Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Aielund Saga Walkthrough: Act One - Part III

Continuing from Part II.

Poachers, Calespur Caverns & the Abandoned Mine

The module starts to pick up here, combat-wise, after the questing in Culdeny.

We travel to the Calespur Ranges on a dark and stormy night. Standing before us, silhouetted against the night sky, is The Lodge of which the ranger Donan Marshall spoke, invitingly lit up from inside like a lantern. Rangers stand guard outside, and can be seen patrolling deeper in the woods.

Uh, I ain't real popular round here at the moment. Just thought I'd let you know that chief. - Dante.


Inside the lodge, the staunch ranger captain, Armin Wise, details their issues with notorious poachers who are headed up by a nobleman from Fairloch, Tomar Fairchild, who makes a fortune selling their pelts and meat. The trio agree to remove the filthy curs from this pristine location.


Under cover of darkness the Hunters are difficult to spot, but we slice and dice our way through scattered packs of them, on the corpse of one finding a Scarab of Protection +1. An unlikely badger ally helped us at one stage, too. Cute little devil.

To the West there is a ruin guarded by more hunters, and a chest containing three animal pelts.

Bloody poachers! This is the King's game reserve and they're setting up shop right under our noses. Let's teach them a lesson! - Dante.

Poachers in the King's own forest. This is unconscionable! - Nellise.

Un-wot-ah-bah-bul?

 

After taking out two hunters guarding the door to Tomar's cabin, we are surprised to find his door left unlocked. But Tomar Fairchild isn't hostile when we enter, and asks us what it will take to forget we ever saw him. I respond that we require his House Symbol and that he must never show his face here ever again. Grateful for my mercy, he slinks out with his tail between his legs (250 EXP, +1 Good, 500 GP). Stased in his cabin we find 100 GP, two more animal pelts, Fine Composite Longbow (Massive Criticals 3, Mighty +5), Piercing Arrows (99), and a Glittering Necklace.


Glad to be of service to the Crown, we return to Armin Wise and give him the House Symbol (+1 Lawful, 550 EXP, 300 GP). We also hand in a total of five animal pelts (250 EXP).

There is a Quartermaster upstairs, from whom we stock up on medkits before heading to the Northwest of the map, where, at the crack of dawn, we encounter the lone ranger, Mona. 

 

Another ranger in need, she requests that we risk life and limb clearing the Calespur caverns of an unwanted guest that is also preying on the King's game, and for no reward this time. The paladin in me jumps at the chance to perform yet another noble deed, and squeezes past Dante and Nellise to be the first into the eerie cave.

The rocky walls are slick with moisture from weeks of endless rain. - DM


The first level is small and consists of only three worgs.

I must admit, I've never been one to explore caverns and such. Quite a new experience for me. - Nellise.

Descending to level two, we face off against Hook Horrors and an Umber Hulk who yields a tidy 430 EXP. Where's my Cowl of Warding? But none of us failed our save against confusion gaze.

Note that you can rest only once every four hours (10 mins realtime).


Level Up to 5!

Lilura: Paladin (1)/ Fighter (4), Weapon Specialization: Longsword
Dante: Ranger (1) / Fighter (4)
Nellise: Cleric (5)

On a corpse we find a Cloak of Fortification +1, Shortbow +1 and Lightning Arrows (99). Then we are suddenly ambushed by a dozen gargoyles popping out of the ground, who turned out to be fairly easy pickings.


Onward, we are amused to encounter a hostile Wandering Gnome. 

About bloody time you showed up. Let's get this over with! - Wandering Gnome.


According to his journal, this tough little bastard was a thief-in-hiding. He was expecting to be tracked down by those whom he had ripped off; hence, his hostility.

From his corpse we loot a Potion of Lesser Restoration, Potion of Antidote, Bracers of Armor +2, Mage's Robe of Battle, and a Journeyman Staff.

The rest of this level is mostly about hacking at spiders of all kinds (sword, phase, giant, wraith). We best a second Umber Hulk at the exit, and then rest before descending to the cavern's third and deepest level.
 

