Part 63: Trish Gets TrolledUpdate 34: Trish Gets Trolled
"What's the matter, light of my life? Is there anything I can do to ease your burden?"
"An interesting turn of events. Perhaps I was on to something with that 'sublimated attraction' theory after all."
"Don't even go there. We're headed back to the temple. Right now."
"Not so fast. This could be a refreshing change of pace from listening to the two of you endlessly sniping at each other. Perhaps you'll even learn something."
"You're crueller than both of us put together, you know that? Somebody back me up on this!"
"Flench not take sides on this one. Go with whatever rest of group decide."
"Fubar not see problem. Can still fight, maybe better than before, so why heal?"
"And why would I ever be wanting to prevent the prospect of sexy misunderstandings?"
"Gee, thanks a lot, guys. It's real good to know you've got my back."
In Love seems like an oddly benign condition, increasing all stats. Of course, as we'll eventually see, there's a catch...
"Oh, Trish. Have you been drinking Troll Juice again? Let me take care of you until you're feeling better."
"I'm not the sick one here! You need help!"
"Why are you rejecting me? Is it because I'm a human?"
"It's because you're a psycho! I mean, even more so than usual! Snap out of it!"
"Now I understand. You're testing the strength of my love! Fine, I'll just have to prove myself worthy of you!"
"Look at this tree! Isn't it a cool tree? Hey, everybody, why don't we all stop talking and staring longingly and standing way too close and go find out who's living in this tree?"
"The only secrets I want to know are yours, Trish."
"This is so much worse than when you hated me."
"Whoops. Fubar eat sleepy fruit again..."
"Can I force-feed Anleisa one of these plums to make her shut up?"
"You don't have to force me. I'll let you feed me anything you want. Anything."
"Nobody's feeding anyone anything. You two are responsible for this situation and you're going to live with it for a while longer."
"In what possible way is this my fault?"
"You're the one who told her to eat the cursed banana in the first place."
"And since when does she listen to a word I say?"
"Wooo! Time for Fubar to see eternity again! Thanks, blueberries! Thueberries!"
"Okay, let's assess our situation. Two of us are poisoned, one of us is insane and nearly dead, and one of us is also insane but regrettably very much alive. Can we turn back and heal now?"
"We can still press on a little longer. I don't think you've quite learned your lesson yet."
"Is the lesson that you're secretly a huge jerk? Because I'm learning that pretty fast."
"Trish, my sweetheart! Look out!"
"How strange that a low branch should hit only the shortest member of our party. Almost as if somebody was getting injured on purpose to try and make us turn back. Well, you won't escape that easily!"
There are a few spots in the forest where a low branch will just knock out a character at random, without warning and regardless of how much HP they have. If you think this is unfair, on one hand you're right, but on the other hand where have you been for the last 33 updates?
"I'm so glad you've recovered. Make sure not to hurt your delicate hands on any door traps. We're all in awe of your skills as a thief, you know: you should take pride in them."
"If you want to help, you can stop distracting me... ah, there we go. Sounds like we've got company waiting for us on the other side."
"Stand back, Trish! I'll protect you!"
"Fubar smash mean troll like bug! Bug made of glass! Dropped from great height! Onto pointy rock!"
"Good to see insane Fubar still pretty much same as regular Fubar."
Hobstadt will in fact let you go if you give him all your gold or let him kill a party member, but why in the world would you do that? He's only a little bit stronger than a regular Troll Chief.
He drops a little gold and a random mid/high-level item when killed...
... but to get his real treasure, search his throne after defeating him.
Our reward for that honestly fairly easy fight is multiple top-tier random items. The Obsidian Medal does precisely nothing, because unlike in M&M3 accessories don't give armour class bonuses: it still sells for a lot of gold, though. The Ectoplasmic Scarab has a weird glitch -- it appears to do nothing if you get it identified at a blacksmith, but if you equip it it grants a +20 bonus to Magic resistance.
"I guess we found where the trolls stashed the Thieves' Guild's stolen gold."
"Wooooo! Booze money!"
"Maybe should quit while ahead, stop trying all these fruit. But curiosity kill cat, not orc."
"I sure hope this one doesn't cause apple-epsy!"
"Oh, you're so delightfully funny! I love how you can always see the lighter side of everything! I just wish I could be more like you!"
"You know what, I'm just going to stop acknowledging your existence until we get you fixed. Or cured."
Going by the colour code again, that'd make this a red apple.
And coconuts, as far as World of Xeen is concerned, count as white.
"All of this adventuring has been hard work. Let us obtain a refreshing swim!"
"Aaaaa! My skin! It is as if I am being eaten alive by ants! And thanks to this adventure, I also know what that feels like!"
"Well, that explains it. Next time let's figure out where we are before we all plunge into an unfamiliar lake, huh?"
"This pain is nothing! I'd walk through molten lava to see your smile!"
"Why would anyone build a fountain by a pond full of venom? It's too remote to be a tourist attraction, even if -- wait! Someone's here!"
"... Great Southern Tower. Now it was dropped by one of the thieves in his haste to escape."
