Part 29: Stealing Stuff From the Shadowlords
Stealing Stuff From the Shadowlords
To kill the Shadowlords, we'll need to know their names. I was told several updates ago that a daemon in the desert of the east knew of the Lord of Hatred. Perhaps he knows his name too.
You see a huge, horned, leather-winged daemon.
: I am not bothered by this in the slightest! Name?
: My name is Sin'Vraal.
: I once served the mighty Astaroth, but that was long ago.
: Wait, who is Astaroth?
: I think it's the Shadowlord of Hatred, Avatar.
: Shut up, I knew that!
: Speak not that name in too loud a voice, lest thou summon the Shadowlord of Hatred!
: That doesn't prove anything! Calling the name could just as easily summon another, completely different Lord of Hatred!
: What, like Diablo?
: Diablo is the Lord of Terror, you jackass.
: Beware, for they who yell their Names, oft die at the will of the foul wraiths!
: Sure thing.
: You know, it almost makes you wonder whether maybe daemons aren't bad guys after all, merely misunderstood. Such a misunderstanding could potentially spell disaster for Britannia!
: Yeah, but what are the odds of that happening?
: Haha, seriously. Let's go into Covetous and kill a bunch of them.
So the first thing we do once we've left is to yell Astaroth, which has no effect. It may only work indoors, or it may only work in the castles. Regardless, it's a phenomenally bad idea. Nearly as bad an idea as going to visit all three of them in their house, but I'm doing that this update too so I guess I'm just a moron.
Anyway, we need Dungeon Deceit open at some point, so it's back to Moonglow to find the Great Councilman, who is the gypsy who divined our fortune back in Ultima IV! Or something like that. I'm not going back to check.
You see an old, strangely familiar gypsy.
: Welcome Steve, 'tis good to see thee! How may I aid thee?
: My name is Malifora.
: I can see many things beyond thy keen!
: That's not very nice.
: Well, you're not exactly very smart, Steve.
: Point taken, as long as it's not coming from Iolo.
: Tell me what thou seeketh.
: I see the runes FALLAX inscribed upon the entrance of the dungeon Deceit! Anything else? Can I get you guys a beer or something, stick around for a while?
: Nah, we're good, thanks though!
: Bye! Don't sell me out to the Oppression!
: No promises!
I noticed a lighthouse near Moonglow so I dropped by, but it turns out nothing plot-critical is here. Just a pair of unsettling NPCs.
You see a bony woman with a blank stare.
: My name is Jacqueline.
: I, uh... don't remember.
: Remember what?
: Oh lord, this could go on all day.
: You distract Steve, I'll hit her over the head with a helmet and drag her to talk to this other person.
: Oh God, the feedback loop has already begun!
You see a tall, heavily scarred man.
: What in the name of Mondain art ye doing in me lighthouse!
: Wow, you're like the first person who has even remotely given a shit about us trespassing.
: Except Blackthorn.
: Right, yeah, except Blackthorn.
: Didst ye not know this is private property?
: I could have guessed, but in a technical and very Avatarishly honest sense, no.
: Were ye born that ugly, or didst ye lose a fight with a frying pan?
: Hey, fuck you, those pans are good exp for the risk!
: Not only ugly, but yer stupid too! What dost ye want anyway?
: My name is Gregory.
: Now that's a real poser!
What a dick. I probably should have asked him about Jacqueline, but I don't pry into the personal lives of creepy lighthouse keepers! That's not an Avatary thing to do!
At any rate let's head to the Lyceum, where we might determine the name of the Shadowlord of Falsehood, or at least figure out who knows it.
You see a young nobleman.
: I am called Sir Sean.
: I am the keeper of the Flame of Truth.
: We stand against the three evil lords who ravage the land!
: The Shadowlords!
: Oh, THOSE lords.
: They are foul spectres!
: Indeed they are!
: I know, I was just clearing that up.
