Meeting Gnaag, your archenemy in the Magnakai series, for the first time in The Jungle of Horrors is both fairly easy and fairly dangerous. Most options in the book lead you to meeting him. But you must have either the Magnakai Discipline of Curing or Laumspur or Rendalim's Elixir or an Oede herb. If you have none of the above, and try to meet him, you won't live long enough to meet him.
I. Getting Inside the City of Tharro Edit
The first big step to meeting Gnaag is to make it inside the city of Tharro. Start at the beginning in Section 1. You and your friend Lord Paido are in the city of Phoena trying to decide how to get to Tharro, by barge or by road.
A. The BargeEdit
- travel to Tharro by barge (271)
then you're already all set. You will inevitably find yourself inside Tharro and inevitably seek food and shelter at the Temple of the Sword (see Section II below).
B. The RoadEdit
But if you:
- ride to Tharro along the Great North Road (109)
you will run the slight risk of not making it inside the City. Inevitably, you and Paido will find yourselves in Section 318 on the road to Tharro where you'll see a track heading east with a road sign saying the track leads to Topham.
1. At TophamEdit
- change direction and ride east (249)
inevitably you'll find yourselves in Section 55 where you and Paido reach a ramshackle house labelled Ferry House where the barge to Tharro makes a stop. You can decide to wait for the barge or investigate the Ferry House, but either way the barge will arrive and its captain will inform you that the trip costs 40 Lune.
- Board the barge, pay the captain 40 Lune (or 10 Gold Crowns) (266)
and you'll make it inside Tharro and seek food and shelter at the Temple of the Sword (see Section II below).
2. At the Tharro City GateEdit
If, when you were first at the track leading to Topham, you:
- continue your ride north to Tharro (280)
or once you reached Topham and heard the barge captain's price you:
- do not want to board the barge, or if you cannot afford the fare (348)
you and Paido will inevitably find yourselves in Section 135 where you reach the city gate to Tharro, but a soldier at the gate demands to know your business before he'll allow entry to the town.
- If you wish to show him your Pass (68)
he'll let you through and you'll wind up in the Temple of the Sword (see Section II below).
- if you do not wish to show him your Pass, or no longer have it (92)
he won't let you through and you'll have to either find another way into the city or camp out on the plain.
- Skirt the perimeter of Fortress Hill and look for another entrance to the town (107)
You and Paido will make it to the east gate where the barge passengers are making it through. Paido points out how the two of you can blend in with a group of horse traders being let in all at once.
- Join the group of horse traders (297)
and you'll make it inside the city and wind up at the Temple of the Sword (see Section II below).
If you don't do this, you'll have to camp out on the plain and have to miss meeting Gnaag. But if you don't have Curing, Laumspur, Rendalim's Elixir, or an Oede herb, you'll have to take this route in order to survive. You'll only have to suffer the loss of a couple of ENDURANCE points for sleeping out in the rain, and get to enjoy a shorter, safer, and more boring adventure.
II. Surviving the Temple of the Sword Edit
Once inside Tharro, you'll inevitably wind up in section 78 where the monks in the Temple of the Sword serve you and Paido an appetizing stew.
A. Eating the StewEdit
- eat the appetizing stew (336)
your survival just got a lot harder (in fairness to you, the only in-universe reasons you'd have to distrust the monks would be if you bothered to learn Giak or had the Silver Bow of Duadon and killed Bourn the Bowyer and searched his body (all three of these things!); otherwise, you'd have no clue). Remember how you need to have either Curing or one of the three healing herbs in order to survive? Now you need both Curing and one of the three healing herbs to survive and the Magnakai rank of Primate or higher!
The Headmaster of the Temple will enter and order the other monks to leave. Suddenly, you and Paido will become violently sick from the poison in the stew as the Headmaster laughs evilly.
- If you have the Magnakai Discipline of Curing and have reached the rank of Primate (146)
you will be able to slow down the effects of the poison in your body and face your enemy (if you don't have this Discipline and rank, your life and your quest end here). He transforms and reveals himself to be a Helghast and you must fight him to the death (if you don't have the Somerswerd, you'll automatically grab for Paido's magic sword and will still be able to fight the Helghast). If you win, the poison starts to overwhelm your healing power.
- If you have any Laumspur, Rendalim’s Elixir, or Oede herb (178)
you'll be able to heal yourself and Paido (if you have none of the above, your life and quest end here). Soon, some magic liquid will broadcast a long distance transmission from Helgedad and you'll get to meet Gnaag for the first time.
B. Not Eating the StewEdit
If, when presented with the stew, you:
- choose to eat a Meal from your Backpack instead (217)
- decide to go without food, deduct 3 ENDURANCE points (174)
the monks will get quite agitated as the Headmaster arrives. You'll be given several options depending on your Magnakai Disciplines, but inevitably, you and Paido will be alone in the room with the Headmaster as Paido doubles over in pain from the poisoned stew he's eaten while the Headmaster reveals himself to be a Helghast.
- If you possess the Sommerswerd (308)
you'll have to fight the Helghast to the death.
- If you do not possess this Special Item (248)
you'll be given three options, none of which, thankfully, kills you instantly. From there, there's one Numbered Section you must choose as soon as you see it and another to avoid at all costs. As soon as you're giving the option to take Paido's sword and go to Section 47, do so! If you have the Magnakai Discipline of Divination and the rank of Tutelary, it will tell you to take Paido's sword and you'll do so automatically. Whatever you do, don't attack the Helghast with a hand weapon and go to Section 75 or the Helghast will kill you instantly. Once you have Paido's sword, you'll fight the Helghast to the death.
If you kill the Helghast, whether with the Somerswerd or Paido's sword, you will inevitably find yourself in Section 191 on the run from the remaining monks, carrying Paido's unconscious body, and having to choose between two exits: a wooden door and a staircase leading upwards. If you have the Magnakai Discipline of Pathsmanship or Divination, it'll tell you a little more about that staircase, but won't automatically decide for you which exit to take.
- Climb the stairs (157)
You and Paido will enter a large prayer hall (don't go through the wooden door; if you do, you'll have the same chance to survive, but no chance of seeing Gnaag). Once you've climbed the stairs and entered the prayer hall, inevitably, you'll find a secret passage under the pulpit, where you can hide and tend to Paido. Paido's now in a coma.
- If you have the Magnakai Discipline of Curing (19)
you'll be able to heal Paido and together, you'll see that magic liquid transmission of Gnaag.
- if you do not possess this skill (317)
you'll know Paido will be dead within an hour.
- If you have any Laumspur, Rendalim’s Elixir, or Oede herb (331)
you'll heal Paido (if you have none of these herbs, Paido dies, and in your grief, you go seeking revenge on the monks only to have them kill you instantly). Once Paido is healed, you two will be ready to see that long distance liquid transmission of Gnaag.
The path to meeting Gnaag is an exciting one, but you won't get there without help from either a Discipline, or a healing herb.