The Let's Play Archive

Might & Magic: World of Xeen

by Thuryl

Part 69: Live and Let Dry

Update 37: Live and Let Dry

"Alright, everyone, we've rested long enough. It's time to liberate Sandcaster from whatever evil forces are in control of it."
"Sandcaster? Aw, but that's like ten days' walk from here."
"But six of us, so if you all walk and I supervise, can get there in two!"

"I don't think we should enter through the front gates -- we could be walking into a trap. Castleview had an underground entrance: we should explore the surrounding area and see if Sandcaster has one as well."
"Let me get this straight. We have a pass to enter Sandcaster like normal people, but instead we're going to try and sneak in through a side entrance? In the desert? With all the sandstorms and endless, punishing sunlight?"
"C'mon, you're an adventurer, aren't you? Where's your sense of adventure?"
"Flench feel positive about how this turn out."

"I too must be speaking outwards against this plan. The great Vandesloof is too young to be doomed!"

"Flench knew it."
"What happened to being positive about how this would turn out?"
"Flench never say Flench positive it turn out well."
"The plan is still -- ow! -- fundamentally sound. We just have to -- would somebody make this beast let go of me? You'll only have yourselves to blame if its children grow up with a taste for human flesh!"

Vulture Rocs are similar in some ways to Armadillos: physical attackers with massive HP, AC and damage output. They only do about half the damage of Armadillos, but have three times the HP, and their extremely high Speed score (150) makes it tricky to get a pre-emptive Beast Master spell in before they attack. Speaking of Beast Master, they're also less vulnerable to it than Armadillos: they'll often resist it completely, and if it works it'll only stick for a round or two.

It's still well worth casting if you're having trouble, though, and is the only way we can hope to beat them with our current levels and equipment.

Even with Beast Master, the party can really only hope to beat one or two Vulture Rocs at a time right now, so I use Jump spells to dance around larger groups. If there's one thing this LP has taught me, it's how to abuse Jump.

Since the party hasn't relearned the Navigator skill yet, walking in the desert will waste 3 hours of time per step and cause us to gradually accumulate levels of Weak status -- and of course, the game won't let us rest in the desert. This could eventually be dangerous if we forgot to cast Revitalise. (Hey, finally, a use for that spell!)

"Finally, we can get out of this accursed heat!"
"You know that's totally a sewer, right?"
"I don't care."

We still can't rest, since the floor's awash with sewage, but if the most dangerous things down here are Beholder Bats then we shouldn't need to.

"They think a lock can stop us, do they? Guess they've never heard of--"

"... ow..."
"Lot of security for sewer. What, they think someone break in this way?"
"We're breaking in this way, aren't we?"
"Huh. Good point. Anyway, if we see more locked gates, just have to bash them down."

"Ah, sweet vindication! I knew there had to be another way into Sandcaster!"

"Wasn't the point of all this to avoid walking into an ambush?"

"Something tells me I'm not going to enjoy this town..."

Enchantresses selectively target Clerics, and have a ranged electrical attack that does 3-450 damage.

They only have 100 HP, so get into melee as quickly as possible, or wipe them out with powerful spells like Incinerate; they're immune to electricity, but only slightly resistant to everything else. It's all but inevitable that Anleisa will get knocked unconscious a lot when fighting Enchantresses; I'm hoping she has enough HP to avoid being killed outright.

"You are seeing why magic should be left to men. We would never abuse our power in such a way!"
"Oh, right, like that evil lich-queen who terrorised the Cloudside. What did she call herself again? Lady Xeen?"

Sorceresses have 200 HP and can attack the whole party, but only for 2-100 magical damage. As long as we keep everyone's health up between encounters, they're probably less of a threat than Enchantresses.

"So, what's the over-under on how long we have to look around before we find someone who isn't trying to kill us? Is anyone game to say 30 minutes or less?"
"No bet."

"I guess someone who just wants to rip us off technically counts as 'not trying to kill us'."
"Wow, good bargain! Here you go!"

