Part 4: David Hasselhoff Doesn't Live Here Any More Either"You! You're those other adventurers!"
"What was your first clue? Was it the armour? The battle scars? The huge backpacks?"
"Listen, Fountain Head is our turf. We don't want any trouble, and neither do you. If you want to play at being heroes, do it somewhere else."
"Nice to meet you too. We were leaving anyway, but now you've got me wondering why you want us out of here so soon."
"If you're looking for something to do, there's a statue that appoints people Crusaders under that temple near town. Maybe that bleeding heart of a king over at Castle Whiteshield has some job vacancies open. Or maybe you'll find a way to get yourselves killed. Either way, you're out of our hair."
"Why'd you have to cave in to them so easily? We could've taken 'em on."
"Because if they're really clearing out the monsters in Fountain Head, then they're doing more good than harm, whatever I might think of them personally. And besides, we were leaving anyway."
"Greater good or not, I wouldn't mind doing a few more heroic deeds just so we can rub their faces in it if we ever see them again."
"Heh. Well, if that's what it takes for you to be a hero, I won't complain..."
"That might be all it takes for us, but it seems like the castle guards want more cre... crede... they want someone's say-so that we're legit."
"We could head for the temple now, but it seems there's still plenty to be done out here."
We may have wiped out the goblins and orcs in the immediate area of Fountain Head, but go just a little to the south and more of them show up. Lots more.
"More orcs. There weren't half this many of them a year ago. What's happening to the world lately?"
The party got a fairly nice haul from looting that outpost. The Rod of Magic Detection is a magical item that acts like the Detect Magic spell, but with a limited number of charges; it's not too useful, but it should sell for a bit of money. The Mugger Boots give a +4% bonus to Thievery; they're going on Martlin right away. The rest is junk, as usual.
"A primitive religion, dedicated to power and bloodshed rather than truth."
"Shouldn't we be more upset about the fact that they've been, um, you know, sacrificing people here?"
"Who cares? They're not going to be doing it any more. More importantly, look at all those gems on the altar!"
This is enough gems to last the party for a long, long time.
"Wait, what's that over to the left?"
"I wonder what's inside..."
"Well, so much for that. Maybe we'll find a key or something later. For now, there's more looting to do."
"Hey, you're not orcs! This isn't an orc outpost!"
"Icarus, the last Unicorn, lies entombed, but it is long before what should be the end of his years. Only when the Golden Alicorn is returned to the shrine will he be released from his premature darkness. Will you search for the missing relic?"
"Sure, why not."
Looks like the party just got its first quest! It'll be a while before this one gets resolved, though.
This area is full of goblins, too. Another easy 5000 XP coming up.
"Looks like there's just one more hut to go. I wonder what's in this one! Wait, what's that creaking noise...?"
Yeah, sometimes the game will pull bullshit like this on you out of nowhere, just to remind you to save often. The party's lucky it didn't get wiped out completely here.
It's worth wandering through all of the trees in this area. There are a few spots where you'll find a random item, like a pair of gauntlets, or a nice bow.
"It wouldn't hurt to stock up on some new equipment."
"Huh. Well, this town has seen better days."
Baywatch is full of skeletons. They're just as tedious and harmless as they were for the other party back in the Temple of Moo.
"Why not? We've got all this gold burning holes in our pockets."
"It's just like my parents always used to tell me: never trust anyone with stone nipples."
There's a small (very small) chance that throwing a coin into the fountain will temporarily raise the whole party's Luck by 100. I guess this might be sort of useful. I honestly can't think of a situation offhand where you would need that much Luck.
"Oh, look. There's a sign outside saying 'The Ship's Store' and the shopkeeper talks like a pirate. How quaint."
Baywatch's weapon selection is mostly only an incremental improvement over Fountain Head's, but it does have the Flamberge, the best two-handed weapon in the game.
The armour goes all the way up to plate, although nobody in this party can wear anything stronger than splint mail anyway.
Some of these magical items are potentially useful, although they're sort of expensive for a one-time use. The names tend to be self-explanatory once you figure out what spell's effects they replicate.
"The Galley, huh? Good name for a bar. Get me a hard cider, extra dry."
