Part 33: Consequences, Schmonsequences, As Long As I'm Rich
Update 32: Consequences, Schmonsequences, As Long As I'm Rich
"Uh, guys? I'm not sure we're supposed to go down there. It looks kinda spooky."
"What kind of an adventurer are you? Do you think we came to Murray's Resort Isle for a relaxing beach holiday?"
"Back in his prime, Murray was the greatest adventurer in Cron! He'd be ashamed of you!"
"Why do we gotta go meet some washed-up old dude? Can't we stay at the hot springs a little longer? I swear, that one chick with the red hair was makin' eyes at me."
"Nope. Into the cave, both of you."
"See, Murray doesn't even want us poking around down here! Might as well go back to those hot springs now, huh?"
"Just a moment, I think I can get this lock open... there."
Murray's Cave is a frustrating dungeon to explore: nearly all the doors are locked and need to be picked open by a Robber or Ninja, and some areas can only be reached by secret passages. That's not the only reason it's frustrating, though...
For example, there's this room, which teleports us back in front of the door if we don't meet its conditions.
"On one hand, Gertrude shocked by blatant discrimination. On other hand, maybe deathtrap behind door. Gertrude happy to leave you to grim fate."
"Bye-bye! See you back at the inn! Unless you die or something, I guess."
Teleportation and Etherealise spells don't work in this dungeon, so we have to do what the sign says and get rid of our hirelings if we want to pass the door. Luckily, the game provides us with a handy Dismiss command which lets us boot them out of the party. No matter where they are when we dismiss them, they'll safely find their own way back to the last inn they stayed at.
Now that they're gone, it's time to see what we couldn't see with them in the party. Behind that door is...
... another door, which also kicks us back to the main hallway.
"I'm already level 20. How strong do they want us to be?"
This door tests the Might stat of the first party member. If it's above 50, it lets the party through. There are a few ways to raise Might, but the most convenient right now is to run back to town and chug about 8 mugs of Orc Beer at the tavern.
With that done, we can finally see what's behind--
"You've gotta be kidding me. What does that even mean?"
"Whatever we have to do to get past this door, I guess we haven't done it yet. Well, look on the bright side: we can still explore the rest of the cave, right?"
"Didn't we pick that one up already when we were exploring the Quagmire of Doom? I'm pretty sure we did. Heh, look at you, ya dumb wall inscription. You got nothin' but outdated information."
Further to the northwest, there's a passage guarded by some hill giants. These are no more threatening than they were when the party fought them above ground. Behind them, though...
"Awesome! We found Murray's secret stash!"
"Whoa. I, uh, I think I mighta had too much Goofy Juice, guys..."
"Ehhh, you've always that goofy. Yer a goofball. Hell, yer a goddamn geodesic dome of goof."
"Yeah, but I don't feel so good right now..."
"What are y'talkin' about? I never bin better. I could take on the woooooorld. Just you watch."
"Um, maybe you should all take a rest and try to sleep it off before we do any more adventuring."
As you can see, Murray's Goofy Juice lowers the entire party's maximum HP to 1, and raises their experience level to 200. This means that the party will do thousands of points of damage with physical attacks, but can be blown over by a stiff breeze. Unless you have a specific use in mind for it, it's best to leave it alone. Luckily, the effects are fully reversed with rest.
"We got that sword too. Murray should really do a better job of keeping these inscriptions up to date."
"On the other hand, if he did keep them up to date, we'd have to deal with a bunch of adventurers trying to beat us up and steal our swords."
"So that's what all those random encounters are doing down here."
"Considering how that whole Goofy Juice thing went, this is probably going to electrocute us. Well, here goes nothing..."
"But I don't want to take much damage today."
Murray's Power Oil is good for +500 max HP to everybody. Sweet. Of course, it wears off as soon as you rest; Might and Magic II may be generous at times, but it wouldn't just permanently give you 500 HP, right?
And yes, you can use this in combination with Goofy Juice to put everyone at 501 HP and level 200 until they rest -- although if level 200 isn't massive overkill for an enemy, chances are they can chew through 501 HP just as fast as 1 HP.
"Well, would you look at that? Some monsters for us to try our newfound strength on."
"Whoa! Careful with that sword there, dude!"
Having most of our party at level 20 or so thanks to the plus quests isn't actually such a great thing, because the encounter scaling means that we start to run into enemies like this routinely in some dungeons. The party's +12 weapons are still strong, but they no longer allow us to walk all over the encounters we'll be facing.
Endless Knights are about as strong as the Dread Knight or the Jouster, and can be dealt with in the same way: just attack and heal until they eventually die.
"Or, you know, I could do things the easy way."
"And as a reward for my help, I think I'll be taking that bow."