"Fubar, you know that stuff is snake oil, right? I mean, that's like the oldest scam in the book."
"Fubar know. Fubar just want to see how it taste. Mmm, lemony fresh."

"Flench keep this in mind if ever want to take up equestrianism."

"So apart from the murderous sorceresses, I count one person who's threatened our lives, one who's tried to scam us, and one who's given us potentially useful information since we entered this town. That's... pretty much par for the course for us, actually. Okay, I guess this town isn't so bad."

"If Flench believe in fate, Flench say you just tempted it."

Walking to the end of this hallway spawns 3 Enchantresses behind the party.

They fall fast once we reach them, but the party takes a few solid hits along the way. To be honest, I kinda like it when the game pulls tricks like this: it keeps me on my toes and gives me a reason to use those neat little utility spells like Jump.

"That would have been a handy skill to have before we spent a week lost in the desert."
"I will acknowledge that my desert plan had some drawbacks. But it did get us into Sandcaster. Eventually. After several close encounters with rocs."

"By all meanings! Take our money with our regards, frightening old man! To such successful adventurers as us, gold is as common as dirt! And not fancy dirt, like menfro or akadama! No, I speak of humble, everyday loam!"
"If we keep flashing money around like this, we're likely to get mugged, y'know."
"All the more reason to give it away before it is stolen!"

"If we buy this pass, we actually use it this time instead of taking ridiculous scenic route. All agree?"
"I don't care how much you all keep needling me. I'm not going to admit it was a bad plan, and that's final."

"... of affairs. Will you help right the wrong that was done to me and the guilds?"
"It's okay if we right the wrong by killing them and everyone who gets in our way, right? I only ask because sooner or later somebody's going to expect us to actually solve a problem with diplomacy, and we don't give refunds."

"It's always good when everyone's on the same page. See you again soon!"

Whatever political struggles may be raging in Sandcaster's magic guild, at least it'll still do business with us. This guild offers almost every spell that can't be found in Castleview, barring a handful of the absolute top-tier spells like Implosion and Divine Intervention and a couple of questionably useful spells like Prismatic Light.

All in all, I spend roughly 200,000 gold just getting the party's casters up to speed. It feels good to have Day of Protection, Day of Sorcery and Teleport back at last.

The training grounds in Sandcaster can raise PCs as high as level 50. That's a very respectable level even for Darkside, probably high enough to clear out almost any area in the game if you know what you're doing, but eventually we'll find places that can raise us even higher. Of course, first we'll have to gain enough experience to make use of the higher level limit.

"Fine, see if we care! We only find other adventurers interesting!"

"... six apprentices a day and a half to make nine swords. How many more apprentices will I need to hire to finish this contract on time?"
"Hm. 270 swords in 30 days -- nine swords per day. A day and a half for six apprentices to make nine swords -- nine is six times one and a half, so one sword per apprentice per day."

"So, for nine swords per day, need nine apprentices total. Already have six, so need three more."

Is there anything better than getting a quarter of an experience level for solving a simple puzzle?

"If what we've been told about the state of this town's guilds is true -- and, judging by our encounter with the sorceresses earlier, it is -- we'd best prepare ourselves for a fight."

Wizards are similar to Enchantresses, but with less offence and more defence. They have 250 HP, are moderately resistant to elemental and magical damage, and attack one character per round for 10-250 Magic damage.

Unlike Enchantresses, they might actually live long enough to get a second attack. A well-equipped party levelled up into the teens should be able to handle them, though, even in groups. Incinerate spells work fairly well on them if you're having trouble.

"Who keeps an amulet in their bed?"
"Ah, perhaps it is a lucky charm for enhancing one's prowess in the arts of the boudoir!"
"If you can explain how an amulet of protection from acid would be any use for -- actually, if you can explain that, please keep it to yourself."

"I've been a thief too long to believe that this empty chest is just sitting around for no reason. I think it's there to distract us from something else, like maybe..."


Three doses of permanent +10 Intellect. Not too shabby.

That wasn't the only potion around here, either. It pays to search Sandcaster thoroughly, preferably with Wizard Eye active to see hidden chambers.

