The Let's Play Archive

Might & Magic: World of Xeen

by Thuryl

Part 13: Trouble in Rivercity

Update 7: Trouble in Rivercity

There are a few ways to get to Rivercity. The easiest is simply to use a mirror. It's also possible to get there by going west from Vertigo and taking a ferry. Finally, there's the route we're going to take, west from Nightshadow and through the swamps.

The islands in the swamp are spaced just closely enough that it's possible to Jump from one to the next and cross to the mainland, provided you're tough enough to fight off the monsters.

"See, this is why I prefer the city to the country. At least in town the trees don't try to kill you."

In addition to Stingers, we face these. Swamp Things have a lot of HP, high AC and a pretty strong physical attack, and are somewhat resistant to cold, electricity and poison. They'll selectively target Druids if for some reason you have one in your party.

We're not out of the woods once we escape the swamp, either. In fact, we're just entering it: the forest to the north is full of more Killer Sprites.

Fight your way due north through the woods and eventually you'll hit the coast somewhere near Rivercity.

"Wow, it's not often I run into a guy who's smaller than me. Look at him. Isn't he adorable? Can we keep him?"
"He's not a stray cat! He's an innocent in need of help!"
"How you know he innocent? Maybe these Sprites rebelling against tyrannical rule of iron-fisted faery king."
"Faery kings can't be iron-fisted. Everyone knows they hate iron."
"When in doubt, I say we go with the guy offering to pay us over the ones trying to kill us."

"There is no emergency. We can rest in Rivercity and decide whether to be helping him later."

"Yaaah! Zombie! Kill it!"
"That... that didn't seem quite like a zombie, somehow. Can we at least try not to use violence as our first resort if we run into anyone else in such a state?"
"Hey, the guy was coming right at us. If you've got any better ideas, I'd love to hear 'em."

Insane Beggars are as weak as you might expect, but often appear in large groups and can ruin your day if you let them. They'll probably die in one hit unless you try and take them on immediately after first leaving Vertigo, and you want them to die in one hit because they can inflict Insanity, a dangerous condition that's a pain in the ass to cure. Their attack does magical damage, so armour doesn't help, although Power Shield does: if you take no damage from the (fairly weak) attack, it can't inflict insanity either. Still, better not to take chances -- shoot at them as soon as you see them. They give exactly 1 gold coin and an insignificant amount of experience when killed.

"Well, yes, since I've got basic pattern recognition skills and all."
"Stop arguing with the tree, Trish."
"You're not the boss of me. I'll argue with all the trees I want."

Unlike the first two towns, most of the trees in Rivercity are useless, although a few contain random low-level items.

"The Bank of Xeen has another branch here, it seems. Most convenient."

"Between this and the murderous beggar, I'm starting to get a pretty good idea of what kind of place Rivercity is."
"A place where everyone is too stupid to know who not to pick fights with, you mean?"

Robbers are fairly unremarkable opponents, sitting somewhere between Clan Sergeants and Tiger Moles in strength and resilience, but with the added threat of a ranged attack. They drop a couple of hundred gold when killed, so that's nice.

We can access our banked gold and gems just fine from the bank in Rivercity: all valuables go into a common account regardless of where you bank them from.

"Good to know our money still safe. What that building over there? 'Arnold's Gym'?"

Arnold teaches the Body Builder skill, which grants +1 HP per level. Given how much money we've got, it's a no-brainer to pick it up immediately for an extra 10 HP to the entire party.

And in answer to the question everyone is about to post -- yes, the voice actor attempts something purportedly resembling a German accent:

"There's another building right next to it, too. 'Martial Training'. Hmm..."

Flint teaches the Arms Master skill, which gives a bonus to the accuracy of physical attacks. For 300 gold it's a bargain, even if the effect isn't huge.

"There is one more building on this street -- 'Lindon's Temps'. Is this perhaps a place for the sale of thermometers, or of paraphernalia relating to a religious military order, or of vegetables fried deeply in batter? We shall see!"

"I am filled with disappointment by this revelation."

Taking Lindon up on his offer awards the party 100 gold and advances the game's clock by a week. We can do this as many times as we want to, but we probably don't want to. Remember, a year is only 10 weeks, so this is mostly a good way to get old rather fast. You can abuse this by creating characters just to work them into old age and then creating new ones once you have all the cash you want, but there are much better ways of making money, like actually playing the game.

