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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Aielund Saga: Act Two - Part II


Fairloch Questing & the Thieves Guild

Ok so, questing in Fairloch now. The game opens up a fair bit here, there's lots of exploration and questing in whatever order you like. I'll try and mix progression up instead of just hammering out the main plot points of the Act like an automaton, to keep things a little more varied. So yeah, playing blind there won't be anything approaching my Hordes-level meta-gaming exercise from earlier. Instead, expect sub-optimal order and solutions to quests, stopping them mid-way through to return to them later while starting others up, and probably even missed content - perish the thought! But I'm a pretty meticulous person to a fault, so fingers crossed I won't miss any really good stuff.

You might also wonder why I'm recording every piece of loot and EXP in painstaking detail... well, primarily it's because I'm anal. Or rather, it's really just for future personal meta-gaming and convenient reference for future players (sort of like a guide, I guess); but also puts on display how the author balances the player's power progression (so far, splendidly - I hope the restraint continues...). I should mention here that loot is somewhat random, mostly the unimportant stuff anyway. EXP rewards may also vary slightly, especially if you're a different level to me or have a larger or smaller party when you kill enemy X. For the most part, though, EXP and loot will be similar or the same from one playthrough to another. Note that one or two quests may be strictly class- or race-based, but it isn't the purpose of this document to detail which ones.

So! With all that said I'll start questing where we disembarked The Redoubtable, in the Fairloch Docklands.

First things first, the trio decides to take up Kipper Bob's offer to cleanse the Docks of a bullying protection racket. We enter a dilapidated warehouse and speak with Justin, flanked by a small army of thugs - some armed, others bare-fisted. My Persuade (9) check was not enough to get them to close up shop, but was enough to aggravate Justin, so they came straight at us with crude weapons drawn and scabby fists up. But even grubs from the slums should have known better than to take on a Holy Warrior who in self-defense grimly cuts them down along with their cocky leader, Justin, who's death yielded +396 EXP and a Longsword +1.


Level Up to 10!

Lilura: Champion of Torm (2) / Paladin (4)/ Fighter (4), Sacred Defense, Improved Critical: Longsword
Ronan: Rogue (10), Crippling Strike
Maggie: Druid (10)

We return to Kipper Bob to tell him the good news, and he's just delighted (+750 EXP, Boots of Striding +2).

Secondly, we head to the university sub-section and into the Fairloch Cathedral. Here we meet Bishop Anthony Brown who asks us to delve the catacombs in search of a mad cardinal who is raising the dead down there. A quest tailored to a divine build, how could I refuse? From the Bishop I buy anti-undead items including an Amulet of Health, Lesser Amulet of Health and Blessed Mace of Disruption +2 (+1d12 divine) for a total outlay of 35,000 GP. As a >lvl2 Paladin I'm immune to Disease (Divine Health) and Fear (Aura of Courage), but the Amulet of Health adds Poison and Level Drain to that list, just in case. I also have Remove Disease but one casting per day is a joke, really. Hence, the two Health amulets.
 


We descend into the tombs beneath the Cathedral...

I smell death... unnatural death. - Maggie.

Herein lurk dozens of Mummies, Mummy Priests and their summoned Skeleton Warriors. I basically solo these guys because Ronan is susceptible to Fear and Maggie can't really bring much to the table except cure (x) wound spam (which is handy, no doubt). Still, they are both fairly weak in combat against undead. (Nellise would obviously decimate down here, but she's selflessly decided to help heal Culdeny instead of saving the whole of Aielund, so I can't hold that against her...)

This is what a Pally is made for. I'm in my element, below.


Towards the end of this middle-sized dungeon we face off against the tankiest foe yet: the Mummy Warlord, one tough mutha with a fear aura and a ream-long immunity list, pictured below.

Phew, what's that stench. Oh, it's you. - Ronan.

(Giving lip to a foe you run in fear from, and can't even kill on your own. Typical cocky rogue. I guess he takes me for granted...)

Maggie and Ronan are vulnerable to Knockdown, so I do my best to attract the aggro and eventually whittle him down with divine-augmented melee (+924 EXP). 

From his battered mummified corpse we loot a Large Shield +3 and Longsword +1, the former being extra D for Maggie.


