Part 53: Down and DirtyUpdate 28: Down and Dirty
"Must we do this? Can't we devise some way to fish this necklace of hers out, or pay someone small and expendable like a goblin or a child or Trish to go down there on our behalf?"
The sewers are dark, so it's a good thing all spellcasting classes begin with the Light spell. In fact, it's the only spell Flench knows right now, since we're still strapped for cash.
"Ugh. At least let's go back until someone's learned a levitation spell."
"I'm not looking forward to this any more than you are, but if the sewer rats are stealing jewellery today, they'll be eating the city's grain stores tomorrow. Exterminating them will be a public service."
"I don't care about doing a public service, I care about not ending up with dysentery from wading through ordure all day."
The structure of the Castleview sewers is a network of small rooms and long, narrow passageways separated by locked grates. Even with the automap, it's easy to miss side passages if you're not paying attention.
Although most of the dungeon is covered in water, we don't need the Swimming skill to move around here: thankfully, the sewage isn't that deep.
It's safe to search the rubble scattered around the sewers, and you can sometimes find low-level random items in there.
"What manner of trickery is this? Begone, foul vermins! No slug will obtain the drop on me!"
Sewer Slugs like to pop out of the filth and ambush the party: at specific places in the dungeon they'll spawn right in front of your nose and attack immediately. Fortunately, aside from the surprise factor they aren't too dangerous, with very low AC and a single weak physical attack. The game considers them insects, and if you picked up the Insect Spray spell in town, their HP is low enough that it will one-shot them.
"Wow, what have people even been flushing down here? Growth hormones? Cursed artifacts? Radioactive waste?"
Sewer Rats have more HP and a stronger attack than Sewer Slugs, but they're a bit weaker than Gremlin Guards overall, so a party that's solved the Gettlewaithe quest shouldn't have too much trouble with them. They do sometimes appear in large groups, so it can be helpful to have some multi-target attack or status spells for crowd control.
"An alternative exit! Perhaps it leads upward to a secret room of treasure!"
"I don't see any treasure, and I really don't like the look of whatever those things off in the distance are. I never thought I'd say this and I hope I never have occasion to say it again, but we should go back into the sewer."
The sewer has several entrances, and one of them is just outside of town. You can use this to get back into Castleview if you leave town without a pass and without the money needed to buy one.
"Why all these bones here? Who they belong to?"
"These? What, don't you recognise... your own skeleton?"
"Naw, I'm just messin' with you. They're probably gremlin bones or something like that."
"Ooh. Somebody drip ring down this drain. Probably have very angry spouse now."
"Their loss is our gain, but we don't seem to be coming any closer to finding Nadia's necklace for her."
"Hm. This exit come out in part of town we not see before. Can tell, because monsters still alive."
After fighting our way through an assortment of Goblins, Gremlins and Gremlin Guards...
... we can find a chest with some cash and several mid-tier random items. This part of town is accessible only through the sewers (or via teleportation magic).
"I am having a bad feeling around this door. Perhaps this is because of all the scratchings and squeakings that I am hearing on the other side."
"Sounds like it's exactly where we need to go. Let's get this done and get out of here. If I'm down here much longer I'll need a new set of skin."
Remember how I said crowd control spells were a good idea for this dungeon? If your spellcasters know Beast Master or Lightning Bolt or anything like that and have spell points to spare, now would be a good time to pull out the stops.
"Not so bad. Down to last one. But looks extra big."
"Also extra angry."
Rooka's really just a sewer rat with some extra HP, but her attack has a chance to cause disease. If you've got any spell points left, use them to kill her quickly.
"I'm not sure what these rats were doing with a bow, but I'm sure it'll be of good use to us now."
"... why do we keep finding stuff that would have been incredibly useful five minutes ago?"
"Hey, d'you suppose this was the stuff that made those rats all big and strong? Think it'd have the same effect on us?"
"If nothing is ventured, then nothing is gained. Bottoms upward!"
"I can't believe you actually drank that."
