Part 6: The Ghoul of His DreamsUpdate 3: The Ghoul of His Dreams
"Can we look for Celia now? Derek really seemed desperate, and I mean we've already helped out the Dwarves and everything, so... well, y'know, I think we should at least give him some closure."
"Flench have no problem with that. But we not get far if we not able to find way through forest."
And just like that, we've picked up a new skill. While Rialdo claims to charge 2,500 gold per character, the game actually only deducts 2000 gold. Remember, you need two Pathfinders to enter forests, so don't waste your money on the skill until you've got enough for both.
"Good water! Make Fubar strong, ready to fight!"
The Fountain of Ability, in a clearing near the southern edge of the Forest of the Walking Dead, gives a temporary +5 experience levels to anyone who drinks from it. This improves everything that depends on level, including maximum HP and SP, number of attacks per round, and the power of level-dependent spells. However, it doesn't increase your current HP or SP, so you may want to find other fountains to fill up on those afterwards.
"Ewww. Well, I guess there's no way around them if we want to find Celia. Let's get this over with."
"It's a shame, really. This would be such a lovely forest if it weren't for all the shambling blasphemies against natural law."
Zombies and Skeletons are pretty similar to each other, and both kind of irritating to fight. They're heavily resistant to physical and most elemental damage (although zombies are vulnerable to fire), they'll both selectively target Clerics, and Zombies can inflict disease. Energy and Magic damage work on them, but our options for inflicting those are limited. All I can really do is armour Anleisa up as much as possible and hope she doesn't get hit too much while we chip away at the monsters.
"It is one thing to be seeing zombies. But snakes and toads teaming upwards with each other? That is unnatural."
These monsters mostly hang around in Toad Meadow, but they can stray onto the road around the Forest of the Walking Dead if you get close to them. Giant Toads have very high HP for this point in the game, and a powerful single-target physical attack that can cause sleep. Fortunately, since they're animals, Ms Swallow's new wakizashi does triple damage, enough to take a huge chunk out of their health if she hits. Giant Snakes can inflict poison, but have much less HP than the toads, and Ms Swallow can generally one-shot them.
"Yeah, thanks for the hot tip there, but we kind of noticed already. Maybe if this sign were readable from further away, Celia would still be with Derek right now, and we wouldn't be wading through a small army of the living dead looking for one that used to be her. Just a thought."
"Ugh. As if things weren't bad enough already. I don't like the look of this wound at all."
"Oh, I don't know. I think it's quite a pretty shade of green, personally."
"If you want a matching one for yourself, keep cracking jokes and I'll see what I can arrange."
Disease lowers all the stats that Poison doesn't (except for Luck), and like Poison it gets steadily worse over time. Unlike Poison, we don't yet have a spell to suppress it, so all we can do is run back to Vertigo with our tails between our legs if someone is afflicted with it.
"We all the way to other end of forest. Still no sign of Celia. Not good."
"Look on the bright side -- at least we've found a place to rest and resupply before we continue our search."
"Yeah, not so much. That's Nightshadow, cursed town of the undead. Also, there's a swarm of giant insects flying directly toward us. Just thought I'd put that out there."
Stingers are pretty bad news. Every round, they attempt to attack the entire party for 20 physical damage, with a chance to inflict the Weak condition, lowering all stats: this attack can miss, but that's still some hefty hurting they're putting on us. They also have very high AC, making it hard for our melee fighters to do anything. Insect Spray is our best option against them, doing exactly enough damage to bring them down in 2 castings.
"Now, I know being stung by countless insects took a lot out of you all, but don't worry! I'll have you good as new in no time."
"Fubar still not feel good as new. Fubar feel old like zombie."
If you go 2 consecutive days without sleep, this will probably happen: the entire party gets afflicted with Weakness. It's more of a nuisance than a danger, but some of us are getting low on HP and SP anyway, so we might as well rest.
"So much for finding a safe haven. Should we at least check out that tent nearby?"
"... was. I've heard the clerics of the Evil Temple of Yak due east of here have one. If you could retrieve this elixir for me, I would be eternally grateful. Take this stone to gain entrance to the temple."
"We'll see what we can do. And hey, don't be too hard on yourself. Some people go for the matronly look."
"What? I'm not saying we're not gonna help her, I'm just trying to cheer her up."
"Okay, we done here for now. Back to search for Celia."
Items designated with a star are quest items: they go in a special, separate inventory and we can't sell or discard them.
"Who has built all of these magic fountains that surround the side of the country?"
"More good water for Fubar drink!"
