Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Aielund Saga: Act Two - Part IV


Shadow Warriors & Shadow Druids

The trio now stroll over to the Docklands' guardhouse where I reveal to Captain Deckard the exact location of the Thieves Guild (+1 Lawful, +50 EXP) and inform him that the Assassin's Guild has been dismantled. He also gives us off-the-record permission to enter the Bartlett Estate in order to further conduct our investigations.


First though, we pay a visit to Peri in the thieves guild, who admits working with Swiftblade in setting us up but defends himself by saying he couldn't exactly say "no" to someone like that. Anyway, Peri now also points to Bartlett and Johnson, telling us that they secretly meet up and that if I want to find proof of the connection - and through that gain authorised access to Johnson's magically warded estate - I'll need to rummage through the Bartlett mansion (+200 EXP). Oddly, I'm able to threaten exposing the guild here when I've already dobbed them in to the Deckard. I guess we'll see later if there's any consequence - logic dictates that the guild will soon be raided by the authorities.


Level Up to 13!

Lilura: Champion of Torm (4) / Paladin (5)/ Fighter (4), Blind Fight
Ronan: Rogue (13), Opportunist, Sneak Attack (+7d6)
Maggie: Druid (13) Level 7 spells (Heal, Fire Storm etc).

We arrive at the Bartlett mansion.
 

Ronan picks the DC 30 lock and we enter. 

Nobody except the maid is home, and she seems more concerned about us getting caught than about break n enter. We casually loot the place because it's owned by a Bartlett, but most of the stuff is randomised or knick-knacks. This place does prove random treasure can be decent, though, because I found a Resurrection scroll. There is also removable artwork on the wall, presumably part of a quest for Rogue builds. Upstairs we find what we came for: a Sealed Letter containing damning evidence of Thomas Bartlett's involvement in the conspiracy to erase Criosa from the picture.

Back downstairs the trio are startled to find that Thomas Bartlett has arrived home.

What on earth are you doing in here girl?- TB.

I tell him we know he's in on the assassination attempt of the Princess and that he's not going to get away with it, at which point the foppish fool whips out a dagger and attacks. I decide to fight him in my underwear and bare-fisted to make it a closer bout (+88 EXP), as the maid looks on in astonishment.


From the fop's corpse I loot the Swashbucklers' Outfit (Parry +5), Boots of Agility (+2 DEX, +5 Tumble), Immense Dagger +2 (Bludg 1d4, Mass Crits 5) and a Letter to Senator Augustus Johnson.

(Note that the journal entry before the encounter with Thomas and the first dialogue option sort of lures the player into choosing a less palatable direction and resolution to this part of the quest. I won't go into depth about it here, but suffice it to say if you bluff Thomas [I couldn't, it's unpaladinly] he won't attack and instead Deckard will interrogate him.)

Anyway, while not totally conclusive of Johnson's guilt, we take both the Sealed letter and the one found on Thomas's corpse to Captain Deckard (+750 EXP), and he now refers us back to Sir Godfrey for the key and authorisation to access Johnson's Estate, wherein we hope to find proof of the senator's guilt in this plot.


We now march over to Johnson's Estate in the Senate District and enter through the magically-warded gate with the key.


Stepping inside we're "greeted" by a dual-wielding Butler. Being another duel, I take him solo.



His death yields +660 EXP, the Warspite +2 (bastard sword, Sonic 1d4, True Strike 1/day), Stormblade +2 (1d6 Elect), Butler's Attire, Ring of Protection +3. 

Upstairs is a trapped and locked chest (DC 32/35) containing +4147 GP, Scarab of Protection +3, gems and jewelry - but most importantly a Satchel full of papers detailing plans to depose of the royal family to make room for what this mysterious faction refers to as "The Ironlord". Of more concern to the immediate present, is a plan by the elusive Number One and Augustus to assassinate the entire Senate if they don't agree to overthrow the current government. The extreme censorship will be carried out by a group of Shadow Warrior monks who will meet in the basement of the Estate and from there use a secret passage in the Senate District sewers to gain unguarded access to the Senate Building.

The trio heads downstairs, then downstairs again to the basement where they spot the secret door leading into the sewers. We enter, head west and then north (as per our notes) where we spot another secret door leading to a hidden passage.

This passage is covered in dust and muck. You can easily make out fresh tracks in the filth, leading into the building above. - DM.

At the end of this passage is the secret entrance to the Senate Building, which we enter.

