The Let's Play Archive

Realms of Arkania III: Shadows over Riva

by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 19: Session 14.50: The Mage Tower Endurance Run: Floor #3

Session 14.50: The Mage Tower Endurance Run: Floor #3

I never knew you had that kind of taste in movies, Suzie.

“What, you think it’s all anime? I’ve got diverse interests.”

“And I’m sure it had nothing to do with Lord Humongous’ pecs?”

“That’s just a bonus.”

Can we get back to the game, please?

Feeling self-conscious about your man-boobs?

I don’t have man-boobs!

Sure you don’t…

This is the complete map of the third floor. The room with the pentagram is the way upstairs, while the party entered the region from the curvy region in the northwest. The bit that moves north, that is. Most of the rooms are fairly important, but as for those three dead ends, well…we’ll get to that.

Shall we stick to the right side again?
I think he had too much Red Bull.

*Sigh* Heading right…

Interestingly, keeping to the right wall means reaching the curvy bit just south of the stairs up without meeting anything interesting along the way.

A heart door?

I don’t get it, either. It’s not locked, by the way.

So what’s inside?

A hole in the floor. Based on the smell, it’s probably the tower’s privy. Based on the fact that the scent is tolerable, it isn’t used much.


Sit down, Hal, we don’t need a demonstration.

If you scroll back up to the map, you’ll see that we’re approaching one of those dead ends.

A cold breeze? What does that mean?
There’s probably an open window in a room down the hall.
Hang on, there’s something fishy about the map here…

I thought so. The hallway was going way too far out from the side of the tower, at least compared to the lower floors.

Remember back in the dwarven mine, how the trapped passage looked fake in the 3D environment? It may be because you had to cross that region and you can’t go past here, but it turns out the programmers know how to be tricky after all. You can easily fall here, by the way, and the falling character takes some considerable damage, but she’ll just end up outside the tower by herself. This isn’t that annoying until you remember that it takes two people with a set of lock picks and/or Foramen to open the door, and the person you left behind on the winch has neither. As such, I’ll be avoiding this.

Hang on, so this entire corridor is a dead end with a trap?

Yeah. Told you guys the wizard was paranoid.

But that would mean no one uses the passage normally. Wouldn’t it be safe to rest here?

Um, sure.

The other warning that the drop is coming is getting the above message. Since you can’t go back down aside from falling to your potential doom, these side passages can make an excellent resting zone.

You have found the wizard’s bedroom. He’s not in at the moment, however.


In a chest by his dresser, you find a pile of clothes, specifically one formal cloak, two regular cloaks, three bedrolls, two pairs of shoes, one pair of boots, and a rather silly looking helmet.


It’s got these weird horn-things sticking out. Oh yeah, and anyone can use it.


Anyone. Also, it protects as well as a full helmet without any of the penalties.

I could use that.
We could all use it. But which of us could never possibly use a different helmet and keeps getting targeted by all the enemy bow users, hmm? I need this, and I haven’t picked up any other magic item since we started the second round. Besides, it was obviously intended for a magician; look where we found it.
Oh, alright.

If I say yes, will you stop creeping me out like that?

Anything in the dresser?

This game can be awfully smarmy sometimes.

Hey, not all of us have girlfriends who will go to our roleplaying sessions.

Now who said anything about you guys? I was only talking about adventurers. Oh, and William?

What’d I find?

As you were starting to push the drawers shut, you notice two letters hidden under the clothes.

Let’s see them.

“I have come across a peculiar fellow you could take into your household, and who could procure them for you. You will not be able to use their heads once he is finished with them, though. But, that should be of no consequence given the nature of your experiments.

