The Let's Play Archive

Wizardry 8

by PurpleXVI

Part 9: Programmed to Kick Ass

Update 007: Programmed To Kick Ass

So the party wakes up in one of the towers of Marten's Bluff, having, among other things in their pockets, a fake Astral Dominae(indicating that the Rattkin have clearly ganked the real thing from the Dark Savant, hence his flipout) and a quest item from the T'rang that needs bringing to Arnika. But what's the fun in that? Let's have a detour.

So the Swamp has five exits, starting at north and going around clockwise they are: Bayjin, The Mine Tunnels, The Southeast Wilderness, Marten's Bluff and Trynton. As far as I'm aware no things in the game will ever directly point you to entering Bayjin from the Swamp or to entering the Mine Tunnels at all. In fact, you could beat the game entirely without entering Bayjin(assuming you're up for one of the less "perfect" endings to a major quest), but beating the game without entering the Mine Tunnels would be... rough. Technically I suppose it could be done if you're allied with the Umpani and are all in for spiderslug genocide and thus do not give a fuck about pissing off the T'rang, but if you're friends with the T'rang you'll need to take this path or, as mentioned, abuse the combat-pauses-time mechanic to run past where NPC's would otherwise warn you to stay out.

Along the way Chewbecka eats a Drain from yet another giant ant queen. I can't wait to be done with this area.

One thing I generally appreciate about the area design of Wizardry 8 is that for the most part, each area flows into the next. Like you don't just warp from the Swamp into the middle of the Mine Tunnels. There's a short transitory period where things get less boggy and marshy and more greeny and cliffy.

On first arrival the Mine Tunnels are always deceptively peaceful.

And here we go. What I'll be fighting the rest of the time here. Fucking Tanto Wasps. They're not fundamentally tough to beat, the worst their stings can really bring is a bit of damage and the Sleep condition which is probably the least bad thing an enemy could inflict at this point, they just keep fucking coming.

I clear out the first group but get turned around in the fighting to avoid getting pincered and having wasps reach my squishy backline, at which point even more wasps show up from my right flank and this time they brought friends.

Just look at all those damn red dots. I scatter the nearest Tanto wasps, partially by Stony managing to make them Afraid, and charge the Blooddrinkers and androids who are plinking at me from a distance.

While I chase the Blooddrinkers over to these huts and try to finish them off, Werdna spots someone potentially friendly in the distance, note the yellow dot on the radar.

Hmmm... looks like a Savant android. But those are always hostile, aren't they?

So we're off to a good start with RFS-81 here. He's programmed to be fanatically loyal to the Dark Savant, and he thinks we're the Dark Savant. He's also apparently programmed to attack and dethrone god, which is a further bonus and will feature well on his yearly performance report. Note that I somehow managed to initiate a dialogue with him just as combat started, never had that happen before and it made things a bit buggy. For instance, after the fight RFS-81 wasn't showing as part of the party formation at all, and I had to boot him and reinvite him before he did. I didn't want to enter a battle with that bug as I have no idea how it would interact with anything.

Pros of RFS-81: Will go anywhere with us, has the laundry list of resistances that all Savant Androids do, punches like a truck. Tends to yell out "TERMINATOR MODE" before punching a boss to gibs.
Cons of RFS-81: Even though Monks normally learn Psionics, RFS-81 will not as he literally lacks a brain.

He gets welcomed to the party with a punch party against a bunch of wasps, and once that's sorted and the slime cleaned off I bring him along. The main reason for this is that A) I have an empty slot anyway and B) RFS will, unlike any other RPC, stay where you leave him rather than returning to his "spawn," which means that if I bring him along, I don't have to haul my ass back to the goddamn Mine Tunnels and collect him if the thread vote should remain in favour of keeping him once we get back to Mt. Gigas and Saxx.

The "base camp" for the Mine Tunnels contain a bit of mediocre loot, but as I'm collecting up the last of it, a couple of giant spiders spawn in and notice me. I wouldn't even have commented on it except that they try a novel strategy for engaging me.

One of them crawls into the level geometry to hide from me, which would probably be effective against archers, but RFS just reaches in and yanks its heart out like a Mortal Kombat fatality.

The way onwards is going up along that steep incline, but there's a reason to come into the little cleft below it first. Though you should be careful as that cleft sometimes spawns unicorns, and unicorns in Wizardry 8 are not noble and lovely creatures, instead they are huge assholes that you want to avoid at all costs.

