The Let's Play Archive

Might & Magic: World of Xeen

by Thuryl

Part 71: The Old and the Toothless

Update 38: The Old and the Toothless

"It's high time we retrieved the Jewel of Ages. We're not getting any younger -- and we'd like to be!"

"Floating heads, huh? I guess that's a step up from floating feet."

"Just once, I'd like to go somewhere that people don't try to kill us. Is that too much to ask?"

Mystic Mages hit the entire party for 10-200 Electrical damage, and are immune to electricity and resistant to other elements.

The whole party's got pretty good electrical resistance at this point, so even without a full set of protective buffs we only take moderate damage. With Protection from Electricity and Power Shield up, they're not much of a threat at all, and it's not hard to chew through their 200 HP with melee attacks. They drop quite a few gems when defeated.

The Great Eastern Tower's gimmick is having lots and lots of stairways. The upper floors are divided into a number of discrete sections, so getting where you want to go requires picking the right stairs.

Some of them lead to tiny passages that have a couple of enemies in them and lead you back down to another stairway near where you came from.

"Must be something more to all these mirrors. Still no idea what. Always in towers, always look the same."

There are teleport traps in front of some sets of stairs, sending the party back near the centre of the first floor. A simple Jump spell will let us bypass them.

"Well, none of us can complain that those stairs didn't go high enough. But I don't see the Jewel of Ages up here and I do see a host of murderous golems, so we'd better find another way up."

"Any fool has knowledge that when one's enemies become stronger, one is closer to the goal!"

Magic Mages (yes, that's really what they're called) are upgraded versions of Mystic Mages; the main differences are that they have they have 300 HP instead of 200, and do 10-300 damage instead of 10-200. This doesn't materially change how to fight them, and they're still only a threat in large numbers.

"What this? Mages keep pet up here?"

"Yaaaah! Food irradiation is not approved by the Darkside Department of Agriculture!"
"Can you not treat us becoming food as a foregone conclusion?"

Meet the Gamma Gazer. It's 60% resistant to physical attacks, totally immune to fire, electricity, poison and energy, attacks seven times per round for 10-200 energy damage per hit -- and has 5,000 hit points.

With its massive HP and high damage output, this monster will easily outlast the party if we try to fight it in melee, and there's no room up here to dance around it like we did with Barkman. Looks like we're in trouble, huh?

Luckily for us, we picked up a cool little spell in Sandcaster that can help even the scales! The party's current spell point total is enough to support three Mass Distortions (two from Anleisa, one from Ms Swallow); if all three have their full effect, its 5000 HP will be cut down to a very manageable 625.

Hitting its AC of 60 to wear down its remaining health will still be a challenge, but Fubar can hit it somewhat reliably with his obsidian weapon, and the casters can help out with cold-based attack magic.

Well, they could if they were still conscious.

"All up to Fubar now!"

That came right down to the wire: there's a good chance we wouldn't have lasted another round. The Gamma Gazer's worth 1 million experience points when killed, but we don't get any other rewards for this fight and it wasn't obstructing our path to anything in particular (in fact, we had to go out of our way a little to find it). Since it's completely optional, avoiding it is probably a good idea for parties that aren't confident in their strength.

"Still no Jewel of Ages. Back into the tower we go!"

You can tell when you're on the right track in this dungeon, because you'll start running into a whole lotta Magic Mages.

"Better than Fountain of Death."

"How did we gain wisdom by being magically aged? It's not as if we attained any new knowledge or had any new experiences."
"We just fought a seven-headed lizard that shot ionising radiation out of its eyes. I'm slowly learning to stop asking too many questions."
"Did gain one piece of knowledge. Learned not to drink from unknown fountains."
"If we were ever going to learn that lesson, it would have happened a long time ago. I'm afraid we're always gonna be a bunch of happy-go-lucky dipsomaniacs."

It's less noticeable since everyone's stats are so high to begin with, but the party is starting to see some significant effects from aging. From age 76-100, characters get a +10 bonus to Intellect and Personality, but -10 penalties to Might, Endurance, Speed and Accuracy. From 101 to 200, the stat bonuses and penalties increase to 20 points in either direction. If anyone somehow makes it to age 201, the bonuses and penalties increase to 50 points. The Intellect and Personality bonuses are nice for spellcasters, but the Endurance and Speed hits may hurt more than the extra spell points help.

"I will pass this fountain by with my nose turned upward, for I do not want minimal abilities, but maximal ones!"

