Part 7: The Ghost Who Walks (Into Pit Traps)
"You ready to go?"
"Might as well. We're not gonna get anything done by standing around here. Anyway, we have to get to any treasure before those do-gooders clear it out!"
Welcome to Baywatch Cavern, one of the worst dungeons in the game.
"Hey, what's that green thing over th--"
This cave is full of green ooze, which damages the entire party. Casting Protection from Elements (Acid) mostly negates the damage, if the caster is above level 5 or so.
There are also pits. Hope somebody knows Levitate!
The first part of the dungeon is a long, trap-filled hall with secret passages off to the sides. What's behind the secret passages? I'm glad you asked!
"By the Gods! A severed, screaming head! The dead walk the earth!"
"Technically it's floating slightly above the earth. Or below it, I suppose, since this is--"
"That's beside the point! We're all doomed! Repent while you can!"
Apart from having a hilarious attack animation, Screamers hit the whole party for energy damage (more or less unresistable at this point in the game), and have a chance to cause insanity. They're not particularly strong or tough, but they're very fast, so they'll usually get the first turn in. It's best to pick them off with spells from a distance when you can (a single Acid Stream spell will kill one), but that requires that they not be on the other side of a Goddamn wall that you just bashed down. They drop 5 gems when killed, which is hardly worth the trouble.
"Hell, 's not like we've been shy about robbin' the living. An' he's not gonna have any use for his stuff now. Besides, what's he gonna do, haunt us?"
"Well, actually, the dead down here are already haunting us..."
"The screaming won't stop! Why won't the screaming stop?"
The corpses in this area generally have a decent random item on them. A few have Jewelry, which has no use but can be sold for money, or Sacred Silver Skulls, which Kranion will still pay for.
"I'm sure that will be useful to know, if we ever find either a red key or a dark warrior's keep."
"He, uh, doesn't look like he's done any struggling for a while."
"Pay no attention to the engine limitation behind the curtain."
"If you ever need my services, I will gladly join your ranks. Find me in the Captain's Quarters in Baywatch. Ask for Sir Galant."
"Sure, whatever you say. We'll keep you in mind next time we feel like robbing you blind and selling your equipment."
"Might as well free both of them while we're here, I guess."
"I thank you for releasing me, and if you ever need another healer in your party, you will find me in the Captain's Quarters, above."
"Hey, quit muscling in on my turf! This party's got enough healers."
"How can you say such a thing to this vision of loveliness? My dear, we would be honoured to have you in our party. Wait, wait, I remember my mentor teaching me the perfect line for situations like this..."
"How does that last part go again... oh, I'll just wing it. Ahem. I like my women the way I like my coffee: ground into a fine powder and, uh, dissolved in boiling water?"
"...I think I'll be going now."
"What? So soon? Was it something I said? I was only asserting my natural superiority..."
"Is that what I think it is? It is, isn't it? Finally, the legendary spell is mine!"
Those of you who followed my M&M2 LP, or have played other games in this series, may remember Lloyd's Beacon. It is the single best non-combat spell in the game. Casting it puts down a magical beacon at the spot where you're currently standing. Casting it again allows you to either reset the beacon or instantly teleport the party to the beacon's current location, no matter where you are. It's good for placing in any location that you're likely to want to return to often, like stat-raising wells. Each party member can have their own beacon if they're able to cast the spell, which means that if you have a Sorcerer and an Archer you can use their beacons to quickly shuttle between two locations.
There are some other spells here too. Levitate would have been awfully useful if it had come before a huge gauntlet of pits. Minty learns Power Cure, giving the party a second strong healer, and Flowers learns Lightning Bolt, giving him a much-needed source of group damage that scales with his level: he's now almost as good an offensive caster as Calgon, and will remain so until the highest-level attack spells show up.
"...shells were hidden on an island. The name of the island and its location I know now, but my other brother, Gamma, may be able to further help you. I will tell him to expect you."
"Uh, I think maybe you're actually lookin' for those other--"
"Shh! Gift horse! Mouth! Whatever these shells are, we can get them from right under those do-gooders' noses!"
A small hole opens up in front of Beta's feet and a fish jumps out of the water and into his hands. Beta whispers into the fish's mouth and drops it back in the water, and the hole disappears. "Gamma will be expecting you. Look for him in Wildabar. Thank you for freeing me but I must return to my bonds for reasons that do not concern you. But please accept this trinket for it may be of use as you continue your journey."
"Hey, loot! Doesn't look like it's worth much, though. Well, maybe we can sell it to a collector."
"A pit trap and a locked door? Somebody's hiding something important behind here."
"Does a room full of murderous undead count as 'something important'?"
"Well, it's important to know whether they're about to kill us or not."
"'Fuck monsters with aging attacks' -- Old Jungle Saying."
The Phantom is this area's miniboss. He lives (unlives?) in a little room in the far north of the dungeon, along with a bunch of Screamers. He only has 50 HP, but is completely immune to physical attacks. As long as your spellcasters have some decent attack spells and the SP to cast them, he probably won't wipe out your party, but at this point in the game there's no easy way to cure the magical aging he inflicts. In all honesty, it might be better to avoid him than fight him, although he does give lots of experience points.
"I suddenly feel rather out of sorts. Perhaps we should head back to the inn and rest for a while."
Being aged past 50 or so means a character will start to lose stats. If any stats hit 0, the character will soon die. Flowers is in no danger right now, but it'd be nice if we could avoid getting him aged any more.
As annoying as it is, Baywatch Cavern is actually a pretty small dungeon. That room with the four pillars near the arrow showing the party's current location is the Phantom's room -- just so you know what to avoid.
"If we never go back down here again it'll be too soon."
Since the entire party was rendered insane by the Screamers, a trip to the temple cuts into what little gold the party earned in that dungeon.
And the cost of our two newest hirelings cuts into what's left of it.
"We saved your lives and you're still looking for payment? What happened to gratitude?"
"If you wanted gratitude, you probably shouldn't have discussed your plan to steal all of our gear right in front of us."
"I'm getting pretty tough now. Not that there was ever a time when I wasn't, of course."
"I heard ninjas are s'posed to be stealthy and subtle, but I just joined up so I could learn to kill things with cool weapons."
"Is that a wrinkle or is this mirror cracked?"
"When luck goes against you, you make your own luck. When ghosts try to kill you... you, uh, don't get made into your own ghost?"
"Hey, Calgon, is dinner going to be ready soon? I'm starving here!"
"Yes, yes, don't rush me. I started the fire and now our rabbit stew's cooking in earnest."
"... you gave your cooking pot a name?"
Time to take a look at our newest hirelings. Sir Galant is a very solid character for this point in the game: he's a level above Sails, and with better stats in everything except Endurance. Of course, we're also at the point in the game before money becomes mostly irrelevant, so keeping him in the party is a non-trivial expense.
He comes with decent gear, too: he could use some upgrades, especially for his weapon, but good items aren't too hard to find. That yellow key will eventually become important, of course.
Darlana's stats are pretty good as well. She's a level lower than Sir Galant, but high Speed is always a good thing on a spellcaster, since it lets you buff, heal or attack before your enemies get their attacks in.
Her already-impressive Personality and Speed are bolstered further by the robes and boots she's wearing. If you like, of course, you can snag them and give them to one of your main party members.
Well, that's all for today. Next time, the good party will be exploring the outdoors. Should they go east, to Leper Canyon and the Valley of the Trolls, or south, to the Evil Eye Forest and Warlock Hills? Vote now!