Part 47: Big Ball's in CowtownUpdate 7: Big Ball's in Cowtown
We finally head to the mainland this update, courtesy of a helpful fisherman's boat, to take a look at Kristophan. We haven't heard much about it, actually, other than that there's an Oracle in the tombs that we should look into. This should be an adventure.
"A damsel in distress? That's usually a pretty good start to an adventure."
"You might be right, but I don't think that broken mirror is a good sign."
"Oh oh gods. We can, if you want us to?"
"What seems to be the problem here uh.. ma'am?"
"My name is Eshalla, and my tale is a sad one."
"A minotaur using magic? How unusual!"
"Ha! This is right up your alley, Boo. Get to it!"
"Well, she said handsome and not pretty so I guess you're right out."
"I guess I guess it's my knightly duty? Okay, let's give it a try."
"Humm it didn't work. Should we try it again?"
"I am precisely as entertained by this as I should be."
"I think once more will do it."
"The Oath and the Measure I must do my duty "
"Ok, I'm ready."
"Life just isn't fair sometimes or is it?"
"Of course, petty material possessions are not all I have to offer. I can not reward you enough. Will I see you again?"
"I hope so?"
"Wonderful! Till then, my love, we must part. There is much for me to do."
"Let's just go into town and forget this ever happened."
"Huh, that's an odd name for a clothing boutique "
"My eyes! I can't see, and that makes me happy!"
"I'm beginning to have an uneasy suspicion about this town shall we take a look inside?"
"As long as it doesn't end in more half-naked minotaurs, I'm game."
"Yes, it appears that nobody bothered to tell us that the dominant civilization in this area is composed of minotaurs."
"That's just unnatural. How could this have happened?"
"Sounds great could you fortify that tea a bit? We've had a surprising day."
"Oh yes. Did you hear about the scandal at the library? The book of Amrocar was stolen. I never heard of it either."
"We'll be sure to keep an eye out for it."
The real draw in town, at least from my point of view, is this place. It doesn't look that interesting...
Answering correctly gets you access to a shop, which is unique in the game.
Compare this inventory...
To this on our next visit. The contents of this shop are randomly generated, but will always consist of 3 magic users. There are some weird side effects when the items in a given slot change between white and red mage scrolls, however...
Namely, you get results like this. I'm not sure precisely how it works, but items that are listed as white mage scrolls in a slot being turned into red mage scrolls seem to result in a red mage scroll that contains white mage spells. With time, patience, and money, you can fill out your mages' spell lists with every spell in the game. Luckily, I have all three in spades.
Doing this requires multiple trips between the temple and a nearby inn, however, which gives us a chance to trigger a few more events like so!
"I found this helm recently and I thought you would look very handsome wearing it. But first, you must give me a little reward."
"Of course, it looks fantastic. I really like the horns."
Somehow this gives everyone in the party experience. Your guess is as good as mine.
"Good how many towns does this make it when the local thieves have tried to shake us down?"
"Hmm I think 4 or 5? They keep kind of blending together."
"Wait, do you see who I see in the crowd?"
"What? Why not? Can't you tell me what's going on fi..MPH!"
"Enthusiastic. She actually knocked him over with that one!"
"Boo, I am going to miss you. Here is another token of my friendship. Always remember my "
"He was right there? That's awkward."
"Alright, stop shouting! I'm coming, I'm coming."
"Well, you know what they say. Easy come, easy go. What'd she give you?"
"A dagger ? I'm not sure if that's supposed to be a suggestion or not."
"Aww, cheer up buddy. Here, this'll help."
"We'll see. I might need a drink afterwards."
A few events and a couple dozen slaughtered thieves has pushed us over the edge to another level. You can train here, but only by lying and claiming to be a member of the local Champions Guild. We'll find out a bit more about the Champions Guild in a bit. Meanwhile, it's probably a good idea to revisit the tea house.
" no . although it's definitely not good news, so it's kind of like a rash."
"Well that's not very nice. By the way, have you been out in the streets? I don't condone all the rioting, but these minotaurs have to be put in their place."
"I can agree with that."
On our next visit...
" how much of that tea did we drink?"
"Probably poisoned by those minotaurs when we weren't here, if I'm any judge."
"We should probably investigate that part of town anyway."
"Sorry, we're not that much for dancing."
"Bah! These monkeys are no fun. Let's go find some gnomes."
