Part 43: I Lava Good Spell
Update 42: I Lava Good Spell
"I figure if we're searching for a volcano, this is the place to start looking."
"This does seem a promising sign, but all things considered, I would rather not be ankle-deep in molten rock. I believe a levitation spell is in order."
"Ugh. This fountain smells of rotten eggs."
"Don't turn your nose up at it so quickly. Volcanic spring water has many health benefits!"
The fountain temporarily sets everyone's level to 20 and all stats to 40. It'd be very handy at low levels, but now we're all stronger than that anyway, so it actually makes us a little weaker. Oh well.
Levitating makes the area around Vulcania mostly safe, the key word being "mostly". There are one or two volcanoes that will wipe out anyone who has less than 200 HP. This is not really an area meant for exploration at low levels.
"We have reached the border between Cron and the elemental plane of fire. I doubt we will find any volcanoes here. We should turn back."
"Aw, you're no fun. Let's explore some more!"
As you might expect, fire elementals can breathe fire, doing up to 250 damage to the whole party. They only have 200 HP, though, so as long as we don't run into a huge group of them at once, they're easy to deal with.
"Excellent. The power of fire is mine to command!"
Fire Encasement is kind of a lame spell, but hey, the price is right.
"Sure, let's step through a portal into a dimension in which nothing but fire exists. I don't see how that could backfire on us."
We could have Preacher cast Fire Transmutation and wander around here, but it's not going to get us any closer to the Gemmaker's Volcano, so let's not.
Speaking of the volcano, here it is!
It's just a couple of steps to the north of Vulcania, in fact.
"For the inside of an active volcano, this place isn't so bad. I mean, if you can overlook the withering heat and choking clouds of acidic vapour."
There aren't any monster encounters in this cave, probably because monsters have too much common sense to kick around inside a volcano. It's easy enough to wander around and pick up all the gems lying on the ground. Each one you find is only worth 5 gems per character, but it all adds up.
"This could be some kind of trap, you know. I must confess that I feel uneasy about entering the central conduit of an active volcano, even with magical protection."
"Only one way to find out: charge in like the lunatics we are!"
"Speak for yourself!"
Make sure to have your levitation spell up for this: this is magical lava and will teleport you away as well as damaging you if you step in it. Yeah, magical lava. I don't know either.
This is a +10 Flaming Sword with no alignment restriction. If you made a beeline for it as soon as you learned Levitate, it'd be pretty awesome. Of course, you can leave the dungeon and come back for another one as many times as you like.
And here, in the northwest of the same chamber, is 500 Gems. This is an excellent place to set a Lloyd's Beacon. Then you can cast Surface to leave the cave, return to the beacon to collect more gems, and repeat until you have more gems than you know what to do with.
There are some other fire-themed weapons and shields in here too, but none of them are very exciting.
"One of the four talons that King Kalohn used to focus the powers of his Element Orb? Hmm. If we could return those talons to him in his hour of need..."
This cave contains messages detailing the location of all four of the elemental talons. For the sake of completeness (and in case there's anyone actually playing along and using this LP as a guide), here are the other three:
Smoke signals read: "The Fire Talon rests at x4, y4 in the Elemental Plane of Fire."
The wind wails, "Upon a pedestal at x11, y7 in the Elemental Plane of Air you will find the Air Talon."
A small puddle forms a message: "At x10, y10 within a shrine in the Plane of Water rests the Water Talon."
"We've explored nearly all of the cave, but there's no sign of this Gemmaker you were all talking about. There's just one little room I can't find a way into."
"My Teleport spell does not work in this dungeon: the gems in the walls seem to be interfering with the magic. Let me try Etherealize..."
"Awesome! Sign me up! How bad can this price be?"
"Well, that could have gone worse. At least I know how to cast Rejuvenate."
"I suppose this also explains how the Gemmaker has stayed so young and healthy for all of these years."
The Gemmaker's price is 10 years of aging for the whole party. If you're at a high enough level that you're interested in learning Enchant Item in the first place, there's no excuse for not having some way to deal with aging.
Anyway, now that we're done with the Gemmaker...
... it's time for some Fun With Enchantments!
In order to completely break the game, you need only three things:
1) An item you want to enchant, preferably something that provides some kind of stat or resistance bonus, and with a low starting enchantment so it has no alignment restrictions. We're choosing the Dark Trident here, because it provides a base AC bonus of +5: every point of enchantment will increase the AC bonus along with the accuracy and damage of the weapon.
2) A sorcerer with the Duplication and Enchant Item spells, and at least 120 maximum spell points. (It turns out that the listed spell point cost for Enchant Item of "50 SP per level of enchantment" is a typo: the actual cost is a much more reasonable 50 + 1 per level of enchantment.)
3) Several thousand gems. Conveniently, Gemmaker's Cave is a good place to get these.
Now, all you have to do is repeatedly enchant your item, resting when you run out of spell points, until it hits +63 (the maximum possible enchantment). Once you've maxed it out, duplicate it and give a copy to everyone who needs one. Voila: you are now armed with weapons that do 64-93 damage and provide +68 armour class. Enjoy.
Other good items to duplicate include Defense Rings (only a base +2 AC, but anyone can wear as many as they like) and Speed Boots (base +15 Speed). With the right equipment, the party can move faster than Cuisinarts, have a high enough AC that they only take a couple of hundred damage from each attack, and hit hard enough to kill them all in one round anyway. Once you can safely use autocombat to kill Cuisinarts, levelling up as high as you like suddenly becomes ridiculously easy.
A word of warning: quest-related items can be enchanted, but generally can't be duplicated. I found this out the hard way when I tried to get everyone a +63 version of the Emerald Ring from Tundara, which provides a +15 base AC bonus. After twenty minutes of collecting gems and enchanting, I ended up with one +63 Emerald Ring and no way to make more of them, which wasn't really worth it.
Oh, and don't let all of this power go to your head. If we set our disposition to Thrill Seeker and run around in the Desert of Desolation looking for fights, we're still very likely to get killed, and we're nowhere near ready to take on the Mega Dragon.
"You'd better believe we're signing in! We don't want to lose today's progress!"
"It's all very well to have enough power to bring the gods themselves to their knees, but aren't we forgetting something?"
"Why don't you tell the party what they're forgetting, Preacher?"
"Curse you! When did you develop a sense of subterfuge?"
"Looks like we're not going to need all of this fancy armour for much longer, if we can just enchant up a few rings."
"Hey, we're still going to get a share of those +63 items even though we're hirelings, right?"
"Come to think of it, why are we still risking our lives by working for hire? We have enough money to retire and live in luxury for a thousand years, and we could probably buy enough Rejuvenation spells to live that long, too."
"Honestly, living a thousand years is overrated. What would your life be without the thrill of battle?"
"Well, a great deal safer, for one thing."
Well, that about wraps up Gemmaker's Cave and the single most egregious game-breaking ability in a game full of game-breaking abilities, so there are now a few more options open to us. We can go to the Dragon's Dominion and try out our newfound power on some dragons, we can go to a castle dungeon and see if we can finally find a cure for Preacher, or we can travel to the elemental planes and go collect those talons to save King Kalohn. Vote now!