Part 12: The Wet UpdateUpdate 010: The Wet Update
Welcome to the Mt. Gigas underwater caves. As mentioned before, we're locked out of using fire magic, which is of course what most of the locals will be weak to, so the physical fighters will be lifting the heavy load for this one. If you had a magic heavy party, this area could get really gross to fight your way through.
This first section is mostly a same-y looking blue-green corridor with the occasional branch(which always ends up rejoining the main corridor later, so there aren't any actual alternate routes or blind corridors with stuff in them). Mainly what keeps this interesting at all is that there are some exciting new enemies here to try to kick our ass.
Here's a look at the automap for this area so far. It should give a good idea of what exploring looks like.
First up, Squids and Depth Dwellers. Squids can, of course, blind us with ink spit(though thankfully our resistances makes it very rare they land it) and have a melee tentacle attack with an odd side effect of "chaining" to other party members if the first hit lands. I don't recall any other attacks in the game functioning like this.
Depth Dwellers are mostly just melee goons, but high-level versions of them tend to have psionic spells to add to the mix.
Interestingly, the squid in this game actually move "correctly," that is to say they swim towards us with their heads, then once they come to a halt they flip over and present their mouths and tentacles.
Depth Dwellers are weird mutant fellas. I could swear I remember them being asymmetric with one side having 3 tentacles and the other side 2, so I'm wondering whether I'm misremembering or whether it's just the psychic high-level variants that have that model. I guess we'll see! Because it's not quite the last time we'll see the water tunnels.
Baruta Fish are generic swarming melee-only enemies. They're somewhat difficult to deal with because of our lack of broad-target spells. About the only thing we can hit them with is Noxious Fumes from Stony and Werdna, and while it helps mess them up with Nauseate and the occasional KO effect, the damage is just small chip damage over time.
And the one group of enemies I feel bad killing, these cute manta rays. They're like bigger, badder Baruta Fish that can also spit energy bolts at the team. Missile Shield deflects most of them, so they don't really present a real threat, but they do represent a huge lump of hit points to work through.
In the end, this place is really just a pathway to...
The Bayjin Shallows are where we get the real fun of being underwater. As the name implies, we're now a lot closer to the surface. We arrive on this scenic overlook of...
Nessie's Lair. Now, I've said before that single big enemies in this game are rarely much of a threat, Nessie is one of the exceptions to the rule. If the Southeast Wilderness and Nebdar's Crew were the two nastiest group battles in the game, Nessie is the nastiest single opponent in the game. She's also... semi-optional. You have to go through the Bayjin Shallows at some point, but with a bit of luck, a bit of skill and a lot of casting Chameleon, you can dodge around the edge of the area and the worst of it.
Of course, I fuck up and get her attention.
On the bright side that makes her turn around and you can see her lovely face!
Each of those columns of rising bubbles is a jump pad leading up to one of the area's exits. Aside from the way back to Mt. Gigas, there's a path to Bayjin and a path to the Sea Caves.
We also find part of the remnants of the Umpani expedition near the jump pad up to the Bayjin path. If I remember right you can turn these in to either Yamir or Balbrak for a sad comment.
Up top on the Bayjin path we find one of the game's fixed encounters. I'm not sure if these guys respawn, because I've never been back, but I kind of hope that they do because, like the Hoarder Slime in the Northern Wilderness Retro Dungeon, they have an exclusive drop list with several rare weapons you can't find anywhere else, among them lightsabers(or *LIGHT* *SWORD*s) that do double damage to androids and would be nice to have for a certain later area.
They're not exceptionally scary, though. If you can handle the other ghosts you'll have run into in the past, they have no extra tricks, just higher numbers. Lots of mental spells, putting you to sleep, trying to scare you, etc.
One of their more common drops that I've gotten every single time(this time I get THREE) of them is the VapoRizer, a Gadgeteer gadget that doesn't need assembling, instead coming pre-made. It just tries to cast Instant Death on a single target, which, at this point of the game, is kind of an ineffective thing. A single-target "condition" spell will bounce off a lot of things. Also is it just me or does it look like a cartoony bundle of dynamite with a scope and an "underbarrel" bayonet?
The second thing we run into here is, once again, the Rynjin.
Scavengers and Thralls tend to be the lowest-tier troops the Rynjin have, with the Thralls often starting out neutral and not aggressively picking fights like the rest of them. Battlelords, conversely, are the nastiest thing they can bust out. If you don't have Magic Screen up and put up Soul Shield on the first round of combat, you can expect to get pretty well fucked.
