Part 38: Hail to Thee, Camp Kill-U
Update 37: Hail to Thee, Camp Kill-U
"Now if I remember right, that message in Murray's Cave said the Sword of Valor was in this area somewhere. So all we gotta do is find whatever chumps picked it up before us and--"
"You were saying?"
"Oh, like that's meant to scare us. Let's kill them, shall we?"
Mountain Men are fairly average melee enemies; we fought stronger opponents and won back when we were level 10.
The conclusion is as quick as it is inevitable.
"Finally! That's the last sword! Now we can go back to Lord Hoardall and get his reward."
"Why the rush? Since we're here, we may as well finish exploring the area."
"Hey, everyone, jump in the pool. I swear it's safe."
"Awesome! Now I've got all sorts of new diseases to experiment with! Hell, you guys are practically walking bioweapon labs!"
"I am beginning to regret employing an evil doctor."
"Look out! There's a killer on the road!"
The Mist Rider is a nasty piece of work, with a high armour class and a cold breath attack that can hit the whole party for a couple of hundred points of damage.
Of course, none of that matters when you've been farming the Cat from Hell until half your party has +30 weapons.
"What was a big magical horse doing in the mountains anyway? Did someone--"
"-- ah. Well, that answers that question."
The Mist Warrior is a lot like his mount: high armour class and a magical attack (Dancing Sword) that hits the whole party for loads of damage.
And, just like the Mist Rider, we walk all over him.
As our reward, we get the best direct-damage spell that Archers can ever learn. (It's not bad for Sorcerers, either, if they're facing something that resists fire and lightning.)
"Intriguing. Once again, thorough exploration and practical experience proves essential in the unending quest for knowledge."
"Aw, crap. Hey, how about you explore your way out of this web for us, huh?"
"Mark? Wasn't he that crazy old hermit who hanged me back when we started exploring Cron?"
"Yes, that's right. So obviously, Mark has lost his mind."
"I don't think it liked that answer very much."
"Huh. Maybe I should have said 'marbles'."
The Death Spider can spray poison on the party for lots of damage and the Arachnoids are weak melee enemies that can inflict poison with their attacks. As long as we go after the Death Spider first, this battle is easy.
Unfortunately, answering the riddle incorrectly and then killing the Death Spider doesn't get us any reward, so it's time to go back and do it the correct way.
"Oh, now I remember! He lost his keys, didn't he?"
"What, just like that? Why are you giving them to us now, and why couldn't we just get them off your corpse earlier?"
"We should probably take these back to Mark, if we're done exploring."
"Why the hell would we want to help Mark? He already killed me once!"
"Sure, but think about the treasure he must have looted from all the other adventurers he killed!"
"I've got them right here. Please don't kill us."
"Well, that would have been a nice reward about 15 levels ago, I guess. Time to get out of here before he loses his keys and decides to kill us again."
I can only assume that Mark is based on someone John van Caneghem knew in real life. The alternative is that he put a random homicidal maniac who lost his keys in the game for no reason at all. Admittedly, this game is filled with random homicidal maniacs who were put in for no reason at all, but at least the rest of them know where their keys are.
Well, since we have all three legendary swords now, it's time to go collect our reward from Castle Woodhaven!
Oh, and also to collect another lame orc joke.
"So does that mean a half-orc has three-quarters of a brain, or just one quarter?"
"Not bad. I mean, it would have been a lot more useful before we all finished our Plus quests, but at least it's something."
"There's still Lord Slayer's quest to hunt down three legendary monsters. Maybe we can earn a better reward from that."
The first of Slayer's monsters is one we've seen already: it's the Dragon Lord in area D1. Like most dragons, it has high HP and AC, and can inflict heavy damage with its breath weapon.
And, like everything else in this update so far, it gets pounded into the earth. Don't worry, I promise there are still enemies in Cron that will give us a run for our money.
Our next target is in the Desert of Desolation.
"Doesn't look too desolate to me."
The oases refill the whole party's food supply and can be returned to as many times as you please, which is a good thing...
... because given how strong the random encounters in the desert are, we're going to do a lot of resting.
"Ow, my skin! What's going to protect my internal organs from exposure to the blazing desert sun now?"
As you can see, for once our enemies actually survived long enough to get a turn. As you can also see, if they all decide to do that much damage to the whole party in one round, we're kind of screwed.
Of course, the rest of them are stupid and use physical attacks, and we win. Could there be any doubt?
"There's our second quarry! Only one more, and we can return to Lord Slayer!"
I'm pretty sure the Queen Beetle can spray poison as a special attack, but I didn't really feel like finding out for sure, so here's another one-round victory for you.
