Old Palace (2.5) – Looting and Pillaging

It’s interesting how a Sorcerer can very happily function as a melee unit in the Old Palace. I just completed a run through with no spells save Striking, and there were only two places I had problems with.
There was the red crystal room with the darker skeletal centaurs; those are reasonably-tough, defensively, and come close to matching the resistance of the green slimes but with more HP. I think you only need to fight this variety in this set of rooms, though, and if they spawn anywhere else you can just exit the room to avoid them.
Then there was that icy room, with the two transparent blue-green enemies that are effectively the Dark Elf with less HP and a few more annoying spells. Unlike that entire level in the Abandoned Mines, the ice here does result in less friction underfoot, and you go sliding around whenever anything hits you. Like, say… ranged spells, such as Lightningbolt or Magic Missile. If you don’t kill the two enemies in here from afar, you’re liable to take a few hits of falling damage as they keep knocking you off the platform.

Other than that, though? Depressingly easy.

Loot

[Accessory] Symbol of Darkness
Symbol of Darkness [Accessory]
[Dark.8, Pow.32]
[All]
Talisman that amplifies dark powers.

[Accessory] Dominion Feather
Dominion Feather [Accessory]
[Holy.30]
[All]
Beautiful feather with hidden holy power.

[Accessory] Rune Amulet
Rune Amulet [Accessory]
[Pow.6, MAt.12]
[All]
Engraved with runes that enhance magic.

[Accessory] Renugeton
Renugeton [Accessories]
[Int.20, MAt.16]
[Sor]
Magical book containing knowledge about demons.

The Symbol of Darkness provides a fair boost to Power, in addition to the small boost to Darkness, and it looks like someone picked out Sauron’s eye to make it.

The Dominion Feather’s ‘hidden holy power’ isn’t quite so hidden, as it gives a respectable boost of 30 points to Holy. This fell from the Dark Wizard, and might explain why she’s a bit pathetic. According to the Item List, it’ll fully resurrect you on death with 50% breakage, similar to the Fool’s Puppet, which must be how the Dark Wizard survives her spontaneous post-battle combustion every single time.

Finally, a rune-engraved item that I can equip. I was beginning to wonder whether there was anything other than the wand. The obvious bonuses it provides are a little lackluster, but according to holypriest’s list, it adds +50% to Magical Attack? That’s on-cast, rather than actually shown, but it improves 50~ damage to 80~ damage. A very nice accessory.

Renugeton… there aren’t all that many accessories linked to one class and one alone; most accessories are equippable by everyone, and some are equippable by three or so classes, like the Element Cloak. Renugeton is good for Sorcerers only, so… I’m glad I got this one and not an accessory for a different class, huh. Renugeton is one of the items you can get from the Roadside Inn’s locked room, so… once again, I get an accessory well ahead of the conventional ‘easy’ route.
Unfortunately, Merlin’s Ring provides a better boost to my stats, and Rune Amulet provides a much better bonus to damage above that. I don’t know if Renugeton does something special like increase my damage against demons, but for the moment I don’t feel like testing anything more.

Item of the Day

[Weapon] Wand of Apollo
Wand of Apollo
[At.121, Df.-20, MAt.82, MDf.-10, Holy.25]
[Sor]
A wand that can destroy 100,000 things at once.

My base defence is 67. Wand of Apollo has NEGATIVE 20 DEFENCE?!

My base defence is 67. Wand of Apollo has NEGATIVE 20 DEFENCE?!

Ahem. Yep, negative defence. Equipping this wand penalises your defence, both of them. Holypriest’s Item List never mentioned that, and neither is it mentioned by the weapon; you’ll only see it if comparing your stats unequipped to equipped, so you’ll only ever find out if you’re a Sorcerer. No wonder the lists don’t mention it.
Penalty aside, the Wand of Apollo is worlds better than my Wand of Runes, even with it now at 75 attack. 20 defence isn’t a big difference even for a Sorcerer; my Robe of Spirits is now at 118 defence, so even with the Wand of Apollo equipped I’m ahead of the basic defence the Robe gives me. The Holy element isn’t a problem, either, as Holy element demons turn up once in a blue moon.
I finally have a new weapon. At least this doesn’t look identical to my last one, as happened in WoW.

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The Old Palace (2) – always two there are, a master and an apprentice

There's a fundamental flaw with these kinds of traps...

There's a fundamental flaw with these kinds of traps...


So, back to the Old Palace. I’ll spare you the rush to the Dark Elf, you’ve seen it before. I did manage to fall off the bridge on the first few attempts to get across, but thankfully there’s that savepoint on that floor. If that weren’t there, I’d probably just abuse Teleport and memorise exactly where the windows illuminate. Nothing interesting happened, anyway.

