behind door number two..?
This is... interesting.
YES! The secrets of their rune construction ARE MINE!!!!!
Can you read Aranea?
Well, I think there's something here you can use...
A Scroll: Kill. However, this game doesn't have a 'death' effect, so it simply deals a massive amount of damage to a single target. At this point, it's not worth keeping, so I'll probably sell it, or store it for much later when there are targets worth using it on.
Bah, this is lax reward. But I recall seeing a hidden chamber to the south of here. Let us investigate that as well.
Oh, that doesn't smell good.
This is disgusting.
What fell sorcery is this?
Anatomy. Vivisection. Cut down the bodies. Ember, burn them when they're done. I won't leave people like this.
Peregrine, there's something down here you should look at.
Crystal Wand, dispells undead. I have Art for that, so this becomes vendor trash.
We're ready to torch the bodies.
I got it. Everyone out of the cave, this will be hot.
I never thought I would look forward to wading through hordes of spiders like that, but here we are.
And as promised, the path is open.
At this point, I still feel that dealing with the Aranea was reward enough. They...
Let it out.
Not here. Later.
More bodies. Imperial. First Expedition.
How do you know?
I paid attention. This one has something...
This matches the same style as the Ivory Brooch we got out of Motrax's cavern. They were part of a set.
If I actually thought Linda was even remotely trustworthy, I would have cheerfully handed these over to her for some sort of reward. Now I feel like they should be kept as far away from her as possible.
There is also a Steel Helmet on one of the other bodies. For the end of the update, here's an image showing all our 'key' items we have in our possession. We have the Bronze Key, used to open the door to get the Mayor's Necklace, the Stone Key (which we don't have a lock for), the Crystal Key for when we attack the Haakai Lord. In addition, we have the Ivory and Malachite Brooches, whose purpose is still unknown to us. We have the Demonslayer Pommel, but are missing the Blade and Tip. We also have the Crown Token granted to us by the Mayor of Formello to visit the Castle and get an audience with King Micah. It's an interesting collection of partial quest items that will only grow.
And here's the maps: