Part 21: Lord Peabody's Flying Circus
Update 20: Lord Peabody's Flying Circus
"If we want to get to the bottom of this, we have to see Lord Peabody von Pinehurst. If anybody knows what happened to Corak, it's him."
"You know, I have Corak's soul right here. If Gothmog would just give me his Admit 8 Pass, I could reunite it with his body right now and ask him about Sheltem."
"Take me along with you for a while longer and I may consider it. I am interested in hearing what this Peabody has to say for himself."
"If I could still cast Holy Word, you wouldn't be smiling like that."
"But he's a skeleton. As long as he has his skull, he's always smiling."
"Ooh, a circus! I bet there are lions and clowns and elephants! Come on, everyone, let's stop and see the circus!"
"Are see nil out 'ere. Hi, Mister Wrl Uopptl. Read lh het. Obviously, this is a message from a secret agent to his contact, Wrl Uopptl, telling him he doesn't see anything out here and instructing Mr. Uopptl to read lh het. If only I knew what lh het was, we could intercept the message! It's probably some Eastern European newspaper."
"Perhaps we should just leave this message alone and see the circus."
"There's a circus? Where? Where?"
The circus is in town between days 140 and 170 of every year, and there's something very special about it.
"A sack race! Hooray!"
"I'm gonna go try out the kissing booth!"
"What? Aw, man, what a rip-off."
No, not that either. This circus lets you permanently raise your stats.
First, you gotta keep trying your luck at the carnival games until you win one of these.
"I'm the best sack-racer ever!"
"You know, I met an old guy out near Sandsobar who used to work at the circus. This'd probably bring back a lot of memories for him."
Next, we fly to area D3. (Or walk there, but the circus is only going to be around for 30 days, so be quick about it.)
Once you get to D3, here's the location you want to visit. There are a couple of encounters with Shamans in the area, and they'll sometimes cast a paralysis spell on the party, so come prepared for combat (or just teleport to the exact spot where you need to go).
"Aren't the Inner Limits in the middle of the desert?"
"Near the southern edge of the desert, actually. We should be safe enough. I hope."
After giving the Cupie Doll to the old man, the next step is to travel to area E-3...
"This must be Wrl Uopptl's message back to his contact! Let's see... C is the Roman numeral for 100. 'Br' is probably short for 'bread', 'thdw' might be short for Thursday, and the lone 's' at the end is obviously an abbreviation for 'yours sincerely'... I've got it! The contact is named Taythhied -- which, if I know my names, is either elvish or Arabic -- and he's asking Mr. Uopptl whether he should eat bread at 100 seances, or send a man with a lisp, five feet and four inches tall, to the IRS on Thursday."
"But that makes no sense."
"Well, I guess 'br' might also be short for 'beer', but how do you eat beer?"
This is not where we want to go. We want to go northeast from here, to the Inner Limits.
"Incredible! How can a forest grow in the middle of a desert?"
"Rumour has it that it's kept alive by a magical pool."
Here's where we want to be. Don't spend too much time fooling around in the desert: it's dangerous.
"Awesome! Last one in's a rotten egg!"
If we hadn't given the Cupie Doll to the old guy, the pool would turn to acid, and would dissolve every item in the party's backpacks. Luckily, we were not that stupid.
Now, back to the circus!
"Come on, everyone, let's try out the dunk tank!"
After one permanent stat gain, the circus is reset and you have to win another cupie doll, give it to the old man and go to the Inner Limits again. Remember, don't forget about the cupie doll unless you like bathing in acid.
From top to bottom, the circus games raise Strength, Personality, Accuracy, Endurance, Speed, Luck and Intellect. Raising stats through the circus takes a little longer than using the permanent stat boost locations, but those can only take stats up to 50, while the circus...
... can take stats all the way to 100.
I could go and max out everyone's stats now, but it's kind of tedious and I'd have to go back and do it again when we got new hirelings anyway, so for now I'll be content with maxing out every character's Endurance. Stats start to give diminishing returns once they go above 20: the difference between 50 and 100 is much less than the difference between 10 and 50. But even 3 extra hit points per level still adds up.
Anyway, now that everyone has sickeningly high Endurance, let's continue along the road!
"Oh, right, we were supposed to be going to Castle Pinehurst, weren't we?"
"Wagon tracks! I bet there's a den of wild wagons around here somewhere!"
"Or, you know, there could just be an old mine in the mountains."
"An old mine... full of wild wagons!"
"Don't bother using reason, Cale. She's built up an immunity to it."
"Finally! My feet were getting tired. Why did Lord Peabody have to build his castle so far away?"
"From what I've heard of the man, he doesn't like visitors. We should tread carefully while we're in there."
"Hey, guys, I wonder if the other door has 'Right Door' on it!"
"Hey, guys, I wonder if the other door has 'Left Door' on it!"
"Hey, guys, I wonder if the--"
"I have an idea: why don't we take a look at what's on the other side of the doors?"
This room is full of doors: some have signs over them, others don't. Some lead somewhere good, others lead to traps. For the record, this sign is full of lies: the marked doors are just as likely to be dangerous as the unmarked ones.
Going clockwise around the room, the marked doors read "Beware The Time Traps, As The World Will End In The Year 1000". This is a lie too. You can keep playing until the year 1000 and nothing will happen. Yes, I've tried it.
This entire castle, by the way, is an annoying maze full of teleporters and time traps. The "time traps" advance the calendar forward a whole year, and age the party by a year in the process. Avoid them. In fact, just don't go anywhere I don't tell you to go.
The first door we're going through is this one. It leads...
"But I don't need to go to the bathroom!"
"Ah, Lord Peabody. It's an honour to meet you. If you could spare some time, we have a few questions about Corak..."
"Of course, my lord. But if I could just ask you a few questions--"
"Boy first, questions later. And when you come back, please don't bring any knights or paladins. In fact, don't bring any humans either. They bore me."
"Fine. I guess we'll be going then. Thanks so much for your help."
The next door we want is this one. Before going through it, rest up and prepare for a fight.
"What's a swamp beast doing on the edge of the tundra, anyway?"
"Go forth, Deadly Swarm! Tear my foes to shreds!"
"Whoa. Did you just kill a swarm of bees with another swarm of bees? That's awesome."
"Hey, this is a J-26 Fluxer! I've always wanted one of these."
"What's it do?"
"I dunno, but it's probably something important, right? Now, all we have to do is head back the way we--"
"Aw, man, it's one of those one-way doors again. I guess this means we've gotta keep going."
We're not going to do this yet, because the Black Ticket monsters in the Colosseum are still quite capable of killing us. The important thing about this message, though, is that once you see it...
... you should immediately face south and cast Jump. One step to the south is a time trap.
Two steps to the south, of course, is a teleport trap.
The party ends up here. A few steps to the north, there's a secret passage...
... which leads to another teleport trap, back into the big room with all the doors.
The next door we're interested in is this one.
It leads to the Yellow Room.
"You know, we could probably win three Yellow Ticket battles by now. Perhaps we should find a yellow key, come back here and see what the bishop has to offer us."
Finally, the party checks out this door here.
It leads to the dungeons, which we won't visit just yet.
The parts of the castle explored on this map are all you'll ever need to visit. There's literally nothing worth seeing in the whole of the rest of the castle, and wandering around aimlessly is a good way to get lost and waste several years of the party's life, so...
... it's time to return to town.
Apart from everybody's Endurance getting boosted to 100, there was no significant change to the party's experience or equipment, so no character sheet updates today. There is, however, a vote. Should the party explore another castle, delve into a castle dungeon, investigate the mysterious wagon tracks, or start looking for Sherman so they can enlist Lord Peabody's help? Vote now!
"Vote for the wagon's lair! Come on! We can be legendary wagonslayers!"