Part 19: In Which Preacher Does Something Awesome
Update 18: In Which Preacher Does Something Awesome
"Are you sure it's safe to go in there? It, uh, doesn't look architecturally sound."
"If it's good enough for Corak, it's good enough for us. Come on, everyone! We're making a sacred pilgrimage!"
Upon entering Corak's Cave, the very first thing you should do is take a step backwards, through the entrance. Why, you ask?
Well, because there's a secret room where you can find the best utility spell in the game.
"Thanks, Lloyd! You're the greatest!"
Lloyd's Beacon, in case you've forgotten, lets you set a "beacon" at your current location and teleport back to it at a later time. Each character with Sorcerer spells can have their own beacon, so if you've got a sorcerer and an archer in your party you can instantly travel between just about any two points on the game map (provided that magic and teleportation aren't blocked). Possible uses for this spell include leaving a beacon in the middle of a dungeon so you can go back to town to recharge and pick up right where you left off; leaving a beacon at a healing fountain so that you can tackle a dungeon with temporarily supercharged stats; or leaving a beacon at a permanent stat-raising area so that you can repeatedly teleport there to max out a stat in two minutes flat. It's very handy.
"Who the hell are Red Duke and Dead Eye and why should we care?"
"Forget that: where's Ambush Valley?"
"Oh, I know the place. It's not that far from Middlegate. But how about we finish exploring this cave before the roof comes down on our heads, huh?"
"Oh, look, weak undead. Never seen those before."
"Gee, I wonder if there are going to be zombies in here."
"Probably. It is a Zombie Sanctuary, after all."
"I know that, you idiot, I was... never mind."
"Okay, these are a little more challenging than zombies, seeing as how they can drain our spell points and all. But when we can just beat them to death with weapons, who cares?"
"See? There are zombies. I thought there would be."
"Hey, cool! I bet there's all kinds of loot buried with these guys!"
"Awww, it's just a bunch of ghosts again. What a rip-off."
"This is what we came here for. Now, I'm expecting all of you to be on your best behaviour. Understood?"
"But I'm always on my best behaviour!"
"Actually, you should probably just try not to do anything at all."
"Come on, everyone, try not to get us kicked out. I don't want to have to go find another pass and come back here."
"Hmm. The undead in here are getting tougher. I hope none of these used to be Corak, or Preacher will never let us hear the end of it."
"Be careful! Those are Gravewalkers, and the slightest touch from one can drain the very life force from your body!"
"How can you tell all these different undead apart by sight, anyway? I mean, they all just look like walking dead people to me."
"They don't just let anybody become a priestess of Radaso (may his light shine eternally), you know. I've been through years of specialised training."
Phantoms can drain the party's spell points, and Gravewalkers can temporarily drain experience levels, but everything they do can be undone by a good night's rest.
"Fear not! I shall use my holy magic to destroy them!"
"Oh. Well, I suppose we'll just have to deal with them the old-fashioned way, then."
"Ow! Seriously, someone else take the lead for a while, because I am sick of walking into things."
"Corak's body is sure to be in the room behind that barrier. We must find a way through."
"Hey, maybe that guy standing over in the corner can help. I don't think he's dead."
"He might as well be, though. Thanks for nothing."
"Hmm. I shall have to gather a group of clerics and return here later."
"No need for the rough treatment, we can see ourselves out."
"You know, there was a secret passage behind the Sarcophagus Storage room that we didn't check out earlier. Perhaps there's something in there?"
"Holy Word... once we've finished exploring this cavern, I think it's time to pay a visit to Lost Soul's Woods."
"Yeah, looks like we're done here."
"Time to get out of this cave and head north."
"Oooh! What's in that little stand of trees to the west? I bet it's something exciting!"
"We don't have your damn keys. Go away, you bum."
"Hey, what are you doing? Let go of me! Hey, don't just stand there, Mattybee! Why aren't any of you--"
"You know, we probably should have helped him."
"Well, now somebody's going to have to pay to bring him back."
"Eh, we can take it out of his share of the treasure."
"Is this Lost Soul's Woods now?"
The undead in Lost Soul's Woods are a step up in power from the ones in Corak's Cave, but still not all that dangerous to the party.
Which doesn't stop them from being complete wimps about it.
"We're not wimps, we're just hungry!"
"Mmm. It's horrifyingly delicious!"
