Part 14: The Eyes Have ItUpdate 014: The Eyes Have It
Why... it still hurts... why...
There's no reason why, Bobelix, the gods are dead, they don't care about us.
Useless... it was all... useless... do it again... it goes away again... do it again... it goes away again... through the walls, through the walls, through the walls
I... no. We're not giving up. We're all having a stiff drink, and then we're going to find out what happened.
Everything was normal right up until we stepped through that door.
Corridors were a bit twisty, sure, but all they had was a few ogres. We've handled ogres before. They went down easy.
Remember how hard Bobelix laughed when I snuck up on that Lich and batted its head off with one swing of my axe?
C'mon, don't do this to me!
We should have taken the traps as a bad sign. You'd just poke your head into a niche and there, guarding nothing, a huge acid blast would take off your eyebrows!
If not that, then maybe the first pack of liches. They weren't much trouble except for taking off a few of our enchantments-
Hahahahah! A FEW SHE SAYS.
-and then we looked out the window. Richmond, what were those things?
Flying eyes are the incarnation of all my nightmares, the reapers of my hopes and dreams, and the darkest foe ever conjured by mortal thought. They come in three variants: Flying Eyes, Terrible Eyes and Maddening Eyes. To start with, each causes a condition: Sleep, Afraid and Insanity respectively. Sleep is actually the worst of them, since it loses you actions, even if it can be trivially banished with bottom-tier Water spell Awaken. They're all also fully Magic immune, as well as immune to one other element each. Cold for Flying Eyes, Fire for Terrible Eyes and Electricity for Maddening Eyes. In addition to that, they're also all somewhat resistant to multiple other elements including Physical. Their only zero immunity is Poison, so this place is the one place where you get some exercise casting Toxic Cloud. Anyway, this by itself would not make for a terrible enemy, but note that Maddening Eyes can also cast Dispel Magic...
All those grainy little lumps ahead are Flying Eyes and their variants. This is a bad way to go. Though joke's on us, there are no good ways to go.
See, the thing about Darkmoor Castle is... by this point we're relying a lot on buffs for our general combat effectiveness. Heroism, Haste and Bless to hit enemies and hit them hard. 90% of our resistances are from Day of Protection. 50% of our stats are from Day of the Gods. Wizard Eye and Torchlight let us navigate.
And then in Darkmoor Castle we have both Maddening Eyes and Liches who can cast Dispel Magic, which doesn't rely on a projectile to hit us, and has no save to resist it, and they can cast it through walls. We've met Liches before, but none of the Liches in Ethric's Tomb cast it through walls at us. So either Maddening Eyes are using some extra fucked version of Dispel Magic OR the geometry of Darkmoor Castle is just so fucked that they can technically "see" us through any number of walls.
The end result is that the party gets their enchants stripped every five seconds if I put them on. I soon don't even bother.
Now, that brings us to fighting the Flying Eyes themselves, and the layout of Darkmoor Castle.
The way it's designed is basically two structures inside larger caves, caves with high ceilings, so Flying Eyes will just loiter out of reach and bombard you, so melee is out. Without Blessing, we can't hit jack shit with our bows, and they do comparatively terrible damage anyway. Fire/Cold/Electricity largely gets resisted, which means that we're down to Implosion from Agnes and Deadeye, while Richmond casts Toxic Cloud.
On one full charge of mana, we can manage to take out five to seven Flying Eyes depending on how many of them are Flying, Terrifying and Maddening, and how the RNG rolls out.
How many Flying Eyes does Castle Darkmoor have?
Fucked if I know, because I ran from as many of them as possible, but enough that even only taking more or less the required fights to show the place off a bit and complete it, I had to Lloyd's Beacon back to town to get topped up ten times or more, not counting the times I just rested in a corner of the dungeon.
If the screenshots seem disjointed, then in part that's because the whole place is fucking disjointed, a mess of dead ends, pointless niches and crannies, secret corridors that lead nowhere or into traps with no reward.
Castle Darkmoor, come for the adventure, stay because you can't find your way out!
And yes that's a huge opening on the right overlooking like two dozen Flying Eyes who shit projectiles at you while you're dodging the huge ice bolts flying down the corridor at you and fighting the Flying Eyes IN the corridor with you.
I'm gonna have nightmares about giant eyes peeking in through the window at me...
I was glad when we just saw a goddamn lich from time to time.
What did that lever even do?
I think he means the one guarded by liches and a mysterious statement at the end of a pointless corridor.
Smash the liches, read the plate, it opens a hole with the lever in it, pull the lever and I have no idea what it does. All navigation in this dungeon feels like you're sequence breaking, but I have no idea what the intended progression is, so it may all have been the intended way to get around.
You know... I did like the big cube.
The cube was pretty aesthetically pleasing, I have to give it that.
Thank you, cube, for brightening our dungeoneering experience.
...I think you all need to go to the temple for another de-insanifying before we go anywhere again.
So yeah our current objective is to touch this big cube. Why not a lever or something? Ask the fucking liches.
It's guarded by a horde of ogres and, of course...
More flying eyes through an arch on the left!
The ogres march right up to us and it turns out that they can't attack us while we can still reach them, so Bobelix gets to smacking them while everyone else snipes at the Flying Eyes with spells. Once they're down, it takes about another twenty minutes to hunt down the last ogre and flying eye stragglers in the corner. And this is one of the LESS bad rooms in Darkmoor Castle.