More voice-acting goodness for those of you who can't get enough. Thaddeus doesn't seem all that alarmed by the whole stolen-jewel situation.
"Now, without the Jewel of Ages, I can not restore the fountain. See if you can find a clue to its whereabouts in the Great Southern Tower."
"Youth-giving? Hmm... we've gone out of our way for lesser errands before, and I did pick up a grey hair or two from those cobras. It wouldn't hurt to put restoring the fountain on our to-do list."
"I'm sorry, Trish."
"What's this? You actually want to talk about something instead of trying to suffocate me under a pile of praise? Okay, what the hell. I'm listening."
"It was hopeless from the start, wasn't it? It's like you're up here and I'm down here--"
"Well, technically it's more like I'm down here and you're up there -- sorry, I'll stop interrupting."
"What I mean is, you're... I don't know, it's just so easy!"
"I'm easy? That's your idea of an apology?"
"No! What I mean is, you make life look easy! You're a natural at what you do, and you enjoy it! The only thing I'm good at is healing. I can't be a hero in my own right, so all I can do is help the rest of you -- and you all hate me! If I were more like you, maybe I'd get some respect!"
"Flench not hate you. Personality is offputting, but other qualities not so bad."
"Not helping, Flench!"
"And now I've gone and messed everything up worse than it already was. I should just leave. You'd all be better off without me."
"As morbidly curious as I am about how this situation can become even more uncomfortable, can we please head back to the temple now? She's not going to be much use in a fight in this state, and we did manage to have a meaningful conversation about our issues. Kinda."
The In Love condition steadily increases in severity until it reaches -10, at which point it transforms to Heart Broken, and lowers all stats instead of raising them.
"... I don't suppose there's any chance I've been unconscious and having a horrible nightmare for the past few days?"
"Wow. Awkward. Let's... let's just get back to killing monsters and finding treasure."
"I swear, if this poisons us or messes with our minds or anything like that, I'm giving up adventuring to become a locksmith."
I always forget to use wells and fountains, but this one's pretty useful considering that nearly all the enemies in the southeastern part of Darkside use physical attacks.
"Strange choice of place to live. One bad earthquake and whole house go sliding off into void."
"Homesteading not meant to be easy."
"Celia! I am remembering you! Leaving you a prisoner for half a year while we explored is water underneath the bridge now, yes?"
This is another event on Darkside that only triggers if you've done a quest on Clouds: in this case, rescuing Celia. The reward is a random long sword that can be made of anything up to and including obsidian, if you're lucky.
I was not lucky.
"Remember what happened last time we found a hut full of bananas? I know doing incredibly stupid things and failing to learn from our mistakes is more or less our modus operandi, but I'm thinking even we should pass these by."
"Nonsense! No love charm is a match for the great Vandesloof!"
"I warned you. Don't say I didn't."
"Huh. How about that."
"It's probably for the best that he didn't survive, really. For our sake and his."
"Flench know drill. Back to temple, right?"
"Something in trees ahead. With our luck, probably dangerous."
"Ooh! Fubar make new glowy stone friend!"
"Why, stone friend? Whyyy..."
Gargoyles only have 150 HP, which isn't much compared to most of the enemies we've fought lately, but they have very high AC and attack twice each round for 5-250 physical damage per hit. If both attacks land on Anleisa or Vandesloof, there's a fair chance they'll be killed outright.
As usual, clerical buffs help a lot: the party needs at least Heroism active just to hit them with any reasonable degree of accuracy. Once we can actually land a hit on them, Gargoyles don't take too long to kill, but they can do some serious damage before they fall.
"Ah, the Great Eastern Tower. A pity we have no key, or we could continue our explorations within!"
"It seems a settlement has formed nearby: perhaps they can help us -- if not with a key, then with information or supplies."
"A bit spendy, don't you think? Maybe we'll come back if it starts raining money."
Several of the caravans at this crossroads sell accessories. The exact item you get is random, but there's a fair chance of getting a top-tier piece of equipment out of the deal. Not bad, if you can afford the price.
The boots are the cheapest gear on offer, although we already have lots of good boots from Ellinger's Tower.
Luigi's wares are probably the least useful: he sells robes, the weakest body armour. Vandesloof already has a good set of robes, so I'm not going to blow 50 grand on a chance to get something better.
"What a dilemma! To find your magnifying glass would be so much easier if only you already had your magnifying glass with which to be looking for it! But we will do our best, all the same."
"We've fought some gargoyles already, but I'm afraid we didn't see your magnifying glass. We'll let you know if we find it."
"Fubar like this guy's moxie! Also, his iguana!"
Paying Aldo adds about 6 days' worth of food to the party's supply: handy if you're low on food and need to rest after fighting all those monsters on the way here. He won't sell to you if you already have more than 13 days' worth.
There's a broken transport pyramid near the caravans: there are a few of these scattered around Darkside, but the only pyramid that can actually send the party back to Clouds is the one in Castleview.
"What's that weird clattering noise? Is there a loose plate on someone's armour?"
"I am neither knowing what that is, nor liking the look of it."
"Holy smoke. This may be the second-worst thing that's happened to us this week."
Half the thread has been waiting for this moment. Meet the Armadillo.
