Part 15: Level One: Castle Perilous, WithinLevel One: Castle Perilous, Within
Time to get us inside the castle, for reals. If we recall, we were told by the hermit to mind the cliffs when approaching the Castle Perilous. That guy was no mere crazy social outcast, either: His arms suggest strongly that he was once a knight of King Carlon. If anybody has reliable information about Castle Perilous, it's gotta be that guy. So we'll check the cliffs!
You make your way down to the shore. There, the relentless pounding of the sea has worn a series of grottoes in the limestone cliffs. You begin to explore, and soon find a passageway, reshaped by human tools, that leads off and upwards, toward the castle that lies atop these cliffs. You follow. In darkness you feel your way along the dank passage, until you make out a door, light shining through the cracks around it.
Carefully, you open the door. Beyond is a torchlit chamber, bustling with activity. Safe from observation in the sheltered alcove, you pause to study your whereabouts. Huge, fanged creatures in servant's livery scuttle hither and yon, snarling at each other in passing. Rough soldiers lounge in one corner, torturing a captive and guffawing. A soldier enters the alcove.
Uh-oh. Maybe this won't work out after all. We've got a few options here, but as it turns out, none of them matter:
Attack Him: The soldier drunkenly staggers into the alcove. You bushwhack him from behind before he notices you. You take his clothing, don it, and venture into the large chamber.
Hide: You shrink against a wall. The soldier stumbles drunkenly into the alcove, weaves about, and falls unconscious as you watch. You grab him as he falls, then, after a moment's hesitation, strip off his clothing, don it, and enter the large chamber.
Talk To Him: The soldier staggers drunkenly into the alcove. "Hi there," you say brightly. "Wha?" he says, staggers, trips, and hits his head on the stone flags. He's unconscious. After a moment's hesitation, you strip off his clothing, don it, and enter the main chamber.
Now we at least have a disguise, and more important, are within the Castle Perilous!
We're in, and nobody's noticing us poking around. So now where do we go? None of these exits are marked, and it's not clear where exactly they go. You have as much information right now as the game has given.
Alternate Solutions & Deaths
Many people suggested the servants' entrance, which at least seems like a fine plan, if we don't run into any curveballs.
On the east wall, you spot a low wooden door tucked into a barbican. Servants occasionally wander in and out, visiting the vegetable gardens that lie outside the castle walls, or carrying honey pots to the cliffs for emptying. You dress in humble garb and go to the door. You knock, and it swings open. A soldier stands within. "Right," he says, "Pass, please."
We don't have a pass. We could run now, but let's try to bluff him.
"Oops," you say. "I must have left it in my other tunic." "What's this?" says the soldier. "A slave with two tunics? Think you the master be so spendthrift? A spy, belike! It's off to the dungeons with you, me lad."
Curses, foiled by the sociopolitical realities of an unjust feudal system. Suppose we tried the main gate, but in a disguise?
You spot a hay-laden wagon moving toward the castle. After you threaten to kill the farmer who drives it, he gladly donates the wagon, its contents, and the horses to the cause of the Mad One's defeat. You drive up to the castle gate. A wooden shutter opens and a bearded face looks out. "Hay for the horses," the lackey calls over his shoulder. The massive wooden doors swing open.
So far so good.
Whoops. We can run, try to make a break for the castle, or pay him and move along, but the first of those just takes us back to the previous maze and the last two don't work:
You make for the main part of the castle. "A spy!" cries a soldier. Before you can go more than a dozen yards, you are tackled and captured.
Maybe bluffing will work this time? I mean it so far hasn't ever worked, really, but I got a good feeling.
"Ah, Jimmy was tied up this week," you explain, "What with the harvest and all." The soldier appears puzzled. "Harvest? Be it not a wee early for the... a spy! To me!"he cries, sweeping out his sword. A veritable phalanx of soldiers tackles you.
We are the worst at excuses. Alright then, can we perhaps climb the wall at nightfall?
You wait for the fall of dark. Then stealthily, you move toward the Castle Perilous, and carefully heave your weighted hook over the battlements. With great effort, you clamber up the rope and onto the castle ramparts... A hand grabs your arm and helps you onto the walkway. A dagger is held at your throat. "Ah," says a low voice. "A spy. I'm sure to earn a commendation for this one." Rough hands propel you down the walkway.
No good. Anything interesting should we circle around to the north of the castle?
Hmm, maybe this has promise. Better run from these soldiers though.
You crash through the woods. "Ahoy!" shouts a soldier. They thunder after you. A soldier clubs you to the forest floor. They truss you and fling you over a mount, carrying you to Castle Perilous.
Correction, better attack these soldiers.
"Die, villain!" you cry, and leap atop a horse, striking at the rider with your dagger. He falls from the saddle, and you grab the horse's reins. The horse bucks. You crash to the forest floor. As you dazedly try to sit up, the other soldiers surround you. "Och, it'll go hard wi' ye," mutters one. "The captain'll no like that ye killed Fritz." They bind you and carry you to the castle.
Double correction, better hide like a coward.
You crawl under a rotting log. The line of soldiers passes you by. You emerge, covered with rotting gunk and insects. There is nothing of interest to the north of the castle.
Then why was that even an option?
Turns out there were no alternate solutions. Better have met the hermit and found out about the cliffs from him, or you're just going to be trial and erroring this all day.