It turns out that you don’t need to beat the Dark Elf more than just the once to get into the second part of the Old Palace, unlike the bosses of other areas; the Dark Elf doesn’t sit on a route you need to take further down, so you can ignore him on all further visits if you want.
Naturally, I didn’t. I amused myself for a minute or two defeating him with Striking and Enhance Weapon, instead.

The upper portions of the tower are pretty similar to the lower.Lots of magically-themed enemies, puzzles that don’t require traipsing over the entire level, yet more ‘kill everything’ rooms, and yet more inefficient traps.

Stupid Trap A

Stupid Trap A


This one… well, remember the spinning dragon-headed things that spat out water? And remember the wall-mounted dragon-headed things that threw fireballs? This is a spinning dragon-headed thing that throws fireballs. Imaginative, eh?

Stupid Trap B

Stupid Trap B


Then there’s this thing; a slowly-rising crystal-fuelled lift that rises through the paths of yet more fireball-spitting things. I’d be scared of this thing… if, you know, it just incinerated whatever was on the lift, rather than doing 20 damage per hit in an easily-avoidable pattern.

Semi-Effective Trap A

Semi-Effective Trap A


This one, however, is a more effective version of the corridor of bladed pendulums; the knights swivel as they swing the swords. The spot in which I’m standing is still a safe spot, but it’s a bit more difficult to tell, in this case, than the pendulums.

I always thought the area immediately before the boss was similar to the second floor of the Palace of the Immortals; it has an upper and lower area, a central bit that you can’t do anything with the first time you visit, a magical circle (or four, in the mansion’s case), four places to use items to open up the central bit…
Needless to say, we need to make a little detour to get the items we need to use. Trying to activate the stands at the moment tells us we need Gate Crystals, which we don’t have. How do we know we need them? The magic-emitting pedestals probably speak to us like the monoliths in the Ancient Ruins, or something along those lines. A teleporter on the fifth floor will bring us up to the sixth floor, and a suspiciously-familiar bridge.
From the loading screen. Not that one that forces us to spend half an hour climbing back up.

Okay, so I took this long after the battle. I admit I forgot earlier on.

Okay, so I took this long after the battle. I admit I forgot earlier on.


I feel sorry for the Dark Elf, now. He’s little tougher the second time you fight him, and he still does a pathetic 30~ points of damage with his Blaze compared to mine doing 150~… Extend Spell enhanced, admittedly, but it’s still somewhat rubbish in comparison. The real problem in the fight is his pet Black Wyvern, which will happily keep you poisoned for the entirety of the fight, but it automatically dies if you beat the Dark Elf.
That’s not really why I feel sorry for him, though. His master drops a meteorite on him after he gives up, and it’s not possible to avoid this fight. I need to learn to hit the button I’ve linked to the screenshot utility quicker, as I keep missing stuff like this.

Aaaand here we are, the point at which I gave up after finding myself here instead of comfortably before Dullahan in the Labyrinth of the Dead. I don’t like this floor; it’s as tedious as the floors you get dropped down to if you fall off that bridge, and this time the enemies are reasonably strong normally, but made worse by a particular effect on this floor.
To move onwards, we need to destroy a set of eight red crystals. These red crystals are actually a fairly good security measure, as they do several things to the room they’re in; first, all of your enemies in a room with an intact crystal are invincible. Destroying the crystal fixes that, but in the mean time they’re interrupting your spells and dealing damage. Second, the crystals are ‘poison’ crystals, and slowly deal damage to you over time. You can’t leave the rooms until all enemies are dead, either.
So the whole floor will slowly wear your HP and MP bars down, as the corridors between the crystal rooms aren’t entirely safe, either. Last time I was here, I was about ten levels lower and less well-equipped, and kept getting torn to pieces by the skeletal centaur-like golems. This time I’m holding my own, with Extend Spell hanging around. One good thing shared with the original hated floor is that enemies have a tendency to drop a useful object; this time, Material Magic.

Another good thing is it connects to an area with some of the best music in the game.

Another good thing is it connects to an area with some of the best music in the game.

[Old Palace] Crystal Maze
I really do love the music in this area. Back when I could still remember where the memory card with my characters was, I used to simply spend all the effort to get to this area, then leave it sitting paused for hours simply to listen to it. This area’s theme, like the boss theme for the area later on, is a variation on the main area’s theme; both sound far better than the original, in my opinion, though that may be far less in the way of repetition, as far as the boss theme is concerned.
I wish the Blaze & Blade soundtrack weren’t so stupidly rare.

