The Let's Play Archive

Might & Magic: World of Xeen

by Thuryl

Part 70: Bonus Update 37.5: Sandcaster, Books of Bark

Bonus Update 37.5: Sandcaster, Books of Bark

Next time, the party will be staging a daring jewel heist from the Great Eastern Tower. For now, enjoy a guided tour of scenic Sandcaster.

Sandcaster is a full-service town just like Castleview, with all the conveniences today's adventurer has come to expect. You can think of it as the Rivercity of Darkside: it's much more dangerous than the starting town, but filled with new spells and other rewards for the brave.

Considering the monsters you'll run into here, high resistances to fire, electricity, energy and magic are all good to have. Protective buff spells help a bit, but the sheer amount of damage most enemies can inflict per attack means a lot of pain will still get through.

The main risk in the sewers is insanity from the Sewer Hags. Even then, unless you're careless it should only mean a trip to the temple rather than death. If the Beholder Bats are any threat at all, you're seriously underlevelled and I'm sort of impressed you got here alive in the first place.

I'll also include the content of the books in the Temple of Bark that require the Linguist skill to decipher in this update, because why not. Some are pretty amusing, while others contain gameplay hints. Caution: incoming wall of text.


History of Bark

Ages past, before the time when men walked the Earth, there was Bark. From Bark did all good things come; Bark's roots drew water from the Earth, Bark's leaves drew sustenance from the sun, Bark's branches held the sky above the ground, lest the sky fall and crush the world beneath it.

One day, Bark decided to walk about the Earth, and so Bark did. Bark carried the sky on his journeys across the Earth, for there was no place for Bark to rest the sky. Many years did Bark wander the Earth, and much did Bark see, but there was no one to talk to. So Bark devised a fine plan to make people to talk to. Bark asked the sky to rain upon herself.

The sky, grateful to Bark for carrying him around for so long, obliged, and rain fell upon Bark. Bark's sweet flowers grew heavy with the rain, and many fell to the earth. Some of the flowers fell into shade, others fell into sun. From the flowers came all that walks, crawls and slithers. The creatures of the shade became the monsters of Xeen, the creatures of the sun became the mundane beasts and the mannish races.

Bark saw what Bark and the sky had made, and it was good. Now that Bark had men to speak to, Bark decided to rest where Bark was, and speak to the humans for awhile. Bark set down deep roots, and Bark spoke to the humans. Those humans who spoke to Bark the most became the Disciples of Bark. The Disciples to this day speak to Bark at the roots, which is where Bark keeps her ears. When at last no one is left speaking to Bark, Bark promises to walk again.


Book of Barkman

Only a fragment of text remains. it reads:

...the Barkman will avenge. And only one who is not a disciple of Bark would ever feed the leaves of the Tree in lieu of the roots of the Tree. Barkman will know when this blasphemous act is committed, and he will come from the Trunk of the Tree to smite the wretched blasphemers in righteous wrath. Yea, unbelievers will fall before him like wheat before the scythe. And the glorious Barkman...


Book of Sap, volume 1

The Sap of Bark runs with power. Store the Sap with care, and add the Holy Bark of Yak on the spring equinox to the Sap to make it potent. The Sap will make Holy Potions that improve the health and character of the drinker. Drink with care: The Sap runs slowly, and the making of a Holy Potion is a slow process that cannot be hurried. The Holy Potions must be reserved for the disciples of Bark, for Bark requires Her Clerics to be strong of limb and mind.


Book of Sap, volume 2

Only a fragment of the original text remains:

...Sap drawn from Bark at different times of the year will make different kinds of Holy Potions. Red potions can be made only at the height of summer, for red is the potion of physical might, and Bark is mightiest during the summer. Green potions can only be created during the coldest days of Winter, for green potions are the potions of endurance and while Bark endures the winter, Bark's sap runs with the power of Her endurance. Yellow potions must be made during...



