Part 24: Quest for the Magic Key
Welcome back, everyone. After getting our new equipment purchased, we head west from Paranor, because it's as good a direction to head as any.
As night falls, we find a shrine, as well as the likely destination of its teleportal.
Now this is enticing news. Someone much earlier in the game suggested that the Gurus might have the Magic Key, but it seems they don't. We definitely need to look into this.
The teleportal spits us out exactly where you'd expect, and we continue west.
On the way, we encounter our first enemy of the chapter, a hawk. Hawks have decently strong physical attacks and good endurance, but not much else to speak of.
It's worth a level for Harley, though.
And for Zefiryn as well. Out of combat. So what's going on here?
This seems to be the result of how the game deals with dividing EXP among multiple groups. As far as I can tell, the EXP rewards shown at the end of battle are given to the active party, and an additional pool of EXP is divided among all 16 characters - which can result in a member of the active party gaining a level. It's not really anything to worry about, but get used to seeing these post-post-battle level-up messages.
Anyway, we head further south, and as day breaks, we come to the city of Remus.
Hoo boy. We were told about this country abandoning magic for reason, but still, Team Magical Girl is not going to have a good time here.
We have the Jailor's Key, so we may as well talk to the prisoner too.
Luckily, we can't actually get arrested, but this gives us a pretty good read on how the people around here feel.
Next door to the jail is the Engineers' Guild, which I can't help but feel is not a coincidence. A couple of them mention the possibility of an ancient, advanced civilization. Given that this is a fantasy world, it's probably true.
Loon or no, we should probably talk to him at some point.
Um, yes? We've been officially anointed as heroes now; this is practically our job.
There's an extremely suspicious guy in the pub. It's probably best to ignore him.
OKAY YES YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION.
We're going to finish our daytime exploration, but we'll be back.
Oh, right, those things we're supposed to be looking for as part of the whole "saving the world" business.
Lady, we have literally fought two (2) of Mephistocles' generals. You need to stop putting so much stock in your precious "science".
This is an extremely unspecific hint, but at least there aren't many flower beds in Remus.
The treasure is a bit west of the boy, so "over yonder" is actually about right.
The creator clearly spent more time leaning on the fourth wall here.
As long as we don't have to pay another 5000 GP. Akira already had to buy into that scam.
While we're here, we check out the shops. There's nothing we couldn't have gotten at the outpost earlier.
"Sir?" Zefiryn is clearly a lady.
The blind man runs a tool shop, which is nice for teams with Engineers. I can't really justify buying all this stuff, but getting a chainsaw for Shemp can't be a bad idea, right?
I... probably should have saved first. Since it inflicts a powerful condition at no MP cost, it's a safe bet that the Chainsaw has extremely low accuracy and is thus not worth using.
A couple people tucked away in the corner of the city don't immediately look askance at us for talking about the War on Terror. I think they're the only ones in the city.
We definitely want the Magic Key, but even if we didn't, it sounds like we're going to need it.
You might remember Holdana clearing Merchant's pass in Chapter 1. I'm not sure, but I think this might be implying that not doing that side quest keeps the pass blocked and forces the player to take the long way there in this chapter.
Oh goddess dammit.
No, we're not going to buy it. At least not right now. We'll see if we can get our business done in town without it. Let's come back at night and see if maybe we can just take it.
Which is weird since they do still have a church.
But we're not here to discuss religious liberty. We're after a key!
Fuck yes we are.
We get to work with the Cobra Club again? This just gets better and better!
This seems fairly straightforward. Unfortunately, we can't just Return to Stromholm, since the spell's destination list is reset at the start of the chapter. Luckily, with Merchant's Pass clear, the way should be fairly simple.
Well, this explains the sprite, but I still kinda hate it.
I have zero doubts that at least one or two people in Akira's party would be interested.
Well, yeah, they do all have the same sprite.
Unfortunately, we cannot get by without buying the skiff. We don't need this eating into our savings, but at least we have the cash on-hand.
The Remus Skiff is even more limited than the one Akira bought. It's limited to the city and can only navigate the darker blue waters.
I told you there was a church here. Though I guess being on an island does make it hard to get to.
South of the church, there's a passage through the deeper waters we can take.
It takes us to a small island with a lone occupant.
Why yes, it is another animal-themed side quest. Unlike Bessie the Wondercow, though, Shelby the Super Sheep has a much larger number of places he could be. No promises on being able to find them all, but I will try.
