Part 44: Bonus Update 23.5: Volcano Cave, Shangri-LaBonus Update 23.5: Volcano Cave, Shangri-La
This was shaping up to be another close vote at first, but it looks like Dragon Cave has pulled ahead! I'm okay with this: doing Darzog's Tower first might help us prepare a little, but honestly we're already about as strong as we're going to get.
I love the art on Page 97 there. That barbarian is either going "Bring it on!" or "Aw man, they did not tell me about this when I signed up"; it's hard to tell from behind.
Those hard-to-see black circles on the first level of the cave mark the location of the demon and devil skulls. Teleport spells can help you get to them with minimal damage. But of course, the real reason to go into the Volcano Cave is to reach Shangri-La.
Since we've found Clouds of Xeen's final magic guild, I might as well do one last full rundown of all the spells we've picked up in various places since Winterkill.
Shangri-La Cleric Spells
Divine Intervention: 200 SP + 20 Gems. Heals the entire party of all damage short of Eradication.
Best healing spell in the game, right here. There's no contest. When half your party is dead and the other half is critically wounded, your cleric can instantly bring them back to full fighting condition. It ages the caster five years, but that's not a big deal once you know how to cure aging. Cast it sparingly, but don't be afraid to use it if you need it.
Moon Ray: 60 SP + 10 Gems. Inflicts 30 points of Energy damage to each monster in sight and cures each party member of 30 points of damage.
The amount of damage isn't very impressive for the cost, and the healing looks a bit anaemic in comparison to Divine Intervention. At best, a situational spell whose niche won't come around all that often.
Sun Ray: 150 SP + 20 Gems. Shines the intensified light of the sun into all monsters in front of the caster, inflicting 200 points of Energy damage on each monster.
Potentially useful for clearing out large groups of moderately powerful enemies, but in serious battles you'd probably rather save your cleric's SP for Mass Distortion or Divine Intervention.
Shangri-La Sorcerer Spells
Implosion: 100 SP + 20 Gems. The ultimate in monster killing, Implosion concentrates local gravity inside the targeted monster, annihilating all but the most powerful opponents. Implosion inflicts 1000 points of Energy damage.
If this spell was all you got for visiting Shangri-La, it'd still be worth the trip. Implosion can one-shot a Diamond Golem from full health. The cost may seem steep, but if you think of it in terms of damage per spell point it's very reasonable.
Item to Gold: 20 SP + 10 Gems. Converts an item into an amount of gold pieces equal to the value of the item (Merchant skill not included).
It's like having a blacksmith in your pocket! The "Merchant skill not included" part is a bit misleading: this spell lets you "sell" items for the same price as if you had the Merchant skill, regardless of whether you have it or not. This can let you offload some excess loot in the middle of a dungeon without having to warp back to town. Most of the time Lloyd's Beacon and Town Portal are just as convenient, but there are some areas where those spells don't work.
Prismatic Light: 60 SP + 10 Gems. Mysterious light springs from the caster's palm, inflicting 80 points of a random damage type to all visible monsters.
A cheaper, weaker version of Elemental Storm, which isn't incredibly useful to begin with. Between the random elemental type, the modest damage output and the fact that you're quite likely to learn better spells before ever finding it, there are only a few situations where you can really put this spell to use.
Star Burst: 200 SP + 20 Gems. Includes all monsters in front of the party in a massive explosion, inflicting 500 points of Physical damage on each monster.
A single Star Burst will wipe out almost anything in Clouds: only monsters with massive HP or near-total immunity to physical damage can survive. In fact, the only problem with this spell is that it's very often overkill. Still, as we saw back in the lava fields, it's great for getting out of a tight spot.
And with that, I'm pretty sure I've now covered every spell in the game. See you next update!