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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Aielund Saga: Act Three - Part IV


High Plains

The far southwest of the foothills leads to the High Plains, upon which the barb fort stands. The cold no longer inflicts damage as it did in the heart of winter.


Unlike last time, we simply enter through the front gates.


We're greeted by a barb who takes us to the Chief.

 

This is the yurt of Chief Morik. Enter, and speak with him. - Barb Warrior.


Here in this cozy yurt stands Chief Morik Far-Eagle, flanked by two concubines "of surpassing average beauty". We saved Morik's hide last time we visited, imprisoned as he was by Erag who had usurped him. Now it seems we must save his daughter, Valennia, and take out a flight of white dragons in the mountains before we can expect barb support against the Ironlord.

The spirits of my people cannot be broken by mere dragons! - a defiant Barb Shaman.


We tread lightly past the snoring and resting barbs en route to the treacherous Highmarch Mountains.

They have suffered much in recent times, yet they refuse to give up. I truly admire these people... - Nellise.


On a high ridge overlooking the camp stand three scouts, watching the sky.

The dragon has routed us at every battle. Soon, it will come for us, and we will die. - a Berserker realist.



Highmarch Mountains


The faint roars of dragons can be heard occasionally in the distance...

More dragons! Something must have shaken them up, for so many to attack my land at once. - Criosa. 


In the central west an Old White assails us, but flees after taking heavy damage (+180 EXP).

This is not over. - Old White.


In the central south the Old White comes back for round two, joined this time by two Adults whom we easily dispatch (+108 EXP, horn). Again it flees after taking a beating (+180 EXP).


At the summit is a dragon cave wherein the Old White makes it's last stand (+340 EXP, horn).

 
Deeper in this cave we disturb Hailstorm, an ancient white dragon of epic proportions.


Sort of an anti-climax, as to Hailstorm's dismay he rolled a 1 on the save vs. slay of my Holy Avenger (+884 EXP, horn).


Valennia is found lying in a pool of blood here, dead: Armor of the Warlord (DR 5/+5, Regen +1), Assault Helm (Bonus Feat: Slippery Mind, STR +2, Saves +2, Disc +6, Intim +6, Regen +1), Immense Greatsword +4 (+2d6 bludg, +2d6 Mass crits).

Treasure pile: Ring of Elemental Water, Arrow of Intense Cold (99), Lightning Arrow (99), Piercing Arrow (99), Belt of Agility +3.
 

I bring the barb back to life using one of my spare Raise Dead scrolls. She's seen better days...


Back at the barb camp...

All glory to the Dragonslayer! - Barbs.

We proudly present four dragon horns to Morik who in turn vows to lead his barbs to Fort Highmarch (+3500 EXP).

I also return the sacred armor found beside Valennia's corpse for +1000 EXP.

 

Level Up to 21!

(Epic Characters)

Lilura: Champion of Torm (5) / Paladin (11)/ Fighter (4), Epic Weapon Focus/Epic Weapon Specialization: Longsword. 
Criosa: Rogue (12) / Wizard (9)
Nellise: Cleric (19) / Paladin (2)



Road to Fort Highmarch


We now backtrack out of the High Plains, through the Southern Foothills, west into Bracksworth, and then south out of Bracksworth onto the highway leading to Fort Highmarch.

I say, are those rangers ahead? We should have a word with them before we continue. - Criosa.

Ahh, visitors. Come say hello to a ragged band of travellers. - Ranger.

Standing vigilantly at the ranger camp is our old friend from the Lodge, Armin Wise. The rangers under his command actively guard the surrounding area, their longbows at the ready. He warns us of organised ogres and giants who have dug themselves in along the highway to the fort. 

The daring trio march onward, unfazed.


Kill them, for your King! - Ogre High Mage.

Not far south of the camp we're charged by a pack of four Ogre Warriors (+10 EXP) led by a loud-mouthed Ogre High Mage (+340 EXP). The mage managed to dispel my Freedom status and Mage Armor, but Nellise in turn dispelled his Greater Stoneskin even as I thrust my sword into his belly (64 dmg crit). 

These brutes are very hard-hitting and tend to train on Criosa, whom they can turn into paste in a heartbeat. For this reason, both her and Nellise hang back to be brought into the fray only when all aggro is trained on me.



Highmarch Foothills

Things step up a gear on this map due to the powerful roaming ogres and giant packs.

We cannot let any of these beasts survive - we must break them. - Criosa.

I inflict mid 90s crits against our second ogre pack. It sounds obscene to be doing so much damage, but these ogres are no slouches in combat, either.

 

We begin our ascent of the hills...

A third and forth ogre pack is bested, along with another giant pack.



The hilltop hosts a difficult ogre battle: four warriors, another mage and the maul-wielding Ogrillon, King Kraald.

I stand stealthed behind Kraald, inspecting his maul. Mmm... yes. Swings it like a golf club, most likely of +4 enchantment, and uh... likely a STR buff, too. Note to self: don't get hit.


They waste no time charging, as a few roaming giants also sniff us out.


Nellise unleashes Storm of Vengeance to soften them up.


