Part 95: The Moment You've All Been Waiting ForUpdate 51: The Moment You've All Been Waiting For
"Dragon Pharaoh, we bring glorious news! We have defeated the tyrant Sheltem once and for all."
"Technically we mostly stand by while Corak beat him, but no need to sweat details. You have more work for us?"
"... holds the Sceptre of Temporal Distortion. Compared to Sheltem he is a mere gnat, but a pernicious one. As long as he holds the sceptre, I am unable to cause the environment to engulf him. I'm afraid that he will have to be defeated through more ordinary means. It is very important that he be removed from his cloud world above Darzog's Tower and the sceptre retrieved. I know that you have done much for the world, but in these times of chaos I have no one else that I can send to do the job. Please rid the world of him. Report back to me once you are done."
"Wow, you've missed a lot while you were holed up in this pyramid. We took care of Lord Xeen like five years ago."
It's trivial to cheat your way to the end of Clouds if you're at a high enough level to beat Lord Xeen: just say "I lost it" to a mirror portal to get a Xeen Slayer Sword, then say "Lord Xeen" to the mirror to go straight to Lord Xeen and kill him with said sword. I actually blitzed through the main plot again legitimately, though (or as "legitimately" as a level 75-100 party can in a game with a soft level cap of 20), because I wanted to pick up some stat boosts and gold for training along the way.
"... corners of the other side of the world, awaken the elemental sleepers on this side of the world, and open the way to the cloud world above Darkstone Tower. Prince Roland and Queen Kalindra are getting married there. Oh, that reminds me... have you rescued Prince Roland from the bottom of Sheltem's dungeon yet? If you haven't, that's one more little detail you'll need to take care of. Prince Roland needs to be free before he can get married to the Queen, doesn't he? Well, off you go! Good luck!"
"Come to be thinking of it, how did we get the Cube of Power? Sheltem had it, did he not? And he was blown upwards, yes?"
"Oh, it was under his throne. I ducked back in to grab it while you were all running. It looked valuable."
"If we're to find these 'Elemental Sleepers', the elemental corners of the skyroads are as good a place to start looking as any."
As far as I know, the game never outright tells you what the correct answer to this question is, but it doesn't exactly take a divine revelation to guess what it might be.
"What that thing over there?"
"Ahahahahahaha oh wow, this has to be the goofiest monster yet. Look at that mouth! Why does it even need a mouth? It's made of water, stuff can just pass in and out of it any old way! Course, that also means our weapons aren't gonna do much to it..."
Tidal Terrors are immune to physical, fire and poison damage, 50% resistant to cold, electricity and energy, and vulnerable to magic. They can attack the whole party for 5-500 cold damage, which with our current HP totals and resistances is a drop in the ocean (so to speak).
They only have 1000 HP, so Implosion will take them out in one shot if you're lucky or two if you're not.
"This conspicuous magic floating skull throne must surely hold the Sleeper we seek!"
By the way, if you visit the Sleeper before being dubbed Chosen Ones by the Dragon Pharaoh, he'll tell you that he wants to awaken, but can only be awoken by a Chosen One. Must be an especially coherent sleep-talker.
"Might as well see if there's anything else worth seeing on this plane before we head back."
"Whoa! That's not normal. Locks and traps I can deal with, but this is more the spellcasters' department."
"The treasure is being kept from us by a magical walrus!"
"You mean a seal?"
"Eh, same thing."
"Sure, why not. It's probably just gonna involve fighting some more of those goofy water monsters, right?"
"Brrrr. Fubar rather fight monsters."
Taking the test does 2500 Cold damage to the entire party, so hopefully everyone has either high cold resistance or a whole lot of HP. I unequipped everyone's armour before taking it, so that nothing would get broken if anyone was knocked unconscious.
Once the Test of Water has been passed, the chest can be unlocked like any other.
"Another thing to add to the would-have-been-useful-five-minutes-ago file."
The party's reward is a fixed collection of top-tier cold resistance accessories. Unfortunately, surviving the Test of Water more or less proves you don't need them.
The final point of interest on the Elemental Plane of Water is a statue giving instructions on how to complete the postgame quest.
"Welp, I don't see any other way outta this place. Here goes nothin'."
Falling through the hole in the plane dumps you back in front of where you entered; it's also possible to leave via the Lloyd's Beacon or Town Portal spells.
"One plane downwards, three to be going!"
