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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Aielund Saga: Act One - Part IV


Barbs n Mercs

We find ourselves in the Southern Foothills. Exploring the North first, we come across a graveyard with a prominent tomb as its focal point. This is the Tomb of the Exiled Warrior, which we read about in a tome in Bracksworth at the start of our adventure.


This is Bracksworth cemetery. I heard that someone famous was buried here. - Nellise.

Inside the tomb we pass by an impenetrable vault, and further down the corridor meet the spirit of Sir Augustus Charleston. The Spirit tantalizes us by indicating he has treasures to pass on to someone worthy, but first the trio must undergo three tests - those of Strength, Valor and Honor. 


The test of strength involves killing three minotaurs and bringing the Spirit back a horn from the berserker minotaur. Sounds easy, and is easy. We also looted a Greataxe +1 from the berserker's corpse.


The test of valor is not as easy. We face off against spectral undead (shadows, shadow fiends). Nelisse's Turn Undead is handy here, as Dante easily succumbs to fear.

This place gives me the creeps. Keep your eyes peeled, something's bound to try and kill us at some point. - Dante. 


The Shadow Lord is the toughest spectre, wielding the Shadowblade which we loot from his "corpse".


Level Up to 7!

Lilura: Paladin (3)/ Fighter (4) Turn Undead, Remove Disease
Dante: Ranger (1) / Fighter (6)
Nellise: Cleric (7)

At the end of the corridor is a Balor which disappears after being hit. On the floor we find the Heart of Evil, which we return to the Spirit to complete the second test.


The Spirit tells us the test of honor won't involve fighting, to which I respond "that is refreshing" (+1 Good, +50 EXP). He asks us to retrieve a flower given to him by his lady love, and tells us we cannot leave until we do this. Then we're teleported into another section of the dungeon and are first approached by a Halfling rogue, Bidoc Dabble. Frustrated by the tests, he asks us to join up with him to break into the vault and simply steal the treasure. I tell him I can complete the test without resorting to theft, and don't need his help (+1 Lawful, +50 EXP). Further down the corridor is a Wounded Man from Bracksworth calling out for help. We tell him we won't ignore someone in need (+1 Good, +50 EXP) and escort the poor guy out of the dungeon. This in fact completes the test of honor. There is a chest further down containing the flower, but retrieving it fails the quest.

Kings and rules and laws come and go, but the only thing that matters is life. - Spirit of Sir Augustus Charleston.

I couldn't ignore the Wounded Man, in spite of your explicit orders. - PC (+2 Good, +150 EXP)



A good lesson for a Paladin (which the Spirit referred to me as in dialogue). We then receive the Knight's Key (for the vault) and +800 EXP.

Contents of the vault: Wand of Ice Storm, Sword of Valour (+1, +1 Bludg, +2 Fear saves), Archaic Full Plate (-80% weight, on-hit Electric Jolt), Gauntlets of Ogre Power (+2 STR), Helm of Presence (+2 CHA), Tower Shield Vs. Missiles.

Apart from the wand, I now equip all of the above. I also wear the Amulet of Vitality +2, Cloak of Protection +2, Ring of Resistance +1 and Sash of Shimmering.

Nellise now wears my masterwork armor, Helm of the Bull and carries the Large Metal Shield +2 for added D.

I've decided at this point to have Dante dual-wielding Defender +2 and Slicer for two reasons: the cool factor of the animations, and I like their mods (+1 AC and +1d4 Slashing). Providing the smaller weapon (Slicer) is in his offhand, his attack bonus is still reasonable. This means he'll also have to stay in light (or no) armor, as otherwise he'll lose the benefits of the Dual-Wield ranger bonus feat. He'll take a hit in damage, but whatevs. I won't hesitate to swap the greatsword back in if need be. Dante also wears my masterwork visored helm.

We now explore the Southern section and here come across our first barbarians, stationed at a lookout. The scariest barbs are the raging "RAARGH!!!" berserkers wielding greataxes and the shamans casting Call Lightning, but all the barbs are solid foes - especially taken together.

Ok, these barbarians have a reputation for being very good fighters, and extremely vicious too, so don't hold back when things get bloody. - Dante.



These barbarians fight like demons, but we must have faith in our abilities, and our strength, to overcome these enemies of the kingdom. - Nellise.