“We do, however, surmise that he had been experimenting with fertile beings, creations that had only been possible for our “ancient master” Borbarad with his mosquitoes and the elf Pardona with the harpyies [sic]. The only good news is that we found the recipe for the tincture in Zurbaran’s rooms. I am sending along a copy of it. May the dogs refrain from biting you and the daemons refrain from leaving their Spheres.
Abu Terfas”

Borbarad? Oh dear.
The name sounds kind of familiar.
That’s because we encountered some of his mosquitoes on the way over. Borbarad’s the…well, you could basically call him the Dark Magician to end all Dark Magicians. If this guy calls him an idol, then we’re doing the world a big favor by killing him off.
Huh. Too bad Paul’s not here, he might’ve actually cared about that.
Yeah, duh.

How oddly colorful.
Can I burn it?

Assuming he’s not so self-satisfied as to put a magical painting of himself in the corner, this would obviously be Borbarad himself.

It is, and upon hearing its name, the painting slides into the wall, revealing a secret passage. At the end, you see…

At one end is a life-sized bust of Borbarad, along with a stool you imagine is used to contemplate the statue. Nearer to you is a small chest.


Special note: the party leader is always the one considered to be picking the locks encountered. I have no idea why, but since Belle’s been doing such a good job of it in spite of her negligible skill, I haven’t bothered switching her out.

Dang it!
Hold on, let me give it a try.

Your Foramen spell causes the lock to spring open easily.

Inside, you find a magic Bread Bag, a hexagonal key, and an orc hook.

Really? I guess we can toss all our rations now.
This is one of those bags that produces an infinite amount of food. Supposedly, it doesn’t taste all that great, but we hardly care about that, now do we?

The what? Oh, right. I told you those were just tiny freshwater sharks; they’re not even that filling. I imagine your character is hungry enough that he could eat them all right now if he wanted.

You really shouldn’t be drinking another Red Bull, Hal.

Sorry, what?

OOOOORRRRCCCHHHHOOOOOOOKK.Iwannatrademinefortheoneinthechestafterallit’sasoldasAlex’s andhasn’tbrokenyetbutit’sjustamatteroftimereallysoIwanttheonefromthechestinstead.

I think I understood that. So, you trade out your orc hook for the one in the chest, right? Let me just write something down here…Okay, is there anything else you’d like to do here?

Since the painting was just a secret passage, can we bust up the bust?

Fine, I guess.

In other words, they didn’t want to add another sprite for a broken bust.

So you’re done here? Very well. You leave the bedroom and continue to wander through the halls until you find another door.


What was that all about?
I dunno. Maybe we’re getting close to the wizard headquarters or something.
Man, I’m glad I picked up that spare saber.
Damn it, how did I get sick again?!
It does seem to happen to you a lot. And we used the last anti-disease potion on me earlier. Such a shame.
Don’t make me hit you.

You’re still keeping to the right, right? Well,

This combat is actually pretty interesting, since the magician can’t be attacked directly thanks to that protective heptagram pentagram (5 points /= 7). Also, I do realize that I probably should have had vVhorpax cast that Paralyze spell a lot sooner. It did do the trick, at least.

Are you sure this one didn’t turn into a bat and fly off?
He couldn’t. I turned him into stone.

And doesn’t that say something about the difference between the shapechanger and the wizard? Anyway, even if he wasn’t stone right now, he still wouldn’t have turned into a bat and flown off.

It’s pretty sick what he was doing to all those poor dogs.
The people, too.
Right, and them.
Did he have anything on him?

Yes, two magic potions and a magic amulet.

Can we tell what the amulet does?

Oh, yeah. It increases Magic Resistance by 5.

I want that. I must have that.
Jeeze, Lewis, what’s up with you?
If I wear that amulet, my Magic Resistance goes to 18. 18. On a scale of 1-20. Take the armband I wrote down, take anything, but I have to have that amulet!
(I’d complain, but the other mages do keep targeting him.)

Oh yes, and one more thing. You remember those diamonds from the second floor?

Sure. …Oh no, what happened to them?

Well, they’re not special diamonds any more, just regular precious stones.

Probably means we really did kill the tower’s master this time. Say, does he have anything else worth taking?