Here we are immediately set on by two young wyverns, who we easily mop up. Creeping in further...

Did you hear that? It sounded like something big moving. - Nellise.

And a little further... Dante stops.

Woah. Something smells big... I don't like this at all. - Dante. 

There is a full-grown wyvern and two more young'uns down here. The adult wyvern is tough to beat in a normal fight, possessed as it is of high STR, Knockdown and DC-26 Con-draining poison, which you're unlikely to resist at this level. The easiest way to tackle this encounter is to trick the wyvern into giving chase and having it stop in front of a ballista.


Here we run screaming our heads off towards the ballista.


The wyvern is lured right in the line of fire, too stupid to circle around.


The ballista is loaded...


BOOM.

It's also possible to cheese the wyvern using ranged weapons from this alcove, similar to how the Bebilith in HotU can be cheesed. This way, you get the juicy kill exp. However, with preparation or fool's luck it can be beaten fair and square with the stand-and-deliver approach.


Either way, the wyvern treasure is significant: Slicer (Short Sword +1 [+1-4 Slashing]), Large Metal Shield +2, Lesser Ring of Wizardry, Sacred Cloth (Monk only), Cloak of Protection +2, Ring of Resistance +1, assorted spells and scrolls (Dispel Magic, Raise Dead, Slow, Fireball, Negative Energy Burst and Restoration), assorted gems and potions, 456 GP.


The natural caverns here feature a large lake and show evidence of mining, what with the cart tracks and man-made tunnels. Here we find the corpse of a dead Dwarven warrior, Dorum MacTavish, the brother of Clavis from Culdeny, and loot it for Dwarven Full Plate (Dwarf only), Helm of the Bull (+1 AC), Handaxe +1 and Bolt of Fire (99). From his journal we learn that Dorum entered the caverns in search of the fabled underground water supply discovered by his ancestors. Well, at least he found it. The cause of his death was most likely slain by wyvern.

Exiting this area, we now find ourselves in the lowest part of the abandoned mines, which are infested with zombies. Nelisse Turns Undead, insta-killing three zombies and divine-damaging the zombie lord. Then she lands the killing blow on the Lord to top off her great performance. The dual-wielding zombie lord is looted for Kama +2 and Kama +1.



Heading upstairs to the mine's second level, we're assaulted by yet more spiders.

Ah, the old Dwarven mines. These were abandoned when the clan struck a large water reserve. - Dante.

One of the siderooms has a nasty web-trap and spiders. There are chests holding various scrolls, such as Resurrection, Neutralize Poison (2), Lesser Dispel and Lesser Restoration. We also found +2 Arrows and Bullets, Bolt of Frostbite (99), Archer's Belt (Piercing 5/-), and Leather Armor +2.

Another section contains two zombie warriors, tyrant fog zombies, ghouls and ghasts. Turn Undead, ftw.




Level Up to 6!

Lilura: Paladin (2)/ Fighter (4), Knockdown, Aura of Courage, Smite Evil
Dante: Ranger (1) / Fighter (5), Great Cleave
Nellise: Cleric (6), Cleave

Yep, the trio is beefing up now.

The last section on this level just contains giant spiderlings. We find loot here consisting of a Mercurial Sword (exotic CEP weapon), Light Pick +1, Light Hammer +1 and 100 GP.

Upstairs to the highest level of the mines, and we're up against the bugbears.

Can't believe we've let this scum set up camp in these old mines. I think we should show them the door. By which I mean killing them. - Dante.

The skull-helmed bugbear chieftain is hacked to the ground for a Katana +1. After dusting off the other buggers we ransack their huts for 300 GP and assorted gems.


There's a treasury room here with a sign posted outside, reading "No-one enter. Bad thing inside." We enter and find a rusty statue that comes to life and goes hostile when we attempt to open chests behind it. Vanquished, it leaves behind a set of Rusted Full Plate. The chests are holding Restoration scroll, Defender +2 rapier and 842 GP.


Dante knocks this bugbear hero flying.


