Part 28: The Restoration of Arborlon
Welcome back, everyone. We're still on the trail of the Fellowship of the Stone. Having completed the two Towers of Ziam, we're headed further east to a small coastal town.
During this leg of the journey we run into a few new types of monsters. The first of them... has a really unfortunate name. I'm inclined to chalk this up to lack of awareness of how problematic the term was. In any case, they're not very interesting, using weak physical attacks and having low HP.
The rest of the monsters are fine, and in fact I kind of love the name "Little Shop" for a monster with the malboro sprite. They use Poison Breath, unsurprisingly. Snippers, meanwhile, use reasonably strong physical attacks, while bossquitos don't do much before dying (though I assume they have some kind of blood-sucking attack).
Our journey takes us through a narrow, wooded mountain pass. It's inessential to the gameplay, but I think it looks neat.
When we emerge from the other side, we see... Oh. Well, we knew it was out there somewhere.
Despite appearances, however, we can't reach it from here.
We can't reach it from here, either. It seems to be located on an island.
We gain a few levels during this trip. There's nothing really exciting in them, though Healmore for Kali is nice. Curly also learns Demi, which is new. Like its Final Fantasy counterpart, it halves an enemy's HP.
Finally, we catch sight of the town.
It's kind of a dump.
Well, we've been to Paranor, and even if we hadn't, this definitely isn't the grandest city in the world. What an odd thing to lie about.
Oh, okay. Parvinder is actually a big homage to Zozo, though it's at least not filled with random battles.
We've seen this gimmick before.
We return at night and find exactly what we expected. At least this tells us that not everyone is Parvinder is lying.
This is a strange mix of depressing and heartwarming.
One of the Rovers gives us this piece of information. He's not the only one to mention Shelob, either - she clearly has a reputation among the townsfolk.
The townsfolk being huge liars isn't the only thing that makes this a Zozo reference. There's also a clock-setting puzzle. The trick, of course, is that everything you're told about the correct time is a lie. I'm not going to show off the other clues, since there are several and it wouldn't really add anything to the LP, but just be aware that like half the town is lying about a clock.
Oh, that seems promising, or it would if anyone here had a shred of credibility.
The shops here do offer some new weapons and armor, along with a bunch of utter garbage. The Shelobhide bucklers are especially interesting, offering a solid defense increase for characters that can't use heavier shields, like Curly. The Rovers sell some decent accessories, as well, and a shop near the town center has some ninja gear for Akira. The item shop also includes some good accessories, though nothing we haven't already seen.
Okay, so I am going to show off some of the clock clues. This guy is just so transparently dishonest.
A guy in the middle of town points us toward the bar.
Akira, however, has other plans.
In the well, we find an unusual item: a guidebook.
Wolff takes a quick look through it and memorizes its contents. He's now able to use his world map Nature abilities (currently Lagomorph, Feral Wolves, and Dryad Touch) in any terrain. More healing is always good, though it's admittedly downplayed with Karla in the party.
Yet another person points us toward the barkeep. We should probably get on that.
The bar doubles as an inn. An expensive one too - we'll pass for now.
The barkeep doesn't really have much to offer us, but at least he seems honest.
I mean, this is obviously a trick, but why not?
I can't even be mad.
Upstairs we find what must be the room the Fellowship used.
This is the last journal page we can find. Whatever grim fate befell the Fellowship of the Stone will likely remain a mystery.
Okay, this is a pretty clever hint. Like all the others, it's a ruse. Even the clocks in Parvinder are liars!
We should check that out too. Maybe he left something valuable for this new generation of heroes.
We also meet a familiar animal face here. You might have noticed Shelby earlier, when we picked up the Tiny Medal guarded by the boy's dog.
This is also an honest statement, and an important one, since it gives us a destination.
It's finally time to check out the building across from the bar. The music cuts out here, leaving only the ticking of a clock.
The clues we gathered in town don't fully narrow down the time for us, but we're left with a handful of possibilities, so we can go through them until...
We get it right and a stairwell appears.
A... chemise? We were told that this belonged to the Fellowship's druid, and the last journal entry used male pronouns for him. I'm not shaming him or anything, just saying that this is kind of an odd find.
Regardless, it's an excellent piece of armor. it doesn't seem to be limited to women, and offers spellcasters both good defense and halved MP consumption.
