Ancient Ruins (3) – abusing Teleport for fun and profit

I always thought the female Fairy hair looked stupid, but I still can't tell if that Elf is male or female.

I always thought the female Fairy hair looked stupid, but I still can't tell if that Elf is male or female.

I need a break. Old Palace lasted longer than expected and I wrote more than I thought I would.

Not that easy to spot unless you like having the camera almost horizontal.

Not that easy to spot unless you like having the camera almost horizontal.


So, those siderooms in the Ancient Ruins. There’s some nice loot in there, but at the point you technically have access to it, the large number of enemies in a confined space that guard each treasure will probably either make you run, crying, or kill you because you stepped too far away from the door and got stuck in there.
Now that I’m several tens of levels more powerful, I figure I can deal much more easily with the metal wisps performing guard duty. Specifically, ‘Extend Magic and Explosion’ ease, which kills them in a single cast if you catch them with both hits, or sometimes just a single hit if they don’t resist. You can get to them without needing to go through the boss first, if you know where to drop down, and MP expenditure doesn’t matter so long as I can clear two rooms of that in short order, then hit Teleport afterwards. If I keep Teleport on the autospell, I can even practice casting Explosion by command.
The metallic slimes are a bit tougher, but still go down to one or two Explosion casts, usually, and if not can be taken out by a few physical attacks afterwards. That’s MP-intensive, and I fail the command for Explosion half the time; a much more effective way is for me to just to put Striking on and throw Water Bullets at them if they try to jump on me.

Loot

[Accessory] Dropneal
Dropneal [Accessory] x3
[All]
Treasure said to bring the bearer great wealth.

Whoo! Dropneal the first time around! This handy little trinket increases the amount of experience you get, and apparently the chance of looting Fate Coins, to boot. It also increases the money you pick up, but that’s kind of worthless. I’ll probably take this along the next time I go to the Old Palace.
The metallic slime-things will also drop these.

[Armour] Mirror Armor
Mirror Armor [Armour]
[Df.52]
[War, Dwf]
Silver armor with a fine reflective exterior.

Can’t remember if I covered this previously, before I started putting in the images. Well, here it is again, complete with icon. This dropped from one of the metallic wisp types.

[Shield] Guardian Shield
Guardian Shield [Shield]
[Df.31]
[War, Dwf]
Made by warriors, increases magical power.

So, once again we have a non-Sorcerer, non-Priest, non-Fairy item that works on magic. It’s probably more related to magic defence, but that kind of description looks silly on any class that deals in melee and melee alone, unless they make heavy use of magical objects.

[Armour] Guardian Robe
Guardian Robe [Armour] x2
[Df.92, MDf.90, Str.24, Con.24, ]
[Pri, Sor, Fai]
Powerfully protective. Made by hell’s guardians.

Yaay, Guardian Robe. But this is a little bit of a disappointment. Whilst it’s better than the Robe of Spirits by Strength, Constitution and Magic Defence bonuses, it’s worse in terms of Intelligence, Will and Power. And, well, basic Defence, but that’s because my Robe of Spirits has at least twenty Material Magics on it.
Worth keeping around for hitting the Fire Dragon, I suppose, as I’ll need a lot of Magic Defence in addition to regular defence. Based on its bonuses, it’s built for someone who’ll melee more often than use magic for attacking – at this point, a Priest, or a Fairy without or unable to use its Forbidden Spells. Or, admittedly, a Sorcerer in the Old Palace.
Oh, yeah. Note the red jewel that appears on both the Guardian Robe and Guardian Shield. Seems to be a common trait of Guardian gear thus far.

[Weapon] Guardian Sword
Guardian Sword [Weapon]
[At.75, Df.20]
[War]
Sword of the arcanes, strengthens magical power.

