Part 34: Session 23: The Parting Shot
Session 23: The Parting Shot
“I’m kind of surprised we’re still doing the Dark Eye game. I figured you guys had finished last week.”
“Oh, you won’t be surprised once you see what stopped us.”
The rest of us are going to go create characters for Lewis’ D20 Modern campaign. Have fun, Alex.
Son of a bitch.
Get used to this sight. It’s going to be most of what you see for the next half hour or so as you try desperately to find your way out of the maze. If you go back to the last update, you’ll see that the above map image is slightly different than the one in the last image of Session 22, in spite of having the same level of visibility around the party icon. That’s because you can only ever see as far away as it appears here in the image. And no, there is no indication of where you need to go, either.
At one point, I tried to help myself out with some spellcasting. Penetrating is a spell that, in the game’s context, increases the radius of the characters’ field of vision.
Of course, that would be cheating. Not even a little increase here.
Since the game won’t tell us, I will: the goal of the maze is to get to the exit, which is in the southwest corner of the map. Unfortunately, the only way to get to the southwest corner of the map is by going south from the northwest corner, and the only way to get there is from the northeast corner. Honestly, the labyrinth would have been difficult enough if I had to map it out normally. At least sticking with one wall works once you’ve reached the edge of the region.
The end isn’t in the southwestern most corner, either. That would have been easy.
Instead, it’s some distance away in the same hard-to-access region.
At least the game makes it obvious once you’ve reached the right spot.
Is…is that it? I reached the end? Hey guys, I reached the end!
Seriously? We’ve only finished two characters.
Oh come on, it didn’t take me that long.
It totally did, although it was me and William who finished first.
I play these things way too often with you guys.
I had just finished with my concept, too.
Why do you guys play so many different kinds of games?
We don’t all read fantasy books all the time; the principle’s the same for our RPG games. Oh, and since you’re all here now, I can tell you that Alex found the exit, and you find yourselves on the opposite side of the room.
By the way, Lewis, what’s the setting you’re using for the next game?
I was thinking of a sort of superscience steampunk setting. You’d be going to an underwater complex built to express the principles of—but I shouldn’t spoil it too much for you.
All that effort for ten feet? This still kind of sucks.
Now that we’re just about done, I can show you the last map of the game. The chamber the characters just passed through featured the labyrinth, while the other chamber in the image is where the “think bad to be good” tests occurred. The road they’re about to travel down is, in fact, the single way to the queen.
Here you can see all three illusion traps: fire in the upper left, balance beam below, and the open pit to the right, near the acid pool. And the room that all three intersect? Yep, that’s where the characters enter the level. At the north end of the minimap is where the advanced gear is located, and the amber bits are in the room to the very south. The two rooms full of bugs are the unexplored areas in the lower middle of the map, and like I said, they can be bypassed completely if you can get through the fire trap. You’ll still want to wander south to get the amber, mind.
As you approach, Hal?
What? Oh, sorry.
Heh, my turn now.
You spy a secret door, but you can’t find any opening mechanism. You can also sense that there’s something incredibly powerful hiding behind it. You also think it may have something to do with the funny sounds you heard already several times before. Maybe you could imitate them in some way.
Finally! So how do we open it?
You remember all those hints I was dropping about a flute? Last week, and then just now?
No. Oh wait, that thing in my inventory. Yeah, so should I use it?
It seems like a good idea, yes.
So what’s in here?
Not the most impressive final conflict, I’ll admit.
That was so not the queen.
Do you remember the minotaur demon and the water dragon, how they were immune to combat-ending spells like Paralyze?
Yeah, but why would that be true for the Borbarad queen, too?
Because Bob can’t help himself from cheating to prevent us from ending the big combats in one round.
It is true, Bob.
Fine, then where do you think you should go next?
What about that unusual shape on the opposite wall? I don’t think we found one that wasn’t a door before.
And how do you get through?
Would the flute work again?
Yes, yes it would. Turns out you were right about that not being the queen. Now, this next chute is also a point of no return. Are you ready to end this?
Are we ever.
I am not going to miss these forced damage falls.
Something is stirring within the wall crystals. First, you notice your mirror images starting to move by themselves regardless of what you do. Then, you see them press against the crystal surfaces as if they were window panes. Slowly, they seep through until they are standing right in front of you. After a short moment of hesitation, your doubles attack!
Ah yes, the classic double image fight. Only this one’s got a twist! You see, there’s a reason I used so many disabling spells, and it’s not just because I have tons of amber left. If I don’t kill or disable my mirror doubles before a certain number of rounds, another set spawns in. And so far as I know, this will continue to happen until you get overwhelmed and die. While it was undeniably fun to end combats early with Paralyze, this combat it the specific reason I put so much effort into Transformation. That first combat with the skeleton may have been the moment I realized the spells potency, but this fight is where it becomes necessary—the warriors all have far too many hit points to whittle down, and the mages are far too dangerous to leave alone.
Oh good, one last level to build up my combat spells.
We should finish off the mushrooms, max out the wizards’ AP, and then get ready for the final combat.
Now you go in, and face the queen.
I always end up wondering what the queen keeps breaking with her limbs in those cinematics. Also, does the queen look a little familiar to you? Go back to the first post for a second. That's right, the final boss of the game, the thing that you're not supposed to know about until near the end of the game, is located on the box and manual art. As you can also see, I outfitted almost all the characters with ranged weapons to make them slightly more useful than normal, although most of the damage was caused (as usual) by vVhorpax and William. Oh, and Lord Boxter got a level right at the very end there.
Hang on a second. Does that mean that my character is the only one who doesn’t get to reach 9th level? Lame!
Should I use the amulet now?
Yep, you won’t crush yourselves when the spell gets cancelled now.
Wait, why would we get crushed before?
The same reason why you had to go in at all: the queen was magically enhancing the hive so that it couldn’t be broken. Now it can, and the walls crumble around you as you grow back to your proper height.
So we’re the reason the boss’s lair gets destroyed? Ha!
And here we have a couple parting fuck you’s. Although you are all heroes who stopped the orc wars, no one will ever believe you (the five most powerful white mages in the world certainly won’t tell anyone!), and you still have to escape Riva clandestinely because you’re wanted for murder (not that anyone cares about all the guards you killed). Oh, and there’s that last bit about a potential sequel that never got made.
Now, if there’s anyone who cares about the numbers, here’s the list of skills and spells for our (mostly) level 9 party. The first list of level 6 characters is in the first update, if you feel like comparing. I’m especially proud of all the numbers I got above 14, since if the real vVhorpax is to be trusted, the invisible dice I had to roll to get those numbers was 3d6.
The ending also probably has music, although it doesn't play during the closing sequence, even back before I had to use DOSBox to make the game play. There is an unused track on the CD, however, and here it is for you to enjoy. Maybe you could hit play on both at the same time. Hell, it might even sync up.
It’s been a wild ride over a rollercoaster full of dicks, but it’s finally all over. See you all later.
Stay classy, Riva. Stay classy.