We climb up from the Southern Foothills onto the High Plains...

The freezing wind here cuts through you like a knife. It is difficult to see through the driving snow. - DM

This area is similar to Cania in Hordes of the Underdark in that you take periodic cold damage from the environment. The damage is 1-4 cold, but this is entirely negated by our Winter Cloaks (Resist Cold 5/-).



There is an imposing barbarian fortification here which we decide not to gate crash. Instead, we hike upward to a ridge and then circle around the fort to flank the barbs.


Atop a ridge, looking down at the barbs from behind them.


This is about the max number of barbs you want to be fighting at any given time. Here I've drawn half of them up to the ridge by firing arrows down on them. Some archers are firing from below and the others are closing in (out of view), but we had finished these guys off before the second wave caught up, and when they did we were able to take them.

With those guys taken out the lower section is safe and we head down and into the barbarian cave.

There are many different varieties of barb in here: dual-wielders, axe-throwers, shield users, greataxe wielders and archers. Very, very cool. I use Knockdown often in here. We carve through several barbs and come across an imprisoned human (Morik Far Eagle), who was once the chief of the tribe until he was usurped by Erag Rulash.


This guy looks important. Probably means we shouldn't kill him, dammit. - Dante.

Morik (Human Chaotic Good Barbarian (10) temporarily joins us to fight the barbs, and Erag. Since he's built for Greataxe, we give him the Greataxe +1 looted from the minotaur berserker. I also throw him a chain shirt and helm for token D.

More exploring...

Looks like a storage area. These guys are really getting ready for something big. - Dante.


We then fight through a slew of raging barbs led by a shaman who attempts to rally the last of his crew against us, but to no avail.


The floor of the next level down is littered with traps which inflict decent fire damage (it's times like these when you wish you had a rogue). The four are set on by another ogre berserker here, but it stands no chance now that the trio is stronger and topped off by an ex-chieftain-of-barbs.

In a sideroom we lay waste to more barbs and loot stashes of gems, +120 GP and Mild Poison Arrows (297).

Disgusted at the sight of two ogres and an ogre mage gloating over the dead body of a ranger, the party charges as one and hacks their tough hides into ribbons of flesh.


Damn. They got Tommy. He was a good man. That Erag bastard is going to pay. - Dante.
 

Now only a metal door stands between us and our Half-orc target.

We will show Erag the error of his ways. I'm ready whenever you are. - Nellise.

The four angrily bash down the door to Erag's war-room, and are immediately set on by elder shaman Tald Black Tiger - "the defacto ruler and the real power behind Erag" - along with another repulsive ogre and Erag Rulash himself, brandishing a double axe and raging hard at the sight of this meddlesome four. We only had to breathe on Tald and the ogre for them to fall, but Erag staunchly charges and starts laying into us with hard and fast hits.


Get zu! Get ZALKA! -  Erag.


But under a relentless assault from three melee experts, he is unable to hold on for long.


We loot his ruined hulking frame for the Emergency Exit Key, Conquerer's Helm (only useable by Evil), Berserker's Armor (+1 Regen), Double Axe +2 and Amulet of Natural Armor +2. Then Dante relishes severing his head to take to Redfurn in Bracksworth.

We peel off the Black Tiger Armor (SR 10) from the bloodied corpse of the squishy druid, and take the Scimitar of Sharpness (+1, Keen) from his cold, dead hand. Dante will be awarded both of these. He'll crit with the scimitar on 15-20. And being unfinessable, it suits him more than the Rapier. Sweet.

On a table we find a map with battle plans which detail Erag's intention to take over Bracksworth and Culdeny, but only to occupy (not to destroy). It also details plans of the Steel Tigers merc group to acquire a hostage. 

In a chest here are just some knick-knacks in the form of jewelry and gems.

Morik now thanks us and auto-leaves the party, and our wrecking crew exit the barb cave.

Looks like we've stopped the barbarian invasion in it's tracks. Tommy's been avenged. Farewell mate. - Dante.

We have done a great service to these people today, and to the Kingdom. You should be proud. - Nellise. 

Upon returning to Bracksworth we're intercepted by Commander Redfurn who gladly receives Erag's horrible head (+1000 EXP, +1000 GP, +1 Lawful, +50 EXP).

