Part 6: Harold and Kumar Think This Joke Is Getting OldNow that the party has access to the Mountaineer, Pathfinder and Swimming skills, they can finally access new and interesting places near Fountain Head!
Nestled in the thick forest just outside town is this all-important little wagon. The Merchant skill halves buying prices and doubles selling prices in equipment shops, allowing you to buy and sell all items at cost. Put it on the first character in the party immediately and make sure they do all the trading with merchants from then on.
There's also a well that temporarily raises Personality by 20. It's less useful.
These, on the other hand...
"Ooh! Buried treasure! I call dibs! As the party's strongest fighter, I'm sure I can put it to the best use."
"Well, this is awkward. Um, anyone else want it?"
"I'll take it, unless you're planning to beat those electric mushroom things to death with a scroll."
Wild Fungi aren't too tough, but they do have an electric attack that hits the whole party so it's a good idea not to mess with them until you either have a decent amount of HP or the Protection from Elements spell.
"Wait, what's that behind them?"
"Did... did we wind up on Easter Island by mistake? Because I don't remember seeing any giant Moai statues around before."
The Astrology skill gives bonus spell points to Druids and Rangers. I wouldn't call it a top-priority purchase, but it's worth getting eventually.
"An impressive weapon. A pity none of us are trained in its use."
"We could sell it to the other party if we run into them again..."
"If you trust them not to turn right around and kill us with it to get their money back, that is."
There's a lot of buried treasure in the mountains. Make sure to explore every tile.
We can do this now, too! If the whole party can swim, they can travel freely through shallow water, which is generally any water tile that's 1 step away from dry land (rivers and coasts). Going further out to sea is still impossible, though.
On this little islet in the river near Fountain Head is one of the best wells in the early game: it gives +50 to HP, even if that would bring characters over their maximum hit points. (It doesn't do anything if they're already over their maximum hit points, though.)
There's also another well nearby that raises Intellect by 20 and a crystal ball in a hut that raises spell points by 100 but you get the point by now. Wells are good. Use them.
"Well, this is something new."
"Um, hello, mister ghost pirate. I guess, since we did find all that gold lying around in the mountains, we can leave a few thousand here. We can always pick it back up if no treasure appears, right?"
"Not bad. I've paid more for worse before."
In exchange for 10,000 gold, the pirate's hut yields several random items that tend to be better than anything else you're likely to find at this point in the game. It's a pretty good deal, and worth reloading until you get something really nice.
The world map's starting to look a little less incomplete, too. Our next destination is Castle Whiteshield, which is that thing in the southwest that looks like it might be a castle if you squint a little.
"This is what we came here for, isn't it? No sense turning back now."
"Huh. That's a refreshingly cryptic sort of greeting."
I think I'm gonna have to stop commenting on how goofy the names in this game are because, sad to say, "Praythos" is not the worst we'll see.
"If in your journey you should come across one of our missing artifacts, you will be handsomely rewarded for its return."
What all of this means is that Praythos pays the party for any Ancient Artifacts of Good they find, and his currency is experience points. Good characters get 500,000 experience, everyone else gets 100,000. This isn't important to the plot or anything, but it's still a hell of a nice reward.
"I don't see what's so merry about a throne, but okay, I'll try it..."
"Oh wow! Ahahahaha! This is awesome, guys! Come on, try it! As soon as I'm finished with it, that is! Hahahahaha!"
"Um, I think maybe you should stand up now."
"No, no, you just don't get it. I'm sitting... in the jester's throne! See now? Hahahahahahaha! Oh, my sides..."
"Okay, Bob, here's the thing. I'm going to give you until the count of ten to get up and then I'm going to grab your left arm and Belvenath is going to grab your right arm and we're going to haul you out of there. One, two..."
"Fine, fine. Spoilsport."
This... doesn't actually do anything, as far as I or anyone else can tell.
