Part 83: Death at a FumaroleUpdate 45: Death at a Fumarole
"Somebody remind me. We're travelling to a place called 'Necropolis' because...?"
"Necropolis may be a cursed city of the dead, but it is also the town closest to Alamar's castle. There's every chance we could find valuable information on his weaknesses. But we'd better watch ourselves, or we could end up on a one-way trip to the netherworld."
"Oh no! Fubar not even speak Dutch!"
"Ancient magic may have embalmed you, but today my magic will em-blam you!"
Higher Mummies attack once per round for 10-400 damage, selectively targeting Clerics, and have a chance to curse the equipment of anyone they hit. They're vulnerable to fire, but highly resistant to most other damage types.
Luckily for us, Anleisa's AC is high enough that none of these mummies manage to hit her before we wipe them out. If you don't want to take any chances, two Inferno spells should be enough to make short work of an entire group.
"Wooo! More education for Fubar!"
"Fubar start to see why professors always so old."
Books of the Dead can be read once per character. This one requires an Intellect score of at least 25 to read, which everyone in the party has thanks to party-wide stat boosts from the Dungeon of Lost Souls and the Temple of Bark.
"Maybe not best idea to keep reading books."
"Eh. We can just stop by the fountain of youth once we're done."
At age 101 or higher, a character's physical stats (Might, Speed and Accuracy) are decreased by 20, and their mental stats (Intellect and Personality) are increased by 20. If we made it to 201, the stat bonuses and penalties would increase to a whopping 50 points... which would be bad, since some party members have physical stats below 50, and having a stat reduced to 0 puts you at constant risk of death.
"Ooh! Fubar get education in magic now too?"
"I'm afraid we'll be saving our money for those of us who can actually use magic."
"What? Who said that? Who's trying to keep treasure from me? Was it you, in that fancy chair over there?"
"For once, this skull throne actually fits the aesthetic of the area."
"... below. I will finally be released from this unlife and you may have the statuette sitting in the alcove in my room. And now my hunger for the living compels me to attack you."
"Seriously? You had time to tell us all that, but you couldn't hold off for another minute to let us get away?"
Sandro hits the entire party for 10-100 magical damage, with, as you can see, a chance to cause instant death. If your sorcerer or archer is at least level 60 or so, Power Shield will usually block the damage and prevent the death effect. If not... well, he's got 1000 HP and is highly resistant to physical damage but vulnerable to all elements. Use magic to kill him quickly.
"I suppose we'd better revive Anleisa now."
"Wha? Did I die again? Damn it all. Well, at least it looks like you killed him. So much for that heart business he was going on about."
"Oh, great, he's still kicking -- actually, you know what, that suits me just fine. Hey! Sandro! I've got a bone to pick with you!"
"Heh, good one. Bone. 'Cause he's a lich."
"Do I look like I'm trying to joke around?"
Sandro will just keep respawning as long as we keep coming back here without his heart. It's possible to farm him for experience and gems if you want, but let's move on.
Remember these guys from Castle Kalindra's dungeon? They haven't changed: their ability to render party members unconscious could be dangerous, but you should be okay if you pay attention to everyone's character portraits and heal anyone who's got their eyes closed.
"Aha! If the Well of Energy protects one from energy, and the Well of the Elements protects one from elements, it is standing to reason that this well protects one from death!"
"Aaaaaa! Nomenclature has failed me once again!"
"At least this means I'm not the only one getting killed for stupid reasons today."
It's a good thing the party doesn't have much trouble with mummies, because there are a lot of them in this town.
"What is this, National Skull Day?"
... question once and for all. Standing atop the burial mound of a great hero, Darkness began the fight by uttering a string of syllables so foreign to the human throat as to be virtually unpronounceable. So vile and alien were the words spoken by Darkness that the hero beneath the mound heard them and began to dig his way out of his grave to put a stop to the sounds. During all this, Death had not been idle. He, too, began incantations meant to awaken the dead.
And so, one by one, the dead began to rise from their graves and fight one another between the two necromancers. The carnage was terrible to behold, the losses devastating. One by one the dead fell again, too damaged to do more than twitch or thrash about where they lay. Broken skeletons and corpses began to fill the valley between the burial mounds upon which the necromancers were standing. The dead began to clamber atop the piled corpses in their efforts to slay the opposing necromancers. But the battle raged on, filling the valley between the mounds 'til morning, then from morning to afternoon, and then again to blackest night.
Aye, the battle raged a full five days, filling the cemetery with a stench the world has never known. The armies of the dead dwindled as the supply of working corpses was used up. Soon the bodies had been piled so high that a kind of bridge formed between the two burial mounds, and the necromancers approached each other, urging their remaining servants forward. Still the killing continued, and the necromancers drew within spittin' distance. And as the last of the walking dead finished themselves off, the two met and came to blows. The exhausted necromancers fought and wrestled over the mountain of corpses when suddenly Death caught hold of Darkness' throat, and Darkness of Death's. There Darkness and Death gasped out their last breath together, dying as one at the very top of the hideous mountain they had created.
"More education! More! Fubar going to have MBA in no time!"
"Guess we shoulda fixed that whole aging thing a little sooner."
If you're already older than 100, reading a Book of the Dead will instantly kill you, regardless of how high your stats are. We'll set one Lloyd's Beacon here and another in Necropolis so that we can restore the party's youth as needed.
The higher-numbered volumes have an Intellect requirement of 50, which not everyone meets. We can easily shuffle around Intellect-boosting accessories to get each character up to that value, though.