Pretty much anything they hit you with has a chance to cause Afraid or Insane status effects, and I do not want an insane Twinkles or Chewbecka to reduce the rest of the party to paste for a laugh. Still, down here, they're easy enough to meet on your own terms. Trigger combat mode around the corner, queue up Soul Shield and Elemental Shield(plus any other in-combat buffs you want), step out from around the corner, target them with something long-range so you're sure battle's joined and then it's usually a sorted situation. Without their spells to mess you up, the Rynjin usually can't do much.
Once the ghosts and the first squad of Rynjin are out of the way, nothing else is in the way of you entering Bayjin proper.
Sadly, the "civil war" that RFS-81 tells us about doesn't actually show up. There are no non-hostile Rynjin NPC's at all, nor any infighting between them. His quote suggests that there was more planned for Bayjin than what we get to see in the end. Still, for anyone arriving here earlier than with us or without Soul Shield, Bayjin nonetheless easily becomes memorable, simply as a result of the absolute hell which it can be.
Bayjin is a crescent-shaped island, and when you come from the Shallows you emerge "inside" the crescent while if you come from the Swamp you arrive at the outside of the curve. If you follow the path laid out for you, you'll be walking right up into the middle of the Rynjin settlement, which is a bad place to go. You don't want to head in there without approaching it more tactically. So the smart thing to do is to keep your scuba gear on and hop off the path into the water to your right and arrive at one of the "ends" of the crescent.
The other main residents of Bayjin are crabs, and one of them is the top-tier type of crab, the Curare Crabs. They're actually quite dangerous because, in addition to being beefy blocks of HP with strong melee attacks, they can also blind, KO and paralyze. For extra laughs, their melee attacks are also Extended rather than Short range, so if you walk up to them to get the melee crew into range, they'll reach over your front line and go snipty snop on your casters.
There are a lot of crabs on this stupid island.
This is probably the source of the wreckage that washed up on the beach in the Swamp.
Now this thing we can combine with the Microwave Chip we got all the way back in the Monastery, in the second update, to make...
And it's actually pretty decent! It may be single-target, but since it actually does damage, it has a status of being other than yes/no, which means you don't need to punch 100% through the target's resistances. In top of that, fire resistance is in fact the weakness of a lot of the creatures on and around Bayjin.
And now we also have an intact Black Box for the reader back at the Arnika spaceport. Sooner or later we'll actually get a reason to go there and plug it in.
The only real terrain feature of Bayjin other than the water and the sand is this little cliff "range" along the broadest part of the crescent. It is, like every single other bit of raised terrain in this game, populated by sprites. Fucking sprites.
A slight overview of the Bayjin situation. Once you've collected the stuff from the wreckage, the main important thing to hit up in this place is the two green spots, the only two NPC's that'll talk to us rather than click clack or hiss. Unfortunately it's more or less impossible to reach them without genociding the Rynjin.
These little idols are all over the place and I presume they're meant to be objects of worship. Probably not Nessie, though, since she doesn't have big floppy rabbit ears.
The biggest challenge here is sneaking up on the pixies without anything to really hide behind, but there are a couple of dips in the path that you can sneak into and then when the pixies come close enough you can jump over and bat them into the horizon. Screenshots of it will be absent since I didn't feel like editing out little pixelated pixie tits a second time. Goddamn horny videogame developers.
They're guarding a little stash of decent gear which we loot after evicting them.
I slide down the side of the cliff to the rear side of the village. There aren't a lot of patrolling Rynjin around, most of them are in their little shacks, so I can step off to the side, open the door, activate combat mode, step inside and gut them like the walking fish they are.
Then I can hide out in their empty houses and rest up between each massacre!
Hm, it sounds a bit evil now that I'm narrating it...
In one of them I gib this Battlelord and his cronies and collect the spellbook behind him, which sets me up with a third Portal caster. Considering that I have an Upper Mt. Gigas portal and a Marten's Bluff teleporter portal, I don't have a good place to put it right now, but once we visit the Rapax Rift I'll have something to use it for.
In another hut I find what's presumably the looted scuba gear from the Umpani expedition. It gives you a way into the Shallows and off to the Sea Caves even if you don't align with the Umpani, since without going through the Umpani training course you don't have an access to the UTU.
Now, of course the hut with the prisoners in it has its door facing towards the Rynjin Chieftain and his buddies. So I sneak around the back and prepare to ambush them
Anyone watching the minimap better than me can tell that I have completely missed the pair, thankfully only pair, of Curare Crabs sneaking up behind me. They could very easily have made the battle go south.
Kills with the Microwave Blaster are appropriately dramatic.
I also even up the fight with an elemental. The reason it's a small one is because Aurora can summon them now, too. Your max # of elementals is one per caster, so having multiple summoners can help even out the game's nastier fights, attract fire, lay down some punches and so on.