Another melee piece that ‘strengthens magical power’? I’ve ranted enough about those. Like the Guardian Armour that I apparently found some time back, the Guardian Sword helps both Attack and Defence – put together, the pair give a very nice 91 Attack and 115 Defence, and probably a host of stat bonuses on top of that.
It’s also the first Guardian piece I’ve seen not to have a red jewel on it somewhere.

[Armour] Silver Shield
Silver Shield [Armour]
[Df.48]
[Rog, Hun, Elf]
It has fine protective sigils to turn back demons.

This is another random drop from the metallic-wisp-things. For something with little but a metallic body and eyes, they carry a lot of armour with them. Including things they shouldn’t be able to touch, if the ‘fine protective sigils’ here really worked.

Also:
[Object] Material Magic
Material Magic x4
One of these from a chest – disappointing – and one from a Gargoyle. The third from a metallic slime, and the fourth from a Chimera. This place isn’t quite as good as the Crystal Maze, but it’s a nice bonus if you’re hunting other things. Fifth from another metallic slime.
Incidentally, watch out for the Chimera. They know Thunderbolt, in addition to the much less dangerous third-level spells.

[Object] Ice Jewel
Ice Jewel x1
Dropped by one of the metal wisps.

[Object] Blood Extract
Blood Extract x1
Brown wolves drop these. Actually, a lot of beastly enemies drop this – the undead bears in the Abandoned Mines, for example. More HP is always a good thing for survival.
Have I mentioned these before? I swear I have…

Of course, watch out for poison. Apparently if you finish casting Teleport whilst poisoned, and drop to 0 HP as you fade out to go to the map, you still get game over. Happily, I didn’t actually lose anything.
Aside from four Material Magics and three levels. Blast. Well, I’m done here, anyway; I’m going to run through Old Palace again and hope I don’t get Bolt of Larie this time.

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The Ancient Ruins (2)

– The Ancient Ruins –
Sunken remains of the Arcane culture. The main ruins stand at the bottom of a great pit.

As mentioned before, there really isn’t anything to say about the Ancient Ruins. Brown wolves lurking on the surface levels can drop Blood Extracts, and are the weakest enemies in the area, meaning hanging around on the top level can be a good way to increase your maximum HP… but, depending on your luck and level, not necessarily as efficient as going into the ruins and killing chimera, instead. The gargoyles can drop small red-orange mana potions, but will rarely drop Material Magic instead.

The strongest enemies in the area are the silver-coloured wisps; unlike other enemies with the same structure, these are opaque, and have many reddish eyes on their front. They look pretty scary, ARE pretty scary when you realise there are eight of them that will mob you, and protect the hidden rooms in the Ancient Ruins. I can’t believe I missed those all these years. I even noticed the wall section was taller there, like a door, but didn’t think to try jumping in. I found the room in the Old Palace without help, so I don’t really have an excuse for missing those entrances. Thanks, Blaze.
Explosion, at least, is powerful enough to kill those things before they kill me. Finally, I’ll have something to show for visiting this area.

Down in the ruins proper, the metallic slimes and chimera are great sources of experience. I find the chimera easier to beat, as they aren’t as resistant to damage as the slimes, but the slimes can drop Material Magic. The chimera possess various third-level Sorcerer spells, and the slimes just love to digest you.

The security system of the Ancient Ruins must be beaten in order to leave the area, if you jump down from the surface; even if you jump to the lower area, still on the same map, you’ll have to beat the security system to activate the portal, as there’s no other way to go back up.
You know, unless you bring someone with Teleport or a Rope of Return.

1. The security system will generate Doppelgangers of party members at the beginning of the fight; these are identical to the party members at the beginning of the fight, current HP aside (I think). If you get confused, changing the colour of a character does not change the colour of the respective Doppelganger after they’ve been created.

