Hub 2: Hypostyle
|Castle of Grief|
|Deathkings of the Dark Citadel|
|Map name: MAP12
Cheat code: visit12
Locked away, a siege beast, slumbering for ages, has awoken. The four points of the star must be conquered before winged death can be confronted.
This map consists of a large, pillared hall or hypostyle (see Trivia), which is connected to four side-chambers and a cavern.
At the southern end of the main hall, there are two portals, one open, the other barred. The open portal leads back to Shadow Wood. The other portal is the departure point for the next hub, which remains closed until you have completed the level.
In the center of the hypostyle hall is a four-pointed metallic star - each point indicating a cardinal direction and aligned with one of the side-chambers. When a chamber opens, the corresponding point of the star will rise up to indicate where you must go next. You must enter all four chambers, in a random order each time, as dictated by the star. As you enter each chamber, you are shoved inside as the stone door slams shut, which remains closed until you conquer the challenge within. Between each test, you can refer back to the star as a compass, pointing to where you must go. Once you have been tested in all four chambers, the star will retract to its default position. Only then you may advance to the southern cavern, where the Death Wyvern awaits.
You appear at the southern end of the pillared hall. There are numerous ettins stationed all around - twenty (20) on medium to high difficulty, seventeen (17) on lower difficulties. They are all facing away from the star, so it is possible to get your bearings and strike first. They are alerted as soon as they see you or hear your weapon. You should keep moving around the hall to avoid getting surrounded and pinned down by the mob - ettins pose a danger in numbers, especially this many at once.
At first, the passages leading out of the hall are all barred by stone doors. You must slay a certain ettin in order to open the first door - it is close to the star, at about the 4 o'clock position or east-southeast. Once this ettin has fallen, one of the points of the star will rise up, indicating the opened door. Before you proceed, it is good strategy to mop up all the ettins, since you will pass through the pillared hall frequently. There are pickups available: mana and crystal vials along the southern wall; fléchettes and quartz flasks along the northern wall.
Keep in mind that each chamber pushes you in and seals you inside until you pass the test. You can always refer to the star as a guide to the next chamber.
This oval-shaped room is full of broken pillars, with centaurs on either side. As soon as you enter, the broken pillars become crushers, grinding up and down. The key is to avoid getting pinned down or crushed. It is helpful to start fighting them from outside the door, since the centaurs usually cannot leave the chamber. The fighter should have no trouble with the crowd. The cleric can rely on fléchettes to lock them down, as always. The mage will also benefit from fléchettes, as well as discs of repulsion to keep them at bay.
The cleric will find a segment of his Wraithverge (the cross) in the center of the room between the crushers. In the southwest and southeast corners are shelves with blue and green mana respectively; the northern corner shelves offer crystal vials.
When you kill a certain centaur (initially between the crushers on the right), an alcove opens to the left/west, with stairs leading up to a sun/moon switch. When activated, a squad of four centaurs teleports in, and an identical alcove appears on the other side. You will make your way to the opposite eastern alcove and activate another sun/moon switch, spawning another squad of centaurs. This time, a northern alcove opens up. The stone door opens as you enter, but you must activate the final sun/moon switch to proceed.
Just ahead of you are a set of six large pillars which dominate the room. Interspersed between them are ettins. At the far end of the chamber, green chaos serpents occupy a raised fortification, from which they are spewing fireballs. Your best bet is to slay the ettins quickly, as there are more on the way. About 7 seconds (256 tics) after you enter, the pillars descend, each releasing an ettin. You must avoid getting surrounded while dodging fireballs, so it helps to keep maneuvering. Once the ettins are defeated, you can turn your attention to the chaos serpents. Just keep dodging and firing ranged attacks from the low ground, and you should win the exchange without difficulty. The pillars remain open, so you do not have to worry about any traps here.
There are a number of pickups. Along the western wall, on either side of the entrance, is blue and green mana. A little higher up, along the north and south walls, there are crystal vials. Still higher, in the center of the fortification, is combined mana. On the vantage point nearby, the fighter will find a segment of the Quietus (the crossguard and chappe).
At the easternmost point atop the fortification, there is a sun/moon switch set in the wall. Activate this to proceed. If you have not done so before, you will have to open the stone door. At the same moment the pillars descended, another sun/moon switch rose up in front of the entrance. It may be obscured by monster corpses, but it is there, just in front of the door. This opens the stone door and allows you back into the hall.
You enter a short corridor leading to a large, square room filled with lava. Afrits rise up from the lava, which are your first priority. The corridor contains a teleporter point, a small pool of water to the right/west, and a sun/moon switch to the left/east. When the switch is activated, the water changes and the lava basin drains and lowers. This forms a bridge where the crystal vials are, going straight across to a far alcove. Along the walls are demon masks, which are dormant for now. If you fall into the lava, you can get back up via the teleporters on the northern wall adjacent to the entrance. However, if you are teleported, the demon masks come alive and start shooting fireballs back and forth. You can still get across, but it will be more difficult.
