Part 33: AcwelementalAOMD 5: Acwelemental
The first thing found in Mages' Guild 3, right at the beginning, is a grappling hook. It's an item that's required here.
The first puzzle involves hidden teleporters on both sides that keep you stuck in this hallway. To get past them, you need to take the red and blue gems from the north and south walls. When held in a mage's hand, they allow passage. This is the one instance where a particular class is absolutely required, you can't finish this game without a mage here.
The south button changes the position of this wall currently making a dead end.
Shortly after we encounter the first enemy of this area, the earth elemental. As seen here, they can hit multiple characters at once like the frost giants from the second game and pack a mean punch. It takes +2 or better weapons to hit them, so Delmair has the best armor to keep him from uselessly pawing at them. They're the last monsters to be any kind of real threat, which is mitigated by their lack of speed.
There are some locked grates around this stage. Without the key, we'll check this out later.
Here we find elven chainmail +3, two arrows +4, and a -4 robe.
That button at the end opens a door to the southeast, but that grate in front of it is a spike trap which will push you back. An item must be thrown to press the button, but make sure it's something you don't need since it won't be retrievable.
The other enemies of this stage are water weirds, located at certain grates. They take half damage from sharp weapons, but are immobile and not very tough.
At the southeast corner, there's a pair of doors with a sign between them. Despite what it says, you can go into both. They each launch a single fireball from the south end after being opened. The east room has these five mage scrolls.
Both 8th level spells:
Bigby's Clenched Fist (creates a melee weapon usable from any row)
Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting (Damage spell that instantly kills creatures made of water)
Three 9th level spells: Energy Drain, Power Word, Kill, and Meteor Swarm, which launches a set of four fireballs which alternate between the sides and corners of a 3x3 square as they move forward.
Bug learns all of them, though he'll never get anywhere close to casting them. The other room has Leather Armor +4, a Ring of Protection +3, and a Short Sword +3. There is also a parchment I'll read a bit later.
North of that, we find the key to that locked grate we saw earlier. Notably, it does not stop existing after its first use.
The grappling hook is needed to open those grates after they're unlocked. They're entrances to Mages' Guild 4, which is entirely underwater. Without Water Breathing, each party member will take 1-4 damage with each step.
One step in we come across an enemy. It's called a slithermorph, but this one never showed why it has that name. I seem to have snuck up behind it and it didn't react to the party's presence however long I waited. It died instantly when I finally attacked.
That grate only went to a small and isolated area of MG4. Aside from the slithermorph, it only has those two magic items listed at the bottom with a normal longbow. Getting back up requires using the grappling hook on the grate again.
From there I head to the northeast quadrant of MG3. This gem is in the same room as another parchment. Time to read that and the one we got earlier.
It seems there's a lich who became that way in order to fight a greater evil. As an aside, the story that begins the manual ends with the revelation that good liches do actually exist. In fact, Delmair's mother is one of them. I'm sure this information bears no relevance to the mission our starting party took.
Further north we find a Potion of Speed with two sets of all four level 9 mage spells: the three we got earlier plus Time Stop. Racial level limits prevent Jon from ever reaching a high enough level to cast these, but I have him scribe one set anyway for lack of much else to do with them. I'm keeping the other four.
The northeast corner of MG3 has this locked grate. A button on the west wall opens a door to the brass key which unlocks it. That key also stays around after use, since it's needed later. There is absolutely no reason to go into this grate. It leads to a section of MG4 entirely in a magic nullifying zone. That dispels all buffs, including Water Breathing, and prevents anything from being cast successfully. There aren't any items to find, only pain.
This hallway goes to the northwest section. When you step on the north tile of this intersection, a lightning bolt is shot from the south end. There is plenty of leeway to reach the end of the corridor and get out of its path.
That leads to a part entirely covered in grates. None of them are entrances, but ten of them have spike traps. Behind the party's current position is a cord which opens a door to the south.
That door can be reached without stepping on any spike traps, if you know where they are. This GameBanshee map shows that and which directions they push the party if stepped on. That's important since some will be unavoidable in the near future.
Behind it is the main entrance to MG4. It requires a key we don't have yet and the two we already found. That switch behind it removes a wall to the east, allowing the lightning trigger to be bypassed. The first key to this grate is at the northwest corner of MG3. To get there, go straight west from this position. That requires going over two spike grates, but they'll push you back to the correct path. Beware of earth elementals coming from the south.
The crystal key, which opens green locks, is spawned on this shelf when you put a green gem in each of the two back shelves. The second one is not far from here, around the corner of the opposite wall. The area to the south has a copper key behind an illusory wall, as well as another grate with a green lock. That goes into another isolated portion of MG4 with a +4 longsword and Potion of Giant Strength at its east end. Its two westmost tiles are in the magic null zone, but there's no reason to go that way in the first place. It's now time to go to the main part of that stage: take one step into the all-grate floor, then onto the north spike trap. Then you can walk to the east wall then south to the entrance with no further spikes. Be sure to memorize multiple Water Breathing spells.
A water elemental comes to greet us. Like their earth counterparts, it takes +2 weapons to hit them. However, they lack their resilience and ability to hit multiple characters. Delmair isn't in tiger form since he only took damage from spikes.