Anyway, music aside, this area has a few other interesting qualities to it. The floor – presumably made of crystal – periodically changes from purple to black and back again. Since the area’s backdrop is also black, this makes it easier than most places for you to accidentally fall off. The game doesn’t pull the same trick it did at the bridge, and it’s still negligable damage, but it still adds up, and is annoying to boot.

Another thing: there's also absolutely no map for the area.

There's also absolutely no map for the area.


So, for once, it’s a legitimate maze; unlike everywhere else, you can’t simply pull up the pause screen to work out where to go next. Finally, only one kind of enemy spawns here; crystal gargoyles. They’re tougher than most of the other enemies in the Old Palace against magic, but slightly less tough against physical attacks than the rest of the enemies that turn up in the second part. They also only ever drop Material Magic, if they drop anything; this is a great place to take legendary weapons and armour for strengthening, just like part one of the Old Palace is great for Fate Coins.

Cue taking ten pictures in a row just to find one good shot...

Cue taking ten pictures in a row just to find one good shot...


All in all, it’s not a great challenge; as the only enemy that shows up is not so hot against physical damage, and drops weapon-strengthening items, Striking is the perfect spell to use, for once, and Enchant Weapon on top of it will improve your damage further. The only troublesome thing about them is they rarely inflict Silence, but by the time one of them actually DID that, I had about fifteen Material Magics on my weapon already, and was doing around 60~ damage unbuffed. They give out nice amounts of experience, too.

So, about twelve levels later, I decided to get on with my job.

So, about twelve levels later, I decided to get on with my job.


There are only a few situations in which a Sorcerer is better off using melee attacks than magic; this is one of them. Material Magic is for the most part only useful for a Sorcerer’s armour, as it’s impossible to raise a weapon’s stat bonuses, and those – affecting magic – are far more important than how much damage you can do in melee. All the same, I’ll be holding on to this stick, as I’ll probably want to return here at some later point.

The aim of the area is to grab the Gate Crystals we found we needed earlier, and to get to the top alive, as there’s no other way out that will let us keep the crystals; Teleport or a Rope of Return are escapes, but they seem to induce bag ‘o spilling when quest items are involved. The general structures of the separate floors we’ve seen before; the first floor involves walking halfway around a circle, the second is reminiscent of the floating platforms from the Abandoned Mines, the third floor isn’t even a maze but has two treasure chests you shouldn’t miss, and the Highest Point has the Gate Crystals and the way out. Falling off drops you to a lower level, if you land on anything – it’s all technically the same map, so there’s no transition.

Happily, the red crystals don’t respawn whilst you’re in the maze, so you can just take whichever side you took when getting to the maze’s entrance on that floor. Also happily, a teleporter that bypasses Stupid Trap B activated after you make it up the first time.

Can never remember where to get the key for these, though.

Can never remember where to get the key for these, though.


There isn’t much else to do here save beat the boss. I’m not sure if you need to be a specific class to open those doors at the bridge, though something makes me think I may need to be an Elf.
Radical species-changing surgery aside, I’m not getting them open. To the boss!
After I heal, anyway.

Must remember to check the magical circles in the Palace of the Immortals...

Must remember to check the magical circles in the Palace of the Immortals...

Some people say the Dark Wizard is female, but I can't see it here. Maybe it's another speech setting.

Some people say the Dark Wizard is female, but I can't see it here. Maybe it's another speech setting.


I think the Old Palace is the only place with properly-chatty bosses. The others don’t listen, won’t understand you, or just don’t give you a choice.

Naturally, the Dark Wizard has a bunch of spells up his or her sleeves. Starting with…

[Forbidden Spell] Meteor Smash
Meteor Smash
This is the spell that did insane (200+) damage to me when I made a very-failed attempt at the Fire Dragon. So long as you’re not within a certain area in front of… hm. I’ll stick with ‘her’, it’s reasonably easy to dodge, and it has a long cast-time, so you’ve plenty of time to get out of the way, but if you’re within the target area, the meteors strike randomly, so it’s difficult to tell where it’ll hit next.
This is probably the spell she used on the Dark Elf. That or a minor variant thereof. Sorcerers don’t have any other meteor-calling spells hanging around. I don’t have this yet, but one of the Forbidden spells is in the Old Palace, and I’m not leaving until I get it.

Fusion
This is the other Forbidden spell the Dark Wizard has access to; it looks like she’s throwing a ‘tiny’ universe at you, and hurts about as much. Like Meteor Smash, this has a large casting time, and also hits a large area in front of her; it moves forward until the spot she cast it at is on the edge of the effect, then stays in that spot for a while, spitting out arcs of magical lightning at the edges and probably killing anything caught inside. She turns as she’s incanting it, but you don’t really have any excuse to be hit with this if you can see her.
The main threat from this spell is that it obscures a large area, and she doesn’t take damage from standing within the area of effect; you can’t tell what she’s doing in there, and she may be winding up for another Fusion or Meteor Smash.

