Saturday, 8 November 2014

Hordes of the Underdark Walkthrough - Part III

Chapter Two - The Valsharess

Lyth My'athar

At this point the Drow city, Lyth My'athar, takes over from Waterdeep as the hub, and the game opens up somewhat. There are several minor areas and five major quest regions which can be tackled in any order: Shaori's Fell, Isle of the Maker, Chasm of the Eye Tyrants, Drearing's Deep and Zorvak'Mur.  Chapter Two is all about going to these areas, fixing the problems there, and gaining support against the Drow Matron, the Valsharess. To help us in this epic endeavor are three exceptional individuals: The Seer, and two new Henchmen - Nathyrra (a Drow) and Valen (a Tiefling).

Nathyrra, The Seer and Valen
The Seer and drow of Lith My'athar are worshippers of Eilistraee, not Lolth.

The Temple of Lloth, in Lyth My'athar. The tailed man in green is Valen, bearded by Project Q.
Lyth My'athar is rather striking, and the music by Jeremy Soule is both serene and epic.
I'll be postponing Isle of the Maker until I've beefed up, as Mithral Golems inflicting 4d10+14 damage with 50/+5 soak aren't much fun and the demi-lich, Alsigard, boasts of an insane 30/+20 soak and insta-death spells. Many players don't know that a few of these more difficult encounters are completely optional, but in knowing that I've never been able to ignore them.

Also unknown to many is that you can complete all five major quests by using the Relic to bind a position outside Sergeant Osyyr's trigger zone, preferably under Rizolvir's nose so you can use his forge and trade with him right up until the invasion, which then begins on your terms and at a suitable time to you.

First things first, though: Sharwyn is gone, so I recruit Nathyrra for her elven longbow proficiency to keep the Archer Trio idea alive, and obviously for her wizardly ways. The fact that she initially brings Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Knock and the very valuable Stoneskin to the table outweighs any repetition between her spellbook and Deekin's, who at this point adds Mass Haste and Energy Buffer to his repertoire. Later they'll both be able to summon and buff Dire Tigers which, while no replacement for a powerhouse like Valen, will nevertheless soak some heavy blows if anything insolent gets through our combined projectile hail.

Lots of loot is sold off, yielding 550,000 gold. Though gold comes thick and fast in Hordes, there is never really enough to fulfill all crafting, quest and "role-playing" purposes, so don't get cocky about your wealth..

One of the merchants sells an Arcane Archer-only bow called Forever, for 230,000 gold. Tempting, but through Rizolvir the Blacksmith I was able to craft a +10 AB, +10 Mighty, Unlimited +5 piercing ammo bow for a whopping 410,000 gold which means I don't have to hangout for North Wind +8 from the City of Lost Souls. Plus the +5 piercing damage of the crafted bow is obviously better than Forever's 1d6 fire, an oft-resisted element in this campaign.

I'm not sure if its a bug, but it seems you can only put three enchantments on a bow through Rizolvir, whereas my Weapon Master was able to put eight enchantments on her melee weapon. Not to worry, the extras aren't particularly needed.

Anyway, the Headband of Intellect +6, Robe of Vecna and Dragon Slippers are worn gladly now by Nathyrra, who wields my old perma-Haste Taralash bow. In return, I now wear Nathyrra's Boots of Speed to keep us both on crystal meth. Deekin can cast Haste on himself when he needs to keep up, which will be often.

There is one nasty bug that remained in Hordes 1.69, that of Deekin not being summonable in Chapter 3 unless he's removed from the party and then brought back in (or dies/is resurrected). So I do that now, in case later I forget.

After some minor questing in the city, the trio boards Cavallas' mysterious boat and sails off to Shaori's Fell.


This quest area is all about collecting mirror shards - to assemble the Mirror of All-Seeing, to use against the Valsharess - and in the process having recurring skirmishes with Sabal, an assassin and leader of the Red Sisters, who teleports away when she takes enough damage. I was probably a little too hard on Imbue Arrow (fireball) earlier; it seems to be taking out drow trashmobs in two shots and that's more efficient than firing the bow twenty times. The third encounter with Sabal is pretty cool with her casting spells atop a ridge, supported by her cleric and seven crossbowmen taking poison-bolt potshots at the trio still stuck down below. The trio occupied with an Elder Water Elemental from Summon Creature IX, Sabal then comes down from the ridge to take us on fair and square, casting stuff like Time Stop, Word of Faith, Flame Strike and Hammer of the Gods (Spellcraft, ftw). The best tactic is of course to put her under heavy fire so her spells fizzle and she teleports away, then take out the remaining trash.

