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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The Aielund Saga: Act Three - Part I


Return of the Ironlord


After an Interlude designed to group together a multi-player party, I'm presented with a second cutscene.

Ethereal Plane


King Seamus (foreground) teleports into the Ethereal Plane.

Greetings, mighty Salinder. I have arrived as was promised. - King.


Hail, King of Aielund. Alas, you have come too late to prevent my passing. My energy is spent, and I can do no more. - Salinder (ancient gold dragon we met with Desmond).

So, the burden has finally fallen upon me. - King.

You knew this day was coming, King Seamus. It is time for... - Salinder.

What is it Lord? - King.

My barrier fails, Seamus. My time... is up. You must go, now! - Salinder.

Is there nothing I can do? - King.

(A minotaur-like construct gates in, wielding an immense blue-glowing blade...)
 

Thy time is over, wyrm. Die. - Ironlord.

(... and slays Salinder as the King looks on helplessly.)


Noooooooo! - King.

Thy turn will come, King of Aielund. - Ironlord.

(Fade out.)

Castle Fairloch


I awaken in by bedroom across from Criosa's (where I killed the Castellan to conclude Act Two).

From a level 1 peasant in bamboo kimono...


... to a Dame of Aielund clad in golden armor and wielding a holy sword!


U jelly? I prefer flaunting the kimono, actually, but I need the AC so... anyway!

According to my journal, about two months have passed since the adventure began. For the last two weeks I've been mostly resting in the castle, but apparently I've also been assisting Criosa and the Duke in regional security matters.

Stepping out of my bedroom I'm shocked into full awakeness by this guy's foppery. Who needs coffee in the morning with councillors dressed like this?


I head down the corridor, through the throne room into the war room where I'm greeted by the Princess, the Duke, Sir William Bryce-Clifton (Act Two Paladin Henchman now promoted to General to replace Sir Godfrey) and the elven wizard, Nawen E'linfalen.


This segment is very heavy with informative and flavorful dialogue so I'll just summarise the important bits. 

A message has been received by Nawen from another wizard (Terinus, on the King's frontlines in Tusone) reporting that they've arrived at the Temple of Eternal Resurrection, the place where the Ironlord is destined to return - as foretold by Salinder to the King. We are gathered in the war room to await news on whether the King has been successful. In the meantime Nawen recites a prophecy which states: the lord of iron will return through the gate of Eternity when the rain falls on the plains of the new country for fifty days and nights. (Bracksworth and the surrounding region being rain-drenched signifies this.)

Nawen goes on to tell us that the temple is connected to the realm of the dead and that's where the Ironlord is imprisoned. As Salinder weakens, the Ironlord pushes into our world and a side-effect of the disruption is this unusual weather. Basically, this is just more proof of the Ironlord's return (I already know the Ironlord's return is imminent because I spoke to the golden dragon face-to-face with Desmond, but this was an optional quest). Anyway, Nawen's loremastery is interrupted as he suddenly receives a more complex message from Terinus and then projects an image of King Seamus into the room. 

 

After some initial dialogue about Sir Godfrey's death and my heroic escapades, the King informs us that his forces cut their way through a cult (who had been awaiting the Ironlord's return for a century), after which his siege engines did indeed manage to destroy the temple. But it seems the link between the temple and the realm of the dead isn't just physical, as the Ironlord nevertheless appeared in a "hazy mist" and began marching east into the vast wasteland of the Hocarum desert, annihilating everything in it's path. 

The King suspects Aielund has three weeks before the Ironlord amasses an army and marches on Fort Highmarch. He asks the Duke to gather up reserves, to swing through Stoneguard and to consider even the barbarian tribes as potential allies. In the meantime the King will attempt to extract any info the cultists may possess on the Ironlord. The projection of the King now begins to weaken but before he fades out he forbids Criosa to leave Fairloch and demands of the Duke a promise that he will take care of her. 

Farewell. May God protect us all. - King.

A profound silence echoes around the room as everyone weighs the consequences of what they have just learned. - DM.

So, it seems we have to fight this thing afterall. - PC.