[Spell] Shining
Shining
This is a worrying spell if there’s anything else is attacking you; it’s a maintained spell that automatically and constantly hits the target, so even if you’re resisting every blow, it will still do a fair amount of damage, and slow you greatly for the duration, with nothing you, personally, can do about it.
If nothing else is hanging around in the arena, though, this is simply a matter of surviving the damage. Try not to have your HP fall too low in case she uses this one.

[Spell] Smash
Smash
Maybe dangerous if you’re meleeing her; it’s a second-level spell with a short cast time, so it’s both more difficult to avoid if you’re already in range and you expect one of her longer-cast spells. It probably doesn’t do comparable damage to anything else she has, though, and like Shining should be easier to resist. The range is pitiful and really will only catch you if you’re in meleeing distance. Given the other spells she can throw at you, it’s probably best to put some distance between you whenever she casts, as odds are it’s not this spell.

Her minions – the two bulky demons – can spit out ice breath, or attack physically. They’re not particularly tough, or resistant to magic, and will probably just be taken out whilst you’re aiming for the Wizard.
As befits any Sorcerer, the Wizard is very tough against magic; with Extend Spell applied so I’m at 310 MAt, she still takes only 25 damage a cast of Blaze if she doesn’t resist. She might possibly be fire-resistant, though. Also as befits any Sorcerer, though, she’s pathetic when confronted with an angry adventurer wielding a blunt stick and Striking.
Gee. Good thing for us she owns and made us go through that crystalline maze full of creatures that only drop Material Magic, huh?

I have absolutely no clue how I discovered this the first time. Maybe I was trying to dodge Fusion?

I have absolutely no clue how I discovered this the first time. Maybe I was trying to dodge Fusion?


So, don’t forget the secret northern passage with boss loot. See, this is why I wonder some bosses don’t seem to have loot chests. Am I missing a secret passage somewhere? Did I miss something earlier?
Anyway, aside from a random piece of treasure that is usually something useful for a Hunter – we’re in a Sorcerer’s tower, why can’t a Sorcerer’s item be more common? – that room has ‘Meteor Strike‘… AKA, Meteor Smash, and one of the Priest’s Forbidden spells. Looks like the Dark Wizard – or her ancestors – lived here for a very long time…

I mean, the Bolt of Larie is all well and good, and the Expert is probably right to be shocked by a legendary weapon that, like many, seems to have a demon sealed within it… but it’s one of the most common items in that chest owned by a Sorcerer.

“Bolt of Larie! My word, where did you find this?!”
“Huh? Oh, the master of that tower in the southeast has a chest full of them. Do you want more?”

Loot

[Accessory] Berserker Bones
Berserker Bones [Accessory]
[At.12]
[All]
Skullbone of a fallen battle-mad warrior.

[Accessory] Evil Necklace
Necklace of Evil [Accessory]
[Evil.24, Lck.14]
[All]
Engraved devil’s prayer gives unholy power.

[Weapon] Wand of Evil
Wand of Evil [Weapon]
[At.43, Evil.8, Pow.12, MAt.21]
[Sor]
A wand with the power to curse.

[Weapon] Falconbolt
Falconbolt [Weapon]
[At.50]
[Hun]
A special bow which can shoot two arrows at once.

Berserker Bones really only do boost your attack, stat-wise. They do boost your critical rate in general, and put you into berserk status for stronger attacks when in ‘critical condition’ – somewhere below half maximum HP – according to holypriest’s Item List, though. Nice for a Warrior, I suppose.
There’s a necklace for every element; this is the third I’ve picked up, with Holy Necklace and Water Necklace found elsewhere already. Unlike the Water Necklace, this one boosts my Luck, rather than Intelligence; a nice boost, but less than what dedicated Luck accessories do. Evil is a fair element to have for defence, as outside of magic, not many creatures seem to do Holy element damage.
Evil Necklace, Wand of Evil, floating swords that deal Evil damage, skeletal centaurs, gargoyles, floating armour… hmm. Yeah, the Old Palace is pretty Evil. So is this wand; I hate things that come with already-applied elements, and whilst Evil is okay on a defensive piece, on an offensive piece it tends to suck as a lot of things that deal Evil damage are resistant to Evil damage. That said, it doesn’t apply to the wand unless I’m manually thwacking stuff. Happily for me, Wand of Runes tops the Wand of Evil in all areas save MAt, where it loses out by all of 6 points. I’m sticking with the buffed Wand of Runes, but thanks all the same, Old Palace.
Falconbolt is somewhat obsoleted by the discovery of the Bolt of Larie. To make matters worse for the hapless Hunter who finds this and then the Bolt of Larie, it’s the weapon offered by the Knight in exchange for Fate Coins from a Hunter; for some reason, Hunter rares are stupidly common. I wonder if there’s a typo somewhere? I mean, beyond it being called a bow when obviously it’s a crossbow. It probably has an increased rate of fire, but I can’t check, not being a Hunter.