In the south central part of the city, on another island, is the University. This being nighttime, it's empty.
There are a couple of magic doors here, taunting us.
On the roof is an extremely suspicious individual. He directs us to the pub, which is helpful in case we'd missed the prison break job.
We could come back and take our boat around during the day, but we'll have to come back anyway. Let's go get the Magic Key.
On our way to Norsland, we run into a few new enemy types. Parapluies like to use Shadow Flame, while zombies hit pretty hard and can use Feed, which drains a character's HP. Thornicuses are the real danger, though, as they have abilities that inflict both Numb and Poison.
We get a few more levels from these fights. Speedself doubles the speed at which the caster gets turns and is especially useful on a character who's already speedy, like Akira.
North and west of Remus is a cave, which actually Merchant's Pass.
it's nice to see our efforts bearing actual fruit.
The monsters here are the same as ever, in case you were curious.
Man, it has been a while.
You might remember this room and the dungeon it led to. At the start of the game, it was a genuine challenge. At this point, even if we ran into some enemies, they would be zero threat. Getting outside the walls is simple.
Norsland has the best guards.
I love the idea that every member of the Cobra Club puts "Cobra" in front of their name.
And she walks off. This seems fairly simple.
Welcome to the tunnel with no proper name. It starts with a little bit of a maze, but it's not terribly tough. Oddly enough, since it's part of the city, we're allowed to save down here.
The enemies here are nothing too nasty. Sewerrats continue the rat tradition of inflicting poison, and they can hit reasonably hard if they target more fragile party members. Jellies are pretty durable and use Glorb, which inflicts very minor damage and Discord (reduced magic damage). It's not a huge issue. Slimes are the most annoying things here, using an ability called Slimeburp to duplicate themselves. Without high damage or good crowd control, it can spiral out of control, but they're not durable enough for that to be a real hazard. That goes double when faced with Team Shonen's high multi-target damage.
More levels. Curly's is especially nice; Ironize is a good spell.
Past some spikes is a switch that lowers those same spikes. This is worth our time, I promise.
See? There are more spikes to the north, and that first switch is the only one that lowers them.
We loop back round the central room to another, very ominous-looking switch.
All it does is lower the big spikes, though.
Surprising no one, the central chest holds a monster. The Reanimate is basically a tougher zombie: same Feed ability, but higher strength and durability. If we were fighting it with Akira's party he could use Spirit Skean to wipe it out easily, but I did this with Holdana's group instead, so it's a mild challenge.
Our reward is the Ring of Negation, which adds a huge +30 Defense. Holdana's party won it, so it goes to Karla.
Further south is a closed door and another switch.
Well, that was simple.
We exit into the castle dungeon, next to King Cobra's cell.
This must be our distraction.
...Norsland has the worst fucking guards.
All right, now we just have to walk out. With no guard on duty, this should be easy.
No, of course not. We have to get out the way we came.
More levels on the way out. Nothing amazing.
Lowering the big spikes gives us a shorter route back, which I appreciate.
Some very solid levels here too. The heroes are starting to learn Ironize, and Harley gets a mass silence spell.
A job well done. Let's go try out our new key.
The Stromholm castle actually has the first magic door we ever saw.
Yes, I had already deduced that.
There are some pretty interesting rewards here, in addition to a couple of seeds. A big pile of gold and some strong armor are always good, but those other two things are unique.
Thor's seal provides lightning resistance and is potentially quite useful against enemies that wield it.
The Sword of Malice, meanwhile, is very powerful and inflicts poison, but has a low hit rate and lowers our non-Strength stats.
Oh, and it's highly cursed. Yes, I was a dumbass.
We can't even get any money for selling it, but that's likely for the best. We probably shouldn't introduce a cursed sword into the market.
Next time we'll head back to Remus to try out our key, then move on to the Four Towers.
But wait! I have some BONUS CONTENT.
When we rescue King Cobra, we can't take the stairs out. We also can't use the Outside spell, since we're technically in a town, not a dungeon.
But being in a town means we can use the Return spell to warp the the city entrance.
We get the same dialogue, despite the fact that the NPCs are nowhere to be seen. It's an amusing little oversight, and doesn't even seem to break the game at all; we still the the Magic Key and the invitation to Jardin.
See you all next time!