The bright spark General now exhibits his flair for the tactical: he believes exploding ballista bolts could put some dents in the Ironlord (yes, they are awesome against wyverns!), and perhaps a well-placed avalanche up in Fort Highmarch could bring it down. Mmm... yes. This is not so far-fetched - well, for epic fantasy anyway..!

Criosa now goes against her father's wishes (he forgot she's got nine levels of Rogue) and pulls rank on the Duke, politely ordering him to send every man with a sword to Fort Highmarch and have even the Navy abandon their ships and begin a march south to Culdeny. But if you'll remember, that sign on the bridge in the Valley of Silence warned the road to Culdeny is blocked by a dragon. However, Criosa is confident we can enlist the aid of dwarven warriors from Stoneguard on our way to the valley and clear it in time for the marching Aielund armies.

And so it is settled. Criosa now hurries off to grab her gear. There are a few "flavor convos" to be had with the remaining three in the war room, but nothing worth recounting here.

I now head to the castle entryway to meet up with Criosa. Through her I receive my first two quests of Act Three: to slay the blue dragon on the road to Culdeny and to gather allies (Stoneguard dwarves, barb tribes and whoever else of decent moral fiber I can find as our journey progresses).

Criosa is now gladly recruited by me - I love having Rogues along for the ride. However, she's now upgraded to Rogue (9) / Wizard (9). When asked about why she hasn't used magic until now, she responds that her spellbooks were stolen by the mercs when she was kidnapped, then she found herself on The Redoubtable and didn't exactly have time to seek out a replacement. Mmm... I guess that's a plausible enough explanation but it would have been better if her interest in the arcane was foreshadowed somehow (maybe it was in a flavor convo, and I just missed it).

Criosa's arcane buffing spells: Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Mage Armor, Protection From Evil, Endure Elements. Not all that useful, tbh. Nellise from Act One is far superior. With any luck she'll level only as Wizard from now on...


Criosa's default equipment for Act Three: Criosa's Armor (DR 10/+4), Greater Boots of Agility (+4 DEX, Improved Evasion), Amulet of Natural Armor +3, Ring of Protection +3, Shortbow +3, Rapier +3, Arrow +3 (198).

No sooner have we left the castle into Fairloch city, a City Watchman approaches to inform us of a prisoner held by Deckard who asked for us by name. Curious as to who it could be, we head over immediately. On the way, I notice some changes to the city: a few fences have been removed, the Docklands are sealed off, the trees are abloom (it is now Spring), everyone addresses me as "Lady" and some even have flavor convos about recent events and whatnot. Attention to detail, ftw.

We head now to the Market district guardhouse to speak with Deckard.


Now there's a familiar face. - Robert Black.

..YOU! - PC.

Behind Deckard and behind bars is Robert Black, the man we first met at the Culdeny Gentleman's Club and who we then killed as the Black Cavalier in the siege of Culdeny. It seems he had insurance: Chen the cleric (whom we also killed) raised him from the dead. Having lost all his possessions (hehe) and now with no life, Robert asks to join up with us. He promises valuable info and a strong sword arm. He sells himself as a practical man, one who holds no grudges and is loyal to his employer. Since he offers to help remove the blue dragon on the road to Culdeny (he's the one who hired it to plant it's ass there), I decide to hire him for "the sum of zero gold pieces". Both Deckard and Criosa protest somewhat, but whatevs. I need all the help I can get. And adventuring with a full trio easily outweighs my half-assed role-playing standards.


Robert Black: Human True Neutral Fighter (18)

Robert's default equipment: the shirt on his back.

Now I need to massively splurge on gear for both Criosa and Robert.

