Part 15: Gharik's ModUpdate 015: Gharik's Mod
Alright, this is the last errand we'll need to run for the council. Everyone ready?
Unless there are more flying eyes or liches in here, we've got our protective spells up.
Stop. Don't mention them again. It upsets Bobelix.
And worse, it upsets me.
At least it's better lit than Castle Darkmoor.
Nice and warm, too.
That's right, Bobelix, there's fire below us.
No, you dunce, he means there are fire elementals below us.
Fire Beasts, Fire Spirits and Fire Elementals are only affected by Cold, Electrical and Physical damage. They're also all flying and able to shoot, which means that in rooms with tall ceilings, they'll generally loiter out of reach and throw fireballs at you while laughing. The Fire Elementals also prioritize Sorcerers as targets and break items with their attacks, which means Bobelix is almost spending more time fixing everyone's rings, belts and hats than he is fighting.
Their AI is also of the "keep away" ranged AI type which means that they'll often do stuff like this and end up under platforms that you're on. Bobelix mostly spends his time fixing people up here, since all of his Cleric spells tend to do magic damage, which means Deadeye and Agnes are flinging out Implosions, and Richmond is exercising his water magic muscles for once. On the occasions where Bobelix isn't healing people, he uses his bow, which does occasionally score some kills.
The little island in the lava down there is a very nice thing they put in every lava pit in Gharik's Forge, which lets you teleport back out to the nearest ledge by touching it. It's almost like someone on the team was good at game design.
Generally the challenges in here, aside from fire elementals, are finding ways across various forms of lava.
Pitfully I couldn't figure out how to extend this bridge, so I ended up having to brute force it. What you're meant to do, is to find this hidden door to the right and activate the secret mechanism within...
Now, I actually found the hidden room, but can YOU see the hidden lever in here?
What the hell am I meant to be seeing here?
Oooooh, I think this pattern looks like a pony!
Once you see it, it's super obvious, but in movement it really blends into the walls. The fucking wall textures...
Instead, Deadeye gets to be the man of the hour again with Jump.
Booyah, you guys couldn't get anywhere without me.
Remind me why we can't just cast Fly in here?
Royal Aviation Regulations, sadly.
In a moment of mildly clever monster placement, there's an open space with lava at the bottom below this walkway, so as you walk across, the fire elementals navigate up and around it and it's kind ambush-like. Since facing doesn't matter much, it's not a very effective ambush, especially as it puts the fire elementals within reach of Bobelix and Deadeye's sharp objects, but it's an attempt.
The other monster type in Gharik's Forge besides elementals is the Sorcerer/Magician/Warlock trio. They're easier to close to combat with, and since our main strategy is to beat their dumb nerd heads in, the Warlocks' trick of making the party go Insane does somewhat backfire as it just lets the party hit them even harder.
While the party does that, let's have a look at the map for Gharik's Forge.
It looks a lot more complicated than it is because the Forge has a lower level with some rooms under each other, and it curls up on itself sort of. In practice, however, it's relatively linear.
While individually of no account, Gharik's Forge does not skimp on volume and there are some insanely large wizard clusters to battle through at points.
Anyway, THIS is probably what most people remember Gharik's Forge for, an honest to god PUZZLE! You've got a bridge to move around! Doorways to open! You've got to move the bridge into position and open the right doorway so you can get over. However, after fiddling with it for a few minutes...
I suspect everyone remembered they had Jump in their spellbooks and just bypassed the entire room, feeling very clever about it.
Take that, wizards! You've been outwitted! Nerds.
Deadeye, you solved it by casting a spell, doesn't that make you a w-
Shhhh, let him have this, he's easier to deal with when he's happy.
Deadeye is the coolest, he signed my sword. Both of them!
This crystal room has two things worth noticing.
A super sweet suit of chainmail on the ground, HELL yeah.
And a lore note, reminding us that this place was run by the brother of the guy who took over the Silver Helmets after killing John Silver. We'd be blocked from progressing deeper here, by the way, unless we had the key to Gharik's Forge from their fortress. But thankfully, we do! Because we're clever.
Huh, makes you wonder, all these remnants from Archibald's reign seem to have been happy just relaxing in their dungeons until we or the Temple of Baa came along...
What, did you think us villains never think of anything but how to rob and steal and kill people for their money and their boots?
Because you'd be right, these guys were small time. Archibald shoulda hired me instead.
Odd, just one guy in a small room.
...do you guys think we killed that guy while he was pooping?
I'm quite sure this isn't a toilet, but what is this room...
Oh, it's an elevator.
Should've been obvious, public elevators have marginally less urine in the corners than public bathrooms.
Now, what could be behind this door...
Yeah alright that's a lot of guys.
