Part 8: Examination WeekUpdate 5: Examination Week
Going with the other entry in our tied up voting, we'll be making a journey out into the wilderness.
Sir Dargaard's tomb is part of the group of locations that don't show on the map and pretty much have to be searched out. The tomb won't appear, however, before you receive the quest and accompanying journal entry showing you how to find it.
"For the tomb of a good knight, this place sure seems kind of creepy "
"Good doesn't always mean safe, or comfortable. That goes for the Gods too."
"In the meantime, which way should we go? I see four paths."
"North is as good a choice as any."
"Wait, what kind of test?"
"Walk forward and find out, mortal Knight."
"We won't let you sacrifice the items."
"The money's a no-go too."
"C'mon guys, this is my test! fine, if my honor is my life I'll sacrifice that. Y'know, if the situation comes up."
"Well, that was certainly unexpected."
"Shtand back! He's only slightly dead.* Little nip o' medicine and he'll be right as rain."
"Oh sweet Paladine, what is that taste in my mouth?"
"It's probably for the best if none of us know the answer to that."
*A knight who chooses life isn't killed, only reduced to 0 hit points. A simple healing spell will get them back on their feet. Losing items and money, however, is permanent.
"Did you know that was going to happen?"
"Not exactly I mean, I knew the right answer, but I didn't think they'd actually take it. Hey, did anybody else see that?"
"Hmm? See what?"
"Seems straightforward enough. What's the story with the swords?"
"For now you may only take the sword on the right. So which sword are you going to take?"
"Um the one on the right? Is this a trick question?"
"It certainly doesn't look like it. This is the best test ever!"
"It would be if it weren't for the creepy factor."
"I can't help but notice the ghost did not say anything about what should be done with the sword."
"This man will die without a weapon. He may die even with one. Will you give him the sword we gave you?"
"Don't even think about it!"
"Well, you know what they say. Easy come, easy go."
"Huh that was pretty simple."
"And yet, several of the people here would not have passed."
"C'mon guys, hurry up! I want to see what test is down the south path!"
"I think we found some bad students."
"The funny thing is that there are no suggestions of a test here.. maybe the ghosts just don't like draconians?"
"Turn back and take the tests of honor, battle, and fear. Only then might you be worthy."
"If you say so although the fact that it's me being tested is kind of funny."
"Hmm? What do you mean by that."
"Well, you must have noticed that I'm not the best knight "
"Is it because you won't grow one of those ridiculous mustaches?"
"What? Oh sure, ring of fire. Yeah, it's partially the mustache thing but there's a bit more to it than that."
"I guess it started with my father and I we didn't exactly get along "
"That's not unusual I still haven't forgiven mine for trying to introduce me to "a nice young man."
"Ugh, that stings. Yeah, but most family arguments don't end up with you trying to stab your father with a butter knife."
"Painful. What brought that on?"
"I had my reasons. But that started people looking at me askance, and when he died later of natural causes, I might add the rumors started. My brother inherited, and we didn't get along much either."
"By the way, is someone following us?"
"Not that I can hear, and my ears are keener than most. Did you attempt to stab your brother?"
"No, but we've never been close. I began to free-lance at that time, though, so we spent less and less time together."
"Another ring of fire?"
"So it seems.. I don't know what the point of this is, really. I'm not even scared of fire."
"Although it's not fun at all but they could try some variety. Like spiders those things creep me out. Maybe a ring of spiders."
"I seen that once!"
"There might be something to that."
"So what happened then? Your family issues aside, there doesn't seem to be anything impinging your knighthood."
"One of our neighbors was abusing some of the villagers near his castle, and I geeze, how many of these rings are there? If I stepped through two I'll step through another one intervened."
"And when you say intervened, you mean ?"
"He didn't survive the intervention."
"Thanks? There was a trial, and it was determined that I was in the right, but he was well respected, and the damage had been done. Some people even said that I was the criminal and had killed him to cover up my crime and then intimidated the villagers. So here I am and we have one direction left to go, don't we?"
"Was the final test not the test of battle? I recall no mention of treasure rooms."
"Stands to reason that they'd have treasure, though. It's practically standard for tombs."
"I think obedience is part of the test "
"Not that it'll be hard, if this is the standard. None of this even looks magical!"
"Even if it did, I'm sure we're being watched "
"This is getting a lot harder. Are you sure we can't ?"
"Gabe? Just remember those dead draconians."
"Point well taken."