The far alcove contains a few ettins, with three mana containers of each type just outside. Within, there are three (3) different arcane runes inscribed on the walls. The correct rune opens the way forward - the other two will teleport you to the beginning of the bridge, activating the fireball-spewing masks. You do not need to guess. Back in the entrance corridor, check where the small pool of water was - it now shows the correct rune, matching one of the three in the far alcove (it is randomly selected). The runes are distinctive, so the solution should be easy to remember. You can think of them as an arrowhead, a trident, and mirrored 4s/right triangles. When the correct rune is activated, you will not teleport, and the stone door opens.
You are on a ledge overlooking a cavernous chamber filled with lava. There are several thickset pillars straight ahead. As you approach, the pillars open, and the lower sections begin grinding up and down. In the meantime, a swarm of afrits are awakening and rising up from the lava, which you must shoot down.
The mage will find a segment of the Bloodscourge (second part of the staff) front and center, upon a podium. To either side are stairs leading down to the lava - each staircase contains blue or green mana respectively. The stairs allow you to recover quickly if you fall down to the lava and none of the pillars are lowered.
The upper pillar sections remain fixed in place, while the lower sections continuously move up and down at varying speeds. The elevation of the platforms ranges from almost flush with the lava to a fixed distance below the upper pillar. There is no danger of crushing from these pillars, and they do not sink under the lava. However, the fixed distance at maximum height is only slightly greater than your characters height - which means that when the pillar is fully raised, your ability to jump on or off will be obstructed. You will have to take all this into account as you cross the lava, using the broken pillars as stepping stones. However, it should not be too difficult, even as the mage.
Starting from the ledge, you should jump onto a nearby pillar while it is descending towards the lava. From there, you can jump to another pillar while its platform is lower. In this way, you can make it across to the opposite far western ledge. Keep in mind that if you fall down to the lava, you can either get on a descended pillar, or make your way to the staircases. When you reach the furthest pillars, there are two methods for reaching the ledge - either run across the gap when the pillar is at maximum height, or make a running leap from below.
Once you are on the ledge, there are quartz flasks and a combined mana container to pick up. Most importantly, there is a sun/moon switch in the alcove, which opens the way forward. From here, you can return either by hopping the pillars again, or by taking lava damage and running to the stairs.
Once you have completed all four chambers listed above, you may enter the lair of the Death Wyvern. All four points of the star are lowered, and the stone doors sealing the cave passages are open. The entrances are at the southeast and southwest corners of the pillared hall. Each begins with a small antechamber with a brown chaos serpent, as well as items: four quartz flasks to the southeast, a mystic urn to the southwest. You can enter either passageway - both lead to the cavern.
The cavern consists of a huge pool of lava, with a rock ledge running around the perimeter. The entire ledge is full of brown chaos serpents. As you enter, you hear a wailing, draconic cry - the Death Wyvern has awoken and is ready to do battle. It flies around the cavern in circles, beating its wings. If it sights you in its line of fire, it will fire a barrage of powerful fireballs. These are no ordinary missiles - after a brief delay, they trigger a secondary explosion. Taking the full brunt of its volley can easily be fatal. This is one reason why it is a good idea to fight the chaos serpents first - they can obstruct your ability to dodge. Another is that their fireballs can be a nuisance, especially when you need to concentrate on a boss battle. Finally, you have to fight through the chaos serpents to reach the Wings of Wrath, which completely change the dynamics of the battle. The Wings of Wrath are located to the south, almost at the center of the southern ledge. While you can fight from the ledges, you will be at a disadvantage. By taking to the air, you can battle the Death Wyvern on your own terms.
For tactical information on defeating this foe, see its page.
Once you have emerged victorious, simply make your way back to the pillared hall. You will recall two portals on the southern wall. The barred exit portal is now open - it is to the west, to the right of the lava chamber entrance, set further into the wall. Dive into this portal to move on from Shadow Wood to the next hub: Heresiarch's Seminary.
If the player enters the north room while the centaur leaves (or is teleported outside), the player cannot open either the exit door or the west wall to continue play. Further progress is blocked without use of a chaos device.
Areas / screenshots
- A hypostyle is a structure with its roof supported by columns, which describes this map. It is an ancient greek word which translates to "beneath pillars".
- There is an oculus above the four-pointed star.
- The cardinal directions are an overarching theme on this level. This, and a crowd of ettins, are points in common with the Sacred Grove.
- The "trident" rune strongly resembles the trident symbol of the Serpent Riders. It is also seen on the serpent staff.
- All three runes appear later in Menelkir's Tomb, along with an additional rune shaped like an N.