The Let's Play Archive

Might & Magic: World of Xeen

by Thuryl

Part 21: Branching Out

Update 12: Branching Out

"We sure didn't have to go too far to find those ogres Captain Nystor was talking about."

Ogres aren't particularly dangerous to the party at this point: they resist elemental damage, but have weak attacks and only a moderate amount of HP. The most notable thing about them (apart from how goofy-looking they are) is that they have a ranged attack, which can be annoying if they're shooting at you from across a river.

"That's it? We're finished already? Not that I'm complaining, but seriously, couldn't Captain Nystor have hired some random shmucks to get this done for him by now?"
"It would seem that he just did."

Destroying the lair gets us 100 gold, some very low-level random items, and no experience. We've got around 300,000 gold in the bank as of the end of this update, waiting around for something to spend it on. Ogres aren't rich.

Fortunately, Captain Nystor is. We earn 40,000 experience and 20,000 gold for helping him. Not bad for such a simple quest, although the experience award is kind of a drop in the bucket now: from about level 12 onwards, the XP/level curve flattens out at 1 million experience points per level.

"Let's see, now. What's next on our to-do list?"
"Town of Asp just to north. Could visit if want. Should check out this tent first, though."

"...back to complete my spell. I will reward you handsomely if you can return it to me."
"How could I be refusing such a fair maiden? Fear not: with our help, your scarab will return to you like an exploding meringue!"

I've recorded a video of Carlawna for your listening enjoyment: even by the standards of this game, her voice actor overdoes it juuust a little.

"Lots of people living in tents around Asp. Ooo! Maybe circus in town?"

"... machine could only be powered by Crystals of Piezoelectricity and a Scarab of Imaging. I gave not a second thought to this fantastic tale at the time, for it was told me by a wizard who was quite mad... or so I thought... until now! You see, recently my sister Carlawna's Scarab of Imaging mysteriously disappeared, as well as my Crystals of Piezoelectricity. I fear that these precious gems have fallen into the hands of those whose sole purpose is to wreak havoc and destruction on the inhabitants of this region. There is great danger here. I implore you to help me recover my Crystals. If you will do this, I will reward you."

"Boy, you sure do talk a lot. Find the crystals and scarab, stop the evil lizard machine. Got it. Is that all?"

"Sure, whatever. We'll get right on that just as soon as we finish helping the other twenty people we already promised to help."

"These the things that attack Carlawna, steal scarab? Hm. Not so tough."

The lands around Asp are infested with Gargoyles. These creatures aren't too strong or tough, but they have four physical attacks per round and can inflict Paralysis. A paralyzed character can't act: fortunately, the condition can be cured with rest or the Cure Paralysis spell. Just make sure not everyone gets paralyzed or it's game over.

Closer to the desert, we also start to run into Giant Scorpions. They're immune to poison and resistant to other elements, have a decent amount of HP and a single strong physical attack that can inflict Poison. The game considers them to be insects, so if you've come here with an underlevelled party and are having trouble, four shots of Insect Spray will kill them off.

A little further southeast we can find Jousters, who also have a single strong attack and higher AC than Giant Scorpions, but less HP and no elemental resistances. They drop a generous 2000 gold each when killed.

"Hey, maybe there's someone living here who won't immediately attack us!"

"That make two druid who need help, no druid who help us. Third time lucky?"

Just a little bit to the northwest of Castle Burlock is a well that grants a temporary +50 Might to whoever drinks from it.

"I do believe we've seen most of what there is to see in this area, unless we want to take our chances with the lava fields. Shall we retrace our steps and explore to the west and south? Perhaps we may even find Tito's holy book!"

"Aieee! What do you have against me, you loincloth-wearing brute?"

The mountains a little further west of the ogre lair are full of Barbarians. They have a very solid 200 HP, attack twice per round for decent physical damage, have high elemental resistances and will selectively target Sorcerers. If your Sorcerer gets knocked unconscious while fighting Barbarians, you might just want to leave him that way, because keeping him in the fight with broken armour is more trouble than it's worth. On the bright side, Barbarians have a chance to drop fairly high-quality items.

"Revenge is sweet, like the honey of angry bees!"

No gold or gems for destroying this camp, but we do get several more high-quality items. In particular, Flench gets a pair of Gold Gauntlets to help boost his flagging AC.

