Part 67: Crime Doesn't PayUpdate 36: Crime Doesn't Pay
"If we can recover the Jewel of Ages from the Great Southern Tower, we need no longer fear magical aging -- and of course, we'll have set right a great injustice. Onward to victory!"
"If the Thieves' Guild thinks a gate like that will keep me out, they need to consider a new career. I'll get this lock open in five seconds and head right on through... uh-oh. What was that noise?"
"Okay, so the gate closed behind us. The gate that I just unlocked to get in here. Anyone else see how ill-thought-out this plan to trap us in here is?"
"Speaking of poorly-designed traps, get a load of that pile of treasure sitting in the middle of the room. Who do they think they're gonna fool with--"
"Welp, I have nobody but myself to blame for this."
If you fought your way through the Killer Cobras and Mantis Ants in the southeast of Darkside to get the key to this tower, you have no excuse for having trouble with Rogues, even in a large group. They selectively target Robbers and their attack does decent damage, but it's physical and they're low-level enemies so it'll usually just miss. They have the same amount of HP as the Gremlin Guards we fought back in Castleview, so it doesn't take much to kill them.
"What an easy battle this is. Criminally easy, one might be saying!"
There are several gates on the first floor, and several buttons hidden around the floor that will open and close them (including the entrance gate). The buttons are kind of unnecessary, since you can just pick the locks on the gates. I suppose they exist just in case you got yourself locked in and then your robber somehow died or something, leaving you trapped inside.
"What's with all the mirrors in these towers? I doubt they're here just for me to admire myself, much as I might enjoy it."
"No use in speculation. If you want to learn, only way is to explore. Up we go."
"Aaaaand down we go."
Keep Levitate active when you explore the Great Southern Tower: there are a few pit traps on each floor, and they'll drop you all the way back down to the first floor.
"Let's try that again -- perhaps with a little more caution."
"One (1) Pegasus Statuette, sold to Head Heretical Cleric for 130,000 gold. One (1) Jewel of Ages, sold to Mages of the Great Eastern Tower for 400,000 gold. Wow, these guys must be loaded! Think of the kind of money a competent thief could make!"
"Entrepreneurism not so easy. Work very hard, take big risk. Have to manage team with diverse skillsets, process actionable information from many moving parts, think outside box to find synergies, leverage core competencies of organisation to stay ahead of pack."
"Oh. So basically you're saying we're already doing all the same stuff they do, except for the stuff that didn't mean anything."
"More importantly, we now know the location of the Jewel of Ages and the two remaining statuettes. Unfortunately, we still don't have the passes or keys we'd need to retrieve any of them."
"Yet another door falls to my superior skills! What's that up ahead? Some kinda gong?"
"Ow! Bad gong! When Fubar hit you, not supposed to hit back!"
Ringing the gong an incorrect number of times causes some electrical damage to the ringer. Since we don't yet know what the correct number of times is, we'll just move on for now.
Darkside sometimes gets a little lazy with its monster types, I have to admit. Thieves are just Rogues with more HP and stronger attacks.
On the third floor, we find two more mysterious gongs. We could pretty easily figure out how to work them by trial and error, but let's not just yet.
"Hm. Nothing here but two gongs and stairs up and down. Must be something on rest of floor..."
"Are these cutters of purses still meaning to stop us? Are they thinking that the great Vandesloof will falter because he is fighting his fellow elves? No such luck will be theirs, and yet they fight to the death!"
"In fairness, we did refuse Gettlewaithe's offer to negotiate a surrender. Word gets around, I suppose."
"Even so, they could always run. They would have a better chance jumping from the roof of the tower than facing us!"
"Wow, that was actually kind of a badass line. Are you a doppelganger who killed and replaced the real Vandesloof while we were sleeping? 'Cause if so, you just keep on keepin' on."
The Master Thief hits for a lot of damage (if he hits at all), but he has no more HP than a regular thief, so he should be very easy to kill. Still, make sure your Robber has plenty of HP when facing him, just in case he gets a lucky hit in.
"Clearly this is meant for me, for I am a prince among wizards!"
"You're a prince among skeletons now, buddy. And skeletons are infamous for lese-majesty."
It's been a while since we've seen Eradication in action, hasn't it? Well, time to Lloyd's Beacon back to a temple and get Sloof recorporated.
"Hmm... a book for the prince... in a tower full of thieves... this reminds me of something."
"Seriously? Were you not paying attention while the flesh of the last person to try reading that book melted off?"
"I know what I'm doin'. Just wait and see."
"Told ya so."
The Prince's Book can only be read by a Robber or Ninja who's received the Prince of Thieves award from the throne in the Northern Sphinx, back on Cloudside. The reward is well worth the trouble: this early in the game, 5 levels is a huge boost to Trish's power.
"Another book for me? Oh, you shouldn't have!"
This book can be read by any Robber or Ninja; the reward is smaller, but still worthy.
As usual, at the top of the tower is a set of stairs leading up into the Skyroads. We're still not quite ready to poke around too much up there, so back down we go for now.
"Ooh! Ooh! Fubar can guess what this is for!"
"Fubar get revenge on gongs now!"
Sure enough, the two gongs on the third floor open passages when struck three times.
"Clairvoyance spell say not good chest to open. If we do..."
"... bad thing happen. So not do that."
Some of the chests in the treasure rooms explode hard enough to wipe out the entire party from full health. Unless you want to save before opening every single one, Clairvoyance is a must.
The non-exploding chests contain a modest amount of gold and some fairly high-level random items. But what's that at the back of the room?
"Virtue is rewarded. Our campaign of justice against these thieves has brought us another step closer to restoring the castle and saving the Darkside."
There's another energy disc in the other treasure room, of course, along with this rather interesting chest.
"Fubar know this story! Open, sez me!"
"Fubar, what are you trying to do? Here, let me handle this."
Whoever's in the first position in your party when you enter the correct password will automatically try to open the chest, so you have to shuffle your thief into the front of the party order before doing so.
By the way, entering an incorrect password does massive electrical damage to the party, so don't do that.
"You know, I don't think I want to start a thieves' guild after all. Why do all that work, when we can let them do it for us? I almost wish we hadn't killed 'em off."
The big thing to take note of this update is Trish's level and HP total: thanks to the Prince's Book, she's now on par with Fubar in both combat skill and survivability. He'll be ahead of her again in a few levels, but this dungeon has secured Trish's place as the party's second-best melee combatant. There's some good news for the rest of the party, too: we're several hundred thousand gold richer, we know the location of the Jewel of Ages and the remaining gold statuettes, and we're only two energy discs away from restoring Castle Kalindra's dungeon.
Next time, should the party finally get around to visiting the town of Sandcaster, or explore outdoors in the northern reaches of Darkside? Vote now!