Part 39: Nicodemus, The Most Clever Man in Britannia
Nicodemus, The Most Clever Man in Britannia
I'll get around to Armaggedon sooner or later, but I can't actually cast it right now. I think. It can wait anyway until we've met more nice people to kill.
Nicodemus lives south of Yew, so it's off to Yew we go. There are sometimes random encounters on the road. This is a small band of cyclopses. Cyclopes? Whatever. They throw spears and suck at it because, I don't know, one eye probably. The Magic Armor probably helps too. I always forget that Steve has nothing readied but her spellbook, so she bashes at them rather incompetently while Shamino and Dupre gut them with two-handed swords.
You may be wondering why I'm going east of Yew instead of southeast to stumble around the woods like a dumbass.
This is why. A pier with a couple conveniently available skiffs projects into the bay.
By sailing south, we'll eventually come to Nicodemus's place, which lies along the river. If you remember in U5, I briefly parked a ship at the mouth of the river east of Yew. That's basically exactly where Nicodemus's house is now.
Dupre shows off his pure badassery by scooping up the skiff and taking it with us. Yeah, it's heavy; it's a freaking boat. But this is pre-Pagan Ultima, baby. If we couldn't do anything that is technically possible, it would just be Final Fantasy with tolerable characters.
So we're at Nicodemus's place. Nicodemus is a very private person, and an extremely clever person. Check out his defenses. What's tricky here is that Nicodemus never leaves his house, which is protected by force fields and a magically locked door.
The force field isn't a problem. The magical door lock is the problem. You see, I need the Unlock Magic spell for that.
Nicodemus sells the Unlock Magic spell.
In terms of making sure he isn't disturbed, Nicodemus is the sharpest bastard in the country.
Nicodemus comes out of his room in the mid-morning and walks to his crystal ball, where he divines things or whatever it is mages do. During the five seconds he's walking from one place to the other, he appears on the edge of the screen. By standing at the window, I can initiate a conversation with him.
You see a wizened old man with a ready smile.
"Good morning, Avatar. For what purpose hast thou come?"
"You're Nicodemus, right?"
"What are you doing all the way out here?"
"Why, bless me, I work here! I sell reagents, teach spells, and craft magic staves. I also do a little experimenting."
"Oh, nothing a great adventurer such as yourself would be interested in."
"Well now that you say that, I want to know."
He gets a suspicious look in his eyes. "Don't be too nosy, girlie!"
"Fine, I promise I'll stay out of your house and experiments. Incidentally, do you happen to sell the spell which will allow me to enter your house?"
"Indeed I do!"
"Thanks. Take everything that isn't nailed down."
"Invisibility rings are something even I can steal!"
"Can't... talk... keel... pressing into spine..."
Nicodemus has a secret room behind his dresser. Inside one is 150 gold nuggets, which we really don't give a damn about. The other chest has a staff, which adds to the one I stole from Mariah. Using the spell Enchant, which Nicodemus sells, I can put 10 charges of any spell I know into a staff. The spell can then be cast off the staff, even by people with no magical power. Once I can cast Enchant, I'm gonna whip up some Great Heal staves or something. If I need more Nicodemus sells them, but I can't actually Enchant anything yet.
Nicodemus has a second secret passage, behind his crystal ball. Inside is an invis ring and a lightning wand, pretty basic stuff that isn't worth the karma loss to swipe. Also I have to wait for Nicodemus to go to bed before I can shove the crystal ball out of the way and get in there.
You'll notice that, except for Xiao's 8th-level spells, none of the mages I've met sell attack magic. That's because there's a certain mage who specializes in horrendous destruction. We'll have to track him down, but if you were a doom-calling master of death, where would you live?
Obviously, in the town of peace and enlightenment. To Skara Brae! ...after we check out Yew a little more. Later.
There's actually another mage in Britannia who sells Unlock Magic - the one we'll be visiting next, in fact - but it's a lot more fun this way.