Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Aielund Saga: Act One - Part V

Princess Criosa & the Black Cavalier

Having dropped down through the trap door and clambered down a ladder, the trio find themselves standing in watery tunnels snaking their way beneath the Stormflow river.

There are gouges in the muddy soil that indicate someone was dragged along unwillingly. - Dante.

Told ya they'd chase after her. You owe me 20 gold, Jim! - Mercenary.

Several mercs and spies attack us at the tunnel's end, but Nellise damages and dazes them with Hammer of the Gods (truly a great spell), turning the tide in our favor. Dante and I then poke at our disabled foes with the pointy ends of our swords, and the encounter is ended.

We clamber up the opposite ladder and come out onto the grassy surface of the Central Plains, as rain in this region continues to fall.

I can make out tracks on the ground here. Someone was being dragged along by two others. The tracks head Northeast. - Dante.

Together we shall show these mercenaries that they are no match for Aielunders! - Nellise.

I ask Nellise to cast all her long term buffing spells on me: Freedom of Movement, Death Ward, Endurance, Bull's Strength, Aid, Protection From Evil and Bless. The trio then sprint East across the grassy plains in search of mercs in need of a killin'.

Here comes the counter-attack, men. Hold this position! - Mercenary Sergeant

Spotting several stationed at a lookout, I charge past the grunts towards the merc spellcaster and make an unsuccessful Knockdown attempt. The wizard then casts Dispel Magic on me while I'm being heavily flanked by the grunts, but only succeeds in removing my Freedom of Movement (see feedback window).

I drop the spellcaster and then attempt to hold my ground against the tower-shielded grunts as Nellise casts Hammer of the Gods, inflicting very decent divine damage and dazing the mercs even as Dante engages with a spy who just melted into action from the shadows.

Ignoring the disabled mercs, I engage the free and dangerous merc sergeant whom I critically hit and then hack to death.

Nellise then casts a precautionary healing spell on me as Dante and I clean up the rest with criticals, cleaves and great cleaves.

The battered corpse of the merc sergeant is looted for the Crossbow of Impact (1d10 Massive Criticals), Acid Bolt (98), Bolt of Fire (99), and the merc spellcaster is looted for a Quarterstaff +1 and Ring of Protection +1.

(Note that the mercs are solid foes, it's just that I have very decent AC and can tank them somewhat. I prefer to roll with sword n shield in low level campaigns anyway, because, with low HPs, mitigating damage is more important than inflicting more with two-handed weapons, at least against multiple enemies who are similarly specced. So these battles would be harder without a tank, just sayin'...)

Heading Northward, several more mercs then fail pretty badly in preventing us from reaching this elevated position, pictured below.

The trail leads East, then heads around to the North. There is no sign of anyone being dragged anymore. - Dante.

Just north of this point is the cave entrance to the hideout of the Steel Tigers. Two guards stood guard here alongside a stealthed spy, but they were unable to defend against the buffed trio's righteous attacks. We enter the hideout.

This looks like a natural cave complex. The smell of goblins and death permeates the air. - DM

Make sure you're ready for anything. These guys are well prepared, but at least we have the element of surprise. - Dante.

Inside, we are assailed by three more sneak attacking spies whom we promptly put in their place. Rounding a corner, we see our old friend from the Gentlemen's Club, Ronald Bartlett, scurrying away like a rat along with his mercenary captain.

They must not leave here alive! - Bartlett.

We're under attack! Cover our escape! - Mercenary Captain.

Several mercs emerge to cover the two, but don't last long.

We bash down the door to a central room and inside find an unsigned note addressed to Robert Black (Bartlett's "security advisor" from the Gentleman's Club - evidence of his involvement in the kidnapping of Criosa.

There is a trapped chest in here (Rapier +2, Amulet of Will +2).

Onward we wind our way through the narrow caves.

There's a piece of torn cloth here. I think we're on the right track. - Dante.

