Chapter 4 seemed a bit shorter than the previous ones. Perhaps that’s because all the little side jobs were related to a chitrach infestation of the area.

That was in the land of the Anama cult, a weird group that uses priest magic but abhors the regular kind. The party could have joined them, but I suspect doing so would mean the end of mage spells. Besides, I don’t agree with their philosophy.

Of course, we found traces of Dorikas (I keep wanting to call him Doritos, munch munch ;), and as usual, he was still ahead of us. After leaving the Anamas, we entered the Howling Wastelands where Dark Loyalists were everywhere, ahead and behind us.

The fights were annoying, but not too bad, now that my priest has another offensive spell at last, and a couple of good buffs, as well. There was a big boss battle at the far end of the Wasteland, which went easier than I expected. But I had to do it twice, as the “boss” ran off the first time and I couldn’t catch up to him to finish him off.

Which brings to mind an especially nasty fight earlier in the game with the “boss” bandit leader, Lysstak, back in chapter three. We had made our way through his underground fortress, which was tough sledding, but doable.

So we reached him at last, and I took a look. You can right-click on an enemy and see how many hit points it has. Lysstak was well over 600. Right there, I felt nervous.

So the party buffed up as best it could, and started in. This guy had damage resistance you wouldn’t believe. All we could manage were a few paper cuts. A couple points here, a couple points there.

Even so, he decided to call for help. And now we faced two of them. As though one weren’t enough.

Needless to say, things went downhill from there. Even though calling in his doppelganger made him more vulnerable, it wasn’t long before the first party member bit the dust.

So I restored and thought about it. This wasn’t some “optional come back when you’re stronger” situation. I had to take him down to get on with the game. And there really wasn’t much left to do in the way of side jobs.

That’s not even counting the x.p. penalty. At best, I might eke out another level (and that wasn’t a sure thing, by any means). But that wouldn’t mean very much. So I cheated.

There’s no god mode, alas, but there is a code that covers the party with all the major buffs. So I used that, and hoped for the best. Just as well I did, too.

Because the buffs did make a difference; the party took less damage, though I also used the healing cheat from time to time to take the load off my priest.

It really helped when Lysstak called a third time. Yes, sports fans, now there were three of them. What was Jeff thinking here? Personally, I think this was crazy. Lysstak by himself was more than enough for the party at that stage of the game.

In any case, eventually we whittled them down, one at a time. But if I hadn’t had those special buffs, who knows? I might still be back there, trying to beat him.

That’s been the worst so far. As I said, there have been some tough fights since, but as we have some better spells now, they haven’t been nightmares. But who knows what might be waiting out there next?

In the meantime, having made it through the Wasteland, my merry crew is once again paddling along the river, on its way to the next destination.