Part 16: Why Nobody Trusts AdventurersUpdate 9: Why Nobody Trusts Adventurers
"Good position for castle. Easy to defend, not too far from major cities."
"Why we here again?"
"We've been over this, Fubar. We've come here to return Princess Roxanne's tiara to her before we're suspected of involvement in its theft."
"Plus, we should maybe follow up on this whole thing with Crodo, Baron Darzog and Lord Xeen."
"We're getting attacked by jesters in the middle of King Burlock's own castle now? That's just sad. Xeen wasn't always this much of a hole."
Mad Fools have all the combat prowess you would expect from jesters. They attack for a little bit of physical damage and can cause insanity, but they're not particularly likely to hit us even if they survive long enough to try, and Power Shield completely blocks all damage from them anyway.
Like the towns, Castle Burlock has a well, but this one doesn't actually do anything either to help or hurt the party.
"Huh, I wonder where these stairs in the east tower lead. Some kind of cellar or something?"
"Please to be calming down, sir. We did not come here advertently, but were simply looking around. We will be going now..."
"Fubar protect friends from bad guy!"
"Well, great. Now we're in trouble."
"Hey, hey, relax. This doesn't have to be a problem for us, as long as we don't leave any witnesses."
Castle Guards are quite similar to Yang Knights statwise, but with stronger attacks, slightly less HP and weaker elemental resistances. They're fairly dangerous opponents in groups, but a single one isn't much of a match for the party.
"I'm not sure about the ethics of this plan of yours, Trish."
"Aw, don't be such a baby. I'm sure they'll be found and resurrected when the next shift comes to relieve them. We just have to make sure we're long gone by then."
"Looks like we've managed to break into the dungeons. Now what?"
"Well, we can't let any of the prisoners blow the whistle on us. They're probably just being kept here awaiting execution anyway, so when you think about it, we're doing the king a favour by getting rid of them. We should be getting paid for this!"
"You sure you not just use that as excuse to kill things?"
"Eh, a little from column A..."
There are a couple of Ice Trolls in the cells, and they're significantly weaker than Castle Guards overall, despite giving more experience.
"Woooo, free sludge for Fubar!"
"Fubar, do you know why that sludge was still in the bucket? It's because even ice trolls won't drink it. Congratulations. You are officially dumber than an ice troll."
"Not dumber, just thirstier. "
"You're just lucky I've got the spell to cure you now. Honestly, I don't know what you'd all do without me."
"Drink less, probably."
"Flench find secret room. Look like somebody immured here."
"Hey, Flench, something's been bothering me for a while. You're obviously not completely stupid, so how come you talk like that?"
"Flench protest against linguistic hegemony."
"It seems whoever was walled in here must once have been wealthy and important. I suppose this won't be missed -- if we're already lowering ourselves to murder, there's no point being squeamish about taking some long-forgotten armour."
"Besides, I must admit it looks good on me, don't you think?"
We got lucky with the random item in this straw bed: unlike in real life, gold in Xeen is quite a powerful material for armour. This suit should last her for quite a while.
"I don't see anyone in this cell. Guess it must be vacant. Might as well look inside for any--"
"--where the hell did that come from and why did we not see it before?"
"Less of the talking, more of the getting the hell out of here!"
"Wait, Flench have plan for this. If we can get to Nightshadow..."
"Good, good. Now, wells in Rivercity and Vertigo to recover energy..."
"... and shrine of fire, so we not just burn to death right away. There. Now we just have to drink at well of speed, and then we ready to try again."
"Wait, why exactly are we going back to fight it again?"
"Because we're already in more than enough trouble without releasing a dragon to run rampant through Castle Burlock."
"Besides, I'm sure we can manage it now that we're prepared."
We are, if anything, overprepared: on top of drinking from the wells and praying at the shrine, we've got every buff under the sun on us. If we can't beat that dragon now, it's not gonna happen.
"Good spell, Lloyd's Beacon. Easy to get right back to fight before magic boosts wear off."
"Well, here go nothing."
"I can't believe it! We're actually winning!"
I guess we really did overprepare. It takes just two melee attacks plus a Cold Ray from Anleisa to finish off the dragon.
I'm not going to prepare for every fight like I did this one, obviously, but it just goes to show how much extra power a party can gain from visiting wells and shrines. That fight would have been practically impossible without them.
"Look, dragon food! Tasty!"
"Gods, I hope that's food..."
We don't gain any tangible treasure for defeating the dragon, but this is a fair reward.
"Perhaps we'll have better luck climbing up into the inhabited parts of the tower, rather than invading the castle's dungeon for no good reason."
"At least the suits of armour are friendly enough."
"Nothing up here but a lot of fools, although I guess there'll be five less of them when we leave. Might as well go check out the west tower before somebody finds out about the whole dungeon thing and we get run out on a rail. Or on pikes."
"More friendly armour! Hooray!"
"King Burlock really used to be that popular? Things sure must have gone downhill in the past decade or so."
"I don't think that was ever a meaningful title, Trish. He's the only ruler on this side of Xeen, you know."
"Wait, why are we poking around in a royal bedroom? Isn't this the kind of thing people get beheaded for, if they're lucky?"
"Oh crap, somebody's here! What do we do now?"
"...tiara recovered. Do this and you will be rewarded greatly."
"Oh! Oh, that's right! Yes, we're here to return your tiara. That's exactly it. Hey, in return we can get a royal pardon for any, uh, minor crimes we might have committed in the past, right?"
"Treasure and the favour of a princess? Everything is coming upwards in the direction of Vandesloof!"
For returning the Princess' tiara, we're rewarded with a bunch of money and a few mid-level items -- and more importantly, a whopping 200,000 experience points.
