Part 55: Jumping the SharkmanUpdate 14: Jumping the Sharkman
So our next destination is not, as you might have expected, Blackwater Glade. Instead, we're going to be crossing another set of straits...
to visit an isolated little fishing village. I believe this is referenced in a few side conversations, but the main reference is all the way back with the Oracle's five little poems. The first thing we stumble upon is an isolated little house at the edge of town.
"Mostly to know if there's anything strange going on here. We're not exactly from around here."
"Ah, you're not in league with these Sharkmen, as they call themselves. That much I can see, or hear if you could take my meaning. Those louts couldn't speak polite if their lives dependent on it as I hope one day they do."
"This hut smells funny."
"Hmph my name's Eric, Eric Strongbond. And who are you outlandish folk?"
"So, when you say Sharkmen, are you meaning the offspring of sharks and humans? Because we already heard about something with dolphins...
"It's priests of Hith that give the orders now I'll wager. If you want my advice, you aught to give Mr. Hamhand, Oleg that is, a good talking to. He's most likely the source of all this trouble if you ask me."
"We didn't, but we'll be sure to pay him a visit. Now, about those Sharkmen..."
"Why you could go talk to him right now. He lives on the northwest side of town just past the old library. Well, don't just stand there. Go save the town!"
"Fine, you pushy old coot. We're going."
"It looks like the boat building industry around here is certainly doing well although I do have to wonder how much or even if the townspeople are being paid for their labor."
On the northwest side of town...
"I'm here to see a man about a Sharkman?"
"Perhaps you can help us. You're obviously not working with the Sharkmen. They've been forcing us to build the boats, always more boats. I think they're insane."
"I figured as much, but are they men or sharks or some kind of weird hybrid? Enquiring minds want to know."
"You seem kind of fixated on this."
"I've been wondering about it since Kristophan, and it's finally here."
"Many of them are the same thugs that Eric Strongbond brought to town last summer. Now they've taken the town hall as their headquarters, and they rule the town with fear. Maybe you can get some answers out of Eric. He lives in a hut near the eastern edge of the harbor."
"So he sent us here to distract us and keep us from looking more closely at him?"
"The way I see it, as long as we kill the Sharkmen it doesn't really matter who invited them over."
"I think you better leave now, in case a patrol comes by. They never like it when they find too many people in one place."
"The library might be worth looking into next."
"You're not the first person who had that idea. I guess the Sharkmen are literary types."
"This might be the most obvious hidden room I've ever seen. It's an entire corner's worth of empty space that somebody walled off."
It's almost the rudiments of a dialogue system! Too bad this is about the only place it appears and the choices are pretty much cosmetic. We'll go with option 5.
"Mostly something to drink and to do something about these Sharkmen."
"I am Anthela, chief elder of this village. If you oppose the Sharkmen, you will aid our cause. To truly help us, you must understand what has happened here in Bai'or."
"Fear not, we will slay the dragons!"
"Nice and direct. I like it."
"Hey Eric, hi Jennifer!"
"Ooh, Sharkmen! Wait, they're just guys in shark capes!"
"Why don't you show them how disappointed you are?"
After all the buildup, the Sharkmen really are a disappointment. They're just meaty guys in shark costumes, with no special powers. Despite this, they're actually tougher than most of the enemies from the first game. How far we've come.
"Speech, speech, speech!"
"Well, this is a new one. Get to it, Boo!"
"What if the dragons to the north have seen what we've done? Will they kill us now?"
"Well heroes, good luck with that."
"A small rest might be in order first "
"Next to a round of drinks, this is my favorite reward. And since I'm not sure what they might try to turn into alcohol in a fishing village..."
A short rest later, we head north into the jungles to deal with those dragons.
"Is it just me, or did it get dark really quickly here in the middle of the afternoon?"
"Strange things happen in lands near the equator."
"You've really gotten used to bullying helpless fishermen, haven't you?"
"If it hasn't set in yet, we're not fishermen."
It really is just one dragon. Poor little guy.
"Come back here, you cowardly lizard!"
"I think they've been taking lessons in tactics from the spiders."
Well, three dragons isn't that bad...
Oops, make that six...
Grand total, twelve dragons. This is the mass dragon battle people have been imagining for some time, and to be honest it's rough but not as rough as it could be. First off, a high level wizard like Ishmael is quite capable of ripping through the black dragons and possibly the blues with a delayed blast fireball, and the way they're clustered he can take out three at once pretty easily. We've also got two high level fighters with dragonlances and boots of speed both of whom get two attacks per round. It all adds up to 7 dead dragons after 3 of our characters have acted. The others could still tear us apart using breath weapons, but for some reason the AI for the dragons prefers to use magic missile. It makes absolutely no sense to me, but the ways of dragons are mysterious to men. They still hurt, but I'd rather face twelve dragons than three dark wizards.
"That's got to be the most pathetic looking dragon I've ever seen."
"Let's feed it! Maybe we can keep it as a pet!"
"With the Stone of Chaos, you could do such a thing although there must be easier ways for a Goddess to enter the world."
"Let's hope not I don't like our chances if she ever pulls it off."
"Even a dragon needs a name. Let's name her Firebreath!"
"How about not?"
"That name is terrible, and you should feel terrible."
"Don't worry, we'll stop them.. and for a name, how about Spark? I think it works for a fire starter."
"You warm my heart, sssmall herosss. Perhapsss there isss hope after all."
"Perhapsss they will aid in the fight. On the wings of dragonsss you could reach the gnomes of Aldinanachru and rally their ssstrength, alssso. I will do my own part if I can. Perhapsss we will meet again on the ssshoresss of the lava sssea."
"Wait, lava sea? What are we waiting for!"
"I think we'll need that rest before seeking out more dragons. My fireball hand is rather tired after the day's work."
Due to a short update and this basically being a side quest, we didn't really get much change in our characters. We're getting close to having our first character past 30, however, and Grunschka has nearly recovered the experience she lost in that first level up. I don't know why they decided to put her in with more than a million extra experience, but I won't complain too much about easy levels for our extra target.
Average permanent party level: 22.33