The Let's Play Archive

Realms of Arkania III: Shadows over Riva

by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 6: Session 4: Robbing the Dead, Attempt #2

Session 4: Robbing the Dead, Attempt #2

Almost thought you weren’t coming, William.

“Yeah, well, the date got moved, so it turned out I had nothing better to do today after all.”

So where were we? That’s right, you had finally equipped yourselves and were heading back to the cemetery.

Yeah, we’re getting revenge on those undead assholes!

When you enter the crypt this time, you discover, much to your amazement, that you can see finally!

You’re welcome.
Crap, I forgot to buy some pliers!

It can wait, trust me. So where do you guys go first—the first room full of bodies, the second room full of bodies, or do you continue down the corridor and try to find someplace new?

Did we finish searching the first room?
I think you guys skipped over the middle bin.

She’s right. It was the one with the bones, remember?

Let’s go finish it off!
“Yah, you betcha!”
I hope all that armor’s good for something…

All that armor is probably the main reason why these skeleton warriors have been rendered as ineffective as the regular skeletons from the first combat. However, this combat is a good example for why single combat between two warriors takes forever, between armor miss chance, parry, and the real possibility for low damage.

Hooray, more weapons. Undead don’t have much for loot, do they?
No random piles of gold for you to grab, no.
Why did you run forward and try to hit them?
I didn’t want to waste AP on just a couple skeletons, and I was bored with guarding every round.
Yeah, but you’re almost dead now.
It wasn’t that bad. Still, I don’t think I’ll be running forward again any time soon.
Let’s go kill some more undead! What else is in the second room?

None of them is trying to kill us?

Not at the moment, no.

Suzie, you want to dig through the bodies again?
No way, I just got healed from tetanus!
Hey William?
You want to search the corpses?
*Shrug* Might as well.

As you examine the bodies in search for…something…you note that the bodies appear to have been somehow preserved. When William pulls one of the corpses aside, a dark opening underneath is uncovered. Something is moving in there, too.

Cool, can we—

William jumps back in horror when four ghouls, who had been hiding in the hole, come crawling out.

Here you see me use Paralyze tactically to prevent the ghouls from flanking the group. Also, you can see the general tactic of using the frontliners to make a diagonal blockade that funnels the enemies into fighting a couple at a time. Oh, and do watch this one, if only to see what the ghouls do when you kill them. If you thought the skeletons were creepy…

That was awesome! Now let’s search the third bin!


Sorry, I just expected you to shout, “NO!” again.

We just killed a pack of ghouls by casting one spell and not taking a single hit. Why would I be worried about attacking a new group of undead?

Fair enough. So in the third bin,

It’s your favorite, skeletons! Basically, this one runs just the same as the ghoul attack.

Are we done with the combat yet?

You’ve killed all the undead in the rooms you’ve found, if that’s what you mean.

We should keep going.

Another pentagram?
We should figure out if they do something. Do you have a Detect Magic spell, Lewis?
“Analyze.” I never took any points in it, though, so it would most likely fail.
Too bad. Well, we could try experimenting.

You might try moving on to the next room, too.

Kara will go to the other pentagram by the entrance. William, you should stand in between us to relay messages.
Wait, what if they’re communication devices? We should try shouting into them.
Do I hear anything?

No. You begin to suspect that you’re wasting your time.

What if it teleports things instead?
I put the whetstone up against the pentagram. Does it move?


Maybe if the same thing happens at both sites?
I don’t think we have a second whetstone.
We’ve got a bunch of swords from the skeletons, though.
Right, so we press the swords against the pentagrams the same way. What happens?


You don’t have to yell.

You could’ve fooled me.

Alright, the pentagrams don’t work. What’s next down the corridor?

You see a body on a rough wooden table, a chest, and a pentagram with candles.

I bet that’s the one that activates the others. Can I go stand on it?

Yes, yes you can. Would you mind stepping into the next room with me?

Uh oh.

Crap! I keep running!

The faster you run, the further the edges of the pentagram seem to recede. The symbol keeps on growing, and the floor beneath your feet grows ever softer, until you feel as though wading through an ocean of blood. Now excuse me a moment.

What’s happening?

As soon as Suzie steps into the pentagram, she falls over and starts shivering.

I pull her out, then! Do I have to roll anything?

No. Suzie, you can come back in now! You suddenly feel a hand closing over your arm and pulling you upwards. Alex has pulled you out of the pentagram.

What happened?
You walked in and fell over.

And you took some damage.

I put out the candles by grinding the wick into the floor, and I make sure not to enter the pentagram at any point.

Fair enough.

What’s in the chest?

Another anti-disease elixir and antidote potion.

So I’m expected to know the future, then? How about the body, is there anything interesting there?

I’ll look at it more closely.

You gingerly touch the arcane symbol on the body’s forehead and start pulling on its skin with the tips of your fingers. Suddenly, you realize that you’re holding the man’s face aloft, although the body hasn’t changed at all.

Could I try putting it on?

In shock and horror, you all stare at Lewis’s character, as he seems to have the dead man’s head on his shoulders all of a sudden. The strange skin totally changed his appearance. And in contrast to a mask, the face appears very much alive.

Oh, so the living gravedigger wasn’t just the old digger’s evil twin?
The who?
Apparently not. What should we do with this mask?
I’ll take it. Maybe I can use it to scare little children.

Ew. Anyway, there isn’t anything else in this room. Once you force open the next chamber, you see…

There is a chest, a fully furnished alchemy set, and a bookshelf here.

What’s the alchemy set being used for?

There appears to be an experiment set out on the table. It seems to be coming to a close. Next to it, you see a parchment scroll, possibly containing instructions.

I take it.