2. Doppelgangers will attack physically, for however much damage the copied character would do with you as a target.

3. Doppelgangers will not use spells. They might not use other special abilities, but I haven’t tested that.

…and that’s it. They don’t even have the boss-standard attack and defense debuffs. Pretty simple, hm?
Not so simple if you have three AI characters tagging along, or if you’re playing with other people, though. The clones are reasonably aggressive, but are very erratic and might not necessarily move towards you, or may start attacking before you’re in range.
If you’re having problems telling apart party member from clone, changing the colour of your character even before you enter the room does not change the colour of the clone; it will always be the basic colours for your class. Alternatively, you could just switch on the player indicator, or even show directional arrows. It’s all somewhat cheating, but this fight isn’t difficult even at high levels, as the bosses are created explicitly to be equal to you. With four people, it’d just be an incredibly chaotic fight, and a nice excuse to beat up something that looks like your friend’s character.

Loot

First Trip:

“Hmmm, there are markings on that thing which seem to indicate demonic work.”
“Holy… that’s a high-quality prize…”
“Don’t you feel a little unworthy to carry that?”
“…yeah.”

Guardian Armor [Armour]
[At.16, Df.95]
[War, Dwf]
Armor forged by the warlords of hell.

Material Magic [Object]
Crystal of solid magic.
(Strengthens weapon)

Second Trip:

“Holy… that’s a high-quality prize…”
“Don’t you feel a little unworthy to carry that?”
“Not this time.”

Merlin’s Ring [Accessory]
[Int.24, Pow.16, (Mat.24? Mdf.20?)]
[All]
Favourite ring of the great sorcerer Merlin.

Mirror Armor [Armour]
[Df.52]
[War, Dwf]
Silver armor with a fine reflective exterior.

Another eight Material Magics…

Third Trip:

Reflector Ring [Accessory]
[Chance to guard against spells to take no damage?]
[All]
A ring that protects the wearer from magic.

One more Material Magic…

Once again more exceedingly shiny things that I can’t use… but the Material Magics are a start. Maybe if I got fifty of the Materials… but one alone isn’t enough to improve the Healing Robe as much as I want.
I’ve discussed Materials before, but Material Magic is a special case; instead of increasing (or decreasing) elements on a weapon or armour, Material Magic increases its At. or Df. stats; therefore increasing the raw damage you do with a weapon, or the damage reduced by a piece of armour. Because Material Magic will never actually decrease the damage you deal, or increase the damage you take, it is by far the most useful and valuable of the Materials that you can find or buy from the Retired Knight. As Material Magic can be picked up from the chests, from gargoyles, from the slimes and from the metallic wisps, the Ancient Ruins are a very good place for collecting them… once you’re strong enough to kill off the wisps.

Finally! Something good I can use! Merlin’s Ring is rather awe-inspiring, especially since I haven’t gotten anything truly useful for a caster since the first trip to Labyrinth of the Dead (…which was the Talisman, zombies drop loads – incidentally, their effect stacks). This is another of the items you can get from the two hidden chests on the surface’s underlevel. Regarding the uncertainty with the last two effects, I’m not sure whether increasing Intelligence and Power affects Magic Attack and Magic Defense. It’s pathetic to say, but I don’t have anything else I can test with.

The Mirror Armor didn’t come from one of the chests; one of the metallic wisps dropped it. They seem to drop Material Magic much more often, though, so keep that in mind if you want it. It’s not brilliant compared to Guardian Armor, all I know about it is from what the game tells me; I don’t know whether it boosts stats, or has a chance of reflecting spells, or anything else like that, as I can’t equip it to check.
Likewise the Guardian Armor, of course.
Oh, and once again, I forget to take a picture of something before discarding it. Bah.

The Reflector Ring is an odd accessory; doing absolutely nothing for any of your stats, it instead gives you the random chance to Guard against a spell and take no damage. Whether your stats alter the chance of that happening or not, I’m not sure.
It’s not better than a Dragon Scale and it’s certainly not better than Merlin’s Ring, so I’m not using it. I like how it looks, though; seems reminiscent of Eternal Ring.

Item(s) of the Day

Power Symbol [Accessory]
[Fire.8, Str.32, Con.15]
[All]
Talisman that draws out one’s hidden strengths.