Fairloch Arms & Armor: a second set of Gauntlets of Ogre Power (+2 STR)
Halls of Knowledge: Hood of Clarity (Bonus Feat: Slippery Mind, INT +2, Conc +10), Ring of Wizardry (Bonus spell slot 2/3/4), Bag of Holding (x3)
Fairloch Cathedral: Ring of Regeneration (Regen +4), Ring of Resistance +3 (x2), Amulet of Natural Armor +4, Greater Amulet of Health (Imm: Disease, Level/Ability Drain, Poison, Regen +1).
Fairloch House of Fashions: Greater Gloves of Concentration (Conc +6), Boots of Astounding        Grip (+2 AC dodg, Imm: Knockdown), Dragon Slippers (DEX +2, Imm: Fear/Knockdown, SR 10), Nymph Cloak +4 (CHA +4), Greater Belt of Guiding Light (Imm: Death Magic/Fear, +4 Spot, Search, Listen, Lore).

Total outlay = 320,000 GP. Coffers substantially drained (Bal = 130,000 GP).

Lilura: Lightbringer +3 (+1d6 against Evil, Dispel Magic 1/day), Armor of the Gladiator (Haste) or Armor of Command (+3 AC, +2 CHA, Bonus Paladin spell lvl 1/2), Blessed Helm of Command (+2 CHA, Imm: Death Magic/Fear, Discip +4), Heraldic Shield (+4 AC, on-hit Lightning Bolt, Legend Lore 1/day), Nymph's Cloak +4 (CHA +4), Belt of Hill Giant Strength (+3 STR), Gauntlets of Ogre Power (+2 STR), Boots of Hardiness +2 (2 AC dodg, +2 CON), Ring of Resistance +3, Ring of Protection +4.


Criosa: Criosa's Armor (DR 10/+4), Greater Boots of Agility (+4 DEX, Improved Evasion), Cloak of the Bat (+2 AC def, Darkvision, Immunity: Darkness, Hide +5), Ring of Wizardry (Bonus spell slot 2/3/4), Ring of Clear Thought +3 (INT +3), Defender +4 rapier (+2, +2 AC def), Luckbow +3 (Saves +2, Mighty +2), Arrow +3 (198), Hood of Clarity (Bonus Feat: Slippery Mind, INT +2, Conc +10), Greater Gloves of Concentration (Conc +6), Greater Belt of Guiding Light (Imm: Death Magic/Fear, +4 Spot, Search, Listen, Lore).


Robert: Warspite +2 bastard sword (+1d4 Sonic, True Strike 5/day), Bastard Sword +2, his old Full Plate of Fear (Fear 1/day), Belt of Dwarvenkind (+2 CON, -2 CHA, +1 AC def, Darkvision, Bonus Feat: Stonecunning, Poison saves +2), Sir Godfrey's Cloak (+2 AC def, +2 CON, +2 Saves), Ring of Protection +3, Amulet of Natural Armor +4, Ring of Resistance +3, Boots of Astounding Grip (+2 AC dodg, Imm: Knockdown), Gauntlets of Ogre Power (STR +2).


(Non-epic stats and gear are already pretty epic, as you can see. lolD&D. Luv n hate it.)

Next stop is the Halls of Knowledge basement to check up on Wiliand's teleportation wizardry. The screenshot details the advancements he's made. Since I already have a spare Stone of Recall, I just buy a bundle of five Recall Gems for a pittance and then bind a position on the street outside.


Stepping out of the Residential District gates onto the South Road once again, we're pleased to arrive in this farmland (which was snow-blanketed in Act Two) now come into a full and sweet-scented bloom.

Spring at last. Look how beautiful the land is! - Criosa.

*Sneezes loudly*. Stupid flowers. - Robert.
 

The Amalis highway to the south (where we fought the orcs) is closed now due to "avalanches" but we're heading west to Stoneguard, anyway.

Slogging up the steep hills we now arrive in Stoneguard village to witness a chaotic scene of refugees fleeing from Stoneguard itself. A Dwarf Captain informs us the place is under attack and refers us to the King who is currently lodged in the Mine's Rest inn (pictured below).


The King is facing a grave situation: the Duergar are back, and in greater numbers. And they're led by a dragon this time. We're told if we can slay the dragon and liberate Stoneguard of the menace, the King will pledge his warriors to help defend Fort Highmarch in return. We might also find a dragon-slaying bastard sword in the Undercity, which would be perfect for Robert.