Item of the Day

[Weapon] Bolt of Larie
Bolt of Larie [Weapon]
[At.92]
[Hun]
A cursed arrow made by the demon Larie.

Because… well… I already covered Material Magic, and this is the first properly legendary item I tend to pick up in any game. Blasted chest. I’d be happy if I could play Hunter, but the aiming on that class is so finicky I tend to leave it to AI, and I rarely drag AI characters around with me because, as I don’t level them, they tend to be as bad as wet paper.
Anyway. Bolt of Larie. The first legendary that ANYONE gets, and curse the people who get better.
This is also one of the sillier descriptions in the game, worse than Falconbolt. As ‘just’ an arrow, unless it strikes and returns like Mjollnir, it’s the worst artefact ever. Between this, the Elven Bow, and Falconbolt, I have to wonder where the right place is to find decent Sorcerer gear. Labyrinth of the Dead? Palace of the Immortals?

Spell of the Day

[Spell] Striking
Striking
MP: 10
Command: X O
Amplifies inner strength and increases attack (AT)

A Sorcerer’s answer to a Sorcerer, this is an expensive spell at the time you receive it, but it balances the cost by potentially being able to take down many more enemies than a single Water Bullet; as many as you can kill off whilst it is in effect, anyway. Striking, like Extend Spell, doubles an Attack stat; this doubles Attack, and Extend Spell, its upgraded form, works on Magic Attack.
As you can tell from today, it’s still useful long after you pick it up, as it still just doubles your attack. With this in effect, a Sorcerer probably still won’t be the equal of a Warrior or Dwarf, but might rival a Rogue or Elf for damage. Perfect for enemies with high magic defence and low physical defence.

The Old Palace (1) – Tedious Trap City

Today’s theme shall be… crystals. Too many crystals. The whole area is lit by crystals, and most of the area’s puzzles involve one of more of the blasted things in some fashion or another; whoever built this place definitely had a thing for crystals. They also don’t like sunlight, for some reason. I could make a joke about goths, but…

So that's a female rogue, female dwarf, an elf of indeterminate gender, and a female hunter.

So that's a female rogue, female dwarf, an elf of indeterminate gender, and a female hunter.

Well, anyway. The first floor is a reasonable-simple, though slightly-tedious puzzle involving windows, natural light and crystals, and I tend to just run straight through it nowadays.
I forgot to take pictures. You’re not missing much. You can, technically, solve this puzzle before even activating it, if you’ve memorised where the beams of light fall after opening the windows, but I’m always slightly off with at least one crystal. I don’t think you get anything from doing that, anyway, aside from possible bragging rights.
The second floor is likewise mostly boring – flipping four switches to activate a tiny bridge. Again, I forgot to take pictures because this puzzle is dull and I try to get past it as quickly as possible. It also possesses the earliest save point I’ve seen in any level, probably because this floor will do something very nasty to you if you don’t watch out. More on that later.

[Old Palace] Multiplayer Puzzle
So, there are two interesting things on this level. First is the area’s obligatory multiplayer-bonus. This one, unlike the one in the Mines, requires good timing and little else. I also swear it’s possible to complete alone, with a Rogue, and a lot of attempts. It’s ‘solved’ by deactivating all four purple-sparkle generators by standing on them; they reactivate after a short period of time, and walking normally you’re going to have at most two deactivated at once. As I said, somehow I managed to complete this at one point, and I’m reasonably certain it was using a Rogue character, thanks to their dash. Your milage may vary.

The other thing…
[Old Palace] Bridge over Nowhere
If you fell down here, you’d expect to suffer approximately 8 points of damage, right?
Well, you’re practically guaranteed to fall off the bridge in this room. The Old Palace is probably the most intentionally trap-filled area in the game, featuring quite a few ‘kill all enemies’ rooms in addition to pendulum traps, spiked ceilings, and fire-breathing wall fixtures, but this particular trap has to be one of the more irritating ones lying around.
First, the bridge starts collapsing after you, once you’re more than a few ’tiles’ in; if you continue walking, you won’t be caught out by this, and it happens slowly enough that you can keep ahead of it. As you may have noticed, there’s a spiked gate at the door you entered by, and there’s a corresponding one at the far exit. So there’s an enemy to kill, in the room. That enemy is the real problem of the room; it’s a floating armour, it’s resistant to most attacks and spells you can throw at it – I was only doing 50~ damage with a third-level spell – and it has several times more HP than you’re expecting on enemies at this point in the game. Worse, all its attacks are knock-back attacks; if it catches you before you’re between it and a wall or the door, it can very easily toss you off the bridge. It probably does nasty damage at the time you first reach this point, to boot.
So the first few times you come here, you’ll probably be falling off the bridge. Rather than a negligable amount of damage, doing so dumps you two floors below ground; you have to work your way back up to even be able to exit the place. Successfully getting out of the room by the door lets you skip all of that.