"Wasn't that the tower where the Jewel of Ages was taken? Once we're done here, perhaps we should retrieve it and restore the fountain of youth."

Master Wizards are immune to fire, resistant to all other magic, and attack twice per round for 10-400 fire damage.

The best way to fight them is with melee attacks boosted by clerical buffs. They have 500 HP, so they won't fall easily, but a round or two of focused hacking and slashing ought to bring them down.

There's other good treasure in the guild halls besides stat potions, too. Most of the items aren't great, but who can argue with that much gold?

"I remember hearing that name. She's the one who tames animals with magic -- or claims to, at least."
"Fubar really hope going in here not get him turned into pig or something. Eating ham sandwich raise many awkward question after experience like that."

"Okay, back up a little. You enchant everyday items with the ability to tame horses. For what possible reason are you trying to make that sound sexy?"
"Do you not know? For centuries, horses have been--"
"Again, Sloof, that wasn't really a question to which I need or want an answer."

1000 gems is a bit of a steep price to pay for an extra 1 spell point per level, but we can afford it.

"Now this looks like my kind of place. We should come back and spend some more time here once we're done saving Xeen again."

"That work other way round? We make friends with barbarians, so giants our friends now too?"

"We know."

"To make vultures go away, no good. As salad dressing, very good. Also not bad as fabric softener."

"Oh, please. Next you'll be telling me elves are really from outer space."
"Considering a certain elf we know, that might not be so far-fetched..."

"You serious? One of you, six of us. Not good odds."

"I rather doubt that you're our 'better' in any way at all."

Refusing to apologise to Blastem triggers an encounter with a Master Wizard and fills the tavern with regular Wizards. It's nothing beyond our ability to handle at this point.

"Bar fights and tasty food. This place has it all!"

There are some interesting if slightly obscure tips in Sandcaster's tavern: this is a hint to one of the events that can only be triggered by visiting both Clouds and Darkside.

Sandcaster's blacksmith has a chance to sell items a cut above anything you can buy anywhere in Clouds; they're still not great compared to found treasure, but they can be good for filling out accessory slots.

"That attitude is why you're stuck in a dead-end job and we're filthy rich. Well, the 'filthy' part is because we entered through the sewers, but that was Ms Swallow's fault, not mine."

A fair chunk of your income in Darkside comes from selling loot; a single high-value item can be enough to make Merchant pay for itself.

"Ha! How about we pay another visit to that smug bastard who only wanted to talk to merchants?"

"Hm. Apple have to cost two gold, and pear one gold. That mean one hundred pears, is, uh... just a minute, Fubar still counting..."

"One hundred gold!"

"An admirable effort indeed, Fubar! I did not know that you had it inside of you!"
"Not so hard. Fubar know money, and Fubar know food."

Now that we've picked up Linguist again, I'll head back to the Temple of Bark at some point to screenshot the books we missed last time. It's mostly just flavour text, though.

"That's enough dallying with what passes for civilisation here. Are you all ready to clean up this city?"

Morgana can hit the entire party for 2-120 Energy damage. She's got a relatively high AC and resists all non-physical damage, but with decent weapons you should still be able to chew through her 300 HP pretty fast.

Morgana can drop a top-tier item when defeated: we got a Cryo Ring, which grants +30 Cold resistance. Could be worse, but as top-tier items go there are much better ones.

"There's still a corner of the city we haven't been able to reach. I imagine that's where we'll find Xenoc. Unfortunately, I can only think of one way we might get there, and I doubt you'll like it..."

"Somebody should invent a spell for removing all this filth, or at least deodorising it."

"You know the best part of being an adventurer? Seeing things no sane person would believe, like a gym in a sewer. I can't not pay 50,000 gold just to see what's in there."

In the sewer gym, we can teach the Body Building skill to all PCs, giving a nice little boost to maximum HP.

Better still, there are Vitamin and Protein Brews, giving permanent bonuses to Endurance and Might respectively.

