Part 11: Like a BosUpdate 6: Like a Bos
"Are we sure there's really a restoration elixir for Mirabeth in this evil temple? It doesn't seem like a very elixiry kind of place, is all I'm saying."
"There's only one way to find out! Why don't we start by seeing what's in those crates?"
"Who would fill a crate with skeletons?"
"Maybe they ran out of space in their closet?"
"Don't be silly, that's just a figure of speech. Nobody keeps actual skeletons in a closet. Seriously, what is up with these things? Are the priests selling them to somebody?"
"If people buy Breeder Slimes, people buy anything."
"Ugh, and here I'd almost forgotten that those existed."
Opening the crates in this dungeon requires at least 25 Might, but they're pretty much all either empty or full of skeletons, so it's not a huge drama if you can't get them open.
"Aieee! Fubar get beaten up by floor!"
"I can solve that problem! The ground cannot be hurting us if we are not touching it!"
The floor of the Temple of Yak is riddled with hidden pits, which damage the two leading party members whenever stepped on: you really shouldn't come here without the Levitate spell. You can tell when Levitate is active because the winged gargoyle on the left side of the screen will start flapping its wings.
"Look lively -- we have company, and I don't think he's fond of trespassers!"
Clerics of Yak have 60 HP, high resistance to Electricity, minor resistance to fire, cold and poison, and a ranged electrical attack that hits the whole party. Keep Protection from Electricity up while you're in this dungeon and you'll more or less completely negate their damage output, allowing you to beat them to death at your leisure.
"Is it just me or are these evil clerics wearing lipstick?"
"Maybe evil ceremonial lipstick. Made from human blood or something."
Yak Priests are the bigger brothers of Clerics of Yak, with more HP and a stronger, fire-based attack. Their attack is still weak enough that Protection from Fire renders them mostly harmless, and they drop a decent amount of gold and gems.
"Altar in bad temple. That mean bad altar? Fubar smash?"
"Good idea. We all help."
"I'm so glad to see you two working to erode racial stereotypes."
"You help smash or you stand back. Not need peanut gallery."
Destroying the altars is worth a bit of experience for the whole party. Just go ahead and smash any you see: they're hard to miss, what with the unearthly glow and all.
"Look! Free drink for guests! Temple not so bad after all!"
"Fubar, I'm not certain that's--"
Many of the potions in alcoves around the dungeon will explode when taken, doing moderate damage to one character. Clairvoyance will help you avoid these.
"Hmmm. There is something not right about this wall. Firstly, there is the blood. Secondly, there is something behind it. But I do not think that we can just be kicking this wall downwards. Perhaps there is another way."
"It's gotta have something to do with these two switches, right? Let's see what happens if we turn 'em."
"Look! Behind you! We've done it!"
There are a number of bloodstained walls like this that have to be brought down by turning switches correctly in order to progress. The trick is that you don't just have to turn the right switches: you have to turn them in the right order, which as far as I can tell is a matter of trial and error. For this wall in the far southwest of the dungeon, the solution is to turn the west switch before the north switch. For the others, you want to start by turning the more distant switch from the wall first, and turn the closer switch afterwards.
Behind the wall is a small room containing a couple of Clerics of Yak, a Yak Priest, an altar and a few other features of interest.
This spellbook teaches Acid Spray to any clerical spellcaster who reads it; I'll talk more about it in a bonus update later, but it does disappointing amounts of acid damage to all enemies in front of the party. Spellbooks don't wear out when used, so you can teach all the clerical casters in your party. There are also spellbooks of Hypnotize (a Clerical version of Sleep), Sparks and Light in here, although what are you doing exploring a dungeon if you don't already know Light?
"Big box with person on it! Must mean there are good things for people inside! Like how cat food tin have cat on it!"
"Fubar, you can't just open every--"
"Two liches? Oh, come on! What, did they inter a married couple together or something?"
"Now is hardly the time for idle speculation! Defend yourself!"
Apparently it's not something specific to vampires and Identify Monster is just buggy in general in the Mac version of the game, so I might as well continue falling back on the hintbook for my information. Yak Liches have 80 HP, fairly high AC, moderate resistances to physical and magical damage, but no resistance to elemental or energy damage. Their attacks do a moderate amount of Magical damage to the entire party, and can cause unconsciousness. Unconsciousness is like sleep, and can even be cured with Awaken provided the target has at least 1 HP, but there's one critical difference: characters don't recover from it if damaged. That means that if everyone is unconscious, it's game over. Make sure to cast Awaken as needed when fighting Yak Liches, and try to get the battle finished as quickly as possible with buffs and liberal use of attack magic.