Most of the benches in Rivercity have directions to shops and skill trainers on their backs, but the designers couldn't resist throwing one joke in there. Apparently in the German version of the game, the message on this particular bench reads "Wer das liest ist doof", or "Whoever reads this is an idiot". The more you know!

"Sure are a lot of people living in tents around this park. You'd think with all the robbers around they'd want to live someplace that has locks on the doors, or at least has doors in the first place."
"Oh, but that's the genius of it. Look like you've got nothing worth stealing that hasn't already been stolen, and everybody leaves you alone!"

"Hooray! Fubar always want to know how to swim!"

The Swimmer non-combat skill is a really handy one, allowing the party to swim through shallow water (water adjacent to coastlines or in dungeons). It makes crossing rivers more convenient, but everyone in the party needs the skill for it to have any effect.

"So much for your 'look like you've got nothing worth stealing' theory, Trish."
"Hey, I only know how robbers think. Who the heck can say how sorceresses pick their marks?"
"Can you two stop bickering and listen to a plea for help, just this once? I'd think you'd be interested in the reward, if nothing else."

This is the other side of the Vertigo/Rivercity ferry crossing: if we still don't know how the mirror portals work and don't have any other means to get back, we can pony up the gold to be deposited not too far from Vertigo.

"Oh, sure you will. And then you'll use our money to build a space fortress and start a devastating civil war between humans and mutants. I'm wise to you, Magneto."

Magneto teaches the Navigation secondary skill, which makes desert travel easier. Without it, every single step in a desert wastes a whopping 3 hours of time. The party only needs one skilled navigator.

Martin teaches the Mountaineer skill, which is like Pathfinder but for mountains: you need two party members with the skill to travel over mountainous terrain. Also, his voice actor inexplicably attempts a Swedish accent:

In the final tent, we can buy membership to Rivercity's spellcasting guild. The guild offers some very useful spells that we'll need throughout the game, so don't forget to do this.

"Perhaps somebody in this building can remove the curses that those sprites from the forest have placed on top of us."

"Nice slogan. Catchy, yet informative. Definitely beats 'The plague is upon us'."

A donation at Pray N Pay costs more than at the Slime Temple, but its other services are the same price. The strength of the blessings a temple provides (and the number of times you need to donate to receive a blessing) depends on the day of the week, rather than on the town you donate in. Still, might as well stock up on some blessings while we're here.

"More drink for Fubar!"
"It occurs to me that we haven't had the best of luck with town wells so far. Shouldn't we at least try and ask-- oh, what's the use."

"See? Good water! Happy water, for happy Fubar!"
"Hm. Better than last two wells, at least. Long as we keep Fubar out of trouble. Flench help keep eye on him."

"Bull's Tavern looks a lot like Lady Geraldine's back in Vertigo. The people seem a little more energetic, though."

"Oh, now I remember hearing about the well! Barok threw a hissy fit when his pendant was stolen and turned the town's main water supply into wine."
"Wait, how's that supposed to make people want to return the pendant?"
"Well, he... uh... y'know, come to think of it, I'm not sure he thought his plan all the way through."

"Fubar like fight! Fubar love fight!"
"Calm down, Fubar. Lots of things to fight later. Not here."

Following her instructions takes the party, logically enough, to the Warzone. I'll cover it at some point, maybe in a bonus update.

"Let me see if I am understanding you. There is some reason for which the tavern wants Barok out of town, and so they hire the sorceresses... who steal his pendant... but instead of leaving town, Barok flips outwards and turns the water of the town into wine. So the tavern fails to run him out of town, and now anyone can become drunk freely whenever they want instead of coming here and spending money. Am I correct?"
"That does seem to be about the size of it. I hope you all see how crime doesn't pay."
"Well, it might have worked better if they'd told the sorceresses to bump him off instead of just messing with his stuff."

"At least they still got food to sell! Better food than slime town, too!"

50 gold is no big deal at this point, and it's nice to have a food supply that lasts 4 times as long between shopping trips.

"So, barkeep, got any good rumours for us? Because King Burlock here says you do."
"King here? Where? Where?"
"I'm offering her money, Fubar. Just find a nice quiet place to lie down and let me handle this, okay?"

