Part 4: Level One: Where The Fantastic Beasts Find YOULevel One: Where The Fantastic Beasts Find YOU
Right, so where were we?
Ah yes. Now then, what to do? I suppose we could try attacking the troll...
Attack: You draw your dagger and hurl yourself at the troll. It hoists you up by your shoulders. You swat futilely at the air with your blade as it laughs. Then, it bites your head off and munches meditatively.
Guess not. Once again the game is making very clear that an unarmed, unarmored Runner with a dagger is not capable of fighting witches and trolls and other fantastical dangers. Suppose we try diplomacy and greet the troll? As someone pointed out, he did roar at us conversationally.
I didn't expect that to work. Unfortunately we're no better off than we were before, and still have to pick another option. Perhaps if we remain friendly and ask for a drink of water?
Diplomacy has its limits, clearly. Alright, we know what we need to do. As Matilda told us, trolls cannot resist a dare and cannot swim. So if we dare the troll to jump down the well...
"Ya dares me, huh?" says the troll.
"Prithee, I do," you say. "Indeed, I double dare you."
"You do, hah?" he says.
"Aye!" you say.
"Huh," the troll says. "I'll show you."
He leaps into the well. You peer in after him. He is desperately floundering in the water below, scraping at the slick walls. Eventually he sinks and the last bubbles disappear.
Note that the way the text is written, we don't actually have to have interacted with Tsoreen or even agreed to his task for this bit to make sense.
He peers down the well. "However," he says, "I fear the decaying body will poison the water. Ah well, perhaps we can fetch it out." He turns to you. "Natheless, so heroic a deed deserves its reward! I will tell you what little I know that may help you on your quest."
Bonus point to whoever noted the environmental ramifications of our little troll slaying dare. You were not the only one.
"Far away, in the Maze Purpure, lies the Castle Perilous. Once the seat of Good King Carlon, now whence the Usurper Timozel, the Mad Lord's lackey, rules the land. It guards the only entrance to the lower maze. You must brave its perils to succeed in your quest. It is said that Carlon lies imprisoned in those walls, in an eternal sleep, awaiting a hero who will awaken him so he may deliver our lands from evil. Perhaps you are that hero.
But the Castle Perilous is well-guarded! it is said there are secret entrances, but I know no more than that. It is said also that only a hero with a magic blade may free King Carlon, but where such a blade may be found, I know not. And that, my young friend, is all that I may tell of these matters. God speed, and all haste in thy journey." He points east.
Excellent! We've passed our first "puzzle" and managed to come out of it with information and our lives. This is clearly the best possible outcome, but see below for alternatives. On, at last, to the next maze!
As you can see from the brown walls, we're in a new maze now. We're entering from the south into the southwesternmost square, and we need to exit from the topmost Place of Power. What you'll notice, however, is that there's a second PoP which is optional. There are quite a few of these in the game and many have useful clues. So let's check that one out, since we can't backtrack after solving the one that advances us to the next maze.
A peasant plows his field. The sun is fierce, and the man is covered in sweat. He gladly gives off working as you approach. "Well met, traveller," he says. "Mayhap I can help you?"
The peasant lets us speak to him about the maze, our quest, or general pleasantries. There's no puzzle here and no danger, so we'll pump him for all the information he has.
The Maze: "Oh, aye. We get little commerce in these parts, as a fearsome monster guards the exit from this maze. 'Tis said that only the keenest of mind can hope to outwit him." You ask for more information, but he claims that this is all he knows about the monster.
At least he warned us.
Our Quest: "The Mad One?" He shakes his head. "I know little of such things, though they say that Timozel (cursed be his name) is the Mad One's lackey."
Pleasantries: You talk of the weather, a calf's recent birth, the prospects for the harvest. "Ah, but 'tis a cruel time in which we live. Since the Usurper o'erthrew Good King Carlon, the taxes have been fierce."
