Part 15: Fubar in the Sky With DiamondsUpdate 8: Fubar in the Sky With Diamonds
"I'm still curious what the deal was with that cloud world above the Witch Tower. There's gotta be all kinds of crazy magic up there, right? Some of it might even be helpful!"
"And now that we can simply be floating above the clouds, falling to our deaths will not be a problem!"
"Is this really going to work?"
"Just make sure to stay over clouds, not step out into open sky. Levitation not save you if you got nothing to levitate over."
"Oooo! More gems for Fubar to share with friends!"
There are clusters of 10-25 gems scattered around the clouds, ripe for the plucking. An extra few dozen gems isn't a huge deal, but it's something.
"There is an inscription on this statue, but it is not in any language that I can stand under."
"So that narrows it down to every language with a writing system. Good to know."
There are four statues like this in the Witch Clouds. It's possible to decipher them, but we need something that we don't have yet.
"Could this be a gift from the gods? How thoughtful of them!"
If a party without the Crusader skill tries to take one of these offerings, they'll suffer damage. If a Crusader takes it, they'll receive a random low-to-medium-level sword of some kind. I think there might be a hint about this in a tavern somewhere, but since completing the Witch Tower quest makes everyone a Crusader automatically, you're likely to stumble into meeting the requirement without knowing that a requirement even exists.
"Stratocumulus clouds not normally produce lightning. Flench wonder if just bad luck or effect of witch magic. Also wonder if Anleisa and Swallow can help treat electrical burns."
Lightning can strike up here without warning, so keep Protection from Electricity up. It only does 15 points of damage, fortunately.
Harpies, as I mentioned last time we were up here, hit for decent amounts of magical damage. They'll relentlessly target Archers, to quote the hintbook, 'for reasons peculiar to flying creatures'. The Harpy Queen has more HP and stronger attacks, but not by a huge margin, and will spread her attacks out among the party members. She can also inflict Weakness, but that's no big deal.
"Should destroy nests, drive out harpies. Not want them coming down to Vertigo to look for food."
"You sure you don't just have a grudge against them for ganging up on you all the time and leaving the rest of us unharmed?"
"No grudge. Okay, maybe little grudge. But reasoning still stands."
Destroying a harpy nest awards 5,000 experience to the party. If you don't destroy all the nests, the harpies will respawn if you leave the area for long enough, but they don't give enough experience to make it worth farming them.
"Do you guys see that bit of cloud ahead of us and to the left?"
"I can see it well enough, but I'm afraid I can't see any way to reach it."
"Better head back before our levitation wears off, then. It's nearly dawn, and hitting the ground at terminal velocity isn't my favourite way to start the day."
"Since we're in the area and we've now mastered swimming and mountaineering, we may as well do some more exploration around Vertigo before we leave. I've always been rather curious about who lives on that little island there..."
I've got a little confession to make: I included the Witch Clouds voting option, despite knowing that it wouldn't take very long to do everything we could there, so that if you voted for it I'd have an excuse to get some more outdoor exploration done in the name of fleshing out the update. I'll come back and finish the last few things in the Witch Clouds once we have the ability to do so.
"I'm... guessing that means this is your whistle, then? You're welcome. I guess we'll go, uh, check out those statues now and find out what they do, if we can find them in the first place. See you later?"
We've just managed to complete a quest, and earn 15,000 experience for it, without actually having received it or learning what it was or why we wanted to do it. If we'd come to see Orothin before finding his whistle, we'd have received the following dialogue:
"A couple of years ago I built a statue on each of the two islands near here. The statues are supposed to teach spellcasters the Cure Poison and Cure Disease spells, but I lost the bone whistle needed to activate 'em. I think I dropped it somewhere in Pitchfork Creek. If you can find my whistle I will activate the statues."
Sure enough, on the islands east of Orothin we can find two statues and touch them to gain Cure Poison and Cure Disease.
The Cure Poison island also contains a Shrine of Poison, granting temporary poison resistance to the party. A shrine like this would be a good place to set a Lloyd's Beacon if you know you're going to face something with powerful poison attacks.
"Crodo was the one who sent us that dream about Lord Xeen in the first place, wasn't he? We should probably get around to rescuing him at some point."
You'll occasionally see bottles like this floating in rivers. They can contain either messages or items: there are a couple of others nearby with Enchant Item scrolls in them.
"Fubar wish to make lots of friends and always have lots of tasty food! Wait, that mean Fubar have to throw two coins in?"