"Here y'go. One cider, comin' right up."
"But this is an empty glass!"
"You ordered it extra dry, didn't ye?"
"Well, can you make it slightly wetter?"
"No go. Actually, we're fresh outta cider. Sorry."
"Honestly, it's enough to drive a man to drink."
If we buy a drink and then tip the bartender, we can get information. Most of it is basic gameplay mechanics like "Endurance is the key to higher hit points" or "Some spells require gems to cast".
This town's "food" is slightly better than Fountain Head's, and will therefore last twice as long. Of course, it's also pricier, and we're not really at a point where we'd want to run around for more than five days without going back to town.
"A mosht in-ter-esh-ting rumour. We'll hafta go check out that cavern one of these daysh."
Spend enough time drunk and eventually the condition wears off, to be replaced instead with the Weak condition. This somehow makes some characters' portraits even more hilarious.
Of course, there's one surefire cure for a hangover: the hair of the dog that bit you!
"Lasht time we went out on an adventure drunk, didn' we shay 'never again'"?
"I dunno. What, you expectin' me to remember somethin' that happened, what, two daysh ago?"
Here's this town's portal mirror. We could say HOME into it right now and be transported straight back to Fountain Head, but we have no reason to do that. Still, they're a convenient way of travelling between towns once you have all the keywords.
Speaking of which, here's the one for Baywatch.
"Huh. We'll hafta come back here when we gotta rope. Or when I remember that shpell that makesh a rope."
"Suuuure! Sign us up! Sign us aaaalllll up!"
"How hard can it poshibly be?"
"If I can climb mountainsh, I can climb treesh!"
The Pathfinder and Mountaineer skills are expensive, especially for so early in the game, but they're also absolutely vital for any serious outdoor exploration. Make sure two members of the party have each skill.
"Soundsh bad. Anythin' we can do about it? We're heroesh, y'know."
"Central to his power as they were, he hid all the shells only days before his stronghold fell to ruin. It is rumored that Athea, nymph of the Great Sea, will give a reward of gold and song to any who bring her the sea's stolen shells. That is all I know of the legend, but my brother Beta may know more. Shall I tell him to expect you?"
"I don' shee why not."
... starts burrowing its way through the ground.
"I have sent a message to my brother so he will expect you. Find him in the caverns below this town. Now leave, but accept this trinket. It may be useful in times to come."
"What're we meant to do with thish? It doeshn't look like any coin I've ever sheen."
"Wait, Brother Alpha! Before we go, one more queshtion."
"Did anyone ever tell you you look sorta like Bill O'Reilly?"
"Okay, thash enough drunk fightin' for one day. Time to get shome rest."
"Someone refresh my memory. Last night, did we get drunk and fight a horde of monsters again after we said we weren't going to do that any more?"
"That we did."
"And now, while completely sober and thus with no excuse for our poor judgement, we're going into a place called the Unholy Hall, in the middle of a town we already know to be infested with undead?"
"Seems like it."
"Just making sure we're all on the same page here."
"Uh-oh. I... I don't think I've seen one of those before."
See how three characters are injured? That's what the ghoul did in one round. Ghouls have 100 HP, get four attacks per round for 3-18 damage and can inflict weakness. Like Zombies and Skeletons, they're highly resistant to physical damage. Unlike Zombies and Skeletons, they don't exclusively target Clerics, and they're accurate enough that they can easily hit anyone in the party anyway.
The most effective means we have to actually damage this ghoul right now is to have Blind Eagle and Murphy spam Toxic Cloud while Caelas spams Sparks. In theory, we'd be doing 10 damage with each spell cast. In practice, the ghoul's resistances mean we're doing a bit less than that.
Eventually, though, the party wears it down. And our reward...
... is a room full of pits?
"You couldn't pay me enough to go into one of those."
"I think we can clearly do with a bit more strength, yes."
"Hey, this is that guild we joined while we were all blind drunk. It probably sells some new spells that weren't available in Fountain Head."
"What are you so excited about? You can't even cast spells."
"Ramian Fig? That can't be a real name. Well, at least the spells on offer are real enough."