I now have Maggie buff me with Stoneskin, Endure Elements and Resistance, after which I self-buff with Divine Might. Then the trio step into the Tomb of Sir Marcus where they face off against a hostile priest: Cardinal Eric Notting, gone mad.

There he is. Looks like he's made some new friends, geddit? - Ronan.

Ronan is referring to Sir Marcus, a long-dead knight who was already reanimated by the Cardinal when we stepped into the tomb. Maggie opens up with Ice Storm and then Call Lightning on the Cardinal while I wail on Sir Marcus with the divine mace. Ronan sneak attack criticals the Cardinal, who only managed to cast Darkness before surrendering at Near Death status (+90 EXP). I then give Sir Marcus one last divine bludgeoning (+748 EXP), prematurely capping off the encounter. (So it turned out I didn't need Level Drain immunity, afterall. Oh well, I'm sure there'll be more potent undead encounters later in the module where the Amulet of Health will come in handy.)
 


The Cardinal agrees to return with us to face the music (+200 EXP) and so we time-lapse back to the Bishop and hand over the madman for punishment. The Bishop suitably impressed (+1200 EXP), he entrusts to me Lightbringer +3 (1d6 Evil, Dispel Magic 1/day) and the Lesser Shield of Invulnerability (DR 5/+2). Beaming with pride and genuinely misty-eyed, I reverently slide the holy longsword into my scabbard, stiffen my upper lip, and sincerely thank his Eminence for the generous gift.


My Henchmen still patting me on the back, we now enter the arcane Halls of Knowledge across the street to ask Harold Webber if he has any work. He gently hands us a fragile package of magic goods to deliver to one Auberon at the Amalis wizard tower. We put this on hold for now.


Downstairs I agree to test Wiliand Nottias's teleportation experiment. I buy two Stones of Recall (952 GP ea) which enable me to recall back to the lab from any location. Basically, very similar to the Relic of the Reaper in Hordes except that at this point the only binding is the lab itself. Still, that's handy as hell since I can venture down the South road to Amalis and just bind back here when done. But first, the trio decide to explore the rest of Fairloch for other quests within the city.


We enter the Grand Library in the Senate District and discover a Devil on the first floor who has taken three hostages. This down-sized Mephistopheles from Hordes senses a powerful tome somewhere in the library and asks us to retrieve it for him in exchange for the hostages' release. The trio run off to rummage through the many bookshelves, finally finding a Tome of Power which we take back and hand the Devil, who then frees one of the hostages (+200 EXP).


The Devil then asks for an Elixir of Binding or he won't free the others, so the trio run off to the Halls of Knowledge in search of one. I fail my Persuade check on Webber so we have to fork out 800 GP for it. We then buy Holy Water from the Bishop and pour the holy water into the Elixir of Binding, thereby blessing it. 


Now back in the library, the anti-infernal elixir is delivered to the Devil (+500 EXP) who greedily chugs it down. The divine damage reduces him to Badly Wounded which causes him to rage hard and attacks the trio with flaming melee thrusts. Ronan is quickly killed by the assault but is instantly avenged by my crit that downs the Devil in turn (+1188 EXP). With mini-Meph's antics ended the freed hostages burst into tears, thank us, and run off to find their worried families.


I loot the infernal corpse for the very valuable Devil's Trident +2 (on-hit DC 14 Daze), resurrect Ronan by means of a Raise Dead scroll, and then head downstairs to inform the librarian that Fairloch bookworms can now return to their studies, thereby capping off the quest in the journal (no +EXP).

Next up, we head to the Admiralty Building - also in the Senate District. Here we meet with Admiral Frazer Chesterton who hands us a Navy Permission Slip to access barrels of alchemist fire for possible use against the conspirators.


We stroll down to the Docklands and hand the permission slip to the City Watchman guarding the Navy Storage Building, who then opens the door for us. But once inside the building one of the many alchemist fire barrels ignites - threatening to set off a chain reaction and blow us out into the sea! Not wanting to be part of the fireworks, I try to open the door but its been relocked and can't be bashed open! We move away from the door just as the first barrel detonates, exploding the door open. Now with a way out and the other barrels igniting around us, we waste no time in leaving. Back outside, we notice the guard has gone. Damn, we wanted so bad to wring his neck.