Check out Redfurn's entry:


But the all-round high-fives are cut short as Redfurn is assassinated and Bracksworth comes under attack from mercenaries. The blue guys here are the Bracksworth guards.


Nellise chips in with Hammer of the Gods for that divine damage.
 

Then the rain-drenched druid (Hasrinaxx) and his leopard (Sebastian), leave their peaceful grove and enter the fray as our allies. Hazzy casts Call Lightning and Barkskin, then enters melee alongside his fearsome feline.


Level Up to 8!

Lilura: Champion of Torm (1) / Paladin (3)/ Fighter (4), STR +1
Dante: Ranger (1) / Fighter (7), STR +1
Nellise: Cleric (8), WIS +1

Awh yeah! CoT. Not that the first level gives me anything other than a Lay on Hands stack with Pally (which also means a stacked divine damage touch attack against undead), but the addition of this PrC will eventually put me "over the top", so to speak.

With all the mercs dead and the town defended, we catch up with the hysterical mayor in Bracksworth Inn and ask him what the hell the fighting was all about. Apparently, Princess Criosa was staying at the inn and was kidnapped by the mercs (obviously the hostage mentioned in the battle plans). As in Culdeny with the goblins, the same method was used to breach the walls of Bracksworth (R.B tunneling). The guard captain also informs us that one of his men witnessed the perpetrators leave from the back of the inn, and that a sorcerer was involved. I assure the mayor we'll rescue Criosa and bring her abductors to justice, in the name of the King (+1 Lawful +50 EXP). 


Before giving chase, though, the trio visit the scribe and inform him that we freed the soul of the Exiled Knight (the Spirit of Sir Augustus Charleston) for +100 EXP.

Hasrinaxx also agrees to show us some gear he's collected over the years - mostly +2 druid weapons and +3 light armors - but nothing really strikes the eyes of the trio, and they're expensive with an unfavorable reaction.

Now we head around to the back of the Bracksworth Inn, and drop down through the hidden trap door in pursuit of the kidnappers!


Princess Criosa & the Black Cavalier

Act One Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V
Act Two
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII
Act Three
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII
Act Four
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV | Part XV |
 

8 comments:

  1. "A good lesson for a Paladin (which the Spirit referred to me as in dialogue)"

    I immediately thought of that when you said the Good > Lawful thing in your first post.

    "This means he'll also have to stay in light (or no) armor, as otherwise he'll lose the benefits of the Dual-Wield ranger bonus feat. He'll take a hit in damage, but whatevs. I won't hesitate to swap the greatsword back in if need be."

    If you're curious, given his Greatsword feats he's definitely more powerful not dual-wielding (dual-wielding is kind of bad in general) -- obviously you made it through anyway, though.

    "Before giving chase, though, the trio visit the scribe and inform him that we freed the soul of the Exiled Knight (the Spirit of Sir Augustus Charleston) for +100 EXP. "

    I never knew this existed. Go figure. I am shamed.

    "Hasrinaxx also agrees to show us some gear he's collected over the years - mostly +2 druid weapons and +3 light armors - but nothing really strikes the eyes of the trio, and they're expensive with an unfavorable reaction."

    The Club +3 is amazing and I think there's a Lesser Ring of Power that are good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Harinaxx also sells +3 sickle and +4 sling.

      His normal inventory has a Belt of the Vines (bonus 1/2/3 spell slots), too, which would have been excellent for Maggie or a Druid PC.

      I only had like 30,000 GP at that stage, so couldn't really justify the expense of the LRoP.

      Dante ended up swapping back to Greatsword when he chose Improved Crit.

      Delete
  2. +3 sickle isn't bad either -- even if you have weapon focus in a longsword then you're losing 1 base damage and 1 AB from WF to gain 2 AB and 2 damage. Gain of 1 for both overall.

    And interesting on the GP, I guess I spent less elsewhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point, but I feel like such a... farmer wielding a sickle. ;)

      Delete
    2. Do I see a paladin putting pride over being better at protecting the innocent? :P

      Delete
  3. Oh, in my game Morik never left! I'm pretty bad at Neverwinter Nights though so the extra party member is a welcome addition. I didn't even realize he was supposed to leave until I read this, haha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, that happened to me, too. Then he was cut down defending the village from mercenaries. Sorry, barbarians; guess you're screwed leadership-wise.

      Delete
    2. Bug has been reported to Balkoth.

      Delete

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