"That old lady was right those guys are assholes."
"It's hard to disagree hmm, does that look like a library to you?"
"If you are here to take the rubbish away, I will remind you again: the servant's entrance is in the rear, and please, wipe your feet before coming in."
"'ve never heard anybody actually pronounce a colon before "
"Excuse me? I'm not your servant or anybody else's in this town. We're here for a book."
"Hmph. Oh really? And who is the author of the book you wish to know about?"
"A full investigation is under way and I assure you nothing like this will ever happen again. Good day!"
"Touchy, touchy. Seems like he's in danger of being of work."
"The soldiers are certain the book is no longer in the city. Even if it were, you would not be able to read it."
"I think we'd probably surprise you with what we can read."
"If you wish, you can browse through these. Um I'm afraid none of them have pictures."
"I'm sure we'll manage somehow."
"Well, we might as well start from the top "
"Sounds lethal, actually. This one looks kind of interesting. It's about where gnomes came from, but it's different from what I've heard before."
"That is different this one is pretty much what we should have expected, though. I can't wait to find the Oracle and get out of here."
"Hey! How about you pick on someone your own.. er okay, we're not your size but leave that old guy alone."
"What, how dare you interfere! Oh, I'll give you such a beating "
"Oh, yes, please. Go ahead and start something."
"You know, I'd ask how things like this keep happening to us but I think that's really besides the point."
"Don't worry, they're probably so stupid that they spaced the bars to keep minotaurs in. We'll be able to walk right "
"The old minotaur you assaulted has hired the best champions money can buy. You'll never come out alive!"
"Oh, it'll be alright. They picked the one thing we're actually really good at. What happens if we win?"
"It's never come up before. Probably execute you, if you're lucky."
"At least being minotaurs they'll probably unshackle us before things get started."
"Right you are, monkey. The people would get bored if you didn't put up some kind of a fight."
This is what we're looking at for a challenge. That's a hell of an armor class, and a lot of HP to burn through. They're also stronger than humans and do more damage. Even the mages are unexpectedly beefy, and we're surrounded so that there's no easy way to shut down all the mages. Some of them are also far enough to make charging up to them impossible.
The reward, in addition to a boatload of experience, is the fact that every single piece of equipment they have is magical. This includes magic helms, which I believe aren't actually available anywhere else. For everyone except Ishmael this translates to an additional -2 to their AC. By the way, nobody actually died in this fight which is something to keep in mind with the next screen shot, because that was a rough fight.
" did we just destabilize a government?"
"Sure looks like it. We might want to find somewhere to rest, then finish poking around the city while everybody else is fighting."
A short while later...
"It sounds as though they didn't have much of a choice at the time so we're looking for some kind of receptacle for the Oracle's spirit?"
"I'm just hoping this doesn't mean another lich. Those things creep me out. Next!"
"They're spies from Kaston's gang, and they just walked into the wrong house!"
"Guys, I promise this is a giant misunder you're not listening, are you? Okay, after this we're really hitting the bar. It's been a long day."
By the by, we have a new counter to dark wizards at this point. They've got absolutely no way to defend themselves from it, either. The prize for this little mess is a potion of giant's strength, but it's worth it for a few more bits of experience.
"But, to one o'mi brooders, I be a coin, a ruffler, and an angler yi know I fish in de pockets o'de rich. Wat be yer longs and and wants in dis ville?"
"I I don't understand a word you just said."
"Dat be okey pretty lady, you tell ol' Selias here wat you be doin' in Kristophan ya?"
"Mebe if ya make mia offa, we could talk. 20, 40, 60 steel mere?""
"How about 60? Seems fair enough to me, since you'll probably make out traveling with us."
"Ah, a guess be dat dess tombs mebe arn't so import as yi say. Mebe if yi buy mi a brew, we kin speek a bit."
"I told you I should have handled the negotiations. Bartender! Get us a round!"
"No time for dat, den. Mi friends, follow mi. I git us safe. We go to de old god house up nort, ya?"
"Well, it's got to be safer than this firetrap. Sure, lead on."
So close for Boo! Everybody else has picked up some levels since we got to Kristophan, and our armor class has increased substantially. Ishmael has a ton of new spells, and we're not hurting at all for money. All and all a pretty productive visit and we've picked up a new ally, who's mysteriously higher level than all of us. Gable's within shouting distance of him, however. Average party level: 18.33