 

On the ground floor there is some low-key loot: Farel's Gold (30), Light Hammer +2, Sapphire, Thieves' Tools +10, potions and small change. However, as a Pally I wouldn't know.

We arrive on the first floor to find the Senate already in session. The guard allows us immediate entry to the chambers after I show him proof that lives are at stake (+100 EXP), after which he hurries off to gather reinforcements.


At this point a vote is cast and Johnson's attempt to ratify his proposal fails. He threatens the gathering and runs off to hide in a side chamber as wave upon wave of Shadow Warrior monks (including one Elite and one Master) storm the chamber.


You heard the senator. Now it is time for you to be 'retired'. - Shadow Warrior Elite.

 
Unfortunately, this fight was sort of easy. The waves of monks are mostly harmless trashmobs (+7 EXP ea, Poison-tipped Shuriken [115] - valuable). Even the Elite went down fast, dropped by a crit (+308 EXP). His loot drop is highly valuable, though: Katana +2, Kukri +2, Robes of the Spirit Warrior +4 (Evil/Monk/Neutral only, +4 AC, +3 Hide/Move Silently, Darkness 1/day), Cloak of the Bat (+2 AC def, Darkvision, Immunity to Darkness, Hide +5), Silver Necklace. The Shadow Master consists of five ethereal forms which when "killed" drop +1 Ninja-tos and yield zero EXP. I guess that guy has transcended the mundane realm, or something, as he leaves no corpse...



We now confront the hostile Johnson who quickly surrenders (+50 EXP) but is accidentally killed by an over-zealous Ronan, anyway (+7 EXP). He leaves behind the Defender +4 rapier (+2, +2 AC def) and Lord's Breastplate (CHA +2), so that suits me fine (if kept alive he has little to say, and is imprisoned by the Duke to face charges of treason followed by death. He was a man paranoid and fearful of the return of the Ironlord, who wished control of the Kingdom, perhaps also intending to submit to the Ironlord to save his own ass).


The stern Knight Captain arrives with reinforcements and we're escorted back to Fairloch Castle to explain ourselves to Sir Godfrey and Duke Charles Montague (Criosa's uncle). We present them both with the Satchel full of papers looted from Johnson's Estate (+10,000 GP, +2000 EXP), and I thank his Grace for the reward and tell him it was a pleasure to serve the Crown (+1 Lawful, +50 EXP). Godfrey also hands us the key to the Senate Building just in case we later need it.


Now follows a rather lengthy conversation in which I learn from them that knowledge of this Ironlord is top-secret info, but that they feel obliged to tell me more. The Ironlord is a living, intelligent spirit housed within a sort of construct which arose in the south 150 years ago, bent on destruction, but was "defeated" by the third King of Aielund who obtained aid from an ancient gold dragon, now considered deceased. Anyway, the immortal Ironlord was banished but is apparently re-awakening in the country of Tusone in the west. This is where the King is now, along with his army (who tipped the King off about the time and place of the Ironlord's resurrection is unknown). The King is invading Tusone after diplomatic efforts failed to convince the arrogant Tusonites that the Ironlord would appear in their sacred temple, which the King wants to destroy in order to prevent the Ironlord's return.

At our behest The Castellan brings in a book entitled Legendary Artifacts From Old Times, detailing other possible means of defeating the Ironlord, which, apparently, the King had no time to consider. The Castellan then mentions something he read about called the Scepter of Transcendence, a weapon which could actually harm the Ironlord. It is said that this scepter is located somewhere in the region, in one of three places: The Dwarven city of Stoneguard, the Feybourne or the Isle of the Dead. We agree to seek out the scepter because it gives the Kingdom another option should the King fail his mission in Tusone.

We now take our leave of the Duke, who wishes us well in locating the scepter. We sell off excess loot and purchase two Bags of Holding from Sparky in the thieves guild (which still seems to be operating despite its location being exposed). Current gold = 154,000 GP.

The Duke mentioned an ancient gold dragon in his speech and referred us to Desmond in the Halls of Knowledge for more info. Upon asking Desmond about the dragon, he activates a portal and we teleport to the Ethereal Plane where we meet the ancient beast who educates us more on Ironlord lore and our quest (+1000 EXP) - details below.




Hitching a ride with a teamster in Fairloch, we now time-lapse back to Amalis where we visit the City Hall to talk to Sothby, Lord of Amalis. From him we receive two quests - one to assassinate the leader of the Shadow Druids in Feybourne (who threatens to Amalis); the other to find a missing businessman and linguist, Alain Rich.

