Part 38: Update 034 Erika's Tower and the Ruined FortUpdate 034 Erika's Tower and the Ruined Fort
Ah, the Orb of Thralni. One of the iconic artifacts in the Exile games (and yes, it shows up in 2 and 3), using the Orb allows you to fly 6 spaces, bypassing terrain like Lava, Pits and Water. It does not allow you to go through walls, fly indoors, or rock piles that normally block movement.
The Orb is also an inventory item, which means you have to have a character cart it around. It can also be dropped, and lost. Permanently.
Why yes, Exile is a game where that can happen. You can screw yourself out of vital items required to finish the game.
And you can drown if the Orb deactivates over water. Considering that I figure each tile equates to one mile.... yeah. You drown. Game over.
Now that little diversion is over with, lets get trained up. I bought 5 Knowledge Brews for everyone except Art. She's still got more levels, and better gear than most party members, and she can be used as a benchmark for everyone else.
Art raised her Edged Weapon skill to 15, and put the last point into her SP.
Strength and Dexterity are +2, and Edged Weapons were raised to maximum. I used the last couple points to raise his Defence by one.
Rook maxed out his Bashing Skill, and raised his Strength and Dex by one each.
Duncan instead maxed out his Item Lore (at 10! I thought it went up to 20!), and put the rest of the skill points into Strength and Dex. Next few levels will have him improving his Pole Arm skill for the first time since forever.
Peregrine picked up a few things. First was improved HP and SP then another level of Priest Spells, then maximizing his Int. He'll need all of these before the game is done.
Ember also went to 20 Int, while I also raised her Luck to 5. I put the last 3 points into SP.
Now, on with the LP.
HEY! GUESS WHAT I CAN DO NOW!
You found a magical artifact capable of granting limited flight, and you choose to use it to bypass a 5 gold toll.
Forgive the poor navigation, but with the Orb, there is something I would like to investigate. The large island over by Patrick's Tower.
Sure, why not?
Out of curiosity, why does Art possess the Orb, and not I?
Because she's in charge, that's why!
But she uses it for frivolous things!
"Look. You can prod at it to see how it works after we're done using it to accomplish our goals. Until then, I'm not risking you breaking it."
Besides, travelling isn't your skill set in this party. It's mapping and support spells.
I could hold it!
We'd all drown!
Peregrine, think of it this way. You have the Orb of Sights, so what happens if, in the heat of the moment, you try to use one, and get the wrong one? Do you want to be caught against the ceiling inside a dungeon, or unable to allow us to fly to safety?
When you put it that way... Fine. Art can have it.
I will never grow tired of that!
Ugh. Maybe we shouldn't have come here?
Wow. This is almost a threat.
Now, you may think that's the end of it, but this is actually a distraction. Once the fight is over, you have to re-trigger the same event.
The Runed Halberd, found here, and only accessible via the Orb. At 19/+4, it is an incremental improvement over the Flame Halberd that Duncan has been carting around for a long time. He switches out.
You know what we need to do now?
I'm going to regret asking but what?
HEY! YOU GONNA STOP US FROM CROSSING?
You! I'm going to tell Micah!
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Good show!
So, why are we going back this way again?
You guys didn't see the tower on the other side of the river?
Oh. That tower.
Wow, this place is just humming with magic!
And the entrance is on the south side. Of course.
Why do you say that? There's no correlation between the location of the entrance, and... well... anything!
No, I agree. It's only natural.
Not you too!
Perhaps a womanly mystery?
* snrk *
I still don't know if this is the real Erika, or some imposter.
I mean, this barrier is weak!
Perhaps we can see if this Erika has any other petitioners first?
I don't think anyone is here.
Erika is an ass. She really is.
A small, warty goblin in a finely cut leather jerkin sits in the left throne. "I am Glogroth von Bloover." His voice is raspy, high-pitched, and irritating. "I watch the doors."
"The door to my left is very unsafe. I don't know anything about the other door. Ask my partner.
"She knows what is beyond both doors."
And you are?
A petite goblin female, hideous beyond comprehension, eyes you from the throne. "Groovilla dar Throgpull." She flutters her eyelashes at you. They are two inches long, and greenish gray. "I tell people about the doors, and keep my mate company."
And what do you have to say about them?
"I think you should know the door to my right is perfectly safe. Well, not perfectly, but far preferable to the other door."
And what of your... mate? He swallows some bile.
"He's the one who lies. I just love him for it! It's so precious!"
Logically, actually, you are the liar.
