Part 18: The Great Outdoors
Update 17: The Great Outdoors
"You know, I had a thought. We've been to all the towns of Cron and explored their caverns, but we haven't even been outside of Middlegate. Isn't it about time we spent a day just taking a walk around?"
"That sounds like a fine idea. Shall we pack up our things and head for Middlegate, then?"
"Mind if I tag along?"
"Mattybee! What in the world are you doing here?"
"I needed some time away from Schildkrote. Tarquinn, you wanna come with?"
"Yeah, sure. We don't need you stuck-up pricks anyway."
"It's about time we got some fresh air. Those city folk don't smell so fresh."
"I hate to tell you this, sweetheart, but the adventuring life isn't going to leave you looking like an oil painting and smelling like a bed of roses either."
"Hmph. We'll see about that."
"Nice day out there today. You can see for miles. Wait, what's that in the air?"
"I've got a guardian pegasus? Coooool. I always wanted a pony."
"Er, I'm not exactly a pony."
"So? I can still ride you. Hold still."
"This wasn't in my job description. I'm out of here. Uh, I mean, I must depart. Farewell!"
"Aww. Why does that happen every time I find a new pet?"
Anyway, it's time for a quick primer on terrain. Most of the time, these light-coloured trees can be walked through by anybody.
This is an ominous-looking forest, isn't it? Dense trees like these can normally be walked through only if the party has at least two living characters with the Pathfinder skill.
And mountains can only be traversed if two living party members have the Mountaineer skill.
2000 gold isn't that much any more, so the party's going to run back to town now and learn the Mountaineer and Pathfinder skills. It'll make travel much less of a pain.
"Wait, is that a magic pit full of monsters or a pit full of magic monsters?"
"I think it might be both."
The Magic Monster Pit is an endless source of low-level monster encounters: after winning one fight, you can immediately jump back in for another. It's an okay place to level up early on, but at this point the party has no use for it.
"There are orcs around. Keep your eyes open."
"Either that or somebody's been walking on stilts with orc feet on them. But those are really hard to balance on, so probably not."
"Yup, it was orcs after all. See?"
Just about every single step in the area south of Middlegate leads to an encounter with a bunch of orcs. Fortunately, at our current levels we can just use autocombat to end every fight in about 5 seconds. More games need a feature like this.
There's nothing too exciting down here, so it's time to explore further north!
"With our luck, it'll probably be poisoned. Ah well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Bottoms up, everybody!"
"Huh. My eyes feel sharper all of a sudden."
This fountain temporarily raises the party's Accuracy to 40, and it's a short walk from Middlegate. Convenient if you're expecting to fight enemies with a high armour class, I guess, but the fountain outside Atlantium does the same thing better.
Despite all their pathfinding and mountaineering skills, the party still can't cross water on their own...
... but they can take the ferry!
"You know, I could just cast a Jump spell to get us across the river."
"Let's not put the poor old ferryman out of a job. We can afford 5 gold."
"What's this? Do you know the Walk on Water spell? I'd be most interested in learning it."
"So what was that about not putting the ferryman out of a job again?"
"That was completely different. Enough talk: we should be exploring the other side of the river."
"Well, the last one wasn't poison. Sure, why not."
"Oh, look, I've got spell points now. What am I supposed to do with them, huh, wise guy?"
This fountain sets everyone's current SP to 20. Good if you're at level 1, not so good now.
"Did you say something, neongrey?"
"These are the ruins of the legendary castle Xabran, destroyed by the elemental lords late last century. It was the greatest centre of magical learning in Cron. And now... nothing. There's nothing like it any more and there probably never will be. The whole world's gone to hell."
"neongrey? Are you alright?"
"Man, this is embarrassing. I didn't mean to get all emotional. I just... well, I wish I could have studied here. Maybe I could have become a sorcerer."
"I see... this world's in a sorry state, isn't it? Maybe I should stay here for a while, to see if I can do anything about it..."
"Oh, nothing. Let's get going. What's that in the middle of the lake?"
"Looks like a perfectly square island. Do they normally come in that shape?"
"Something about this place gives me the creeps. I don't think we're meant to be here."
"Don't be pathetic. We're going in."
"... on second thoughts, maybe later. It's probably boring anyway. We should go back and check out the forest."
"So it's true. Corak found his way to Cron. If this place has become his tomb, I should visit and pay my respects..."
"Maybe tomorrow. It's getting late, and we've already done a lot of exploring. Time to head back to town."
"Man, Middlegate may be a dump but they know how to give you a grand welcome. Or they at least have the common sense to keep monsters out, anyway."
"So how come Middlegate's full of monsters, then?"
"Well, if they let us in their standards must not be that high."
And that's it for today. No interesting new equipment this time, so I won't bother listing the party's stats.
"But now that I'm level 9, it's time to show off my new spells!"
Level 5 Mage Spells
1. NAME: Disrupt
COST: 5 SP + 5 Gems
TYPE: Combat, not in hand to hand
TARGET: 1 monster
DESCRIPTION: Creates a powerful energy field that disrupts the molecular bonds of the target, inflicting 100 points of damage.
"It's like a cheaper, stronger Energy Blast! Neato!"
2. NAME: Finger of Death
COST: 5 SP + 5 Gems
TARGET: 3 monsters (not undead)
DESCRIPTION: Channels the ancient power of all dead Sorcerers through the caster, resulting in death to the monsters at whom the caster points a finger.
"If the targets have any magic resistance at all it probably won't work. But hey, I can kill things by pointing my finger at them -- and now it hits up to three monsters at once! How cool is that?"
3. NAME: Sand Storm
COST: 2 SP/level + 5 Gems
TYPE: Combat, outdoors
TARGET: 10 monsters
DESCRIPTION: Calls upon the forces of nature to create a violent sand storm inflicting 1-8 points of damage per level of caster.
"It's expensive, and it only works outdoors, but man, this spell does loads of damage and not many monsters seem to resist it."
4. NAME: Shelter
COST: 5 SP
TARGET: Entire Party
DESCRIPTION: Provides 1 day's rest free of the danger of encounter.
"Well, it's never much fun to be attacked when I'm trying to sleep. And this spell doesn't use up any gems, so if I've got five spell points left and need to rest there's no reason not to cast it. I keep forgetting it exists, though. Whoops!"
5. NAME: Teleport
COST: 5 SP
TARGET: Entire Party
DESCRIPTION: Instantly moves the Party from its present position, up to 9 squares in any direction.
"Oh boy, the fun I can have with this spell! I can get into all sorts of places I'm not supposed to be, in dungeons and even outdoors! There are a few special places where it won't work, though."
So, the party's finally taken a good look at the outdoors. What next? Should they venture onwards into more dangerous terrain, explore Corak's cavern or find a castle to raid?