"I don't see what's so great about it, but sure, I'm pretty thirsty after walking through the desert for days on end."
"Okay, yeah, that was pretty great."
If you ever want to temporarily raise your level to 50 and all stats to 200, here's the place to go. With a little luck, you could use this to win some battles in the desert at a low level and gain amazing experience and treasure.
"Someone's ranching dinosaurs in the desert? This I gotta see."
At the end of a long series of smaller dinosaur encounters, we run into this.
"Somehow, I don't think this is a dude ranch."
The Reptoid and Tyrannosaurs can hit hard, but that's about all they do. The Dinosaurs are weaker and will mostly just run away from battle anyway. There are also about 200 Mini Rexes, which aren't even worth wasting a Star Burst spell on.
"You know, the funny thing about this is that if I'd actually attacked it instead of seeing how close it was to death, it would most likely be dead now."
"I'm sure I'd see the humour in that if I hadn't just narrowly escaped being eaten alive."
For beating up a monster with 2000 HP and a couple of hundred lesser enemies, that's kind of a disappointing amount of experience.
On the other hand, for some reason these dinosaurs can leave some pretty great treasure.
"Hey, I'm not going to look a gift tyrannosaurus in the mouth, if only because it'd probably bite my head off."
"Well, this sounds like the place to go if we want a real challenge."
We've fought all of these monsters before, but together they're much more annoying, if only because nearly all of them can do something nasty that we can't afford to ignore. Death's Agent has an aging attack, the Grim Reapers can instantly kill us, the Stalkers can bring us to 0 HP with a successful hit, and the War Eagle is just a strong melee monster. Still, it's not so bad for our party.
"Ha! Is that the best you can do?"
"A box? My next enemy is a box? This is just pathetic."
"Hey, can we please make sure that Tarquinn never says anything ever again?"
The best part about the Death in a Box is that its physical attack also causes eradication, so no matter what it decides to do, somebody's probably going to be an adventurer-shaped stain on the ground before the fight is over. And it has 2000 HP and near-immunity to all magic, so we're not quite capable of reliably killing it in one round yet.
Oh, and Shadow Rogues can steal every single gold piece from a character on a successful hit, but we should worry about surviving before we act to protect our precious, precious loot.
"That's done it! Wow, I really need a better bow or something."
Once Death has been dealt with, the rest of the fight goes smoothly. Even the experience award screen acknowledges our l33tness (or, well, our l33tiaz, as the case may be).
"That's all we get? Seriously? That's barely enough to pay to bring Julius back! Screw that, next time I come here I'm just killing more dinosaurs."
"If you're in the mood for killing, we do still have one more monster to kill for Lord Slayer. It should be in another area, near the edge of the desert."
"Another strange coded message. We have already deciphered the green ones: the secret to these yellow messages must surely lie somewhere else in Cron!"
"Maybe we should be worrying less about coded messages and more about not being burned to death by a giant fire-breathing serpent."
The Serpent King is the strongest of Lord Slayer's three monsters, but that doesn't stop us from slaughtering it.
"Are we done already? That was still too easy."
"It looks that way. What reward does Lord Slayer have in store for us, I wonder?"
"That's a whole lot better than I was expecting. For a million experience, I don't mind dealing with a few weaklings."
Well, time to return to town...
... after we've picked up one more orc joke on the way out.
"Another job well done. That's two more quests we don't have to worry about any more -- three, if you count Mark."
"Heh. Lunch and dinner. Gotta remember that one."
I've taken these screenshots before distributing/selling most of the treasure the party found, just to show you what kind of a haul we can get from a handful of battles in the Desert of Desolation.
"For the record, orc jokes are offensive and shouldn't be told by civilised people."
"Why are you giving us lessons in being civilised? You're a barbarian."
"Gertrude is barbarian also. You got problem with Gertrude?"
"Can't we save the violence until after we leave the inn? We don't want to get kicked out for getting blood on the carpets again."
"I am packing some crazy good armour right here. Nothing short of a Cuisinart's going to hit me in all of this getup."
"No wonder my bow wasn't doing very well in combat. It isn't even a bow at all. I should probably do something about that."
"Would anyone like to trade a new staff or some padded armour for this chain mail? I would also be willing to accept payment in ancient magical artifacts, if you happen to have any of those to spare."
Well, that's all for today. We've cleared some quests off our list and earned a fair chunk of experience, and once again we need to decide what to do next. Some of the castle dungeons still remain unprobed, and we've also got two caves to explore (that we know about): Druid's Point Cavern and the Dragon's Dominion. Or, if you'd rather, we could keep wandering around outdoors. Vote now!