"What this? Barbarians set up arena, maybe? Hm."

The Warzone, which you may remember some woman in the Rivercity tavern talking about, is a big empty arena decorated only with a few skeletons. There's no treasure to be found here, only war. Once we're in, we can't save until we get out.

At the centre of the arena is a desk where we can go to arrange a fight.

"What risk? Fubar strong! Nobody fight better!"

Before the fight starts, we can choose both the number of monsters (up to 20) and their level (up to 10). The highest levels of monster will just murder us, so I go for 5 monsters at level 5.

"Tremble in fear, opponents! On this day, the great Vandesloof has arrived to show you how fighting is done!"

The group we fight turns out to be mostly Sorceresses and a couple of other enemies. The monsters in the Warzone are partially randomised, but they're selected from a fixed list based on the difficulty level you choose.

We don't get any kind of treasure or reward for winning a Warzone battle, but we do at least get experience for the enemies we killed. Our characters are also granted a special award that tracks our number of victories.

"That was an interesting diversion, but we'd better return to our duties. There are so many people to help, and so little time! I wonder if anyone in this hut needs our aid?"

"... will reward you."

"Well, isn't he just a barrel of laughs. Guess we're eventually going to be checking out those lava fields after all."

"I think that can wait, though. Say a year or ten."

There are a number of enemies in the snowy southwestern regions of Xeen, mostly various kinds of humanoid. Evil Archers have lowish HP, strongly resist electricity, and attack 5 times per round for electrical damage. Obviously, they can attack from long range. Protection from Electricity will negate any threat they pose, leaving us free to kill them for gold, gems and items.

"I'm already starting to miss Halon. At least he didn't try to kill us."

Ninjas are a bit annoying. They have low HP but high AC, and are somewhat resistant to elemental and magical damage, and can attack 4 times per round for physical damage from long range. Fortunately, they're weak enough that at our current levels, Power Shield will absorb most of their damage output.

"... and have decided to hire some civilized people to kill the Trolls. If you kill them, we will reward you."

"Okay, talking tree out of nowhere. Sure, why not. We were going to get around to killing those trolls anyway if they had Tito's book, so why not get paid twice for it?"
"So you're just going to let him bark orders at you, then?"
"Careful, Swallow. You're going out on a limb there."
"Perhaps we could use the reward money to spruce our castle upwards!"
"That's the spirit, Sloof! You're doing oak-ay!"

"Oh, right. Let's go stop those trolls from turning this forest into an arbor-eat-'em!"
"In the name of all that is holy, just stop."
"I'm really sorry. I promise I'll turn over a new leaf."

Behold early-90s-era audio special effects in all their glory. At least, I sure hope that's not what Thickbark's voice actor normally sounds like.

"Map says this is Darkstone Tower. Anyone know anything about Darkstone Tower?"
"Nope! And right now we don't have a key to get in anyway."

"At last! The Holy Book of Elvenkind is in our hands! The world is safe for elves once more, and I can be breathing with ease!"

"It seems we've also found the trolls Tito ran away from."

The trolls here appear in larger groups than they did in the dungeon under Castle Burlock, but they're still not all that threatening.

"Using skills for evil is insult to art of archery. Archery meant to be used for good. Also to impress women. But mostly for good."

Destroying the Evil Archer camp nets us 20,000 experience, 3,000 gold and 50 gems.

"Ooh, tasty bones! All belong to Fubar now!"
"Um, Fubar? Some of those bones look humanoid."
"But others not, right? Can still eat those?"

Destroying the troll lair earns us 5,000 gold and satisfies Thickbark.

"Thanks! Y'know, you're probably the most interesting tree I've ever spoken to."

Super Shelter is a Sorcerer spell that allows the party to rest in some places where they normally can't, like swamps, snow, desert or even water. We also earn 75,000 experience for completing the quest.

"It appears we've stumbled across another ancient tomb or dungeon of some sort. Vandesloof, would you take a note of the location in case we need to return here?"
"As always, fair lady, it would be my pleasure. I have noted it downwards."
"Hey, wait a minute. How come Carlawna got 'fair maiden' but Swallow gets 'fair lady'? You know something we don't, Sloof?"
"A gentleman never tells."
"What? There's nothing for you to tell!"
"You're only making yourself sound guiltier, you know."
"Oh my! I see a most interesting cave over there! Why don't we forget all about this conversation and take a look?"

