Part 24: We Are the Village GreenUpdate 3: We Are the Village Green
Since the votes were actually tied when I played through this next section, I went with the drastic measure of doing both side quests. It also doesn't hurt that the gnome village quest was pretty short. At any rate, we're starting with the quiet little town, but there's naturally an interruption on the way.
Luckily it's just some relatively benign zombie minotaurs. They're not very threatening, and tend to be pretty slow to boot. They're not worth all that much experience, but they're also unlikely to wreck our shit.
We also run into some non-undead monsters, who are sufficiently confused by our attempt to talk to them that they just keep going.
The little town we're visiting is literally right between our starting point and Kalaman. It's very possible to wander into this place by accident. We'd actually have to come in this direction later, but there's no reason not to visit earlier.
"What what happened here?"
"I don't think I want to know why that child is following that dog "
"I think our arms are going to be pretty tired when we're done here."
"NO? It is the model on which this town was designed! Make a point to visit it soon."
"We'll be sure to. Um.. is everything.. okay here?"
"You may explore freely with two exceptions. Stay away from the eastern exit, and also my chamber. Obey these laws and you'll have no trouble here."
"That sounds reasonable enough."
"It's like they don't even know they're dead."
"I think there's nothing here we want to buy, however."
"Oh oh no "
"This just got really weird."
"Only just now?"
"I would almost be more worried if this garden was well-tended."
"Is this likely to cause an incident with the local authorities?"
"He can't really object, since he said we could do anything as long as we didn't go near his chambers or the eastern exit."
"Well, that explains the eastern exit now I kind of want to find out what the spectra has to say."
"I never thought I would say this, but no thanks."
"He appears less decomposed than the others could the mayor be actively recruiting new residents for his town?"
"The best part is that they can't be talked out of it."
For some reason, the card playing zombies are actually zombie giants. Maybe to provide some semblance of a challenge. They've got no magic or elemental resistances, however, so it doesn't go well for them.
Their treasure is actually pretty nice - the sword, for instance, is +4.
"We're going to have some explaining to do with the mayor "
"It's worth it for a free sword."
"Well, these kinds of things are bound to happen. He can't be too upset, right?"
"I dunno. That sign seems kind of serious."
"Well, that pretty much tears it. We might as well just kill the mayor too now."
"Is there any possibility he could be a good lich?"
"All of my studies suggest that the odds of such are slim to none."
Something a bit tougher now. Skeletal giants can't be damaged by non-magical weapons, and take half damage from edged weapons. The spectres are level-drainers, which means a few trips to the local cleric to get lost levels restored. I'm not sure how that interacts with experience gain, but I didn't notice any huge gaps.
"Might as well just pull up a chair and wait then."
One exit, one re-entrance, and one identical fight later...
"I think we've heard of you. Say on, oh spirit."
"Good. Destroying the lich will allow you to enter voice wood, and will free me from Dulcimer. Find the loch's phylactery - the jar into which its soul flees if its body is destroyed."
"Destroy the phylactery and the lich, and the lich will be gone forever. The phylactery is buried somewhere in town. But you won't be able to find it before you fight the lich."
"That's great. Any more detail than 'somewhere in town?'"
"Hey, I can't do everything for you. Just think of the least likely place and poke around in there."
"Guards! Destroy these fools!"
"Yes, about that "
Fighting the guards first actually strips the lich of his allies, making this fight a bit easier at the expense of several draining fights earlier. He's not that bad without a cadre of spectres and black mages to back him up. I have no explanation as to why the black mages don't show up in the guard room.
"Now, if I were a phylactery, where would I be?"
"My money's on the chicken coop."
"Wherever it is, I don't think we have much time to figure it out."
"Underneath asparagus, of all possible vegetables?"
"Less talking, more smashing."
"Should we investigate this Voice Wood that the spectre mentioned?"
"I don't think there's any particular hurry. We should head in the general direction of Vingaard, though."
On our way in that direction, there's another random encounter. Zombie mastodons, if for no other reason than the developers flipping through the Monstrous Manual and saying "Sure, why not?" I'm not even sure if mastodons are normally found on Krynn.
Our next stop is in a charming riverside community about halfway between Kalaman and Vingaard.
"I suppose it's only polite?"
"No, run you fool!"
"Quick Gable, start looking for exits."
"I think right there! Everybody, follow me!"
"I do not recall this being mentioned during the guided tour."
"I think it represents a distinct improvement over the museum."
There are a total of about six of these encounters in the gnome village and like in so many cases in this version, there's a payoff later if you fight them all right off the bat.
Continuing our exploration...
"None of this explains anything about the undead beasts roaming the city."
"Well, even if this doesn't solve the problem it certainly feels pretty good."
"We've still got to have a little talk with that gnome about his machine."
"Technically we may also owe him an apology."
"Poison gas? I think we owe him a bit more than just an apology."
"How pathetic and to think I was once so foolish as to think that locking myself away was the true path to power."
"I think that his casual use of murder as a problem-solving strategy is probably more worrisome."
The fight itself is absolutely unremarkable, so much so that I didn't even remember to get a screenshot. The catch is that he's accompanied by all the undead beasts you haven't yet destroyed. 12 undead beasts and a mage is actually a pretty difficult fight. The treasure is only a couple of moderately useful potions and a set of Eyes of Charming.
"Next stop, Vingaard."
Not much change again, although we've gained a couple levels already. Right now the amount of experience we've gained in this game is already more than the entire total from Champions.