"Really, who are they kidding? The gems and jewelry were far more valuable and much more portable."
"I think I remember a door that we didn't try maybe that's it?"
"Bingo! At least this one should be pretty straightforward."
"Magic shkeletons! Bullshit! Hand me s'more holy water!"
"Somehow I think that this will require more direct measures."
"Then what are we waiting for?"
Skeletal knights are tough cookies, and we have pretty much zero chance of turning these guys at this point. They share common skeleton characteristics of taking half damage from edged weapons, making this whole thing take a good bit longer. As undead, they're also immune to a lot of my favorite ways to cheese a fight. On the plus side, there's only four of them.
They also appear to take half damage from lightning. One of the benefits of lightning bolt is that it can hit targets twice if they are standing near a wall, which these guys have conveniently done. It's still tough going, but magic helps speed things along.
"I don't care if it's intelligent or not, if it comes after me it's going down."
"That's essentially right, although we tend to phrase it a bit more eloquently."
This fight was so mediocre that I almost didn't take screen shots. The mobat is the only notable enemy, being technically tougher than some of the dragons we've faced thus far. They don't have any special powers, however, so they're basically just meatwalls.
"Wait one second skeletons bats.. skeleton dragons? This escalated quickly."
"Three appears to be the magic number we just have to get past these!"
Pack is a good description. There are actually four skeletal dragons here, but limitations in the engine keep me from being able to screenshot more than three at once. That said, these are more of the meatwall variety enemy. These guys can basically claw and bite, but unlike some varieties of undead dragon they don't get a breath weapon.
They also don't appear to have any major resistances to magic, meaning that our wizards can chip off their HP pretty quickly. Since they have about 40 HP, the largest total we've faced so far, this is pretty welcome..
But an even faster method is using the Wand of Fireballs. At this level our mages are doing 4-24 or 5-30 damage at best, with a chance for the enemy to save for half damage. The Wand of Fireballs is obviously much more powerful, but you have to be careful not to hit your own people by accident. Indoors, the only safe spaces are the corners and the two spaces directly adjacent to them. 3/4 of the dragon on the left is in the area of effect, while 1/4 of the dragon on the right is. Doesn't matter, though, as that's enough to take full damage.
"We we passed all of them?"
"You passed two thirds of them. We just kind of helped with the final set."
"Something tells me this is a bit easier than it should be."
"And this is why. Boo?"
"Duels? Knights may challenge each other to duels on points of honor or in defense of a lady's honor, but all such duels must be to first blood only. Duels to the death are forbidden by the Measure."
"Except for on alternate third Tuesdays of every month, when the ranking knights of any gathering may challenge each other to a duel regarding the cheese selection."
"Very good. You may pass."
"And I though that Elven rules of courtesy were odd."
"An ecumenical council, or a war council?"
" what does that matter? How are we supposed to know?"
"Because, according to the ancient laws of the Knights of Solamnia by answering a question with a question and forcing you to admit ignorance I have won passage through whatever area you are guarding."
"Most impressive! Especially for such a junior knight!"
"This feels a bit more correct. There should be a final test before the reward."
"I am honored, although I feel unworthy of such an honor."
"Umm Sir Dargaard? While I appreciate this, I really don't have a use for six full suits of armor. And the girdle is a bit "
"What's the problem, lad? In my time, you weren't a man if you didn't wear a proper girdle. Besides, you don't have to take all the armor. Just take the suit you like best."
"I'm afraid that times have changed a bit, Sir Dargaard."
"What's that, ma'am?"
"Y'know what, fuck it. Just wear the damn girdle, Boo."
"Well, that settles it. Best of luck on whatever quest you're on."
" I guess maybe what other people think doesn't matter so much does it? Not compared to this "
"Indeed. Shall we not report our success to Sir Karl?"
"I think we have one more minor obstacle to deal with first. Seems there was more than one party of draconians."
This encounter actually introduces a couple of new draconians, the Kapak and the Bozak, which we've discussed before. Kapaks are the ones with spears in the front line, while the Bozak are the two in the back. It could be significantly more dangerous, if I hadn't accidentally moved Elon the wrong way and had to resort to the Wand. The surviving Kapak was subdued fairly easily.
These are our stats at the end of this segment. As you can see, Boo has become quite a bit more powerful with the gear from Sir Dargaard's tomb. Now then, we have three options before us: Should we finally investigate Gargath Tower, play Ambassador, or volunteer to travel to the Southern Outpost and continue shirking the main storyline?