After disposing of a Drider trashmob, there's a challenge in a temple offered by the winged elven cleric, Lomylithrar. Basically he infects you with Talona's Fever (Greater Amulet of Health is auto-removed) which gets progressively more crippling as you face off against summoned monsters. Do the quest for the mirror shard reward, then put the sicko down for +EXP and a another pair of Dragon Slippers.

Massive physical stat penalties from a hideous disease.
The wizard tower is a boring wild magic zone filled with an unthematic mix of drow, demon, undead and Slaad trashmobs. Imbue Arrow comes into its own here, a single shot taking out an otherwise tedious zombie pack.

Atop the tower cowering in a small room just past a deadly trap is the apprentice, Jansil, who I let live in return for the mirror shard, mainly because I already lost my good alignment by taking out a few non-hostile winged elves, back in the village, and I'd like to get it back later (hopefully in the Dahanna encounter). 
I never saw traps like this in NWN2
Onward to the castle for the final showdown with Sabal, the trio battle through a veritable drider horde, and this rather long battle is the first that necessitates a serious buff-up beforehand, courtesy of Deekin and Nathyrra, to whom through dialogue I can just tell "Cast all your buffs on me", then watch as both simultaneously turn me into a juggernaut. 

Despite being critted early by a drider assassin for 50 damage, I managed to push on to spray arrows through the horde and splatter the Assanti-wielding Drider Chief for a 79 damage crit to get my revenge. I think at this stage my Weapon Master was doing 250 damage crits, so this is a massive step down from that beastly build, even with the AA's superior attack rate and ability to attack from afar (though I take much less damage than the WM, and barely ever have to use healkits).

The fourth and final encounter with Sabal is fought in a several-pillared hall, with each pillar having a unique effect when touched. Sabal managed to use one to polymorph into a Mithral Golem but to her dismay the assumed 50/+5 soak was far outclassed by my +10 bow. The trio looted her pincushioned corpse for the Belt of Fire Giant Strength, high-fived each other, and sailed off back to the Seer's camp to unburden themselves of an immense amount of loot, in preparation for the Isle of the Maker.

Isle of the Maker

Cavallas also sails us to the Isle.

There's a non-hostile Duergar camp here led by Dahanna, but other than a merchant there is literally nothing else of interest, so we head straight into the dungeon.

Mind the acid-spike traps throughout the Isle dungeons, they're deadly.

The first section is infested with a variety of golems - clay, iron, stone, minogon. Some of which wander the corridors, some of which are camped in rooms. Killed golems are systematically resurrected by a wandering Scavenger Golem, thereby giving the player the opportunity to rekill them for +EXP as the section is explored. Since the SG follows a pre-set path, the player can lure golems into side rooms, kill them there, then shut them in so they stay dead. Or just kill the SG. The proper way, though, is to learn the two digit code for the SG, head to the Central Control Room and enter the code to blow it up. There is also a code for the tough-ass Guardian Golem blocking the exit, but the trio managed to knock it on the head.

The next dungeon down hosts a golem war: flesh versus steel. It's just a matter of killing one leader for the other, to gain support against the Valsharess. Once again, Imbue Arrow worked wonders against trash and piercing-immune Clay Golems, but the Greater Minogons guarding the Power Source are best lured into a bottleneck.

As the trio descend into the (optional) Maker's Sanctum, a puzzle blocks the way. Archers will have no difficulty solving it, however - just shoot the mirrors.

The next roadblock is a will-o-wisp asking for a password. The trio refused to answer because killing the two awakened Mithral Golems yields much more EXP. These guys have insane stats, are Hasted and in Hordes they also get the Knockdown feat, which, with only token investment in the Discipline skill, is the bane of this trio of weaklings. The trio buffed their asses off and used summons to buy time, eventually bringing them down.

One of these crit-pwnd Nathyrra for 77 damage.

The EXP yield from those kills brought us into epic levels (21), which means my AA arrows hit +11 enchantment (Imbue Arrow = 15d6 fireball).

I need moar powah for the Maker fight, though. This guy is a custom demi-lich (Alsigard) boasting of epic damage immunity and reduction (which stack). It helps if you can do enough damage before he casts Time Stop, Chain Lightning, Meteor Swarm, Horrid Wilting and whatnot, because then you might endure that assault and finish him up before his next epic battery (which you probably won't survive, unless you save scum or teleport out).

