Saturday, 21 February 2015

Crimson Tides of Tethyr - Part II


The Tethyrian capital city of Darromar - Black Quarter


The motley trio of "elven fighter, butthurt wizard and giant troll" put the Royal Quarter on hold for now, deciding to head over to the Black Quarter instead. This is where the various mercs hang out, the tough side of town. Twohammers smithy will supply most of my equipment needs while in Darromar, though at this stage his wares are a little expensive for my taste, even with the favorable reaction (that will soon change). The thieves guild is located here, but I don't yet know the password needed to enter the Slum Building (we'll find out a bit later). For now, the Anvil's Ring tavern is where the action is - at least if the noise coming from its direction is anything to go by - so the trio stroll over and step inside, ready to rub shoulders with villainy and the scum of society. 

The Anvil's Ring 

This grubby tavern is frequently the site of brawls and rowdy behavior judging by the broken furniture piled up around the common room. - DM.

A band of four loud, drunken mercs encircle a table. I approach the rowdiest merc of the lot, the brutish leader. He wastes no time insulting and threatening Arrk, who isn't one to back down. I failed my persuasion check, so a comical bar-room brawl ensued in which many a mug of ale was spilled.

  • Rowdy Mercenary Leader: Amulet of Vitality +2 (Con +2), Double Axe +1, Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds. 
  • Rowdy Mercs (3): Bastard Sword, Masterwork Greataxe, Greatsword, Large Shield +1, Breastplate +1.
Dusting ourselves off, we stroll south to the Carvavan Quarter.

(I forgot to say, there's a guy in here - with issues - who we'll probably be catching up with later.)

Anyway, to the Caravan Quarter! 


Darromar - Caravan Quarter


Gah! So many paleskins. Arrk longs to be away from the city, back in the wilds where he belongs. - Arrk.

This area hosts two quests, one optional and one critical path (ie, mandatory/main quest, prefixed with an asterisk, below). I'll be doing the latter first because I feel like a dungeon crawl. Note that if I don't seem to be describing the Quarters in all that much detail, it's simply because there isn't all that much to describe. On the plus side, the simple layout and basic window-dressing makes the actual content stand out like a beacon, making it easy to progress in the adventure. Just speak to the conspicuously positioned, named actors, and things will roll along pretty smoothly from there. Anyway, we spot a guard standing watch at the entrance to the Darromar sewer system. He informs us that people - mostly sewer maintenance workers - have gone missing in the sewers, only to be found later with their brains... removed. Another adventuring party already went down there to investigate, but have not yet returned. There is also the matter of a psychotic fellow called "Creep" who has taken up residence in the sewers after a nasty mishap. Intrigued, we decide to investigate both these leads for ourselves. [* Beneath the surface]

 

Darromar - Upper Sewers

The foul stench of the sewers hits you, a bitter aroma of decay and human waste. - DM.

Left: Upper Sewers Right: Lower Sewers
The trio step  into the sewers and take a few steps down a tunnel towards a hostile, mind-dominated man - one of the missing sewer maintenance workers.

Die... die... master says you must die! - Sewer Maintenance Worker. 

This wretch has been stripped of whatever meager intelligence he once had, look at his eyes - they are dead. - Neremul.

We are forced to slay the poor wretch. From his corpse we loot a Light Crossbow, Small Shield, Handaxe, Tanglefoot Bag, Mild Poison Bolt (10).

Several more, just like that guy, lurk on this level. 

The tunnels and chambers are occasionally clogged up with gelatinous cubes, packs of dire rats and an assortment of beetles. Since they pose almost no threat to three seventh level characters,  I can safely call them trashmobs. The more interesting encounters are against the mind-dominated members of the ill-fated adventuring party, positioned strategically around the area.

The first of these occurs at the central point of the level. The object is to cross a bridge while being fired upon by ranged attackers who are out of reach and cannot be attacked (except by return fire or Neremul ILMS). The far side of the bridge is also blocked by a large, locked gate which must be bashed down while still being fired upon (and possibly Entangled by Jordwyn - a ranger). Once the door is bashed down, you may have to fight two dogs who have left Jordwyn's side and circled around to the door, probably delaying you further. Having overcome them, you can then circle around yourself to confront Jordwyn and the sewer workers, who are much less dangerous face-to-face.