If the drinker has any base stats lower than 10, the Fountain of Minimal Abilities raises those stats by 10. Since everyone already got a +19 bonus to all stats for joining the Disciples of Bark, we've arrived too late to gain anything from it. Oh well; the water was sour anyway.

"Why, hello there! Do I spot a piece of treasure that belongs in my collection? Oh yes I do!"

"Don't get too attached to it. We need to return it to Venom Pond to restore the fountain of youth, unless you enjoy being an octogenarian."
"I'm willing to make some sacrifices for the sake of treasure."
"Too bad. We're going to return that jewel to its rightful owner."

"Aw, fine. But at least let me hold on to these energy discs until we get them back to Ellinger."

There are two Energy Discs in the outer reaches of the tower, which brings us up to a total of 15 found so far.

"Power not come from book. Power come from muscles!"
"Ah, but with your muscles, can you implode your enemies?"

"Oof. This feeling remind Flench of big drinking night that put us on Darkside in first place."
"Yes, we have indeed become drunk: drunk on power!"

The Book of Great Power strips a character of every skill except Thievery. Regaining them all will be a bit of a pain, but for 5 free levels it's worth the trouble.

"Nice glowing aura, loser. Where'd you get it, the Hair Club for Men?"
"Seriously, Anleisa? A bald joke? I know you can do better than that."
"Oh no! I've lost my Biting Wit skill! I guess I'll just have to keep practising until it comes back."

Guess what: the Mega Mage is just a stronger Magic Mage, with 500 HP and an attack that does 10-400 damage. Given that you've defeated groups of multiple Magic Mages to get up here, and this poor sap is all alone, he should be very manageable.

Like most of the "boss" enemies in Darkside, he has a chance to drop a top-tier item: in this case, we got a Platinum Shield, which is far from top-tier but still a useful upgrade.

"Surgeon General say to drink eight vats of magic goo per day!"

"Never trust advice of Darkside Surgeon General. Position infamous as sinecure."

The little Clairvoyance heads warn you away from drinking from this vat, and for good reason: it'll inflict a curse on the drinker, and provides no benefit. Don't try it.

"Perhaps you should have tried the other vat instead. Look, I'm young again! And look at these beautiful wings I've sprouted! Let's all go to the top of the tower so I can try them out!"

The second vat doesn't inflict a curse, but does cause insanity. Don't drink from this one, either.

"Ooh! Maybe Fubar get education again!"

Reading this book with anyone but a Sorcerer, Archer, Ranger or Druid does a bunch of magical damage to them. For any of those classes, though...

"Yes! Yes! My cranium pulsates with profound new thoughts!"

Between the stat alterations from aging, the hefty bonus granted by the book, and a couple of bonuses from equipment, Vandesloof's Intellect is currently as high as it can usefully get: raising it above 250 grants no further bonuses.

"Are we going to fly now?"
"Ms Swallow, pull yourself together! Don't make me be the sane one! I'm not good at it!"

Before the end of this update, we do a little backtracking to get back the skills we lost. Most of the important ones can be bought in either Castleview or Sandcaster, luckily for us.

"Are you all pleased with yourselves? You should be! We have enough energy discs to let Ellinger restore another floor of Castle Kalindra!"

"... Alamar's plan."
"What is Alamar's plan again? Do we even know?"

"I think that's Ellinger's way of telling us that he doesn't know either."
"Given that Alamar has raised an army of monsters and uses them to rule the Darkside with an iron fist, our working assumption ought to be that he's planning something evil."

"Should have done this sooner. Flench deal with osteoporosis for long enough."

Not only have we just found a permanent solution to any magical aging we ever suffer, but we get a level's worth of XP too.

"At last! Now, to enjoy the fruits of our labour."

We can use the fountain of youth whenever we like, as many times as we like. It can only restore characters to their natural ages, though, so if you take enough in-game time that your characters hit age 36 or older, you'll be stuck with some minor aging penalties that the fountain won't help with.

The party didn't get much new equipment in the Great Eastern Tower, but they did fix their aging problems, gain a couple of thousand gems, get some stat boosts and (most importantly) earn half a dozen or so experience levels.

Thus ends another successful and productive journey. Two avenues of future exploration suggest themselves: the party could fill out some more of the outdoor map, or, now that they've restored all but the top floor of Castle Kalindra, they could enter the castle to see if it has the final Energy Discs they need. Vote now!