Part 3: It's A Perfectly Legal ThrillUpdate 003: It's A Perfectly Legal Thrill
Alright, this update will be somewhat quick as there isn't a whole lot to say about Goblinwatch. It's absolutely one of the weaker dungeons in the game, both in terms of content and presentation.
Damn but I can't wait to loot this place. It smells like money. Alright, let's kick in the front d-
Hold your horses. See those battlements up there? Maybe there's a better way in than just busting down the front door.
You take all the fun out of life sometimes.
If you're not the sort of person to poke at every nook and cranny it's easy to miss that there's a narrow ramp up to the battlements of Goblinwatch on the back side of the fort. There isn't a lot to be gained, mechanically, just a single crate of loot and a handful of dead goblins' worth of gold and XP, but there is a small encounter at the very top.
Sadly it's not a secondary entrance to the dungeon, as far as I remember no MM6 dungeons have secondary entrances or exits.
Oh, the goblins just want us to stop killing them... are we the baddies?
Uh, well, you see. Hm. Agnes?
Evidence starting to point towards "yes."
Look, Bobelix, it's simple. Why do we kill goblins?
Because... they have gold?
Exactly. So all they'd have to do to stop us killing them is stop carrying money. Since they keep carrying money, they're implicitly consenting to be cut down in large numbers.
Jokey dialogue aside, it is a bit jarring to have no option but to murder them by the hundreds when you have NPC's going "hey, why are goblins considered evil?" and goblins going "we took over your fort to stop you killing us."
Let's just get the job done before this gets awkward.
Design-wise, Goblinwatch is somewhat the opposite of the Temple of Baa(the party starts at the black triangle-ish shape in the upper mid portion of the map), with a lot of narrow corridors and hard-to-avoid melee encounters. Rather than being one long line, it's also a few branches that, to some extent, all loop back on the entrance so you never have too far to go to get back.
Also the minimap is occasionally quite bad at hiding secret doors, for instance, there's one on the left side of this room where we've just got a blank wall, and the minimap displays a missing wall. We can't open it from this side, though, so it doesn't really spoil anything, but it's definitely worth keeping a close eye on the minimap, because it's occasionally relevant.
Heads up! Enemy around the corner!
Rats are predictably weak enemies. Oddly enough, despite the fact that you'll almost certainly have gibbed a double-digit number of goblins before busting in here, rats actually have notably weaker stats. Being lower level, doing less damage and having less hit points. Of course, all three of their varieties can also disease you, but with the party having a marginally higher chance of dodging, they seemed to land the attacks needed to stick it less often.
...who designed this place? The sewer just off the main hall?
Look at what the first serious combat encounter in Goblinwatch does to our party. Imagine if you came in here at level 2 rather than level 5 as the party is. You'd almost certainly be torn to shreds with slightly weaker gear, less HP, less SP and less space to back off than the Temple of Baa would give you. So it's a strange combination of some weaker enemies than the Temple and more "fuck you" level design.
What the hell kind of sewer is this?
Some of these panels have chests behind them, and one of them you really want to find.
As it has the scroll needed to continue. Now, give it a quick look and see if you can figure out the correct code before I get there.
There's a series of letters that open one door and only close the one immediately past it, meaning they never close a preceding one that's been opened.
Well, that was delightfully easy. Now I suppose we can go get our reward.
Hell no. If we go back, they'll send a bunch of soldiers here to clean the place out. As long as we don't return these codes, we can strip this place of everything of value.
This branch doesn't have much of interest, but it does show off the second and final new creature type of the dungeon!
Bloodsuckers, Brainsuckers and Soulsuckers.
Basically flying rats that can, like rats, Disease the party. They do a bit less physical damage and have a bit less health, but are harder to hit. Assuming I'm reading these stats right, it also seems that some of them have multiple chances of landing conditions, so they're even more likely to Disease you than rats if they do land a hit.
Anyway the only real feature of the room is that the entrance is designed such that enemies are likely to get caught on it rather than come out to fight you, so they're harder to blast as they come at you and most likely you'll have to run out and eat some melee attacks to the sides and back before you can turn around and start blasting.
In any case, this is the relevant way to go, just gotta blow up some goblins first.
They kind of implemented an alphabetic keyboard here, but they only gave it 16 letters.
So what's the code to open this gate?
There are so many possible combinations, let me think...
How the hell did you figure that one out?
Well it's by the Drawkcab Monks, isn't it? I used to have all their puzzle books when I was little. It's always a word spelled backwards.
Richmond, if Bobelix figured this one out before you did, I'm demoting you.
I do like that they didn't just go minimum effort and have the gates slide apart as wholes, but instead had them move apart as interlocking bars. It's a very minor thing, but it makes opening the gate feel just that little bit more cool.
I also have to say, this dungeon really isn't one that makes a whole lot of internal sense in terms of layout. See, so we open the gate, right? And it leads to caves. Then we beat up a few bloodsuckers and explore the cave and...
...jump down through a hole in the caves that puts us back inside the fort-looking tunnels. Like, the heck?
So the fort has a treasure room that's not accessible except by going this way. Mediocre loot in the chests, but!
When you open the leftmost one it spawns two goblin shaman and an explosion(the weird blue projectile behind them) behind you, except the projectile isn't explosive enough that it could EVER hurt you at any point where you could open the chest from.
