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Wizardry 8 Area Guide: Mt. Gigas through Ascension

The maze under Mt. Gigas is remarkably well sign-posted. Those meticulous Umpani bureaucrats. (-: Use the automap to ensure that you explore every corridor, but if you do miss one, it's nothing to worry about--there's nothing special in here. Things of note:

1) The lower caves are divided into four hubs, labelled Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta. There is also a "storage" area with some ammunition stashed in it, a "power plant" which I've been unable to find anything to do with, a large "unexplored" section whose stern warning not to mess around in it can be ignored at will, and the elevator to the training area. There is also one button here, a plate on the floor which depresses when you step on it but rises again when you step off. Depressing it opens a door further down the hallway. If you can figure out how to depress the plate and reach the door at the same time, you can go into the little room it reveals for a small prize.

2) When you go up the elevator, you will arrive in a second set of tunnels. Following the signs to the Training Area, you will find a little machine to swipe your card, but it's broken, so you'll have to figure out how to fix it first. Once you've done that it will open the door to the Gunnery, where you can meet Rubble again for some target practice and then a rather dull training mission next door in Covert Ops. That's all you're required to do on this level, but you can explore around to find a few areas to loot, the General's Quarters (rendered inaccessible by motion detectors until you finish the Mook Alliance quest, unless you want the Umpani to turn hostile), and the elevator to the peak.

3) You can take the elevator up to the peak if you have a fake top security pass. (The fake pass is no good for turning off the motion sensors on the General's quarters, alas.) There's nothing to do up there unless you want to betray the Umpani, however. The few items you can find there are hardly worth the long load time, and there's no one to talk to.

When you're all done with this area, you should have a quest from the T'Rang, the Umpani, or both to deliver letters to the Mook. You can deliver both, since the T'Rang and the Umpani want slightly different things out of the Mook. While you're there, though, you pretty much need to steal the Chaos Moliri--if not now then soon, because the plot won't advance beyond a certain point without it. I don't think there's any alternative--either kill the Mook and take it, or steal it by switching it with something else from your inventory. The Umpani and the T'Rang would now like you to go to Bayjin to rescue a lost Umpani squadron and track down the Dark Savant's ship, after which each will ask you to destroy the other. You can indeed betray the Umpani, the T'Rang, or both, but there will be a fourth option available to you after you deal with the Rapax, so why not put off the decision till you've seen them?

Rapax Rift

The Rift area is a very annoying map--lots of narrow walkways past lava, which kills you if you accidentally step into it, plus lots of high-hit-point enemies across pools of lava from you where you can only shoot them with arrows. Most of your NPCs won't enter this area with you, either, and if you bring them here against their will (which you can do by entering while they're dead, unconscious, or insane, or by teleporting in) they will be hexed and spend the whole time whining (Vi is especially annoying). On the other hand, there's good adventuring to be had here. Most of this map is just fighting, collecting loot, and figuring out how to get from one area to the next without stepping in any lava. If you miss an area you'll miss out on some good fights and treasure, but nothing important. Things to make sure you don't miss:

1) There's an obsidian stone lying around on the ground level. It's not critical for anything, but you can use it at the weaponsmith's.

2) There's a locked cell with three dials controlling the grate. I was unable to find the combination written anywhere; however, there are only three settings, so there are only 27 possibilities. Scroll through them till the grate opens and accept the prisoner's quest to help him. Pick up the chain in here, too. Once you've rescued him he'll clue you in on another, more important quest to become a Templar.

3) I was unable to do anything with the broken bridge on the ground level. You can get to the other side another way, so don't worry about it.

4) In the prison, there are several cell doors that won't open. You'll find controls to open them in the building across the narrow bridge from the prison, not in the prison itself, so don't drive yourself crazy trying to find them. The prisoners have nothing interesting to say anyway. Do make sure you use the nearby levers to cover the small pools of lava, though, because it's very hard to get back out again if you fall into one.