You know how I said Gargoyles had AC so high we needed buffs to hit them? Their AC is 35. An Armadillo's AC is 50. Even with buffs, we can't hit it worth a damn. Its attack inflicts 100-600 physical damage, easily capable of one-shotting anyone in the party and of killing anyone but Fubar outright from full health. It's heavily resistant to everything except electrical and magical damage, and wearing down its 800 HP with Lightning Bolt isn't going to cut it.
It's not like you can just avoid the area where Armadillos show up, either. They're right on a major road. You're practically guaranteed to run into them at some point not too far into the game.
Even if you come here with a party that's finished Clouds, they're dangerous enemies. If you haven't, they can seem unbeatable.
"This thing is a beast! Wait, it's literally a beast! That gives me an idea!"
Luckily for us, Armadillos have two weaknesses: they have a low-for-Darkside Speed rating of only 15, and they're highly vulnerable to Beast Master. With a reasonably fast Cleric or Paladin, you can usually disable them before they act. Being asleep also makes them much easier to hit, so with decent levels and weapons, the party should be able to finish one off before it wakes up.
"That was a biter of nails. How have all those caravans not been trampled into tiny little bits by now?"
Armadillos have one more nasty surprise up their sleeves: like the Lava Golems back in Clouds, they can break the weapons of whoever they hit.
And of course, being knocked out by one means your armour will be broken too. Never let an Armadillo get a chance to attack if you can help it.
"If our map is not lying to me, this is Sandcaster. Until we have a pass to enter, there is nothing to do here but turn backwards and explore in other places."
"Hey, this is that thing that the guy wanted us to get! Score!"
"Finding it not hard part. Was right there by side of road. Hard part was surviving armadillos."
"And as I learned to my cost, armadillos are covered almost entirely in hard parts."
We've finally got a pass to enter Darkside's second town, along with a fifth of a level's worth of free experience.
"Let's make use of that pass to Sandcaster another day. I think we could all use a long rest in familiar territory."
The experience we've earned this update is enough to earn the whole party two or three levels. And that means I can show off another beloved feature of World of Xeen:
If you've played this game, you've done this at least once. Don't try to pretend you haven't.
It's not just experience we've been earning: the party's doing pretty well for cash, too. On the other hand, our gem situation could still use some work.
It's now been a little over two years of in-game time since we started adventuring in Darkside. Time flies, huh?
"With good friends and tasty iguana by side, Fubar ready for anything!"
It's been a while since I did a full rundown of the party's status, and we've gained quite a few levels and stat bonuses since last time, so I figured we're due for one. Fubar's received some boosts in all the stats that are important for a Barbarian, and continues to serve as our reliable physical powerhouse.
"I'm so pleased to see the progress you're making, Fubar! There was a time when you'd have mentioned the iguana first."
I should probably shuffle the party's equipment around a bit: Ms Swallow has the worst AC in the party by a significant margin, which is sort of weird when she's the only character who can wear plate armour. Apart from that, she's got solid stats across the board, and the best overall elemental resistances in the party. I'll want to get around to fixing the two years of aging she picked up from the Killer Cobras at some point, but it's not an emergency.
"Flench ready to fight, but can still be stronger."
Flench can always use more Intellect to bolster his spell point total, but he's doing okay for now. He's relying mostly on physical attacks anyway: the early availability of gemstone weapons in Darkside tends to favour melee combatants.
Trish's stats are decent enough, although her elemental resistances could use a little work: they're the lowest in the party, which is a problem when she's the one most frequently taking elemental damage from trapped doors and chests.
"Hey, Anleisa. Can we talk a little? I mean, after that whole thing with the--"
"No. We are not discussing that. That was the love spell talking. You can't hold me responsible."
"So when you said you were in awe of my skills as a thief?"
"And when you wished you were more like me?"
"And when you--"
"Should I write the answer on a little sign so I can raise it every time you ask another inane question?"
"Fine, be that way. You can go back to hating me for no reason if you want, but I was honestly hoping we could clear the air for once."
"... It's not that I want to be you, okay? I just wish I knew a more comfortable way of being me. So yeah, maybe I was a little jealous."
"Don't push me, Trish. I'm trying my best."
"Fair enough. So, truce?"
"I reserve the right to mock you if you really screw up."
"I wouldn't expect anything less."
I've neglected Anleisa's stats a bit compared to everyone else's, and it's starting to show: her HP and SP aren't where I'd like them to be, and she's pretty hopeless in melee combat. I'll try and catch her up when we find some more stat boosters.
"Villains, beware! The great Vandesloof will crash down on you like a wave of justice, all loud and foamy! Whoosh! Whoooooshhh!"
Vandesloof is in a bit of an awkward situation. His Intellect and SP are great, his HP are as good as can be expected for a Sorcerer, and he's well-equipped, but he's in need of some new spells to keep up with the party's weapon upgrades.
Whew. In the last two updates, the party's managed to explore the southern third of Darkside's outdoors. Next time, should they visit the town of Sandcaster, investigate the Thieves' Guild in the Great Southern Tower, or rescue Sharla's sister from the orcish Temple of Bark? Vote now!