Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Aielund Saga: Act Four - Part I

The Fall of Aielund

To Dream, perchance to sleep...

All shall fall in glorious death! - Ironlord.

Fort Highmarch (Interior)

I awaken from another Ironlord nightmare to find myself in my chambers at Fort Highmarch. According to my journal, for two years since the victory against the Ironlord I have commanded Fort Highmarch. We were all stunned to learn that King Seamus decided to keep the Armor of the Ironlord for himself, following in the footsteps of his ancestor, Alaric (the 200 year-old man who fell out of the minogon exoskeleton at the siege, and the founder and first ruler of Aielund). In addition, apparently we're still at war with Tusone (despite my efforts in Trinity) and the King has now managed to offend the Athkalatrans with regard to a territorial dispute. Is the suit making him careless, or is it manipulating him in some insidious manner? Anyway, let's see what Criosa has to report regarding her demented father...

Ah, at last. Come, speak with me my friend. - Criosa.

Criosa is flanked by her pompous aide, Nigel. Ugh, not this outlandish fop again...

The short of it: Criosa and I hatch a plan to convince the Council of Lords to remove the deranged King Seamus from power. I must travel to Fairloch and confront the Council ASAP.

Fort Highmarch is basically locked down, you can neither head through the north gate nor south drawbridge, meaning you can't access the regions in those directions. Access to the vamps is also denied and there's no sign of the Baron and Saffron. Celebrith has returned to Acadia, but the inn and three main merchants are still open for business.

Before leaving, I settle a trivial dispute between Lady Deirdre and Mister Wainwright (+800, +1500 EXP).

I'll be traveling to Fairloch by means of Criosa's "fine looking conveyance" (- DM). Meh, I think I deserve my own and gold-gilded, but this'll have to do...

Lord's District: Fairloch

I arrive at the Lord's District in Fairloch where a protesting rabble have turned up to jeer at me.

Look at you, strutting around in your fancy clothes. You're walking on the backs of decent hard-working folk like us!

My cousin is in the army and I haven't heard from him in a year. Please, just tell me if he's still alive!

Don't you people have enough money? Lower our taxes! 

The bank foreclosed on my bloody house. Where am I supposed to live now?

- various understandably disgruntled commoners.

Best you keep moving madam, this could turn ugly at any moment. - City Watchman.

I discipline a City Watchman en route to the House of Lords (+800 EXP).

House of Lords (ground level)

Terrible fracas outside. Most unseemly. Not like the old days, you could count on mobs of people to conduct themselves in a more dignified fashion! - Councilor.

This used to be the Senate Building, where we had the showdown with the Shadow Monks and Sen. Johnson. A few councilors linger in the halls, and trivial treasure can be looted in the various receptacles.

House of Lords (first level)

In this chamber sixteen councilors are in session led by Lord Covington, the House Speaker.

What is the likelihood these Lords will turn against their King who dissolved the senate and appointed them to these positions of power?


I head off to the Royal Arms inn to await the councils resolution. A series of brief cutscenes ensue (with appropriate brooding cello piece - srsly, the music in this Saga is A1).

Firstly, Lord Covington betrays me to his liege, King Seamus. That bastard...

Secondly, many knights and Terinus raid the inn. I am king-hit by a knight and captured by the authorities.

By order of the King, you are under arrest! - Terinus.

Don't worry, I will get you out of here! - Criosa.

Thirdly, I am judged.

You have been found guilty of high treason and will be executed at dawn. - King.

Father, no! You cannot do this! - Criosa.

You are in league with this traitor? Then you too will be punished! - King.

And lastly, I am executed...

For your treachery, you are to be executed by firing squad. Sentence to be carried out immediately. - spineless Duke Montague.

Archers! Stand ready!

Take aim...


*PC is executed*

Pity. - Terinus.

Hocarum Desert: Chasm

*PC is raised from the dead by Nellise*

You awaken with a terrible headache. - DM.

The short of it: my body was smuggled out of Fairloch by Nellise at the behest of Criosa (who has been exiled from the Kingdom of Aielund).

The angelic trio reforms! *group hug*

We must travel to Tusone and seek the aid of King Osric.

I stand in what amounts to rags (Death Shroud and Shadowed Hood). I don't even have a weapon. All of my phat lewt is gone, including six full inventory layers, twelve full Bags of Holding and about 300,000 GP! Plus muh Barony!

Nellise managed to salvage some light items from my body, namely the Ring of Elemental Earth (Greater Stoneskin 1/day), Belt of Fire Giant Strength (+5 STR), Amulet of Natural Armor +5, Ring of Regeneration (Regen +4), Nymph Cloak +4, Panther Figurine (capped at lvl 20?) and a few lousy potions. Better than nothing, I guess.