5) The building with the cell door controls is a dead end, by the way, so once you've found those controls don't pull out your hair looking for somewhere new to go from here. You can take the steep one-way path down from the bridge to ground level to save yourself some travel time.

6) There is one door that you can't get through down on the ground level (near where Rafe is). The key that you think should open this door, does not. That's not a bug; that key opens another door deeper in the complex. To get past this door, you will have to take a secret entrance from the hallway next door. Click around in that hallway enough and you'll find the way to do this.

7) There's a cool evil trap in this area, by the way. You can hardly miss it, since the game loudly calls it to your attention before you get anywhere near it and even directs you to the panel that disarms it. It's really a cool looking trap, though. I can't say as it was worth the long reload, but what happens is the two gates slam shut and then lava spews out of the stone mouth and drowns you. Instant death. Pretty neat.

8) The two teleporters lead to two other parts of the Rift: the big glowing room in the center, which you've already seen from afar, and a large demon door by the path to the Rapax castle. The demon door can be opened for a fight and a conversation with a horny demoness. Rafe tells you how, or, you can just figure it out for yourself; it's not hard.

Rapax Castle

The first map that loads is called "Rapax Courtyard." Though this is a separate map, it's very small and is really just an entryway to the castle, featuring one very annoying fight with Rapax archers standing up on the walls where you can't reach them. Once you've killed them and taken their token loot, head into the castle proper.

This castle is full of fast-respawning groups of Rapax, and can be either an invaluable source of XP and decent loot or a boring slugfest. If it's starting to feel like the latter, you can pacify the Rapax at any time by becoming a Templar. Just go into the temple and talk to the two NPCs that don't attack you; they'll step you through the process, and once you're done the Rapax will let you come and go in peace.

Places of note in the castle:

1) Ferro the armorer sells some extremely useful items and will, like his brother Antone, make you some custom ones if you have the right ingredients. He'll talk to you and sell to you whether you're a Templar or not--in fact, be careful about getting into fights in his proximity, as he'll join the battle on your behalf (!) and can be killed by the other Rapax. The room behind his forge contains a couple of items and an elevator to a locked door with some items in it. Ferro has the key, if you're good at pickpocketing or bring him a quest item (see #2).

2) Down a ramp from the ground floor is a dining room with alcohol (and a few other items) scattered liberally around it. A back room contains a kitchen with a few items--including a jar of pickled Trynnie meat, found in front of the dripping carcass of a dead Trynnie. Whatever quest this was originally intended for didn't make it into the final version; you can still give it to Ferro for a reward, but he won't ask you for it and its importance is unknown.

3) The temple, as I mentioned, is the place to become a Templar. Go up the red ramps to talk to the two Templars guarding the locked gates. They will let you in and step you through the initiation process. (You'll need a male PC in your party to finish the initiation, by the way--Al-Sedexus is surprisingly heterosexual for the cliched teen fantasy she is. Myles or Saxx will do if they're high enough level (and their Al-Sedexus commentary is hilarious!), and I've been told RFS-81 will suffice if no other male characters are around. When a girl's gotta have it, I guess she's gotta have it.)

4) There's an NPC you can pick up in the castle once you've become a Templar, Sexus. There's little point to taking him with, since he will only travel in the Rapax areas, but if you're short-handed you can give him a chance.

5) There's a room full of treasure chests which you can't get into, but the text suggests there's a way in from upstairs. Well, there isn't, per se; however, you can access a few items from it by feeding deposit slips into the magical deposit slip tube in the Upper Castle, later.

Rapax Cellar

This level is very small but has its own area map, meaning you have to sit through two long load screens to explore each of the rooms in it. (There are three ramps down into this area, and only two of the areas connect up). Mostly just some mediocre items to loot, but be sure to meet the Constable and acquire his key.

Upper Castle

There are a few ramps up to the Upper Castle, but unlike the cellar, they all connect up, so it doesn't matter which you take. I found the automap extremely unhelpful on this level due to all the shallowly sloping ramps. Your mileage may vary.

