Part 41: An Ice Personality
Update 40: An Ice Personality
You wanted some outdoor exploration? You're going to get some outdoor exploration!
Remember these friendly fellows?
"Why are we back here, exactly? Wasn't being almost killed once enough?"
Even with 100 Speed on all characters, the Cuisinarts are still faster than the party. That's okay: it's easy enough to revive unconscious party members with Moon Ray.
And with a few +20 weapons under our belts from fighting Cats from Hell, it doesn't take too long to kill the first Cuisinart, despite his 1000 HP.
Of course, then the next one decides to do this. On the bright side, he dies after frenzying; unfortunately, he does a few thousand points of damage to 6 party members in the process.
"Is that the best you can do? Next time, aim for the healers first!"
One Moon Ray later, everyone is back in action and the final Cuisinart is easily dispatched.
And that's how you kill Cuisinarts. If you're feeling very lucky, you can even go there with a level 1 party and hope that they all frenzy and kill themselves in the first round while at least one party member survives, shooting the survivor up to level 30 or so in one battle. It's better to try it once you have Moon Ray, though, and preferably Divine Intervention in case things don't go according to plan.
This, of course, is why you kill Cuisinarts: they give the most experience of any enemy in the game. That's about 5 levels for the entire party in one battle. If you want to get everyone to level 255, you can do it here in a few hours.
"Man, it sure would be embarrassing if we won that battle and then died by setting off the trap on this chest."
"Don't worry, I've got it all under control! All I have to do is hold this pin steady while I open the lid..."
"... what? Were you expecting something to happen?"
"Och, tha's a fine piece o' armour. Pity it doesnae fit me."
I think this is the first time we've seen gold armour. It raises Luck by a lot, which probably increases resistance to magic and status effects. It also has slightly better AC bonuses than other armour of the same type. Unfortunately, this particular suit was generated as Evil-aligned, and we have no evil party members right now.
Since we've explored this area already, it's time to head north!
The tundra is still full of blizzards and snowdrifts that do damage and blow the party around the area. It's still annoying.
"Hey, of course I know your name! We go way back! Remember that time when you were, uh, doing that thing you do and I was... oh man, I totally can't keep this up, I don't even remember having a Guardian Pegasus."
"I remember! You visited us the first time we left Middlegate. And I also remember translating some ancient writings near Druid's Point... your name is Meenu, isn't it?"
"With all due respect, 100,000 gold isn't that much money. We spend as much on hirelings every day."
"Now, now. You know what they say about looking a gift horse in the mouth."
It's possible to come back and get Meenu's reward again once a year, but beyond the first year there isn't much point in going out of your way for it.
"Hey, remember back when it was possible to make Monty Python references unselfconsciously? I miss those days. "
"When was the last time you were ever self-conscious about anything?"
"Ne'er mind tha'! Gie me a go a' tha' tree!"
If the character you chose to chop down the tree has at least 40 Might, you get this as your reward. The Instant Keep casts Shelter when used, allowing the party to rest safely when they normally couldn't. It's not a bad item, but it's kind of a strange reward. Oh well.
There's also a fountain nearby that sets everyone's Might to 40, which would be useful for getting that Instant Keep if I hadn't already maxed everyone's Might at 100.
"I don't see any harm in hearing what he has to say. Perhaps he has another quest for us!"
"That's what we're here for! We're paladins, y'know. We fight for justice."
"Two of my ancestors held items of legend which brought great honor to the House of Haart. In the seventh century, Spaz Twit owned a phaser. In the eighth century, a man known simply as The Long One owned a ceremonial loincloth. Return these items to me and you shall be rewarded."
"The seventh and eighth centuries, you say? It's a good thing we have access to a time machine, then."
"I may regret asking, but what exactly is a ceremonial loincloth used for?"
"Well, you could always use it to--"
"I'm not sure what you're about to say, but I'm certain nobody needs to hear it. I withdraw my question."
"Considering that we've just killed three Cuisinarts, I doubt we have anything to fear from icicles. Onward!"
Lord Haart's keep is at x5, y5, by the way. It's easy to miss if you're just wandering around, because you have to face north to enter it.
"All of this ice is reflecting the sunlight so well, we don't need a light spell to see! In fact, would any of you, er, happen to know a spell to protect against snow blindness?"
