Comic 135 - Inspect the tree

16th Jun 2018, 4:33 PM in High Roads, Low Roads, Threeroads
Average Rating: 5 (1 votes) Rate this comic
Inspect the tree
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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 16th Jun 2018, 4:33 PM edit delete
You take the two old iron swords, two wooden shields, and two piles of bones.

You cast Identify on one of the shields and, after determining it has no curses (or enchantments), you Reinforce it and give it to Justice. You also compliment her on handling herself in a tough situation.

Of course, Valley did well, too, just--

"Oh, yeah," Valley giggles, "that's just... like... what I do? Justice going to town with that hammer was like, most unexpected though."

Justice smiles sheepishly, shrugging her shoulders. "I couldn't just wait for you both to rescue me. I am determined to deserve my spot in this party!"

"Pshaw," Valley scoffs, waving a hand. "You say that like we're totally exclusive or some junk."

You also inspect the odd tree growing through the center of the room. You cast Identify, and it does seem to have a faint magic about it... but no specific enchantments. You don't know much about general magic, but you suspect the odd energies circulating this tomb might be helping the tree to grow. Magic CAN affect its environment, as you learned with the fairies and the tainted water supply.

You press on through the nearby door.

"GRANDPA!," Valley yells. "Where is your chill, gramps?!"

"Nast..." Justice states a little quieter, "I, too, am beginning to question the chill of your grandfather."



Krylo 16th Jun 2018, 4:52 PM edit delete reply
Might be a good idea to thin the herds with magic a bit.

Nast: Wind slice through as many as you can.

Valley: Move to the front.

Justice: Use skull helm to flank and take out the archers ASAP.
Gandalf 16th Jun 2018, 5:12 PM edit delete reply
Yep, but like it says below retreat a bit first to use the doorway as both cover from the archers and as a bottleneck for the infantry.
ZincFingers 16th Jun 2018, 5:28 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, cover and bottleneck are a solid plan.

Once back in the first room, Nast and Valley could stand on opposite sides of the door, that way any skeleton that comes through is flanked.

Or have Nast and Justice flank the door, Valley can just stand a little bit back from it to ensure only one skeleton can enter / be in the room at a time.
MakePeaceAndLove 16th Jun 2018, 10:12 PM edit delete reply
I really like that tactic ZincFingers, +1 right there
Sonico 16th Jun 2018, 4:54 PM edit delete reply
Does Justice have some sort of ranged or mass healing effect? Could be interesting to use, specially if she manages to trick those skeletons about her being on their side also, like with the previous two.
Alex Nipal 16th Jun 2018, 5:06 PM edit delete reply
Her abilities are listed in the Party page.

She does not but i suspect that if the fight turns dire she might learn a new Miracle.
Stonebrow 16th Jun 2018, 4:57 PM edit delete reply
I want to play skeleton bowling, but we don't have a big enough ball.

Valley is going to have to get serious in here, no time for practice.

Snipe the archers with the wind wand, then get into a defensive formation and support Valley going to town on the skele-swordsmen.

I don't think Justice should split up, we could get swamped if we break our group.
MakePeaceAndLove 16th Jun 2018, 10:14 PM edit delete reply
I wish we could play some skeleton bowling though.

Maybe after one skeleton goes down, using its skull as the bowling ball? I mean the eyeholes are there to hold it (alright, sorry, that was too much).
K3001 16th Jun 2018, 4:58 PM edit delete reply
Retreat! The archers are eather going to stand on the high ground where they have an advantage, or they'll follow you after the crowd and get stuck in the line, unable to shoot. Eather way, they'll not be that much of a problem. Also, if you'll retreat, the skeleton wariors would have to get in line, so you'll get to fight one-two guys at the time.
1977 16th Jun 2018, 5:07 PM edit delete reply
Good idea. Lure them back into the first room. Justice can then stay in this room and take the archers out.
MakePeaceAndLove 16th Jun 2018, 10:16 PM edit delete reply
+1 to this for sure.

If Justice can pull it off thanks to the Skull Helm then she can deal with the Archers, after waiting for the skeleton Soldiers to follow us single-file back to the first room.