Nature's Cure: The healing powers of Gaiam are bestowed upon you to restore a great deal of fitness to whomsoever you choose. (This spell heals 25 HP to a single character. It's okay, but it doesn't really compare to what clerics get.)
Immobilize: Freezes any vulnerable group of monsters in their tracks, preventing them from attacking with might or magic. (After what happened with the Cleric of Moo I guess I should be re-evaluating the usefulness of status effects. I'll try this out on the next miniboss we run into, I guess. Don't get your hopes up.)
Suppress Disease: The disease will remain and still requires treatment, but this spell will temporarily halt the spreading sickness. (We've seen this spell already, and now the good party has access to it as well. It's a useful stopgap until Cure Disease becomes available.)
Turn Undead: Dissipates the magical energy that animates the dead, reducing to dust any undead armies before you. (This spell does 25 damage to a group of undead enemies and has a chance to destroy them instantly. It sure would have been useful about fifteen minutes ago.)
Silence: Steals the tongues of a group of foes to prevent them from reciting spells, but be careful. That which is lost can once again be found. (I don't anticipate too many more situations where this spell will be useful, but who knows.)
Blessed: For a time, this will clothe an adventurer in a magical armor as strong as the one who summons it. (This spell increases the party's AC by an amount equal to the caster's level. Its SP cost also increases with the caster's level, which is sort of a pain. It's still handy to have against powerful physical attackers, though.)
Holy Bonus: Brings forth favor from the graces of Bellum, lending extra strength to those who would strike their enemy. (All successful melee attacks do extra damage equal to the caster's level. Again, the cost also increases with level, but it's still a nice boost.)
Power Cure: A very powerful aid to the stricken adventurer. More experienced healers can do a wounded warrior well with this spell. (Yet another spell with cost and effects that increase with level: it heals 2-12 HP per level of the caster. It's expensive but very useful, although there are better options for healing at high levels.)
Lightning Bolt: Summons a great bolt of lightning directed against a group of your foes. Your strength is reflected in the crackling charge. (Hits a group of monsters for 4-6 damage per level of the caster. It's the first serious electrical damage spell that Sorcerers and Druids get, and quite powerful at low to medium levels.)
Identify Monster: Gives your party knowledge of the condition of any monsters directly in front of you. (I'll show this spell in action later. It's good for finding out any status effects a monster can inflict before actually having them inflicted on you, or for knowing just how badly outmatched you are against an enemy that doesn't seem to want to die.)
Wizard Eye: Allows your party to see an overhead view of the surroundings. (We saw what this spell does already, when the seeress cast it on us. Personally, I prefer to bring up the automap if I need to know where I am.)
Levitate: For much of the waking day your party will ride above the ground on the breath of the genie Floatious, protecting you from pits of peril. (Yeah, Floatious. Don't ask me, I don't make this stuff up. When this spell is active, the gargoyle on the left side of the screen flaps its wings. It protects from most ground-based hazards, like the pits in the previous update.)
Acid Stream: Sprays a stream of liquescent acid from your palm, robbing an unfortunate foe of much health. (25 points of acid/poison damage to a single target. It's okay when you get it, but it's soon outmatched by spells that scale with level.)
Jump: The great hand of the genie Vaultus will sweep you up and over the next step directly ahead, provided there are no walls of matter or magic. (This is a situationally useful spell that's good for getting past specific traps or obstacles.)
"I'm the toughest barbarian around. Sure, that's because I'm the only barbarian around, but let's not split hairs."
"All of us who can use bows now have one. Whether with melee, missiles or magic, attacking or defending, I'm a capable fighter."
"I might not be as strong or as tough as the others, but I'm a fast learner!"
"Even with chain mail my defences leave a lot to be desired. I guess I'll just have to kill our enemies fast enough that they don't get a chance to hit me."
"I am no front-line fighter, but I can protect myself if I need to."
"You guys better stay alive to protect me, because I'm not even gonna pretend I can take a hit."
And with that, another update comes to an end. Next time we'll be switching back to the evil party in Fountain Head. Should they explore Fountain Head Cavern, or try to beat the good party to the punch by exploring Baywatch Cavern instead?