Part 35: Dance Magic Dance
Update 34: Dance Magic Dance
"I believe it's high time we sorcerers banded together and completed our plus quest. We cannot allow mere archers to outshine us in the arcane arts, after all."
"Groovy! I'll tell the hirelings to get ready. Wait, where are all the hirelings? And where's Gothmog? We can't leave without Gothmog!"
"There's a note nailed to the inn door here: 'If you want your hirelings back, meet me in Area D3'. I think we can all guess who left it."
"I can't leave that monster alone to work his evil schemes. We have to follow him."
"I swore not to interfere with Gothmog's plans -- but surely it's not interfering if I simply find him and see what he's doing, is it? And if I have to stop him... then I'll do what needs to be done."
"Mind if I come along? I want to see what the old bastard's up to this time."
"If you guys are going to go running headlong into an obvious trap, you better believe I'll be tagging along to watch."
"What does this message mean? Is it some clue left by Gothmog to mock us?"
"Nah, it's something about midwives, cones and being cool. It's probably a bulletin from the Cronian Midwives' Association recommending the use of ice cream to ease labour. Good advice, if you ask me."
"I suppose you think you know the meaning of this one as well?"
"That's easy! It's a Surgeon General's warning advising us to do more abdominal exercises, use fewer explosives, and never shake a battery-powered radio in front of a knight. Why do they always have to try and ruin my fun?"
"I'm not at all sure I want to know how you derived all that."
"And what does this message say, Jostiband?"
"How should I know? I don't speak Welsh."
"Mmmm, delicious tree bark!"
"Remind me, please: why are we chowing down on tree bark when our packs are full to bursting with food intended for human consumption?"
"Actually, this isn't half bad. I feel much more alert after chewing on a little of that bark. Try it!"
Eating the bark temporarily raises the party's Spell Points to 200 and Spell Level to 9; either of these bonuses would be pretty good on their own.
"If we're finished being sidetracked by plant life, can we get back to searching for Gothmog?"
"Wait, what was that noise in the mountains over to the west?"
"Ah, finally. I was growing tired of waiting for you."
"I don't much like wasting my time here either. What do you want, Gothmog?"
"I want you to witness my victory with your own eyes. My little puppet show has reached its end: all that remains is to see who is Punch and who is Judy."
"Seriously? That's what you're going with for your grand villainous one-liner?"
"What? What's wrong with that?"
"Sorry, but he's right. It's pretty lame."
"Even you now betray me! What did I do to deserve such treatment?
"Besides mass murder and unholy magical experiments, you mean?"
"Er, well, yes, apart from those."
"Maybe you should just stop digging yourself deeper and tell us your evil plan already."
"Very well. I have paid off all your hirelings to work for me instead of you, and now I will use them to build and defend a fortress. From that fortress, with the assistance of my, er, guest here, I will create an army of monsters to bring all of Cron under my rule. Are you satisfied?"
"Okay, see, the thing about that is that we've thought it over and we're not gonna work for you after all."
"What is the meaning of this?"
"You're, like, all evil and stuff."
"And those guys rescued me from kobolds back in Middlegate! I should be fighting on their side, not yours!"
"They rescued me from Atlantium's prison. Sorry, Gothmog, I guess this isn't your lucky day."
"Cleogotcha? But you're evil!"
"Exactly. I'm evil, I don't like you, and you've already paid me. So I don't really see why I should keep working for you."
"If that is how you feel..."
"... then I shall have to destroy you all with my own power!"
"Not likely. One Holy Word, and you'll--"
"Have you forgotten your vow so quickly, Preacher? If you would raise a hand against me, at least fight me fairly."
"So be it. I have no need of Radaso's power to protect me from the likes of you!"
The Monster Masher is the top-priority target in this battle (and it's not undead, so even if I'd been cheap and had Preacher cast Holy Word we'd have to face it). It has 500 HP, so at this rate we'll need amazing luck to kill it before it attacks.
Luckily, it's not too resistant to magic, and Preacher's Fiery Flail hits it for some solid damage.
Here's the reason why we're killing the Monster Masher first. We got lucky this time, but the Monster Masher can either eradicate one character with Disintegrate, or use a physical attack that has a chance to instantly kill its target.
"Ow! You know, you'd think being sucked into a black hole would do more than just knock me out. Well, down I go."
"Don't worry, Jostiband! I'll somehow heal what's left of you!"
And there's the reason why we could afford to save the Lich Lord for after the Monster Masher was dead. He's pretty much guaranteed to knock out a character every round, but that's a non-issue as long as we keep casting First Aid on whoever gets imploded. Eventually he'll get bored of this and start using his physical attacks, which can eradicate characters, so we do want to kill him quickly if we can.
"Take that! And that! And -- whoops, that one missed. And that!"
"No! My finest creation! You'll pay for that!"
"Is that the best you can do?"
"Hey, what happened? Why didn't he die?"
"Behold my power, mortals! You cannot hope to stand against me!"
"Huh. He's a little stronger than I remember."
"Maybe he's been taking vitamins. Vitamin D strengthens your bones, you know!"
"Why are you ignoring me? Die!"