1) In the Constable's Office you can use his key to swipe some deposit slips.

2) In the servants' quarters you will find the Prince dallying with some concubines. He'll yell at you for interrupting him and teleport away. Don't worry, you'll find him later.

3) There's a bizarre little mechanical platform you can raise to get a key hidden underneath it. I have no idea what the point of this structure is supposed to be, but you can use the key to lift a portcullis that will make travel around this level a little easier and more direct.

4) On the roof there is a zoo. You can open all the doors and slay all the monsters but the fish, procuring a key in the process and looting the two sheds. You can also find the prince's playground. I don't know if there is a different, younger prince who plays here or the one you met is a little bit childish in his tastes, but he has a swingset and a room full of toys and dolls. You can get some armor to fit a fairy here; more importantly, by winding up the statue and turning it on, you can jump down a chute and get a key you'll need in the King's apartments.

5) In the Queen's apartments you can find a deactivated portal and her deposit slip, which will give you a key to her treasure trove including an item to activate the portal. This portal leads to Arnika. Why does the Queen have a personal portal to the Arnika temple? Why do the "King's Assassins" become hostile to you when you retrieve her key? Don't waste time wondering, because the plot this was part of apparently got deleted from the game, and you'll never find out. You will eventually meet the queen, but whatever plot was once associated with her has been lost and all she'll do is warn you about the alliance and their bomb.

6) In the King's apartments you will find the treasury tube (use deposit slips on the tub to get a few items up out of the treasury) and a small hidden keyhole you can open to reveal a portal to the Dark Savant's bomb tower. As everyone and his brother has warned you, failing to disarm this will result in the world blowing up. This looks really cool but is hardly the preferred ending. (-:

If you've become a Templar, you'll find as you try to leave the Rapax areas that the male PC who went off with Al-Sedexus is now her Thrall and will be hexed and constantly losing hit points and crying out in pain every thirty seconds or so if you return to a non-Rapax area. The only solution to this, as your journal suggests, is to go back to the Rapax Rift and kill her. Oddly, this doesn't turn the Rapax hostile. Maybe they didn't really like her all that much in the first place.

Umpani Tunnels/Bayjin/Sea Caves

You'll get the maximum plottiness out of the game if you do the underwater adventure before the Rapax Camp. You can approach the caves from either direction: through the Umpani water tunnels (with the scuba gear), or from the stairway in the Swamp. Either way, your NPCs will all bail on you here except for RFS-81. I suggest not forcing more than one NPC to go with you, because there's a new NPC in this area you'll need to pick up to finish the Umpani quest.

Some of these areas are underwater. You will need scuba gear to navigate these areas without drowning. The Umpani will give you some if you've advanced far enough through their quest list; alternatively, if you've been attacking the Umpani, you can use your fake ID to steal some, or go to Bayjin first and take the gear you find there. Magic, as the Umpani sergeant warned, does not function normally down here, but as near as I can tell all that means is that fire realm spells fizzle (including the 'haste' spell from the Drums of Rousing). Somewhat disappointing, as I was hoping for cool effects like steamballs or blocks of ice, but that would probably have been a real pain to program. Missiles and movement all work the same underwater as well.

1) The Umpani Tunnels are just a path to the Bayjin Shallows and a place to get used to some of the marine wildlife.

2) The Bayjin Shallows consist of three tunnels accessed by bubble-jet elevators--one leading to the Umpani tunnels, one to the Sea Caves, and one to Bayjin--connected to a giant central cavern with a humungous sea monster in it. It's possible to avoid the sea monster by hugging the wall of the cavern and moving quickly, but really, Vi Domina aside, what the hell kind of wussy hero is scared of a sea monster? It's so niftily animated, too. Take the time to fight with it; you'll be glad later. There's also a little crack in the wall of the cavern with a chest behind it; be sure not to miss that, though the treasure it holds isn't important for anything but wearing/selling. Along the tunnel to Bayjin there is a clump of wood blocking part of your path; take the time to explore that, because it's actually a sunken ship and has a chest inside. There's a piece of coral lying around somewhere in this area too, which you may want for Ferro, and the dogtags of some of the missing UTU divers, though these don't elicit much response from General Yamir and aren't really worth schlepping back to him yet.