I incur heavy damage from tanking the ogre onslaught as Criosa sneak attacks Kraald, causing the unholy union of ogre and human to fall into the icy stream and cloud it with blood (+375 EXP).


Nellise saves my life (+225 HPs) as the Ogre High Mage casts Cloudkill just before failing his save against my Holy Avenger on-hit slay. The remaining warrior and giant are then easily disposed of.


Kraald's corpse is fished out of the stream and looted for the Maul of the Titans +4 (+6 STR).

Victorious in fully opening the road to our armies marching south, the heroes now march on to Fort Highmarch.


Fort Highmarch (North)


Looming up hugely in the distance are the stone walls of Fort Highmarch. Truly, it would take a godlike construct to demolish them.


I was somewhat short-tempered after fighting off an ogre horde and wasn't in the mood for formalities. Apologies to this young man who was just doing his job.


We visited this place briefly in Act One, but this is as far as we got.


The actual fort is huge. Huge, I say!

Highmarch hasn't fallen to any enemy yet, and I'll wager we'll hold off this Ironlord thing too! - Commoner.

We're being taxed to the hilt, and with respect to our Princess, it's making things really hard. She needs to give us some room to breath. - Commoner.


This north section consists of many a dwelling, but it seems only the Main Barracks and The Lazy Lion Inn may be entered.

Hm, this place is a lot more livable than I thought a fort would be. - Nellise.

An old lady can take us all the way back to Culdeny from here by means of her ox-drawn wagon (top-right).


Before exploring the rest of the fort (interior, south section etc.) we decide to hit the tavern to unwind. A pianist plays an uplifting piece (see background) as three amusing locals entertain each other with a story or two. I sit on a nearby barstool and swing it around to listen in on a tale about the Ironlord and the epic barb-hero, Reikthor (of whom the armor we returned to Morik was symbolic).
 

Impressed by their storytelling, I offer to tell them a tall tale (+1000 EXP, +200 GP).


I buy them a round or two of drinks... or was that ten rounds? Anyway, we didn't need our upstairs lodgings that night. We found the floor comfy enough.




Fort Highmarch cont.  

10 comments:

  1. "Sort of an anti-climax, as to Hailstorm's dismay he rolled a 1 on the save vs. slay of my Holy Avenger (+884 EXP, horn)."

    Oh wow, you don't play with Autofail on 1 disabled? I thought everyone did. That may mess stuff up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never heard of that option before... are you saying if I slay a plot-critical character it might cause problems? Haven't run into any so far...

      Delete
    2. No, I don't think you'll mess up the plot accidentally, but you'll mess up the difficulty potentially since you basically have a 5% chance to instantly kill enemies.

      That option is set in nwnplayer.ini under "Server Options." Relevant line should be

      Saving Throw Automatic Failure On 1=0

      You'll still auto succeed on a 20, but now you won't instantly die when hit by a 19 DC Finger of Death when you have 40 Fortitude if you roll a 1.

      Delete
    3. Hailstorm in particular can offer some lore/plot dialogue -- nothing critical but still interesting to hear. He's supposed to surrender, you've actually managed to kill many enemies flat out who will talk to you once you defeat them. Will be fixing that too!

      Delete
    4. ok, you've convinced me mainly cuz it ups the difficulty. For this recounting, that'll be in effect as of Act Four Hocarum Desert - The Dire Crossing - as that's the point I'm at.

      Maybe you want to add that tweak to your future patch release notes.

      Delete
    5. What exactly do you mean? It's not something the author of the module can control, it's entirely client side. Or do you mean suggesting people change that in release notes?

      I have come up with a scripted work-around in my own modules to avoid the issue -- basically make the creature Immortal (cannot go below 1 HP) and then remove it at low HP. The catch is that this also renders the creature immune to other effects like mind spells. Works decently for bosses who are meant to be immune to that stuff anyway, and in theory in something like Aielund having a 5% chance to slay a random minion isn't the worst thing in the world.

      Specifically...

      http://www.nwnlexicon.com/index.php?title=SetImmortal

      List of the effect that doesn't affect immortal creatures:

      EffectConfused
      EffectDazed
      EffectDominated
      EffectCharmed
      EffectDeath
      EffectTurned
      EffectPetrify
      EffectParalyze
      EffectSleep
      EffectFrightened
      EffectStunned

      Delete
    6. I meant that when you release Aielund Saga with these various improvements, you will probably package it with a readme listing your changes, right? What I'm saying is that within your readme you could add a note recommending the use of Saving Throw Automatic Failure On 1=0. Otherwise, many people won't use it. I've played NWN on and off for years, not as much as you of course, but I've interacted with many, many people about NWN and never even heard of - much less used - that option.

      About that script, won't those triggering a lot slow the game down and make it jumpy or something?

      Delete
    7. A general ReadMe, but I doubt I'll include the full list of changes, would be immense.

      I suppose I could add the note, I figured everyone people used it or at least knew about it.

      No, when you hit a mob it's executing thousands of lines of code. Me adding in another 5-6 lines will have no impact.

      Delete
  2. Spartan: "I like ogres. They taste like chicken" :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reminded me of one of Lilarcor's comments (BG2 sentient sword). Maybe Enserric says that as well (HotU sentient sword).

      Delete

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