Buffed up to the max, I endured the Maker's initial barrage of Weird as he buffed himself with Premonition and the like. Reducing him to Badly Wounded with Rapid Shot and remaining hitherto unscathed, he then cast Time Stop, after which multiple castings of Chain Lightning and Horrid Wilting wore me down to 20% health as the Maker reached Near Death status. My Cowl of Warding and Ring of Major Electrical Resistance warded off his castings of Slow and Gedlee's, respectively, and he then summoned an Elder Air Elemental that I totally ignored - concentrating fire on the Maker. Stubbornly persisting at Near Death, the Maker then unleashed Negative Energy Burst and Balagarn's Horn (Knockdown warded off with Dragon Slippers), then spammed Harm (I had 50% concealment) and Enervation as the Elder Air Elemental got some lucky hits in. The Maker then unleashed Firebrand, Bigby's Clenched Fist and Isaac's Lesser Missile Storm which necessitated from me a Potion of Heal quaffing. He then started to cast Finger of Death, but my arrow inflicting 1 damage fizzled the deadly incantation and dropped him dead.

I shot about 50 arrows, and the fight lasted about 4 minutes.

You can get immunity to Death Magic (Finger of Death) by wearing the Belt of Guiding Light bought from the Djinni.

Against the Maker, I'm thankful for my infinite +5 arrow upgrade...
You can also assemble your Shield Guardian down here if you collected all the parts on the way, and providing you have at least seven levels of Wiz/Sorc (note that the parts cannot even be found unless you have Wiz/Sorc levels).

Looting the many spell scrolls and potions, the party counts their lucky stars they survived, and in one piece. And with support guaranteed against the Valsharess from the Gold Golem, Ferron, the party teleports out of the Maker's Sanctum and back to the surface. There is an encounter here with the earlier Duergar (Dahanna), who demands a cut of the treasure (10,000 gold), but I pay her off (Persuade 1,000 gold) and give her a further 1,000 out of pity to settle things peacefully for the +7 alignment shift back towards Good.



  1. The link above is broken. Corrected below. Love the site lilura!

  2. Amazing to me to find tidbits I had not considered in all my playthroughs. The tip about binding next to Rizolvir is one of these. Certainly makes the last looting(s) more lucrative. The djinni has no bargains!

    A nitpick (15 years as a proofreader has its consequences): Enroute to the Fell's castle, Nathyrra would like her name spelled correctly I suspect.

    Also, I feel it's worth mentioning that in the first level of the Maker's dungeon that there's a pesky non-construct that will steal your favorite expensive empowered weapon, equipped or not, to bias the encounter in its favor (and trying to trick it out of its bounty by equipping a mundane weapon before entry does not fool it! :( ). ...or something to that effect.

    Also, a bit surprised your AA did not use the the 3 crafted golem artifacts to control those two mithral dudes. Makes it so much safer. ;)

    1. "Nathyrra would like her name spelled correctly I suspect".

      This walkthrough will be a gold mine for a proofeader; it was my first one! But sorry, I have no idea what you're talking about in this instance?

      I'm not familiar with the golem artifacts, either. Do you get XP for using them?

    2. IconclastMay 01, 2017

      There are 3 artifacts that can be crafted on one of those crafting tables (IIRC there are at least 2 tables) using magical powders that can found throughout that dungeon level. There is also a book around that describes the recipes. The golem attractor draws any golems within its pulse range towards it (this will arrest the scavenger until it can be "officially" dispatched in the room) and can be set down and picked up as needed. The golem binder drastically slows the golem's movement. The golem crasher causes huge amounts of damage to constructs. The binder and crasher have a limited number of charges. The attractor can be use an infinite number of times. I seem to remember that the recipe for the artifacts was written by the same bloke that built the guardian machine in the Maker's Sanctum... but don't quote that as fact. Been a long time since I've romped through HotU ;)

      To find the mispelling, just do a Search for string "Nytharra" (should be just under the pic of the swinging blades). That's the one I found in passing. A retired proofreader is a cursed form of life. Most books I read have been bled upon by red carets courtesy of that malady. :P

      If you prefer to leave your text at "status quo", no problem. Like I said, it's just an instinctual habit that can be repressed, when applicable. I've helped several NWN CC authors sanitize their text, especially those without English as their native language and they seem to feel it adds an element of professionalism to their content.

    3. Oh, yeah. I remember those powdery thingies but I don't think I've ever used them. How casual of me!

      Just so you know, I wasn't lazy trying to find that error. I just didn't think I could have butchered her name as badly as I did. :P

      I think the error is pretty bad so I'm gonna fix it. You're gonna find a lot of irreverence in this blog in regard to the English language; I'm not a native speak and I don't care much for grammatical rules, anymore. That said, if you find anything else unsightly don't hesitate to draw my attention to it. Afterall, I'm going for at least the semblance of a professional blog here. :P

      And cheers!


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