There's a fixed-spawn Amulet of Healing down in the cleft, which is a nice find. Firstly it's an improvement over all the generic +1 AC misc. gear and secondly it has a mild HP regeneration effect which can also matter over longer fights, as well as saving you needing to waste MP on healing spells after fights.

The Mine Tunnels are, verticality excepted, probably the smallest area in the game, content-wise and size-wise. The odd part is also that no part of the game ever references it, as far as I'm aware. No one tells you that the Mine Tunnels have a back entrance to Lower Marten's Bluff, or that there are are a whole two recruitable PC's here.

I think getting this hint, like some others in the game, is down to a check against whether any of your characters have a sufficiently high Senses stat, or possibly it's a Scouting check for your ranger.

This sign isn't kidding, btw, if you step on the pressure plate the party gets insta-crushed. So let's not. Instead let's go back and poke the secret switch rock.

Meet Tantris, he's a T'rang Samurai. Like most recruitables in the game, he's not fundamentally bad, especially as Samurai is a decent class that you could usually always use another of, since they can use most swords(but are slightly restricted in armor compared to normal Fighters, Valkyries and Lords). Unfortunately, he starts at a very low level considering how in-the-boonies he is(level 6) and will not go with you to the final area of the game. We've already met the three RPC's that will: Saxx, Vi and RFS. It feels like an oversight, frankly, that you have an Umpani RPC to bring into the endgame but not a T'rang RPC to bring into the endgame.

The outpost doesn't contain anything other than Tantris(and a slight clue to another puzzle about a minute down the road which you can brute force in like a second once you figure out the logic, anyway), so it's time to head for the exit. Thankfully the outpost has a second one that takes us out through the laser grid and on the other side of the Crush You Flat-plate.

By the way, much like in Trynton, assume I'm cutting out a fight with another dozen Tanto Wasps between every lump of screenshots. In hindsight, the Mine Tunnels may actually be a decent place for grinding as the Tanto Wasps give out a lot more XP than they're worth in terms of the danger they present. I guess if you got hit by like 20 of them or something they'd be scarier since they could envelop you and sting your squishy back line if you were in the open, but they never really manage to threaten me, just to function as a roadbump.

There are a couple of mysterious, unopenable doors around the place, which will cease to be mysterious AND unopenable shortly.

I also assume this giant boulder, balanced cartoon-like by a single stick, is what falls on you if you step on that DO NOT ENTER T'rang floor plate. The lyre in the other screenshot, by the way, causes Silencing, a status ailment I've never made use of for two simple reasons. Firstly, if you're fighting enemy mages they're usually pretty squishy and just damage rushing them down tends to be more effective. Secondly, being paralyzed, webbed, blinded, turned insane, KO'd, put to sleep, afraid, nauseated, etc. works just as well on casters as it does on enemy physical attackers, keeps them from casting spells just as well as Silence and gives those sweet, sweet 2x damage bonuses if you stick the right status effects. So there are just almost always better options unless you have no Wizardry casters along but do have a Bard along.

This little shack is the last bit of the road, past that there's just a cliff where you can look down into the picturesque Swamp and smell the festering cholera and tropical diseases.

So the mine carts. You have this little setup where you can twist the dials to choose what path your cart will take. As long as you understand that you start in the upper left, it's easy to get to each of the four locations. Only one of them matter and actually has anything of interest in it, though, the bottom-most exit. So let's go for a ride!

For whatever reason the camera is stuck at an angle while riding the carts, which is a bit of a shame. Still, being able to ride a mine cart is a bonus to any game. Three of the four destinations lead to behind closed doors along the track and no real loot, just a couple of potions and stix, nothing I care about. The fourth one, however...

Doesn't loop back on to the main area of the Mine Tunnels.

This monstrosity is part of a future crafting recipe and is also INSANELY HEAVY. Even in the party inventory it nudges everyone's encumbrance up a notable bit and worsens everyone's AC and initiative. I haul it along anyway. It's a giant silver nugget, how am I meant to NOT haul it along.

As mentioned this tunnel takes us into the back of Marten's Bluff, behind the guard who yells at us not to proceed. Oddly enough, no one back here minds our presence, further confirming in my mind that said guard keeping us out even when we're part of the T'rang Empire is a bug and unintended.