"Oh my gods I think this might be even more ridiculous than the water monsters. It looks like an angry old man made out of dirt."
"I'd be angry too if I had a face like that."
"You are angry most of the time."
"Yeah, but next time the world pisses me off I can just stop myself and think, hey, at least I'm not one of these things."
Earth Blasters are 90-100% resistant to everything except energy and magic, and attack the entire party for 5-500 physical damage.
Like the Tidal Terrors, they only have 1000 HP, and unlike the Tidal Terrors they have no energy resistance at all, so Implosion will reliably one-shot them. Physical attacks work too, although their high physical resistance means it'll take quite a few hits to bring them down.
"Test of Water not that bad. Earth should be fine too."
"See? So easy you all get bored and fall asleep."
The Test of Earth does 2500 physical damage. Normally, our defence against physical attacks is that they can miss, but physical damage from events like this is guaranteed to hit, so there's basically no way to mitigate it. Either make sure at least one party member has over 2500 HP, or drink from the +2500 HP fountain before taking the test.
The chest on this plane rewards us with a set of obsidian armour. I've still got some lesser materials equipped on various party members, and there are still a handful of physical-attacking enemies left in the game, so these are useful upgrades.
"We already have those. Step three, check. Now we just need to find out what steps one and two are."
"Good. Done with this plane now. Only Fire and Air left."
"Aw, this one doesn't have a face for me to make fun of."
As you've probably guessed by now, the structure of each elemental plane is basically the same: a big mostly-featureless plain, an elemental test, a chest linked to the test, a statue with instructions, a Sleeper and some monsters.
Whirlwinds are the Elemental Plane of Air's resident monsters, and they do 5-500 physical damage to the party just like Earth Blasters, but with a chance of also inflicting confusion. I still don't know exactly what confusion does, but it doesn't prevent characters from fighting and it wears off on its own so who cares.
They're 100% immune to all damage except energy and magic, but completely vulnerable to those two damage types, so once again Implosion is the best solution for one-shotting their 1000 HP. If you were doing some kind of weird challenge run without a sorcerer or archer, these things would probably be pretty annoying to fight.
"We're making pretty good progress on that, but thanks for the advice!"
The Test of Air does 2500 Electrical damage to the party, and we're left significantly the worse for wear after it.
"Perhaps we should be making camp."
"In hindsight, it might have been better to wait until we were on solid ground."
Levitation doesn't wear off until the moment you wake up, so you can still get a full rest in if you need to, it's just that you'll fall immediately after.
Our reward from the chest is a top-tier electrical belt, cloak and staff. I don't think there are any enemies left in the game that do electrical damage at all, let alone any remotely threatening ones.
"Perfect. That just leaves the Plane of Fire."
Fire Blowers look identical to the Lava Dwellers around Castle Alamar, and they have very similar stats as well: the main difference is that they have less HP (1000 compared to 1500). They're only 50% resistant to physical attacks, so a couple of good hits will finish them off.
You know the drill by now: take the test, get hit for 2500 fire damage, pick up a top-tier fire resistance scarab, ring and belt. There are a few enemies left that do fire damage, some of which are fairly strong, but the party's fire resistance is pretty solid already.
"That'd be those reflectors the Dragon Pharaoh was talking about, right?"
"Since we're done with the Sleepers, might as well head over to Cloudside and turn on those machines now."
Remember how from certain positions in the far corners of Cloudside, it was possible to see some landmasses floating in the void? That's where the reflectors are.
Check the map, line yourself up carefully and use a Teleport spell. Sometimes accidentally attempting to teleport into the void will just fail, sometimes it'll instakill your party, and as far as I can tell there's no obvious rhyme or reason to which one will happen. It's better not to miss your mark so you don't have to worry about the consequences of doing so.
"Wouldn't it have been more convenient to switch it on when it was first installed? It's not as if it takes any particular technical expertise: there's a big red button right there."
"Need more environmental awareness. Up to 10% of energy consumption in typical worldship is accounted for by appliances on standby."
Turning on the other three reflectors works pretty much the same way as the first one: the plain in the southeast is the Water Corner, the tundra in the southwest is the Earth Corner, the desert in the northwest is the Air Corner and the lava field in the northeast is the Fire Corner.
"And that's the last of them. I suppose we're meant to consider it an honour to be selected for all this busywork. I know I'm always trying heroically to keep us out of danger, but right now even I could use a fight to break the monotony."
To be continued...