"Hey, speaking of blindness, I can't see my stats in that window! What gives?"
Yeah, I screwed up the batch cropping settings on the next set of screenshots, so Jostiband and the title bar got cut out. Whoops. Anyway, this is the Ice Cavern. It has two gimmicks, one of which we're about to see.
"Och, who's afraid o' some wee rats?"
Hey, here's the first gimmick. The dungeon is divided into a series of long corridors with slide traps at the end. It's possible to bypass the traps with teleport spells, but where's the fun in that? Not only do the slide traps drain half the party's spell points...
... they also force them into an encounter with a huge pack of monsters! Of course, they're still just rats, so the party grinds them into dust.
In the room with the monster encounter, there's some kind of item as a reward. Magic Meals give the party some food when used. They're a pretty lame reward, but some of the others are better. The rooms are also linked to each other at the back by a network of secret passages, so you don't have to deal with a slide trap for every single fight.
Most of the individual fights aren't very interesting, so I'll just summarise what's in here. The other battle/reward combinations in the dungeon include fighting 150 Sprites for 500 Gems (always handy); 50 Crazed Dwarves (who actually do enough damage to make me worry about party members dying) for +3 Speed Boots (+18 Speed, equippable by any class: very useful); 250 Goblins for a +5 Cold Shield (not bad); 200 Muggers for a +5 Looter Knife (boosts Thievery, but not by enough to be useful); 45 Giant Ogres for a +3 Giant Sling (like a regular sling, but stronger; the best missile weapon for Barbarians); 250 Kobolds for an Ice Sickle and a Cold Blade, both at +3 (decent weapons if enchanted to be stronger); 65 Arachnoids for a Web Caster (an item I haven't seen appear anywhere else in the game: as expected, it casts Web when used); 150 Blood Suckers for a +15 Dagger (very nice, and not too hard to get early on); and 160 Orcs for 5000 gold (lame).
Welcome to this dungeon's second gimmick: the most annoying permanent stat boost area in the game.
"Come on, everyone! Let's go into the light!"
"But it says 'males only'. Shouldn't you and Preacher stay behind?"
"Nah, we'll be fine. Anyway, what's the worst that can happen?"
This pillar of light only appears if the party consists entirely of males. It permanently raises the party's Personality -- or it would, if we'd found it before maxing out everyone's Personality at the Circus. There's also a "Females only" one adjacent to it, which does the same thing but requires an all-female party.
Oh, and the pillar also teleports the party to an encounter with a group of Seductresses, which they're completely unable to harm with physical attacks on account of having no females. (The Females Only version leads to a fight with a group of White Knights, which aren't nearly as bad.)
"This must be some kind of punishment for entering the light with women in our party."
"Yes. Yes, that must be it. I do apologise. For being female. Which I am."
Good thing we don't have to rely on physical attacks, huh?
"Well, I don't think that was such a bad dungeon. We even found some useful items for a change."
"We've killed the Cuisinarts, cleared out a cavern full of monsters, been entrusted with a quest and come back alive. I'd say we have plenty to be proud of."
"Och, this sling's bigger'n I am! Tha' willnae stop me using i', o' course."
I just noticed that the whole party's alignment shifted to Good at some point. I'm not actually sure what triggered this; as far as I knew, the only way to change alignment was in a dungeon I haven't been to yet.
"When it comes to swords, ego is not a dirty word. Apart from being a powerful weapon, this blade raises my Personality."
"Hey, can I get one of those swords too? I think I look kinda goofy swinging this dagger around."
"Ooh, are we telling everyone what presents we want? Can I have a Giant Sling?"
"I wouldn't mind some better armour, and a stronger magical item to replace this charm."
"I'm good enough with locks and traps now that I don't think I really need this thief's pick any more."
"All of this healing and resurrection is starting to take its toll on me. I already feel old beyond my years. I hope you're all grateful."
"Look at me, everybody! I'm ultra speedy!"
Well, that's it for today -- and thanks to Lord Haart, we have a new option on where to go next! We can follow up on his quest and go back in time to find the items he asked for, we can explore a castle dungeon, we can enter the Dragon's Dominion or we can just mess around outdoors some more. Vote now!