When we last left our Sprog of Erdrick, he’d suited himself up for battle, and was staring down Charlock Castle from across the river with a determined Toriyama-style grimace. So, that’s it, right? Just a quick swim across the channel to plunge our bamboo spear into the Dragonlord’s glaring eye?
Nnnot quite. The road to red dragons is paved with about sixty million slime corpses.
Incidentally, something I learned recently: “Charlock” is a type of mustard plant.
Here we go.
Part II: The Cave of Erdrick
We don’t go to Galenholm – except when we do.
For all the slimes I sent into the arms of the Great Zenithian Dragon while playing this iteration of Dragon Quest, I don’t think I ever took a single snapshot of the miserable creatures. Tell you what I did get a snap of, though: Another app, Tiny Tower Vegas, flagging me down and telling me to restock Fishing Slots.
Nothing pulls you out of a fantasy game like being informed “HEY! The tiny people you lord over in World B are aching for entertainment! Get your ass in gear, High Queen of Neglect!”
A dracky draws near!
Early supplemental (and usually unauthorized) guides and literature for Dragon Quest / Dragon Warrior referred to Drackies as “baby dragons.” I thought of them as such until I played Dragon Quest VIII and learned they actually belong to the bird family. I think any bird born with bat-wings, fangs, and a whiplike tail should be smothered in the nest with a caul made of its own egg membrane, but okey dokey.
Drackies aren’t too tough, and you’re sure to encounter them early in the game: Their territory begins once you step foot out of Tantegel’s backyard. But taking them on at level 2 is a bit risky, as they bite harder than slimes. No surprise. Lookit those fangs.
Level up! Yay, hero Kitten! Notice I got the “Heal” spell. Finally, I can let my umbilical cord dry up, crumble away, and take my first big steps away from Tantegel. Eat, like, ten dicks, king dad.
Ow ow ow I went too far I’m sorry king dad, can I come home again?
Great, thanks. Can Craig crash here too? I found him behind the weapon shop. He says he’s a knight.
And now, comedy. Turns out I never had the bamboo spear equipped, and I didn’t realize it until I’d fought several (inexplicably hard) battles! Ha ha! I paid for something I didn’t use!
Ha ha! I got hurt pretty bad!
Anyway, your first big “journey away from home” is usually a cave near Tantegel that contains Erdrick’s tablets. These tablets explain your mission, even though the king took up half your life doing the exact same thing when you started the game.
“Erdrick my esteemed forefather, after running afoul of that Drackolyte, I can confirm my blood’s just a plain old boring shade of red. Same as everyone else’s. Stop pretending your ichor is something special.”
Erdrick’s tablets confirm it’s not a straight shot to the Dragonlord’s lair. You need the Staff of Rain and the Stones of Sunlight to make a pretty, pretty rainbow across a vital gap.
There’s nothing else in this dungeon – no enemies, no treasure – so there’s never any reason to visit it on subsequent playthroughs unless you’re a Let’s Player pretending to be thorough.
Protip: If your father ever uses these words in front of you, it’s time he was away in a home.
This dude’s fancy words restore your magic points, so you can use the Heal spell as often as you like. It’s a great alternative to paying for the Inn when you’re saving up for better weapons and armour. Boo to Innkeepers trying to make an honest living!
Got careless during a ghost encounter. Note my level: DEAD.
The king brings you back whenever you die, though he scolds you. Someone doesn’t want to take responsibility for the fact they expect me to save the world with a stick while wearing long underwear made of dead cow skins. I doth be the 99%.
In the northwest corner of the continent, we have slightly more difficult enemies like ghosts. We also have the town of Galenholm, named for a bard, Galen, buried in an insanely deep and dangerous tomb on the premises.
Since Dragon Quest III is a prequel to Dragon Quest, you get to meet Galen in the flesh late in the game. Dragon Quest III is so neat.
“We didn’t bother to move the body. Just the headstone.”
Half of Galenholm is under lock and key for some reason. It’s a clever little bit of trolling on Enix’s part. You don’t have access to keys at this stage in the game, but you’re driven to find some, return to Galenholm, and open up its mysteries. On your first playthrough of Dragon Quest, the memory of this big building is what flashes into your mind.
Iron axe, 560 gold? Chain mail, 300 gold?? Doth thou believe I be made of money, good sir?
I’m saving up for the much more affordable copper sword at this stage in the game. It’s far more affordable, the enemies around Galenholm and Tantegel give up miserable amounts of gold, and the sword is more than enough to defeat some of the rougher enemies in the game, like this guy:
oh god how did this get here I am not good at let’s play.
Ahem. The next stage of my quest will take me to Kol, which is populated by skeletons and scorpions. Strictly upper-lower level fare, but intimidating when you’re a level 4 baby.
You’ll see. Next time, Gadget.