 

On the top level of Stoneguard we're assailed at a junction by no less than eight Duergar Warriors (+108 EXP) and two Berserkers (+136 EXP) who to our surprise are beefed up from the mere scouts we faced in the mines, last time.

Stay together. Duergar like to divide up their enemies. - Robert.


Criosa flings out Isaac's Lesser Missile Storm, an utterly useless spell at the best of times and less than worthless against tanky Duergar. Her castings of this and Melf's Acid Arrow (I mean, really?) highlight the issue of leveling two classes evenly. Train wizard only from now on, pls.


Here I am after this grueling fight standing knee-deep in bodies with 46 of 270 HPs left.

Another pack of eight warriors and two berserkers are bested en route to the stairs down.


The battered trio heal up and then descend to the Undercity where corpses of friendly dwarves litter the stone floor of the gaol.

It is terrible to see one of our close allies vanquished like this. - Criosa. 


This whole area is compromised. Expect traps, fortifications, the works. - Robert.

Combat difficulty is majorly ramped up here, and this place is a deathtrap.

Skulking around unpredictably are three bands of Duergar composed similarly to the last lot, except for the coven of five Duergar Wizards (+108 EXP, Ring of Protection +2, Dagger or Quarterstaff +1) in the southeast; and one throne room-guarding band being led by a Duergar Captain (+136 EXP, Battleaxe +3, Duergar Large Shield [Imm: Paralysis], Potion of Heal).

Robert's persistent use of Improved Knockdown proves highly effective and indeed life-saving in these battles.

Many of the massacred dwarves can be looted for Full Plate and Dwarven Shield +1 but unless you're really hard-up on cash it probably isn't worth the trouble.

I scope out the coven of grey dwarf wizards while under the effect of Invisibility (potion).


Their Cone of Cold devastates but so does our Knockdown spam.


Here we find and rescue a Dwarf Noble cowering in a corner (+200 EXP). More dwarves can also be rescued for +EXP and flavor convos.


Someone appears to have been searching for something. - PC.


The ironworks in the northeast is now the lair of...

Er.. perhaps I should wait here? No... I'll not stand by while you fight this beast. - Criosa.

... Lightbane (+1346 EXP), unusual for a dragon in that neither parley nor witty banter seems to interest him (ie, Shadow Dragon). Apart from initial invisibility and negative energy breath, he's not all that different to Deathmist. The fight was short but severely damaging (I had 12 HPs left).



Great loot was found here on the corspe of a fallen dwarven knight: Dwarven Full Plate +4 (+7 AC vs. giants, Dwarf only), Arc Draconis (+6/+1d10 vs. Dragon - for Robert), MacTavish Standard (SR 26, Dwarven Defender only).

A final Duergar surrenders after taking a beating, but I mercifully let him leave in peace (+200 EXP, +50 EXP, +1 Good).


The Shadow Dragon's head is lugged back to the Mine's Rest and presented to the King - the third head we've delivered to him (+1000 GP, +4000 EXP, +150 EXP, +5 Lawful). This quest is now capped off with Dwarven support at Fort Highmarch promised. We head outside...

 

... Three cheers for the heroes! - Dwarven Refugee.

With Stoneguard reclaimed the dwarves now begin trickling back into the Undercity to begin the grim task of gathering up their dead.


We now hike farther westward into the Valley of Silence to acquire the key to the gate from the Grandmaster at the Monastery.


The gate is opened and we precede into The Pass to confront the blue dragon, Azurefang.

 






38 comments:

  1. "Mmm... I guess that's a plausible enough explanation but it would have been better if her interest in the arcane was foreshadowed somehow (maybe it was in a flavor convo, and I just missed it)."

    To be fair, alerting everyone around you that you're a mage as the princess is probably not the wisest course of action unless it's relevant.

    "Criosa's arcane buffing spells: Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Mage Armor, Protection From Evil, Endure Elements. Not all that useful, tbh. Nellise from Act One is far superior. With any luck she'll level only as Wizard from now on... "

    Nope, rogue/wizard hybrid all the way!

    Also, Bull's Strength/Cat's Grade/Mage Armor is rather nice for those poor non-magical player characters (like Fighters, Rogues, Barbarians, etc).

