Part 74: Lockups and LichesUpdate 40: Lockups and Liches
"I don't know about the rest of you, but my feet could use a rest after walking through mountains and deserts for weeks and finding no energy discs -- count 'em, zero -- in the process. Maybe if we ask around inside the castle, they'll have an idea of where to find more discs."
We could have entered the first floor of the castle at any time after giving five energy discs to Ellinger. Now's a good time to explore it, though: we've restored three of its four levels, and there's some stuff we'll have to do inside here before restoring the last level.
"Well, that's no good. Can't have people going around stealing cubes."
"At this point, I think that's rather secondary to the fact that he's declared himself King of Darkside and his armies of monsters are running rampant across the land. He needs to be dethroned and his army pacified -- and of course, we have to restore Queen Kalindra to her rightful place as ruler of the civilised races of Darkside."
"Er, that is, not that you're uncivilised. What I mean to say is, Queen Kalindra rules over the human and humanoid populations of the major cities, while the Dragon Pharaoh rules over the non-humanoids who live outside of the cities."
"You saying Flench not like human? You think maybe Flench not as good as human?"
"No! That's not what I meant! I was just saying that you people -- uh, that is to say, you and your kind -- that you -- would somebody please help me explain this?"
"Heh. Humans. Always so easy to mess with heads."
"Oooh, that's a good point. How long have you all been holed up in here?"
"Three years at the absolute least, assuming Castle Kalindra had only recently gone out of phase when we heard about it from Ellinger. It's a good thing the inhabitants were well-prepared for sieges."
"People are actually acknowledging that we're trying to save the world and giving us free stuff? This is way too good to be true. They're all secretly gonna be evil or something, aren't they."
Gnomes automatically start with Danger Sense skill, but since I recently wiped out the party's secondary skills in the Great Eastern Tower, we've been getting by without it. It's nice to have it back.
Arms Master skill gives a bonus to accuracy in melee combat. I'm pretty sure it's only a +1 bonus, but the price is right.
"Free battle training and free food? This almost as good as Newcastle!"
"I'd be surprised if they have anything left but mouldy grain and mediocre wine."
"If you think that stop Fubar, you not pay much attention."
According to the hintbook, the buttons on the fireplaces around this room open up passages in other parts of the castle. Of course, I'd still instinctively hit them all even if they did nothing.
"Let us bring these diners the glorious news that their liberators have arrived! Today, they will be eating their brunches with a side order of freedom!"
"This all seems as if it'd make life rather inconvenient for the residents..."
"Oh, right, him. We were meant to be looking for him, weren't we? Well, if he's in Alamar's own dungeons, he's just going to have to wait there a while longer."
"These stairs should lead up to clouds. Of course, have to go through third floor first. No third floor, no way to clouds."
"I smell treasure!"
If a character with sufficiently high Thievery tries to open a wall safe, you'll be given the combination needed to open it. If their Thievery isn't high enough, you'll just see question marks where the numbers should be, although if you somehow guess the correct combination the safe will still open.
This particular safe's combination was 5-17-58, and our reward for looting it is a random high-level amulet.
"Trish! We're here to liberate the castle, not rob it!"
"I just liberated this shield, didn't I?"
"Castle people not kidding about running out of food. Not even weevils left. Too bad. Fubar looking forward to good meal of fried weevil."
"This appears to be the kitchen. Perhaps it is here that a meal can be rustled upwards!"
"That's a lot of enthusiasm for lizard innards, especially when she's had nothing else to eat for years. Maybe she already signed a sponsorship deal."
"It seems Alamar redecorated the throne room before he left. It'll take some work to make this place presentable again."
The Captain's Quarters are on the second floor of Castle Kalindra, so we need to have found at least 10 energy discs and returned them to Ellinger to get this far.
"If anyone can help us against Alamar and his monstrous armies, the Captain of the Guard would be our best bet."
"... give her to Count Blackfang. If only he would realize that what happened was beyond his control... that he was not responsible... perhaps then he would recover and be himself again. I know for certain that he would think of a way to rescue the Queen and the Cube. But how? I have heard that there exists a Songbird whose song is so sweet that it immediately uplifts the spirit of the listener. It has been said that this melodious Songbird can be found in the dungeon on the Isle of Lost Souls. Please, take this key. You'll need it to get in."
"Hmph. No need for bird hunting. If we talk to Dimitri, can get him to see reason."
"We're actually going to have to do this, aren't we? We're going to go to a dungeon to find a magic bird to cheer up this guy so he'll do his job. This may be the least respectable errand we've run so far."
"Counterpoint: we once fished a lost necklace out of a sewer."
"I'd managed to forget that until now. Thanks a lot."
"These are some well-made safes. Must be somethin' extra good inside. Anyone got any dynamite so we can see for ourselves?"
The wall safes on the second floor are special. No amount of Thievery will help us open them, and even if we know the correct combination, the game won't accept it yet. There is a way to get them open eventually.
There's also a book on this floor which teaches the Astrology skill, which would be nice if we had a Ranger or Druid, but we don't, so it's of no use to us.