We then topple the bugbear temple, smash their altar to pieces for 350 EXP and +2 Good, crack the skull of the bugbear shaman, and loot its corpse for Dagger +1 and Amulet of Vitality +2 (+2 CON). 

The fighting became easier after the wyverns and zombie lord because we're coming back up out of the caverns the way Dorum came in (and the optional way we could have entered, too).

Encumbered and stat-drained, we finally exit the mines into the Calespur mountains, where we take on an ogre berserker - one tough mutha. Three other ogres are camped nearby, but they offer little resistance.




This mountain section is quite small and leads back to the Calespur ranges, where Mona doesn't seem all that interested in our success in the Caverns?

Clavis of Culdeny is interested in news of his brother, though. We tell him Dorum was slain by wyverns. The grateful Clavis lets us keep Dorum's gear (300 GP, 500 XP). 

We sell off our loot and amass a tidy sum of 24,000 GP; then, we time-lapse back to Bracksworth.

It seems the mayor of Bracksworth has finally received news from Highmarch concerning the barbarian threat to the East. He refers us to Commander Redfurn in the barracks for more info.


Redfurn tells us the barbarians intend to strike soon, and asks us to take out their Half-orc leader, Erag. While raiding his stronghold we're to keep our eyes peeled for a ranger sent by Armin to spy on the barbarians, whom Dante knows as Tommy. We're also advised to wrap ourselves in winter cloaks due to the bitter cold on the High Plains.

I tell her we'll do our best against the barbs, and that she can count on us (+1 Good, 50 EXP).

With permission granted to exit via the East gate, the trio step out of Bracksworth and begin their journey into the Wilds...

Next up: Part IV
Barbs & Mercs

33 comments:

  1. "However, with preparation or fool's luck it can be beaten fair and square with the stand-and-deliver approach."

    The way a REAL man fights it!

    Er, and apparently a real woman too.

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    1. The ballista fire should probably drop the Wyvern in one shot because its hard enough for new players to get it into that position in the first place and killing it this way doesn't even give any kill EXP. It was a welcome brutal encounter, though. Very hard to tank at that player lvl.

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    2. I'll admit I never even tried using the ballista on it, never knew it even worked. Always just tanked it. I could look at that, though.

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    3. Please do, I can see new players giving up here or maybe just turning down the difficulty and cheesing it. Perhaps there should be hints 1) tracks of a grown wyvern detected by Dante, 2) we're unlikely to beat it by normal means 3) we should find OTHER means to bring it down, or just run past it. But IDEALLY the ballista should be placed BEFORE the encounter, in the open area not far from the entryway, where it's already suitably placed to fire at the approaching wyvern.

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    4. Technically the ballista IS placed before the encounter if you enter through the mines area rather than the caverns area. Perhaps Savant figured that if you couldn't beat it that you'd leave, find the other route down, and then find the ballista.

      Hmm.

      Something to mull over, like I said never even really considered the ballista before.

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    5. Ah, I forgot about the second entry point and the wrap around nature of the dungeon chain. However, I'd say most people would enter through the first entrypoint they come across, the one in the Calespur ranges map, behind Mona. Still, it's not a big deal I guess. I'd just prefer the wyvern is killed in one hit from the ballista, several just seems a bit much since it's already a pain to line him up anyway.

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    6. Yeah, I agree most people will enter from Mona's side. Like I said, I think it may have been put into place as a "back-up" in case you couldn't beat it straight up.

      If anything, I might have it do like 30% of its HP and weaken it (less AB/damage/AC) but the ballista breaks upon firing. I don't really like the idea of it instantly being one shot.

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    7. Weaken would be ideal, it's knockdown and STR draining poison is OP at that stage.

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    8. If you have a high AC character equipped properly (either Dante or Nelisse can fill this role) then the Wyvern can't do very much at all, actually. Still hard to hit, though.

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    9. My AC was 26 with masterwork full plate and masterwork tower shield etc...

      The Wyvern goes for knockdown on every hit, it prob gets +4 for it's size over players... TPKs on clvl5 can happen - on D&D hardcore rules, at least. Correction: poison is CON not STR drain.