    "Warspite +2 bastard sword (+1d4 Sonic, True Strike 5/day), Bastard Sword +2,"

    Ugh. You're having Robert Black DUAL-WIELD?

    If you're curious, that actually lowers his damage output versus most enemies and also causes him to lose like 6ish AC at this point. Really bad idea, it's a trap!

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    1. It's an obvious AC hit but against the Duergar Robert just flanked the aggro that was fully trained on me (my AC is high 40s, good enough for this stage of the Saga - I failed to buff in those first fights), so he didn't take too much dmg. He does actually have the relevant feats, so I thought what the hell. If I kept him I'd probably switch him to sword n shield when encounters ramped up, but I actually didn't end up keeping him once I got to Culdeny - I ditched him for Nellise, anyway.

      Criosa being a hybrid sort of sucks, but whatevs. At least she actually has some spells and versatility from rogue, unlike Valennia, Sir William, Dante, Robert and Spartan who are all pretty boring, combat-wise. I actually comment on this in my next update, which I'll post in the next day or so.

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    2. Yeah, he has the relevant feats, the problem is that dual-wielding is bad in general and dual-wielding non-light weapons is even worse.

      Poor Robert Black, abandoned again!

      Criosa is the only hybrid in the campaign, if it makes you feel any better. I think the author was specifically trying to portray her as more of a jack of all trades -- not a master thief, not an archmage, and certainly not a frontline fighter. But she can disarm traps and pick locks in general while throwing out some spells and some weaker melee attacks.

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    3. It's ok, all I need is Nellise. Since I last saw her she's dabbled in Pally for bonuses (2), but since picking her up seems to be wisely leveling Cleric again.

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    4. Yes, she was knighted and has paladin level 2, but she's pure cleric beyond that. Honestly forgot she even had those paladin levels!

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    5. Good to hear she stays almost pure cleric, it's enough to have Criosa as a hybrid and the Saga certainly doesn't need another warrior.

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    6. Once you reach the barbarians, you'll have five more henchmen available.

      One is a fighter who focuses in a greatsword.

      One is a barbarian who focuses in a greataxe.

      One is a fighter/barbarian hybrid who focuses in a heavy flail.

      One is a fighter who has a warhammer and shield!

      The final is a barbarian who dual-wield hand-axes!

      Lots of choice! Lots of diversity!

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    7. Where are these guys? I just slew the white dragon in Act Three and saved Valennia and I found nobody in the camp or elsewhere willing to join. Perhaps you're thinking of later in the game?

      Doesn't matter, I wouldn't have recruited one anyway due to EXP leech.

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    8. That was sarcasm, given your "The Saga certainly doesn't need another warrior" bit.

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    9. Heh, I was thinking they were barb mercs for temp hire, just to help out against the white flock. Yeah, not needed.

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  2. The screenshot of the south road is great. I love the atmosphere and the setting of this saga... so varied.
    Well...it would have been a better screen cap with horses! It seems you did not use them. Ok they are useless except fo the low speed boost...and even annoying sometimes! But I couldn't avoid using them when available!

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    1. Speaking of annoying I forgot to say that Robert avoids using shields automatically if he has two bastard swords! Since I rushed towards the dragon to give him the Arc Draconis (made combat easy) I didn't noticed immediatly his insane passion for dual wielding...that made him drop the shield ruining my brilliant strategy!! So bad

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    2. Well I sorta pride myself on taking screenshots so I'm pleased you appreciate them. I've become much better at taking them since this Aielund Saga run.

      I'm pretty sure Robert favors dual-wielding because he's picked the feats. Just remove from his inventory whatever you don't want him using (it can be a pain, since I like to use him as a mule).

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    3. I think Balkoth aka Magical Master intends to remove horses for the player:
      http://forum.bioware.com/topic/501536-aielund-saga-improvements-need-inputfeedback/

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    4. Oh no! It's good I am playing the version with the horses still there. Riding is one of the most atmospheric things in Aielund Saga. You know, this is how the knights used to travel in the wilderness in Middle Ages... Why to remove mounts? I understand there must a reason for this,i.e. technical issues, but in my case horses - so far - work perfectly.