: Oh. Sorry, I get a little sidetracked sometimes when people are asking me one-word questions.
I think a Magic Carpet is technically silent, so nobody in a library should care if we fly around in there.
Also, the Lyceum's library got pretty shitty in however many years it's been since I was last here. Don't libraries usually wind up containing more books over time?
You meet a wisened scribe.
: My name is Rollo.
: I am a scribe.
: I serve the duties of librarian, and have written a number of the works we have published.
: I've read your stuff, it's pretty good.
: Wait, I've never heard you mention any of this!
: Well, you know, you're always hiding at a hut near Yew all the time, and...
: I don't get it.
: And you never will, Iolo. You never will.
: Please ignore these morons while I ask more idiotic questions.
: In our libraries, we keep many of the important Britannian documents.
: 'Tis here that the journal of Lord British's expedition into the underworld was authenticated!
: He kept a journal?
: Yes, 'tis sad, but 'twould seem that there is little hope for his return.
: That's what you think. I've got a sandalwood box and also his crown. We're gonna do this thing.
: What's in the box?
: Wouldn't you like to know!
: You... you don't actually know what's in the box, do you.
: Yeah well, the Avatar doesn't look inside other peoples' boxes! Unless he really really wants to!
: I was talking about the hypothetical Avatar.
: But Steve, you are the Avatar.
: Not hypothetically.
: This is all very confusing. Incidentally, Avatar, you have something like a 3000000g library fine on the Book of Truth.
: Whoops, look at the time!
You see a tall man with a bearing of wisdom and power.
: Hail, traveler! What is thy name?
: Well met, worthy servant of Truth!
: We use the precepts of Truth to strengthen our magic.
: That's all very nice, but who are you again?
: My name is Lord Shalineth.
: I am the Lord of the Keep of Truth.
: So that would make you, like, the head librarian?
: The Lycaeum is the Keep of Truth.
: Uh, sure. What about magic again?
: It is Truth that lends our arts the power to overcome all Evil, if we but trust in it.
: Thanks, you've made magic seem incredibly sissified in a single trite sentence. Did you write the Codex, by chance?
: A creature of great Evil must hide its name, for it is at the mercy of one armed with such a simple truth.
: Through the exercise of great magic and scrying, I have gleaned the name of the Shadowlord of Falsehood. I will tell you if you promise not to use it unwisely. Wilt thou?
: Does summoning the Shadowlord count as using his name unwisely?
: Yes, generally.
: Uhhhhhh... okay then.
: The name of this dread lord is Faulinei. Speak it not for only at thy bidding can he enter our hallowed Keep.
Two down, one to go. While we're in the neighborhood, it's time to open up Deceit. Are you noticing a pattern in the Words of Power yet?
And now, Serpent Hold. We must learn the true name of the Shadowlord of Cowardice, even though I can't really see any threat in a guy who represents cowardice.
You see a tall, strong man.
: I am called Lord Malone.
: I was wondering where you went after you retired.
: Shhhhh, dude, don't tell anyone.
: Didn't he play soccer or something?
: I am the lord of this castle and the surrounding land.
: I fear that Lord British is no more. He has been missing for some time. I feel sure if he still lived he would deal with the impostor Blackthorn!
: Unless he was trapped in a mirror at the bottom of dungeon Doom in the underworld. Just throwing that one out there.
: Aren't we supposed to be asking about the Shadowlords?
: This castle, a bastion of Courage, is one of the last redoubts against the evil of the Shadowlords!
: Even Nosfentor dares not cross the sacred threshold of Serpent's Hold!
: Speak not that name too loudly, for 'tis the name of the Shadowlord of Cowardice!
: Damn, man, you knew all along? Can't anyone send me a letter or something with this information?
Lord British appears to level everybody up, finally. I'll need to grind out a bit more, but people are slowly gaining a couple levels, and the Avatar is a little ahead of them. Still 2 more to go, but since dying costs 50 exp, I'm likely to lose several levels in the underworld because you die in there a lot.