More usefully, it looks like some of the castle guards have hidden weapons under their beds.
The weapons can be good, but not quite top-tier. We didn't get anything too exciting, although that long bow is technically an upgrade over what we've already got.
"First and second floor all explored. Third floor still out of phase. Only place left to look for energy discs is dungeon."
"Why in the world would anyone keep energy discs in a dungeon?"
"Perhaps they are guilty of crimes!"
"I think the combination to this safe is 7-7-7. But that can't be right. Nobody would set such a stupid--"
"I think you're overestimating the intelligence of people who keep priceless treasures in their dungeons."
There's a very good chance to get top-tier stuff out of the dungeon safes: we end up with a Sapphire Splint Mail, an Obsidian Chain Mail and a Kinetic Helm (poor AC, but greatly raises energy resistance, which is the most valuable resistance in the late game and the hardest to raise).
"The combination for this one should be 36-26-36, but it's not working. Huh. Well, let's move on and I'll think it over as we go."
"Good advice! Even prisoners are deserving of a proper meal!"
"Sloof, I think Scraps might be one of the prisoners."
... Eight, for Abrogation of Sworn Contracts and Stealing from the Public Treasury.
"We should probably check on the prisoners down here to make sure they're okay. I mean, they've been cooped up in here for years, cut off even from the other floors of the castle. Was there even anyone down here to feed them?"
"Uh-huh. You were imprisoned unjustly for stealing from the castle. And if we let you out, you're going to help us steal from the castle. But you're totally innocent. Right."
"C'mon, it's not like we haven't done worse stuff. And if the records are accurate, he must have at least served most of his minimum sentence by now."
"I knew this would pay off."
We can now go back to those safes in the dungeon that Trish couldn't open earlier. The ones on the second floor are still a mystery, though.
The dungeon safes yield two top-tier amulets: one that grants a +30 Speed bonus, and another that we can sell for 100,000 gold. Not too shabby.
"Good thing the castle's doors aren't as secure as their safes!"
... Weighty (a.k.a. Scraps), to be Held until proper reburial can be arranged.
"Perhaps these prisoners are best left alone."
"And turn downward the opportunity to meet someone named Iron Vithnipravad? I am thinking not!"
"No turning back now!"
"Okay, we can do this. I'll keep you all healed. You four in front, protect me. Sloof, set it on fire or whatever."
"I'm noticing a distinct lack of fire here. Sloof?"
Power Liches attack the entire party for 10-100 magical damage, which isn't a lot at our current level, but they also have a chance to inflict unconsciousness. If everyone's unconscious, it's game over. Anything that heals HP will bring characters back from unconsciousness as long as they have hit points left, so Moon Ray is a good spell to use here if you have it: it only heals a little HP, but affects the entire party, so it'll keep everyone on their feet.
They're highly resistant to physical and magical damage, but vulnerable to elemental spells: a single Incinerate spell will take off half their 500 HP. They don't drop any treasure, nor is there any in their cells, so all we get out of this is a little experience and the thrill of battle.
"Liches all dead again now. These must be cells of dragon mummies."
"... wow, that's just not right."
As expected of a mummified dragon that just one-shot our toughest party member, Scraps has 3,000 HP and a single extremely powerful, very accurate physical attack, inflicting 2000-4000 damage. He's also 90% resistant to physical attacks, and immune or heavily resistant to several other elements. His only vulnerabilities are fire, energy and magic.
He technically still counts as a dragon rather than as undead, so Dragon Sleep has a chance to work on him, but don't count on it. Our best bet is to wear him down with Mass Distortion, then finish him off with Incinerate spells and melee attacks once his HP is lowered.
You can expect him to kill one character per round, so this fight is really just about how much damage you can do before he devours your entire party. On the bright side, he's worth a total of 2 million experience points when defeated.
"At least we won. Somebody fetch a barrel so we can scrape Fubar and Flench into it. I'm just gonna let the temple sort out what parts belong to whom."
"Are we really going back to fight the rest of the mummies after that?"
"Where's your fighting spirit? We gotta finish what we started!"
"Oh. Um, this isn't such a great situation."
Regular Dragon Mummies are almost identical to Scraps, except that their attacks will selectively target Clerics and can inflict disease. The disease is sort of irrelevant when their attacks are guaranteed to outright kill any party member from full health, though.
"At least we managed to finish off one of 'em before they, y'know, ate us alive. Just one more to go!"
"Fubar think that go pretty well compared to last time."
"There were only three of those things, right? Because getting torn limb from limb twice in one day is my limit."
"Indeed. As a matter of fact, we seem to be done here, at least for the moment."
"But we still haven't opened all those safes on the second floor! They're calling out to me!"
"Then you'll just have to move out of earshot, won't you?"
This update, the party's earned a bit of experience from the monsters in the dungeons, and some significant equipment upgrades from looting the castle. Next time, should they head straight for the Isle of Lost Souls to find the songbird to reinvigorate Dimitri to formulate a plan to rescue Queen Kalindra, or should they continue their outdoor exploration in hopes of finding a less ridiculously convoluted way to help the queen? Vote now!