      I have an idea: maybe sir Balkoth could just leave two versions (one with/one without) available for download?

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    5. I don't mind if they stay or go, but there's lots of comments about it on the Aielund improvements page.

      Basically:
      1) they potentially cause bugs
      2) Because of that, Balkoth has said Savant himself would prefer them gone

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    6. Lilura, I might have found the first horse-related bug. I have slain Scar in Act III, now almost finishing the act and there are is no sign of any romance plot with Criosa. She is a mediocre fighter and I was just traveling with her only to see how the plot with her unfolds. I think this might have been due to my mounted travel - I use horses wherever possible and I read they might spoil romance dialogues. Do you have any idea, or maybe Balkoth, if this fact means I have to replay the whole act again to trigger the plot with Criosa? Or maybe there are some areas that would still trigger romance and I just have to walk all the way back back to Fairloch and trigger them in order to have the plot started? Or there is a specific item that acts as a trigger and it suffices to spawn it through a console? Thanks in advance for suggestions.

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    7. 1. To clarify -- it's more that they *often* cause bugs (we're not even talking about like a 1% chance or something)...and those bugs are major ones. Like completely breaking/destroying the romances.

      2. Indeed. If Savant wanted them in, I wouldn't touch them besides my dislike of them for many reasons. But...

      "Yes, remove the horses! Seeing the result, I should have tested them before putting them in. The mounted knights and other characters are fine, it's just the PC"s that they screw with. Do it :D

      Take on the project however you see fit mate, you seem to have a grasp of the issues :)"

      Greg, I agree it's a bummer and the idea of horses is cool...but they were shoehorned in at the last minute in NWN and they unfortunately don't work well. I actually suspect they haven't worked perfectly for you (maybe they have, but it's unlikely) but rather that the stuff that bugged out is stuff you don't realize isn't happening, if that makes sense.

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    8. "I have slain Scar in Act III, now almost finishing the act and there are is no sign of any romance plot with Criosa."

      Yeah...that would be one of the major ones.

      "Do you have any idea, or maybe Balkoth, if this fact means I have to replay the whole act again to trigger the plot with Criosa?"

      The start of the romance with Criosa should trigger when you enter the Silent Valley (just after the dwarfs and before Azurefang, in the same area as the monastery). If you travel all the way back there (to the eastern entrance) and manage to get it to trigger, then maybe you could avoid replaying it...but it's unlikely, especially since you probably hit other triggers with the romance not active and so they "deactivated."

      There is an item related to the romance as I recall, but I don't think it has anything to do with triggering it. I could probably hunt down some commands to set the romance as active from your current point and have it continue correctly, but you'd miss out on several conversations so far and I don't know how fast I can find the commands. Probably faster to replay Act III unless you won't be touching NWN for at least a few days.

      Welcome to horses!

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    9. A FEW days?! Oh no... ;) But seriously, replaying the whole module would be a nightmare... So if there is a command to activate Criosa's subplot, I would be very grateful for your advice. Espacially that I believe the plot would continue in Act 4. Btw. I remember in some other modules there were simple character specific variables like ROMANCE=1/0 that worked in DebugMode.

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    10. I guess I remembered the entire module only being like 4-6 hours total, maybe my memories are foggy. I'll look into the commands...but like I said, you'll have missed at least 4 romance specific conversations I think, possibly more. The romance will continue in Act 4.

      Other modules could have those, but it's entirely up to the module author and I'm not sure how Savant handled it.

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    11. "The start of the romance with Criosa should trigger when you enter the Silent Valley"

      Ok I did some research because the fabulous Saga is worth it. In short, it seems in many cases it is not horses, but the problematic script triggering process that prevents people from having romance - and possibly other interactions with henchmen - launched.

      I reloaded and entered the triggering area in the valley both on horses and on foot --- and it seems the romance with Criosa was launched in both cases! BUT only thanks to the fact I did not interfere with clicking or moving around in this moment.