Even if she can't heal both to death fast enough, their bows should be no match for her hammer at touch range.
Jex 16th Jun 2018, 5:04 PM edit delete reply
Justice should take out the furthest archer and then the other one while we back out to the other room, Nast can use the wand on some of the fighters in a blunt way, and Valley can crush some other fighters.
G. Sansa 16th Jun 2018, 6:33 PM edit delete reply
+1 to Justice and archers (shield and hand, hammer not equipped) and to retreating. But Nast should steal (and block) rather than wind slice, which will do relatively little damage here. Valley smash.
G. Sansa 16th Jun 2018, 6:35 PM edit delete reply
Also, Justice should read inscription on the way by.
Caydenite 16th Jun 2018, 6:53 PM edit delete reply
Why not hammer? I get it does less damage, but I'd rather not burn through our healer's mana on something that can be achieved with blunt force.
G. Sansa 16th Jun 2018, 8:17 PM edit delete reply
With her healing hands, she can probably kill them in one hit each, with a good chance that the second one doesn't even notice. With a hammer, it will take several hits, which means she'd end up fighting 2 at once for a while.
Caydenite 16th Jun 2018, 8:49 PM edit delete reply
Healing isn't one hit though, we saw last page. It seems better she defends herself and heals any damage she might take with one or two spells than uses at least four to take them down.
MakePeaceAndLove 16th Jun 2018, 10:20 PM edit delete reply
I'm hoping that Justice can use one heal and one hammer blow per Archer, that would be ideal. Or maybe the Archers have less HP and one heal will be enough?

It's a question of efficiency though. Spend mana on offense or spend mana healing damage? If Justice had to heal herself twice from the injuries she'll have sustained fighting these two, then it comes out even but it's slower. If she fought them purely with a hammer and healed everything with one heal, then she comes out ahead on mana but it's slower. If she'd need more than two heals then we definitely should've used the heals for offense.

We don't know that going in, but I suspect healing the Archers is correct, at least Justice can rejoin us or defend herself if one of the Skeleton Soldiers turns around and targets her next, if she tried the hammer route from the start a third enemy surrounding her would be very dangerous.
GS 16th Jun 2018, 5:06 PM edit delete reply
Raise shields, then cyclone the archers to knock their arrows off course!

Valley uses Earthbreaker to knock down the swordsmen.

Justice hangs back and uses healing support.
MakePeaceAndLove 16th Jun 2018, 10:21 PM edit delete reply
I think Earth Breaker makes sense here... or even, could Nast and Valley combine Wind Slice and Earth Breaker into something new?
Alex Nipal 16th Jun 2018, 5:11 PM edit delete reply
Retreat trough the door. Use it as a choke point to fight less skeleton at once. If they stay inside Nast can harass with the shield or wind slices.
MakePeaceAndLove 16th Jun 2018, 10:21 PM edit delete reply
+1 to retreating, sounds good
GS 16th Jun 2018, 5:32 PM edit delete reply
Okay. So either Grandad really felt that we needed to prove ourselves REALLY worthy before we can turn his anchor into a Weapon of Legacy (Thank you, Rich Burlew!), or...

Is it possible that someone found Grandad's maze and corrupted it in the years since his death?
ZincFingers 16th Jun 2018, 5:41 PM edit delete reply
Maybe there is something in the mines with the power to raise the dead, and somehow that power has spread far enough to reach this graveyard? We know the mines are dangerous, “high level”, place... I don’t know, I’m spitballing ideas.
GS 16th Jun 2018, 6:06 PM edit delete reply
You could be right...
But in any case, the skeleton army seems a bit too much for a test set up by a grandfather for his grandson. Not to mention a bit too evil.
lil Joshu 16th Jun 2018, 6:26 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Maybe there's just like some kind of legacy enchantment that's put on weapons and the magic builds the trials?

... or it could be that Valley is wielding it instead of Nast?
MakePeaceAndLove 16th Jun 2018, 10:26 PM edit delete reply
I do think the skeleton army is meant to be there. I mean, we're sort of in a cemetery AND we walked into an underground dungeon. Skeletons are the most appropriate enemy to find here.

I don't think it's grandpa's evil doing. But it might be some evil magic corrupting the environment, like with the faeries' rage making monstrous mushrooms. There's something in this place that is animating these old bones.