"So there are some places on this side of the world that we might just never be able to enter without taking a trip to Darkside first. Good to know. Got anything else for us?"
"The currents of the river travel from the centre of the world to the edge. Anything carried by them from around here would end up in the swamp."
"Hmm... we'll be sure to keep that in mind. Thank you very much, ma'am. I think we'll be going now."
"What's the big rush? We might as well finish the drinks we paid for."
"Well, I suppose one more round can't hurt..."

"These drinks must be mighty. I am feeling light in the head."
"No surprises there. See, this place, what it did was... what this place did was that it watered down the drinks, right? But now the water is wine, so instead of waterin' them down, they're... uh..."
"They're drinking them down! They're drinking down the drinks that we drink down. Hee hee."
"You know, this is so great. Didn't I tell you? Didn't I say you two could get along? And now look at you! You're like a pair of long-lost sisters! Except one of you's a human and one's a gnome, so... okay, adopted sisters. But still! Sisters!"
"Look at you lightweights. Flench sober as judge. Look, can do handstand and still have perfect balance. Just have to get legs above head, and... okay, maybe Flench sober as slightly tipsy judge. Somebody help Flench clean up broken glass?"

"Thanks a lot for gettin' us kicked out, Flench. So much for bein' one of the good ones."
"What that supposed to mean?"
"Pfft. Nothin'. Forget it. Let's go buy some weapons an' beat up on thieves with 'em or somethin'. That'll cheer us up."

The Rivercity blacksmith can carry a wider range of equipment compared to Vertigo's, and there's a better chance to see higher-quality items. They're not always cheap, but we've got money to burn.

"Did you hear that, guys? This grate is calling out to me! It says, 'open me, Trish! Open me and find out what's behind me!' How can I say no?"

"We have staggered upon a nest of thieves!"
"It's stumbled upon a den of thieves. Well, in youuur case, I guess 'staggered' works too. Heh."
"Same thing! Now, it is not the time to talk but to fight! To hands!"
"It's... aw, screw it."

"More good water for Fubar! Fubar drink and fight all day! Did Fubar die, go to heaven?"

"Ugh. This well not as good as other one. Either that or Fubar drink too much."

"Your band of thieves will not protect you now, recreant! I will strike you down in the name of justice! Oooh, I always wanted to give a cool speech like that."

Compared to his lackeys, the Robber Boss has a little over twice the HP, a little under twice the damage output, and no ranged attack. He also has a chance to drop a medium-level item -- we get lucky and pick up an Amber Chain Mail, which will help shore up Flench's AC.

"Look at me, everyone! I'm taking the thieves' treasure and there's nothing they can do about it! 'Cause they're dead! 'Cause we killed 'em! Wait, what's that hissing--"

"Great, more work for me. Stop gettin' yourself hurt, y'stupid girl. Y'think I enjoy havin' to patch you up?"

"There are still more of you? Very well! Bring it onwards!"

The loot we pick up from this gang of thieves includes a Thought Belt, which gives +8 Intellect and goes on Vandesloof, and a Power Cudgel, which does +10 bonus Energy damage and will be good for Anleisa.

"This tiara... oh crap oh crap oh crap, I know this design! It belongs to the princess! This is like the hottest of hot property, and I don't mean someone left it by the fire! We gotta get this back to her before someone sees us with it and starts drawing conclusions!"
"Shh! Calm down. You good at hiding stuff. Can keep it safe until we give it back. For now, we need rest after fight. Beds in here, so good place now robbers are gone. When we wake up, maybe we go train."

"Oh, my head. It is no longer light, but heavy. Can we not be sleeping for another day or two?"

At the Rivercity training grounds we can finally train past level 10, up to a limit of 15. But what's that grate at the back of the arena?

"I don't like the look of that guy behind there. We'd better get good and ready for a fight, just in case."

Yang Knights are some of the toughest enemies we've faced so far -- maybe not quite on par with the Yak Liches individually, but they appear in larger numbers. They have a very solid 120 HP, a rock-hard 30 AC and moderate resistance to elemental damage, can attack 4 times per round for a hefty 3-45 physical damage per hit, and will selectively target any Knights in the party. Buffed physical attacks and Energy Blast are good for dealing with single knights, while Shrapmetal and Deadly Swarm are the order of the day for groups.

They drop 1200 gold each and can carry lowish-level items, so at least the fight is worth it.

"Fubar not know who these guys are, but they put up good fight!"