So I went to the Old Palace after finding myself unable to clear the Abandoned Mine… again. It so happened that, whilst practicing a certain spell, this dropped from one of the two black swordsmen guaranteed to spawn in the room between the Sagestone-locked door, and the room with the healing circle.
Strength is good if you’re hitting stuff, obviously, so on that note this item is better for any melee-type than a caster. However, Constitution is very good in general, for all classes, and 15 points is brilliant, compared to the accessories available in the first parts of any area. Just watch out for the 8 points the item gives towards fire; don’t try to use it against the Kraken.

Spell(s) of the Day

Explosion
MP: 45
Command: O ∆ O O ∆ (∆O) O
Creates balls of fire which explode on impact.

Explosion produces a small-sized orb in front of the caster; this can damage enemies, for the same amount as the spell’s main effect, but its range is comparable to the Sorcerer’s wand. After a few moments, the orb explodes, dealing damage to all enemies in medium range. As a fifth-level spell, Explosion has a very long natural casting time, but it deals exceptional damage; 80 points if something resists, to around 150 points normally.
Here we start with the really good spells. Explosion is the first spell learned from the fifth level of spells, and is part of a set of spells that should be considered upgraded versions of certain third-level spells. Explosion, as the spellcode suggests, is the upgraded form of Blaze. Where the original was a moving AoE, Explosion produces a lot of damage in one (or two) hits, making it much more similar in form to Lightningbolt.
The best way to use Explosion alone is, like any other spell its level, through its spellcode. I recommend keeping one of the third-level spells on the main casting button, for emergencies and not-tough enemies, and practicing hitting the keys for Explosion somewhere near a healing circle, so you can practice until you’re sure you’ve got it. In a party of friends, you might be able to survive casting it from the casting button, but you’ll almost always be casting slower than using the sequence of commands for the spell, so unless you’re running low on MP, you’d be better off learning the spellcode anyway.

Come to think of it, the third-level spells were upgrades of the first-level spells, weren’t they? And the fourth-level spells upgrades of the second level. The problem with the second- and fourth-level spells is… well… they’re not all that useful. There are many more enemies weaker to the normal elements (Fire, Water, Earth, Wind) than to Light and Darkness, and the first-, third- and fifth-level spells are, for the most part, much easier to use. The non-elemental spells (Magic Missile, Smash, Enchant Weapon, Dispell Magic and Petrifaction) are far more situational, or of limited use due to their cost; just look at Dispell Magic. When you get that, generally you’re still facing things that can barely manage the first level of Fairy spells.

Blaze & Blade: the search for more loot

…nope, no hidden rooms on the surface.
Bah. As I said, the Ancient Ruins was one area that, as a kid, always made me think I was missing something; some passageway into another area, or maybe some way of clearing the passages blocked by fallen earth, near the exit.
Ever since the first time I visited the area, walked around checking the speaking stones, got very quickly to the boss and beat it very quickly with an Elf… I always thought there should be more, and that I had to just be missing it. The feeling’s still there, which is why I’m backtracking now to check all the walls of the underground section, just in case I missed a secret passage as a kid.

The designers did something very right, here. Of all the areas in Blaze & Blade, this has to be one of my favourites.

Blaze & Blade: The Ancient Ruins

Today, the Ancient Ruins. Ordinarily, I’d delay tackling this area until my character had a few more levels under their belt, but a quirk of the area boss(es) gives me a chance at completing the area.

