Part 27: Fire Breath and Dran's DeathTLOD 13: Fire Breath and Dran's Death
After going up the stairs, we get re-introduced to the hell hound. The monsters returning from the first game are mostly the same or sometimes nerfed, but these ones are actually significantly deadlier than before. Rather than just having melee attacks, they can now hit the entire party with a fireball. They have low HP, so it's easy to kill them before that happens. They're immune to fire but weak to cold.
This comment is calling out the wall south of where it's made. There's another one further on without any notice like this, which you must go through to bypass an invisible teleporter.
In addition to the hellhound at the start, these two mages also patrol the hallway. They start at separate locations and sometimes meet near the middle.
Another flight of stairs goes to this room, in the southeast corner of a square floor. There are two doors with these slots next to them, which each take a coin from Insal or Ojel. They both ultimately lead the same place, so only one of them is needed. The north one is a slight shortcut, since the next stairs are on the north side.
The rooms at the other three corners are each occupied by a pair of mages. Unlike the ones whose faces are visible, these ones start with Fireball or Lightning Bolt rather than Magic Missile, though that is still in their arsenal. After clearing these rooms, I rest again and exclude all fire spells from memorization.
The last floor of Crimson Tower 1 starts with three hell hounds patrolling it, hence this name.
It also has three alcoves like this. Once again disintegrate can be used to remove these walls of force, but it's not necessary to do that.
Instead, there are two of these dials in the room on the west side. Getting both of them pointing the same direction will remove the wall of force on the corresponding side of the floor, with north being the top.
After that, you have to place a fire sphere in each one. If you don't have three of them, you can get an unlimited supply from the start of the tower.
Once you've done that...
The way to the top is opened.
Clicking on this handle takes you to Crimson Tower 2, the last stage of this game. This is the only true point of no return, so make sure to have everything you want before going there.
The first room there is "circular" with illusory walls in the middle of each side. Stepping through one will spawn a salamander behind each. They are natives of the Elemental Plane of Fire, and therefore have the same affinities as the hell hounds. They are also immune to normal weapons. They only have physical attacks but are extremely quick, and can do up to 20 damage per hit.
This is the west room. It doesn't look like anything special, but this center tile is best avoided.
Doing so spawns a total of seven mind flayers in the surrounding rooms and opens all those doors, while closing the east one you came in from. Compared to the first game, they have about twice the HP but don't seem to do nearly as much damage. Of course, what's really annoying about them is their paralyzing mind blasts, which they still have.
Especially since this is what happens if everybody gets paralyzed. You can just walk around that middle tile. If you actually want to fight that battle, you should probably cast Wall of Force in front of the doors beforehand and set your party up for maximum physical offense. Front-liners should drink Potions of Giant Strength if you still have them.
This is all there is to find in the westmost room, which is nothing required. After some time, mind flayers start spawning in this area. They can open the doors there, but seemingly not the east one out of there. The west side can and probably should just be left alone. Since we're here, let's contemplate the orb.
Those last two images are rather ominous. There's nothing of interest in the north or south rooms, so we're going to the opposite side.
The east door is between two of these shelves. Casting Dispel Magic on both of them will open the door and make their contents accessible. One of them has another Amulet of Life. The other one has an Amulet of Death, which kills whoever uses it in their hand but isn't cursed.
We meet this guy behind the door.
You can get that stone cross after this, but there is no portal for it on this level. If you cheat to get it earlier, using it on another portal will take you to the south room of this floor. The last stairway is east of this encounter.
That goes to a door that can only be opened from the west. Once you step through it, the door will close behind you. Once again, no turning back from here.
Dran awaits in the north room. This is the last chance to rest and buff up. You should also adjust your party formation and inventory here. This game does make a new save after the last boss is beaten, FINAL.SAV. The third game's import doesn't allow you to choose which party members to take, it just automatically excludes anybody in the bottom row.
A smug bastard to the very end.
Worth noting that "long ago" means centuries in this case.
Right before the final battle, a connection to the first game is made.
After all of his taunts and threats, we finally have the chance to beat him up.
Unlike Xanathar, Dran did not put a death trap in his own quarters that you can push him into. However, he made the equally foolish mistake of choosing to fight the party in a 3x2 room. We can dance Dran Draggore dead. In fact that's pretty much necessary since it would require an all-time run of good luck to win a stand-up fight. He moves and acts very quickly, so a brief slip-up can ruin your day. He usually starts with a fireball, which you can dodge even moving toward him if you're fast enough. If you don't want to risk eating that, there's another open area at the south end of the hallway. He also casts Lightning Bolt and Hold Person, and seems to cycle through those spells in that order.
Here's a closeup of his altar, taken via ASE warping earlier. Dran doesn't actually spawn until you step into the doorway south of this, and going here during the actual fight is a bad idea since it's likely to get you pinned into this tile. Kind of a shame, because I think it looks cool.
After you deplete Dran's 93 hit points, you get this scene. From his first appearance, people were speculating that he was not truly human. And indeed, just like that giant from the previous update said, "Dran is no man." So what is he, actually?
The altar and orb were hints to this. From the start, his name was too. Dran Draggore is an anagram of Red Dragon Rag.
Much like in his human form, he usually starts by launching a fireball. I managed to dodge that even from point-blank range. He still has about the same speed as his human form, plus another 150 hit points.
He's another enemy capable of opening doors, with a rather unique method of doing so.
In addition to fireballs, he also has this as a melee attack. The Starfire's Mystic Defense spell purportedly helps against this, though I'm still not sure of its exact mechanics.
The party also took the extra effort of cutting his goddamn heart out.
Nice of him to show up now.
Greetings my victorious friends. You have defeated Dran! I did not know Dran was a dragon. He must have been over 300 years old! His power is gone. But Darkmoon is still a source of great evil. And many of his minions remain. Now we must leave this place. So my forces can destroy it once and for all.
After this, we're finally back outside the temple.
After a little while, they stop with the temple still unscathed.
They start again.
The temple's evil is very strong.
It must not be allowed to survive!
...Could they have done that the whole time? Khelben reappears.
He then warps out again. The shot remains at this location, making it unclear if the party went with him or was abandoned in the middle of nowhere.
Thank you. You have earned my deepest respect. We will remember you always.
Dran's claim of having an undead army ready to strike was never really addressed, huh?
I like the previous game's villain getting a mention in the credits. Xanathanks.
There's a cast list, including the guy we saw for less than half a minute right before the end.
Also including "The Forces of Good"
Dran battle undamaged and ending
Compilation of tricks, bugs, and other quirks
The Cutting Room Floor page (contains suicide image)