"What so interesting about cave?"
"According to the map, this is the Cave of Illusion. Who knows what marvels may be reclining in wait for us there?"
"Wait, that rings a bell. Didn't the prophecy we read in the Witch Clouds say something about 'illusion holding Magic's key'? Hmmm..."

A few steps northwest of the Cave of Illusion is this well. Like most of the other stat-boosting wells, it's good for a temporary +50 bonus to the drinker.

"This is kind of a lousy place to live, isn't it? You'd think whoever lives here would at least want a home with a door."

"Fubar not let old monkey stay out in cold any more! Fubar fight off evil ninjas!"

The Pagoda is in the snow a fairly short distance south from Kai Wu's tent. To get there, we'll have to fight our way through Ninjas and Snow Beasts. Snow Beasts have high AC and are nearly immune to cold, but are otherwise fairly unremarkable physical attackers.

"It's always satisfying to be able to do a good deed. Let's not keep that kindly old man away from his home a minute longer than necessary!"

"Mmm, Snow Beast meat! Fubar favourite!"

The party's supply of food is immediately increased by 40 units, which is a little more than enough for 6 rests. More helpfully, we also get 75,000 experience points.

In a nice little touch, if we return to the Pagoda we find that Kai Wu has in fact moved back in.

"You'd have to be crazy to build a town in a place like this, what with all the cold and the monsters. I mean, c'mon. It even has 'kill' right there in the name."
"The humanoid spirit is not crushed by such trivial things as monsters! When we get knocked downwards, we get upwards again, and they are never going to keep us downwards!"
"Sloof! Look outwards -- I mean out!"

"Dammit, now he's got me doing it."

This is not Vandesloof's lucky update. Cyclopes are quite similar to Barbarians: they have 200 HP, two powerful physical attacks per round, and will selectively target Sorcerers. Their attacks inflict the Confused condition, and I don't rightly know what effect it has, but luckily it wears off on its own anyway. Each cyclops carries 1300 gold and 5 gems.

"I suppose this is as logical a place as any for a shrine devoted to the forces of cold. I see there's a hut nearby, as well."

You know the drill by know: temporary +50 Cold resistance for praying at this shrine. If you were having trouble with the Water Dragons in the sea, this'd be a good place to go for a pre-battle buff.

"We have noticed these monsters. Of course, I would be more than happy to be destroying them for you. They are no match for the great Vandesloof!"
"The way I remember it, they were more than a match for the great Vandesloof. Honestly, you're lucky you have me around to pull your ass out of the fire. Or, well, the ice."

"Hmph. It may be that I am not able to defeat a cyclops in single combat, but at least I can burn their outpost downwards!"

Unusually, we don't get any treasure or experience for destroying this outpost: we have to go back to Glom for our reward.

"Always happy to help out a fellow gnome. Best of luck with the whole not getting eaten alive by monsters thing!"

Glom's reward is 100,000 experience and some low-level random items. The treasure is mostly useless, but the experience isn't bad.

"Flench think Flench can guess which druid live in this stone circle."

"Hmm. We've found the Spring, Autumn and Winter Druids now, and none of them have been able to help us. I suppose that means we must find the Summer Druid."

This well-hidden fountain at the edge of the world grants a whopping 250 spell points to whoever drinks from it. It's an excellent choice of place to set a Lloyd's Beacon.

"You say that as if you think we might refuse. Obviously you don't know us very well."

Finishing Tito's quest is worth 60,000 experience and 25,000 gold. The book is near the far eastern edge of the snowfields, so it's not too hard to find.

"Whew. That was a busy few weeks. At least all that running around and fighting helped keep us warm, I guess."
"I'm afraid we can't rest for too long. We have many more tasks ahead of us, and of course there's still the matter of Lord Xeen. A hero's work is never done!"

So concludes another update. Ms Swallow, Flench and Vandesloof have gained levels to bring them back up to speed with the rest of the party, and I've managed to allocate everyone's equipment to give a balanced and aesthetically pleasing armour class distribution as well. Next time, should the party visit the town of Asp in search of Falagar's crystals, go dungeon-delving for Megacredits in the Tomb of a Thousand Terrors, or continue their outdoor exploration? Vote now!