Part 29: Boning Down in the CemeteryAOMD 1: Boning Down in the Cemetery
As seen at the end of the previous update, your party starts out in the Burial Glen, right in front of a headstone. Unlike the start of the second game, you can't dig up graves here. Soon, the first enemies of this game will approach. Grave mists are undead which are immune to normal weapons and cold. Like the second game, new characters start with +1 weapons. According to the manual they should in fact be healed by cold, but I have no way of seeing if that's true. The manual also says their attacks can drain constitution, but it seems like that wasn't actually implemented, so all they do is 1-4 damage. Since we're in battle now, there's a couple things to point out. First, you may have noticed the All Attack button. When that or the space bar is pressed, everybody whose name is highlighted in yellow will swing/throw/fire their weapons. Second, polearms are now able to reach from the middle row. Keeping the Chieftain Halberd around really pays off here. The party can become very efficient killing machines with these features. After defeating another pair of grave mists, I'm able to rest.
This encounter happens at a random location. The starting area is very open and has no real landmarks, which can make it somewhat difficult to keep track of your location without ASE3. Everybody has blue HP bars since Aid brought them above max. Strangely, showing numbers instead will not indicate that. On a subject related to spells, many of the sound effects here are also used in the Dark Sun games. I think the sound design for this is worse than the first two games. Instead of their more subtle atmospheric sounds, everything here is just kind of loud all the time. I will say that although I agree with the general consensus of this game being the worst of the trilogy, I don't hate it. Anyway, here are the responses:
Either way, he name-drops Elminster, who is
A strange difference between this and the first two games is that moving with the number pad requires NumLock to be off in this one, whereas it had to be on previously. One area of interest is at the north. There are several grave mists concentrated here, and we get a couple comments about the trees around here. We'll see what those are about soon.
The first comment happens when you click on one of these smaller trees. True Seeing has been majorly upgraded from the second game. In addition to actually working reliably this time, it also doubles as Detect Magic. As you can see, that extends to items on the ground now too. Those include plate mail +1, three healing potions, and four +2 weapons: two daggers, a mace, and an axe. That last one has some special use here:
The weak trees that get called out can be chopped down. Only axes will work for this. Some more items can be found by doing that elsewhere in the glen:
Near the west edge, there's this cache with +2 chainmail and eight conveniently pre-identified +1 arrows. In the southeast, you need to cut through a lot more trees to access wands of Magic Missile and Fireball.
Around the center of the Burial Glen, you can find the entrance to the Warriors' Tomb. This is a completely optional dungeon, which has one of the toughest areas of this game.
Although there are no monsters in the entryway, your party is likely to act as if there are if you try resting. That's because this game checks for them in a certain radius, ignoring walls between you. There are stairways at each corner of this room, going to isolated sections. I go northeast first.
The party is immediately confronted by swordwraiths, undead that require +2 or better weapons to hit. Their attacks can reduce the victim's strength, which can be recovered by resting. Negative Plane Protection can prevent that, as well as causing damage to any undead that lands a hit. However, the spell immediately stops when that happens. These guys have just enough HP and land just enough hits to be a problem. There's a potion of giant strength a little ways past this.
The plaque with that message is above a pressure plate which makes this spike wall move down the hallway. Flipping that lever will take it back to its original position and disable the trap. If you don't get that in time, retreat and wait for the spikes to reach the end, after which they'll go back.
There are a few tiny buttons like this throughout the tomb, which all remove the wall they're on.
Behind that one is this lever, which requires either a thief with renamed lockpicks or anybody with giant strength to pull down. Doing so disables hidden teleporters in the northern corridors, making progress possible. All of the levers here are bone-shaped. The hint in the entryway refers to specific ones at the end of each section, marked by plaques. This is not one of them, though they are also all behind walls with tiny corner buttons.
Further on, we encounter this floor's other monster. Undead beasts don't cause any effects when they land hits, but they attack fairly quickly and can do damage in the 20s. They take half damage from sharp weapons and are immune to fire. Disintegrate can work on them, but its success rate is low. With high HP and damage output, they're some of the most dangerous monsters in this game even without any special abilities.
That one dropped this key, used here.
This is what the hint in the entryway is referring to: four levers that start in a middle position. The signs above them tell about Fflar, and I think what each one says depends on the order you visit them. According to the item description in Baldur's Gate II, he was the original owner of Foebane.
True Seeing also alerts you to cursed items by giving them a red glow. What kind of curse does this scroll have?
Ignoring warnings can literally blow up in your face. After resting and picking up a wand of Wall of Force nearby I move on to the southeast section.
The first thing I find is a non-cursed scroll for a new 2nd-level spell. It'll be saved for this game's mage recruits. I'm not sure if any monsters in this game are even capable of paralyzing.
That was location 8. Up next is a rather annoying lever puzzle. The makers of this map, GameBanshee, described the solution to it better than I could:
To solve the puzzle, you should begin with all of the levers in the "up" position, and then pull them in the following order: #9a, both at #9c, both at #9b, both at #9c (up), both at #9d, both at #9e, both at #9d (up). There aren't any hints for this sequence. This is just a trial-and-error puzzle (and a way to encourage players to buy the Cluebook, back in the days before the Internet).
Here's what it looks like after completion. A plaque in the middle has this slight misquote from Shakespeare's Cymbeline. It should be "learning" instead, but it's not like it has any real relevance here anyway. The spot marked 10 will spawn four swordwraiths and an undead beast each time you walk on it. That can make it a potential grinding place, though there's no way to trivialize the battles. 11 is another tiny button, which makes way to the key at 12 that opens the door at 6.
2 refers to open crypts like this in a few places around this floor. Closing them slows the rate of swordwraith spawning, if the guides are correct. 13 is the location of this section's main lever, the only one not in the northwest corner of its section. Its plaque says "SPIRIT FULL OF UNREST".
B is a pit, but it's hidden such that not even True Seeing will expose it.
Walking into it drops you in a small room with a teleporter (C) that takes you back to the entryway (C1). I go to the southwest section next.
A seemingly featureless corridor holds one of the game's deadliest traps. Going into the middle of it will put a wall in front of you and spawn an undead beast at each of the three other sides. Luckily, you don't have to go through this because there are other ways around.
If you walk through this hallway without the correct plates weighed down, a fireball will be launched at your party then they will be teleported back to the start. The solution is leaving items on the second, third, and fifth pressure plates. I'm not sure there's a way to figure that out other than trial and error.
If you click on this launcher at the end, you'll see a fireball appear briefly, but not actually take any damage. This section's key is behind another tiny corner button. The sign over the third main lever says "SEALED DOWNSTAIRS UNTIL DEFEAT IS BROUGHT TO HIM".
The northwest section has two parallel corridors near its entrance, as well as some swordwraiths and an undead beast. That scroll on the ground is Prayer.
If you go into one of them, your party will be closed in. The game pretty much gave you the answer to this problem, which is casting Prayer. Interesting note: paladins can use cleric scrolls in this game and the first one, but not the second. If you don't have a cleric or paladin in your party, just bypass these corridors by continuing north.
The first destination is this pit. With four rings of Feather Fall, that's no problem for my party.
It drops into a room with lots of fireball launchers. Protection from Fire totally absorbs a certain amount of fire damage, so casting it on every character is a great way to get through this room. Pulling a lever will deactivate all the launchers, drop a holy key nearby, and make a teleporter to this section's south hallway appear. The plaque above the last main lever says "TIME HAS ROBBED HIM OF HIS NAME".
When all four levers are down, the wall that had the plaque referring to them is removed. Two stairways to the second and final level of this dungeon, which also lead to isolated sections, are now accessible.