GBP – Curse of the Azure Bonds #6: The Wizard’s Tower

When we last left off, through a fit of impulsiveness, I had advanced the party into a cut-scene trigger that routed us to the top of the Wizard’s tower.

There we meet the second member of this Deadly Alliance, Dracandros. Dracandros is kind of a chickenshit – he uses his bond to force the party to destroy an illusion of a dragon to provoke various chromatic dragons to launch a raid on nearby cities. The dragons are not fooled, and tell him to release the bond. He does, and the party has a choice – if they’re grossly overleveled they can take on all these dragons… or they can just not fight. If the party doesn’t fight don’t fight then the dragons decide Dracandros is full of shit and bugger off.

At which point, Dracandros goes “Oh, crap”, and books it down the tower, putting all his guards and defenses in front of you while he tries to grab what he can before leaving. Now, this is not a timed dungeon – you can take your time and play it cautiously and still be able to fight Dracandros at the exit so you can clean his clock.

That’s good, because this is a pretty tough dungeon – there is a fairly high encounter rate, combined with several locations in the dungeon where the party fights wyverns. Now, these are AD&D 1e wyverns, which means that poison doesn’t give you Disadvantage on saves, or slowly declining damage. You just die. Doesn’t matter if you’ve got 35 HP or 100 HP, you fail your save, you’re dead.

Additionally, you also run into several instances here of spell-casters who have access to fifth level spells, which means they can cast Feeblemind. Fortunately, the party member who got hit with the spell was Ghim – who, as a fighter basically was unaffected. However, unless your cleric has access to Heal, or you have a scroll of restoration, you’re out of luck until you get to a temple. 

There is also a couple traps in the dungeon that are pretty much BS – there is a scroll with Explosive Runes on it, that go off if you pick them up. It’s theoretically possible to avoid it if you’re a wizard with the right spells memorized (and it has to be a wizard – you can’t be a cleric with Dispel Magic). If you successfully escape the exploding runes trap after picking up the paper, you can avoid another booby-trap which sends the party heading down some the level transition stairs into a spike trap. However, if you just ignore the paper, then there is no way to avoid the spike trap – even if you have a thief in the party and a cleric with the Detect Traps spell active.

This is – frankly, bullshit.

I’m imagining this line prefaced by a lot of unintended stammering.

Once you make your way to the bottom of the tower and step outside, you finally get a chance to fight Dracandros, who has cast Lesser Sphere of Invulnerability on himself, and has surrounded himself with a load of Effrets and Drow (who you’ve been fighting as you make your way through the tower). The Drow have a 50/50 immunity to all magic (which is kind of a pain), the Owlbear don’t, so you can also hit them Ice Storm the crap out of them – which is what I did.

Dracandros is kind of a pain – but chickenshit that he is, he’ll generally hang back and let his minions fight you while hitting you with spells – which means if you get your buffs in at the start of the fight, and have sufficient healing handy (and some Dispel Magic spells to deal with Hold Person spells), you should be able to get to him. Also, his Lesser Sphere of Invulnerability doesn’t make him immune to being attacked with physical weapons, and can be dispelled with a Dispel Magic.

After that, the Drow woman you met earlier is waiting just inside the entrance to the Dracolich Caves to get any of the items she requested that you retrieved from the dungeon (the Dragon Egg can be found in one of the rooms in the upper level, and you can get the Dragon Heart if you decided to fight the dragons) – and then you can take a step back and use a shortcut to get out of Hap and go to someplace with a temple and training hall to level up and get a restoration cast.

Next up, we have a cult to crush.

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