You're a fool.
Look down both doors.
Did I ever mention how you can scroll around while in 'Look' mode to see things farther away? Well, here it is in action!
But that makes no sense!
Pierce them both to get the prize.
Oh, you can't mean...!
And that is how you solve riddles like that.
By killing everyone in your way? I can get behind that.
Could be worse.
At least there's no demon at the end of the tunnel.
The first two tiles are real lava. The rest are fake-lava, and do not injure you.
That wasn't so bad.
You had to curse us, didn't you?
Nope, not working.
At least we can see close enough for the secret passages.
5 Luck. Oh how I love that investment in skill points!
And the Ur-Basilisk! Because instant death wasn't bad enough!
I wish that map had taken hold.
So do I.
You know what? This is starting to annoy me. And this will probably be a harder test.
Are you sure?
I forgot to take a screenshot, but at the south-east corner of the room, there is a hallway of statues with an event at the end.
That was rather easy.
Take that back.
Meet the golems. They get their own unique graphic in later games, but for now, all you need to know is that they have about 500 HP, and hit like a truck when they hit. But under a Triple Major Blessing, our melee fighters wear them down.
I think this was the 'Clunk'.
Anyone else expecting them to come alive and attack us?
SHUT UP YOU STUPID MUSHROOMS!
Oh be quiet yourself, you petulant child! We're here to see Erika Redmark!
I am she!
Really? Because all I'm seeing is a flowered little girl sitting where a woman should be!
Says the bitch who released Grah-Hoth!
Funny, I don't remember you saying anything bad about it. But then again, you'd have to be actually powerful to do anything while hiding behind that river and those silly little tests.
You're nothing to speak of, wielding a stolen sword, and a...
Get the fuck out and don't come back until you're of use to me.
WHAT DID YOU DO?
This is a suspicious disregard for gravity.
WHY, in the name of all that's divine, did you antagonize that woman?!?!?
She started it!
No! Not this!
Calm down! Both of you!
Perhaps there was some magic involved? We have long known that Art has quite the violent streak to her. A subtle magic to make all in the audience speak their mind?
Whatever. Let's go.
We should return this to the witch. At least something good will come of this.
Witch? Are you still around?
Before any of you say a word, that was a recorded message. Erika was never here, and she probably set this up long ago.
Seems right. She was way too polite.
I concur. When we return, Art, you shall apologize for your behavior.
Whatever. Let's go north, and see about scouting out this Fort of Grah-Hoth's.
That's a bad joke. Take it back.
Perhaps we can put that aside for now? We are beset!
And meet the random encounters in this portion of Exile. Demons and undead. The latter of which aren't a big threat, but serve as meat shields for the rest.
That was... not what I was expecting.
Anyways, there's something over there by the lava.
... And they ran away from us. Weird.
Yes, that can happen.
And these sapphires would be useful to us if I didn't have the Orb of Sights.
Did anyone hear that?
Like a dragon!
Don't be silly!
And yet this... Oh my. This isn't good at all.
What happened here? Demons?
Well, that would wake the dead.
No one's alive.
Except some swamp creatures that have moved in.
And an altar that reeks of evil.
I'm pretty sure there used to be a secret passage leading back here, but the damage is too extensive.
You know what, we need light.
A Seer's Ball. And it's intact. I may be able to reverse-scry using this.
Oh, it's an easy thing. In fact, the connection is still intact!
I hope this is far enough away.
Was that seriously the Archmagus of the Empire himself?
I agree. He was too powerful!
Can this wait until after we deal with the local wildlife?
Nothing here, save that I fired off Shockwave for the first time in this LP. You can see mention of a Gazer in the log. That's an improved Eye Beast. Marginally a threat to the party at this point.
Wow, they really do put their sign on everything, don't they?
There is a ghost here, barely visible in the shadows of the room. "Too much light. Too much heat much heat.
"I couldn't hide. It caught me caught. It had its its revenge." Its voice is a barely perceptible whisper.
"The serpent came for us all. So strong strong so strong. It brought flames."
"So hot. But so fast. I watched myself burn burn pain burning burn." The ghost's pathetic whisper fades in and out.
No one deserves that.
Let's get out of here.
I'm winding up for the big push to kill Grah-Hoth next update, so I'm skimping out on maps for now. There's no Map to Erika's Tower, and I want to complete the map to this section of Exile before I post it. For the Ruined Empire fort, it's easy The Scrying Crystal is to the West, the Spirit is in the NE corner. Maps later.