[Old Palace] Falling...
Of course, I’m dropping down anyway just to show you the area. Note that I’m heading in the ‘wrong’ direction here; leaving the floor and then returning causes the bridge to reappear, and it collapses from whatever side you entered by, just to make things trickier for you.

Welcome to the second underlevel. I always thought the area you fell in was vaguely reminiscent of Dullahan’s boss arena; it’s a roughly-circular area of moderate size with exits at the cardinal directions, and chains hanging around. Much brighter, though, and of course it lacks the headless boss.

[Old Palace] Second Underlevel North
The floor can pretty much be split into four separate areas; north has a suspicious-looking open area up there, so let’s start with north. What looks like the direct entrance to the area is on a raised area that we can’t reach, but there still seems to be two side entrances, so let’s try those.

Magical forcefield windows?

Magical forcefield windows?


Another general theme of this area would be ‘taunting the player with stuff they can’t reach yet’. The guy in black posing with his minions down there is the boss of the first half of the Old Palace, but we can’t get to him yet.
Well, technically, we can, as I went ahead a little and opened the route to him before deciding to go through this bit anyway, but there are more interesting things to see and do down here that you miss if you ace the bridge the first time. Going around the other side is the same; another magical green forcefield-window thingy blocks your way.

Back to the centre, that leaves us with three options; let’s go… west.
[Old Palace] Second Underlevel West
There’s another suspiciously round-ish area there, and since this isn’t the Mines, there’s liable to be something interesting there. Most of the ‘built’ areas have something interesting in each room, whilst ‘natural’ areas like the Abandoned Mines or the Wood of Ruins tend to have useless places and dead ends. Nice touch; why build something if you’re never going to do anything with it?

Totally not significant...

Totally not significant...


This one’s particularly interesting as it gives us backstory. Few areas in the game give us history lessons; the Ancient Ruins are one of the areas, as is the Old Palace. There’s a third area, but I probably won’t be seeing it for a while, and then there’s the Jester guy in the Roadside Inn, who sometimes mentions interesting things.
The ‘correct’ order to read these things is from north to south; it doesn’t solve any puzzles, but it’s nice to get the story straight.

Something is written on the monolith…
Foresia, a land plagued by demons. Saturated with magic like no other land.
For those of us who control the power of sorcery it is the true paradise.

We, who are called sorcerers, could create flames and wind from nothingness through the art of magic.

The sorcerers were given power through the Sagestones…
Arcane artefacts created by the Twelve sages, the Sagestones strengthen the sorcerers and help them to master the art of magic.
To this day there is still nothing comparable, with which one can attain such mastery of sorcery with such ease…
With such power we could perform miracles, we would be like gods.

The Twelve Sages established a great kingdom with abundant magic through the use of the Sagestones.
But in mortal hands this power became too much, and this overabundance of power became a danger to us.

Many sorcerers dabbled foolishly with infernal magic…
And they begat demons of terrible and maddening power.
It may only be a matter of time before the demons destroy us.

Well, straight-ish. I’m guessing that this was written during or shortly after the fall of the ancient civilisation mentioned in the introduction sequence, as whoever wrote it still remembered the Twelve Sages and their relationship with the Sagestone…s. Plural. It’s also biased towards what the Sagestone meant for Sorcerers. I’m feeling right at home, here.
Pity there’s just the one left, huh? And it isn’t really doing anything for the rate at which I learn magic, though that could be because it’s incomplete, and because I’ve already learned all the spells I’m going to learn naturally.

That’s all there is here, so now… east, I think.
[Old Palace] Second Underlevel East
…except we can’t go there as the door’s sealed right now. Pity. We can’t get there from the south, either, because it’s another raised area you can’t jump to. We’ll be back here later.

South takes you into one of the more annoying kill-all-enemies rooms, depending on where you entered from. All of the enemies are the flying goblinoids-that-aren’t-gargoyles-because-those-are-made-of-rock. They move quickly, are annoying to hit in melee, and troublesome to cast spells at as they tend to throw the Fairy Sleep spell at you frequently. Falling off here, if you came around from the eastern section of the level, means a fair bit of backtracking.