As mentioned earlier in the thread, it turns out an infinite number of Magic Axes respawn in the chests at the bottom of LB's castle.
As you can see, the chests are packed with loot, and only cost me about 2 karma points each time. I can earn back that karma pretty trivially by using the keys in the chests to jimmy prisoners' locks in various stockades and dungeons, so it's more or less free. Oh, and there's always giving to beggars. I think finding and destroying the Shadowlords also raises Karma.
And thus, not too much later, a much revitalized and slightly less karmic-aligned party grinds a bit in Covetous and heads south of that dungeon to discover:
It's a little hard to see, but there is a tiny small mountain that leads to an open area within this mountain range. With the aid of the Grapple, this area can be reached.
And in that area is a little castle, Stonegate Keep. I wonder if anyone is home?
You see a terrible daemon!
: Foul mortal, thou hast disturbed my peaceful rest!
: Uh, sorry?
: My bound duty is to prevent intruders from passing! And so I shall!
: Isn't it a little bit pointless for you to guard this place when all three Shadowlords are here?
: SILENCE, IOLO!
: But I'm-
: But first, thou dost seem an educated person and so I offer thee an educated solution to the problem at hand...
: You're going to make me take an essay test?
: Multiple choice, then?
: I suggest a battle of wits for thy passage. If I win, I shall slay thee, if thou dost win, I shall let thee pass to face the perils within! Dost thou accept?
: Sure, I guess.
: What is as tall as a house, round as a cup, and all the king's horses can't draw it up?
: Oh, that's easy, a well.
: What? How did you know?
: I saw it in the Zork thread. You should probably go for better riddles.
: Thou hast guessed well-
: I'll say she did!
: -foolish one, but thou hast committed a fatal blunder! Never trust a Daemon's word! Hah, hah, hah!
: I'll keep that in mind for Ultima VI, jackass!
And then he fights us. Fortunately, he's pretty easy. Unfortunately, fighting relocks the skull key door, so I'll have to reopen it.
Okay, so here we are inside. The Scepter is at the center, surrounded by traps. Those three doors all branch off into small towers where the Shadowlords first appear, but they quickly start moving towards me.
The Shadowlords have the numbers advantage, which allows them to triangulate their presence, and they can phase through walls and the center pillars when I cannot, but I have two secret weapons on my side. The first is that the Shadowlords meander a bit and their movements are slightly random; they don't always head directly towards you. The second is the Magic Carpet, which gives me two moves for every one they can make. Better still, if I pass a Shadowlord on my first move, but end it out of their range, they can't attack me! So I can actually slip past them, as long as I don't end the turn too close to one.
As you can see, it's really just a matter of luring them into another part of the room, then zipping in for the scepter and zipping out. These moves have to be fast and you can't waste any, because if you do the Shadowlords will start heading back towards you and trap you inside.
Getting out with the carpet is a lot easier than getting the scepter, pretty much trivially so. The scepter casts Dispell Field when used, and can be used permanently, but there are a couple critical issues with stealing it while the Shadowlords are still alive. Basically, if a Shadowlord enters combat with you while you have the scepter, it will say "The scepter is reclaimed!" This happens at the start of the battle, so you can't use it on the fields the Shadowlord generates for the combat area, and what's worse, you can't prevent it even if you run away or defeat the Shadowlord. It just automatically goes back to Stonegate. Of course, one could just come back and get it, but it's better to destroy the Shadowlords before you even visit Stonegate, or at the very least destroy them now, before they can get the opportunity to take it back.
Oh, and if they're not dead, they will show up at the entrance of Doom to swipe the scepter back. Since you shouldn't even go to Doom until Lord British's ghost "anoints" you to do so, and you need to have the scepter and have killed the Shadowlords for that even to happen, this usually won't be an issue. As we'll see next time, taking pointless trips into the underworld isn't exactly a fun idea to begin with.