Date / Purchased Item / Cost

6/6/787 / 5 tons manure / 500
8/10/787 / 40 vials / 400
9/10/787 / 12 barrels / 245
10/1/787 / 55 magic skulls / 12,000
1/5/788 / 100 iron spikes / 1,000
1/7/788 / 3 bottles ink / 6
1/7/788 / 10,000 pgs paper / 8,000
2/8/788 / 84 shovels / 450


Bark Membership

High Priest:
Jon Van Caneghem

High Priestess:
Debbie Van Caneghem

Mark Caldwell
Dave Hathaway
Paul Rattner
Mike Heilemann

Holy Gardeners:
Jonathan Gwyn
Bonnie Long-Hemsath
Julia Ulano
Ricardo Barrera

Growth Coaxers:
Richard Espy
Scott McDaniel

Soil Testers:
Benjamin Bent
Milt Bland
Christian Dailey
(Super) Mario Escamilla
Marco Hunter
Robert Lupo
Clayton Retzer
Peter Ryu
David Vela

Thousands and thousands


Morning Ceremonies

Take ye then the Bark of the Tree, and sprinkle it with ash. The ash symbolizes the yak, the Bark the Moo. March ye the congregation in a circle about the Tree, directing the half of them to chant "Yak" and the other half "Moo". After three circuits of the Tree, command the worshippers to sit where they are and clasp hands, all the while continuing the holy "Yak" and "Moo" chant. lowly and evenly increase the tempo and volume 'til every throat is shrieking "Yak!" and "Moo!", "Yak!" and "Moo!".

Maintain the crescendo as long as the voices of the worshippers can hold it, then, with a sudden motion, plant the Holy Bark of the Tree (with the ash sprinkled upon it) into the ground next to all the other Holy Bark implantations. The implantation is the signal for the entire congregation to go silent. The Morning Ceremonies are complete. Break for breakfast, then repeat before lunch.


High Book of Bark

Only a fragment of the original, immense text remains:

Yea, and verily did Bark bring the Flowers to her generous bosom and nurture them until they grew strong and prosperous. Bark spake unto them: "Go now, mighty Flowers, and multiply and prosper." And the Flowers went into the world, and multiplied, and they did prosper as well. Bark saw that the multiplication of the Flowers was good, but something was not 100% confidence. There was a Weed in the Garden, a black, ugly plant with roots as deep as the world and foul leaves that spread a shadow over the fair Flowers and deprived them of the sun they needed to grow and prosper. The Weed took water from the Flowers so that it may grow alone, and the Flowers which grew under the shadow of the Weed were stunted and twisted. Their roots were shallow, their leaves were not glossy.

The Weed began to tempt the other Flowers with vile promises of water and sunlight if only they would serve the Weed and help it to grow larger than Bark and enclose Bark under the Weed's black shadow. Many of the flowers bent to the Weed's will, and the Weed did prosper at the expense of Bark. Bark saw that this was ill, and did seek to stop the Weed's advance...


High Book of Bark Errata

Only a fragment of the original, immense text remains:

Page 8, paragraph three, word two should be a "the" instead of an "a". The astute reader will note the marked difference the substitution of the article makes in the text regarding the tending of the Garden.

Page 1034, paragraph one, word eight should be "Weed" instead of "weed". Even the simplest acolyte can tell that the Weed, source of all evil in the world, should be capitalized to indicate its importance to the world and to Bark.

Page 8769, paragraph 23, word seven should read...


Book of Bark

Only a fragment of the original, immense text remains:

Spread your limbs wide and plant your legs firmly in the ground and gaze into the heart of the Tree. Receive the wisdom of Bark upon your head and sway with the wind and gather the sunlight unto your skin that you might know the ways of the trees and the grasses and all the green things under the Sun. Yea, and verily the truly faithful will dye their skin green so that they might better understand the life of glorious Bark.


Book of Bark

The book seems to be a lengthy diary of Barkman's life. Only a small portion still survives:

4/8/400: SQUEEZED branch feeders today.
9/7/413: SQUEEZED branch feeders today.
8/2/476: SQUEEZED branch feeders today.
9/1/511: SQUEEZED branch feeders today.
9/2/511: SQUEEZED branch feeders today.
3/6/655: SQUEEZED branch feeders today.

And that's all she wrote. See you next year update!