The T'rang are actively patrolling, so there's little danger down here except for the occasional spawn of milipedes which are literal speedbumps of no danger. I'm not sure if anything much nastier can spawn here at high levels, since there's little-to-no reason to come down here again unless you want to genocide the T'rang.

The first room is this little cul de sac of small rooms around a pond of slime. All of the rooms are locked but effortlessly picked open by Stony. There are a few interesting things in the rooms:

Like a literal flamethrower.

And an electronic lockpick that helps you break into parts of the T'rang tunnels where you aren't meant to go. The only use I have for it is opening a shortcut back to the main hall a bit later.

This place. It's what's behind the little hatch Z'ant hides behind, so we can also come back here if we just want to say hi to him. If I remember right this console is used as part of the genocide-the-T'rang quest chain.

Aside from that, there's only one more area we're allowed to go. The T'rang yell at us if we go anywhere near their labs or the power station for the facility. Which is a shame, because the labs hold what's probably the best Monk weapon in the game, the Mindblast Rod, which dummied-out stuff says was also meant to be a reward for assisting the T'rang to the end of the kill-the-Umpani quest chain or the alliance quest chain. Aside from doing a solid amount of damage it's nearly guaranteed to KO, paralyze or tap out anyone who gets whanged by it. I've never had it legitimately because even on the runs where I don't go for the alliance ending I've always allied with the T'rang.

Anyone observant may well have noticed that there are plenty of parts of the above-ground Marten's Bluff we don't visit. It could be assumed this is simply because they're "solid" and don't actually contain interiors. The real reason is because the only way to reach them is to go into Lower Marten's Bluff and then come "up" into them.

Aside from the quest-relevant reasons to come here, there's some extremely good loot, and good lute, too.

And the opposition is low.

Unless you get unlucky there's a total of one combat encounter against a few weak ghosts, and the traps are mostly of the "being annoying"-kind than the "actually hurting you"-kind. Though one of them is somewhat mean.

See this discoloured piece of ground you might well rush through to get to that sword? It drops you down into the moat outside Marten's Bluff. This means that if you didn't open the shortcut back to the main hall next to the Mothership Console, using the Pulse Pick which it may not have occurred to you to do since you might just assume it needed a key or was opened by a button elsewhere, and didn't set a Portal before approaching it, you would have to trek all the way back through the Swamp, and then the Mine Tunnels, and Lower Marten's Bluff. Oh and there's often a pack of Mauligators lurking below the trap door, too, so if you drop down facing the wrong way your mages become gator-chow. :v:

I would rate it an eight out of ten on the scale of "evil traps." Especially because the sword isn't even very good! It's just barely better than a Fighter's starting Longsword.

What's better is this Gadgeteer ingredient lurking in the corner, which we combine with our Porthole from the Arnika harbor to make...

Silly as it is, giving your Gadgeteer an AoE attack spell helps up his usefulness against groups considerably, and the chance of Nauseating or straight up KO'ing enemies also ends up evening the playing field in some fights.

I just could not manage to grab any screenshots of this thing actually firing any arrows. But trust me when I say the mouths fire arrows that do extremely limited damage and are deflected by Missile Shield 80% of the time anyway. Not very threatening.

Aside from the gadgets, instruments and other loot, however, we are here for two primary reasons. Firstly:

Pulling this lever. There's a big rumble in the background when it's pulled but it does nothing obvious. We shall see what it does shortly.

Then we're back into the Lower Bluff again for the second part.

This, by the way, is what's behind the first door the T'rang wouldn't let us through. If we had snuck past that guy we could have bypassed a hell of a lot of travelling. :v:

On the other side of the hallway...

Is a goddamn teleporter. It's broken when you arrive, randomly flickering between four locations, but the two wires we snagged off the dead T'rang up top will let us fix it. Let's see where it leads:

Umpani base camp...

Mystery House outside Arnika...

A place we haven't been yet but it sure looks spooky...

Just outside Marten's Bluff...

So obviously I plop down a Set Portal spell here right away and it's unlikely I'll be moving it any time for the remainder of the game. There's really no better place to place one as it can save you a silly amount of travel in the long run. And then we hop the portal to the Mystery House real briefly. It's also worth noting that without Set/Return Portal this place is a lot less fun since only the Mystery House has a teleporter to take you back, the other trips are one-way.