"What was that? Did anybody else just feel something?"
"This isn't how it was supposed to be! I am immortal! None can oppose me and live!"
"Gothmog, your cursed existence ends--"
"Wait! I surrender!"
"I no longer have the strength to fight. You wouldn't strike down a defeated opponent, would you? Let me escape, and I will release my prisoner and abandon my plans to rule Cron."
"We can't possibly allow--"
"Go. Get out of my sight, Gothmog. If you ever do anything like this again, I will destroy you."
"Wow. I can't believe that actually worked."
Defeating the Lich Lord is worth a nice slab of experience, enough for a full level for most of the party and several levels for Jostiband.
"I wish I could help you more, but if you ever need me, you know where to find me."
"Did I just get roped into doing a good deed again? Dammit."
"Back home, safe and sound! And now I've gotta go find out where Gothmog went!"
"Why would you--"
"Sorry! No time to talk! I'll be back later! Unless I go back in time or something, in which case I'll be back earlier!"
We've finally picked up the best hireling in the game, Mr. Wizard. He has amazing stats and knows every single Sorcerer spell. And now that we've got him, it's time to go on the Sorcerer plus quest!
"So this is the Isle of the Ancients, huh? Looks like any other island to me, but that's why I'm not a sorcerer, I guess."
The Isle of the Ancients can be kind of a pain to get to with a party of only Sorcerers and Robbers, seeing as how it's in the middle of the ocean and all. If you already know exactly where it is, you can just use Teleport to get there; if you don't have it on your map yet, you can get a cleric to cast Walk on Water and then change party members at the inn, or donate at a temple until they bless you.
"We're here to free an evil wizard, right? Isn't that, like, evil?"
"Ah, but the balance of nature must be preserved. Besides, think of all the knowledge he could grant us!"
Welcome to the Dark Keep. It's the bane of every adventurer's life: a puzzle dungeon.
"This place sure isn't very welcoming. Are all ancient wizards this creepy?"
"Hmm. There are two doors on the far wall, numbered 1 and 2. This message seems to be telling us to take door number 2 -- but it could be a trick."
"The first message said 'all that are even are less but odd', right? If you take away 1 from an even number, it becomes odd! So I bet we have to take 1 away from 2, and go through door number 1!"
"Okay, if you say so. It's not like we have anything better to go on."
Sure enough, door #1 is the correct door, and leads us through to a room with another puzzle. This time there are four doors.
"If 'all that are odd become more odd', perhaps we should add 2 to any odd answers, to create a larger odd number. In this case, that would mean door number 3."
Six doors to choose from this time.
"Well, three's a crowd, so the answer is 2 -- which means door number 1 again."
"'Octal' refers to the number 8, so that means door number 7, I suppose."
"Brilliant deduction there. You just led us straight into a pack of monsters."
For some reason, 7 isn't the correct answer. The penalty for choosing the wrong door is a monster encounter, usually a fairly difficult one: Swamp Things can spray poison for up to 75 damage to the whole party.
But thanks to Mr. Wizard and his magic, plus a little help from the rest of the party, they never get the chance. On to the next puzzle!
"There are ten doors, so the highest prime is 7 -- which means door 9."
"There are twelve doors, but 12 is an even number, so... door number 11!"
"You're pretty bad at this, aren't you?"
This time, the correct door is simply 12 -- you're not supposed to apply the subtraction rule to this one for some reason. Never mind; Castle Guards are easy by now.
"Lettered doors now? Well, at least we don't have to do all that addition and subtraction any more."
"Ooh, I 'C'! But if the doors go from A to C, and we have to read them backwards, then that means we should pick Door A!"
"Hey, it's the same clue as before! What gives?"
"But this time the doors go from A to E, so if we read them backwards, C is still the middle door!"
"There are only three doors, but they're labelled E, F and G. E is the only vowel, so I guess that means we go to the other end and pick G."
"These doors go from E to I, so if the answer is door E, then on the other side is door I!"
Door I was the correct answer, but in the following room we reach the "boss fight" of this dungeon. We've seen Iron Wizards before...
... and their immunity to physical attacks is a lot less annoying in a party consisting mostly of sorcerers.
"An ominous message -- but as we have come this far, we may as well see our quest through to its end."
"Ybmug? What kind of a name is Ybmug?"
"What kind of a name is Dark Mage?"
"What kind of a name is Mr. Wizard?"
"I think you've all made your point."
"Nobody told me we needed an access code! How are we supposed to free Ybmug now?"
"Wait, I remember something about this..."
"So if we set the left dial to 23..."
"Awesome! And that means the right dial must be 46! Now all we have to do is free the legendary evil wizard Ybmug!"
"For once, I see nothing at all wrong with your plan."
"But screw all that cosmic balance crap, because right now, I'm gonna go do some evil! Laters!"
"Maybe we should have freed the good wizard first."
"At any rate, we're quite finished here, so we can tackle Yekop's Tower of Mercy as soon as you're all ready to leave."
And that's it for Ybmug's Dark Keep, the first half of the Sorcerer plus quest. This update is long enough as it is, so stay tuned for the second half next time on Let's Play Might & Magic II!