Criosa comes "complete" with Criosa's Armor (DR 10/+4), Healer's Kit +6 (4) and a Dagger +0! (I borrow her dagger for now.)

Oddly, she's been adjusted from Rogue (15) / Wizard (9) to Rogue (12) / Wizard (12). Dah fuq?

Nellise is grateful to at least have her Priest's Robe (+2 AC vs. evil), a Mace and Healer's Kit +3 (4).

Ok so! Time to leave the camp and start adventuring again!

East of the campsite is a destroyed bridge, still aflame.

I destroyed the bridge to prevent anyone pursuing us. There's no turning back now. - Criosa.

Without the bridge, any pursuit should be thwarted for a good long while. - Nellise. 

Two scurrying scorpions (+12 EXP ea) are squished en route to the western end of the map.

Desert Highway

Three ravens flap lazily away as I approach a body lying on the road.

It would seem this traveler has met an untimely end. - Nellise.

What was your first clue, Captain Obvious? Could it be the...

... Arrow-filled corpse? Tattered Leather, Tarnished Gladius (yes, a weapon for me!), Empty Water Bottle, Composite Shortbow +2, Bodkin Arrow (20), Arrow (99).

The ravens unnervingly continue circling overhead, waiting for us to leave... or also die. 

An injured old man resting nearby (Najjar) knew the dead man, and will die of thirst if we can't bring him water soon.

Tusonite Outpost

Ah, the Aielund/Tusone border. I hope the guards are not too suspicious of us... - Criosa.

You must be careful here, one false move and the border guards will likely attack us. - Nellise.

This outpost is guarded by a Tusonite Commander and six unmounted Chevaliers.

Yeah, these guys aren't letting in those whom they perceive as lowly desert-roaming vagabonds, that much is certain. The gate can be bashed down (eventually!) or Criosa can attempt to unlock it, fail in her attempt (DC-50 [success not possible]), and then cast Knock to open it. However, the guards obviously go hostile and they're extremely difficult to beat with little or no items. They also keep spawning, and in greater numbers. Moreover, it doesn't look like there's a way through there, anyway.

The journal hints of another entrypoint to Tusone "in the west", but the only other exit on this map is in the southeastern corner, which we now take.

Hocarum Desert: Ruins

Poised in the sand, ready to strike, are several Huge Desert Vipers (+380 EXP ea). With our noob weapons, these things aren't exactly cakewalked.

 Level Up to 25!

(Epic Characters)

Lilura: Champion of Torm (9) / Paladin (12)/ Fighter (4), +1 STR, Armor Skin, Great Strength I
Criosa: Rogue (13) / Wizard (12)
Nellise: Cleric (23) / Paladin (2)

We start scavenging for gear, looking for anything to equip ourselves with (but a longsword would be nice...)

Chest: Cudgel, Light Crossbow, Bolts (198), Empty Water Bottle.
Spear rack: Quarterstaff, Spear.
Atop a crumbled lookout sits a pile of bones: Tarnished Scimitar, Shortbow, Bodkin Arrow (40), Arrow (99).

At this stage, we'll take what we can get. Beggars can't be choosers.

There is a "big hole" in the southeast which we peer down into - we judge it to be deep, and would need some rope to climb down there.

An ancient stone structure stands prominently in the center of the map.

This appears to be an ancient temple to one of the forgotten gods. We should be very careful if we venture inside. - Nellise.

Mmm... maybe we'll find some rope in here...

Ruined Temple

This place has been abandoned a long time. Let's take whatever's useful! - Criosa.

In a central room stands a Statue with some coiled up rope at it's feet. I pick up the rope and the statue comes to life. I was ready for a very difficult and drawn-out fight here, but Nellise simply cast Implosion against which the statue failed it's save (+1292 EXP, Helm of Maecal [-4 CHA, +4 AC def, Imm: Fear, Power Word, Stun [13] 1/day)  various crafting components).

The receptacles in the northeastern room are looted for: Empty Water Bottle (2), crafting components, Ancient Tome (cannot read, lack Lore [+8 is not enough]), scrolls of Raise Dead, Resurrection, Greater Restoration and Heal, Potion of Lore and a set of Rusted Chainmail.

The southernmost room has its floor littered with various crafting components.

Before the door leading to the westernmost room spawn four Skeletal Guardians (+12 EXP ea). Nellise immobilizes a few with turn undead, and the rest we dispatch of the hard way.

Criosa unlocks the DC-40 door to a tomb.

It would appear to be the burial chamber of one of their high priests. - Nellise.

There are eleven sarcophagi in the tomb, the head sarcophagus containing: Ancient Full Plate (+4 AC arm mod, Slash resist 5/-), Ancient Scimitar +4, Chain Helm (+1 AC def, Disc +1), Empty Water Bottle, Amulet of the High Priest Maecal (+5 AC nat, Imm: Death/Disease, Regen +1, SR 28.)   