We can now open the door from the inside so this location also serves as a fast travel beacon to Arnika. Aside from that there's a gadgeteer ingredient and another instrument in here.

The ingredient is a Strobe Light, combined with an Oscillator we found in Lower Marten's Bluff...

He can't use it yet, but heck yeah. As for the instrument...

Holy shit! This is part of why Bards are so fucking rad. It's an attempt to paralyze literally every enemy in sight. Even if most of them will likely resist it, it's the sort of thing that can really turn battles around. Anyway, back to the Bluff for the last bit of fun...

At the far end of the corridor is the lever to open that hatch we saw behind the Bluff a while back. Time to pop that and loop back inside the fort for a surprise.

It turns out that the lever we pulled in the first part of Lower Marten's Bluff actually opened the big door here and finally let us into the last area of it that we hadn't been in yet.

There are two ramps up. One leads to nothing interesting(a single giant bug, some potions and a mandolin that casts Magic Screen), while the other one...

Why, that looks like an idol! And it's somewhere related to Marten! Could it be... Marten's Idol?!

Let's snag that bad boy and head back to Trynton for the Astral Dominae and our reward from the squirrels.

Son of a bitch! Someone knocked us out and stole our Gadgeteer! The fucker! Let's look around for clues and by clues I mean only and obvious clue.

We got outwitted and owned by a 100+ year old swamp hillbilly. If you'll remember, Crock has a bunch of blue flowers growing around his house in the Swamp. Time to go shake him until answers come out.

So this old asshole has apparently had this trap primed for a hundred years or something just to catch him a city slicker. At least he's bright enough not to try and pick a fight with a half-dozen heavily armed kleptomaniacs.

At least it's a short-ish trip. Crock's house is just west of the magnifying glass and Brekek's lair is the big pool just north of it north of the river. Still, this being the swamp, it's perfectly possible to run into a couple of nasty encounters just in that short trip.

Fucking Nightmares. Their name is appropriate as they are probably the worst enemy to encounter. I make the genius decision to charge them rather than waste time buffing up, casting Soul Shield would probably have been smart, though.

See, in addition to being competent mages that as far as I can tell are mostly loaded with Psionic spells, Nightmares also have the ability to "Rear" a full-party attack spell that seems to just have a chance of slapping every "mental" condition on someone. In particular it's one of the rare few places you'll likely see Turncoat, the one that's been applied to RFS.

Now, Insane party members may occasionally infight rather than just losing a turn.

And Blind party members who don't stumble may occasionally mistarget.

But Turncoated party members intentionally target allies and never "just" lose turns.

I take a guess that it probably has a low duration and decide to Walk for the next turn. When you Walk, party members who are too slow lose their turn, and if you Walk your entire allotment, none of them get a turn. So in this case I'm using it to wait out the Turncoat rather than having RFS pull Werdna or Stony's skulls out through their assholes. Of course, it's a gamble because if the Nightmares use their Rear again, they might just Turncoat someone else, like there's a good chance Chewbecka could kill two party members a round if it was her.

By the time I get up close, it's Vi and Aurora that have been turncoated instead, but the rest of the party turn the Nightmares to glue before it gets any worse and get back on the road to Brekek's lair.

Brekek is thankfully a non-threat with no real dangerous attacks beyond being able to potentially Swallow(he can also give the party some nasty poisoning doing upwards of 20-something damage her turn. But as it's only single target it's not hard to heal/cure through). I feel like this may have been intentional as the devs knew the party would be down some power prior to facing him. Coincidentally, if you try to do a one-character run, grabbing the idol is an instant loss since you suddenly have no active characters at all, and the only solution is to bulk up the party with RPC's beforehand. Or at least so various guides claimed. Turns out, because I just tested it, that if you go stab Crock in the brain before you grab the idol, the party still blacks out but no one ends up KO'd and there are no blue flowers on the ground. I hadn't actually expected the game to account for that degree of sociopathy, but guess it does!

Son of a bitch, we did all that just to get that old asshole lunch, didn't we? Well, let's get back to Crock...

Well, at least we've got Stony back, now to get out of this swam-

The funny thing is that on a normal run I end up with someone getting hit by Drain maybe once, maybe two of my characters at worst. This one? I've just been getting fucked by it endlessly compared to normal. I didn't even know that ant queens and flesheater slimes COULD hit you with it, but I guess they can!