And then we poke the cube.
Which is, I think, necessary to continue at all since it folds down part of the wall that was otherwise in our way, allowing entry into the big northern cave part of the map.
At this point I'm still generally trying to play Darkmoor Castle "right," clearing out enemies and going in the right way. But holy shit the last section is such a big "fuck you" if you try to do that, since literally the "correct"-appearing solution, the one where you go in the front door, is impossible and clearly a blatant attempt at trolling the player and making them cry. That big castle-y structure up ahead is what we need to go to the end of, it has a decent bit of open space to either side, so of course I clear that out first.
Right side around turns out to be a dead end full of Flying Eyes.
Left side around is ALSO a dead end full of Flying Eyes.
But then when you turn around to leave, you find that there's a secret ramp leading up the side of the main fortress! This is also the objectively correct path, but I don't remember that for, oh, say... about another fucking hour of playtime. Sob.
My secret door sense is tingling.
Don't you mean your treasure sense?
No, that one's quiet.
This place is fucking riddled with hidden passages and secret doors that lead nowhere and conceal neither loot nor monsters nor traps. I hate it. I hate it so much.
The other way just has a repeat of the previous ogre room, another cube and oh wait now the ogres are all liches instead.
Cube was so good they DID make a cube 2!
And yes, there are more flying eyes. There are always more flying eyes.
So, proceeding along the ledge while killing more eyes and...
This is the one secret room that actually has a score in it, by which I mean anything at all!
Huh, books. What's the score, Deadeye?
Four books of Armageddon? Who needs that much world-ending? We've got enough in Richmond.
Also two of these Decks of Fate which are awful items, and yet another mechanic that interacts with the calender. Alright, so, if you use them on the 5th, 7th, 13th, 25th or 26nd of any month, the character is killed, stoned or eradicated, depending on which date. They're also at their strongest if used between the 22nd and 28th, where they give a +4 to the stat or resistance tied to the month(i.e. matching the active shrine). If you go earlier in the month, they give +1, +2 or +3 instead.
There's literally no way to learn this in-game.
So as far as the player knows, they're taking a massive risk to gain maybe a +1 or +2 to a stat which, again, at this stage of the game, is completely negligible. The resistances are probably the best thing to spend these on.
At this point I assume the side entrance is a gimmick of some sort that's gonna cause me to miss out on great stuff, so I head to the main entrance.
The entrance on the left is just another fucking Lich Hallway and to be avoided, so I run ahead to that ledge up and...
Bypass it to move down this dead end a bit faster.
Hallways full of ogres, eyes, liches and nothing else. No chests, no loot. There are only two loot locations in this fort aside from the one I just raided.
Despite the appearance, this chamber serves no purpose except to spawn liches at you. It has another one of those triggers that doesn't stop, so every pass through pops up two liches for you to get annoyed by. It has a doorway into the chamber we overlooked before, the one full of liches, that we need to go to to complete the dungeon, but that doorway has an invisible barrier blocking it. You cannot go this way, you have to drop down from the ledge we were just on!
Next door is one of the two loot rooms. Battle these terrifying flying eyes to gain... like 50 empty bottles. That's it, just empty potion bottles. Why.
In a surprise twist, however, there's another treasure up here full of Potions of Rejuvenation. In exchange for a trivial -1 to all stats, it clears all of a character's magical aging, which can be useful if you were having a real bad time in the Mire of the Damned or Corlagon's Estate earlier. But every other nook and cranny exists just to waste your time and get your hopes up.
Like, LOOK at this shit. Every neuron in my brain screams it's a secret door or other interactible, but it isn't. Just an inert dead end.
Eventually I realize it's time to go back here.
And jump down and meet Friend Cube.
Turn him red(by reading a plaque???), then give him a poke and...
Makes about as much sense as anything in this awful place.
Yeah something tells me we shouldn't mess with anything here if we don't know what it is.
Sheesh, okay, I was just checking...
Don't bother, looting the corpses is a considerable rep loss which we still need for learning Master Light Magic, in exchange for some really mediocre loot.
Hey guys, I found a book!
Bobelix, please be careful, some ancient manuscripts are quite-
This area, by the way, is the southeasternmost disconnected area. I have no idea how you reach the other disconnected little cube of terrain north of it and whether there's actually anything in there of any relevance.
This is the portal out.
And of course it deposits us right in front of another eye.
Before leaving, though, I need to go back to the Hall o' Liches, because I forgot something in there. Something quite easily missed.
In this niche next to the Cube is a quest item we actually need to complete the game, or at least to complete it the right way.
Well, since we're having good luck with geometric shapes today, let's... let's just bring along a sphere. Why not? Maybe it'll bring us luck.
Now time to Lloyd's the fuck out of here.
If we'd have had to fight our way back out of there I really would have gone insane.
Didn't someone want to pay us for breaking that book?
I'm pretty sure I spent more gold than that just going back and forth between Darkmoor and Temples.
Next up, Free Haven.
Because we've gotta call in with someone else who owes us money.
Goddammit, just experience? Working for experience is almost as bad as working for exposure!
And then back to... New Sorpigal? There's a reason for that. The party's excess loot, because there was a little, as the Eyes had a non-zero chance of dropping decent rings and amulets, gets sold off and then we take to the skies.
Because the last council quest, Albert Newton's, is here in New Sorpigal, at Gharik's Forge.
But that's for next time, right now I just need to go have a good cry about Castle Darkmoor.