The only fight in this place that I actually had to retreat from halfway to reload, recharge and get ready to fight again. There are just a shitload of dudes here and zero cover, so you're going to be right in the line of fire for 20-something wizards and elementals that all want to toast you up good. Plus everything here has enough hit points and fire resistance that neither fireballs or ring of fire will clear them quicker than just focusing them down one by one. In general M&M6 has poor crowd control options, as Fireball is the only one that scales particularly well and a combination of semi-common fire resistance and enemies loving to get up in your face somewhat negate its ability to fuck nerds up.
Eventually, though, the hordes are whittled down except for a few fire elementals hiding in the... lava sewers?
For the magma forges, of course, you can't forge equipment of any real quality without a magma forge.
There are a few pieces of mediocre equipment and some chunks of gold behind them, I hunt it down and proceed into the inner sanctum of Gharik's Forge.
I'm genuinely surprised this room features no cruel traps. A bunch of elementals spawning while heading up the spiral staircase could make the player panic and step over the edge. I know my own jerky reflexes would almost certainly have caused that.
The cardio's bad enough. Fuck stairs.
Another lava moat complete with requisite fire elemental ambush off to the sides. My response is to leg it across before they show up to play and just have Deadeye punch the sorcerer over there out of the way.
This "door" also looks wildly out of place, perhaps because I know what dungeon that texture re-occurs in, though.
The last fight is almost laughable compared to the magma sewer, a half dozen warlocks that get their brains beaten to paste in less than a minute.
That's for making magical gear right off the coast and not inviting us to buy any! Jerks!
The bookshelf disgorges a whole four books, three of which the party actually doesn't universally know yet(but none of which remain relevant since Dark and Light magic have superceded them, still, it satisfies my completionism somewhat).
And the chest, of course, has our quest objective for Newton out in Mist. Let's go see him.
Let's hope he remembers us.
Gods above and below, I can't believe we did it at last.
I really can't believe it. We can walk in there, we'll get to talk to the Oracle... and our quest will be over, just like that.
What do you mean the quest will be over?
Well it's an entire legion of devils from the sky! Surely, they won't expect us to deal with it. The nobles will raise an army, the mages will perform some mighty enchantment, and we can go back home.
Huh, feels kind of like...
...a bit of a letdown.
Maybe we should put it off till tomorrow. I saw a nice inn here last we passed through. I mean, you guys suck, don't get me wrong, but I'd like to tell you that you do one last time.
Awwww, Deadeye, I knew you were a softie all along!
...and then you drank from it again, you madman.
Hey, you gotta have principles in life.
Deadeye helped me stop being scared of ghosts.
That sounds uncharacteristically charitable of him.
He told me that if I gave him a gold coin every day, he'd make sure to pay a man with a ghost hunting dog to keep the ghosts away from me!
So once we're done, do we really have to split up?
Can you imagine us working together any longer without killing each other?
I suppose not...
Alright, one last toast! To getting a sweet book deal after this!
To setting up my own dungeon full of traps to guard my loot!
To getting back to my studies!
To the best friends I ever had!
Right, no time like the present.
Um, esteemed gentlepeople of the council, may we see the Oracle? Please?
Right, I'm getting my axe.
No, you imbecile!
Humphrey said we could "deal with any misunderstandings!"
I sincerely doubt he meant by beheading someone! Excuse us, gentlemen! Bobelix, help me drag Deadeye out of here!
I can't believe it, my money...
My perfectly secure dungeon...
My... my studies...
My best friends! We'll be adventuring for longer!
Okay, thinking logically... we should probably see Humphrey. Take us there, Richmond.
And no talking about axes, alright? In fact let anyone else do the talking.
Those Baa sons of bitches.
They're always ruining things!
I confess that I'm feeling some degree of antipathy towards them...
Alright, we're off to Kriegspire. On foot, this time, don't want to tip them off that we're coming. Richmond, get the map...
Richmond, I got volcanic ash in my boot again!
Please tell me we're almost there.
We're almost there. Just around the corner and past Kriegspire village.
Looks like they've got guards! Spellbooks!
Why aren't they dead yet?
That's the fifth bombardment of meteors!
Oooooh, look at the little crown, I think that's a minotaur king!
(several minutes and several more Starbursts and Meteor Showers later...)
That's one hell of a workout just to get past the doorman.
I hate to ask, but are we sure we're ready for this? We can't bring the big spells once we're inside...
6 of 6 Council Quests completed
12 of 12 Promotion Quests completed
0 of 1 traitors dealt with
Is the party ready for this?
A: Hell yeah these tough dudes and dudettes can take anything. Let them at this, surely the last, Temple of Baa!
B: Uhhhhhhhhh this looks scary. How about some other, less spooky, dungeon somewhere else? And maybe visiting a couple of new areas? A vacation somewhere off the coast sounds nice!