Taking the teleport beyond brings you to the first underlevel, an area more tedious than anything else. The point of this area is to open two doors that will allow you to get back to the first level of the area; the teleporter on the northern side of that level leads here, but the door’s locked until it’s opened from this side. It’s full of kill-all-enemies rooms, right from the beginning, and even has a short timed section that happens to be the main source of tediousness if you’re just a bit too slow.

There are, of course, yet more traps here.

There are, of course, yet more traps here.


The good thing about this area is that a fair portion of the enemies can drop Fate Coins. The Old Palace in general is a good spot for hunting those, especially later on when you’ve opened up the second part, but the Blue Lizardmen here seem to be the most generous of all the early enemies.
If you forgot to pick up the keys near the entrance, you have a bit of backtracking to do.

If you forgot to pick up the keys near the entrance, you have a bit of backtracking to do.


The two doors you’ll want to open – to progress or to go back to the Inn after this ordeal – are coloured blue or red. The southern door is blue, and the northern red. The locked doors here contain a symbol on the wall matching the doors to the teleporters, and a crystal, which is somehow keeping both doors shut.
Or... maybe this was the blue exit, instead...

Or... maybe this was the blue exit, instead...


It’s still not much of a puzzle, but this is why I try to avoid falling off the bridge in the first place, especially if I’m playing a melee class; you have to make it around the circular-ish area to the corresponding room on the other side, and there’s always one kill-all-enemies room in your way, populated with four slimes and a couple of other enemies. Slimes are notoriously-resistant to physical damage, so if you’re not playing a Sorcerer or Elf, you may want to go clear out both rooms beforehand.

Successfully activating the second crystal whilst the first is still activated opens both doors. I hate these floors; there’s no loot before you beat the boss, unless you’re a Rogue – there’s a locked door on one of them and there may be treasure behind that – and it seems like they’re just there to waste time, with the exception of the history monoliths.

Bringing us happily back to immediately after the bridge room. Whoo.

Bringing us happily back to immediately after the bridge room. Whoo.


Okay. South teleport takes you onwards – back to the second floor – whilst the north teleport takes you back to the first floor. Perhaps I won’t forget it, this time.

Right. Third level. Which I already completed, before deciding to go down to the underlevels. This floor’s puzzle involves more light, crystals and running long distances, and I’m just going to skip giving you the solution, as I’m lazy, there’s little to see, and this isn’t a proper walkthrough. Just don’t forget to collapse the floor in the room east from the red lizardman room, as backtracking is a headache here.

Getting through that floor brings you back to the… Second Underlevel. This time you’re on the raised section that leads to the proper entrance to the boss area, and there’s a little pillar-thing you can push down so you can get back here after jumping down to find the save point.
Never forget to do that, hm? It’s a crushing feeling when you forget.

Okay, NOW is the time for goth jokes.

Okay, NOW is the time for goth jokes...


So, the boss. Meet the Dark Elf; here, he’s about to throw a hissy-fit because you avoided all his traps and killed all his ‘friends’ who set out to attack you. Seriously, though, the Dark Elf is one of the more annoying mandatory bosses, as he’s almost as small as you are, and moves relatively quickly, making him difficult to target or pin-down by any character; he also cheats, like the goblinoid magic-users, and has spells from both the Fairy and Sorcerer lists.
Apparently you can talk him out of fighting if you’re an Elf, and already have the Sagestone jewel from the encounter, but I suppose he might have loot.

Attacks:

[Spell] Slow
Slow (Fairy)
This is really annoying, as you don’t get any chance to dodge it, and at the time you first encounter the Dark Elf, you have little chance of resisting it. Slow, as you can expect, slows you down for a period of time; as much of this battle involves dodging the Dark Elf’s high-level spells, getting hit by this can be painful. I didn’t see him use Slow in this fight, but memory tells me he can use it. It also makes sense that he’d have it, as he has the rest of the first-level Fairy spells available to him.

[Spell] Sleep
Sleep (Fairy)
Fairly annoying, but this one only means a single guaranteed hit, unless you’re somehow lucky enough not to be hit for the duration of the status. Sleep as a status lasts a very long time, so don’t count on it, but the projectile the spell releases moves very slowly, and is easy to outrun.

[Spell] Haste
Haste (Fairy)
Makes him move faster; his physical attacks suddenly become a lot more difficult to avoid with this active, but it thankfully doesn’t affect his casting speed.

[Spell] Lightningbolt
Lightningbolt (Sorcerer)
Much like the Sorcerer version, this one is unpredictable and rarely fires in a straight line. Just keep moving on the other side of the arena from the Dark Elf and pray it doesn’t hit you. This is actually one of the nicer spells the Dark Elf can use; it doesn’t have a chance of hitting you multiple times, and it doesn’t cause any bad statuses if it does hit.