      For me it's fairly hard to hit, very hard not to get hit by. If Dante can get in a crit or two, it makes all the difference.

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    10. 26 AC sounds about right.

      10 base
      1 dex
      8 FP
      3 TS
      2 natural armor AC
      1 armor AC
      1 deflection AC
      1 dodge AC

      That's 27.

      The +4 knockdown bonus only applies to the discipline check, not the attack roll -- and at 26-27 AC it'll miss you 90% of the time. If you get unlucky and you get hit a few times in a row, yeah, it sucks.

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  2. The master smithy in Culdeny can repair the Rusted Full Plate for 2,000 GP - it removes the -2 AC penalty and polishes it up visually.

    Thanks to Dreaad for pointing this out!

    Dorum's Full Plate and Bull's Helm can also be polished up for 20 GP each, but their stats don't change.

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    1. I figured you had done that, oops.

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  3. You forgot horses :) Thanks for nicely written walkthrough! One remark though: you should mention in this section one thing, namely... HORSES in Aielund Saga. Behind the hut of Tomar Fairchild in Calespur Ranges there are fully mountable horses that can serve you really well! Your party can start traveling fast on a genuine medieval equivalent of a motorbike. I really recommend trying: the experience of horse riding in NWN adds greatly to the climate.

    How to mount? When you just click on the horses, nothing happens (hence many players early in the game may not realize horse riding is possible at all). To push things forward you should find sub menu "Mount Actions" in your Paladin/Warrior... etc. special abilities. /1/ First, use option "Assign mount" to click on a horse and then on a person to own it. /2/ Once you assigned horses to all of the characters, just click "Party mount" and voila - you're ready to travel on a horsebeck.
    PS. It is useful to add "Party Mount/Unmount" commands to quick-menu
    PS2. Paladins starting from level 5 on can summon horses out of the blue :)

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    1. Hi there, Greg! and thanks for the great info about mounts, which I indeed forgot to mention in this post (and I didn't know about the Paladin summon!).

      I'm not exactly sure, but I think this post is where I first used mounts in Aielund Saga:
      http://lilura1.blogspot.com.au/2014/12/the-aielund-saga-act-two-part-iii.html

      Also, at the very bottom of the first post is an update section with a small vid showing how to mount and dismount horses:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wbBZLQM7yw

      If you find any other oversights or mistakes in my posts (there must be lots, I'm really no expert at NWN), please comment as applicable. :)

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  4. First up thanks Lilura for the nicely written up walkthrough, i'm playing through at the moment and you helped me out in a couple of spots early on. As far as i can tell this is the only one around for what is a really great module so far.
    My 2 cents with the wyvern, i'm playing through as a sorceror and didn't find the wyvern all that difficult, but i do have both Dante and Nellise running as tanks for me. For spellcasters, the journeyman staff that the wandering gnome drops is a pretty handy weapon for that particular cavern crawl. Didn't even realise until i saw this thread that the ballista can be used against it.

    I wasn't able to use the horses though, i don't seem to have the mount actions sub menu come up at all at all which is weird.

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    1. Hi Tarquin, I'm glad you found my writeup useful.

      About the horses, maybe your game isn't patched?
      http://neverwintervault.org/patch/nwn1/english/nwn-sou-hotu

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    2. Apparently it was not patched. I have the GOG Diamond edition & had just assumed, but that link informs me that this version still needs the patch, thank you very much for that.

      Hopefully that may fix my other issue as i played to the end of part one tonight and the next module that loads is just a placeholder room for part 2.
      scouring the vault for answers to that at the moment.

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    3. That confused me, too. Just delete those placeholders, they're not needed.