I also noticed here that Raj Ahtan has Bikill, indicating that the Comet Girdle is working as intended.
Lastly, we drop by the last remaining building in town, an inn that's much more reasonably-priced than the one at the bar.
But, um. It also costs half the party's gold. Let's just reload and pretend this never happened.
Heading north from Parvinder, we're presented with two paths to take.
Larry also gets a level here.
To the west is a patch of land that looks like the pit where Arborlon once stood.
Its layout is different, but it's clearly the city's intended destination. It makes me curious as to who dug the pit, since supposedly the Fellowship was transporting the city's entire populace.
East of the pit is a single swamp tile. If what we were told in Parvinder was accurate, this is probably where Shelob is lairing.
Well, it's certainly miserable enough.
It's also a multi-party area, which is an odd choice. The map is small and uncomplicated, and there's no real need for multiple groups acting independently.
You might also notice what appears to be a fish a couple tiles north of us. It's actually a group of monsters. This swamp has no random battles; instead, it has groups of monsters that move around the map and generally try to head for the active party.
Those monster groups are made up of only a single type of monster: Shelobites. If we had any doubt that this was Shelob's lair, those doubts are now gone.
Shelobites typically use Sting, a basic physical attack, but they do significant damage. If a group of them gangs up on a caster, that character will probably die. They also use a special attack, Sickly Sting, which does damage and inflicts some combination of Sleep, Poison, and Slow. Shelobites themselves also absorb poison.
The best way to deal with them seems to be by using Akira's Sleep Powder. Shelobites are fairly susceptible to Sleepmore status, letting us pick them off one by one. They also appear to be vulnerable to fire, so spells like Fireball and Firebane can kill them quickly.
We move further north through the swamp, killing Shelobites, walking through swamps, and navigating around trees and ruins. We finally catch sight of the monster herself, though there's one last encounter than patrols the area in front of her.
It's just more Shelobites, but a group of five can be dangerous if not shut down quickly.
With the last group of her spawn out of the way, we can finally fight Shelob herself.
Shelob is a pretty dangerous boss - not as tough as Darmon the Great was when we fought him, but still nasty. Besides having a ton of HP, she can also use Web to slow the party, Insanity Sting to inflict Chaos, and Shelobite Spawn to bring back her minions after they're killed.
Along with the Shelobites that accompany her, she can drown our party in status ailments.
She also uses Bloody Sting, an extremely powerful attack that can one-shot more fragile party members. It makes having to use Life Herbs virtually unavoidable.
Our best bet for handling this fight is to go on the offensive. Raj Ahtan and Yajirobe can both Speedup themselves, and Lina can deal with the Shelobites pretty efficiently using Firebane. Alibaba's Net trap is also useful for inflicting Slow on Shelob.
Once the demon herself is down, we can open the chest behind her to find the goal of our quest: the While Elfstone.
Between Shelob, her spawn, and the quest reward, we gained quite a few levels here.
Of course, our quest isn't over. We still need to release Arborlon and get the divine artifact from it.
Oh, and there's this too. It basically just jacks up the random encounter rate, which is annoying but not too dangerous. We can still rest in inns and so forth.
We can release Arborlon in either its original location or its destination. We may as well do the latter, especially since it's nearby anyway.
All the battles gives Alibaba another level. Dart deals damage and can inflict Numb on an enemy, which is reasonably useful.
With an impressive display of magical effects, Arborlon is finally released from the Elfstone.
The city seems to have been in stasis while in the Elfstone, with no real idea what happened until we tell them.
Heck yeah, kid, go get yourself a beer.
Like most cities, Arborlon has the usual array of shops. Most of it isn't exciting, but the elf bow is new and a long-awaited upgrade for Wolff.
There's not much else in town that's worth showing off, so let's go see the king.
I'm unsure what, if anything, the king would have given us if we'd restored the city in its original destination, but the Blade of Arborlon is such a good prize that I don't really care.
Despite relatively low power (80), it hits three times per attack. Zefiryn takes it for now, since her weaponry is lagging behind.
We've found the second of the first three relics and gotten a host of levels for doing so.
Upstairs, we meet the king's wife, who tells us about her husband's prophecy-granting altar. Let's give it a try.
We get another clue about the lake tower, though we still cannot reach it.
And with that, our business here is concluded. Next time, we head for Jardin.