Part 41: Not of this WorldThatnks for being patient, everyone, and welcome back. Today's update is another fairly short one - it took a while to play through but there's not a huge amount to say about it.
When we last left our heroes, they had acquired the three Black Elfstones and unveiled the Ethereal Tower.
The visual design of the Tower is actually pretty nice, with lots of water and glass floors. Unfortunately, there's a color strobing effect both in and out of battle, which is pretty ugly. Travel between floors is done via teleportal: there are no stairs anywhere.
There's no nice way to say this: the Ethereal Tower is, conceptually, an analogue to one of the worst dungeons in the games that inspired Heroes' Realm: the Fanatics' Tower from Final Fantasy VI. The enemies here are all spellcasters (and, frustratingly, immune to Stopspell effects), and while attacking is allowed, there's not much point since all of them are immune to physical damage. (They're not undead, so Bless and similar spells do not work. Physical fighters like Kali are basically worthless here.)
As for the enemies themselves, sorcerers, mages, and druins are offensive spellcasters (with the last having a bit of healing as well), while enchanters prefer debilitating magic.
From the ground floor, we take the middle portal up to the next floor and immediately find one of the few chests in the dungeon, which contains a monster.
Well, four monsters actually. Brainpans use Demi to halve a character's HP and Blazemost to deal hefty chunks of damage. With four of them in play, it's quite possible for them to gang up on one character and kill them.
And that's why we don't keep them in play. Once they're asleep we can pick them off at our leisure.
Our reward is the dimensional blade, an unusual sword that hits all enemies. Unfortunately, since it has a low hit rate and mediocre attack power for this stage of the game, we won't be using it.
From the chest, a conveyor takes us to a teleportal back to ground level, and we take the one remaining portal back up.
Another conveyor leads us so the south end of the second floor, where we teleport up to floor 3.
The third floor is a confusing maze of conveyors, but picking the wrong one just takes us back to the middle platform, so it's barely an inconvenience.
Getting to the end isn't difficult even if you resort to trial and error.
Floor 4 forces us to take a circuitous route around the edge of the room, but gives us a convenient way to get back, should we want it.
The next floor follows a similar pattern, forcing us to follow a spiraling walkway to get to the end.
We take a quick detour for the Tower Guide, further expanding Wolff's repertoire.
Eventually we reach the end and find ourselves on floor 5, which is not complex.
A quick trip on a conveyor brings us to the Divine Tome, the object of our search.
Frustratingly, we can't simply use Outside to leave the Tower. We have to walk.
This explains all the shortcuts. It's not a long trip, really.
And that concludes the Ethereal Tower. Normally this would make a good place to end things, but that would make this update disappointingly short, so let's go do something else.
West of Marx is this unassuming structure.
It turns out to be a mountaintop temple.
We're greeted by one of the local priestesses. We've finally found the High Abbess, whose condition we learned of way back at the start of the chapter.
Besides a priestess, the Abbey has both an inn and an equipment shop.
The weapons here are of questionable use (being useful only on the undead), but the armor is top-quality stuff. We won't get any now, but we'll likely come back here closer to the end of the game.
There's nothing especially interesting about this dialogue, except that it seems to imply that this is the healer who cured the fish-borne disease way, way back in chapter 2.
Upstairs, we find the Abbess herself, being treated by Yellow Ajah (the healing experts among the gurus).
We already knew that the Abbess was possessed by an incubus, though this is the first time we've heard his name.
Hell yeah we are.
After some fancy visual effects, we're teleported into the Abbess's mind.
This place looks incredibly imposing.
But looks are deceiving. The screen wraps on the sides, creating a totally linear path. We can't fall off, and there aren't any random battles. It's just a mildly annoying walk to reach the boss.
Here he is. I'm sure he'll be surprised to find that someone has managed to enter this mindscape and fight him.
Given what terrible things he's done to the High Abbess, you'd expect Spinidel to be a rough boss, but he's actually kind of a pushover. To his credit, he does have some dangerous attacks (Ravage, which hits the party, and Incubo, which deals hefty damage to one character and drains their HP), and he's immune to magic damage. However, he doesn't have a huge amount of HP, and he's vulnerable to slowing.
Also, he doesn't have exceptional defense. Zefiryn still has the Blade of Arborlon, giving her three strikes per attack. With Wolflord, she does over 1000 damage per strike, and can do upwards of 3000 on a crit. Between that and a Bikill-buffed Kali, he doesn't last long.
He drops the Black Dagger, which is powerful but, as you might expect, is also cursed. It also gives the wielder a staggering 200-point penalty to Defense. So yeah, not using that.
With that, we can simply walk back out the way we came in.
Gratitude is nice and all, but I'm not gonna lie: this is an exceedingly underwhelming reward.
Still, it feels good to get the job done.
Also, the gold reward is surprisingly nice.
With that, let's head back to Paranor to report in on finding the last two artifacts.
Unfortunately, at the time of recording I still didn't know where Wip was. (I did actually find him wile doing some post-recording messing around, but he had nothing useful to say anyway.)
As for the Gray Ajah, they're still taking about the Divine Gavel, which we got quite a while back, so they're no help either. We're pretty much on our own.
While flying around in the north, we come across this island. It's not clear whether this is Tundraca, but with that big... castle? on it, it seems worth investigation.
Unfortunately, it's surrounded by forests and mountains, so we have to take the long way around.
...is a good question.
Level Up Roundup
As if Daredevils weren't good enough already, they also learn Rangers' tome effects naturally.
This spell is technically new, but I don't think I need to explain it, do I?
Sanctuary is the next evolution of Bonebane, able to deal a ton of damage to groups of undead.