Part 4: The Pirates of PravokaLast time, we defeated Garland, saved Prince Sander, and got a bridge built. Today, we're going to start by... ignoring all of that.
There's actually a land route from Coneria to the Dwarf Cave. There isn't a whole lot to do here, unfortunately, as the big treasure room is one of the few still locked with the Key.
It's also a somewhat treacherous journey. Ogres, at this stage, are very durable and can hit pretty hard. Having Rogue around makes them less of a threat, though, since he makes it much easier to just run from them.
And while the bulk of the goodies are are out of reach for now, these two chests are accessible, and provide a nice boot to our funds.
Random aside: due to the hack increasing the length of party member names to five characters, the sub-menu for casting spells out of battle looks a bit funky. It works fine, though.
Finally, we head north across the bridge. I'd take a small detour to show off Matoya's cave, but it doesn't exist, nor does Matoya herself.
After traveling to the east for a while, we finally arrive in the town of Pravoka.
The entrance has some water nearby, a continuity nod to the town being located so close to the shore.
The situation here is the same as in vanilla.
Well, almost. Bikke the pirate is no longer hanging out in town for us to quickly locate and humiliate.
A helpful NPC explains it: the pirates have a lair south of the town. This is going to take some effort.
The town's magical offerings. Since we have plenty of money, I grab Cleric all the spells she can cast (PURG, SHLD, and SLOW), and also get a couple of spells for Ranger (ICE and HEAL). I could have gotten him a third spell too, but with only 1 MP for 2nd level spells, he likely wouldn't get any use out of it during the coming excursion.
The town's architecture has gotten a bit of a redesign to make it look a bit fancier. It's also a little more open so you don't get stuck behind NPCs.
The town sells bronze weapons and armor, a significant upgrade over our copper gear. Unfortunately, that upgrade comes at a commensurately high cost. I grab a sword and some mail for Rogue, but otherwise don't buy any equipment. You might be able to guess why, and if not, you'll soon see.
With that taken care of, we set off to the south.
Incidentally, the Peninsula of Power is still here, though really, there's not much need for it, especially when you can get awful encounters like this.
Ravens are similar to eagles from the Temple of Fiends: high evasion monsters meant to be tackled using damage spells or BIND. Ravens are tougher, though, and won't go down to a single BOLT, and as a bonus, their attacks can blind you, making them even harder to hit. They're generally not worth the effort.
Ghouls start showing up around here too. They're still assholes who can paralyze you with their attacks.
Does this patch of swamp look suspicious?
Yeah, it's actually another higher-level area similar to the Peninsula of Power. Again, not really necessary, but it's neat to have it there.
Continuing west, we finally find the pirate lair. If we were to travel around its north side, we could eventually make our way to Elfland and put off acquiring the ship for even longer. There's not much point to doing so, but it gives the player some freedom in how to approach the game.
And here we are. The pirate lair is a two-level dungeon with open areas blocked by pillars, its design reminiscent of the vanilla Marsh Cave. It's inhabited by monsters we've already seen, like gray imps, gray wolves, and ravens, but there are a few new critters here too.
Like shadows. Shadows are similar to ravens in that they have high evasion and inflict blindness with their attacks. They're undead, but incorporeal, so Cleric's hammers don't do anything extra to them. HOLY does excellent damage to them, but without that it's usually best to just run.
The room north of the entrance contains an oak staff, which would be great if anyone in this party used staves. As it is, it's still worth money.
Now this is more like it! A new axe for Viking and some new armor, which goes to Ranger. Most dungeons have a full complement of gear from whatever town is nearby, making it worthwhile to save money and get your upgrades for free. With two sword users and four mail users, I'll still be buying some equipment, but not a lot. Cleric and Viking can stand to be a tier behind on armor and take hand-me-downs from the other two.
Not a crit. With an up-to-date axe, Viking is a beast.
Dark imps are obnoxious little bastards that can inflict blind on a hit. They don't have the evasion of ravens or shadows, but they have a surprisingly large number of hit points, and I usually don't bother fighting them.
In the northeast corner of the map are the stars down to the next level. There's even a treasure chest to greet us when we arrive; 400 GP is always welcome.
See that room in the bottom left? I completely forgot to show it off. It's not a big deal, though, just a table and chair.
Kyzokus and pirates start showing up as common encounters on this level. They tend to come in numbers, but pirates are fragile and usually go down to a single BOLT.
They're worth fighting because they drop oodles of cash.
Cleric gets a new hammer. Only Ranger is missing out.
On the west side of the floor is this room which requires a circuitous route to access.
The prize is worth it, though. Now everyone is fully outfitted for the upcoming boss fight.
Finally, on the far east side of the floor is a room containing the man himself.
If you've played vanilla, you probably recognize this fight, but that raider in the center left is a twist. That's an enemy that shows up much later in the game, and it's strong enough to constitute a boss as this point.
This is an excellent time to put our new SHLD and INVS spells to use.
The pirates barely do anything, but the raider is another story. That damage is after SHLD - he's dangerous and needs to be treated accordingly. Fortunately, once the pirates are felled with BOLT, he's the only attacker, and is manageable.
He forks over the goods. Unfortunately, we're not in town, so we're not safe yet. We still have to actually get out of here.
Fortunately, the stairs outside Bikke's room lead back to level 1, and from there it's a short trip outside.
There she is. The Aldi Sea is now ours to explore.