All just so you could loop back to the main exit.
This place is starting to make me dizzy.
Gods, no kidding. Richmond, you're the smart guy, figure out this stupid place for us.
Maybe it was intended as... a lure to waste intruders' time?
Then why put actual treasure down here?
C'mon guys, it's obviously a dungeon for adventurers to explore! And we're adventurers!
He's two for two on you so far, Richmond.
The alternate branch leads to the only sort-of furnished room in the dungeon, which has a few small bits of gold, more goblins and a shitload of rats.
And then ends in caves again. So far the path has been fort-caves-fort-caves.
I can see why it might be considered a "simpler" dungeon than the Temple of Baa due to not really having any traps or environmental dangers, not even anything you could fall off, and just combat after combat, I suppose. Mostly what you're missing out on here is a whole lot of me backpedalling while blasting off all my spell points.
Two holes full of rats guard one of two proper "reward" chests for completing the dungeon.
That's actually a quite nice find, in terms of being our first tier-2 piece of armor, the second tier of leather armor, which goes to Richmond since he seems to be the one getting bonked most often.
Looking stylish! Now he just needs some sort of exciting hat to go with it so he can look properly like a clown.
The second branch is more of the same, but with an interesting factoid! If you hit the "maintenance" button on the Goblinwatch code board, it teleports you down here. Which is frankly kind of cruel since it's entirely possible that fighting your way back to the front entrance might be more than the party has the resources for at that point, while expecting "maintenance" to just open a door or something.
Heeeeeeey, check it out, it's a hat for Richmond! Poor guy, he's really not going to have any sort of even vaguely coherent look.
Alright, is that everything?
Unless you think we should start prying the tiles off the floors.
Good, let's blow this joint.
Loaded down with loot, including a pair of spellbooks(nothing new, just another Protection From Poison and Deadly Swarm book, to round out Agnes and Richmond's spell options, respectively) the party tromps back to town, but ends up having to stand around staring for a few hours since I manage to arrive at literally the one hour of night where even the temples and inns are closed for business.
Though since I chose to Wait rather than Rest for the right hour to roll around, I got a chance to show off what happens when the party goes too long without sleep. First they get the Weak status:
Resulting in these goofy faces. If I kept it going for long enough, they'd eventually start going Insane from lack of sleep. Thankfully being Weak is one of the few statuses that go away with rest.
We get our reward and Janice gives us another reason to head west to Castle Ironfist.
Looks like this place is tapped out unless we learn how to walk on water. We should stock up and get ready to head over to Castle Ironfist, it's a bit of a walk.
In the real world this is delayed slightly as I go outside, fat-finger the attack key, and blow away a peasant with one of Richmond's firebolts. Thankfully the autosave option had saved just as I left Goblinwatch, so I only had to re-do a little amount of play, as I didn't feel like slicing apart like a hundred peasants just to get some peace. Plus it's a bad idea to go to Ironfist with too-low rep.
After re-doing what little I had done previously, I get in some training, with the most important things being Expert Identification for Deadeye. This doubles his effective ID skill from 4 to 8, meaning that only a few things shy of Artifacts are outside of what he can ID now, which leads to one of my small complaints with the game. It'll EAGERLY let you overspend points on skills like Disarm Trap and Identification without giving you any hints how much is an important amount to have.
Other skills, like Perception, also have very vague functions(turns out that it rolls 1d20 plus Perception skill, and if the total is 20 or greater, the character takes no damage from trapped chests that the idiot trap-disarmer bungles, according to people who have dug through the game's code, at least). So it could use better in-game documentation.
Yes, it's a shame we can't walk on water, even after all our other training, I would have loved to expand my knowledge of Water magic, but the trainer for that is on an island just offshore.
You guys are awful quick to give up. Let's have a look at this island.
So let's talk about this island! Xerophyte and Torrannor are right that it can be reached without Water Walking or Fly spells!
However, it's well-populated with monsters, as is visible. Including several goblin kings and mages that still do enough damage for it to hurt. Some of them, we can snipe from the shoreline.
But most of them, I want to say 3/4ths or 2/3rds are too far away to aggro or hit. So they'll be waiting for us when we get across.
We have now put ourselves down at ~2/3rds health for the entire party, have plenty of enemies to fight, AND we're in a situation where we can't easily back off to replenish resources or effortlessly juke around these dickheads.
Alright, I admit, this might not have been a perfect idea.
This island really isn't lightly populated.
There's a cabin over there! Run for cover!
On the bright side, we did find the trainer we needed. Go ahead and pay the nice man, Richmond.
I get cocky and decide to loot this chest on the way off the island, snagging a third-tier suit of Enchanted Leather armor with a bonus poison resistance effect on it! Score. Now to make it back to shore alive.
It could literally not have been a closer call.
Thankfully Bobelix is swole enough to drag everyone back to the inn where a good night's rest revives them.
We're not going swimming again.
Anyway, everyone set for the trip to Castle Ironfist?
Trained and sharpened.
Picked up some fresh spells.
I made sure to pack plenty of supplies!
Hang on a moment, though. Didn't Janice say those cultists were robbing people on the road? Maybe we should rethink this.
Now that we're forewarned, we may as well travel in style. We can afford it, too.
Vote of the Post
Does the party travel by foot or by coach to Castle Ironfist?