Part 24: Update 021 Gremlin Gold and Fort RemoteUpdate 21 Gremlin Gold and Fort Remote
That was, in the end, slightly depressing.
We just have more problems than answers.
Think of it as more opportunities than anything else.
Sure, plenty of those. So far we've got Slithzerkai of unknown strength to the North, Demons to the West and who knows what else just waiting to kill us.
Can't forget the Aranea, the Ogres, the Nephar, the Dragons, the lizards, the Bats, the bandits, the....
But I'm sure the list goes on, for, like, ever!
We all get the picture.
And I for one have no particular interest in getting to the Castle any time soon. So we should keep heading around the edge of the cave and look for someone to deal with this.
Your eagerness to foist these issues off to someone else confounds me.
It's not that she's trying to avoid responsibilities, it's just that we already have a goal in front of us, being the escape from this place. The knowledge that the Empire has Scouts here in the caves means that the possibility of escape is there. We have evidence that our group's work is not in vein.
It's just that we can't afford to divert our time and energy into every single little thing that crosses our paths.
And yet, we have.
But we've been helping people to help us.
I admit to having benefited from such exchanges, but we should not abandon the purpose of this group in favour of helping everyone we come across for no advantage to ourselves.
I suppose this means that you're alright with us helping out Patrick's wife?
It will net us a useful ally and resource, of course!
Huh, we passed that sign, and Ember didn't say anything.
You hear that?
Only the sounds of my intelligence plummeting in your presence?
Not like you had far to fall in the first place.
It is just the motion of air through these caves, nothing more.
You sure it's not the sound of evil laughter, resonating through these vaulted halls in search of souls to steal?
* snrk *
~~~ooooooohhhhhh~~~ We're going to steal your vital fluids!
Oh, that's hilarious. And for my next trick, I will kill you all!
What the hell?
Can we turn around now?
Um... We can't.
What do you mean?
You can't walk away!
What sorcery is this?
Oh gods, we're all going to die.
No, it's drawing us in, not just trapping us. Whoever made this wants us to come.
Then let's take their invitation, and crash their party so hard the hells will feel it.
Let us make them rue the day they chose to ensnare us.
Did you really just say 'rue'? Who says that?
That word has a long and distinguished literary history as a synonym for 'regret', as in the causing of it through the actions of the one being 'rued' and its attendant consequences.
No, it just makes you sound like the villain in some child's play.
This isn't good.
Meet the other map gimmick. Unmappable dungeons. These are mostly used for mazes, and can be a real pain. As they are supposed to be.
Also, there is no 'mysterious force' in the actual game. It's just a narrative conceit to get the party into this dungeon for this update.
This place reeks of foulness.
Then we'll do this the hard way.
Kill everything and use their corpses to mark where we have been?
I was going to say chalk on the walls, but I suppose blood works as well.
You know, if they didn't want people to mess with them, why would they entrap people?
To add to their treasures.
Wasn't there a bunch of them over by Silvar?
There was. What is going on? Gremlins don't do this sort of thing. They're tricksters.
I agree. This is unusual.
There's only one thing we can do then.
Into the abyss.
This statue is quite crude.
Hey, rear guard! Is it safe to come in?
I don't think there are any basilisks here.
A small favour.
To get to this section, you'll need to go left from the entrance, then north. Don't hug the outside wall too much. The pool makes a nice reference point, but sadly, this is going in the wrong direction.
At least we will not be in want for water.
Oh, let me talk about Gremlins.
Fuck them. Hard. They are fast, hit hard, and the steal food. You'll lose about 10 about every third hit you take, and they only sometimes drop 9 food when killed. And this dungeon has the single most ludicrous spawn rate you'll ever see. And I'll show you how bad it can get later.
I hate gremlins, and I will be thankful once this dungeon is done and I'll never have to come back here ever again. Until the next game.
While I cannot see the entire maze, at least the Magic Map spell allows me to see places we couldn't normally see directly. There's a teleporter over there.
A break room. Seriously?
For all my Gremlin hate, this little room brings a grin to my face. I just like to imagine this to be the little secret side room to allow all the people working in the dungeon to take a quick lunch break before going back to the business of dying on the swords of adventurers.