      So in retrospect, in my case the script failed NOT due to horses, but due to using keyboard to steer my PC. I checked this: when I run through Criosa-triggering area there was a short moment of script launching and Criosa was teleported right next to me to say her line, yet as I kept my arrow pressed (it is easy to miss, after all, it is a normal algorithm that the game teleports your henchmen next to you from time to time). She was left behind and "forgot" about the script: when I stopped moving next to monastery she did not want to tell me romance-related things anymore. Instead she offered here usual henchman's dialogue.
      Eh, it is a pity as I reckon I am now faced with a choice here: I must either stop using keyboard or come to terms with running high risk of depriving myself of henchmen-specific conversations :(

      I wonder if something can be done with this? I remember some modules have a dialogue option to return to last triggered script (sth. like "What was it you wanted to say earlier?"). Other solution I remember is that the very next conversation with a henchman after failed triggering will be not a regular one, but the one triggered and not concluded. Another thing: the character becomes "paralyzed" to allow the triggering. Probably there are some more options as well. What do you think of my discovery, Balkoth?

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    12. I think you're only halfway (or less, really) on your current voyage of discovery. What you "discovered" about force-moving with WASD is a general issue that applies to many modules. Yes, there are a few ways to get around it (and I use them in my own work), but avoiding WASD is generally a good idea in NWN when possible. And most modules are not built by authors with the technical knowledge/ability to avoid the issue.

      But then you get to the actual horse issues -- which are many. One of them is changing the "size" so to speak of the party members...which means due to the terrain the game puts you outside of or past the trigger you were supposed to, well, trigger. Can you try to design every trigger to try to compensate for that? Yes, but it's a pain. Then you also have issues where people can get permanently stuck on a horse or permanently "enlarged" after dismounting in terms of their collision box. Plus pathing issues in terrain due to larger horse size, balance issues from horse feats (which may make people feel cheated if the important/hard stuff is in non-mounted areas), moving horses around issues (say you go through an underground passage -- what happens to your horses? Do they magically appear on the other side? Do they physically follow you through the passage and you pray they don't get killed in combat? Do they physically follow and are set invulnerable to avoid that and thus become invincible tanks for any combat in the passage? Etc), and so on.

      Are these issues unsolvable? No, but most builders (including Savant and myself) just don't think they're worth the hassle -- especially when you're often only riding horses a small percentage of the time anyway. Too many problems for too little reward. Horses were just shoehorned in at the last minute in NWN and it's very obvious.

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    13. "avoiding WASD is generally a good idea in NWN when possible"

      I did not know this although I already devoted some time to NWN. Quite the opposite, I really liked using keyboard. So I understand there is no way to correct WASD-bug in Aielund Saga? In any case, thanks for hitherto help and explanation.

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    14. I didn't say anything about whether people personally liked WASD, just how the game engine works ;)

      Among other things, holding down WASD makes the game constantly calculate your movement while click to move enables it to do its calculations and then take over (less strain -- irrelevant in single player unless your computer is an iceberg but can be a factor on persistent worlds).

      And using some of my code to try to fix that particular bug in that particular zone would be entirely doable...but having to hunt down every trigger in every zone in every module and adjust the code as needed? That might be a bit much. Perhaps I can adapt some very generic code that I can slap in every trigger, need to look at Savant's code first.

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    15. Count me as surprised you use WASD in NWN, Greg. I didn't think anyone did.

      ESDF > WASD :P

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  3. what a pity! to tell the truth I had some mentioned issues ("Will leave mounted NPCs alone") also with unmounted characters but I agree, they are not practical to use...at the same time I consider them an additional immersion factor and feature that is unique of this module. Maybe I was lucky since I had no problems using them... but if theyt mess with the game, so it's ok removing them.

    I usually do a lot of screenshot myself and also modify it just for fun. I use to do that especially for Morrowind and Oblivion, I did some contests on Planetelderscrolls long ago.

    Yeah, you're right, Robert favours dual-wielding but I didn't know they would also change weapons settings by themselves. I admit I forgot to look at his character sheet, since he used a bastard sword I was sure he was a two hander or sword and board fighter. My mistake!