Jordwyn (Human Ranger [6]): Jordwyn's Key, Longbow +1, Masterwork Scimitar, Arrow (99), Fire Arrow (89), Ring of Animal Friendship, Leather Armor +3, Letter.

At this point I briefly head back to Twohammers Smithy to sell off a load of junk and purchase the Sword Saint Legacy +1 katana (+1d6 vs Evil) (-6500 GP). In retrospect this wasn't necessary, but there are some early enemies which require enchanted weapons to hit.

Back down to the bridge, an irrelevant dire spider, ettercap and spitting fire beetle are slain en route to the northwesternmost chamber, wherein the second ex-adventurer is confronted - the initially invisible Wizard, Emilee, who conjured a dire wolf but then foolishly took herself out with Fireball.

Emilee (Elven Wizard [7]): Emilie's Key, Potion of Cure Serious Wounds, Ring of Clear Thought +1, Tagget's Talon dagger +1 (Keen). 

There is a treasure room here, the door to which is unlocked with Jordwyn's key. Neremul unlocked the chests inside with Knock, though they can also be bashed. Chest: Flaming Gloves +2 (+2 fire, Flame Lash 1/day, Monk only). 

Emilee's key unlocks a second large gate leading east across another bridge, on the far side of which awaits the third ex-adventurer, Grom. A straightforward duel ensues, after which we descend deeper into the sewer system.

Grom (Half-orc Barbarian [7]): Double Axe +1, Padded Armor +2, Potion of Speed.


Darromar - Lower Sewers

A sense of unease creeps up on you as you emerge into the lower level of Darromar's sewer network. You have a feeling you should be very careful down here. - DM.

Gah! Smell here reminds Arrk of home. Not good memories. - Arrk.

The infamous Creep made the mistake of ambushing the trio in the northwestern section, and was hacked to pieces by the giant troll, Arrk.

Creep (Halfling Rogue [8] / Assassin [2]) - Whip +1, Vampiric Dagger +2 (Regen +1), Minor Ring of Regeneration (Regen +2), Portrait (uses a statue icon?)

The damage inflicted by the floor traps down here is a total joke, but the paralysis traps are effective. A dozen more sewer maintenance workers were slain as we explored the area, along with a single Stag Beetle and Gelatinous Cube. The rat-infested eastern chamber is overseen by a wererat.


Things step up a gear in the northernmost chamber, where the noble leader of the ill-fated adventuring party is located. Having lost his mind - quite literally - Malthus is compelled to attack us. 

Must stop threat... to master... Tyr forgive me... - Malthus.

Wielding a Greatsword +2 buffed with Defeaning Clang, the once-proud Paladin of Tyr is capable of ruining anyone's day if he rolls a crit or two.


Malthus de Tigana (Human Paladin [9]): Greatsword +2, Lesser Gauntlets of Ogre Power (Str +1), Ring of Cyan, Malthus' Key, Full Plate +1.

We use Malthus' key to access the third and final dungeon level. 

The Strange Lair 


This place is a product of an alien mind, one of an intellect perhaps even rivalling my own. - the ever-humble Neremul.

A highly annoying Intellect Devourer lurks in the entry chamber, invoking bad memories of the NWN original campaign. At least this one has no hosts to repeatedly "co-opt"...

We exit north into a short hall lined on the north with three prison cells, one of which is involuntarily occupied by an old man - Gilbert.

Gah! Prison doors look strong. Arrk not strong enough to break them. We have to find key. - Arrk.

We leave the old man for now, round a bend that leads south down the hall, and there take out an Umber Hulk.


In the final southeastern chamber we find ourselves pit against a Mindflayer backed up by a second Umber Hulk - the "boss fight". Without protection from mind-affecting, the trio are susceptible to psionic mind blast and confusion gaze followed up by the gross tentacle attack (extract brain). My brain was munched on twice during the fight - the third time would have ended me. The Illithid cell key is looted from the Mindflayer's corpse; then used to free Gilbert for +500 Exp. No time-lapse is offered, the design now forcing the player to backtrack aaalll the way through the sewer system to reach the surface again...