We walk over another merc sergeant (Heavy Crossbow +1), spellcaster and grunt - after which we gain access to a corridor leading to several rooms.

The three storage rooms are ransacked for two Raise Dead scrolls and scrolls of Web, Mordenkainen's Sword, Slow, Hold Person and Greater Stoneskin. We also loot Acid Arrow (99), Bolt of Fire (99), Ice Bullet (99), and basic potions and knick-knacks. 

One of the rooms is used to store the corpses of goblins who once dwelt here.

The stench in here is overwhelming. Apparently, this is where the former inhabitants were dumped. - DM.

Nextdoor to them is the imprisoned Princess Criosa Roebec, her clothing tattered and torn. 

There she is. Woah, nice... outfit. - Dante.

Criosa (Human Neutral Good Rogue (6) now joins the party. I have her wield Defender +2 and equip her with whatever else we can spare (she refuses to wear armor). At first it seemed she could only detect traps and not disarm them, but that little glitch seems to have corrected itself somehow.

I sense an ambush ahead. Tread carefully! - Nellise. 

We charge towards archers at the end of a corridor who quickly switch to swords when we close in for the kill.

The dual-wielding mercenary captain fights hard, but in vain. Criosa actually manages to land a sneak attack against the spellcaster who cast Darkness.

The merc captain was in possession of decent gear (Bastard Sword +1, Short Sword +1, Helm of Mind Shielding [Bonus Feat: Slippery Mind, Mind Affecting +3], and Amulet of Natural Armor +2.)

We fought well my friend. We just might make it through this in one piece afterall! - Dante.

We descend to level two of the Steel Tiger hideout.

I can see footprints of one man running at full speed here. They lead to the East. - Dante.

Here we encounter and hack down a mighty mountain giant who was standing over Bartlett's flattened corpse (looted for Lord's Attire (+2 CHA) and Gentleman's Rapier). The attire is the fashion of Fairloch and this fact upsets Criosa. A note is found on Bartlett's body addressed to him, signed by "Number One". It indicates that perhaps a lord from Fairloch hired the mercs.

An appropriate ending for a treacherous scoundrel like Bartlett. - Nellise.

Level Up to 9!

Lilura: Champion of Torm (1) / Paladin (4)/ Fighter (4), Divine Might
Dante: Ranger (1) / Fighter (8), Improved Critical: Greatsword
Nellise: Cleric (9), Toughness

(Criosa does not level up...)

There are three beefed up dire spiders in the Northeast here that inflicted debilitating poison on all of us, but we had just enough antidotes and scrolls to restore ourselves.

In the Northeast there is a cool looking creature to fight, called a Bulette. It was disappointingly easy to kill, though.

More bloody dire spiders, these things suck. Miraculously, we made all our Fort saves this time.

Barring the exit to the hideout is a second mountain giant leering over the corpses of four stomped-on victims, whom we loot for a Lesser Restoration scroll and misc. garbage.

A way out, at last! We've almost made it! - Nellise.

We exit out to the mountain pass...

... and onto the Eastern Highway where we run into friendly guards who heroically join up with us against the Steel Tigers besieging Culdeny.

I have Nellise buff me into a juggernaut as I quaff potions of Speed and Eagle's Splendor. I have Dante quaff potions of Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace and Endurance, then have Nellise do the same.

Dante now returns to wielding the Greatsword +1 because he wisely took Improved Critical at level 9.

Hey, if we don't make it through this, I just wanted you to know, it was an honor to fight alongside you. Now, let's give 'em hell! - Dante.

Though powerful forces stand in our path, we must push onwards and pray that we prevail. Good luck to us all. - Nellise.

To arms! To battle! - PC

Thirsting for merc blood, the thugged out party sprints down the hill towards the siege engine and bridge leading to Culdeny.