3) Bayjin is an island, so you can take your scuba gear off to explore it. (There are a few water areas you're allowed to submerge in, but other than the tunnel to the Bayjin Shallows, nothing in them.) On the island are several huts with goodies in them and one with two NPCs to talk to, Glumph and Jan-Ette (you may remember the latter from Wizardry 7). I don't believe there is any way to keep Jan-Ette from dying; she delivers her spiel and keels over. Jan-Ette's crashed ship is also here and you should retrieve the items from that. Otherwise, just explore the island for a few hidden items (you can get up the mountains, and there are some items stashed up there too.)

4) The Sea Caves have a few different entrances. Don't get discouraged by the various impassable parts (a brick wall, a hole in the ceiling, a crevasse, and a locked door)--there is one item apiece on this map to help you pass each of them, and you'll just need to explore around until you find each of them. You'll also find Spike Boots, which aren't strictly necessary but may make it easier to keep your footing as you try to clamber up a slippery slope at one point. Once you retrieve the Destinae Dominus from Marten, your characters may all become insane (even though the Helm of Serenity was supposed to protect you from this fate). If that happens to you, just make sure the stone is in the inventory of the character wearing the helm and go to sleep--the insanity should be gone by morning.

Rapax Camp

This camp pops up where the Wilderness Clearing once was as soon as you have both the Chaos Moliri and the Astral Dominae. The Rapax have now razed and occupied the place. (They also killed Rex.) You can come here before doing the other Rapax areas, but it'll just be a slugfest at that point; if you did the Rapax quest and became a Templar, you can instead pass through the camp and rescue the Rapax prisoners. Then it'll be a slugfest. What the hell, Rapax drop pretty good items.

1) Inside the smaller purple tent is the Rapax prince with some more concubines. He'll bitch at you some more and then teleport away. There is a chest you can't reach behind the concubines. After you've made enemies with the Rapax again, you can kill the concubines and get to it, but it's a disappointment; there's nothing much in it.

2) Inside the larger purple tent is the Rapax king. You can ask him about the alliance with the Dark Savant, though he won't tell you anything you didn't already know, and about the Rapax queen, though he doesn't have much to say. He'll ask you to interrogate his prisoners for him. If you're skilled at pickpocketing you can acquire the key to the queen's cell for him, otherwise you can kill him after you've rescued the prisoners and take it.

3) Inside the cell behind the king's tent is the Rapax queen. It seems there was a more involved plot planned for her originally which got scrapped for lack of programming time, as a "rescue the Rapax queen" plot shows up in your journal and there are some strange references to the "King's Assassins" in your journal. You can still talk to the queen and learn what she knows about the alliance and the bomb.

4) There are a couple of levers that open the closed gate between the archery outposts: one is up the outpost on the near side, the other on the doorpost on the far side. It's all rather moot as you can just walk over the rocks to pass back and forth anyway.

5) In the tree cages are the two prisoners, Rodan and Drazic. I suggest that you postpone rescuing these prisoners and torquing the Rapax off until you've visited Ascension Peak. Just beyond the northern gate at Ascension Peak you can encounter the Rapax Prince for a third time, accompanied by an amusingly named demoness, and if you are still in the good graces of the Templars they will talk to you before attacking you, telling you some interesting information and prompting a hilarious entry in your journal. Killing them will not damage your faction ratings with the Templars for some reason, so you can do this and then return for the prisoners.

Once you do talk to them, assuming you haven't destroyed the Umpani or the T'Rang, they will tell you their story and you can invite them to join you for a jailbreak. (It is possible to go back to the King and tell him they know of his plans instead, but you receive no reward for doing this and though the King offhandedly orders their deaths his order will not be carried out.) After the prisoners tell you of the Rapax alliance with the Dark Savant, your characters will react with fear and shock for some reason, even though the Rapax king and queen have already told them all about it. Whatever. Bring the prisoners back to their leaders (portal spells are handy here) for large XP rewards and your final Umpani-T'Rang quest.