Caravan Quarter

Safely back on the city streets, we inform the guard of our success to cap off the first mandatory quest in Darromar (+150 Exp). [/* Beneath the surface]

Heading north, we found the bridge that connects the Caravan Quarter with the Black Quarter could not be crossed due to "maintenance" work? Forced then to head towards the Temple Quarter, we were waylaid in an alleyway by Shadow Thieves

Darromar - Dark Alleyway

This one looks like rich pickings! Get 'em lads! - Garret.

Gah! Cowardly paleskins! Arrk will tear them into little pieces! - Arrk.

The four generic thieves are dealt with, first. 

Shadow Thieves (4): Masterwork Light Crossbow (4), Mild Poison Bolt (40), Masterwork Shortsword (4).

We now catch up with Garret, who had scampered off in the meantime and taken refuge around a corner. Despite now being alone, he lacked no bravado.


Garret (Human Rogue [6] / Fighter [2]): Scimitar +2, Message.

The message contains the password ("Malefactor"), which now grants us entry to the Slum Building - hideout of the Shadow Thieves. [* Shadow Thieves]

Black Quarter - Shadow Thieves' Hideout

The base of operations is minimalist, occupied by only a few thieves and  Arkanis Gath, an infamous Shadow Thief from Baldur's Gate II.

My witty replies to Kaz annoys the hot-headed thug to the point of violence, but Darklun steps in to cool things down. 
The short of it: Darklun Kade (Human Rogue [7] / Assassin [3]), leader of the fledgling Shadow Thieves guild here in Darromar, has asked us to assassinate a corrupt, slave-trading noble who is attempting to chase them out of town. The mark is Lord Asander, holed up in a heavily guarded mansion in the Royal Quarter.


We lay this critical path quest to the side for the time being (to be recounted in Part III).

Caravan Quarter

Now for the optional quest offered back in the Caravan Quarter: standing in the Wheel Market is Tomar, a merchant complaining about the Black Talon merc band's protection racket. We offer to solve the problem for him. [Opt Black Talon]


The grotesque, all-evil crew are found yapping with each other by the fountain southeast of the market. Charisma being my fave dumpstat, I failed my intimidate check, meaning our little to-do escalated quickly into a free-for-all in which they came off second best. We loot their blood-soaked corpses; then leave them as a dish fit for crows.


  • Morien Nightblade (Human Fighter [7]): Nightblade longsword +1 (+2 vs. Good, use by Evil only), Chainmail +1, Potion of Cure Serious Wounds, Potion of Speed. 
  • Zorcus of Cyric (Elven Cleric [6]): Snakebite whip +1 (+1d4 acid, Bonus feat Disarm), Large Shield +1, Ring of Crimson.
  • Sable (Human Rogue [6]): Shortbow +1, Fire Arrow (98), Masterwork Short Sword, Leather Armor +1, Potion of Invisibility.
  • Wurtel One-Arm (Gnome Wizard [5]): Masterwork Dagger, Light Crossbow, Mild Poison Bolt (10), Amulet of Natural Armor +1, Wand of Missiles, Potion of Cure Serious Wounds.
The awestruck Toman is informed of our success, hurriedly rewarding us with +500 Exp and +1000 GP, and wishing us all the best. [/Opt Black Talon]

I pay Twohammers another visit and do a 'lil gear jiggle before heading back to the Royal Quarter.

Lilura: Katana Sword Saint Legacy +1 katana (+1d6 vs Evil), Tower Shield Tower Shield +1, Half Plate Full Plate +1, Amulet of Natural Armor +1 Amulet of Vitality +2 (Con +2), Ring of Protection +1 Ring of Protection +2, Ring of Insight (Lore +5) Minor Ring of Regeneration (Regen +2), Swordsman's Belt (Resist slashing 5/-), Boots of Expeditious Retreat (Expeditious Retreat [5] 3/day).


(More mandatory and optional questing in Darromar: The Mages' Guild, the Noble's House etc.)



4 comments:

  1. "Arkanis Gath, an infamous Shadow Thief from Baldur's Gate II."

    I wonder how many more of these "Meant absolutely nothing to me but something to you" references will pop up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Considering the author was a fan of Baldur's Gate and the player visits Suldanessellar, lots more.

      Delete
  2. The Creep was a level 10? (how do you check the levels of enemies, by the way?) I dueled him without taking damage as a level 7.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I checked enemy levels in the toolset. :P

      Delete

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