"I may be dying soon from this, but I will die burly!"
Each barrel raises Endurance, but also poisons the drinker.
There are six barrels in this room, which works out neatly to one for each party member.
"I wish I still knew how to cure poison, or failing that, that any of us had a better sense of self-preservation."
"Wooo! This what we look for, right?"
"It's about time. Now I can get out of this place and take a bath for a week or two."
"Oh, no no no. We're not done just yet."
"As soon as everyone's healed, we're going back down there to exterminate every last one of those pests."
"A desk? What is this, some kind of office down in the sewers?"
"Location not optimal, but very good customer service policy. Look, free drinks!"
"Ugh. Well, let us treat this as a salutary reminder that power has its price."
There are four barrels here, each one granting a Might bonus and a disease to the drinker. Fubar is plenty strong already and Anleisa and Vandesloof won't be great in melee regardless of stats, so I give two doses to Ms Swallow and one each to Flench and Trish.
"Why would you offer instruction in a place like this?"
"Funny story, actually. I got lost down here so I figured, hey, might as well set up shop until I find my way back."
"I think we'll pass."
Felix teaches the Direction Sense skill; I'll get it at some point when I can spare the cash, but the automap kind of makes it redundant.
Behind a secret passage in the north, there's a large Sewer Slug ambush. Nothing we can't deal with, though. The important thing is the ladder leading up that you can see behind them.
"Hello, treasure! Let's get to know each other!"
This chest contains several decent random items, while the other two in this room contain no items but 5000 gold and 50 gems. That money is sorely needed right now.
"Gods, just how many people are there living in this sewer? Has the sewer been the real city all along, and what we know as Castleview just a resort for the upper class?"
"Shhh! Let the nice crazy man pay us, Fubar."
Valio gives us a mid-tier random item that turns out to be a Power Cloak (increases energy resistance). Not too bad. If we'd spoken to him before killing Rooka, he'd have had the following dialogue:
"Hi. I live down here. There sure are a lot of rats. Too many for me to kill. Maybe you could kill them for me. Or at least the Queen Rat. I'll give you something if you do."
But this game isn't shy about letting you complete quests you never actually received, so we just got some free experience and an item for doing something we had to do in the course of another quest anyway.
"Aw, c'mon, I'm just looking. I promise I won't take anything unless I see something really good in there!"
"Trish, what are you--"
"-- oh dear."
"I suppose this does mean that your kleptomania is no longer the most urgent issue at hand."
Valio's chest usually has some pretty good items in it, but the catch is you have to fight Valio for them. His immensely powerful magical attack hits a single character with 100% accuracy and has the potential to one-shot anyone in the party right now.
He only has 150 HP, though, so it's possible to take him out in a few hits with good weapons and some buffs from Anleisa.
This was actually a below-average hit for Valio. An above-average one could potentially have killed Vandesloof outright, even from full health and with his newly-boosted Endurance. Valio doesn't mess around.
"Fair lady! We have braved dangers that cannot be counted to find your necklace! Come outwards and accept what is yours! It... may be within need of some cleaning."
"You'd think by now we'd have learned to negotiate a proper reward in advance."
"Wait! If the boot-shaped novelty keyring is any guide, this is exactly the key we need to meet Ellinger! I wonder how she came into possession of it."
Once again, I spend most of the money from this update on spells. Flench and Vandesloof now both have Lloyd's Beacon, so we can hop back and forth between any two places in the world.
Most of the party's picked up some weapon and armour upgrades from the sewer: between those, the levels they've gained and their stat boosts, they'd be in good shape to clear out any of Clouds of Xeen's early-game dungeons by now. Of course, Darkside has plenty of souped-up monsters to match its souped-up rewards.
And between all the time the party spent levelling up on the training grounds and all the resting I did to survive in the sewers, more than half a year has already passed since the start of Darkside.
As another update draws to a close, it's voting time again. Should we do the sensible thing and go to Ellinger's Tower with the key we just acquired, or avoid the plot for as long as possible and go traipsing around outdoors instead?