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This level was originally constructed as somewhere for Durlag's clan to relax, and as somewhere Durlag could show off his greatest trophy -- the skeleton of the great wyrm Mechezarin. After his clan was destroyed by the Faceless Ones, Durlag had the level converted into a death trap, with powerful monsters and numerous nasty traps.
1 - Fire Spout Room
Every six seconds, fire will shoot out of the spout in the center of this room and hit everybody nearby for about 40 damage. If you time it right, then you should be able to move your characters one at a time through the room and out one of the exits. You can also loot some miscellaneous items from the corpses in the room: 40
Arrows of Ice
Bolts of Lightning
Darts of Wounding
Oil of Speed
Potion of Freedom
Potions of Healing
, a scroll of
, and 126 gp.
2 - Skeleton and Statues
When you approach the skeleton here, he'll mention that there are three "winged beasts" -- aka greater wyverns -- living in the western part of the chamber, and that none of the adventurers who have come so far have been able to defeat them. He'll then point out the statues around him, and he'll tell you that five of those failed adventurers are living inside, and that if you wake them up, then they'll help you.
This isn't the set-up for a quest. The skeleton is just giving you an extra way to deal with the wyverns. To wake up the adventurers, you'll need to examine their statues. You won't find a button on them or anything like that. The adventurers will only be dire charmed, so you'll only be able to control them for a short time, and then they'll turn hostile.
The adventurers are Bullrush the hogboblin (ranger), Hack the ogre (fighter), Meiala the sirine (mage), Moorlock the human (fighter), and Tarnor the dwarf (fighter). They're roughly as powerful as the wyverns, so if you send them off to battle alone, then anything that survives will be mostly dead when you show up afterwards.
The problem with sending the adventurers alone is that you won't earn any xp for creatures that you don't help kill. So if you want to maximize your xp gain, then you should summon the adventurers and kill them (one at a time), and then kill the wyverns. You'll earn over 25,000 xp for defeating everything, and you'll find 40
Arrows of Biting
Long Sword +1
on the corpses of the adventurers.
3 - Skeletons and Loot
On the ground here you'll find 20
, and 2
Potions of Healing
. Here and elsewhere in this chamber, you'll also encounter a bunch of skeleton archers. The easiest way to deal with them is to enter the chamber from the west, let a few of the skeletons see you, and then draw them into the hallway to the west and kill them there. The skeletons will drop a bunch of
Arrows of Dispelling
Arrows of Fire
Arrows of Ice
4 - Garden Maze
At the center of this garden maze you'll find a trapped statue, which you can loot for
Darts of Stunning
Potions of Healing
Potion of Heorism
Potion of Master Thievery
, and scrolls of
Also in the maze you'll encounter some greater ghouls and ashirukuru. The ashirukuru are annoying. They like to turn invisible and backstab your characters, so you might want to leave your squishiest casters at the entrance and explore the maze with your thief and tanks. You'll earn 1000 xp for each greater ghoul that you kill, and 2000 xp for each ashirukuru.
5 - Stone Heads
In this room you'll find four stone heads. If you examine them, then they'll give you some clues for the elemental battles (#6-9) and the chessboard (#10). You'll also find an
Bolts of Biting
on the floor here.
6 - Elemental Battle: Fire
In this chamber you'll get attacked by two phoenix guards: a male melee guard and a female ranged guard. The melee guard will spot you first, and if you let him come to you, then you should be able to fight him and the ranged guard in two separate battles. You'll have to kill each guard multiple times. They'll blow up when they die for good. The guards aren't all that tough, so a sound strategy is to just send your tank to fight them in melee range, while the rest of your party either sits out the fight or uses ranged attacks.
You'll earn 200+ xp for completing this battle. If it's your final elemental battle, then afterwards you'll be teleported to the chessboard (#10).
7 - Elemental Battle: Air
In this chamber you'll encounter an air aspect and three invisibile stalkers. If you let the air aspect come to you, then you should be able to fight it and the stalkers in two separate fights.
You'll earn 13,000 xp for completing this battle. If it's your final elemental battle, then afterwards you'll be teleported to the chessboard (#10).
8 - Elemental Battle: Earth
In this chamber you'll encounter a fission slime. If you don't do any fire damage to it, then it'll split in half and create two fission slimes when it dies. All of the fission slimes will work this way, so if you can't deal any fire damage, then eventually you'll get swarmed by slimes and die. Interestingly, you'll earn 3000 xp for each fission slime you kill, so if they're not much of a challenge for you, then you can let them do some splitting before finishing them off (with some Fireballs or something).
So you'll earn 3000+ xp for completing this battle. If it's your final elemental battle, then afterwards you'll be teleported to the chessboard (#10).
9 - Elemental Battle: Ice
In this chamber you'll encounter four winter wolves and Kaldran the (Polar) Bear. All five enemies will stop and try to hit you with ranged attacks, making it easy to target them with area-effect spells (like Fireballs). Once you've softened them up with spells, it shouldn't be too tough to finish them off with regular attacks.
You'll earn 6900 xp for completing this battle. If it's your final elemental battle, then afterwards you'll be teleported to the chessboard (#10).
10 - Chessboard
After winning all four elemental battles (#6-9), you'll be teleported onto this chessboard, and an ethereal voice will explain the rules to you: your main character is the king, your other characters are knights, bishops and the queen, and your characters are only allowed to move where their pieces can move in real chess. If they move somewhere else, then they'll get hit by a lightning bolt.
Thankfully, the rules are mostly irrelevant. If you keep your party in the back two rows (that is, behind your pawns), then you can move wherever you want, and you won't have to worry about the lightning bolts.
There are two basic ways of approaching this battle:
- You can creep forward to wake up a few enemies at a time, then kill them when they charge at you, and then repeat.
- Or you can just sit back and cast Cloudkill, Stinking Cloud, Fireball, or other area-effect spells, targetting them so they hit the back two rows on the opposite side of the chessboard. If the enemies can't see you, then they won't attack you, and so you can kill them without taking any damage in return.
For both strategies, it's helpful to know that you can save and rest on the chessboard, so as long as you keep making progress, you'll eventually win. You'll earn 18,900 xp for completing the battle, and when you loot the corpses you'll find 40
Darts of Stunning
Medium Shields +1
Potion of Frost Giant Strength
The World's Edge +3
Two-Handed Sword +3
), and scrolls of
Protection from Evil, 10' Radius
You won't receive any sort of congratulatory message when you win the battle, but the annoying lightning bolts will stop firing at you.
Note: Killing the enemy king won't end the battle. You'll have to kill all of the enemy pieces.
Another Note: If enemy pawns make it to the back row on your side of the chessboard, then they'll turn into queens. So don't let it happen unless you want to earn some extra xp, since queens are worth 5000 xp while pawns are only worth 150 xp.
- Stairs back up to
Lower Level 2.
- Exit to
Lower Level 4.