The Feybourne

Maggie also has a bone to pick with the Shadow Druids, so we head south to the Feybourne Swamps, first.

The druids are further into the swamp, but beware the creatures around here - they bite. - Maggie

We follow a Will-O'-Wisp which leads us to a swarm of eight (+308 EXP ea). There are one dozen others dotted around the map, so good EXP yield here. Treasure is trivial.


South, deeper into the swamps...

We're approached by a Shadow Druid who almost identifies Maggie, but I pass a persuasion check to have him leave us in peace.


This place is heavily patrolled by Shadow Druids and their beefed up Beastmaster and Elementalist variants. There is a warded gate in the south which we cannot breach, so we head to the Treestump Shack to speak with the Shadow Druid Elder.



You show respect when you talk to elder, or me thump you! - Beastmaster door guard.

In this hollowed out treestump we learn a lesson of life: arrogant fanatics refuse to listen to reason, the law must be laid down by force.


The Elder is no pushover, though - what with his body coated in Greater Stoneskin and possessed as he is of high AC, and regen - but we weather his elemental storm, drill through his DR and then show him how to finally be at One With Nature (+396 EXP).  


His gear is not to be sneezed at: Elite Druidic Armor (SR 16, Piercing res 10/-), Large Shield of Regeneration (Regen +1), Amulet of Natural Armor +4, Ring of Protection +3, Blooded Scimitar +3 (Bonus Feat: Slippery Mind), Cloak of Fortification +2 (+2 AC def, Saves +2), Druid's Key, Broken Ring of the Guardian (missing two precious stones).

A Beastmaster flanked us during this fight (+308 EXP, Druidic Armor [Fire resist 5/-, Piercing Res 5/-], Helm of the Bull [+1 STR]).

On the Elder's bookshelf we find Fall of the Feybourne, a book which can be activated and read for lore on the Feybourne. That the author took the time to write six paragraphs of pure lore is pretty impressive...

Anyway, now the Shadow Druid minions have all gone hostile map-wide, but since they don't all converge at once we just take out isolated packs one at a time. Some of the Beastmasters and Elementalists are beefed up, yielding +220 EXP ea. Most are just fodder, though.


Level Up to 14!

Lilura: Champion of Torm (5) / Paladin (5)/ Fighter (4), Divine Wrath
Ronan: Rogue (14), Uncanny Dodge IV
Maggie: Druid (14)

We now exit south through the gate into the Lost City of Feybourne, made up of a new CEP tileset (as far as I can tell.)

I tried here to just run south past the a Guardian. Didn't work. I was pushed back by a magical force.


Exploring properly, we enter a crumbled old tower, a pretty place wherein we find a tome and an automated gemsetter. Reading the tome enlightens me on how to remove the Guardian. First, we need to find two special gems that are missing from the Ring we looted from the Elder. We make it our business to explore the dungeon in search of them.


The author of this module seems to like Dire Spiders... this encounter is made more interesting because I failed to have Ronan disable the web trap at the door entry.


To the southwest are tedious Mustard Jelly clumps, small and large.

We spot a secret door leading to a small pocketed area in the map's center, and herein is found +169 gold, a scroll of Greater Restoration and the Sidearm short sword (+1, +3 AC def, Mass crits 1d6) - the last possibly a good off-hand wield for Ronan.

Entering a western room we face off against a Greater Air Elemental, made tough due to being crit-immune.

The master sleeps. You will not disturb him. - GAE.

It takes a melee hammering and a casting of Fire Storm from Maggie, then slowly dissipates upon being vanquished (+572 EXP).

Within this same room is a sarcophagus containing a cadaver and the first piece we need for the Guardian Ring, the Heart Gem. A Shaft of Ethereal Light now appears, and we step into it to find ourselves transported to the ethereal plane of Feybourne.

This is actually the same dungeon repopulated with hostile denizens and recolored similar to the Puzzle Ring effect in Hordes.

In search of the second gem, the trio tank through many, many Phase Spiders (+220 EXP ea) and five hard-hitting Ethereal Render monstrosities (+220 ea).


In the southeast we help out Archmage Cuthbeort ("the master", it was his cadaver) with several Grey Slaadi (+220 EXP ea). Thankful for our assistance, he now hands us the Soul Gem (+750 EXP).