We return to the Admiral and complain about our singed hair (+750 EXP). He concludes that this was an attempt to take me out of the picture, since I'm an obstacle to those who seek to assassinate Princess Criosa. Thank you, Admiral Obvious.

Level Up to 11!

Lilura: Champion of Torm (3) / Paladin (4)/ Fighter (4), Smite Evil
Ronan: Rogue (11), Sneak Attack (+6d6), Uncanny Dodge III
Maggie: Druid (11)

Ok, time to advance the main plot a touch. As advised by Sir Godfrey, we pay a visit to Captain Deckard at the Docks' Guardhouse. The grizzled veteran reveals the location of the thieves guild as being in the sewers underneath the Market District. I use Lawful dialogue to tell Deckard that finding the assassins is the only way to protect Princess Criosa (+1 Lawful, +50 EXP). Amazed that a bounty is on her head, he informs us that the only people other than royalty who could afford to pay the assassins a mammoth sum matching the insane risk would be Lord Johnson, Lady Chelsea and Thomas Bartlett.

Laying this knowledge aside for now, we take our leave of Deckard and head into the sewers to find the thieves guild.

Just a note on the sewer system, it (logically) lies under every District of Fairloch, but the Castle sewers are inaccessible as far as I can tell - at least at this stage. The Docks and Market sewers are pretty tame, containing spawns of annoying Dire Spiders (+220 ea), Greater Gelatinous Cubes and Stag Beetles (facerolls). The Residential sewers are a step up: there is an encounter with a Queen Spider (+836 EXP) and another one with a trio of fairly powerful undead: Greater Mummy (+396 EXP), Revenant and Shadow Fiend (+220 EXP ea). Lastly, lurking in the Senate sewers are two Intellect Devourers (+220 EXP). So solid EXP for clearing out the sewers, but no loot to write home about.




Anyway, we now brave the Market sewers.

The stench of the sewers makes your head spin. The stone floor is slippery and treacherous. - DM.

(It's actually possible to slip and fall down here, a sort of momentary Knockdown effect. Slightly annoying...)

We explore... we kill Dire Spiders, and then...

The entrance is around here somewhere. Can't be far now. - Ronan.

The secret door is spotted and we enter the Thieves Guild (+500 EXP).



To no surprise the guild is headed up by another Halfling, this one named Peridoc Dabbenfold. Peri, like much of his race, is a fairly jovial carefree character and is actually surprisingly forthcoming with information about the assassins: their location (under the Art Gallery [a front] in the Senate District), two different means of access (one not as well guarded, in the sewers) and even the name of the leader, Holister Swiftblade. And all that without one Persuade check, when if Holister survives and finds out who tipped us off this could cause a full-blown guild war...

I thank him for all the info and then purchase items from Sparky, including a Ring of Appraisal (Appraise +10), Thieves Hood (Poison immunity, +3 rogue skills), potions and medkits - totaling about 11,000 GP.


Technical nonsense, no need to read:

Speaking of thieves, I've been struggling up until this point to have my rogue Henchmen (first Criosa, and now Ronan) Disable Traps (and unlock chest n doors, actually [Open Lock]). They were able to detect traps fine (Search), but then they just stood there like idiots with the traps flagged red right under their noses. This meant I had to either walk around the traps and avoid trapped corridors entirely, or simply set them off by stepping on them and hoping for the best (just frustrating and wasteful of medkits). It also meant I had to tediously bash open chests and bash down doors with Power Attack. But I finally found the solution to the problem, which is thankfully very simple: Aielund rogue Henchmen need to be in Guard Me mode. If they're in Follow mode they simply won't disable or unlock, and they were almost always in Follow mode. Note that in official NWN content this isn't a problem, so I guess Tomi and crew auto-engage Guard Me mode when standing still. This is why I was stumped and thought it might be a bug, but yeah, all fixed now. Ronan is promptly disabling/unlocking when in Guard Me mode. The only other issue I have is that he lacks the dialogue option to recover traps, unlike Criosa who was able to recover them into her inventory to be sold (on the black market) or re-used. I'm not sure if this feature was disabled for game balance reasons, though. But I guess it's a fairly trivial issue, anyway.

