The Let's Play Archive

Might & Magic: World of Xeen

by Thuryl

Part 37: All Bite and No Bark

Update 20: All Bite and No Bark

"We should help Arie recover his scroll. Even if he cannot help us in the fight against Lord Xeen, he has the potential to do much good for the world as a sorcerer."

"Quite some guard dogs they've got in this place. Time to send in the dog catchers. That's us, by the way. We're the dog catchers."
"Good to see your ambitions are lofty as always."

Werewolves only have 100 HP and minor elemental resistances, so we can take them down in a couple of hits. They have two physical attacks per round and can inflict a decent amount of damage plus Disease when they hit, but they mostly just miss us if they live long enough to attack at all.

"Ooh, all soft and comfy! And full of relaxing smell of wet dogs! Should sleep here if need to rest!"

Most of the werewolf beds are empty, but some can contain some low-level random items.

"This castle have all modern conveniences! Even running water!"

"Called that because when you drink it, it give you runs. Uh-oh. Quick! Where is little orc room?"
"Just hold still until I cure you. And stop drinking everything you see!"
"Fubar not drink everything Fubar see. Sometimes eat or fight instead."

Unlike the town wells, we can't fix Castle Basenji's well to do something beneficial. Just don't drink from it.

"Onward we go, into dungeons dark and deep! Perhaps here we will be finding the scroll we seek! Ooh, that was almost a rhyme. Vandesloof: great sorcerer, great lover and now great poet!"

"Scroll challenge Fubar to staring contest? Fubar stare back!"
"Fubar, I suspect that's not the Scroll of Insight. Perhaps we should--"

"Fubar see eternity!"
"What was it like?"
"Super huge!"
"Apparently reading is also on the list of things you shouldn't be allowed to do. To be honest, I'm impressed you're capable of it at all."

"Wooo! More scrolls! Fubar learn secrets of life and death!"

"Turns out the secret of life and death is 'if you read something called a Scroll of Death, you'll probably stop living and die.'"

Reading the scrolls in Castle Basenji requires the Linguist skill. Each one disappears after use, granting a small XP bonus and doing something (usually something bad) to whoever reads it. Decide for yourself whether 5,000 experience per scroll is worth shuttling back and forth between the castle and a town temple.

"Hm. More beds down here. These ones not smell like werewolf. Wait -- something move under straw."

There are about half a dozen people imprisoned in the dungeon. Each one rewards us with 10,000 experience points when freed, along with some slightly overacted voice clips; you can hear a couple of samples in the video above. One of the prisoners also has an important message for us:

"Where wolf?"
"Actually, the cult leader's a human."

"Small boxes in alcoves all along wall. Maybe valuable heirlooms inside?"

"Ugh. Box full of angry X-rays? No warning label? Very bad occupational health and safety practice."
"On the plus side, it looks like your wisdom tusks are coming in perfectly."

Opening a box does a hefty 100 damage of a variable elemental type to one character, but awards that character 5,000 XP, just like the scrolls.

"Flench almost nostalgic for ionizing radiation now."
"It doesn't look like the scroll's down here anyway. Let's go back upstairs."

The fire traps in the dungeon do quite a bit of damage, and there are a lot of them. Keep Protection from Fire up while in Castle Basenji: you'll encounter plenty of fire damage from various sources.

"Aieee! Did we not go here to escape from the fire? What is giving?"

"Keep your hair on, Sloof, it's just the wizard cult we were warned about. The good thing about enemies, as compared to traps, is that they stop hitting you after you've stabbed them enough."

You can think of Wizards as cut-price versions of the Sorcerers from the Tower of High Magic. They attack the whole party with fire, and are themselves immune to fire and heavily resistant to other elements, but only have 75 HP. As long as you have Protection from Fire active and are at a decent experience level, they shouldn't be able to do much to you.

They're also a fair source of gold, an excellent source of gems and have a good chance to drop lowish-tier items. Castle Basenji isn't important to the plot, but it's a fine place for a mid-level party to go to gain some XP and treasure.

"There certainly are quite a number of scrolls in this room. Judging by past experiences, I suppose I can expect an electric shock if I read this one. Well, there's no reward without risk..."

"Ooh. That wasn't so bad after all."

There are scrolls to permanently boost the other basic elemental resistances (Fire, Cold, Poison) scattered around the room too.

"Since that last scroll turned out so well, perhaps this one isn't as bad as it sounds either!"

"Ah. I think that was a mistake. It seems I can't do anything right lately."

"There's nothing to be done about it now, I suppose. Nothing to be done about anything. We still haven't any idea of what to do about Lord Xeen. Even if we find him, he'll most likely destroy us."
"Fubar suggest start world war. Always good way to get out of depression."