We fight off five more Ethereal Renders backtracking to the Natural Shaft of Light which we step into to return to the Prime Material plane. Now I place the Broken Ring of the Guardian inside the Gemsetter along with the Heart Gem and Soul Gem to fully repair it (SR 18, Unique Power).

The unique power is then used on the Guardian (+1000 EXP) to gain access to the surface of Feybourne city.

Out here the Shadow Druid leader is revealed to be Deathmist, a Green Dragon.

We buff up from a distance, Maggie now bestowing upon me Regeneration (6 HPs/round) in addition to her usual buffs (of which Endure Elements is the most important).

 

As his color suggests, Deathmist's nastiest attack is (DC 27) acid breath. Ronan readily succumbs to his fear aura, too. Deathmist being crit-immune I'm forced to just wail on him longer, endure his acid assault and tank his claw attacks as Maggie rains down rainbow fury, then turns to heal-spamming later in the fight to keep us alive. To our dismay, she neglects to keep herself alive and ends up falling a fraction of a second before Deathmist finally drops dead (+980 EXP, Dragon Head).





Behind the dead dragon is found a hoard of treasure: +19128 GP, a few precious stones, Ring of Fire Resistance (5% bonus res, Fire res 30/-), Sorcerer's Hauberk (CHA +4, Saves +1, Conc +4, Aura of Glory 1/day, Sorc only) and The Fury +2 longsword (+1d6 fire, Fireball charges).

We resurrect Maggie and return the dragon head to an astonished Sothby for +2000 GP and +2000 EXP.

Next up - as per Sothby's earlier request - we stroll over to Alain Rich's house to investigate his disappearance.

The ground floor contains literally nothing of interest.

There are no signs of a struggle. If Alain was kidnapped, he was taken quietly. - DM.

Upstairs can be looted for a Longsword +2. Also upstairs is an incantation written on the page of an opened tome. I use Spellcraft to identify the spell as a teleportation of some sort (+200 EXP), then I read the spell out loud and am suddenly gated to the Eldar Ruins. 


This place is a mess. Wherever you've ended up hasn't been occupied in a long time. - DM.

We find ourselves in a dungeon occupied by hostile constructs. After wasting the Battle Horror and Helm Horror (+396 EXP/220 EXP), we comes across a central room with its entry impassably electrified.

Heading east, we fight a potentially very tough encounter consisting of Clay Golem (+220 EXP), Ruined Golem (+396 EXP) and three Helm Horrors (+220 EXP ea). Tanking these guys unbuffed I took about 100 damage, but Maggie simply cast Heal which completely restored my health.


The golems were guarding a lever in this room which I now pull, thereby disabling the electrified entryway. Now back in the central room, we discover a tome written in code which we're too dumb to decipher.

Clouds of dust rise at your passing. This room has remained undisturbed, even by the golems. - DM.

Level Up to 15!

Lilura: Champion of Torm (5) / Paladin (6)/ Fighter (4)
Ronan: Rogue (15), Sneak Attack (8d6)
Maggie: Druid (15) Level 8 spells

We head to the south-westernmost room.

This room is somewhat warmer than the rest of the complex. Someone has lit the torches. - DM.

Here we find the linguist, Alain Rich, fast asleep.

We loot this room for six bottles of Fine Elven Wine and Elven Chainmail (Arcane Spell Failure -30%).


Having awakened and informed him of the defeated golems and unblocked entryway, the over-joyed Alain hurries excitedly to the central room, deciphers the code in the tome and then casts the spell to create a portal back to his home (+1,000 EXP).


We high-five each other for making it back in one piece, and Alain now hands us his Signet Ring to show Sothby and also offers a choice of reward, any one of these: +10,000 GP, Gloves of the Wyvern (+4, +1d8 acid, on-hit DC 14 poison [1d2 Con drain], Monk only), Boots of Astounding Grip (+2 AC, Immunity: Knockdown), Mantle of Spell Resistance (SR 18), Armor of the Gladiator (bestows Haste). I take the armor - perma-Haste is always good. We head back to Sothby and give him Alain's ring for +250 GP and +500 EXP, capping off the quest - and this update.

So Deathmist did not possess the Scepter of Transcendence, perhaps the Dwarves know of its location?

Next up: Act Two - Part V

Dwarven Stoneguard

13 comments:

  1. "Note that the journal entry before the encounter with Thomas and the first dialogue option sort of lures the player into choosing a less palatable direction and resolution to this part of the quest. I won't go into depth about it here, but suffice it to say if you bluff Thomas [I couldn't, it's unpaladinly] he won't attack and instead Deckard will interrogate him."