That's interesting. He doesn't seem to care for Timozel much. Maybe he knows a bit more on that matter?
He claims his father told him of how Timozel caught Good King Carlon and the army of the realm in a spell; and that the lot of them now sleep eternally beneath the Castle Perilous. According to the legend, King Carlon and his army are guarded also by a monster, Ogrok by name, summoned by the Mad God to prevent their awakening.
"'Tis said that Ogrok may only be slain by a blade enchanted, but I believe it not. Anything that lives can be slain by simple steel."
You thank him for his time and leave.
Not much we don't already know, but it does tell us why we may need that magic sword. Now if only we had a magic sword. Or any sword. It'd certainly help us in the next Place of Power...
Oh shit, it's the Questing Beast! I don't know who that is.
In an instant, the Questing Beast pounces upon you and knocks you flat upon the ground. It holds you in its fearsome claws, its full weight across your length. Resistance is futile.
"I am the Questing Beast," it says in a matter-of-fact tone. "Whosoever wishes to pass must answer a riddle I will pose."
"And if I refuse?" you ask.
It yawns. "If I am sufficiently hungry, I shall consume you. If not, I shall force you to return from whence you came."
Fortunately, the Questing Beast isn't hungry and will just knock us down the hill to the east (the red line on the map) if we refuse his riddle or answer it incorrectly. The amusing thing is that this isn't "from whence [we] came," but a completely different direction than we entered into a separate section of the maze. Note that the direction it sent us could've also been south, so this makes mapping a pain until you're certain of where you're ending up. Knowing the mazes are 5x5 squares is an immense help here.
So let's accept that riddle, as we haven't much choice in the matter.
"Very well then. Know ye, wanderer, that the Hero Brandisbane and Lichlord Fenn, though they lived in different eras, fought many wars 'gainst the Kingdom of Middlemark and the Duchy of Norsten. Neither conquered any other lands.
Brandisbane the Great fought ten wars of conquest, in total. He conquered Norstein twice as often as Lichlord Fenn. The fearsome Fenn, on the other hand, conquered Middlemark three times as often as the Hero Brandisbane, and fought twenty wars of conquest in total. I have two questions.
Primus, how many times did Brandisbane conquer Middlemark? Secundus, how many times did Fenn conquer Norsten?
Well, class? What are the answers to the Questing Beast's riddle? This one does not require any clues. This is MadMaze's first, but definitely not last, general logic puzzle. Every bit of info you need to solve it is already there in the riddle, so we haven't missed anything that would make it any easier to solve. This may not be true of later logic puzzles, so keep an eye out for clues or opportunities to glean extra information. For now though, just focus on the question and the solution should be pretty easy.
Alternate Solutions & Deaths
Someone did suggest jumping in the well ourselves, but that outcome isn't exactly any better:
Leap: You leap down the well, fall, and splash into the waters below. The troll peers down at you with a puzzled expression. After a while he goes away. You sit there treading water and realize that the walls are slick and unclimbable. There is no way to escape. Eventually, you drown.
Sorry, doesn't count as an alternate solution. We made the troll go away, but I did say that wasn't the important part next to, you know, being alive.
Now, when we asked for some water, the troll lunged at us. Perhaps he left an opening that time?
Stand Ground: "Avast, fell creature!" you cry, holding your ground. "I am not afraid." The troll rushes forward, picks you up, and bites your head off. "Friendly little feller," is your last thought.
Or maybe if we dare him to arm wrestle us?
Really need to stop doing that.
Finally, one person suggested fainting. Would you believe that works?
Yep, fainting is the alternate solution that gets us through to the next maze alive! We do miss all of Tsoreen's information about what our actual objective is and how to accomplish it, but I'm sure none of that will turn out to be all that important anyway. Plus, the peasant arguably gave us the same information but better, and it takes fewer clicks to just faint and move on than to bother killing the troll. You were completely pointless, Tsoreen.