Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Aielund Saga: Act Two - Part I

Defender of the Crown

Piratey Antics & Fairloch

I awaken in my chambers aboard The Redoubtable, an Aielundian royal navy vessel bound for Fairloch. After some small talk with a sailor who thinks his rat is a cat (and the ship's mascot), I check on Princess Criosa in her chambers, guarded by a royal marine. Seeing her dressed in what amount to rags, I ask her if she can find clothes more suitable to her station (+1 Lawful, +50 EXP). Alas, no. So I leave her to it.

Heading up to the next belowdecks level, the cook tells me he's making mutton stew. I pass. The quartermaster is also on this level, and here I restock my potions and splash out for a Ring of Protection +2.

On the level above I find Captain Horatio Vale in his chambers, again guarded by a royal marine. After a brief chat about the dragon the Captain asks me to go speak with his executive officer, Lieutenant Masterson.

I head out to the bridge where Masterson asks me to inform the Captain of a suspicious ship tailing The Redoubtable, but the Captain doesn't seem concerned about lowly pirates, what with his ship's  impressive armaments (+100 EXP).

I'm then time-lapsed back downstairs to my cabin for some more R&R, but then...

You are startled awake by the sudden sounds of violence on the deck above! - DM.

Blimey! We're under attack! Battlestations!! - Sailor.
Grab your weapons and get on the deck, before it's too late! - Sailor.

I exit out to the bridge. Chaos ensues! Bodies litter the decks. I help to hack up the pirates, then fire the ballista to pwn the pirate scum (including a wizard) on the rival ship.

Mister Masterson, repel those borders! Man the ballistae. And God help us all! - Captain Horatio Vale.

Offering to look for evidence that this isn't just some random pirate attack, from the forecastle I swing by rope to reach the scow. The pirates here are tough critical cure-quaffing bastards, yielding +385 EXP ea (player lvl 9).

I barge through the door to belowdecks and kick open another door to the Pirate Captain's chamber (the Captain in here would be a delicious mark for an assassin build).

I thought I told you to abandon ship! Nevermind, help me burn this evidence, quick! - Pirate Captain.

I engage in a tough duel with the scimitar-wielding, hook-handed scourge of the high seas! (+715 EXP, Pirate's Cutless +2 [2d6 Mass Crits]).

With the Pirate Captain dead, I find an unsigned, charred note ordering him to attack The Redoubtable if it sets sail for Fairloch. The Pirate Captain's Attire (+2 DEX) is found in an armoire.

Down the stairway hatch and a lone pirate falls to my sword. I bash down the electrified door to the wizards den but find nothing but a Wizard's Robe (+1 Concentration) and +9 GP (the wizard died on the deck to ballista fire but he left no corpse or loot).

Down again, this lowest deck is on fire and the flames lick dangerously at barrels containing alchemist fire (used by the ballistae).

The fire is almost to these barrels of fire oil, you don't have much time! - DM 

Time, that is, to loot the treasure room and get out before she blows. Past these barrels is an inviting stash barred by a locked door which I bash down.

I am then slightly roasted, but manage to loot the lot and GTFO before I'm turned to cinders. The haul was piles of gold (+2642 GP), Bolt of Piercing (21), assorted precious stones (including a valuable Lesser Ioun Stone [Pale Blue]), two potions and two arcane scrolls (Flame Arrow and Isaac's Greater Missile Storm). Probably not worth third degree burns, but whatevs.

I return to Captain Horatio Vale and show him the note (+750 EXP, +50 GP), after which I'm time-lapsed back to my cabin to dress my wounds and rest up. The Redoubtable sails on to Fairloch without further incident.

We arrive at nightfall amidst gentle snow. The Captain asks me to escort Princess Criosa directly to the Fairloch Castle. 

Taking some convincing, the street-wise Ronan Aethur also joins us (True Neutral Half-Elf Rogue [9]). I let him know that "duty calls" (+1 Lawful, +50 EXP). Ronan gave up his life of crime and joined the navy as bo'sun, but for now he's helping us unfold this conspiracy.

Back belowdecks, we loot Ronan's chest (Leather Armor +3, Short Sword +2 (2), Shortbow +2, Boots of Agility (+2 DEX, Tumble +5), Arrow +3 (298) and potions. Ronan also wears bracers granting him Weapon Specialization: Short Sword and Slashing resist 5/-. I give him Slicer to wield in his main hand, an Amulet of Armor +2, Ring of Protection +2, the Helm of Mind Shielding, Archer's Belt and Cloak of Fortification +1. 

Then we step down the boarding plank onto a pier of the Docklands district where we meet Kipper Bob, our fisherman friend from Culdeny. Bob needs me to help with some thugs running a protection racket from a warehouse on the Docks. We agree to help, but this quest can wait for now.

We enter the Market District and head east directly towards the Castle.

Oh, the House of Fashions is just to the south. But no... must... resist... shopping. - Criosa

Down a dark alley...

Kill them quickly, and be done with it! - Assassin Elite.

The Assassin Elite casts Darkness and attacks with blinding speed and precision, but fails to hit his mark (+572 EXP, Assassin's Blade +2 [Keen], Assassin Armor +2 and Hard Leather Boots). His orders to kill are signed simply with the figure "1".

