Part 23: Bulette BuffetTLOD 9: Bulette Buffet
Back in the priests' quarters, we are now allowed into the eastmost section.
There is another barrier to the second tower's entrance.
The crystal hammer from the top of the Silver Tower is the only thing that can break it.
Just before the stairs into the tower, a group of four clerics will spawn. Given their location, they must all have passed the test of faith. Having just gone through that ordeal, I'm amazed the number is even that high. Anyway, this group includes one who can cast Flame Strike.
This is the first floor of the Azure Tower. There are no enemies here, which makes it a safe place to rest. As you can see from the map, it doesn't have much of anything else either. It's mostly just a place to land if you fall into a pit later. There is exactly one point of interest, past a teleporter behind an illusory wall.
This shield is +2 and protects against petrification. When identified, its name is changed to Medusa Shield. Not just a good item in its own right, but required to progress later in the tower. That scroll on the floor is Hold Monster, which San-Raal scribes.
The first thing we find on the second floor is this message.
This area seems to have been made for the sole purpose of giving Dispel Magic any use at all.
There are two of these busts on opposite sides of that wall.
Doing this twice opens up a hallway, though you don't need to go to both. You can do it a third time to remove another wall slightly further ahead. Of course, the other effect of Dispel Magic is removing all of your buffs. So obviously that hallway is home to the kind of monster you'd want them active for.
This is a bulette (pronounced "boolay"). No spells, status inflictions, or other gimmicks. All they can do is hit like freight trains. I knew before that they could do damage in the 60s, but no damage is displayed on a character who gets killed in this game. I edited my front-liners' HP to 255 with ASE to see what kind of numbers they can put up. This was the highest number I saw. The lowest was 11, so I think the range is 10d10. They're fairly slow don't have any special magic resistance, so spells like Lightning Bolt and Slay Living are the fastest ways to kill them.
Removing the third magic wall opens the way to Alain, whose name is only mentioned if you take this offer. What that does is give the character who touches him just enough experience to reach the next level. I'll be saving that for later.
If you refuse, you won't see him again upon returning, which is why I didn't bother correcting HP. I reload to before the bulette encounter and do that properly. Speaking of which, as mentioned earlier bulettes aren't really magical. The manual also uses the word "stupid" to describe them, so I don't know what Alain could possibly be absorbing from them.
At the end of the hallway, we encounter the other monster of this level: the basilisk. Here's where the shield from the first floor of this tower and the magic dusts from much earlier come into play. Their petrifying gaze seems to actually be a hit effect that only happens rarely. They're otherwise weak enemies, but they start spawning in this area rapidly.
A room to the north has this fixture, which is missing three gems.
I first go east to a corridor with a moving pit. It skips the jog in the middle, which makes getting back without falling in possible.
It leads to a room with five basilisks guarding the Soul Gem. They don't come out of there until you engage them, so it's possible to open with an Ice Storm from a safe distance and kill three of them at once.
The other two gems are to the west. The illusory wall called out by a mage leads to a room with the Body Gem, and the southwest teleporter takes you to the Heart Gem.
Putting them all in opens the eastern door.
The south path leads to this bulette, which won't attack until you do first.
It drops a key and guards the way to this puzzle. The wall will move east or west to get closer to the last plate activated. You can get past it by stepping on one side, backing off and stepping on the opposite side, then throwing an item back to the first one you stepped on. That will put the wall back on the opposite side of you, where it won't catch up by the second row.
However, it just leads to a door requiring something I don't have yet. I go back and retrieve the item, singular by my solution, to redo this later.
The crystal key is used on this lock at the end of the north path.
It opens this room, with these three levers on the north wall and a button on the south wall. Altering the levers then pressing the button will change the positions of transparent walls in the area southeast of this room as well as spawning a basilisk there. Having the east lever up and the other two down will lead to the prize:
Magical necklaces like this must be held in hand to cast their spells.
This room with a row of pits is to the west. A button on the south wall spawns the basilisk. That pressure plate on the other side will close the southern pit. Casting Hold Monster or throwing an item at the basilisk while it's on the plate can keep it that way. You can also just wait at the button and run past when it steps there. This goes into perhaps the most annoying stretch of the entire series.
With a couple exceptions, every number with a letter activates a corresponding fireball launcher with the latest letter. With San-Raal in the party, Wall of Force can be used to temporarily block some fireballs, particularly at points like 42B and 40B. The middle tile in the west part is a safe one you can rush to at the start. The plate at 41A closes the pit at 41B. The tiles labeled 43 are levers - Put A and B down, leaving C up to open the door to the south. Plate 44B doesn't seem to actually do anything, which is good since 46 represents bulettes. They also spawn and wander around the east area, activating fireball launchers. With luck they can kill each other that way. Being able to track their positions with ASE makes it easier to get through this with minimal damage.
Here's the spot labeled 47. If you go early, the bulette in this room will not have moved from its original location. That saves you from a very hard-to-avoid fireball and makes it an easier target for Slay Living. Improved Invisibility doesn't break upon offensive action but does eventually expire, after rest for example.
Location 48 has this key which opens a door in the priests' quarters. It's the first item needed to open the way to the third and final tower. 57 has another polished shield.
58 is the lock for that shell key, which is the way out of this mess...
...and straight into another one. You can rest here and probably should. There's a teleporter next to this magic mouth. If there are any spellbooks or holy symbols in your inventory, it will take you to a small cross-shaped room with bulettes on three sides and a door behind you.
That door cannot be opened until the bulettes are dead. Wands and scrolls are acceptable items.
The item on your cursor does not count as being in your inventory, and leaving the spell menu open still works. This takes you to a room in the southwest with four bulettes, but like the earlier sentry they don't attack until you do first. I cast Wall of Force onto the tile the party is currently standing on, which prevents the possibility of being surrounded. I open with a Wand of Lightning and Cone of Cold to kill the two directly in front of me, then use Slay Living on the full-health one that moves in front of me. After that, there's enough room to move around the last one. Even with this, there's really no foolproof way to do this and some luck will be required. If you want to do it the more honorable way I'd use more wand spam in place of the other spells.
The way out of the bulette room is an illusory wall to the north. Past it are two signs with a teleporter in between. The second one is referring to this:
Every time you hit it, it does 8 damage to each character in the party. Six hits are needed to remove it, causing a total of 48 damage to everyone. With my smuggled holy symbol, I can repeatedly rest and cast Aid on everybody to prevent any real damage. Otherwise, it's time to finally use some healing potions and scrolls you've been holding onto and/or rest for a long time since nothing will interrupt you. Past the Wall of Souls is a teleporter that will let us finally meet the jerk who set this up.