    It's not even the bluff, it's that you can go to Deckard and update him. He'll authorize a raid on the estate with his own agents helping and then you can inform Thomas it's an official investigation. Which Thomas will try to protest through official channels. But gets interrogated by Deckard anyway.

    "The Shadow Master consists of five ethereal forms which when "killed" drop +1 Ninja-tos and yield zero EXP. I guess that guy has transcended the mundane realm, or something, as he leaves no corpse..."

    Honestly not sure what you mean here, maybe just never noticed it. Thought there were just several Shadow Masters. And believe he was set to no spawn a corpse and instead the standard remains for some reason.

    "I take the armor - perma-Haste is always good."

    Yeah, it's by far the best option there. Won't replace it until Act 4, in fact (or shouldn't).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I mean when you first talk to Thomas there's two options: either a "bluff" (ie, what are you doing in here, girl? / Uh... I thought this place was on the tourist schedule - my look at those vaulted ceilings!) or a more paladinly response (what I described above). The former actually works on him (!?) and leads to the interrogation with Deckard whereas the latter makes him hostile, when really, he should just get angry and tell us to get out (or at least surrender when he takes a beating). It just doesn't seem right for my pally to talk like that, or any steadfast or tough character, in fact. The "right" response is that of a rogue, or fool. Sort of why I went all out upon reloading to fight him in my underwear.

      Delete
    2. Right, what I'm saying is that if you talk to Deckard first (in other words, get the law on your side to raid Thomas's estate rather than it being your personal whim) then you have a non-bluff and non-rogue/fool response about how it's an official investigation.

      Delete
    3. I DEFINITELY talked to Deckard first (Ima pally) to get off-the-record permission to enter Bartlett estate but the only non-bluff dialogue choice I got when Thomas catches us there was the "We know what you're up to, you're not gonna get away with it", which makes him hostile and fight to the death.

      Delete
    4. See imagine below:

      http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z158/lordbalkoth/DeckardConversation_zps954d7433.png

      You can definitely get ON-the-record permission to raid it. Did you not save the evidence from Act I, perhaps?

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    5. That line is exactly what I'm talking about, but I didn't have the evidence. I accidentally dropped it on the ground back in Act One Culdeny, shame on me. But does that even change the dialogue with Thomas, he still catches you in his home doesn't he? Or is there no need for us to go there, Deckard and the authorities raid it themselves and then the interrogation proceeds as normal?

      Delete
    6. Deckard sends some undercover agents to help you raid it. Then, when Thomas catches you, you can tell him it's an official investigation and Thomas just huffs and goes to get his lawyer rather than attacking you.

      Delete
    7. Good to know, thanks for clearing it up.

      Delete
    8. "Did you not save the evidence from Act I, perhaps?"

      I was about to say that I saved every piece of paper related to the conspiracy, including the ones from Act 1, and I still didn't get the option to conduct an "official" investigation. After reading through that screenshot, it looks like I had to have saved his clothes too? Odd.

      Delete
  2. Interesting story variant regarding the guild's chief Peridoc Dabbenfold when you have Sir William Bryce-Clifton in your team (I had William and Ronan).

    On confronting Peri about his involvement in the plot to overthrow the king there is an option to force Peri to leave the city for good. Peri's right hand faced with a tense situation agrees that plotting against the king was too much and finally takes over, after unsuccessfully offering leadership to Ronan. As Peri follows the thieves' code, he promises not to stand against the guild members in the future, but offers a sinister remark that this vow does not extend to you. In fact he is a vengeful bastard: later on he sneakingly attacks your party (right after you have to swim underwater to castle sewers). He actually managed to stab Maggie to death before I realized he is there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My memory is fuzzy on the dialogue options, but I believe you don't need Sir William in your party for that option to present itself.

      But yeah, it's always good to have options for dialogue and quests that come back to haunt you later in a campaign.

      Part of the Peri dialogue is bugged, too. I can't remember, but it just makes no sense. Something Balkoth really needs to fix for his next update.

      Delete
    2. As I recall Ronan is the only necessary factor, but not 100% sure off-hand. I'll fix that dialogue too, making a list and checking it twice...

      Delete
    3. I can't remember the details, but someone reported it in the Aielund improvements topic on the Bioware forums as well, I believe.

      Delete

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