Just like the vampire coffins in Nightshadow, searching these tombs again after defeating the liches will unearth treasure: a few thousand gold, a big fistful of gems and some lowish-level random items. There are a number of tombs like this throughout the dungeon: some contain one lich, others contain two, and all of them will inflict a severe Curse (-5 to Luck) on whoever opens them.
Not all of the potions in alcoves will explode: some of them you can actually take with you. They're all Potions of Enchant Item.
"Hmm. Maybe if I pour potion on flamberge..."
"What? No change? Maybe potion go stale."
Enchant Item gives a random special property or material to an item that doesn't already have one. Its effectiveness is linked to the caster's level, and below level 10 it won't do anything. This may actually be a blessing in disguise, since casting it at level 10 has a good chance to give you something like a Wooden or Leather Flamberge instead of improving it.
"Is that a lich just running free? Must be something really important in this room, to justify setting a guard like that."
"Who could it be that is lying here? A former leader? Perhaps the founder of this cult, even? Let us view the truth of the situation for ourselves!"
"Flench have bad feeling about this..."
"Fubar? What's wrong? Oh, this is not good at all. Everyone, fight! Fight for your lives!"
Meet the Yak Master. 160 HP, 22 AC, 60% resistance to physical damage, hits the entire party for fairly heavy magical damage and can cause instant death. We don't actually have to kill him in order to solve this dungeon, but I'm not the type to back away from a challenge.
Prepare for battle with all the usual buffs before opening the coffin, and then hope he doesn't wipe out half your party in the first round. Have your spellcasters fire away with Energy Blast and Turn Undead; you can have your fighters use items to cast those spells if you have them, or otherwise just have them attack. This might also be a good fight to try out Poison Volley, since the Yak Master has no particular resistance to poison and killing him quickly is more important than conserving SP. Don't waste time healing -- you're likely to be killed before you're knocked out anyway.
"Oh crap, it's just us now. And I don't even have time for a proper deathbed repentance!"
"Do not give upwards! It is still possible for us to win! If this fireball hits its mark..."
"Wow. We actually did it. And now I guess we'd better hoof it back to town before another lich finds us or something."
For all that trouble, we get... pretty much the same treasure as we did from the regular Yak Liches. Also, Anleisa and Vandesloof are now 50,000 XP ahead of the rest of the party thanks to sharing the experience from killing the Yak Master.
"Oh, you cannot be serious. Did we really climb down all those stairs to get here? And now we gotta drag these poor saps back up?"
"That is how it would seem."
"Wouldn't happen to have any rope, would you, Sloof?"
"Iii am the ghooost of Ms Swallooow! Thiiis is the paaath ouuut of the foreeest! Alsooo, Iii'm a prissyyy liiittle buuusybodyyy!"
"What? Can this be? Is it really you, guiding us outwards?"
"Nah, I'm just messing with you. I took some ventriloquism lessons before I became a cleric."
Apparently Pathfinder skill works even if the characters with the skill are dead. I didn't actually know the game worked this way; I was expecting to have to burn a charge of the Town Portal wand in order to get home. Failing that, there's a menu option to "ask Mr. Wizard" for help, which instantly brings the party back to Vertigo at the cost of all non-banked gems.
Back in Vertigo, we have to spend most of the gold we found in the Yak Master's tomb just to revive the party.
As for the rest of the gold we found, most of that gets spent on fixing the dead characters' equipment, which was broken in the fight.
"Some days it not pay to leave home."
And the last of the money we found (and then some) gets spent at the blacksmith on a ring that grants +10 Luck. It's worth it to check out a blacksmith's inventory if you're in there anyway, since they'll refresh their stock every week and randomly have one or two items with special properties.
"I can't believe you were all so willing to go back here after getting killed."
"Hey, you had our backs when it came down to it, right? And whatever else is in here, it can't be any worse than that thing was."
"Woo! Fubar find swimming pool!"
"Fubar feel real smart! Also, Fubar chest hurt and feel all tingly in left arm."
"We really ought to take Fubar aside and give him a lesson or two in safety one of these days."
"If dying twice doesn't teach him anything, what will?"
Nothing in life is free, and the pool has certain side effects. Still, 25,000 experience is significant enough right now that it's probably worth schlepping back to a temple instead of just reloading.
"Ooooh, I recognise this coin. I know there's probably some kind of deadly trap on it, but if it's what I think it is, there's just no way I can leave it be. Decisions, decisions..."
"Oh. Well, that makes things easier. So much for deathtraps."