"I should certainly hope so, unless your concepts of 'friends' and 'tasty food' are coextensive."
"I wish for us to one day be known as heroes of legend!"
"Flench wish for world to be saved so Flench can have some peace and quiet."
"I wish my allies would stop charging headfirst into danger like rabid Tiger Moles so that I wouldn't have to clean up their messes when they nearly get themselves killed, or in some cases actually get themselves killed."
"I wish you'd shut up."
"I just wish we could all get along for a change."
Throwing a coin into this well grants a temporary +60 bonus to Luck. This is most useful if we're about to face enemies that can inflict dangerous conditions, like the Yak Master.
"Ah, here's something that can bring us all together -- a chance to make the world a safer place by incinerating a small part of it."
There are several outposts like this in and around the mountains near Vertigo.
We probably should have cleared them out quite a bit earlier than this, if we wanted the rewards to still be relevant. Oh well.
"Call it a hunch, but I think we found where all these Orcs have been coming from."
"We can only hope that if we destroy this settlement, any survivors will move on and leave Vertigo alone in future."
"That not all we can do. Can also beat up any survivors that not leave Vertigo alone."
The rewards for these caves are quite a bit better than the ones from the outposts, and the danger isn't that much greater. We get 4000 gold and some low-level random items from each cave we loot, too.
This well on the north side of the Red Dwarf Range grants a temporary +50 Speed. Many enemies are fast enough to outspeed the party, but very few are fast enough to outspeed the party by 50 points, so this can grant you a first-round advantage in combat as well as a few extra points of AC.
And this shrine is good for a temporary +50 to fire resistance.
"Call me crazy, but I've got this weird feeling that we shouldn't stick around here. Let's cross back to the south side of the mountains and keep heading west."
"Flench always interested in improving perceptual acuity."
Spot Secret Doors is taught out of a wagon off the side of the road west of Vertigo, and it's well worth the price if you didn't make a Dwarf. The gargoyle in the lower right of the view area will wave its hand if a party member has the skill and the party is standing in front of a false wall that can be bashed down.
"Nice to see that Joe's back on his feet already after being run out of town."
"Hey, talking people into giving him money is the one marketable skill he has. We could probably get some useful tips from him."
The Merchant skill halves buying prices and doubles selling prices, allowing you to buy and sell items at cost. It really will pay for itself pretty fast, and is worth getting as soon as you can spare the money.
That cave just to the east of Joe is an entrance to Dwarf Mine 4, which as you may remember we couldn't quite fully explore when we first went there on account of the water.
There's not a lot to see in the newly accessible areas apart from several giant spiders, a couple of empty beds and crates, and one chest full of gold. Still, this is more than enough to pay for what we spent on the Swimming skill.
There's also an Elemental Shrine nearby, granting minor temporary resistance to all elements. This doesn't stack with the stronger resistances from the shrines of specific elements, so it's mostly useful if you haven't yet found the shrine for the element you want.
"Look, it's a tiny Stonehenge! Isn't that adorable?"
"Shh. Look. Someone coming out of stone circle."
"I must admit, I hadn't been informed that changing the seasons was my responsibility. But we shall see what we can do about finding this snowflake of yours."
This is part of a quest chain that we won't be able to complete until we've done quite a bit more exploration. But that's okay, because the reward isn't one we'll need for a while either.
Here's that ferry to Rivercity that I was talking about in the last update. But what's that on the minimap to the southwest?
"A fountain in the middle of the ocean? How peculiar. I wonder if the water is potable?"
"Why do we not go over there and find outwards? Anleisa, would you be obliging?"
"Sure, why not. It's a break from healing and curing all day, at least."
The fountain grants a +10 temporary bonus to Intellect and Personality. It's not as useful as it could be, since it doesn't increase your current spell points to their new maximum amounts.
"Huh. Refreshing. Not salty at all."
"Wait, do you see that thing on the horizon?"
"Oh, that? That's the island where Baron Darzog's Tower is. Even if we thought we were up to rescuing Crodo right now, though, we'd need a key to get in."
"No, not the island, the big ol' sea monster poking out of the water next to it. I don't like the look of it one bit, and it doesn't look like it likes the look of us either. Whew, try saying that three times fast. Anyway, let's stick to dry land for now."
"It seems we've found ourselves in front of Castle Burlock after all. The question is, are we ready to go in yet?"
And that about wraps up our little tour of the southeastern quadrant of the world map. Next time, should the party enter Castle Burlock or do some more outdoor questing first? Vote now!