South from the entrance is a circular room with these items. The yellow gem isn't used for anything.
Like many underwater stages in videogames, this has currents. Which ones are active can be changed by flipping stuck levers, with thieves' tools or 22 strength. I don't think it's actually required to change them at all.
Here's a view of a slithermorph attacking, showing the reason for that name. They're otherwise unremarkable.
These are found in the southeast section. They set the wearer's strength to 19. That's not as good as fire giant strength of 22, but still good for your other melee character. The other item of note in this section is a stone key, needed a little later.
Back north near the entrance, an unavoidable current pushes us to a seeming dead end. The way out comes from pressing these tiny buttons. On the opposite side are a Wand of Ice Storm and a +3 dagger.
A little ways past that is a door opened by putting the stone key on this shelf. Where does it lead?
Ugh. But note that there are small portions where magic can be used. It's possible to rest underwater, as long as the Water Breathing spell is active. You can cast it in those pockets and rest to heal damage taken from walking through this section. Potions of Healing still work within it. I also trade my single Helm of Underwater Breathing among the casters while going between casting areas. If you were playing without a guide, the scrying glass can be used to determine where spells can be cast without wasting any valuable charges. 12 marks the stone key door, the other numbers are items:
13 - Potion of Giant Strength and +1 helm.
14 - Bracers of Protection +4, a copper key, and a Wand of Lightning Bolt.
15 - Another returning +4 dagger, named "Ronco" after a real-world kitchenware brand.
16 - Two arrows +3, a second Helm of Underwater Breathing, and two Potions of Healing.
Southeast from that section is this item pile. It has normal leather armor, four darts +1, two 9th level mage scrolls (Power Word, Kill and Time Stop, which Bug scribes), another red gem and finally a crimson key. Nearby is a trio of grates on the floor. Stepping on one of them takes the party to the middle of them and faces them north, where a lightning bolt comes. It can be blocked by a Wall of Force, and the trap is disabled after triggering once. A small button on the south wall reveals a teleporter to an isolated section of MG1, where you can find a couple watchghosts and a scroll of Wall of Force.
Getting through this door requires not just a copper key, but also shutting off a current with a button past a wall to the east.
This room in the southwest corner has currents preventing access to its east door. They take the party to the location of this sign, which gives hints on getting out.
Casting Wall of Force on this corner permanently shuts off the current. Now that the door is reachable, it's opened by putting a red gem in a nearby shelf.
Past that, another small button opens a door to the east. The room has a +1 shield and a Ring of Protection +3, along with rations.
It also leads to the way out. Putting the crimson key on this shelf opens another door to the east. That room has the grate up to the last part of MG3, which is the final section of the Mages' Guild altogether.
The grate leads to a 3x3 square hallway, where it's only possible to move clockwise due to a following wall. This small button in the southwest corner removes a wall to the north.
That opens the way to another 3x3 room. Each side of the room has a magic arrow launcher, disabled by the respective lock on the central pillar. The keys needed are crystal, copper, brass, and silver. I start from the south and go counterclockwise, since "unlocking" every side opens a wall to the east where there are a lot of earth elementals.
Further east is another, larger square hallway. This one has shelves containing Rings of Protection on each side. These are +1, -1, two +2, two -2, -3, and +3. A nook on the east side has this balance puzzle. Only rings can go into the niches on top. You need to put four in each, such that each side's total bonus is equal to zero. An easy way to do that is 1's and 3's on one side and all 2's on the other. I think it's possible to keep the +3 ring if you still have +2 rings from the first game. Completing this puzzle will immediately warp you to a boss fight, so prepare for that appropriately beforehand. You'll probably need to go all the way back to the grate to rest. If you do that, memorize Protection from Paralysis and some Slow/Neutralize Poison spells.
We finally come face to face with that lich we were sent after. This is not Delmair's mother. Let's see if trying reason is worthwhile.
For the second dialogue option, no matter what you chose first, the top choice goes to End A while the bottom leads to End B. There is no peaceful solution here.
Acwellan starts out with several mirror images of himself. What you face at the beginning is always one of them. Each one gets dispelled by a single hit. With all attack, the real one barely lasts any longer. From a test run to see what he can do, he doesn't really cast any particular spells. Rather, he also has a physical attack which can hit the whole party. This can also paralyze the victims. You might want to keep ranged weapons out of the all attack, since you won't get them back if they're still in the air during your final blow. Speaking of weapons, he's immune to normal ones.
Much like Khelben, our mysterious quest giver teleports in immediately after we finish his task. We're 3 for 3 on them not noticing the party which finished the job is completely different than the one it was given to.
It turns out this guy especially didn't really care about the party in particular. He takes the Codex of the Planes, which is also what Rex was searching for. I think we may have made an oopsie here.
I'm glad the party doesn't judge people by their appearance, but they probably should have made any sort of inquiry about his "master" before accepting this assignment.
Acwellan's final act is doing just as he says. We end up right outside the temple entrance, with the wall blocking it now gone. There might be wyverns nearby, which is why I recommended anti-poison spells.
Video: Acwellan battle, with mini-preview of next update