Rounding a corner, we enter Fairloch Castle and are greeted by the Castellan, who, upon seeing the Princess, grants us immediate permission to enter the Throne Room.

Etiquette demands that you speak to the Duke first, madam. - Sir Godfrey Davis.

I deliver the unharmed Princess to Duke Charles Montague, her uncle, who is over the moon to see her returned safely (+200 EXP). He promises a kingly sum of 10,000 GP if I can bring down the guild of assassins who are hellbent on hitting their royal mark. I tell His Grace I could not refuse the mission even if there were no reward (+1 Lawful, +50 EXP). Sir Godfrey now hands me a letter of the Marque and also refers me to the Captain of the City Watch for more information and assistance on this urgent matter. My sole Henchman, Ronan, also interjects here with info about the thieves guild (of which he was once a member) and its links to the elusive assassins. We take our leave.

I enter the Tradeway Tavern in the Residential District wherein I find and recruit my second Henchman: Maggie Fairweather, a True Neutral Halfling Druid (9). Being a tiny Halfling, Maggie can't wield the Pirate's Cutlass while holding the Large Metal Shield +2, so I have her poke with the Assassin's Blade +2 instead. I give her an Amulet of Natural Armor +2 and purchase for her a Ring of Protection +2 and Greater Gloves of Concentration (Conc +6).

While equipping Maggie I also sell off excess loot, bringing the party bank balance up to about 60,000 GP. That isn't nearly enough to purchase all the better gear show-cased by the merchants (now with a buyer cap of 10,000 GP per item). Speaking of merchants, a bald-headed tattooed woman sells all sorts of exotic gear from "the East", including four pages of weapons I've never seen before in NWN, added by CEP.

At this point there are actually two more recruitable Henchmen found in other taverns: Valennia Far-Eagle, a Chaotic Neutral Human Barbarian (9) - a young attractive woman who is specced for greatsword; and Sir William Bryce-Clifton, a Lawful Good Human Paladin (9) - an old man. You can only have a maximum of two Henchmen, however, so at this stage, I won't be recruiting them (and I don't see myself doubling up on Pallies in the future, either). 

Fairloch is a rather large city consisting of Docklands, Residential District, Senate District, Castle Fairloch and a university sub-subsection (for divine and arcane spellcasters) embedded into the Market District. It also seems the design is such that one can head south through a few wilderness maps and arrive at yet another town, even immediately upon arrival in Fairloch. I won't be doing that, though, for two reasons: I want to play and progress in a way which reflects the authors intentions (or at least, my opinion of what those are); and it might break the game or cause bugs, who knows.

 Next Up: Act Two - Part II

Fairloch Questing!


  1. "After some small talk with a sailor who thinks his rat is a cat (and the ship's mascot)"

    It is.

    "I want to play and progress in a way which reflects the authors intentions (or at least, my opinion of what those are); and it might break the game or cause bugs, who knows."

    Doesn't break the game, though there's a slight bug with dialogue repeating itself that can happen. And can be tougher than intended.

    1. Good to know. The openness and explorative aspect of the module upon arrival in Fairloch is very welcome, such design obviously enhances re-playability/meta-gaming.

  2. Just realize this says "Return of the Ironlord" when in fact the title should be "Defender of the Crown."

  3. In hindsight, I should have sealed the front gate's of fairloch until you'd done that section and basically split the mod into two parts, opening the wilderness section later. Ah well :)

    I recall trying to make the city come alive with citizens that would go home at night and come out to the markets during the day. NWN choked though, causing major problems, and it's probably because I had a huge exterior map as well. Overloaded the poor thing.

    1. Still, I like how even the generic NPCs acknowledge the time of day, and I especially liked how you modified Fairloch at the start of chapter 3 (trees abloom because Spring, minor alterations to city that made sense, and peasants addressing me formally). Nice touches!


      The funny thing about the choking is that it's completely irrelevant on PCs these days.

    3. You'd think so! I tried the day/night location thing with the enhanced edition and it still can't handle it on the scale of Culdeny and Bracksford, let alone Fairloch. We're talking engine limitations folks :)

  4. "You can only have a maximum of two Henchmen, however,"

    Not sure how i did it, but i ended up with 3. Maggie, Valennia and Ronan. Didn't realise i was over the limit for henchmen unti Ronan died and when i raised him he refused to rejoin the party as it was full.

  5. Likely has to do with having Criosa in the group initially or something, but I'll check.

  6. I also had the same issue. I recruited Valennia while Criosa was still in the group. After that I tried to recruit the paladin but he said the group was to big. However, after dropping Criosa I found Maggie and she joined my team no problem.

  7. I've got a terrible bug. I'm stuck at the 'unpacking module' screen for act 2 (act 1 works fine). I had played to the end of act 1 and then tried to board the ship to act 2... Suddenly the game hangs at the unpacking module screen (zero progress). I've reinstalled the module, all related haks, tried starting a new file in act 2... nothing works. Other mods seem to work fine. Super disappointed and don't know what to do!

    1. If you're missing a hak file, it'll tell you so it's not going to be that. There's a good chance that it's a nwn crash issue and nothing to do with the mods, especially since it doesn't work well on modern systems. I really don't have a solution for you at this point, all versions of the game do the random crash thing. I've been using it for the past few weeks as I do an updated version of the saga and it's still crashing on me now and then (lost some work at one point too, ouch).


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