Tour Guide RFS points out the many local animals that might try to disembowel us, and now the ones in the treetops are being joined by Rattkin angry that we killed their breeders. They're mostly not a threat in the numbers they arrive in, especially not with the geometry of Trynton to keep them hemmed in and prevented from really bringing their numbers to bear. If they had some mages in their number, they might get scary, though, since while bodies block arrows, they do not block fireballs.

Let's go see the Don.

So, we can just buy it through his trade interface but he wants almost a hundred grand for it, which is absurd. So instead I'm going to pay him in stab dollars.

Tons of HP, slippery as a snake, practically magic immune... usually it takes me ten or more tries before I luck out and paralyze him or something similar so I actually have a chance at taking him down. This time...

This is what the first round looks like, the party whiffing literally everything that they can. Then round two rolls around.

Normally the Don guts half my party but in this case he manages to wing Twinkles and then RFS tears out his spine and poses with it dramatically before resuming the fight. Good robot, best friend.

Then there's just Milo to deal with, he's nowhere near as scary, though...

The fight does contain a bit of comic relief before we eventually make him explode like a blood sausage. :v:

Now to loot the corpses.

In addition to the CANE OF CORPUS, the Don of course also has the Astral Dominae, some random loot, and he and Milo always drop Thief Daggers, which are pretty nice weapons only usable by, predictably, thieves. Now the Cane, though... in aside to being a one-handed weapon with great base damage(I give Twinkles a pair of nunchucks for his off hand a bit later), it also has a considerable chance to instakill(15% chance to make the attempt), will always attempt to poison and will attempt to paralyze on every second hit. It's lovely and makes Twinkles a real terror of the skies.

Now let's get this idol back in place.

It's worth noting that it also accepts partial input for things like this, stuff like "eternal" or "eternal trust" will do. Also how the hell does the Shaman get out to go to the bathroom or go grocery shopping. Is he stuck in there with those two guards until someone comes along with an ancient idol?

Anyway, his key opens a door back in the Rattkin bough...

The place has obviously been looted by the Rattkin and we also had to mulch a couple after opening the door, making you wonder if we couldn't just have paid them to pick the lock rather than going on that quest.

See, the Shaman's key doesn't actually open the door down below where the actual item is. Instead it opens the door up above, allowing you to drop down through a hole in the floor to get to the Helm of Serenity. Was it always planned like this? Fucking Trynnies.

The helm has the advantage of being equippable by anyone, so it's usually a good move to slap it on a class otherwise starved for good headwear, or a faerie, or both. It goes on Twinkles, in this case. Between it and the Cane(which provides 50% Divine resistance) he is now able to shrug off most of the really bullshit things the game can throw at him, like insanities and instant death.

Yeah, let's get out of here.

I think this is just a coincidental spawn, since I've never had an ambush like that on leaving the house of the helm before, but GODDAMN. As mentioned before the Rattkin can't really bring their numbers to bear, so it's a foregone conclusion that I'll win, but it still took me upwards of 20 real-time minutes to smash through them all. I stop by Madras and Chief Gari for comments, and Fussfaz for more Renewal potions, and then it's time to head for the Southeast Wilderness.

Oh and I kill the giant bat on the way. First try, though, Stony blinds it and it runs away and I need to wait for it to get close again. Goddammit Stony. :v:

Welcome to scenic Southeast Wilderness. Home of such sights as "you will be reloading multiple times" and "hope your asshole is ready for this fucking it's gonna get."

If you piss off a "faction" sometimes they'll send out revenge squads to shit-talk you and attack you. They're usually not very scary. I know the Rattkin and Savant androids will do this, and I suspect the Umpani and T'rang also will if you ally with only one of them. But I'm not sure if other factions you're unlikely to be hostile to, like the Trynnie and Higardi, will do the same.

So the Southeastern Wilderness is a not-very-open area, basically a circle of paths connecting to the Swamp, the Mountain Wilderness and the Wilderness Clearing. The latter is a small hollow in the mountains where I got repeatedly owned by high-level fairies until I managed to sneak close enough to them to ambush them(thanks to X-Ray letting me see them on the radar so I could plot the perfect moment to make my move). It's completely irrelevant(so far) except for having more unicorns for me to fight and a small cave with some CAVE LOOT.