Upon retrieval of these items a Revenant manifests. I don the items as it manifests, before combat begins (you can't put armor on if combat is already engaged).

Die, thief! - Revenant.

Again I prepare for a tough fight, but Nellise simply casts Banishment on this undead foe (+1275 EXP).

As we backtrack out of the temple, Nellise casts the uber-helpful Earthquake, Circle of Doom and Flame Strike on six newly-spawned Blade Spiders (+152 EXP ea).

Nellise definitely wins the MVH award (Most Valuable Henchman) so far in the Saga. It will be difficult if not impossible for any other Henchman to top her performances with only one Act remaining.

Rope in hand, we exit the ruined temple.

Hocarum Desert: Ruins

Back outside, the Revenant intercepts us and demands the return of the amulet.
Returrrnnn my amulet! - Revenant

We refuse.

Revenant bout: Round Two (+1140 EXP).

We now use the rope we found in the temple to climb down into the deep, dark hole.

You climb down through the darkness. - DM. 

Ancient Cave

This is not a cave.. it seems to be some sort of buried building. - Criosa.

Here we crush five Giant Ant Soldiers (+12 EXP ea) and one Giant Ant Hive Queen coated with stone (+152 EXP).

Amongst piles of bones we find a Crumbling Journal, Ancient Journal (cannot read either, lack Lore [+8 is not enough]) and Belt of Fire Giant Strength (+5 STR).

So that's the forth "book" I haven't been able to read due to low Lore skill. For those who enjoy extra flavor, do not skimp on Lore!

We climb back up the rope, out of the hole, and then head south into the...

Hocarum Desert: Oasis

Returrrnnn my amulet! - 

Again we refuse.

Revenant bout: Round Three (+1140 EXP).

An oasis! Just what we needed, thank God. - Nellise.

If this is the only water around, there will most likely be other creatures here too. Let's be careful. - Criosa.

Submerged in the water are six Crabs (+12 EXP ea) and one Giant Crab (+988 EXP).

Criosa cast Fireball and Nellise Word of Faith and Storm of Vengeance, but the giant uber-tanky crustacean doesn't flip over and die without many additional slashes from my Ancient Scimitar.

I now fill five bottles with water from the ponds in the oasis; then we backtrack north to the ruins, and north again to the Desert Highway where we hydrate the most grateful Najjar (+1000 EXP, +1500 EXP).

Backtracking south to the ruins and then heading west from there, we reach...

The Dire Crossing

Returrrnnn my amulet!


Revenant bout: Round Four (+1140 EXP).

The heat in this area is far more intense than before. Thankfully you have a good supply of water with you. - DM.

So thirsty... please, give me some water! - Criosa and Nellise. (I give them both a Full Water Bottle each.)

Without water, this place kills you before you can reach the opposite side. We also take environmental fire damage, simulating the extreme heat.

So many have died here.. this is a terrible place, and I'll be glad to put it behind us. - Criosa. 

Amazing. This stone skull must have been worshipped as some sort of desert deity. - Nellise.


We spy another Tusonite Outpost up ahead, maybe we'll have better success parleying with these guys..?

Next up: Act Four  - Part II

Hocarum Plains & Myrfell


  1. Quite a long update!

    "Oddly, she's been adjusted from Rogue (15) / Wizard (9) to Rogue (12) / Wizard (12). Dah fuq?"

    As discussed, the idea behind her character is to be half rogue/half wizard...but there's probably a bug in the level-up code which simply makes her take only rogue levels after the initial leveling up. Would not be surprised if she only takes rogue levels from here on out, but that's not what's supposed to happen.

    "Nellise definitely wins the MVH award (Most Valuable Henchman) so far in the Saga. It will be difficult if not impossible for any other Henchman to top her performances with only one Act remaining."

    This is definitely interesting to read since it's actually been a while since I played Aielund with the companions. I did a solo run to see how it went and I've played through it like four or five times with friends in multiplayer...but been a while since a more traditional single player playthrough.

    That said, I think there may be two companions who you wind up thinking are as useful or more useful than her. We'll see!

    1. Criosa is indeed back to taking only levels in Rogue again...

      How did you play solo when some dialogues cut off without a Henchman (in my case Nellise or Criosa) being in proximity to interject with the NPC in question, I guess none of those are plot-critical or there are workarounds?

    2. No dialogues cut-off without a companion if you don't have the companion in your party.

    3. Beats me on the rogue only levels, will try to take a look.

      I also found the EMS docs, though I don't think they're quite up to date with the newer version of EMS (at least I think it might be newer? Kind of hazy). Will upload tomorrow to Aielund Hak thing, can also email it to you if you drop me a line.