Another teleporter. I suspect a waypoint system is in place.
A treasure trove. I suppose that is what the Gremlins seek to defend.
Of course. It would never be that easy.
This is the north-west corner of the dungeon. We'll get here eventually.
North or south?
This is north of the entrance.
Flip a coin.
Worst teleporter ever.
Eight steps back to the teleporters.
Well, where are we?
I figure the east wall.
That's an interesting thing there.
We must deal with this.
Ember, up front with me. Everyone else, back up a bit.
I have a plan.
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! FEAR ME!
And you burned through most of your mana reserves in the process.
Totally not setting up Ember to level a bit faster.
Is there no end to these things?
North of the entrance
Everyone, start looking for secret passages.
Another teleporter. Is anyone else getting annoyed by these?
That is insulting. And we still can't leave the area.
To get here, skip that last Teleporter, and continue walking north, then east.
But I BURNED THEM ALL already!
This is what you get for burning things before we're ready to take them all on directly.
You see that?
That is very suspicious.
Perhaps we can circle around to it?
Of course not. That would be too easy.
Time to head back.
Go around this pool here. I don't want to know what's in there.
Another drinking hole.
Another secret passage.
Not pictured, me walking to a teleporter. And now you all know why I chose this icon.
There are two types of barrier in the first game. There are the impassible barriers that we've encountered so far, and this type, which deals a slight amount of damage when you push through. There is no way to tell the difference until you try to enter them. But if you've got SP to spare for the occasional Light Heal All, it can be more effective to just take it on the chin.
And because even the damaging barriers are still a 'barrier', enemies cannot cross them, so they make for viable redoubts in case of serious emergency.
Nothing down here.
Well, know we know.
Isn't that statement a bit redundant?
This fight is harder than it looks due to tight quarters.
Now, to see where this goes.
Very high spawn rate. While here, as long as you can't see the teleporter, a new Gremlin will spawn every 4 turns. It's a slog to advance through this fight, especially with the tight passage.
There! They must all be dead!
I wouldn't count on it.
Not pictured: The actual teleporter here.
This is new.
Well, secret passages are a whole lot easier to find when you can see through walls.
Let us take that boat now.
Gold, silver, gems? How did all this get down here?
I suspect the teleporter we used to get into this area may have connected to another place going through it from this end sends us here, while the gremlins arrive from their home. An interesting capacity to 'link' teleporters like that. It would be worth exploiting, if not for the... locals.
I recognize that seal from the Royal Token the Mayor of Formello gave us.
Official correspondence then?
Right! There should be a reward for this.
Despite all that, there is something a bit more important here. he holds up a tin trinket Ember, destroy this please.
Why? What did that do?
This was keeping us trapped here. Now we can escape.
Then we leave. Rook, take that message.
And good riddance.
And with this, my desire to announce every sign we come across has proven its worth.
Look! A patrol we can alert to the presence of the Gremlin cave!
What treachery is this?!?!?
Meet the Bandits of the Western half of Exile. And even with Major Blessing, this could go poorly.
'Captains' are kitted out much like Karmas. Heavy hitters with solid physical defence. 'Brigands' are Skirmishers like Rook with a ranged and melee option. 'Wizards' are comparable to Ember. Firestorm included.
And this was my first proper random encounter in ages. I was unprepared for it, and performed poorly.
Where did they come from?!?!?!
I do not know.
And that was some serious power there. Why would they even attack us?
Maybe we can get some information from that fort.
A heavily armored guard leans against the wall, snoring. Because of the helm, you can't tell if the guard is male or female. "Zzzzzzzzzz..."
Seriously? That's... hilarious!
I agree. This is....
No. No words.
A woman in steel plate huddles in the corner. She has a huge sword, and an even bigger hangover.
She moans and grabs her head. "Speak quietly please. I'm Bronwen."
Um... what are you doing here?
"I'm the commanding officer out here in the back end of nowhere." She delicately sips some water from a bowl.
I wouldn't say we're there...