The castle has four statues with inscriptions on them, not counting the one at the entrance. Here they are in clockwise order (the one we just saw was in the southeast):
Dedicated to TESHY, protector of the common good. Lost in the campaign against the beasts of the Fire Isle.
Dedicated to the memory of LEADBEST, defender of truth. Lost in the taking of Evil Eye Forest.
Dedicated to JODELLE, guardian of purity. Lost in an expedition through the Frozen Isles.
"It sounds as if the master of Castle Whiteshield has been trying to make Terra a safer place to live for a long time."
"Maybe so, but there wouldn't be much work left for adventurers if he succeeded."
"Bob has a point, you know. Don't you think there's a contradiction in working to make yourself unnecessary? If the masses live in peace while the heroes who made that peace possible are being picked apart by scavengers in the wilderness, is that justice?"
"So what are you saying? We should just... just look out for ourselves, whatever that might involve? I should quit adventuring and become a tinker?"
"Oh, don't mind me. I was merely asking idle questions."
"I think maybe we shouldn't go down into the dungeons right now. It's just a feeling I have. Also if we're looking to see the king for a quest he's probably not down there."
There's one more important thing to show off in this castle before seeing the king. Remember the jesters in M&M2? They're back, and with new material!
Well, I didn't say it was better material.
"And advantage is hard to be gained, for the King Chaotic chooses to undermine any advances of mine or my foe's. If you will deliver to me the Ultimate Power Orbs that I may place them in the castle chantry, the way of the war may once again bend in favour of my army."
"We'll have to meet the other two kings before making any promises, of course, but from what I've heard, they're not my kind of person. In any case, we'll make sure to hold onto any Ultimate Power Orbs we find until we meet again."
So yeah, this is the main plot of the game. There's a Good, Neutral and Evil castle, each with its own king, and you have to deliver plot coupons, found in various dungeons, to them. In return, we get a 1,000,000 experience point reward per orb, and once we've delivered enough orbs to one king we unlock the endgame.
That's it for the castle for now -- there's other stuff available, but we're a bit too low-level to attempt it and it'd make more sense for the other party to go raiding Castle Whiteshield for loot anyway. To save this from being a shorter update than it already is, here's some content we missed last time in Baywatch.
"Do we really have to do this?"
"I mean, it's called the Pit of Pestilence. Going in there can't possibly be a good idea."
"For the record, I told you so."
There are a number of these pits around town. They have either gold, gems, or a decent-quality random item.
"One pit was enough for me. Belvenath can go into this one."
"Well, this pit doesn't seem so... Oh God! Get away from me! Get away from meeeeeeee!"
"They're everywhere. Can't you see them crawling all over you? Can't you feel them?"
"Well, I guess that means we're going to be visiting a temple after this is over."
Insanity gradually raises some stats and lowers others. It's also a complete pain to cure, since there's no spell to treat it. That means getting afflicted with insanity almost always means a quick trip back to the nearest temple before the afflicted party member's brain explodes.
"A wiser party would have learned from its mistakes by now. Not us, though."
"Sounds like you're volunteering."
"I saw the end of the world. It was... beautiful."
"I... I'll go into this one."
"We're all doomed! The earth is going to swallow up this entire town!"
"I'm surprised nobody's bothered to have these pits filled in by now, or at least covered over. They're not exactly a tourist attraction."
"On the other hand, I must admit that they seem to have attracted us well enough."
"Y'know, Murphy, you're the only one who hasn't jumped in a pit yet. I think it's your turn."
"That's my diseased portrait? Really?"
"Okay, that does it. We've had enough pits for one day. We can save this one for another time."
Luckily, the gold the party found in the pits more than covers the cost of getting everyone cured at the temple.
There wasn't much experience gained this update, which means nobody levelled up, which means no new stat rundown for the party. There'll be more action next time, though, and where that action takes place is up to you! Should the other party continue the pattern that's begun and explore Baywatch's cavern or should they muscle in on the good party's turf by going outdoors? Vote now!