[Spell] Blaze
Blaze (Sorcerer)
Same as the Sorcerer spell. Not too tricky to dodge, but it will hit multiple times if you hang around in the affected area.

[Spell] Blizzard
Blizzard (Sorcerer)
I swear this one has a slightly larger range than a player’s Blizzard spells do, but otherwise it’s exactly the same as the Sorcerer spell. Like Blaze, this one can hit you multiple times, which will probably kill you the first time you visit. Even if you’re not in the direct path of the spell, watch out, as the blue-tint to the screen whilst the spell is active makes it difficult to spot the Dark Elf.

Finally, his normal attacks – he seems to do karate or some other kind of martial art – do dark-element damage. Wearing something with light-element protection is a bad idea; probably the best protection would be Wind, as I stuck around for ages and didn’t see him try to use Poison Cloud.

For such a small opponent, it seems like the arena is pretty large, but you can’t forget that he tends to use spells that have a long range, or can hit multiple targets; he also starts with three minions that can throw off a selection of offensive spells themselves, so you may need the space for dodging.

Sensible, really - always keep Teleport memorised for dangerous situations...

Sensible, really - always keep Teleport memorised for dangerous situations...


All that said, however, he’s a Sorcerer and is gracious enough to not have much in the way of health. Just dodge his spells and keep hitting him, and he’ll retreat fairly quickly.
I was also lucky enough to get loot. Not-usable loot, but loot all the same.

Well, I’ll be heading back for now. I’ve a fair amount of new loot that needs IDing, and it’s really not difficult to get to the second part. Unlike the Wood of Ruins or the Abandoned Mines, the Old Palace doesn’t require much running around if you already know what you’re doing. You may even be able to skip the whole Dark Elf encounter, but I don’t know whether a certain door will open if you do that. I’ll check next time.

Oh, yeah. Now that the Dark Elf has been beaten, we ought to be able to check out that sealed area. There’s a Rogue-only door, two chests that only contained HP and MP potions, some more defeat-everything areas, including a very small room with no less than four floating mages, leading to… a Wand of Runes, that I’m already using, and a room with two chests for a Miracle Powder and a lamp of some description.
Kinda disappointing.

Loot

[Weapon] Elven Bow
Elven Bow [Weapon]
[At.65]
[Hun]
A magical bow, made for the king of the elves.

[Weapon] Trueheart
Trueheart [Weapon]
[At.15]
[Hun]
A first class bow of great workmanship.

[Weapon] Battle Axe
Battle Axe [Weapon]
[At.20]
[Dwf]
A heavy battle axe, the favored weapon of barbarians.

[Weapon] Long Sword
Long Sword [Weapon]
[At.18]
[War]
Longer than a normal sword.

[Object] Fairy Powder
Fairy Powder [Object]
[All]
Made from fairy wings.
Activates Anti-Circle.

For somewhere that’s supposedly good for Sorcerers, this place has a lot of non-Sorcerer loot lying around. One of the chests on the third level is a guaranteed piece of Warior/Dwarf/Elf armour, if memory serves, and a lot of the enemies tend towards dropping Bows or Axes.
The Elven Bow probably pales in comparison to weapons you can attain later on, but for the point of the game at which it appears, it’s insanely-powerful; Trueheart and the Composite Bow are two bows you tend to pick up more frequently from the enemies here, and are examples of how strong Hunter weapons tend to be at this point. If you’re a Hunter and are lucky enough to get the Elven Bow from the Dark Elf, you’re set weapon-wise for quite a while.
Finally, Fairy Powder. I think I have a new favourite item; I don’t care what it does, that’s just an amusing description when your party may include Fairies. Anti-Circle is one of the highest-level non-Forbidden Fairy spells, and apparently protects the party from magic and bad statuses. Having never used it, I can’t say, but it’s an exceptional drop for the first part of anywhere, given how high-level and costly that spell really is.

Item of the Day

[Object] Fate Coin
Fate Coin [Object]
[All]
It shows the Goddess of Luck.
(Changes Luck)

I’ve mentioned Fate Coins a couple of times previously; they’re the closest thing the game has to a proper currency, as one of the NPCs in the Inn will trade items in exchange for these, and they’re the easiest way of changing your Luck stat.
There are a couple of catches, though; using one of these may or may not raise your luck – it could lower your luck, too. Best to save at the Roadside Inn or somewhere else before using these, if you want higher luck. Second, the Knight sells many items in exchange for these, but some of the more expensive items depend on your class, and the expensive items are… expensive. Good, but expensive. The Old Palace is a great place for accumulating these, but the Labyrinth of the Dead isn’t that bad, either.