The Let's Play Archive

Might & Magic: World of Xeen

by Thuryl

Part 89: Where One Dragon Has Gone Before

Update 48: Where One Dragon Has Gone Before

"I sure don't see any armies of monsters trying to stop us from getting into the Dragon Pharaoh's pyramid. Maybe they all gave up and went home."
"Don't be reckless. We can expect to find some of the tyrant Alamar's most elite shock troops inside. Our biggest advantage is surprise: with any luck they'll still be focused on the defences within the pyramid, not reinforcements from outside."
"Fubar think biggest advantage is having sword that can smash through rock and muscles to use it."

"Even the Dragon Pharaoh's own kin have turned against him? The situation is worse than I'd feared."

Cloud Dragons are the most common enemy type in the Great Pyramid. We've already fought them during our exploration of the Skyroads, so we know what they're capable of: in groups of three or more they're still a real threat, requiring me to play cautiously, keep Protection from Cold up and sometimes top off characters with healing magic during battle.

Get careless or overconfident, and something like this can happen. I figured the readers might appreciate a reminder that the party's not quite immortal yet.

... shortly to discuss whatever business you have that relates to him. Please, have a seat.

Welcome to the Royal Pyramid! The Dragon Pharaoh is currently...

"That make things easier. Can just wait here and ask for help against Alamar."
"Fubar, I don't think anyone's coming. If we want to see the Dragon Pharaoh, we're just going to have to come to him."
"Hmph. If this is normal standard of customer service, Fubar not coming back here any time soon."

"At least we can hope that this means the upper floors of the pyramid haven't yet been breached."
"Not necessarily. Could have gone up already and sealed again from other side."
"I did say 'hope'."

Clairvoyance warns us against pulling this lever, but we're going to have to do it anyway. Once pulled, it becomes stuck and can't be interacted with again.

"Ooh, a puzzle! I'm good with these. As I am with most things."

"Of course, it helps to have enough information to solve them. Time to take a wild guess."

"Yeah, I wasn't expecting that to work. Maybe there are more clues nearby?"

"Hm. If eight numbers in a row add to 52... 52 divided by 8 is 6.5, so that must be average of numbers. Middle numbers must be 6 and 7, so numbers range from 3 to 10."

"Let us be trying it and seeing if your reasoning bears delicious, numerical fruit!"

"Score! Only seven to go."

"I'm the largest prime. What's my number?"

"Speaking of seven, that's the next answer."

"Correct! I'm twice the smallest even. What's my number?"

"The smallest even number between 3 and 10 would be 4, so 8, I guess?"

"Correct! I'm the smallest squared. What's my number?"

"Three squared... that's 9."

"Correct! I'm the largest. What's my number?"

"Too easy. 10."

"Correct! I'm the smallest prime that's left. What's my number?"

"Hmm. We already said 3, so 5?"

"Correct! I'm the smallest even. What's my number?"

"Surely the answer must be 4."

"Correct! I'm what's left. What's my number?"

"6 is only number we not say yet. Has to be that."

"So what's our reward for solving this? There is a reward, right?"

This lever is now operable, behind a surprisingly difficult locked door to the south of the puzzle area. To get it open I had to swap a couple of Trish's accessories out for Thievery-boosting gear that I kept around for an occasion like this, although you could just bash it down or Etherealize through if you don't mind missing out on lockpicking XP.

Pulling the lever opens up a passage nearby, with something rather nice at the end.

"It's everything I've always wanted! Finally, we can refill Newcastle's fabled gold-filled swimming pool!"
"Newcastle has a swimming pool?"
"I don't remember, but if it doesn't we can just pay to get one put in!"

In addition to two and a half million gold, the treasure contains a shitload of top-tier items. Unfortunately the stuff I get mostly isn't an upgrade over the top-tier stuff I've already got, but I guess it'd be in poor taste to complain about that.

"Finally, place to make complaint about poor customer service experience here!"

"I'm sure the dragons will be happy to hear your feedback, but even happier to feed on you."

Fighting our way through the various dragons in the Overseer's Office leads to another lever, which we're going to have to pull.

"Is good thing these dragons not have opposable thumbs."

Each lever we find and pull lights a torch near the entrance; once all six are lit we can go up to the second floor. This isn't exactly a puzzle, since it's pretty obvious the levers are there for something -- it's mostly an excuse to make you explore the whole first floor.

... the great monument since it was opened to the public 312 years ago. There is much to see and explore in the Pyramid, so be sure to check the information desk for the latest tour information. And don't forget to stop at the Royal bookstore for (crackle... hissssssss) Built during the Creation...

"Considering the events that have transpired here, I can't help but question the wisdom of offering guided tours of the Dragon Pharaoh's personal stronghold."

"That's all six torches lit, anyway. Time to try the stairs again!"

"Looking good so far. No dragons around, either -- and there's the stairs up to the third floor just ahead. Maybe we've caught a lucky break for once in our lives."

"It would seem there is a puzzle to be solved! Onward, to answers and glory!"

If you're a big Star Trek fan, you can probably guess the answer to this without having to do the rest of the floor. Unfortunately, the party are not big Star Trek fans.

