Part 32: Is that a giant spear in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?Part XXXII: Is that a giant spear in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
Enough stalling -- it's time for Hellgate.
Even outside it looks foreboding.
Looks normal so far.
A ziggurat, eh?
Someone is -- or was -- camping here.
An elevator. According to the stories, the real horrors are below. The House Crassus banners in the background are a recurring feature in the ruins we explore.
We found the (ex-)camper.
Could be dangerous.
Goody, it is! Let's mess with it.
We now have a functioning magic grenade!
Okay, now I'm seeing why this place is named Hellgate. When we step into the hallway...
The construct can be a pain in the ass if you're not prepared. It's heavily armored, attacks multiple times in a single turn, and has a nasty flurry attack that can one-shot you. On top of that, you usually have to fight more than one. Our stats and equipment make these things a minor threat, but I don't feel like fighting, so let's try a different tactic. You might recall the seemingly useless device we found at Zamedi.
Oh, hello. You appear to have a thousand yard stare.
Methinks Bennie needs some fresh air.
A prince? I guess I've seen stranger things...
: What happened to your father?
Of course there's more than one.
: Alright. I'll find that magic spear for you.
: I didn't come here for the spear, so I'll gladly trade it for your help. This place is dangerous and I need an ally I can trust more than I need another weapon.
Ugly, but useful. If you can't convince Bennie, you're forced to fight the other constructs that infest this area.
One nice thing about killing constructs is looting sky metal off the remains.
Despite its size, Hellgate is mostly empty. All of those side rooms contain nothing of importance and the entrance sealed shut when we crossed the bridge. The only way to proceed is through the double doors on the right.
There are three hallways, but we need to go through the middle one first, which holds a pair of constructs and a pair of power generators. Disabling the generators turns off the laser grids lining the other two corridors, which you'll want to do because they sap you of 10hp and lower your CON if you touch them.
Another construct patrols the path beyond the generator room. It's easy to avoid if you take the side hallways. This door is actually leads to the final level, so we'll leave it alone.
Looks similar to the archive we found at Zamedi, and we also need 10 Lore to use it. If we check for recordings...
Sounds like they're talking about Thor-Agoth/Agathoth.
This chest holds a key that opens the path to the endgame and unlocks the entrance door.
Our goal is the treasure room, which is guarded by four constructs, so be aware of that. The smaller chests (two are trapped) contain sky metal, blue steel, and some power modules.
The big chest has this thing. How is Bennie going to use it?
We don't have to give Bennie the spear -- keeping it unlocks an ending, which I'll show much later. For now, let's get out.
Arriving at Maadoran gives us a message to check on Basil, but first we need to talk to Gaelius.
Gaelius, surprisingly, sounds backed into a corner.
: What about the Ordu?
: What makes you think Paullus would agree?
: What if you use the Guards to take Ganezzar and then send the Ordu to deal with the Guards once and for all?
I don't know the other requirements, but it takes 8 Persuasion to convince Gaelius to go through with our plan.
: Powerful men will always have enemies, my Lord, but an opportunity like this cannot be missed. Think of what you will accomplish in the next few years if you rule supreme. The Guards might not even be an issue by then.
Soundtrack: Imperial Guards II
Caer-Tor is a giant fort and the HQ for the Imperial Guards. Normally, we'd speak to Dux Paullus and persuade him to attack Ganezzar, the city falls, and the endgame begins. If you talked Gaelius into following your plan, the Ordu and Aurelians slaughter Paullus and the Imperial Guards when the siege ends.
We're not going through with that, however. There's a more interesting way of getting rid of Meru that can only be accomplished if we accompany him to Al-Akia, which you'll see in the next update. At the moment, we're going to finish some quests, starting with Basil's.
The Forty Thieves have finally given in.
: If they want to talk, I'm all ears. Where do they want to meet?
: Do you really think they want to talk?
Of fucking course.
The scolopendra's biggest annoyance is it poisons you with each hit, which can reduce your HP to zero in seconds. Antidotes are required to survive encounters with them.
It only took me a few turns to kill it. Hooray for late-game weapons!
Eh, fuck it.
: Alright, let's go.
Accepting his offer puts us on the Forty Thieves path and forces us to pay 1000 imperials for the privilege. So...
: It's not *my* problem.
Three enemies -- one with a bow, one with a dagger, one with a spear. The spearman likes to start the fight by choking you with a bolas, which leaves you open to attacks by the others. This group loves to inflict all kinds of status ailments, ranging from Bleed and Cripple to armor and attack penalties, so it's a harder fight than it looks.
Three attempts later and I skewer the last guy.
Death Count: 55
Hi, Basil. Hi, Quintus.
: Glad I could help.
We could extort them for 1000 imperials one last time, but I'm feeling generous.
Next is the Arena quest line.
: Fight? I thought I was the champion.
Let's do this.
Hamul is... intense.
Galbo's ring, huh? You wouldn't have bought that from a loremaster named Feng, would you?
The next three fights are the hardest in the game up to this point. All three opponents have high-level armor and weapons, and their DEX is high enough so we're only hitting around half the time. Don't attempt this until you have at least 9s in a weapon skill and Dodge/Block. I'd also recommend putting a lot of points in Critical Strike, because it can save your ass (as you'll see). Put poison on your weapon and use a sharpening stone, use bombs, liquid fire, anything to give you an advantage.
Hamul likes to hit you with Bleed (a common thing with these enemies) and critical strike you into submission.
Surprisingly, it only took two tries to kill him.
Death Count: 57
Our armor has made the healer obsolete, as walking around for a few minutes fixes us completely.
: Mostly travelers, from what I hear.
Plaudius, despite his heavy equipment, can dodge your attacks easily, and his hammer will pulverize your armor -- thank god ours is impervious to that trick. He's still a big threat.
I was insanely lucky and killed him with a critical strike. I was certain I was going to die at least once.
Widowmaker. The final opponent.
I took some time to prepare, because this fight is a fucking beast.
Widowmaker is clad in blue steel Imperial Armor, the heaviest and most damage resistant armor in the game. He's armed with a sky metal axe with all sorts of nifty effects on it, arguably making it the most powerful weapon you'll find. His most infuriating tactic is closing in and crit. striking you, guaranteed to kill instantly, which is something he does ALL THE TIME. Ranged weapons are probably the way to go, but I'm a melee character, so forget that. He is, without a doubt, a fucking migraine.
Imagine my surprise when I finished him in three turns. With no damage. Using a net nerfs him totally, because he can't move or use his axe. A handful of attacks and one critical strike later, he's dead. *That* is why you want a high CS.
He has the Eye of Thor-Agoth, which will be very useful later.
That's the end of the Arena quest. We reign supreme!
On a whim, I spoke with Abukar. Turns out you can tell him about the encounter at the Arch.
: The danger is in ignoring a threat lurking in the shadows we can't even see.
: Earlier you spoke of seals that must never be unlocked and spells that must never be reversed. Help me find them and make sure that they haven't been tampered with. It's the only way to ensure our safety.
He's referring to the temple we've been seeking since the beginning. For now, that has to wait.
Next Time: Al-Akia