"That's where we are. I could have been at the front, dealing death to sliths and doing some good. But here I am. At good old Fort Irrelevant."
"That's what we are. What I am. The only thing that could possibly attack us is the Drake. And it keeps to itself."
Drake? As in a Dragon?
"Mick claims he saw it. Ask him about it. As for me, I'm waiting to recover so I can resume my drinking."
You really shouldn't drink so much.
"It's a dirty habit. But it keeps me from getting too angry. I'll get transferred someday!"
Let's go find someone who can pay attention to serious matters....
You meet a petite, oddly pretty woman with long brown hair.
Hello, fair maid. I am Karmas, and these are my travelling companions.
She nods, and looks you over. "I'm Belinda. I'm the chef."
"Well, cook really."
"That's what I do! Would you like a taste?"
She runs and gets you bowls of stew. It's delicious. She flutters her eyelashes at all of you. "I put extra effort into my cooking. Helps relieve everyone's tedium."
Why is that, anyways?
"Nothing has ever attacked Fort Remote. Nothing ever will. But we keep busy. I have my own hobby."
Dare I ask?
She grins evilly. "Just say my name to Mick. He'll be out west. Get his reaction. That's what my hobby is."
A man wearing a large ankh and a subdued expression sits at the desk playing solitaire.
Red 6 on Black 7.
He jumps up. "Oh! A visitor! Welcome to Fort Remote!"
Good. Who's in charge?
"I'm the, well..., um..., I sort of give orders here. It's not like there are many to give, but when they come up, I give them! Things get rather tedious, I'm afraid."
Someone has to explain that to us. You have bandits less than 20 miles from here packing serious weapons, a Gremlin inhabited by Demons that claimed who-knows how many lives, and that's just along the southern edge of the Cave!
"Yes. Um. You see, this fort was built before the big wars with the sliths and nephilim. We were afraid of attacks from the tunnels to the west. But hardly anything lives in there, and the things that do really don't do much, so we have nothing to guard against!" He seems a bit panicky under the intense gaze of Rook. "To stave off madness, we busy ourselves with other activities."
"Well, I play solitaire." He waves at the desk. "I've played thousands of games. Won two. Pointless, really. Then, we all take part in the standard pointless love affairs, have meals, exercise, have sing-alongs... Well, you get the idea. And, we act hospitable to the occasional visitor. Breaks the monotony."
And we've found the dumping fort of the Exile Army. You mean to tell us there's been other visitors than us?
"A party of adventurers came through a few months back! They stayed with us a week. Much fun was had. Then they went west, and most of them got killed. Chasm Drake. Then there are merchants, messengers, supply caravans, and so on."
We've heard about this Drake. What do you know about it?
"Fearsome. Deadly. Wealthy. Remote. It doesn't bother us. We don't bother it."
Such a failure, we didn't even get his name.
That is pretty sad.
You know what? Let me talk to the next guy. Maybe a little womanly appeal is what they need.
But Art is far too stern for that. Where will we find a woman?
Oh, Peregrine, if Ember wasn't going to kill you, I WOULD.
Bah! Spend all days with your books. You need to get out more.
You find a small, handsome man sitting and contemplating this small spring. He's eating a sandwich.
Hey Mick. I'm Ember. Whatcha Doing?
"Watching the spring. That's how I pass the time. Pretty, isn't it."
Very much so!
He looks like he wishes you'd go away.
Sooo. You saw the Drake, right? And it wasn't one of those mean ole' Dragons?
"I saw it! I did! It wanders the tunnels occasionally, and it came close. I was sitting here, and it saw me, and I saw it! I thought it was going to kill me, but it lost interest. Not hungry, I think. But it could have ate me, in a second! It's huge! I hope I never see it again."
Oh, good. Oh, and Beli...
The moment you say her name, he chokes on his sandwich, smiles ecstatically, rolls his eyes, breathes heavily, and gets a headache. Simultaneously. There are no words in his response, but he communicates an awful lot.
And we are officially done here.
Here's the map from Patrick's Tower to Fort Remote via the Gremlins:
There is no Map for the Gremlin Cave, sorry to say. It would have been very useful though!
And Fort Remote: