Part 31: You and What Army?
Update 30: You and What Army?
"So we're supposed to be looking for a dragon in the Forbidden Forest, right?"
"Well, we're not supposed to. It's forbidden, after all. But we're doing it anyway."
This area is also where we would go to travel to Murray's Resort if we'd bought a ticket, which we haven't.
"We seem to have stumbled across Druid's Point."
"Really? Why's it called that?"
"'Cause it's pointy!"
"Hey, cool! A giant letter D! What's it for?"
"I'm not sure, but there's an S and an I on those rocks over there."
Hey, look, it's another food-based puzzle! I was starting to miss those. A quick trip to Tundara to chow down on some Red Hot Wolf Nipple Chips, and...
"Ah, very good. Sorcerers get perfectly good Fly and Teleport spells, and we get spell that takes us to random place in middle of nowhere based on time of year. I am sure we will find it very useful. Thank you very much, crazy old man. We go away now."
"Hey, what's the Oak Grove doing here? This isn't Ultima IV!"
"The Pegasus? Ah, that's right, the guardian pegasus who visited us when we first left Middlegate! We should go to the tundra and seek her out when we have the time."
If there's nobody with the Linguist skill in the party, you'll just be told there are strange symbols carved on the trees here.
"Wait, there's a password? Nobody told me there was a password! Uh, open sesame?"
"Wait, I know! Each of those standing stones has a letter engraved on it. There are two Ds, a U, an R, and I and an S. If we put them in the right order..."
"... Durdis? Who in hell is Durdis?"
"No, that's not it. Idsurd, perhaps?"
"Maybe it's Sir Dud! You know, like a really, really bad knight!"
"It could be Riddus, although I'm not sure what it's going to rid us of."
"Why is nothing working? It'd be easier to think if it weren't for all those druids chanting--"
"Oh. Well, I suppose we've found our password, then. But I don't think this is the cave we're looking for -- we must press on southward, into the Forbidden Forest."
"So, it seems the rumours that an army is being raised in the Forbidden Forest are true. Who knows: we may have come here just in time to stop an attack on Middlegate."
The Forbidden Forest is full of encounters with groups of human soldiers. Some are fairly powerful, but none are a match for the party. We steamroll on through to...
"I don't like spiders. They're not going to bite us, are they?"
"Oh, I wouldn't worry about that. Spiders are going to be the least of our problems down there."
"I knew it! We have to stop this army in its tracks!"
"Uh, are you sure we can really fight a whole army?"
"If it's an army of six ogres, I don't think we'll have any problems."
"The dragon leading this army must be behind this secret passage! All of you, keep your weapons ready."
"How'd a dragon even fit down here, anyway? That passage was barely big enough for us. Well, barely big enough for you guys, anyway -- I had plenty of room."
"Less talking, more fighting, yes?"
The Frost Dragon is kind of a lame quest boss: it isn't even a unique monster. It can breathe cold on the party for a bunch of damage...
... but it only has 250 HP, so it never gets the chance.
"You know, as long as we're here we may as well finish exploring the rest of the cavern."
"I wonder if we'll be able to fight in here."
"Hey, what do you know -- we can!"
"Is it okay to make jokes about tasty orcs?"
"I can't say I've ever tasted an orc, but it's hard to imagine that any of them could be tasteless or tasty."
"I think maybe I know why it's a bad idea to make orc jokes around here."
"There's, uh, a couple of hundred of them over there."
Y'know, I never actually knew that encounters in this game could have more than 250 monsters. I guess they can go all the way up to 255 after all. At this point the battle isn't dangerous so much as tedious.
"If Frost Dragon general was back near entrance, what is in headquarters?"
"Ah, even bigger dragon. So why is this dragon not leader of army?"
"I guess it can't really be that powerf--"
The Armoured Dragon apparently has a breath weapon, but didn't use it in this fight. Unfortunately I was careless and let the Crazed Dwarf frenzy before Waddle Dee was healed, so it's time for a quick trip back to town to revive him.
"Members of Parliament? Machine pistols? Military police?"
"... if those are military police, this army is going to have some discipline problems."
"This army's chain of command is confusing me. Was it led by that frost dragon we killed or what?"
"I guess it's run by a bunch of freaks with laser eyes."
"Whew. That was a close one."
Mutants are annoying to fight in large numbers: they like to cast Energy Blast, which does up to 50 damage and will kill an unconscious character if it targets them. Luckily, an all-paladin party is pretty good at keeping everyone healed.
"So this is the guy who doesn't like orc jokes, huh?"
"Eww. He's even greener than the orcs are."
"Ow! No offence, green wrinkly dude! Don't hurt me!"
Death's Agent isn't much of an immediate threat: its melee attack can cause aging, but that's all it can do. It has 500 HP to chew through...
... but in the end, the outcome is inevitable.
"Hey, this guy can't be too much worse than any of the others, right?"
"Aaagh! That's easy for you to say, Mr. 169 Hit Points!"
Even a party full of paladins can't weather that kind of damage for more than a few rounds, so it's a good thing that most of the party is kitted out with +12 weapons.
As powerful as his melee attacks are, they're nothing compared to the fireballs. A couple more rounds of those and there are going to be deaths.
Well, one death, anyway.
"That's a fine weapon, but was it really worth all that trouble?"
"I think we've pushed our luck far enough for one day. It's time to go home."
"Hey, wait! Shouldn't we at least try out that Nature's Gate spell we learned, to see where it takes us?"
"Hmm. Well, I suppose there's no harm in it, as long as we take a sorcerer along to fly us back here."
"Ooh! Ooh! Pick me! Pick me!"
"One Nature's Gate, comin' up!"
"Oh boy! I knew it'd take us somewhere good! And not just because I've been reading the hintbook, either!"
Yup, casting Nature's Gate on day 93 is the way to learn Star Burst. This doesn't require quite as much dumb luck as it seems to; if you listen for rumours in Tundara's tavern, there's a chance you'll be told exactly what you need to do. Technically, it's not even necessary to use Nature's Gate; simply teleporting into the centre of the Dead Zone on day 93 is also a safe way to learn Star Burst. Just make sure to fly or teleport out, since trying to walk out will still eradicate a party member.
Nature's Gate can also be used as a poor man's time machine, by the way. Casting it between days 150 and 180 will take the party back to the year 800, although it can't be used to travel to any other time.
"I wish I could cast Star Burst."
"Wow! I'm all strong all of a sudden!"
"And I've finally found some nice armour!"
"I'm almost ready to return to Luxus Palace and accept Queen Lamanda's quest. All I need is the Black Triple Crown."
"Is good to be strong, but how does this help me get home to my own world?"
"Nothing says you can't bring two robbers along on the same plus quest. A little extra muscle always helps, right?"
"We hirelings still get handed down the worst equipment from everyone else. It's criminal, I tell you."
"Hey, at least they gave you a +12 weapon. Look at this bow I'm stuck with! It's not great at all!"
Well, that wraps it up for the Paladin plus quest. You may notice that we're starting to come across a number of caves and dungeons that we haven't yet explored. There's Murray's Cave and Druid's Point Cavern, both of which have some interesting stuff in them. There are also the castle dungeons, in case you've forgotten about them. Or, of course, we could go full steam ahead along the main plot and do another class's plus quest. It's up to you, so vote now!