The good thing about fighting strong enemies, of course, is that they can drop some amazing treasure. The Ancient Bow is the best bow in the game, with a base damage of 1-35 per hit. (An ordinary Great Bow does only 1-12.) We won't be using this just yet, but we'll hold on to it until we can enchant it a little higher than +3.
"What's this 'we'? I'm holding on to it."
"A2? That's near Castle Pinehurst, isn't it? We'll have to check it out next time we're in the area."
"And if we ever use Lord Peabody's time machine, this is probably somewhere we shouldn't go."
"Y'know, you're always talking about how much life has sucked since King Kalohn died. Why don't we go back and see if we can find a way to stop the Mega Dragon and save the king? That's what heroes do, right?"
"That's crazy talk. The Mega Dragon's invincible. If Kalohn, the greatest sorcerer of all time, could only kill it by sacrificing his own life, what chance do we have?"
"This must be where Murray is! I should go in there and give him a piece of my mind about that stupid series of tests he put us through earlier. How about it, everyone?"
"Sure, whatever. As long as I get to loot his body when we're done."
"He posted guards? Seriously? How many other adventurers would be dumb enough to try and break into the great Murray's private quarters?"
Stone Golems, in case you've forgotten, are immune to physical attacks. They're also annoyingly resistant to magic. Spells completely fail about 80% of the time, and do a quarter of their normal damage when they do land.
"Oh, that's just peachy. Even Disintegrate doesn't work on them."
"What the hell is this? Fiery Flail is supposed to do 100-400 damage! You better believe I'm demanding a refund from the temple when we get out of here."
Eventually I get sick of chipping away at them and have the party's clerical spellcasters spam Frenzy, which ignores all resistances. Four castings are enough to end the battle.
"Whew. That was some workout. So, what were they guarding?"
"Divine Intervention, huh? Well, it's not an attack spell, but it's the next best thing. Guess I'll be shaking down some druids for their spells later on."
"That's the magical weapon King Kalohn used to battle the Mega Dragon, right? I guess it sank into the Quagmire of Doom and Dawn found it. Do you think it has any power left in it after all these years?"
"It's not as strong as when it was first made, that's for sure. It used to have a holder to focus its power in the form of a four-taloned claw, but King Kalohn used each talon to seal away one of the Elemental Lords."
"Say, doesn't that mean that if we reunited the talons with the orb and gave it to King Kalohn, he might have enough power to--"
"Don't even think about it. Crazy plans like that are why heroes die young. Come on, let's find Murray before you get any more ideas."
"I don't think we're going to find Murray here."
"I sure hope we don't find Murray here. It's lootin' time!"
"Aw, he signed it with 'Love'. What a sweet old guy."
"Y'know, if Murray put up a warning like this, he means it. Stealing from him is probably the worst idea we've ever had, and that's saying something."
"So you think we should turn back?"
"Did I say we should turn back?"
"Man, this is the best thing that's ever happened to us! We're rich! Rich! I don't know what all of you were worried about!"
"Wait, that's it? No traps? No monsters? Nothing? Wow, this was almost too easy."
"This adds up to 5 million gold! That's enough to set us up for life! We could practically buy Middlegate with this kind of money!"
"We may not have found Murray, but I think we did pretty well all the same. We can always go back and laugh in that old bastard's face some other time. After all, how many people can say they robbed Cron's greatest adventurer and got away with it?"
"Hey, guys, is it just me or does something feel a little wrong?"
Yeah, that's right: stealing from Murray gives you 5 million gold, for the low, low cost of permanently lowering all your stats to 5. We can fix this easily enough when the Circus comes around on day 140, but until then we may want to use other characters.
"What good is this bow when I can't hit anything any more?"
"If you don't want it any more, can I have it?"
"Even this laser-sighted ray gun isn't fixing my accuracy!"
The stat reduction for stealing from Murray reduces stats to 5 after all bonuses from items are factored in. If Drewjitsu took that gun off now, his Accuracy would drop to 0. On the bright side, since stats can't go below 0, putting it on again will raise his Accuracy to 11, which is not very good but still better than 5. There's one other situation in which you can exploit this little quirk of the engine to great effect; I'll be able to show it off in a later update.
"Maybe if we talk to Murray and apologise very nicely, he'll give us our strength back?"
"Man, this sucks. At least you guys have got your fancy magic weapons and stuff. I can barely cast five or ten spells any more without having to rest."
And that is why Murray's Cave is Hell. Join us next time when I use a party that I haven't ruined to go explore some other, less horrible place. Will we hunt down the Divine Intervention spell in Druid's Point Cavern, seek out the last of Lord Hoardall's legendary swords, complete another class's Plus quest (Barbarian, Ninja and Sorcerer are all still open) or do something else entirely? It's up to you! Vote now!