"What so special about this coin?"
"It's a King's Megacredit. It's... do you know what a bearer bond is?"
"I am without a clue."
"Oh. Well, it's sort of like one of those. In theory, it's incredibly valuable. Trouble is, only Castle Burlock accepts it, and even they don't just let people cash it in: you have to spend it all at once. But if we ever want to raise a private army or buy a hundred tons of steel or something, this is just what we need."
There are a total of eight King's Megacredits in this dungeon. While we don't absolutely need to find all eight, a certain number of them are needed to finish the game, so it's important to pick up as many as possible.
"Hmm. That not enchantment potion or exploding potion. Flench think we find elixir."
"Finally! Still, a little more exploration can't hurt, can it?"
Some of the beds found in the southern and eastern parts of the dungeon have random low-level items under them, but the real attractions are the pools.
"Fubar feel sick, but also pretty!"
This pool causes disease, but also permanently raises Personality by 5 if it's 20 or less (not counting temporary bonuses/penalties or boosts from equipment), and it can be used as many times as we want. Unfortunately Ms Swallow and Anleisa are both above 20 already, but hey, might as well go ahead and make the rest of the party needlessly gorgeous.
"Ooh! This pool taste good, like fruit juice left out in sun all week! And Fubar feel tougher too!"
"It's a bathing pool, Fubar. You're not supposed to... aw, screw it, who am I to argue with success?"
Bathing in this pool makes the character drunk, but raises Endurance by 5 if it's 20 or less, just like the Personality pool. There are also two more pools that just make the bather drunk or diseased with no benefit: Clairvoyance can tell the good pools from the bad.
"I think we really are done here now. Let's get this elixir to Mirabeth and then find ourselves a temple."
"Of course! The perfect reward for a deed of heroism: a kiss from a fair maiden!"
"'Fair' is pushing it a little."
"If we say that she was fair, who will contradict us? I see no witnesses."
The reward for returning the elixir to Mirabeth is well worth the trouble. Just make sure you turn it in after using the Personality pool in the temple, to maximise your total Personality gains.
"Fubar make new mermaid friend! Hooray!"
The experience we earned from the temple and the quest is enough to finally bump everyone up to level 10, which is as high as we can go in Vertigo. Fubar's tougher than ever thanks to his newly increased Endurance, and his armour is looking pretty decent now too.
"So, where to next? It seems we've solved all of the major problems around Vertigo, but we're still no closer to stopping Lord Xeen."
Ms Swallow has it all: the best armour in the party, good HP and physical combat skills, and respectable clerical spellcasting. She doesn't have any serious weaknesses to speak of right now, and she's replaced her weapon with an Amber Sabre (+3 to hit and damage) from one of the tombs, because I figure she could use the general accuracy bonus more than a damage bonus against animals.
"Got Levitate spell now. Could check out clouds, not fall to death this time."
Flench's spell point total is looking a bit anaemic by comparison with the rest of the party -- hopefully we can find him some Intellect boosts soon. He could use some extra armour, too. Apart from that, he's a solid fighter both offensively and defensively, and I've given him an Ogre Charm accessory that raises his Might by +8 to a whopping 30.
"I have to admit, I'm kinda curious about what might be up there. A world of clouds above a witch's tower... that's the kind of thing that gets my mystery-solving muscles twitching!"
Trish has grown into a rather competent melee fighter, almost on par with Ms Swallow and Flench. Her HP is a little lower thanks to being a Gnome, but overall she's doing pretty well. Thanks to being so far ahead of the rest of the party in experience, she could actually qualify for level 11 right now if we found a suitable training ground. I've given her a Pearl Sabre that I found in one of the tombs, to help with her accuracy and damage (it gives +2 to each).
"They're clouds. It's just going to be full of birds and murderous bird-people. I say we go to Rivercity and see what we can learn from the people there."
Anleisa is still subpar in melee combat, but her clerical spellcasting makes her a valuable member of the party, and picking up all that extra Endurance has helped her survivability greatly.
"Ladies, it is not seemly for you to be fighting! This is a dispute that should be settled with a pageant of beauty!"
"Flench have opinion too. Can Flench compete?"
"Of course you can! You lose. Next?"
Vandesloof is still the most fragile party member by far, and that's probably going to remain the case for quite a while. He can actually dish out half-decent melee damage with his staff, but he's no good at taking hits. To help with that, I've got him equipped with gear to boost his fire and poison resistances.
So ends another update, and so begins another round of voting. Should the party explore the cloud world above the Witch Tower, or go to Rivercity? Vote now!