Apologies for rambling - back to the adventure...

We exit the sewers and head to the Residential District in the south of Fairloch, where we happen upon an altercation between a pompous businessman (another Fairchild, in fact - perhaps the brother of the poacher we let live in Calespur ranges..) and a City Watchman. Basically, a tribe of orcs are raiding caravans on the south roads so I put my foot forward to slay them and their leader (+1 Lawful, +50 EXP) who's head I agree to present to the City Hall in Amalis.


I know it doesn't make much "role-playing" sense to put the annihilation of the 'Sin Guild on hold, but the trio has just crawled through dark tombs, dusty libraries and slippery sewers and is feeling quite claustrophobic and even a little nauseous. They can really do with some fresh air and orc-slaying in the wilderness right now, plus while down there we can deliver the magical goods and test out Wiliand's wondrous teleportation magic to bind straight back to Fairloch when done, after which we can make final preparations to save Criosa from the 'Sin threat. So that's my weak RP justification and the plan, we'll see how it goes...
Next up:  Act Two - Part III

Southward to the Orc Fortress, then taking out the 'Sins.

26 comments:

  1. Quite interested in seeing how this continues! Looking forward to it.

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    1. Thanks once again for the informed comments! I'll try to compile a list of bugs/typos/misspellings for you sometime, probably after I finish this recounting. Cheers!

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    2. I'm playing through as a NG Sorceror and interestingly i haven't been offered the quest from Bishop brown. Is it possibly a Divine build only quest or alignment related?

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    3. I think that's just for divine builds, yeah. There should be an arcane quest somwhere, too.

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    4. Cleric/Paladin only...OR have Sir William with you (requires you to be LG, LN, or NG). I don't think there's an arcane exclusive quest.

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  2. Cool, thank you. Didn't think to have Sir William with me.

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  3. A couple questions. first, is there any other quest available for a Chaotic Neutral sorcerer since I can't do the undead cathedral quest?

    And second, I can't trigger the quest at the admiralty building to go looking for the alchemists'fire. Do I get locked out of that if I already raided the assassin's guild first?

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    1. Hi words134616,

      Apparently there is no quest for sorcerers/wizards (there is one for bards, though).

      I guess it stands to reason that if you wiped out the assassins that the other quest is no longer available, but I'm not 100% certain.

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    2. Interesting. I bypassed the thieves guild portion of the quest too since I stumbled onto the assassin's guild while searching the sewers.

      It seems you have more opportunities as a LG paladin to get exp than I do. For instance, the library demon quest gives significantly less xp if you don't spike his drink with holy water. And as far as I know I can't get the paladin henchman to join me. Even though I saved the senate from being killed singlehandedly and am on a mission to save the kingdom he still acts like he's too good for me.

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    3. Recruiting the pally may be subject to an alignment check. If you haven't slipped down to Evil then Chaotic Neutral may still not impress him since they don't exactly favor law and order. If you're in need of a tank then the barb should join you, though.

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    4. I don't see anything that links to the Assassin's Guild to the Alchemist's Fire quest. What exactly have you done to try to trigger it?

      The paladin will only work for LG, LN, or NG characters.

      Not sure how you're tying LG to spiking the water -- would think that any non-evil character, at a minimum, would want to avoid civilian deaths if possible.

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    5. I've basically been playing through and then referring back to this blog to see if I missed anything, so I did the quests in a much different order than Lilura. After beating up those thugs for Kipper I immediately went into the sewers and stumbled into the assassins' guild without finding the thieves' guild first. (there was still a spot in dialog where someone referred back to a conversation I had never had with the thieves, saying they had intentionally led me to the assassin's guild as part of a trap or something along those lines. Don't remember exactly.) At any rate, I basically went straight through to the part with the assassins' guild much earlier.

      Afterward, I referred back here and saw the following:

      "Next up, we head to the Admiralty Building - also in the Senate District. Here we meet with Admiral Frazer Chesterton who hands us a Navy Permission Slip to access barrels of alchemist fire for possible use against the conspirators."

      I tried talking to the Admiral but he didn't offer any quests. Not sure if the order in which I did things changed the trigger or not.

