Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Aielund Saga: Act One - Part IV

Continuing from Part III.

Barbs & 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. Further down the corridor we meet the spirit of Sir Augustus Charleston. The Spirit gets our attention 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.

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. Here, we are approached by a Halfling rogue, Bidoc Dabble. Frustrated by the tests, he asks us to join up with him in order 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. We then receive the Knight's Key that opens the vault (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.

We now explore the Southern section. Here, we come across our first barbarians, stationed at a lookout. The scariest barbs are the raging berserkers and shamans.

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. 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. We carve through several barbs and come across Morik Far Eagle, who was 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, a Human Chaotic Good Barbarian of tenth level, temporarily joins us to fight the barbs. 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.

More exploring...

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

We fight through a slew of raging barbs led by a shaman who attempts to rally the last of his crew against us.

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, but it stands no chance against us.

In a sideroom we lay waste to more barbs and loot stashes of gems 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 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. We only had to breathe on Tald and the ogre for them to fall, but Erag lays 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 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. His head will be taken to Redfurn in Bracksworth; proof that the deed is done.

We loot 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.

On a table we find a map with battle plans detailing 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. 

Morik thanks us and leaves the party. We 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. 

Back in Bracksworth, we deliver Erag's horrible head to Commander Redfurn (1000 EXP, +1000 GP, +1 Lawful, 50 EXP).

She can fly?

But the 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. Nice divine damage.

The druid, Hasrinaxx, and his leopard, Sebastian, leave their grove and enter the fray as our allies.

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

I break into CoT here.

With all the mercs dead and the town defended, we catch up with the 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 (the hostage mentioned in the battle plans). As in Culdeny with the goblins, the same method was used to breach the walls of Bracksworth (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, the trio visit the scribe and inform him that we freed the soul of the Exiled Knight (the Spirit of Sir Augustus Charleston, 100 EXP).

Hasrinaxx also agrees to show us some gear he's collected over the years - mostly +2 druid weapons and +3 light armors.

We make our way to the rear of the inn and drop down through the hidden trap door in pursuit of the kidnappers!

Princess Criosa & the Black Cavalier


  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.

    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.

  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.

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

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

  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.

    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.

    2. Bug has been reported to Balkoth.

  4. Hi! Just found your blog, it's fantastic! It's nice playing the module and reading about how another player fared. You fared way better than me BTW. I'm playing a sorcerer and some encounters can be tough, like the elite mercs at the end. I'm lousy at listening skills so I always fall for those assassins' sneak attack. On the other hand I just bombarded Erag with spells while on speed potion. Even in Act II I'm finding the module is heavily favoring wizards to sorcerer, what with all the wizard items you can get but none for sorcerers.

    I think I found something that breaks a quest. It's at the barbarian caves. I proceeded normally in the beginning until I came across that room where Morik is being held. I didn't actually know there was someone to save in there as I was busy with some barbarians outside. I noticed these guys where behind a metal gate so I decided to ignore them and explore the rest of the caves first. When I got back there I found 2 wounded barbarians and Morik dead on the floor. Killed the barbarians and Raised Dead Morik.

    That's where it got weird. When I talked to him he's stuck to the "it's good you're still continuing the quest" line or something like that. He won't talk about anything else and doesn't give me any quest. Can't ask him to leave the party either. So I just took him to Erag and Erag killed him in the battle. I tried resurrecting him at that point but he's still broken and won't leave the party so just I reloaded a save and just left him dead on the floor there. If I resurrected him he'd probably go with me all the way to The Redoubtable.

    1. Hi, Nak Tan. Yes, that bug has been reported twice in this comments section already.

      I have played Aielund only the once, so I'm not sure what itemization is like for Sorcerers in future acts. Hopefully you will find something other than just +Charisma items. If not, Sorcs are not a very gear-dependent class, anyway. Good luck! And thanks for commenting.


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