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    1. Yes, unfortunately they do mess with the game at times and Savant has specifically said that he wishes he never introduced them and would prefer them gone.

      Using Robert as Sword and Board makes the most sense given the default NWN mechanics, which unfortunately means you can't give him one handed weapons to hold or he'll try to equip them.

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    2. Well I can live without them since there is a handy teleporting system. I'm not a fan of "fast travel" on the main map (like many recent rpgs) but I also like not spending an eternity just travelling around. I did not miss the lack of horses in the Prophet trilogy, even if it features a lot of travelling (in Morrowind instead I felt I needed a quicker transportation)

      Sometimes I hate Nwn AI: I like having independent npcs (it's more immersive) but they often are suicidal or waste spells. That's why I preferred Robert to Criosa. Also he was the only one able to use the Arc Draconis, this made really easy any dragon encounter.

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  4. Gosh I cannot find the last (fourth?) dwarf hiding in the Undercity and I scanned every corner. A bug?

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    1. This happened to me, too, but nobody else reported it in the Aielund improvements topic. Thanks for confirming.

      I reloaded... one of the Duergar may have killed the dwarf with an AoE that was meant for me, not sure.

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    2. Another remark as to potential improvements... In act 3 you could buy nice wizard/sorcerer robes (in House of Fashion and at the University) which can store spells. However, a sequencer just does not seem to work at all. You cannot store spells (haste, stoneskin, invisibility, bull's strength, whatever) by casting them on the robes. There is no "spell stored" confirmation after casting and the sequencer remains empty when I try to activate it. Pity, I used to like storing "time stop" in order to activate it in the midst of the battle. What's more I paid a lot for a product's featur which is not there:)

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    3. I didn't play a caster, so not sure. Hopefully Balkoth can clear it up for you.

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    4. Regarding the 4th dwarf -- did you actually count the dwarfs as you found them? I think if you find them in a certain order (that wasn't expected) you can cause the quest to not complete.

      Regarding Sequencer -- they don't work due to the EMS hak. I forget why off-hand. Also, the "Time Stop" in Aielund works a bit differently from the Bioware default -- it lasts a lot longer but enemies are invulnerable during it. Rather than an offensive tool, it's a way to re-position, buff up, heal,rez allies, buff allies, etc. I'll see if I can find and remove all of the sequencers so people don't have that issue and replace them with some other nice properties (like more spell slots or something).

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    5. Ah, now I see why this ugly Scar still stood there intact after a solid portion of ice storming, thundering and horrid wilting cast during TimeStop... :) So the spell is less powerful (I imply you thought it was too powerful), but still useful. Anyway, thanks for the remark. Knowing this, I reckon offensive sorcerer build might need other 9lev spells first.

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    6. I didn't do any spell adjustments (nor did Savant) -- that's part of the Enhanced Magic System hakpak.

      That said, I do think Time Stop was too powerful by default (in part because you could chain it back to back and unload all your spells "instantly")...but technically this version is just as powerful overall in a different way. If two party members died, you couldn't resurrect both of them with time to spare in the old version, for example. The "problem" is that most modules aren't difficult enough to where you'd ever take full advantage of the new Time Stop -- but I can think of many cases where I'd prefer it, especially in a more rest limited environment.

      I usually go with Meteor Swarm, Wail of the Banshee, and third can vary. PW:K (6 hp per level -- so a level 30 caster can kill anything under 180 HP regardless of saves or damage resistance), Weird (for high fort but low will enemies, default fort save was removed), and Bigby's are all quite solid.

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    7. "Regarding the 4th dwarf -- did you actually count the dwarfs as you found them?"

      I replayed this, counting. Here's the result. There are 5 dwarves in total, 4 of which are necessary to complete the subquest: two are located in the corridor leading to the throne room, one in the throne room itself (in the back), and two in the corridors leading to the dragon (I liberated them in this order and the quest was completed). What caused the failure last time? Some of them were missing (?), or the game did not add them to the pool as I was liberating them in different order.

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    8. I think it was an order issue, I'll dig through the scripts eventually.

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