|I said no many times but eventually had to say yes.|
Abandoning the search for Caliph to look for Erick turned out to be a time-consuming mistake. It wasn't obvious until after I had recruited Erick and headed back to Caliph's area that I was overpowered. The fights in Erick's area (Kalim Tower) did seem pretty tough but not impossible. At least until I got to the point where monsters started being able to paralyze me. Paralysis when you're all by your lonesome equals sure death. However, the monsters weren't the only things dishing out such lameness.
|No chance to avoid. No saving throw. Just death.|
I probably should have gone back to the Caliph quest but I was sure I was so close to getting Erick. The boss of Kalim Tower was no joke either; I had to grind much levels and even then, I had to get lucky on my thirtyish attempt when he missed with a bunch of his attacks. And after all this, here's the kicker — I still couldn't recruit Erick, who was located behind the paralyzing gas trap depicted above. I had to get Caliph first and then return with a special item to let us pass the trap. Also, in order to get Caliph, all I had needed to do was go to an area (Loram Castle) that I had access to, but didn't visit, and get a damn pass to get past the blue dragon.
|Verily, the vile dragon will be no match|
for this mighty permission slip,
the bane of all dragonkind.
After telling Caliph about Fred's murder and my plan for revenge, he joined me and took the offensive spellcaster role. We didn't dilly-dally for too long before heading back to the completely memorized Tower of Kalim to retrieve Erick. Like a true bro, Caliph took the gas trap right in his face so that I could open the door and recruit Erick, who became our defensive spellcaster. After leaving Kalim Tower (for good this time), Caliph decided he was tired and replaced himself with his man-servant, Saito.
|Yeah man, I don't blame you, that was one|
helluva slumber party last night.
Saito had worse stats and less spells than Caliph, which was bad because Caliph himself was already kinda shitty. But no bother, I was just happy to have two meat shields... er, I mean companions to accompany me for a string of unrelated quests. There was only one quest relating to revenge and that was to find the magic White Blade that Fred had used during his own quest. During all these quests, Saito had gained a bunch of levels and spells and was really coming to embrace his role as an offensive mage. So, of course, after finding the White Blade, Caliph decided that he'll replace Saito, even though Saito had a few levels on him. Both men are functionally the same with the same spell list and comparable stats, so I'm not sure what the point of swapping them around was, other than to require more experience for that one shared class. One might think I'd be more upset at such wastage, especially considering all the stat-boosting sandwiches that I had sunk into Saito. Oh wait, that never happened because I never had any sandwiches to give him. Yeah, that's right. After talking about how great they were in the initial post, I never saw a single sandwich after that. That's sooooo Deep Dungeon.
|Good work, Party Member #3. Don't forget|
to give all your equipment to the new PM3.
With all the side quests done, the only place left to go was a strange castle in Elm Mountain. We knew that the evil demon king Cymer dwelt there and that he was the object of our revenge. Well, it wouldn't be a Deep Dungeon game if there wasn't demon kings involved but I thought we were going after the Black Sorceror? Is it just Cymer? Who knows? The black sorceror has barely been mentioned at all since the beginning. At any rate, the last castle was worthy of being the final destination. The battles were super tough and often one bad random encounter meant warping out, healing up, and trying again. To its credit, DD kept it real with gameplay elements from the previous titles. High encounter rate but countered by easy fleeing. High variable in damage, making each battle a test of luck to see whether the party's healing capabilities will be reduced enough to warrant a hasty retreat back to the town. Monsters who have access to better spells than any member of the party does.
|Efreets in particular are quite fond|
of having their way with the group.
Erick and Caleph eventually gained enough levels to also gain access the same high level spells that had been thumping us all this time. This helped but these spells were expensive in terms of MP and every casting meant less available for healing and for Cymer (should we reach him). HP and MP restoring items were all woefully pathetic in the amounts they would restore and were hardly worth the item slot they took up. Erick and Caleph did miserable damage in melee, to the point where it practically pointless to even have them engage in it. No, I needed something for them to do in combat that didn't use up any of their magic. Since we were at the final castle, there probably wasn't going to be a need to save gold anymore so I ended up purchasing two very expensive items, the Silence Flute and the Sleep Flute. These items mimicked the spells of their namesake and could be used repeatedly. Giving one flute to each of the losers, we strolled back into Cymer's castle for the umpteenth time, more confident than ever. The plan was quite effective, though I found it humourous to picture myself fighting off throngs of minions while the two fruitcakes pranced about, belting out jaunty little ditties whilst blood and body parts flew about the room. Too bad the flutes didn't have unlimited charges like I thought and eventually broke, taking with them the majority of the party's net worth. There was no way I was going to grind around a hundred chests to repurchase the magical instruments so I just had to buck up and try to find Cymer before being charbroiled by efreets. Once that was done, it was just a simple matter of lucking out and being able to flee the most dangerous fights in order to have a good stock of MP to deal with Cymer.
|Yes, hi. We're looking for a black|
sorceror to get the revenge on.
Cymer actually wasn't too bad, being about as powerful as one and a half efreets. At this point, we didn't need to conserve MP so we all let him have it with our most powerful spells. Even Caleph didn't die. We got a slight confirmation that Cymer was most likely the black sorceror as his body rotted away, leaving only a black hat on the ground. That was close enough for me and I considered Fred to be completely avenged. With this final chapter in the Deep Dungeon saga completed, I can take solace that never again will I have to submit myself to the drudgeries of any of them — Fred would have wanted it that way.