As the Molten Alliance increased their attacks, the Vigil were able to hone in on their weapon testing facilities. I spoke with Warmaster Uma Threshgrowl outside the entrance, and learned that both Rox and Braham were waiting inside for backup. So along with four other eager adventurers, we joined forces and descended into the Molten Facility.
It looked as if we reached a dead-end, but before Braham had a chance to pick a fight with a rocky wall, Rox intervened. Due to her experience working in a mine, she was able to operate some abandoned dredge drilling machinery. Just then, a flame portal formed behind us. The drilling alerted them to our presence. We fought them off while Rox finished getting the device started.
When Rox said she’d drill through, I didn’t imagine the path would be so long. The machine whirred along, leaving hot fiery rocks as it drilled further. My heart raced when some light peaked through on the side of our path. Our rocky tunnel was in no danger of collapsing, but we had just drilled through part of a smaller cave. Ferocious monsters growled and leaped from their secluded home to attack us.
Inside the caves, we discovered a strange blue and green gemstone attached to mithril and orichalcum nodes. We were in a rush to defeat the Molten Alliance at the time, but apparently the azurite gem has some unique properties for crafting armor and jewellery.
Rox’s drill finally broke through to the main cavern. Before I could stop and look around for Molten Alliance activity, we had to defend ourselves from a large group of fire elementals.
As we proceeded onward, natural jets of steam surged on and off. Our timing had to be precise to make it through without hitting a wall of pain.
Passing the jets, we transitioned from a cool cavern to a room filled with lava and machines. The sight ahead of us proved to be gruesome; this weapons testing facility was using live captives as test subjects. Braham identified one of the captives as a norn from Cragstead right before we saw him being crushed.
I thought it was careless to actually enter the testing area, but Braham and Rox were furious and determined to destroy the machine.
The sadistic dredge overseeing the tests, started a series of three different “weapons”: pillars of fire, crushers that release a shockwave that knocks you over, and setting sections of the floor on fire. Throughout this we tried damaging the central thermal core, which we were able to finally destroy after surviving through the final test with all of the weapons unleashed at once.
Behind the gates that kept us in the testing area, we found several devices left on a workbench. Each of them used a combination of flame legion and dredge influence. But what really caught our attention was a stash of rare items. (Being an adventurer definitely has its perks!)
Leaving the steaming hot weapons testing area, the next portion of their underground lair was unnaturally cold.
We began to encounter the flame legion and dredge with their new equipment. The Molten Gunners in particular, were one of the most annoying enemies I’ve had the displeasure of fighting. I don’t know how their handheld gun produces fire tornadoes, but they’re always the first enemy we killed.
Looking around the room, we finally discovered the coolant boxes which were causing the room to freeze over. With no engineers on hand, we hastily destroyed the boxes and moved on.
These coolant boxes were in several rooms, leading up to a dead end with a Molten Effigy and other enemies waiting for us. I still don’t understand the meaning behind these coolant boxes, especially for the flame legion. Don’t they hate the cold?
Bashing a fenced off gate, we entered what appeared to be the main Molten Facility area. Soon we heard the cries of refugees and rushed to free them. Their tales of the Molten Alliance were gruesome. Captives were either used for “testing” or mining.
Everyone was desperate to leave the facility, but we continued to search the area for anything useful or informative. All that I was able to retrieve were a few letters, written by refugees that had died. It won’t help us in the battles ahead, but I will see to it that they’re delivered.
Descending into the facility, we keep finding more structures and development hinting that they’re building up for a large assault. I got the impression that this has been going on for more than several months.
Rescuing the last of the molten captives, we entered a large room with an assortment of mining equipment. It’s incredible that they have built up such a large facility to arm their alliance. I can’t help but think that if we had more dredge allies or if the dwarves were still around, we’d have received an earlier warning.
No one wanted to linger, but we couldn’t help ourselves from mining some rare orichalcum before moving on.
Trying to find our way out, two colossal Molten Alliance monstrosities made a dramatic entrance and blocked our path. It was shocking to see how huge these guys were! Even the norn in our party was impressed with the Molten Firestorm and Molten Berserker.
Soon our real concern was dealing with their highly advanced and deadly technology. Molten Firestorm would, as you can imagine, set the floor ablaze and shoot fire as it flew around the arena. While we had to keep our distance from it, Molten Berserker would stomp and cause large shockwaves.
The intensity of the battle heightened just as we killed the Molten Firestorm. The Molten Berserker picked up his friend’s jetpack and sent out now fiery shockwaves and caused debris to fall all over the arena.
After dodging and jumping through fire and shockwaves (for what seemed like forever), we finally defeated the Molten Alliance’s best challengers.
On our way out, Braham helped us place explosives on key points to bring down the Molten Facility. Rox had an aversion to explosives, and used her skill to pick the locked door blocking our escape passage.
(It wasn’t the time to ask her about it, but I wondered if the molten explosives had something to do with losing her warband.)
With precious few seconds before the facility collapsed, we ran to the elevator shaft which would bring us to the surface. While we safely waited inside it, Rox and Braham discussed what the Vigil had already revealed. There were many more of these molten operations underground, and we’d be called on again to infiltrate them.