      As for the water spike thing--not necessarily lawful good, but I was just surprised that the "immense power" he offers you is only 750 xp, when I can get much more for killing him. The way the quest is set up, I can pick the [Evil] option and still feed him holy water and get the superior xp bonus though.

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    6. Have you actually talked to the Duke and gotten the Letter of Marque? If you want to email your save file to balkothwarcraft at gmail dot com I can also take a look at it.

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  4. "Have you actually talked to the Duke and gotten the Letter of Marque?"

    I actually didn't do that until I left town, talked to the horse guy and he said I couldn't have a horse without permission from the crown or something similar. Throughout the whole assassins' guild/senate quest it never seemed like I was missing anything like that, since I was working with the guard captain and conducting official inquiries and stuff.

    ....and yep,the letter of marque is apparently what I needed. The alchemist fire dialog shows up now.

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    1. That's kind of hilarious, given the first thing you're supposed to do is escort the Princess to the castle where you'd get the Letter of Marque.

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    2. Another sequence break discovered, then? Perhaps the Captain of the Guard should check the Letter of the Marque, or something along those lines, so that you can't enter the guild until you have it?

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    3. From the sounds of it he decided to explore the sewers and found the secret door to the Assassin's Guild itself.

      "After beating up those thugs for Kipper I immediately went into the sewers and stumbled into the assassins' guild without finding the thieves' guild first."

      I suppose could make that door dependent on getting the info from the Thieves' Guild at least...but then you could still stumble across the Thieves' Guild with the Princess. Maybe then have them say "What the hell is the Princess doing here? Get her to the Castle, then we can talk" or something.

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    4. No, I did take the Princess to the castle before doing anything. I just didn't get the letter of marque from the duke before leaving the castle.

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    5. To make things a bit clearer this is the rough order I did things.

      Landed in fairloch > talked to kipper and heard about thugs > went straight to castle to deliver princess > (walked out of castle without talking to duke one last time?) > asked Ronan who else I could recruit > recruited Maggie > looked around at a couple shops > went back to deal with the thugs > heard from someone (guard captain?) that the thieves guild was in the sewers > went into sewers > stumbled straight into assassin's guild instead > cleared out assassin's guild > received info about the two possible suspects > emerged back to surface > explored a bit around town before investigating the suspects.

      It was around this point that I came to this page and saw that there was a quest in the admiralty building and a quest at the cathedral, neither of which I apparently had access to.

      Then, prior to Balkoth mentioning the letter of marque, I finished as much as I could in town, and headed south toward Amalis since I had quests there. The horse guy wouldn't give me a horse without written permission from the royal family or something along those lines, so I headed back and picked up my letter of marque at this point.

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    6. Hi Ahti,

      Was in touch a week or two ago re the quality of your loading sequence.
      Have currently progessed to this stage with my CG Fighter/Bard/RDD. Just to confirm that the Cathedral Quest isn't available (and I'm clearly beneath the Pally henchman's station) to the non-divine (Miss M?). The Bard quest, however, is. It ain't a big one, but it is handy.

      Opposite the Cathedral is the Hall of Learning (wizards' tower by any other name). Your job is to find out who blew a sodding great hole in the pavement. Speak to the Archmage, he'll give you a few details. Then up a level for a chat and another quest from Harold, and some sorcerous shopping. Finally, up to Desmond, who is suspect numero uno...

      Only it ain't him - thank the gods, 'cos he can upgrade weapons, which is always nice.

      And off to the students' hall of residence (no comment. At all.), where fun ensues...

      Hope this is ok as a comment? You can always delete it if not!

      Cheers

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    7. Thanks for the tip, Cliff!

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  5. hi, where's the university sub-section?

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    1. You can't see the Cathedral? It's a large church building. That's the section.

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  6. I seem to have run into a side quest not covered here. In the Residential District, a little girl named Sarah has had her candy stolen by a boy named Sammy. A little way down the street, another boy named Bobby points me to the northeast corner of the map. I can't find Sammy there or anywhere else, though. If I go back to Sarah, I just have the option to taunt her (Evil) or say I haven't found her candy yet. Not sure what to do next.

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    1. Bobby's lying to you, which most characters can spot. Sammy ran into the nearby sewers.

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  7. Then I will seek him there.

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