The SW Wilderness usually has nasty wander Mage spawns and one big set piece in the center that is, as mentioned, regarded as one of the biggest challenges in the game, if not THE biggest.

There are also some nice magic items scattered around the pagodas.

Now, those mages.

Three-man squads, elementally themed, with a pet elemental of the appropriate type. As it's a pre-spawn you can't destroy it by killing its "owner," sadly. The mages are fragile, but, at least in the case of these assholes, keep spamming spells like Tsunami until the cumulative damage took out Werdna before I got them locked down.

Also some less dreary beaches than the Swamp. Before I went for the big set piece at the center, I went to the Wilderness Clearing to get my ass kicked a bit to prepare.

This is what one turn of engaging the Wind Sprites from the wrong distance looks like. Ow.

On coming back, I get accosted by some androids and then promptly turn them into spare parts for RFS. They are persistently un-scary for the time being.

The poor render distance really negatively impacts views like this since half the time half the building is missing from view.

You climb a twisty path to give you a sense of foreboding on the way up.

Sometimes there aren't any randomly spawned guards out front and I keep expecting those statues to animate and attack me like they would in 90% of all games.

Thanks to having Chameleon up, the locals don't immediately go into combat mode but instead get suspicious and start advancing towards the front of the cathedral. There are six Cultists in groups of 3, mid-level casters that love Fireball and summoning elementals. Two Death Lords, a pair of real ass-rippers with giant swords that love to cast Death Wish and Death Cloud. Don't you love having the entire party checking for instant death every round? And lastly there's the Sorceress Queen who tends to round out the team with a bunch of direct damage spells for the most part.

I wait for them to get a bit closer to the entrance before striking. The first time I prioritize closing the distance over getting buffs up and don't queue them for the first round. This turns out to be a mistake.

This is ONE ROUND without Element Shield and Soul Shield up. Jesus. Let's try that again.

This is round three WITH those up. Hell of a difference even if one of the Death Lords tagged me with a Death Cloud that makes every party member save-or-die every round. Twinkles' Ring of Breezes also failed to clear it, whomp whomp. Werdna summoned an elemental for muscle, and I charge in to try and get some damage done in melee.

Not ideal, but I manage to kill the sorceress queen and then... I fucking leg it. Woob woob woob!

Turning and running means I eat a couple of salvos with no response.

One Death Lord and group of Cultists give up the chase pretty early, but the other and his buddies keep coming. I do my best to break sight lines so they don't peg me in the back of the head with a Death Wish or a fireball.

Finally, halfway down the path they give up. I can now rest up, rez up, heal up and take out the survivors piecemeal. :smug: Pro strats, folks.

Vi distrusts my strategic acumen. Then, I take a nap on the ground and...

I get awakened by unseen savant androids shit-talking me! I think they're in the valley below, it's the only thing that makes sense, but it's still pretty weird. :v:

Also, smug as I am, the first corner I round, RFS and Stony both eat it from a Death Wish. Goddamn those big assholes can be nasty. Still, the rest of it goes smoothly. So let's check the place out.

There's also a basement crypt(it's guarded by mummies that go down without a fight. One of them has a special "Possess" attack that I've never seen him land on anyone, so I've no idea what it even does. I assume it's just a fancy Turncoat effect.).

Nice. So what's this earned me, aside from the awe and respect of my internet peers? Well, I'm able to construct a couple more gadgets...

Stony will definitely have the former in his active inventory for the rest of the game.

The crypt had a full suit of magic plate for Lady and...

There's only one of these in the game and it will be on RFS 81 for the remainder. Unless you guys make me boot him, of course.

I also finally uncurse Chewbecka so she can wield the black blade Fang instead of the Bloodlust sword. Testing it out, it seems to do about as much damage at base as the Bloodlust did 2x, and not berserking should buff her defense and chances of hitting.

And with that, I've impressed everyone who knows what hell that encounter is and we've also almost circumnavigated the world of Dominus.

Vote Time

Once we get back to Mt. Gigas, should the future RPC's be...

Vi and Saxx,
Vi and RFS,
Or Saxx and RFS?

Technically we could also make a different setup but I would really hate not to have Saxx along and having multiple NPC's constantly moaning about getting their hair wet or visiting a volcano would be a real drag.

My personal vote is with the latter since I need a bard more than I need Vi's limited divine casting abilities and RFS is less cowarly than Vi. Plus, c'mon, we get our very own Terminator!