"The pleasure is all mine, fair lady. Until we are meeting again!"
Here's a video of the above sequence, if you want to hear the voice actress doing her level best to sound like a princess:
"Hm. We need anything built?"
"Can't hurt to see what's on offer."
"We're not exactly the type to settle down in one place. But hey, we'll keep you in mind for when we're old and rich, if we live that long. Having my own castle or something sounds pretty nice."
"Advice is always welcome, and royal advice must surely be the best kind of advice!"
"... me. Now Crodo and Darzog have both disappeared and I fear that Crodo has been abducted. Perhaps Darzog has imprisoned him in his tower. If King Burlock were not so obsessed with his search for the Sixth Mirror, I'm sure he would have you search for him there."
"Way ahead of you, pal. We'll go look for him just as soon as we find a way to get into Darzog's tower."
"Maybe King Burlock help with that. We go check throne room?"
"What a curious book. ... 'My postillion has been struck by lightning'? When would I ever need to know how to say that?"
This book in the entrance hall of the throne room teaches the Linguist skill, whose sole purpose is allowing the party to read texts written in foreign languages. Hmm, now where did we see some of those?
"Ooh! According to this, 'tension may be a bit high in everyone and everything you encounter today'! Amazing. How do they know these things?"
And this one teaches the Astrologer skill. Astrologer gives extra spell points to Rangers and Druids, who need all the help they can get.
"Ah, Your Majesty. We've travelled a long way to see you, and we were wondering--"
"We'll certainly do what we can to find this mirror, but please, Your Majesty, if you could spare us just a minute of your--"
"Very well. Let nobody say that Ms Swallow can't take a hint. I'll be leaving now."
"What so special about Sixth Mirror anyway?"
"You don't know? It's like the other portal mirrors, except portable -- wherever you travel, you can take it with you. Someone who had it could travel practically anywhere in Xeen in an instant! Still, it's a little weird that he's that obsessed with it..."
By request, have a video of King Burlock's dialogue. His voice acting isn't quite so special as Roxanne's, unfortunately.
"Ah well. Maybe the guy's just a jerk. Hey, let's go poke around in his personal chambers while we're here."
"Anyone else get feeling we being warned?"
"Mmmmaybe a little. But c'mon, I'm sure it'll be fine!"
"For the record, Trish, this is the worst idea you've ever had and if it gets us all killed it's completely your fault."
"So that's how King Burlock maintains his youthful physique!"
"So that make tomorrow second day of rest of life? But tomorrow, tomorrow be first day again. And what that make yesterday? Fubar head hurt."
"Trish, do you really think it's a good idea to rob the king?"
"He deserves to pay a little for mouthing off to us like that. Plus, he's kind of a lousy king anyway. Look at the state of all the towns we've been to, and even the castle."
The two chests in King Burlock's room contain a few decent-quality random items.
"Morality aside, I do wish you'd considered the possibility of a silent alarm."
Messing with either of the two chests in King Burlock's room will spawn guards. These King's Guards are similar to the Castle Guards, but they have more HP and higher AC. On the bright side, their attack does Cold damage for some reason, which means Protection from Cold plus Power Shield will drop their damage output greatly.
"Well, that's one more murder on our rap sheet. And one more reason to get out of here fast. That's one nice pendant he was wearing, though."
The King's Guards will often drop a high-level item when killed, along with 100 gold and some decent experience. It's possible to farm the guards by deliberately trying to open a chest with someone who has no Thievery skill, causing the guards to respawn indefinitely. I won't abuse this too much, though: I'll just open one of the chests, fight my way through the enemies, open the other chest and fight them once more.
"Maybe we in over our heads this time. But nothing to do now except fight our way out."
The trouble with fighting huge groups of Castle Guards like this is that if they knock you out they'll break your armour, which ruins your AC, which makes it easier for them to damage you further once you're revived. Multi-target spells like Fire Ball and Cold Ray are helpful for getting the battle over with quickly.
"Hah! Too easy! Hey, why friends all sleeping? Tired already?"
There are even more guards to fight in some of the side passages and rooms of the castle as well, if you haven't had enough already.
"I hope you've all learned a lesson about the price of crime from this."
"What lesson? We survived, we're even richer than before, and now any surviving guards are too scared to take us on. For once, Trish actually did something right."
" At least that means you two are starting to get along now, I suppose. I'll take my victories where I can find them."
"Let's celebrate our victory by going back into the cloud world one more time. I think I recognised the language on those statues in that book from the castle."
"Here we go. Now, if we just find and translate the rest of them..."
"What could it mean? The first three lines must surely refer to King's Megacredits, but I don't understand all of this about taxes and keys."
"Lots of time to think about that later. For now, we go back to town and rest."
As your equipment gets more powerful and valuable, the cost to fix it increases accordingly. Oh well; it's not like we had much else to do with all that gold.
I take a look at some of the equipment we picked up off the King's Guards while we're here, too. We now have Platinum or Ruby weapons for three party members, giving +6 to hit and sizable damage bonuses. They'll be good enough to last us through quite a bit of the game, but there's still better stuff to come eventually.
After the latest spree of looting, the party's bank accounts are looking very healthy indeed despite the cost of repairs and training. We've got more gems than we're ever likely to need in Clouds, and no shortage of gold either.
We're slowly but surely creeping up in levels, too. Half the party requires more than 500,000 experience to get to their next level at this point, so expect levelups to continue at a fairly sedate pace of about one every two updates.
Speaking of updates, I think we can wrap up the Danulf and Ligono quests in a single update, so I may as well do that next time before opening up the vote to more aimless exploration. Stay tuned!