We smash through the first wave consisting of two merc elites, an archer, a spy and an engineer operating a trebuchet. (Nellise needs to be carefully micro-managed here otherwise she'll waste Circle of Doom and Flame Strike before the real fight even starts).

The cavalier, Robert Black, thunders in on his dark steed as multiple merc elites also converge on the party. A sorcerer stands on the bridge, keeping his distance. Note my positioning at this point, especially Nellise's distance from the enemies - this is key. If she's too close she'll wade into the fray with her mace and heal-spam Dante and I (which isn't enough to keep us alive). But if she's at this distance, she'll unleash AoEs on my command (attack nearest). I had her follow and then stand her ground until the enemy clump together, as this obviously makes her AoEs hit more targets. The stupid guards have already charged, but there's nothing I can do about that.

At this point Dante and I have tanked the grunts and the hard-hitting cavalier, and Nellise has unleashed Circle of Doom and Flame Strike to soften them up.

You've been a real thorn in my side - but your meddling ends here. - Robert Black.

A melee blood-bath ensues, and the valiant Dante is struck down dead by our wicked mounted adversary.

Flank them! Take them down NOW! - Black

The PC avenges the death by sending Black toppling from his horse. He hits the deck hard, laying there lifelessly (+532 EXP).

Criosa and the PC then chase down the sorcerer on the bridge and fill him full of holes, then stab dead the last remaining straggling archer.

Dante is resurrected using one of five Raise Dead scrolls that we had in reserve.

Robert Black's broken body is relieved of the Dark Cloak (Hide +1), Cavalier Helm (+5 Ride) and Full Plate of Fear (Fear, once per day). No weapon was found.

And that ends this very hard but entertaining low level battle.

Yeah, way to kick that guy's ass. You've done good kid, real good. - Dante.

Well, I needed two or three retries including a TPK before succeeding (D&D Hardcore rules). Nellise can majorly take the heat off with her divine/fire damage and daze, disabling even Black.

Black also begins on the bridge and sometimes casts Fear before galloping in, but I don't think we ever failed the save.

This is the first time I've seen mounted combat in NWN, and I thought it was pretty impressive.

Here's a close-up pic of the black cavalier, love the silky textures.

With clear passage now, the heroic four cross the bridge and enter the dragon-ravaged town of Culdeny, still ablaze from the air assault. Upon entry we're welcomed by Commander Ariel Smith who rewards us for defeating Robert Black and returning stability to the region (+1500 GP, +1000 EXP). I also tell Criosa I'm glad to be of service (+2 Good, +150 EXP).

Criosa now wishes to leave for Fairloch upon the naval vessel, The Redoubtable, but first we need to offload piles of loot. The merchants are mostly without stock but are at least cashed up again. It seems they can pay up to 5,000 GP for a single item but can only purchase about 8,000 GP's worth of items before you can't sell to them anymore. Not a big deal, it just means you have to visit them all to find a buyer. 

Unfortunately, Dante and Nellise desire to leave the party soon (explanations in pics), but at least they give fair warning (unlike Chapter 2 Hordes). I strip them of their gear and sell off unneeded loot (+30,000 GP). I keep a broad variety of items, as I'm not sure which Henchmen will be available to me next.

Criosa and I now bid farewell to the devastated town of Culdeny and board the longboat to The Redoubtable, bound for Fairloch.

This concludes Act One of the Aielund Saga

Piratey Antics & Fairloch


  1. "Robert Black's broken body is relieved of the Dark Cloak (Hide +1), Cavalier Helm (+5 Ride) and Full Plate of Fear (Fear, once per day). No weapon was found. "

    Page 2 of his inventory -- not all loot is displayed on first page if there's not enough room for it to be shown.

    1. Yeah, I later slapped myself for this when I read a post in your Bioware forum topic. Luckily the missed loot wasn't all that great (Bastard Sword +2, Tower Shield of Magic Protection [Magic resist 5/-]. Would have lined my pockets a bit more with gold, though...


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