      Each act is a module of about 20-37mb, except for Aielund Finale.mod which is only 2mb:

      You modules folder should have something like:
      Aielund Finale.mod
      The Aielund Saga Act I - Nature Abhors a Vacuum.mod
      The Aielund Saga Act II - Defender of the Crown.mod
      The Aielund Saga Act III - Return of the Ironlord.mod
      The Aielund Saga Act IV - The Fall of Aielund Pt1.mod
      The Aielund Saga Act IV - The Fall of Aielund Pt2.mod
      The Aielund Saga Act IV - The Fall of Aielund Pt3.mod

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    4. Thanks, i just worked that out myself when i looked to check i had put all the files in correctly and noticed the file size difference.
      *whew*
      Continuing on now :)

      Delete
  5. Thanks for the walk through, it is very helpful due to you also listed all the gears and where did you get them, it is more like a wiki now lol.

    BTW, regarding to the mount, i didn't see the mount actions has any radial menus, i am pretty sure the game is patched to 1.69 , and CEP 2.61, did i miss anything

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  6. nevermind, i think the aielund saga version that you played is an older version, and the new version already removed mount, that's why i can see mount actions radial menu in other modules but aielund saga. just got confirmation from here

    http://forum.bioware.com/topic/501536-aielund-saga-improvements-need-inputfeedback/


    Remove horses as they cause tons of issues. Will leave mounted NPCs alone or random horses that the PC can't mount, but the others will be gone

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    1. You should have mount actions as I don't think they've been removed yet?

      You could run the patch and see if it fixes things:
      http://neverwintervault.org/patch/nwn1/english/nwn-sou-hotu

      Glad you found the item listings useful!

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    2. well, in fact i did try the download from your link three times then i posted this :) i think they got it removed in final version, since i can see those menus in horse academy module, which indicates the functionality is there already, but just for Aielund saga, someone disabled it

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    3. Nothing's been changed for the vault versions yet.

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    4. Balkoth, have you seen this?
      http://neverwintervault.org/project/nwn1/module/legend-golden-axe

      What I liked:

      1) The builder bundled bics of three character concepts for the player to use, including special equipment.
      2) The camps where you rest & repeatedly hit goblin thieves to make them drop useful loot, before they disappear (just like the arcade game).
      3) I played as the Rogue and found it difficult at times until I learned to use "elemental" scrolls more wisely.
      4) It seemed quite well balanced and reminded me of an extremely primitive APS or SotH. It whetted my appetite for another try of APS, which I'm replaying now. :)

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    5. No, I hadn't, but I'll try it out this weekend. There's so much stuff in NWN that's overlooked, frankly. And even a list I recently stumbled across hasn't been updated since 2012, so of course things like APS, SotH, Swordflight, and other "recent" releases aren't on/won't be on there.

      Delete
  7. Thanks for the great walkthrough! Helped me tremendously with the big wyvern down in the caves. Almost rage quit the game at that point and in fact turned around and was going to go back later, thinking it was obviously over my current level. I only went back and won the day after finding this excellent guide.

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    1. Yep, that encounter is pretty nasty. Glad to hear you didn't give up!

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  8. I found even with your guide I had to spam the reload button a few times. That is a nasty encounter and the wyvern definitely kept trying to follow me around the ballista. All this while trying to keep my minions out of harms way. I just command them to guard me and get us all behind the ballista. If wyvern follows, go around front and then back again until wyvern is lined up. And while you do all this, try to kill the two baby wyverns in the meantime! LOL.

    And then to think I didnt get xp for killing the darn thing with the ballista? Is this true? Argh.

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    1. Thankfully, nasty encounters like this are a rarity in Aielund Saga. I've offered suggestions - in this very comments section - as to how the encounter could be improved, but Balkoth (the current maintainer and authority on the Saga) has not found the time to address bugs and other things at this point. But yeah, hang in there. The going gets a lil' easier as you get a few more lvls under your belt and start finding good items. It's a very rewarding campaign - arguably TOO rewarding in fact.

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    2. Funny you should mention that, I was actually working on some stuff and I had forgotten about that bug.

      I didn't plan for the Bioware forums to be dismantled and I lost the grand thread of Aielund issues. If you felt like compiling a list of known issues (or know where a copy of that thread exists) that would be marvelous to compare against my list.

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    3. Just do a search on Wayback Machine for:
      https://forum.bioware.com/topic/501536-aielund-saga-improvements-need-inputfeedback/page-1

      Delete

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