Part 6: Swamped with work
Apparently this is what happens if you cross the fire fields without having... uh, stuff. Maybe if I had more second-level spells and could recast Pro Fire, I'd be able to progress further. Or, if there wasn't a dragon here that's going to murder me horribly since I can't run around, I could rest up and re-memorize it, but I'm not sure it would make a difference. Never mind that now, though; we'll be back here soon enough.
Here's the other cave we were couldn't get at the last time, and this one we can actually progress through.
There's a huge spiderweb inside, and of course that means...
...the creator can not be far away. This is the same critter we fought like a dozen of in a cave earlier. A relatively low-level encounter, but still potentially dangerous with the poison. Of course, it doesn't land a hit on Thor, who, with that DEX score, is basically qualified to make his pants out of Goes Fast.
Here's another resident of the cave, a... thing.
Aww, look at this guy! I want to keep him. Can we take him home?
...it might be a bad idea, though, since he can actually hit pretty hard - but he has to actually hit us first, and, well, no.
This cave is probably the biggest so far. It's the first proper dungeon, and it could be pretty brutal for a party coming here first thing they do (at least unless you cheese the fuck out of it, which you should). There's not much treasure around, but behind the spider, at the 2, there's some Cure Poison potions...
...which is handy since Thyra still can't cast it.
(The 1 was Uklangor's stash, a +1 spear and some scrolls.)
There's also a couple of owlbears.
The game pulls this trick again, but we still have the gloves. This is apparently an owlbear nest; there are "young owlbears" inside, but they look the same as the regular version.
There's some rather unimpressive loot there as well. Actually, there's two potions, but eh; I still haven't used the ones I found back in town. On the map, this is location 3.
Further in, snakes, or "Giant Racers". These are entirely unremarkable; we've been killing them since level 1, and they haven't grown stronger since then.
We murder them and their entire family. The children prove easy kills for our seasoned warriors.
...there's also a giant toad or two and some giant rats, but you've seen those already so fuck those guys.
Here's something new, though. Troglodytes are a pain in the ass since they can cause paralysis () but they're so bad at landing hits that I just stand and slug it out with them. Apparently, once by the carrion crawler was all the paralysis the game wanted to land on me this time.
The chief is somewhat tougher and actually manages to score a hit! Then we turn him into a handbag. Questor claims it, saying it goes well with his coat.
This is location 4 on the map, and it's very nice. This is a Haste scroll, the first third-level spell.
This is a Phobosuchus. I'm not sure what it's doing in this cave, or how it fits in this cave, but...
...it's not to be taken lightly!
(It's also probably the closest thing to an actual dinosaur that we've found so far. Maybe that line about dinosaurs was a reference to a certain other game that confused those with dragons...)
This is important. The pattern (which the game never actually shows us) will allow the party to enter the northeastern caves. I'm not sure I actually need to go through the next part of this, but since we're here already...
...we might as well proceed.
This is the swamp, and it has new music.
It's very... swamp-y. Probably my least favourite "wander" theme in the game, to go with my least favourite level. The combat theme isn't bad, though. (Check out that voice sample!)
Well, first order of business.
The scroll grants both Haste and Slow, and he also has Dispel Magic. Right now (and probably forever), Haste is the only one worth using.
The game refuses to give us a map, or even let us automap this place the way it does with dungeons. We're just going to have to
Of course, it's full of lizard men. They don't show up all that well on the green background, and they die pretty quickly (6 HP!). Pretty much a waste of time.
As is the reward.
This slightly larger tree heals wounds (and status ailments, I believe, though I don't think there's anything in here that causes them) if you approach it...
...and this pond resurrects the dead.
Since we don't have any fallen comrades, I like to imagine we see images of Adelphi, Oban, Lodhian and Mortlach in there, but don't bother to pull them out.
Here's the main events and wait is that lizard wearing a bra?
...yeah, I don't think that's going to help.
Merlin casts Haste to speed this up. It allows our characters two moves in a row, meaning twice the murder!
Then he decides to horribly overkill the strongest lizardmen (they had all of 8 HP), showing us once again why Magic Missile is awesome.
The fight is utterly unremarkable at this stage in the game. As you can see, I didn't even take any damage. Lizardmen are basically first-level fighters.
Some of the huts hold valuables...
...but I'm more interested in the map.
I could say something about twisting passages that are all alike and the risk of being eaten by grues if we stay after dark, but fuck this shit I just want to go home.
Screw you too, fang-face. <>
We pass through the cave again and Thor manages to level up after killing a troglodyte. It's the most interesting thing to happen all day.
Finally, some fresh air.
I have found all the caves.
All of them.
I was born this tall. It's a condition.
This poor guy always makes me depressed.
Don't give me that. We don't have any enemies... left.
Something clearly isn't right here.
Given the effect of blindness in this game, I don't think that would be a good idea. He probably wouldn't even have left town at this point.
I think the barman is dipping into his own stock.
...how'd you know? Thanks!
you know what I probably don't want to be seen talking to you anyway.
That's... nice? stay away from me
Something is clearly very, very wrong here.
Maybe Marmalade will have something useful to add.
He threw me in irons, then released me. Both actions were without warning or explanation.
I have been burning incense to keep my senses. I am certain the sun or the earth is distorting our minds. You must bring me more clues. They are the key to our survival.
This is some creepy shit right there. If only this game weren't so bright and cheerful...
...I'm inclined to agree with him. You all need help. I'm going to have to grind until Thyra learns Cure Mental Problems. BRB, dragons.
The storekeepers have turned actively hostile and their prices have gone up again, but the wares are all so very tempting...
If we had a thief, I'd buy some +2 leathers, but we don't, so I don't. Instead, I upgrade Thyra and Merlin to +2 melee weapons and get Questor a +3 spear. It appears all weapons deal 1-6 points of damage, except for daggers and slings which deal 1-4, and apparently Questor can still use his shield with the spear, since it doesn't seem to impact his AC in any way. Thor doesn't really need the boost - he's perfectly capable of cutting people up with his old sword.
The scroll store has "protection from arrows" now and it's pretty much a waste of money. Not bothering.
Here's something I haven't shown off yet:
The caravan can take you to various places around the world once you've visited them. I'm not sure how it works, but it does, and that's all I care about. For now, fuck walking, so I'm going to spend those 2000 bucks to get to the northeastern caves.
We are escorted out of town, and...
...arrive just outside the caves.
Thor has no new equipment, but he gained a level and a couple of potions he'll probably never use.
Questor: plus one +3 spear, more potions, no levels, no spells. Ehh.
New hammer, nothing else.
New stabby thing, new spell. Haste is useful in the top-down view, not so much in dungeons, but as long as it's the only third level spell worth casting, we might as well use it.
Next, things are looking to heat up a little...