"They've got everything down in these sewers: a gym, beautiful scenery, and friendly locals! We should live down here forever!"
"I am fearing that Trish has travelled off the deep end."

Sewer Hags have very little HP, but their attacks inflict 10-250 electrical damage and can cause insanity. They're immune to both electricity and poison, but sufficiently powerful spells of any other type should be able to one-shot them. They also have low Speed by Darkside standards (only 40), so teleporting into melee range and wiping them out before they can attack is a viable tactic if your party is fast enough.

"Fubar parents always say: waste not, want not!"
"I must say, I don't think anyone will blame you for wasting things that are literally covered in waste."

You can potentially find top-tier rings and charms in the sewers of Sandcaster, although this Obsidian Charm is sadly only useful for its sale value.

"Whew! Finally, I can take a breath."
"You mean to say that you've been holding your breath the whole time we've been down here? Even while you were talking?"
"It's amazing what the human body can do with enough motivation and a steady diet of endurance potions."

The southwestern corner of Sandcaster is a gauntlet filled with Wizards and Master Wizards. Teleportation spells are blocked in this part of town, so sometimes we have no choice but to charge headlong into danger.

"Ah, a potion to quench my thirst for knowledge!"

"And another, to quench my thirst for... speed."

Xenoc is scary. He has more HP than a regular Master Wizard, and can attack the entire party for 10-500 Energy damage. He also has extremely high Speed, so he's pretty much guaranteed to get at least one attack in. Kill him as quickly as possible: as usual, buffed melee attacks work best.

Like Morgana, Xenoc can drop a top-tier item; this time around I only got Gold Plate Armour.

"Victory is sweet, like the fragrance of the sewers!"

"Now, to return underground and build an invincible sewer fortress to protect our reward!"
"We can certainly do that. First, though, why don't we pay a visit to the local temple?"

"I'd just like to state for the record that my sewer plan was still saner than yours, and you didn't have magical influence as an excuse."

"We have spent three full years exploring the Darkside now. As the saying goes, time flies lay eggs in your flesh while you are having fun!"
"I... don't think that's quite right."
"No, he say how they say it on Darkside. Serious public health problem. One day you fine, and then the previous day you have time maggots burrowing out of skin."

Look at that HP total -- and that Might. Fubar continues to be a tonne of bricks waiting to fall on poor, unsuspecting monsters. I've been neglecting his armour a bit, but with so many HP he could probably outlast the rest of the party even if he was walking around naked.

"Hey! Did we really need that mental image?"

I've decided to stack a bunch of speed bonuses on Ms Swallow, so that I have at least one party member who can act before most enemies and maybe take one out before it moves, or put up last-minute buffs if I'm caught without them. She's also got the highest overall elemental resistances in the party, since her ability to wear plate armour means I don't have to optimise for AC so much and can give her resistance-boosting gear instead.

Flench's spell point total is finally looking respectable, thanks to the unreasonably large number of intellect potions in Sandcaster. He also remains a solid melee fighter.

Trish still outlevels the rest of the party by a wide margin, and her HP and combat ability are accordingly high, second only to Fubar. She shouldn't have too many more problems with locked doors or chests, either. (Famous last words.)

Anleisa greatly appreciates the bevy of new spells she's picked up in Sandcaster, even if she could still do with some extra Personality to improve her spell point total. Clerical buffs are expensive!

Vandesloof may have benefited even more than Anleisa from his new spells, and he's got more than enough spell points to cast 'em, too. I've also loaded him up with Endurance for extra survivability, since having a 500 HP tank doesn't mean as much if the rest of the party is constantly getting wiped out.

Clearing out Sandcaster is no picnic -- even reaching it in the first place requires getting past Armadillos -- but the rewards are well worth it. In terms of levels, the party is now about on par with when they finished Clouds; in terms of stats and equipment, they're a big step ahead.

Next time, would you like to see some outdoor exploration with our new navigation abilities and spells, or a trip to the Great Eastern Tower to recover the Jewel of Ages and fix the party's magical aging problems? Vote now!