........ I don't think that Grandpa himself was a necromancer, which would hint that he was also an archmage, since Ranse mentioned that.

BUT! What if, AN archmage was also buried here, of all places? It would be at least odd in the sense that Peace Calling was set up relatively recently, and previously it didn't exist, so why would they choose to make their cemetery over the burial place of an archmage? If it was known...

... but, if it wasn't known... and if archmages were basically immortal...

What if there is a LIVING archmage down there? Necromancing those up? But, like, he's entombed, put in stasis, stuck in eternal slumber, but his mere presence radiates enough magic to animate the skeletons? Huh... that would be pretty awesome, actually.
JiggilyJoe 16th Jun 2018, 11:41 PM edit delete reply
We are in a graveyard, and there is magic here. Most likely the skeletons just kinda found their way here over time.
1977 16th Jun 2018, 5:49 PM edit delete reply
Too bad we didn't try to steal from the first enemies. Now it is a bit too much to risk it. Maybe when there are only 2 left then we can steal something?
ZincFingers 16th Jun 2018, 5:54 PM edit delete reply
Well if we do end up leading them into the other room, we can just steal from each one as it comes through the door.
Lapdragon 16th Jun 2018, 8:21 PM edit delete reply
MakePeaceAndLove 16th Jun 2018, 10:27 PM edit delete reply
Totally, if we lure them back single file, Valley should crush each one with her anchor easily, so Nast can steal from each one first, distracting it this way too.

There's a joke in here about 'grinding these bones' but I just don't see it. >.>
Placeholder 16th Jun 2018, 6:19 PM edit delete reply
Can the sand shark attack hit multiple enemies?
Stonebrow 16th Jun 2018, 6:35 PM edit delete reply
+1 on sandshark. Valley could pop up behind the archers, take them out, and we could flank the whole group.
MakePeaceAndLove 16th Jun 2018, 10:28 PM edit delete reply
+1, but that's assuming we don't retreat into the room or try to let Justice handle them on her own.

If we do let Valley Sandshark over to them, then Nast and Justice retreat and flank the Skeleton Soldiers as they follow them in single-file.
Caydenite 16th Jun 2018, 6:43 PM edit delete reply
Earthbreaker the foot-skellys, then Justice moves to flank the archers whilst we throw shield at them. (Shield costs no mana.)
Guest 16th Jun 2018, 8:17 PM edit delete reply
Earthbreaker's still a big risk. Sand shark is too, with all the roots in the earth. Hmm. Though Grandpa might have left bits of the dungeon fight requiring it, hoping this would only be found by his family.
Green Visitor 16th Jun 2018, 7:45 PM edit delete reply
All the DEAD are WALKING!?! RUN!!

Is what i would do. Good thing this is a game.

Retreat through doorway and flank/steal is most sensible, but Valley could earthshark or footstomp or anchortrash them. Maybe safe-ish-ly, if Nast windwalled or perhaps could make the arrows miss or friendly fire.

Too bad Nast still carries sword, so maybe run anyway.

If we survive, read or sing the magic (cursed?) glyphs.
Lapdragon 16th Jun 2018, 8:27 PM edit delete reply
If tornado from the wand isn't super-draining, we should do a Terranado with Nast & Valley to clear the bulk of the sword-skellies, and then see if Justice can do her thing with one (or both) of the archers. That should thin (or totally clear) the herd. I'm totally on board with improving Nast's swordsmanship skills, but not at the cost of significant danger to the group.

+edit: once we've dealt with the fight, I'm diggin' on reading the bigass stone and then identifying (and possibly taking) those magical candles.
Twelveseal 16th Jun 2018, 8:47 PM edit delete reply
Sand Shark Valley under the main force to take out the archers and flank the main force between. Have Nast run interference with the tornado and shield while Justice hammers away.

In other words, get Valley behind them with Nast and Justice becoming the anvil to Valley's hammer.
Zang 16th Jun 2018, 10:24 PM edit delete reply
Skeletons are weak to bludgeoning, so try and ricochet the flying shield to drop both of them. Valley can hold off the main body for a second, and Justice can drop the archers if you don't entirely finish them. She might want to practice her bludgeoning, and injured skeletons shouldn't put up too much of a fight.