Part 44: Poor, Unfortunate SoulsUpdate 4: Poor, Unfortunate Souls
We pick back up at the doorway to the undersea tunnel. This whole section is a bit light on plot and heavy on action.
This makes it seem as though a helpful snake is giving you a warning. Instead, the alert is more like "Hey, we almost stepped on that thing!"
A new random enemy rears its ugly head. Giant squid have a lot of attacks, but aren't at all special otherwise. They can somehow wrap up your characters, but it doesn't seem to have much of an effect.
"So yeah, it's a dump as expected. Wonder what happened here?"
"Not a clue, but the elves haven't had very much luck with their cities in the past few years. Qualinost is about the only one still standing."
It's also full of enemies. Giant anemones? Why not? They squirt acid when hit with a slashing weapon.
"I shall prepare the shell I don't like the idea of spending any more time than necessary gasping for air like a fish out of water."
"Although I've always wondered what goes through their minds at times like that."
"It doesn't look like it's abandoned at all something is a bit off here."
"Something tells me we might want to find another way around that door. It's just a bit too obvious."
"It's almost as though they knew we were coming."
"I can see why the sea elves would be having trouble with them, though."
In addition to standard fire elementals, we also have these to deal with. They're actually demonic spirits who can spread green fire onto your characters that will supposedly devour them. Once again, I've never seen it actually do anything noticeable.
"We're just a few minutes behind whoever was here it's almost like we just missed them."
"Let's see if they left anything important behind."
"More confirmation, although I have no idea who Malgi Hi is."
"Maybe we should ask those guys?"
"Yeah, it doesn't look they're in much of a mood for talking."
Remember when I said that enemy mages are probably the most dangerous enemies we're facing right now? This is why. Four of our six characters went down in the first barrage. Full party wipe. In a lot of these fights it really is a matter of who gets initiative.
"I don't recognize this incantation, but I think we'll all be better off if he doesn't finish it."
Having the dark wizard front and center doesn't necessarily make things any better. Sure, you can hit him and eat the fire shield, but that's not really a viable option. Luckily most of our characters can use Dispel Magic to take out his protective spells. It's still only a partial solution, since this relies on several of your characters getting initiative before the mage. You might think that the close quarters here would help, but AI opponents can place their spells and attacks flawlessly to get all of your characters and none of theirs.
"These guys are actually pretty clever, and they're trying their best to ambush us. I almost feel bad for what we're about to do."
"I'm not. Sometimes you have to break a few windows to make an omelet."
"There's something wrong about that, but I can't quite put my finger on it."
"Don't worry about it, omelets are disgusting anyway. Come out of a chicken's ass."
A much bigger battle, with fire minions making a not so triumphant return. Having cone of cold helps a lot in these fights.
"What an odd place to have in a suit for drylanders. It could be almost custom-built for holding sea dragon eggs."
You actually have to send someone to retrieve the eggs one or two at a time. It drags on way too long. Strength seems to have an effect. Sam picks up two at a time.
"That's right just keep walking."
"I'd normally say live and let live but these enemies don't deserve that much consideration."
Yep, still pathetic. The priestesses have a few tricks up their sleeves, but nothing to defend themselves. They're also rare enough that it's easy for one or two mages and/or ranged weapon users to keep them pinned down. Hell, with this particular setup a single lightning bolt can wipe out the priestess and four of the regulars.
"Shit, shit, shit nice dragons? Uh we've got your eggs here, if you want them?"
"That went better than expected."
"I think that means we need to head back to the sea elves and not push our luck any further."
"We have heard what happened. The dragons have agreed to ally against the sahuagin!"
"That's somewhat unexpected. We'd thought they would simply leave, but dragons are not known to be forgiving."
"We owe you our lives and our city, and even more. We captured a sahuagin, who told us chilling things. Talhook was gathering a foul conspiracy, and planned next to march on Dargonost, our capital city!"
"That's three cities named so far. Seems like the sea elves are doing a lot better than the land elves."
"You mean the same chamber that Daenor said the enemy had already infiltrated and set up one ambush in? That chamber?
"Oh yes. Afterward, there will be a ceremony. Our king himself sends a gift to you!"
"Might as well get this over with. Sure."
"They certainly know how to make you feel welcome."
"You have absolutely got to be the worst villain I've ever seen. And not worst as in most evil, worst as in most incompetent."
Our final undersea showdown is against a fairly huge number of sahuagin, with Talhook actually present as an enemy. He's got a killer AC, but other than that isn't anything special.
"Do you think perhaps you could have done this search before we were ambushed? Maybe?"
A few hours later...
"He has heard of your actions on our behalf, and extends you the gratitude of our people."
"It's probably some kind of silly "
"This would probably have been of considerable use to you in fighting off the sea dragons."
"He believes it important to pursue them at once, lest the trail to them and his sister Crystia grow cold. So now it is the time for us to bring you to the land of Talas, and return you to your element. Daenor will join you when he can."
"Present this to the man Ezra, on Taladas. It will prove you are friends, and he may be able to help you. For the journey a traveling spell is needed. Do not be alarmed."
So yes, this is the hidden secret of the sea elves. I think it'd be better if they were modeled after selkies, but that's just personal preference.
"Thank you. Could you direct us to Ezra? We were actually sailing here to speak with him."
"Ezra? Well, there is an Ezra that owns the bait shop. Could he be who you want?"
"Only one way to find out. But why would Lyzian send us to visit a bait shop owner?"
"This place is really strange. It's like they don't know about adventurers or something."
"Yeah, back on Ansalon people didn't even bat an eye when you walked into their house."
"Who the hell is Mislaxa, anyway?"
"Another name for my Goddess. I think I'll feel right at home here."
"At least some things never change."
"You've got that right. Thugs and lowlifes are the same all over."
Black rogues are, simply put, a joke. They'll do a bit of damage on the way out, but they're no real threat. Despite that, they're relatively high level thieves and provide a considerable amount of experience.
After dealing with them, there's really only one place to go...
"Would you happen to be Erza? If so, we have something for you "
"Oh really? It has been too long since I have heard my father's voice."
"So all those stories about dolphins and human women are true?"
"Yes, yes, very much so. Especially around here, in this seaside village."
"Damn, normally I'd disagree with you but that's actually pretty disturbing. Does explain the webbed fingers, though."
"Hmm? No, I think that's the inbreeding."
"Some of the sea elves aren't too particular about who they catch swimming and lose track in the years between visits. Doesn't help that we all love the sea."
"By all the Gods of Light, can we please change the subject? What was that you were saying about some advice?"
"We'll go there right away. Right out of this town."
"Good luck, champions. May your quest be fruitful. But beware, you are a stranger to the ways of Taladas. All may not be what it seems."
"There's something severely wrong when dragons are a welcome interruption."
"Hey, don't knock it. I get to break out my new dragonlance!"
"You really think this is somehow going to end well for you? We kicked your asses all over the ocean, and that's your home turf."
"Everything from the ocean needs to be killed with fire."
Three dragons, two characters with dragonlances, and delayed blast fireball is a thing we can use now. It's over about as quickly as one might expect. Next time, we'll start the tower!
Gradual progress as our characters slowly inch upward in power. As our highest level fighter Sam is really pulling ahead, and Rip and Ishmael are gaining more and more spell slots. Our current spread of levels is 8, and it's only going to get worse.