"I'll have a side of Soup de Ghoul while I'm here, thanks."
Now that everyone in the party has consumed an order of Horrors d'Oeuvres, they can return to the path that was previously blocked, and find...
"Oh, great, water. We could have got that back in town, you know."
"Hey, would you look at that. My spell level's 9 all of a sudden. Too bad I don't know any damn spells, huh?"
That's right: this fountain raises the entire party's spell level to 9, although the effects wear off after one battle. It's most useful for hirelings, who automatically start out knowing all spells. A hireling Archer or Paladin will be able to cast spells up to level 9 after drinking from the fountain, even though those classes are normally limited to level-7 spells.
"Those devils sure are messy eaters."
This, of course, is another food-related hint. Back we go to Atlantium to feed everyone a Devil's Food Brownie, and...
"Hey, is the Grim Reaper giving us the finger? We won't let you get away with that, you big meanie!"
"Jostiband, I'm not sure that's such a good idea..."
Grim Reapers have 70 HP and can cast Finger of Death to kill characters instantly. We don't really want to give them the chance to do that.
And so we don't. Having enough speed that the entire party can take a turn before the enemies get to move is pretty boss.
"This was totally worth beating up two living incarnations of Death for. What else is around here?"
"What do you mean they're a ghast? There's clearly more than one of them, and they're ghouls."
"Wow. Guess that Soup de Ghoul was a good investment."
"Yeah, I didn't want to say anything, but that garlic toast was pretty potent. You might want to consider a mint or something."
Had the party not chowed down on some Soup de Ghoul, they would have had to fight 8 ghouls here. No big deal.
"Well, the last one was harmless, at least. Sure, why not."
"Great, 200 spell points to cast all the level-9 spells I don't know. Why can't they make any damn fountains that do something good for Knights, huh?"
"Yay, a castle! Can we come in?"
"Um, I think I left my Castle Key in my other backpack. Maybe some other time."
The party could probably fight their way past the guards at this point, but there's still plenty of exploration to be done in the woods!
"Hmm. Now, the instructions said to face south..."
"There! There it is!"
"I've finally learned Holy Word, the legendary clerical magic that eradicates all undead within earshot. A pity it's a level-9 spell; I won't be using it for quite some time."
"So what's on the other side of the river? We haven't been there yet."
"Just more undead. No problem."
"Hey, what gives? My sword just passed right through it, like... like..."
"Like a ghost?"
"Yeah, like that!"
"My magic isn't doing much better. We might have a problem here."
They sure do. Ghosts have 200 HP, they're immune to all physical attacks, and they can cause magical aging to whoever they attack. Even if the party somehow managed to kill them before their spell points ran out, they'd all end up as octogenarians.
"Wait just one moment!"
"My spell level is still raised from that drink I took at the fountain! I can cast Holy Word!"
"Behold the might of Radaso (may his light shine eternally) and despair, evil spirits!"
That's nearly a quarter of an experience level for the whole party right there. Not bad.
"Incredible... this is Corak's soul..."
"How can you tell? It just looks like some kind of weird mechanical gizmo to me."
"Do I tell you how to do your job?"
"All the time."
"Well, there you go. That proves I'm the one in charge, so stop asking questions."
"In any case, we've finished exploring the area, so I suggest we return to Middlegate for now."
"All in all, this has been a good day. It's about time something went right for us in this world."
"Speak for yourself. I can't even trust everything to get hurt when I hit it any more. Stupid cheating ghosts."
"See, that's the advantage of being an archer. I'm a master of melee weapons, missile weapons and sorcerous magic, so no matter what kind of offense is needed, I can feel smug about having it right at my fingertips."
"Why do you all get +12 weapons and I only get +6?"
"I wonder if Castle Xabran was as big as Castle Woodhaven is..."
"I still keep setting off traps all the time, but I think I'm getting better!"
"I don't even have any magic armour! This is discrimination against hirelings! We should totally start a union, Thund R."
"Hmm. Next time I find an Admit 8 Pass, I suppose I should probably get around to returning this soul to Corak's body."
"I can cast Finger of Death now! Hooray!"
And that's the end of today's update. Not much new equipment gained, but a good chunk of experience and some very nice spells. Once again, the choice on where to go next is yours: should the party venture into a castle, or explore even more of the outdoors? Vote now!