Again, hepta- is the prefix that means 7, but the star on the ground clearly has 5 points, making it a pentagram. Not particularly important, but it’s still a little annoying.

And I just had to fail my ritual check for how to wipe the grid. Hang on, why did I have to check at all? You let us get his amulet and a pair of potions before.

Um, yeah. My bad.

Ugh. Wait, that’s right. I cast Motoricus!

Motor whatnow?

Think telekinesis. I can move small objects, such as that vial, from a distance. *Roll* That should succeed. What is it?

Oh. Heh, yes, that is most certainly worth the trade.
What’s on the table?

Basically, a bunch of exotic daggers and swords.

Anything good?

Not really. Nothing better than what you have now, that is. There’s a Tuzakian sword, an Asthenil dagger, and an Asthenil knife.

Damn. Well, maybe they’ll get a good price back at the market.

The entire wall is lined with man-high cages of thick metal bars.

For the chimeras, right?

Right. Nothing you can do about the current occupants, though. Just bits and pieces here.

You could go up the stairs from here, but there are a couple rooms left to visit.


You find the magician’s alchemy lab.

What’s cooking?

A Courage elixir. Roll alchemy…alright, you successfully manipulate the equipment and end up with an elixir. You also notice a copy of the recipe on the table.

I’ll copy that into my book.

Also, all the shelves are filled with vials, flacons, and small bottles. You can recognize some of the elixirs and potions by their smell.

It’s really quite a haul. There’s another recipe for an anti-Courage elixir, along with 3 CR elixirs, 2 WD elixirs, 4 healing potions, 1 strong healing potion, 1 magic potion, 3 sleeping poisons, and 2 fear poisons.

That is pretty good. Now if only someone would remember to actually use some of these poisons…

There’s only one more room left.


The library.

My d20 is cocked and ready.

Oh, damn it.
What? Why won’t they come off?
It’s a fairly standard protective Transformation spell. It makes the books stick together so only the caster can pull them off. I’d need the correct Dispel spell to pull them off, but it’s at -8.

…You know what? I’ll let you try anyway.


It’s your AP.

Fine. Let me give it a shot.

You immediately notice two very worn tomes about 600 pages each. vVhorpax takes one of them down: “The Arcanum.” It’s not an original, but it is written in Olde-Goldencoastic. There aren’t many scholars around capable of translating it, but you take it along anyway, because it is definitely worth a fortune.

I do believe I will. I’ll keep rolling; just tell me what I find, Bob.

Overall, there are four bookshelves full of books, and each one has a separate set of books to pull off the shelves. That’s a lot of books in total, and although they won’t all be coming with us, draining vVhorpax’s AP several times over will still be worth the end result.

The other well-worn tome is the “Codex Dimensionis,” an overview of otherworldly Planes of Existence, the Worlds Aside of the Faerie, and modern theories of the Spheres. Flicking through its pages, vVhorpax notices chapters about the spells “Blood and Furor” [conjures a lower demon], “Heptagon” [a high demon], and “Transversalis” [teleport].

Oh, and did I mention that every spell named gets vVhorpax a boost?

All the other tomes look brand new, and the pages of the next one vVhorpax pulls down haven’t even been written on yet.

All the tomes on these shelves are bound in black hide and 200 to 400 pages thick. The first one vVhorpax picks up is from the rightmost corner of the lowest shelf. It is written in Nandurian, which none of you knows how to read. However, vVhorpax is certain that it says “Volume 7” beneath the title, and because there are exactly six other tomes on this shelf, he appears to have a point. This means the shelf is of no use to you.

The first thing you notice about this tome is the author: “Zurbaran of Frigorn.” Haven’t you heard that name from before? And the title: “Supernatural Forms/Chimaeras and Hybrids.” “I always thought there were just three copies of this in existence, but this is definitely another one,” vVhorpax says in an awed voice. “It must be worth thousands of ducats.”