Captain Yang, leader of the Yang Knights, waits with about half a dozen of his most loyal retainers behind a false wall. He's stronger and tougher than his underlings in every way: 200 HP, 35 AC, higher resistances and a whopping 6 attacks per round. This battle is a test of your party's strength and endurance -- keep dishing out as much physical and energy damage as you can, and if you're close to level 10 with decent equipment you should be able to outlast him.

"Whew. Ah, such a porridging battle."
"Gruelling, Sloof."
"Eh, same thing."

Captain Yang has a very good chance of dropping a mid-to-high-level item, although in our case we just got a couple of accessories that boost fire resistance. Still, treasure's treasure, and extra resistances are always handy.

"Wheee! That's our best haul since Count Draco, and he had a lot longer to get rich, what with being super old and dead and all. Man, I am the best thief ever."
"Stop inflating yourself and tell us what's in Captain Yang's chest already!"
"Shards of metal, insect stingers, an arrow or two... oh, you mean his treasure chest."

The chest contains multiple random items of up to a fairly high level: come here this early in the game and you're all but guaranteed to get at least one or two things that are very useful to you.

"Are we in search of a sorceress? Here is their source, oh yes!"
"Sloof, leave the jokes to the professionals."
"Trish is right, you know. As a professional joke, she knows about these things."
"Even a night of drunken violence wasn't enough to help you two bond? Back to the drawing board, I suppose."

This building contains the town guild, but more on that in a bonus update. For now, we want to head out through the south exit...

"Wielding astonishing arcane power is no excuse for dressing immodestly, you know. Besides, it's almost winter -- aren't you cold?"
"Flench assume the fire magic she trying to roast us with also help with that."

Sorceresses are quite similar statwise to Yak Priests: they have enough HP to take a couple of hits, and like to attack the entire party for a fair chunk of fire damage. Protection from Fire is a good idea here.

"Gyah! Well, that's what I get for not concentrating on the fight."

"You okay there, Swallow? That looked like a nasty bite."
"I... I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be? You're the one who's constantly carping and finding fault with us all, not me. Leave me alone!"
"Geez, a 'yes' would have been good enough. Guess that's what I get for trying to be nice for once."

Aw, crap, this is why I said to hurry and kill Insane Beggars whenever you see them. Ms Swallow is now afflicted with Insanity, a condition that raises some stats while lowering others, and gets progressively more severe just like Poison and Disease do. We're going to have to run back to a temple to fix this at some point, because there's no specific spell to cure or mitigate it.

"Even more good water? Everything coming up Fubar!"
"You can say that again..."

"Best water! Even better than booze water! Fubar feel like ten feet tall, want to smash everything Fubar see!"
"I'm getting this horrible feeling that whatever those beggars have just might be contagious."

"Looks like this is what passes for treasure among the beggars. At least it lets me get some practice with opening locks."

"This is more like it, is it not? Barok is sure to reward us now."
"That pendant... it's so beautiful! It's mine! I won't let you take it from me! I know you're all plotting against me behind my back! Don't deny it! Don't you dare!"
"OK, enough of that. We drag you off to temple now for healing. Trish, you grab legs -- I grab arms. Anleisa, Vandesloof, you keep Fubar in line."

"Stop! What are you doing to me? I demand -- oh. Ahem. I... um, sorry about all that."
"Hey, it happens. Magical insanity's kind of an occupational hazard. I only blame people for the stupid crap they do of their own free will."

"Wait, this mean no more booze well? Damn."

I'll go over the details of the Enchant Item spell in the bonus update, but as we already saw in the Temple of Yak update, it's kind of underwhelming. We also get 80,000 experience points, and if we come back here Barok will teach the Enchant Item spell to any additional characters we make for 1,000 gold.

Having the well fixed is a pretty nice reward, though: we can come here any time we want to top up on spell points, up to 100 above our normal maximum. It'll be especially good for Ms Swallow and Flench, since they have lower SP totals to begin with.

The main changes to our party since the end of last update are levelups for Fubar, Trish and Anleisa, extra HP from Bodybuilding, and quite a bit of new equipment. We're slowly but surely continuing to grow stronger.

Now that we can travel across water, there are even more options for exploration open to us. Should the party help recover Danulf's wand, return Princess Roxanne's Tiara to its rightful owner, explore the Witch Tower clouds, or search for Ligono's skull? Vote now!