Still, this is a relatively low-level group of Rynjin, being pre-placed. None of them are even as powerful as a single Battlelord and I've laid the smack down on almost half a dozen of those at this point.
The crabs enjoy one whole round on my back lines where they whiff every single swing at Stony and Werdna.
Let's get heroic.
Ooooooooooooh, a cage full of loot! I break into it before I bother to save either of these two losers who got themselves caught. It contains another magic instrument, another pair of Mantis Gloves and an outdated spear.
Now Jan-Ette doesn't ever actually say it, but the Helazoid Banner she gives you is meant to go to Braffit in Arnika, where it earns you an XP bonus. She also drops a Frontier Phaser, a decently strong gun running off Power Paks that has a chance to one-shot-kill. If Power Paks were more broadly available, it might make a decent off-hand ranged weapon for someone. But as it is, likely your only character with Modern Weapon skill will be your Gadgeteer and their Omnigun is still a better choice.
Now for Glumph.
If you get here without the quest, Glumph just grumbles at you and makes his way back to Mt. Gigas on his own(somehow), not sure how this interacts with later actually getting the quest. Secondly, he'll really only tolerate the most direct path back to Mt. Gigas. If, say, you attempt to head overland with him, he'll eventually lose his shit and go aggro on the party. Thankfully returning his dog tags to Yamir also counts as a successful completion of the quest.
However, some clever lad called me has a Portal set up at Upper Mt. Gigas so we'll just warp our way back.
lol Glumph, what a fucking coward. Thankfully saving him gets us a truly MASSIVE XP reward.
We will, of course, not destroy the T'rang. Instead we'll teleport back and get Z'ant's last quests. Then we'll see where we stand.
Now, if we hadn't already done so, we'd need to reach Trynton and get the "shiny metal ball" from the Hogar cage, then tromp off to Bayjin and score the black box from the crashed Helazoid ship. Since we've already done that, all we need to do is pop off to Arnika, though I do a bit of shopping on the way.
Also I wanted to hear some nice words from Sadok, he's a good spiderslug just like Z'ant.
Then the usual teleport to the house and quick skip across the lawn to Arnika(of course with the requisite pummelling of wildlife along the way).
I also stop by He'li's since she's got a brief dialogue bit for us advancing the plot some in various ways. Thankfully if you miss one it doesn't get overwritten, instead it just gets buffered so first you get the oldest blurb, then the next oldest, etc. until you're at the most recent.
It's a shame that the only NPC's that have updating dialogue like this are often ones you likely won't revisit. For instance, He'li has nothing in her store inventory that'll matter to you pretty much ever, and doesn't give out any quests either. Likewise Braffit's inventory also quickly gets outdated. Meanwhile the few NPC's whose inventory remains somewhat endgame relevant(Bela, Croc, and one we've yet to meet) don't have much updating dialogue. Sadok does, as we see, have a little, though, and while he's not the best merchant he is an unlikely source of some of the nicer bow ammunition that can be purchased rather than found.
Someone also wanted me to try handing Rattus Rattus' note to Lorrac, the clerk at the bank...
It's sadly not all that dramatic, and Lorrac and the bank guards even have their own Higardi Bank faction so murdering them doesn't piss off the rest of Arnika. On the one hand it makes sense to not completely fuck the player for getting their heist on, on the other hand it also makes sense because who the fuck likes banks?
Anyway, let's revisit the spaceport.
I accidentally do things the wrong way around and pop up the tower first.
Now it can scan ships' orbital locations based on coordinates we extra from black boxes downstairs. I strongly believe you were originally meant to have been able to visit one or more of these ships, possibly using the Mooks' Callisto to get into orbit, and that's why this functionality exists for other ships than the Dark Savant's.
Then we just pop upstairs and enter the complex code "1 1 2" into the tracker...
And then back to pass those coordinates to Z'ant.
Of course, we won't actually be destroying the Umpani Galleon atop Mt. Gigas(in a canon update, anyway), since everyone preferred the Alliance ending to teaming up with the T'rang or Umpani(or destroying both). Though once again I feel like it speaks to the T'rang being the smarter of the two forces by the fact that they actually infiltrate the other side and have prepared a way into their very sanctum rather than requiring their recruits to just storm headfirst into the enemy fortress.
So it's time to get the endgame ready. Off to pick up Saxx, then next update I'm going to go fight Nessie just to show that I can, before heading to the Sea Caves to recover the Destinae Dominus. After that, it'll be a straight shot to Rapax Rift to get access to Ascension Peak(and accidentally unifying the T'rang and Umpani along the way).
Tune in next update to watch a rhino play a trumpet while a robot punches an underwater dinosaur in the face.