"It seems we'll have to be on the lookout for dates."
"Mmm, dates. If we have yoghurt left, would go well. Also figs and honey, maybe some table grapes as palate cleanser. Ooh, and need some kind of cheese... to contrast sweet flavours of fruit, could use gorgonzola -- made from real gorgon milk, of course..."

"So did somebody set up an elaborate series of talking statues and arithmetic puzzles just in case the Dragon Pharaoh ever ended up trapped in his own keep, or did they manage to set these up after the attack and then take off?"

"We still don't know what number we're supposed to start with..."

"Seriously, where are these dates we're meant to add together? All we've found here are some talkin' statues and a big room with a bunch of weirdly-placed walls."

"Ah, my dear Trish, those are no mere weirdly-placed walls! They are weirdly-placed numbers!"

1993 was, of course, the year Darkside of Xeen was released. Somebody's not shy about putting themselves in illustrious company.

"Hm. 1993 plus 1492 plus 1776 is 5261. Subtract 32, get 5229. Divide by 3, get 1743. Subtract 42..."

"Not so hard."

"If we are to be judging by my wizardly eyes, we are now in a long spiral passageway."

"A really long spiral passageway. It feels like we're just going around in circles."

"This is in fact so. We are being teleported backwards by magical floor traps. A devious ruse indeed, but one that the great Vandesloof is having the talents to bypass! Behold!"

The endless hallway that requires careful use of Jump spells to pass is a classic Might and Magic puzzle, showing up several times in the early games of the series. In this case, the teleport traps are usually three steps away from the next turn in the passage, so pay attention to what's in front of you and keep your minimap open so you know if you get teleported. In the centre of the spiral, there's a stairway leading up...

"This is surely a great deal more welcoming than the lower levels. The Dragon Pharaoh should be using this scheme of colours for the public area of the pyramid!"

"Are you really so desperate for material wealth as to root around in the Dragon Pharaoh's bed?"
"We've already looted every other castle we've been in. You wouldn't want us to be accused of discriminating against dragons, would you?"

This button opens a nearby grate that bars a passage to the stairway...

... except we can't go upstairs right now anyway.

"This'll be a breeze! I'm gonna grab the Dragon Pharaoh's treasure right out from under his snout, and he's counting on us to save the world for him so there's not a damn thing he can do about it!"

"Huh, that doesn't happen often. Then again, it's pretty obvious that the Dragon Pharaoh takes security seriously, what with all the puzzles."

The combination the game suggests doesn't work, and we don't have any clue as to what the real combination is yet. (The hintbook lists the combination, but that'd be cheating.)

"Pah. How could a Brew of Pure Power possibly do me harm? My mastery over magical power is absolute!"

"Watch in awe, lesser mortals, as I am achieving my... what is that word again, for when a person is becoming a god?"
"Yes! What Flench said!"

"That vat really shouldn't have been left lying around."
"What, no harsh words for our fallen comrade, stricken by his own hubris?"
"Sloof is gonna be Sloof no matter what, but I expected better from the Dragon Pharaoh. Speaking of which, we should probably go talk to him now that we're done messing up his room."

"... trivial subjects and address the business at hand.

Alamar seeks to use Xeen as transportation back to his world, Terra. Though the travel will not destroy Xeen, every living thing will perish in the cold that lies between the stars. As Guardian of Xeen, I cannot permit this to happen. Unfortuantely, Alamar has the Cube of Power and, through the Cube, command of Xeen. Already the Sun diminishes in strength as Alamar directs Xeen to the stars. With the Cube in hand, Alamar would slowly sap my strength and destroy me should I dare to leave this pyramid, and I am the only power on Xeen capable of defeating Alamar in a fight. Dismal as things seem, there remains a ray of hope." (+5,000,000 experience)

"Wait, wait, let me guess. If you're the only one who can beat Alamar, and you can't leave the pyramid as long as Alamar has the Cube of Power... we have to steal back the Cube of Power?"
"Or lure Alamar into the pyramid. That'd work too."
"I betcha 500 gold my idea's the one he goes with."
"Come on, make it worth my time. 10,000 gold."
"You're on."

"Perhaps he fears what it contains. I want you to investigate. To aid you, I will use the command orb to cool the molten rock around the vehicle. Return to me when you are done with your investigation."

"Yesss! I win!"
"What? That wasn't anything like either of our plans!"
"Yeah, but the bet was that he'd go with your idea. He didn't, so I win."
"Technically, those were terms of bet. Flench take notes just in case this argument happen."
"Dammit. I was gonna spend that money on a custom-made ivory lockpick case. I'd already picked out the elephant I was gonna kill for it and everything. But hey, on the bright side, it'll be the first time anything's life was saved because of you."
"Wow, nice one. I've obviously been an excellent influence on you. I'm insulted, but also kind of proud."

"Oh, right, we're meant to be saving Xeen. We'll get right on that."

The massive haul of gold from solving the number puzzle lets everyone train up to level 75 (and this time, I keep a little in reserve for emergencies). We're in pretty good shape to tackle the endgame, which is a good thing because that's only a couple of updates away. Next time, the party meets an old friend for the first time and makes the final preparations for the assault on Castle Alamar!