Hi everyone! It has been a hot minute!
Last time we left off about to make a proper effort in saving the missing children, but before that I remembered that I have someone to see!
This dude promised us a reward for clearing out the Merchant’s Pass!
A nice boost in funds and the experience pushes everyone in the party up to level 5! We should be able to take what comes our way pretty well now.
Let’s use a Warp Wing to zip right back to Helminsk, I can’t be bothered to walk the whole way there. While I’m here I pick up a Leather Dress for Holdana, a Wolf Pelt for Carlotta and a Wooden Helm for Ridcully, that should buff our defences up a smidge. I also stock up on items.
Nicely, the Wolf Pelt boosts Carlotta’s agility. I may be incorrect, but I think the Wolf Pelt is exclusive to Shapeshifters.
Hm? What’s that over there?
Some sort of semi-secret underground tunnel?
Ah, a storeroom! Predictably, the door is locked.
Shady Guy: Do you want to buy this 100% authentic Cobra Club member card? Only 10 gold.
Holdana: It does seem like we’re going to have to consort with these less than agreeable types if we’re to get anywhere in our quest.
Robin: I don’t know… how can we be sure this is legitimate?
Shady Guy: Thanks! Nice doing business with you.
Ah. Well, perhaps it’ll work. Now let’s go find the Cobra Club!
It’s a little trip south of Helminsk!
On the way we surprise a Rhinodonix who would be dangerous with its high strength. Would be. If we ever let it get a turn, which we didn’t.
Another nice map. It’s surprising how much can be done with one tileset.
This dialogue pretty much confirms that the sleeping guy in the Stromholm cells is King Cobra. We’ll have to pay him a visit soon.
Yeah, I didn’t think that would work. Right then, time to take a hint! I use a Warp Wing that I found in that barrel to the right…
… and head back to Stromholm in the nighttime. The guy we want is in the prison, remember?
Sure enough, now the left-hand guy is sleeping and King Cobra here is walking about.
King Cobra: Good luck, heroes!
Ridcully: Not yet, but once we save those children we really will be heroes won’t we?
Carlotta: Now what do you call killing all those demons?
Ridcully: Mercenary work. Come on, let’s go.
One Warp Wing later:
Let’s do some things in Helminsk that we can only do at night!
This shopkeep is no longer blocking the way to the back of his store, so we can gallantly nick a Warp Wing from him.
O-kay. That’s something.
The man who hasn’t heard of competitive pricing opens up his own shop during the nighttime, and boy does he have some nice stuff.
While the Cypress Stick is nothing to write home about, the Poison Needle and Iron Claw are fantastic upgrades for Robin and Carlotta respectively. The Lukcy Dice can only be used by Harlequins, and they have a 50% critical bonus, granting the user a lot of lucky strikes.
I sell all the Hide Herbs I traded for in the Funhouse and get both of these juicy upgrades. I also equip the Cursed Necklace that we got at the Funhouse onto Holdana, giving each of her stats a lovely 50 point boost!
Ah. Permanent sleep. And now we can’t remove the necklace without visiting a church. Darn! Cursed equipment is such a trap!
Robin, Ridcully and Carlotta drag the sleeping Holdana around to the Cobra Club once more and now we can enter!
Nice interior decorating.
Man: In fact, the legend says that the King himself was anointing a new mine tunnel with his Golden Pickaxe when the rift was formed! He barely escaped with his life. The Golden Pickaxe lies there to this day.
This is a lot of information to just dump into a random NPC. We know that we need a Dilithium crystal to repair the teleportal to the west, and it seems that the Golden Pickaxe is going to be in our hands soon enough too, if my RPG senses are correct.
Reminds me of Whacking Day. Heading to the right…
Cheeky git. He turns around for a moment, and then turns back to us.
Prince Cobra: … on second thought… Newbie, I have a task for you. Deep within the Dilithium Caves lies the Golden Pickaxe. I want you to retrieve it for me. Once you do, I will reward you with this Ring of Stars I have here. Got it?
Ridcully: I suppose that means yes. Maybe if we work with these people we can find out more about the missing children.
(RPG SENSES PROVEN CORRECT.)
Carlotta: Are we heroic, or just plain stupid?
Searching this room gets us a Tiny Medal and a Warp Whistle, an item that allows us to escape from a dungeon.
Heading north at the fork brings us to the sleeping quarters, and our first actual lead!
Right, if we take this lady’s version of events to be true, then we’re definitely on the right track with the ‘repair the teleportal’ objective.
Before heading any deeper, I return to Helminsk to get Holdana un-cursed.
Holdana: Huh? What? What happened? I put on that necklace and I… what?
Robin: Don’t worry lass, we had your back.
On we go!
The Dilithium Cave is our first proper dungeon, and will probably test our combat skills quite nicely!
Popliums are just buffed up Sparkles, having the same moves and everything! Holdana’s new Boomerang works well in mopping up these annoying groups.
Now, skeletons around a chest simply screams ‘Monster-in-a-box’.
Holdana: I’d wager that there’s a monster in that box.
Back to the main path, and we take the right-hand fork first.
Dilithium Cave is kind of non-descript, but the underground ponds serve to inject a pop of brightness into it, and the encounter rate isn’t too terrible.
We come close to losing Carlotta here, when a Shocker from the Poplium does over 100 damage. Robin also gets Dozed, which is like Sleep, but weaker.
Robin: Huh… wuzzat? Whuh?
Carlotta: Who thinks that the middle of a fight is an appropriate time to nap?!
The Beaktrot looks kinda imposing, but goes down in two hits. It can use Sap, which would do the same thing as Robin’s Vortex, and also Upper, which would double its own defence.