Sounds useful. Can I finish the experiment now? I roll a 6 on my Alchemy test.

The slimy green mass in the crucible has become quite viscous. You transfer it to an empty container to let it cool down, then you shape it into a single ball of antihypnoticum.

Excellent. I think we’ll be facing a vampire after all, Hal.
Are we supposed to eat that? Sounds disgusting.

So what’s in the chests?

The exact ingredients you need to make another ball of the stuff, along with a second alchemy set.

Two balls for the price of one. I’ll make a second ball with the alchemy set later, and now we can sell one for a tidy profit.
If there’s nothing else, we’ll go to the next room.

You see a bed, a stone chest, a bookshelf, and closet.

What’s on the bookshelf?

Tomes and scrolls of necromancy. Every last printed word is a blasphemy to Boron, the god of the dead.

I think we should burn it.
Hang on, there could be something useful there. Can I roll Read to find something useful?

Sure. You find a recipe book with several useful alchemic formulas, such as the antidote potion, the basic magic and healing potions, and another copy of the antihypnoticum formula, as well as a scroll that describes the Feylamia.

So watch for the shadows, carry silver, and make sure you fight them outside at night, got it. If that’s it, we set the bookshelf on fire.
Is there anything under the bed?

In spite of your best efforts, nothing you do can move the bed.

What’s in the closet?


Hey, boots! Can I wear boots instead of shoes?


We break open the chest next. Is there anything in there?

Just random stuff, some silver necklaces, a black key, and a pair of pliers.

Are there any other rooms down here?

Just the latrine.

Hang on, didn’t you say there was a third pentagram next to the last room? What if we—


Is that it, then?

Yes. You found everything there is to find down here.

We should go up and kill the evil gravedigger, then.
What about the thing we needed pliers for? I want to go get that.

Using his pliers, Hal pulls the nail from the wall without damaging the ornament. Beneath it, a large opening becomes visible that might just possibly be a keyhole.

Should we use the big black key?

After a short examination, Hal’s character puts the black key into the lock and turns it. You all hear a soft clicking sound…

Did something on the wall change?

As you try to examine the wall, you can’t find any resistance—the door is just an illusion!

That’s some freaky illusion. Well, we pass through the door. Fake wall, I mean.

You find yourself in a tomb…

With a familiar grate covering the entrance.

Uh oh.
I look at the coffin.

You know it.

I’d really rather not.
You know it.

Well you CAN’T. It’s made of a solid block of stone.

So is the whole coffin really just the lid? I want to pry it up.

It’s too heavy. It’s made of solid granite.

You think these things would help against undead in the future?
Evil in general, possibly. They sound like Praios’ holy symbol.
They also sound like they’re made of gold. I want to sell them.
Why don’t we give one to everybody, and then they can sell them if they want to?
There’s only five, though. Who doesn’t get one?
You don’t get an amulet that might or might not be magic.
Oh well.

For some reason, little animations play when you equip certain items, but only if you do it through your inventory. They change based on gender, but not for any other variation.

So now do we get to kill the evil twin?

The door is locked, and no one answers your knocks.

I’ll break it down.

You throw yourself against the door, which flies into the house with a loud crash. When you charge in, the supposed Servant of Boron is busy getting out from under the smashed door that seems to have hit him at nearly the center of the room. The two demons standing around him, on the other hand, appear to have been missed by the door entirely.

Oh, fuck.
Demons are immune to non-magic weapons. Out of the group, my wand is the only thing that could possibly damage them.
Well, fuck. Should we just run away then?
No, magic spells work on them too. William, get over here. I’ve got a plan…

A guide in how to kill a pair of unkillable demons, as well as their druid master who appears at the beginning of the second round (which is why I had the frontliners waiting there for him to show up). Remember how I said that combat ends once all enemies are incapacitated? Here’s where picking your spells ahead of time really comes up as important.

In particular, the spell Bambaladam works much like the Charm spells of D&D fame. And if your only exposure to Charm Person comes from computer games, let me explain: becoming friends with the opposing side doesn’t mean you switch sides, it means you stop attacking anybody. This also counts as incapacitated for the purposes of ending the combat. Unfortunately, it’s also Touch range, which involves getting perilously close to the enemy.

The spell I almost cast is Somnigravis, which puts enemies to sleep. It can be cast at range, but sleeping enemies don’t count as incapacitated.

Also, the only spell the Druid managed to cast successfully was probably Lightning, which sounds like it should work like Fulminictus does. However, Lightning works more like a flash-bang; the target is blinded and cannot take any action for at least one round following.

I don’t get it. Aren’t druids, like, nature-loving hippies who worship the balance of all things?
Not in DSA. They do like nature, but they also tend to specialize in Domination and summoning spells, and they make decent necromancers in a pinch. I’m honestly a little surprised we didn’t see any Evil Eye (domination, in the D&D sense) or Horriphobus (running away screaming) spells.

Not for lack of trying. You guys have pretty good magic resistance. Do you take any of the late gravedigger’s stuff?

Can I switch out for some boots?

Don’t know why, but okay…

Let’s go tell the priestess what happened.

Somewhat sheepishly, the priestess thanks you. The revelation appears to have been a bit much for her. She tells you that she’s going to notify the city’s guards to handle the rest from here.

So what’s our reward?

She doesn’t have one.

Then why did we do all this crap?!

It leads into the main plotline, trust me. But for now, you guys are done with this quest. And it seems like a good place to end tonight’s session.

Great, all that bullshit and they don’t even mention a reward.
We got a bunch of loot to sell and plenty of experience from killing undead. That’s pretty good, right?
It still doesn’t feel quite right. I just hope “ungrateful bastards” doesn’t become a running theme in this campaign.