Ascension Peak

There are two ways to enter this area: from the Mountain Wilderness trail Bela is camped by, and through the portal in the Rapax temple. The former path is blocked by a landslide midway through the game, but if you came in earlier and set a portal, you can use that. The Rapax route always works.

The monsters come fast and furious in this zone, and they scale to your level, so this is both a good place to pick up XP when you need it and a pain-in-the-ass place when you're trying to move quickly. Rest often. It's also a slow-loading zone, due in part to huge deposits of about 50 bundles of arrows all over the map. Emptying those out helps the load times a little. Portals work here except for the area right around the Cosmic Circle.

The central fountain is ringed by three statues pointing in different directions. Your characters will comment on that. Each statue is pointing towards a different locked gate, which you will have to pick to enter.

1) The northern gate, which the Trynnie is pointing to, leads to a clearing with a Rapax army in it. This encounter is more interesting if you are still a Templar, since the Prince and the priestess will speak to you before attacking in that instance (the ensuing fight does not damage your rating with the Templars for some reason). From there the eastern route leads to the Cosmic Circle (which you cannot reach until you have placedall three artifacts on the Peak) and the western leads to the temple where you can place the Astral Dominae. You'll have to fight a humungous scorcher first and answer two questions from Aletheides. If you've been paying any attention at all to anything any of the NPCs have been incessantly repeating all game, these questions should be no-brainers. Don't be in such a hurry that you fail to notice the nice chest sitting in the temple near where Aletheides appears.

2) The eastern gate, which the human woman is pointing to, leads to a Trynnie who will try to extort you for some cash. By this point in the game you could afford 50 times this much, so it's up to you whether you want to pay him off or take on the combat that ensues if you don't. There's another boss monster further up the path, a Souleater to be precise. The temple at the end of the road has another chest in it, another couple of questions from Aletheides which 20 different NPCs have already told you the answer to, and another artifact holder, this one for the Destinae Dominus.

3) The western gate, which the Rapax is pointing to, leads past a swampy clearing with a giant ooze in it. You don't have to fight it if you don't want, but it's easy enough to kill. For some unknown reason there are a lot of crucified humans around here. Did the Rapax kill them? Did the Dark Savant? What? There's nothing to do with them except search at the base of the poles for items. Just eye candy I guess. In the ruined temple there's a third chest, a third set of questions from Aletheides which 20 different NPCs have already told you the answer to, and another artifact holder, this one for the Chaos Moliri.

Cosmic Circle

Once you've placed all three artifacts, head to the Cosmic Circle for the endgame. You'll meet the Dark Savant there, and if you haven't defused his bomb yet you'll get an amusing apocalyptic ending. Otherwise follow him througth the portal, down the glowing path, and then pretty much sit back and watch. If you bring Vi with you she'll leave your party at the end, for no good reason. She'll still fight on your side, but without any of her items, so she's near-useless. She will make a few comments to the Dark Savant during his final exposition speech, but if she's not there, Bela will just make the exact same comments, so you don't really lose anything leaving her behind. The final plot element is really quite good, a reward for suffering through the otherwise clunky and uninspired storyline, and it leaves you with three choices each of which results in a different ending. You can save right after entering the Circle and reload after you finish the game to see the other two endings if you like (though you have to sit through all the exposition all over again--there's no way to fast-forward it). When you're done each of your characters, as well as Saxx and RFS-81 if either of them is in your party, will comment on the victory, a nice touch. All in all, a good game, and a friend tells me the weaknesses in the plot and quests were actually due to the game's funding getting pulled before the programming was finished, so kudos to them for putting out a product as nice as they did. This is definitely the end of the Wizardry series, unless the next one is going to be a SimWorld sort of thing about running a universe. (-: Hope you enjoyed it!

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