They also cause more aging, while providing the same amount of experience. Oh well. I'm still not going to turn down a level's worth of XP.
Volume 9 (the final volume) gives a massive 10 levels' worth of XP, but requires an Intellect of 100 to read.
Even with every possible Intellect-boosting accessory stacked on him, Fubar doesn't quite make it to 100. But I'd really like those 10 million experience points. What am I to do?
Well, remember how the books age anyone who reads them? And remember how aging increases your mental stats?
The 10-point boost from being over age 50 is just enough to get Fubar over 100 Intellect, while keeping him young enough to read one more book and not die.
"Wow! Fubar older than own parents! Older than parents' parents! Older than parents' parents' parents! Older than--"
"Yes, Fubar. That's very nice. Now let's all go to the fountain of youth before we die of old age."
The coffins in Necropolis require a Might of at least 150 to open.
"This look like job for Fubar!"
Once we've put a coffin's inhabitant back to rest...
... we can search it for a random item which is guaranteed to be of top-tier quality. This set of obsidian plate armour goes to Ms Swallow, giving her a slight AC boost over her previous obsidian plate mail.
And with the very next coffin we open, Ms Swallow finally gets to join the obsidian weapon club.
"Look at all those coffins, every one of 'em full of beautiful, beautiful treasure. Doesn't it just warm your heart?"
In the southern end of the city we also find the magic guild. It only has a couple of spells we don't yet know, but they're really, really good ones. Flench and Vandesloof finally get Implosion and Star Burst for huge damage output, while Ms Swallow and Anleisa get Sun Ray for significantly-less-huge damage output and, more importantly, Divine Intervention to fully heal the entire party.
"Here we are going again. Let us hope to find the heart quickly and get outwards."
"Look on the bright side. At least this one should be clean enough, seeing as this town's inhabitants don't exactly have bodily functions any more."
"Oh, you have got to be kidding me."
"What even is the deal here? Do the undead have kidneys full of lava?"
"That would explain why they're dead."
"More likely lava flow from Forbidden Zone eroded through walls, flooded sewer with molten rock."
"Aw, take all the fun out of it, why don't ya."
Walking on lava does 100 fire damage per step, so as long as we can get at least that much protection between Power Shield and Protection from Fire, we're sittin' pretty. Remember, protection spells for specific elements are much stronger than the elemental resistance bonuses from Day of Protection.
"What a vile creature! Who knows what bizarre magical diseases it may carry? One bite and you could be foaming at the mouth before you know it!"
"Why do we specify 'foaming at the mouth', anyway? I mean, is there anywhere else you can foam?"
"Never mind! Forget I asked!"
Lava Roaches can't actually inflict disease; they just hit once per round for 5-250 fire damage. Considering that you should definitely have fire protection up if you're exploring down here, they should barely be able to scratch the party.
They have 500 HP and are vulnerable to physical, cold and energy attacks. Fubar can easily one-shot them.
Searching the sewer drains causes disease, but some contain guaranteed top-tier items. Hello, obsidian cape!
"Ugh, I guess some fungal spores or somethin' managed to survive in there. I could really use some echinacea."
"I know you are feeling poorly, but that is no reason to die!"
"My wizardly eyes are seeing a secret room behind this wall!"
"Nice teamwork, Sloof! I'll even let you have a share of the treasure this time, if there's enough to go around."
As far as I can tell, the Mummy's Secret Treasure is accessible only by teleportation. It contains a nice haul of gold and gems, plus several top-tier items.
It also heavily curses the party, but who cares: everyone's got enough Luck to survive the penalty until we get back to a temple to get it removed.
We need a character with at least 100 Might to pry open this barrel. Luckily, we've still got Fubar around.
"It seems that even the dead have problems with vermin."
"Ooh! Some food still left in barrel!"
"This is one of the most obviously terrible ideas that any of us has ever had, and that's saying something."
"Ha! Shows what you know! Fubar feel better than... than... uh-oh."
The Food of the Dead grants a free experience level, but also inflicts 3000 damage. Even Fubar can just barely survive it: nobody else can even come close. There are a few more barrels like this scattered around the sewers. No pain, no gain, right?
"This looks like an awfully small box in which to keep a heart."
"Maybe it's all dried out and shrunken and gross and stuff."
If you're coming here at a low level and just want to beeline straight for the heart, it's in the far northwest corner of the sewers.
"Remember, Alamar CAN be defeated."
In addition to the key, the whole party is awarded 2 million experience points. The Dungeon of Death is one of the most fun and challenging dungeons in the game. We could technically go there right now, but I'll save it for the postgame.
"Yesss! Nobody's gonna stop me from taking this now!"
"Don't you get too excited, now."
"Now that we have all three statuettes, we're taking them directly back to Luna."
How's that for a worthy reward, huh? All three of the statuettes are in completely optional areas that contain no Energy Discs or anything else important for the main plot, so this is a bit of an incentive to explore beyond what's strictly necessary.
Aaand we've now officially hit the point where gold becomes more of a limiting factor than experience for levelling up. Even after withdrawing everything from the bank, I barely have enough gold to give Fubar all the levels he's earned, let alone the rest of the party.
Maybe I should have spread the levelups around a bit more. Oh well; it's a bit late to worry about that now.
As of this update, the party's been exploring Darkside for five in-game years. Will they be able to defeat Alamar and save Xeen before this year is over? We shall see! Next time, should they look for a way into Castle Blackfang or explore outdoors in search of new wonders (and maybe some more gold to feed the Castle Kalindra trainers' burgeoning truffle habits)? Vote now!