"Fubar could cast spell aaalll day! Uh, if Fubar knew any spell to cast."
The Waters of Magic increase SP by 25, even in excess of a character's normal maximum SP. Of course, spell points don't do any good on a character who can't learn spells.
Travelling through forests can be disorientating: you can only barely see anything in front of you through the trees, so it can be hard to tell when you're making progress and when you're bumping into a river. I wish I'd remembered to use Wizard Eye for this -- it would have made my life a lot easier.
"Point of order: is there such thing as shrine to Undead that is not horrible?"
"Perhaps we should just destroy it for now and debate philosophy later, when we're no longer in a zombie-infested forest."
"Speaking of being somewhere else, can we go now? We've already done our good deed for the day, and Celia's probably a lost cause by now, so..."
"Not a chance. We finish what we start."
"Look what I have found! There is even a name etched upon the side. Perhaps its owner will be offering a reward, if we give it backwards."
We've just found a quest item for a quest we don't actually have yet. Of course, that'll make it pretty easy to solve once we do get the quest.
"What's this? Another shrine? Wait, I think I hear something..."
I've put up a video of this conversation just for the voice acting. It's... probably not the first voice you would associate with the idea of a ghost.
"... and I will teach you a spell before I go."
"I suppose that answers Flench's question as to whether there's such a thing as a non-horrible undead shrine."
"Hey, Ligono, sorry to bother you again, but I've got one more question--"
"I see you don't have my skull yet. Well, that's alright. I've been here for a very long time. I don't mind waiting another century or so. Don't worry about me. I'll just keep washing up on the shore here."
"OK, OK, we're going. Geez. No need to bite my head off just because you don't have yours."
"Oooh. Fubar feel all tingly."
Praying at this shrine gives a temporary +50% Electricity resistance to the party. Which is nice, because...
... this part of the forest is full of Killer Sprites, who attack with electricity. They have fairly high AC and a slight resistance to all damage, and drop 6 gems when killed.
It's best to deal with them quickly using strong attack spells, because they can inflict a Curse on characters. This lowers Luck and seems to penalise melee accuracy as well, and can only be cured by visiting a temple. Fortunately, it doesn't get worse over time like poison and disease do.
"Think this is the Temple of Yak that that mermaid asked us to find? I can't help but sympathise with her situation. Also, mermaids are known for giving magical rewards to those who help them, while random yokels with lost fiancees aren't. Food for thought."
"Not look like he going to let us in. Probably wrong temple."
"More of these things? I hate bugs."
"What wrong with bugs? Get real tasty when you cook them right. Fry up quick in pan with salt, olive oil, maybe little garlic. When all brown and crispy, down hatch they go!"
"Wow, Fubar, you can cook?"
"Can, but shouldn't."
Insect Swarms are significantly weaker than Stingers: they do half as much damage, have a little over half the health, have lower AC and can't inflict Weakness. One Insect Spray to soften them up plus a lucky hit from a melee character will take them down.
"A hut? How curious. What kind of person would live in a place like this?"
"Wow. I can't believe the zombies kept her alive for this long."
"They dead. What they need to hurry for?"
"Well, they may have all the time in the world, but we don't, and neither does Celia. Will somebody help me with these ropes?"
"Um, if you say so. I think we killed most of the zombies anyway, but watch out for... oh look, she's wandering off already."
"Gee, I wonder how she managed to get captured in the first place."
Here's the location of Celia's hut, in case you don't feel like tromping through the entire forest in search of it.
"Another dungeon? Perhaps this one will be the Forehead of Yak."
"Eh, close enough."
"Looks like he's going to let us in... but shouldn't we go check if Celia got back okay first?"
"We're actually getting paid for this one? The world is full of surprises."
"Not much, but it's not like I was expecting anything to begin with."
"That's probably the money he was saving up for his wedding, you know. You could stand to be a little more grateful."
We also get 20,000 experience for the entire party for solving this quest, which isn't bad at all.
Only Fubar and Anleisa levelled up this time, and we didn't get any new equipment or stat boosts, so I'll just post this chart instead of a full rundown of the party's status. If you've noticed that we seem to be poorer than before, it's because I banked most of our gold and gems.
Even though this was a shortish update, we've opened up a couple of new areas that we're at least theoretically capable of completing at our current level. We still have the option to go after the Witches of Toad Meadow, but we can also enter the Temple of Yak to help Mirabeth the mermaid, or explore the cursed town of Nightshadow. Which one the party attempts next is up to you, so cast your vote!