I’ll hang on to that one.

The next tome is the first in a series of speculative works about elvish magic that defy the imagination.

The next tome vVhorpax pulls from the shelf turns out the be the first volume of the “Trilogy of Control,” a reference work on Domination magic. Even a short perusal is enough for him to find some remarkable passages about the spells “Bambaladam” [stick in place], “Horriphobus” [flee the scene], and “Somnigravis” [fall asleep mid-combat].

At once, your eyes are drawn to a tome that needs one whole shelf to itself. It is so large, it had to be laid onto the high shelf at an angle. The tome is bound in cave dragon skin with moon-silver mountings. His hands trembling from excitement, vVhorpax takes the weighty tome from the shelf and opens it. With some effort, he succeeds in deciphering the title, written on the front page in two languages: Lizardine and Urtulamidya. “Ma’zakaroth Schamaschtu—the Daimonicon.” Unfortunately, the rest of the book is written in Zelemya Glyphs which none of you can translate. But just for the large number of demons pictured, if nothing else, vVhorpax refuses to let go of this tome.

vVhorpax’s choice is a book with a red spine. Unfortunately, this tome is written in a script none of you has ever seen. You have no use for this book, so you put it back.

Now, vVhorpax takes down a book written in a secret script using the symbols of Zhayad. You cannot decipher the symbols, so you put the tome back.

“Ways Without Name: Witcherie and Swarthy Magicke” is the title of the next tome vVhorpax pulls from the shelves. It’s written in a different language again. This time it’s Bosparan. After about half an hour’s study of the text, which absolutely nothing can persuade vVhorpax to abandon, he discovers several things about necromantics he had never dreamt about. In the end, he puts the tome into his load.

This time, you choose a large, weighty tome. There are two of these on one shelf. They must be a good 800 pages apiece. To your considerable disappointment, they are written in the secret script as well. You put them back.

vVhorpax takes an average-sized book from the shelf. It seems to be part of a set, since there are five other books that have exactly the same binding on the shelf. When he opens the tome, he finds (to his annoyance) that it’s just a volume of the Encyclopedia Magica, the magician’s standard desk reference. Disappointed, he puts the tome back.

Next to the volumes of the Encyclopedia Magica and the weighty tomes and thin booklets in secret script, there is only one other book left on the shelves. It is bound in black hide as well, and as vVhorpax pulls it down, he is hit by a strange feeling of horror. It takes considerable effort for him to open the book. On the front page, he reads: “Borbarad’s Testament.” “That must be one of the original copies,” vVhorpax declares. “Bound in a blackened dwarven hide. A blasphemous tome of black magic!” You force yourself to turn the next few pages, but they all appear to be empty. “Written in invisible ink,” proposes vVhorpax. Despite your disgust for the book, you put it in your pack.

You know, there’s probably a spell or two that could reveal the writing, but I’d really rather not know.
How many books did we end up with?
Somewhere between “a lot” and “a shit-ton.” I had to use practically every magic potion we have left, but it was worth it. Now let’s get out of here.

No, wait. Suzie, Belle’s first in the formation, right? And you’re holding onto the Chimaera book? That means only some of the books are warded. Hal, drop your book and pick up one of mine. We’re going to figure this out.

Since dropping a book makes it stop existing forever, you should be very careful when testing which books you can take.

Sure enough, three of the books (notably the least blasphemous ones) can pass through the ward.

See? We can still make a profit off of this.
That’s it for the rooms?

That’s it. Well, there are a couple more corridors, but they lead to dead drops, too.

Well, before we continue upstairs, there’s one last thing I’d like to do. If only because it means my Dispel Illusions ranks won’t go to waste.

You can still drop out of the holes if you’d like, but now at least it gives you a choice.

What?! Dude, get to the bathroom, quick!
Oh God, I hope he’s going to be okay…

I think we should all take another break while Hal recovers.

Told him he was drinking too much Red Bull.