I have no idea what the Depressed condition does, and Google is unhelpful. Whatever it is, it can't be too severe. It wears off with time or rest.

"Flench try this one."

"Still better than being irradiated by box."

Since Weakness, Confusion and Depression are all minor ailments that wear off on their own, there isn't really much reason not to read the scrolls that cause them.

"An upper floor, huh? Bring it on! I'm ready for the worst you wizards can throw at me!"

The second floor of Castle Basenji has more of our old friends the fire traps, plus more wizards showing up in larger groups. If you need to rest, remember to recast Protection from Fire, because from now on you'll really regret not having it.

"I may as well read this. Not that it'll do any good, of course."

"Well, that could have been worse, I suppose."

There are a few scrolls of Personality, Intellect and Speed in the castle, each giving a permanent +5 boost to their respective stats.

Much of the second floor is occupied by a single long corridor circling around the outer edge of the map.

And yes, in case you were curious, teleporting into that open central area will cause you to take a bunch of damage and land outside the castle. Don't do that.

"More scrolls for Fubar!"

"Bluh! Fubar feel achy all over! No wonder wizards always so weak! Read too much!"

Fubar's physical stats (Might, Endurance, Speed, Accuracy) have declined by 2 points due to aging, while his Intellect and Personality have increased by 2. If we let him continue getting older, these effects would become more severe. Fortunately, the penalties aren't too harsh at the moment, and we can just repeat the druids' quest to cure him.

"There's a third floor? How tall is this castle?"
"We must surely be close now! Let us not falter at the final hurdle, but strive on and up!"
"Actually, Sloof, in this case the correct phrasing is 'onwards and upwards'."
"Now you are just messing with me."

The Cult Leader hangs out on the third floor, but he isn't much of a boss. His HP and damage output are both increased by about 50% compared to a regular wizard.

"Do you think you can be stopping us! You do not even have any minions upwards in here to back you upwards!"
"It's 'up', Sloof. Both times."
"Nonsense! You say we have gone upwards, so now we are upwards! I will stream no argument about this!"
"Wha? Oh. It's 'brook no'-- aw, forget it. Just help kill the damn wizard already."

The Cult Leader usually drops a good item when killed: this one was an Electric Mace, which does decent bonus electrical damage but is nothing too special.

We can also search his chambers for Scrolls of Energy and Magic, raising those resistances for one character.

"Wow, these wizards were rich. Or else the guys they took this castle from were rich. Either way, it's all ours now."
"That's all very well, but there's still no sign of the Scroll of Insight. We'll have to keep looking. Not that we're likely to find it."

Fighting the cult leader actually does nothing to help us complete our quest, although his treasure makes it very worthwhile. We have to backtrack to the second floor, continue on a little further and take a different stairway up.

"Ah, this must be what that prisoner was talking about."
"It won't work, you know. Even if she overheard the password, they've probably changed it since then."

"Only one way to find out!"

There's no penalty for getting the password wrong: we just can't go upstairs to the final section of the castle until we give the correct answer.

"Oh, come on! How many scrolls can they possibly need?"


"Huh. What do you know. We found it. Arie's probably going to betray us somehow once we give him the scroll, though."
"You were the one who wanted to help him in the first place!"

Don't forget to loot this treasure chest off in the far corner before leaving!

"In hindsight, I am not certain that it was the best idea to read all of those other scrolls. We will have to be apologising to Fubar and Flench after they are revived. And I think perhaps some others among us would also benefit from a visit to the temple, no?"

"Feeling better now, Ms Swallow?"
"Much. Shall we return this scroll to its rightful owner?"

"Ooooh, Fubar like amulets. All sparkly and stuff. Also good investments for discerning collector!"

We're also rewarded with a whopping 750,000 experience points, or three-quarters of a level. The Northern Sphinx is another non-plot-critical dungeon, but there's some very nice stuff in there so it's worth a visit at some point.

Between that big quest reward and the smaller rewards from the prisoners and the scrolls, the whole party gets another level this update. (Some characters were actually just a few thousand XP short of a level, so I visited the Warzone to top them up.) I've shuffled equipment around a bit to help balance out stat bonuses, AC and resistances between party members. Flench's SP total is looking pretty respectable now: the more his Intellect increases, the less relatively significant his SP penalty for being a Half-Orc is.

Next time, should the party use their new amulet to check out the Northern Sphinx, advance the plot by freeing Crodo from Darzog's Tower, or finish up their outdoor exploration in the lava-filled northeastern quadrant of Xeen? Vote later! Nah, I'm just kidding, you can vote now.