This path seems to arc around, and on the way we find a Tiny Medal.
It takes us back to where we came from!
Scorpions are pretty threatening if they focus down one party member. They can use Sting for decent damage and can Charge Up to use a Double Attack which can really hurt. Focus down any Scorpion you see using Charge Up.
Heading north leads us to a spring, no free healing though! To the left is a dead end, and there are stairs to the north.
Cave Mammoths exist, and as you might guess they’re just meaty attackers. This dungeon can be difficult if you don’t take it seriously but having already done some leveling up and equipment collecting it’s mostly a piece of cake for my team.
The next floor has this interesting place, it’s a full-on underground lake! You have to question the judgement of the miners who decided to mine in a flooded cave. Or did the water come afterwards? Hmm.
The next area of interest appears after heading east and then south.
Hmm. I’ve been wrong before…
Morkuses are quite nasty-looking and can be a problem. They have a chance of doing nothing on their turn, which is vastly preferable to what they can do. They can use Charge, which will hit everyone for physical damage, or Pus, a disgusting attack which makes a character slow, really making them useless.
I bring out all my tricks here. Carlotta deals around 500 damage under Wolfman status now, and Robin can now use his Called Shot ability to grant himself Bikill (double damage) now that he has a bow equipped.
Here is an ill-timed screenshot of Holdana’s boomerang hitting all three Morkuses.
One of Robin’s double-strength attacks crit for over 1000 damage during this fight. For reference, each Morkus has 555 HP.
For winning, we get a ring of plus 10 defence. I put it on Ridcully, considering that he’s a little bit squishy for a front-rower.
Heading further to the left we find what looks like the end of the dungeon, separated from us by some water. Damn you, nature! I’d also bet my boots that those crystals are Dilithium.
Not terrible, but we do have a poison healing spell in our party now.
Morkuses appear as random enemies too, so you might not be caught totally by surprise by that Monster-in-a-Box. That’s 2 out of 2 surprise fights where the enemy makeup is just “some of the random enemies, but lots of them!”.
Heading north from the trapped chest and we find this room. Stairs down, a save point, and a rowing boat. What’s up with that?
We can use the rowing boat to find this secret to the west, and also to head north, serving as a nice shortcut to the first floor of the cave.
Robin: The bastard mammoths can swim now?!
Ridcully: Now that’s an interesting development.
Yes, you can still encounter enemies while in the rowing boat. Heading down the stairs…
Well that’s ominous.
The bottom floor of the Dilithium Cave is short. As you might guess from that screenshot, the left path brings us to an area we have already spied in the past.
Well that’s one objective complete! But hey, no Golden Pickaxe here. Let’s search the right path.
Who guessed “demon blocking our path”?
All of you?
You’re catching on fast!
Ah. Welcome to the first real boss of the game! The boss music is totally cool and suits the fights quite perfectly.
This looks intimidating but if you have some tricks up your sleeve it’s really quite an easy fight. Each of the eyes has a few tricks. The Shadeye is immune to physical damage and poison, so you need so elemental magic to take it out. It can use Surround, which is party-wide blindness and very annoying to deal with. It can also use Shadow Flame, which removes all positive status effects from the target as well as dealing decent damage. It can also poison. It’s nasty.
The Stoneye is rather like the Beaktrot from earlier, in that it can inflict Sap and buff allies with Upper. Less dangerous.
Healeye, the blue one on the bottom, does what it implies with its name. Important to take down early if you have no multi-target attacks.
Fireye can boost its allies’ speed and also deal weak fire damage to all of your allies.
None of them have a lot of HP, and all buy the Shadeye fall to a round of Holdana’s boomerang attacks and Ridcully’s Puff spell.
Here is where things get tricky. Holdana just got ganked by Darmon’s Tail Smash attack for a cool 100 damage. Nasty.
At some point in the battle, Darmon will transform into another version of himself. This version of Darmon is immune to basically all sources of damage except Bless magic, which we don’t have access to at the moment. We need to use this opportunity to heal up and prepare for his damaging attacks.
This attack does no damage, and Carlotta is unfortunately uncontrollable.
I take out the Shadeye with Blaze Scrolls.
Eventually Darmon transforms back and we finish him off with a combo of Vortex to reduce his defence and a claw strike from Carlotta, as she’s the only party member with sight.
Darmon dies without even cursing us or giving us an ominous warning about his master, and we collect our prize. I make use of the Warp Whistle to head back to the Cobra Cave section of this area.
Prince Cobra: I wasn’t expecting you to succeed. Well, here’s that gift I promised in exchange…
The Ring of the Stars is a nice accessory that increases all of our stats by 8 – I give it to Robin. Additionally, we get a nice chunk of experience which pushes Robin, Ridcully and Carlotta up a level. Holdana missed out on the boss fight experience so she’s roughly 700 EXP behind the rest, but she did get the quest experience at least.
Zooming back to Helminsk to revive Holdana and stay at the inn, it’s time to repair that teleportal!
We get 1100 experience for our trouble! This brings Holdana up to level 7 with the rest of the party. She learns Return, which is an expensive spell that acts as a Warp Wing, meaning we never really have to buy those again seeing as we can just warp anywhere we like and rest at an inn to get our MP back!
Annoyingly, Robin learned Bless when he leveled up after handing in the Golden Pickaxe, which would have been super useful against Darmon’s undead form. Bless is a spell which is very useful against undead creatures but useless against all other enemies. Oh well, it wouldn’t have changed much! Holdana was already dead by the time he changed forms.
With that out of the way, let’s teleport!
The screen goes blue, starts warping and shaking, a sound effect reaches a crescendo and…
We teleportaled! Let’s explore this new area next time.