Currently, my Sorceress is at level 77 and feeling nervous about the area. This is actually a good thing; thanks to luck defeating enemies and with chests, my Sorceress has a fair bit more defence than she should probably have. Consequently, anything that does attack physically does about 3 damage per hit. I think I was taking more when I brought a Rogue here. A few enemies – such as the Chimera, which spawn in the lower ruins – use magic, but since they don’t use Magic Missile it’s not really a threat.
It’s rather silly that the most-dreaded spells this game can throw at me are all pretty low-level; Magic Missile and Sleep ruin anyone’s day, but Blaze and Blizzard can just be dodged. Case in point: the Chimera can throw out what I suppose is a poison cloud that follows you, just like a Magic Missile. However, it’s slow enough that you can keep ahead of it should it touch you, and does a single digit of damage. A low single digit. Admittedly it lingers for a while, but… you can outrun it.

The Ancient Ruins are actually a pretty small area, compared to pretty much any other area in the game. You can reach the boss of the area in less than a minute, if you know what you’re doing, and escape in about the same length of time. Even the volcano gives you challenge in exploration, in addition to a hideously-tough boss.

Above ground, there’s the entrance to the ruin, where you start out. This area is little more than a chasm in the somewhat-underwhelming ruins themselves. Paved ground and ruined columns extend from both the south and north sides of the chasm, and a second level of intact flooring sits below the upper level.
Entrance to the ruins proper is gained by jumping into the hole. Sadly, characters probably call this out no matter what setting they have for speech. It would have been neat, otherwise.

The underground section of the ruins is slightly larger, but not by much. Passages extend north and south of where you fall. The exit is south, but it’s not initially functional; you have to beat the boss to leave.
The boss room is directly north of where you land in the underground section of the ruins; on the map, it’s the area surrounded by the circular path. Though there are doors between where you start and that room, none of them are locked, or blocked, or require solving puzzles exported from Resident Evil to open.

The boss, incidentally, is a magical security system that makes copies of any people who enter the room. Theoretically, these copies then defeat intruders with their own strengths.
In practice, though, they’re more than a little wimpy. See, they can’t use spells. If I were a Warrior or other melee-based class, I’d be worried enough to, well, take off all my armour and weaponry before entering the room, then dressing whilst the clones stand impassively on plinths, naked… but copying a Sorceress without copying the ability to cast magic?
Useless, especially as the security system misjudges range and spends most of its time standing a few metres away, flailing wildly with its copy of my wooden stick.
As they also seem to have the same health total, it goes down easily and I didn’t take any damage from the encounter. Like the Kraken and Griffon, this boss doesn’t net you another jewel for the Sagestone. It does have a special death animation, however; I recommend visiting here just for that.

The main purpose of the Ancient Ruins, aside from providing what IS probably a very entertaining boss battle when playing with three other people and a multitap, is giving the player more of the background story about the incident that lead to Foresia being filled with demons and ancient ruins similar to this one; the first taste the player gets of this is from the tower area with the not-memorable name, in that odd room with five speaking stones.
See, in addition to demons, the insides of the ruins are also littered with significant-looking stones; some look similar in shape to the ones from the tower, and some are big black slightly-sloped monolithic things set into the ground. Touching – or, well, going near – any of these things makes them chatter away at you about ancient history. It just elaborates on what you hear in the tower, though.

All in all, though, I like this area. The Ancient Ruins, the Ruins in the Lake and the Valley of White Silver are all a welcome break from the sprawling monstrosities that are the Mausoleum and the Palace of the Immortals. There aren’t any puzzles to solve, the areas are very small, and enemies give off quite a decent amount of experience. There’s nice treasure to be found following beating the bosses at the Lake and Valley, and probably to be looted from the battered and burnt corpses of the normal enemies, too; and because they’re small, they’re easily farmed, too.
On the other hand, the next four areas – the formerly-inaccessible portions of the initial areas you visited – are mostly just as sprawling as the initial halves of those areas are. More RE-ject puzzles in Palace of the Immortals to come…

I remember, as a kid, thinking there had to be more of this area. More of the volcano-area, too. The messages at the ‘entrance’ – really the exit – of the Ancient Ruins tell of ‘valuable items in the small rooms on the left and right sides of the first underlevel’. Did they mean the level with the boss? Or the level of ruin below the surface in the first area?