    4. Maybe it's better we source the up-to-date EMS docs; I'll take a look around.

    5. The problem is Arquon (EMS guy) was trying to release an updated version of EMS...which never happened. Think he kind of vanished. So eventually Savant just took whatever the latest version of EMS that he had and sent it off in the updated Aielund. The read-me I uploaded should probably be at least 95% accurate, but it's possible a few things got changed since it was from the original (only?) release.

    6. Thanks for uploading, this is really really good stuff. Never knew so many spells were broken/wrong etc. Lots to read n learn about here.

    7. Oh yes, Bioware screwed the pooch on a lot of stuff.

      Now, to be clear, EMS has some absolutely terrible things. For example, Premonition gives 2x caster level to physical damage immunity and immunity to sneak attacks. The former means you have 80% physical immunity as a 40 caster and the latter makes rogues a complete non-threat (which I think is a very bad thing). Another thing it does is have Stoneskin give Critical Immunity while active (and therefore Sneak immunity as well). I already think this is rather stupid (would rather it absorb more)...but even laying that aside it has another huge issue: the crit immunity is coupled with the reduction. Which means that if you're attacking with a +5 or better weapon, you'll ignore Stoneskin's DR (so it'll never go away) but your target is still immune to crits.

      That said, it still does a lot of things much better than default and/or fixes things and has has many other ideas which, while good, could have been implemented better. List includes everything from ability stat buffs to Battletide to correct dispels to showing things like spell resist to making higher level spells worthwhile to auto-Empower, auto-Max, and then auto-Empowered-Max spells at high caster levels.

      Overall I definitely prefer EMS to default, though it has a few issues that really need to be fixed like Premonition and Stoneskin.

    8. "Overall I definitely prefer EMS to default, though it has a few issues that really need to be fixed like Premonition and Stoneskin."

      Well, hop to it! *wink*

      I'm used to casters being absolutely invincible (no exaggeration) in Baldur's Gate series, Icewind Dale series and Planescape: Torment (well, AD&D2 in general, I guess). In Baldur's Gate 2 you had stuff like Mirror Image, Stoneskin, Protection From Magical Weapons and others - you could very easily mitigate most damage just in the mid-levels...

    9. I'm not sure I want to be fiddling with EMS. On the flip side, I'm not sure any other module uses it and the author has vanished, so making fixing a thing or two wouldn't be a bad thing. Even something like Premonition being caster level in damage immunity would be much better and remove the sneak immunity. Part of the problem is also scrolls -- don't want UMD to be even more powerful! Stoneskin also has the problem of being lackluster in general given how plentiful healing usually is. Why use a precious spell slot to absorb 100 damage when you could put up an Elemental Shield or Ice Storm an enemy group?

      Kind of sad to hear that about the other games. Meh.

    10. I'm still reading through it, but it fixes a HELL of a lot by the looks of things. It really should be suggested for use in official campaigns and many or most modules, don't you think? Probably won't play without this now.

      Consider this as merely one example (I'm sure you already have, just sayin'):

      "AoE's work correctly. There is a known bug with ALL non-instant AoE's
      in NWN where their SP, DC's, caster level, and metamagic can (usually, do)
      become wrong as soon as any other spell is cast. For example, a Cleric
      who casts Blade Barrier and then Turns Undead will suddenly discover
      that the BB does 0d6 damage."

    11. To play with it you'd need to get it installed into modules presumably, which especially if they're already using haks can mess things up. I have no idea what would happen if you tried to use it as an override. May work, may crash the game.

      And while it does fix some stuff, it also goes beyond fixing stuff to radically changing how many spells work -- which leaves many people very unhappy because it turns into his version of magic versus just fixing bugged stuff.

      Mind you, I don't object to that personally as long as I think the changes are good, but many absolutely loathe it because it's not either DnD rules or "official" Bioware changes.

    12. Yeah, I'd have to infuse EMS with the module I wanted it to work in, I realize that.

      Noted your other comments, too.

  2. Nellise is the most useful because clerics are wtfomgbbq powerful in nwn :P

    1. And she's still nowhere near as good as a human controlled cleric, that's the scary part.

    2. She's also good because of the spells you chose for her, and the "proactiveness" with which she casts them (and turns undead). She's amazing in combat, and a very likeable personality.

  3. No fair, man. My Nellise didn't help out in fights anywhere near as much as yours did. Didn't even try casting Implosion on anyone.

    Also in the room where you fight the Revenant, there's a secret door you either missed or forgot to mention. Gradius +3, two raise dead scrolls and a pile of gold.

  4. Hmm. I lookted the Revenant guy's amulet but he never showed up to challenge me to round 2, 3, or 4

  5. She may not have been rested or her spells are off in dialogue.

    Thanks for the tip about the secret door. I guess I wasn't using Detect Mode.

  6. So glad I put everything into discipline (Ranger) at levels 21, 22 and 24 (from 0 to 28). Those knockdown without immunity items would have been really bad…


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