Saturday, 4 April 2015

Mask of the Betrayer Retrospective Walkthrough - Part II

Act I - Wrath of the Bear-God (cont.)

Mulsantir Gates 

The gates of Mulsantir rise above a marshy lowland. A prominent east-west trade route - the Golden Way - passes into the city at this location. 

We emerge from Okku's barrow at the crack of dawn. As Safiya predicted, our faithful Construct companion now collapses into a heap, being too far from its Imaskari power source. I learn from Safiya that her mother sent her to find me, and that her orders are to lead me to Lienna at The Veil theatre. Lienna apparently has info on how I ended up in Rasheman, and who tore the Gith-shard from my chest. This adds a third quest to my journal: An Ally At The Veil.


Standing beside his bogged wagon just outside the gates of Mulsantir is the Theskian merchant, Shelvedar Nuum. According to him, the city-folk have shut themselves in, fearful of an angry Bear-God, Okku (whose spirit we just dispersed in the barrow). Shelvedar gladly gives us directions to The Veil, adding that he himself prefers The Sloop theatre. I'm unable to bluff him into lowering his prices, but it doesn't matter all that much since I'm only buying a few things from him, and only selling items that yield +25,000 GP (the maximum offered by merchants for a single item); namely the Axe of the Bear-King, Elemental's Ruin, Amulet of Unyielding Will and Ring of the Frozen Falls (+100,000 GP). With this new-found wealth, I now purchase a Greater Magic Bag (-80% weight) and the following spells for Safiya: Weapon of Impact, Wall of Fire, Mass Contagion, Gust of Wind, Deep Slumber and Clairaudience / Clairvoyance (-20,000 GP). Two "dirt mounds" can be looted for +2039 GP, Thieves' Tools +6, Quarterstaff +2 and Dart +3. Unlike many campaigns, looting basic receptacles like barrels and dirt mounds can actually yield quality hand-placed loot, so it's a good habit to get into. Anyway, there being little else of interest at this point, we step through the gates into Mulsantir city itself.


Mulsantir

Shrouded in a cold mist, Mulsantir clings to the bluffs that overlook the river. A prominent ferry landing serves the travelers who play the Golden Way, and the city is encircled by numerous fortifications - it has survived at least five Thayan sieges.

Mulsantir consists of three main areas, but only two are accessible at this point: I'll call them "the Bazaar" & "the Ferry Landing". None of the residential buildings can be entered just yet, and the gates to the "North" area are shut, for now. The first thing I do is head over to the Bazaar to buy myself a pair of scimitars (+3, +4) and the Scabbard of Keen Edges (Keen Edge [5] 3/day) from Azim Qo'toth (-77,000 GP). Safiya purchases some spells from both Azim and Mother Feodorra; namely, Cat's Grace, Legend Lore, Fireball, Lightning Bolt and Prismatic Spray. I engage in banter with Safiya, asking her where she's from and about the Red Wizards, but I was unable to gain influence with her. Nevermind, we now skip across the street to The Veil theatre in search of Lienna.

Mulsantir Bazaar
The Veil

Before entering, I "keen" both scimitars with my scabbard and self-buff with Greater Cat's Grace and Shadow Shield (from the Shroud of the Leopard and Skin of Shadow, respectively); then I have Safiya self-buff Premonition, summon a vampire and buff the party with Extend Spell Greater Invisibility, Stoneskin and Persistent Haste.

Inside the theatre we're confronted by a Red Wizard of Thay whom Safiya knows from her Academy, standing "on-stage", backed up by four Thayan Gnoll minions. Lienna isn't in sight, but her troupe are standing against the wall, observing what unfolds. The corpses of Ipsit and Sefi - Safiya's two other creations - lie dead on the floor, having been cruelly dismembered.

After a brief convo the Red Wizard goes hostile and buffs himself with Spell Mantle as I sprint up and slice n dice him (+134 Exp) before he can cast anything nastier than Gate; even as Safiya let's loose Maximize & Empower Spell IGMS to wipe the floor with the Gnolls who converge on her (+114 Exp ea); and the hard-hitting vamp wreaks havoc on random targets.


Magda, one of The Veil actors, now hands us Lienna's Shadow Stone, an item she says reveals a portal to a "shadowy reflection" of the Veil, in which we hope to find Lienna. The troupe now hurriedly leave the theatre.


The Thayan corpses are looted for Quarterstaff +1, Red Wizard Robes (AC +2, all saves +1, Conc +5, Human & Red Wizard of Thay only), Longbow +2, Handaxe +2, Battleaxe +2, +3387 GP; then we head backstage where Kaji picks open the DC-12 lock box, revealing +1077 GP and two mandolins: Doss Lute (Ghostly Visage [3], Hold Person [3], Neutralize Poison [5] 1/day) and Fochluchan Bandore (Light [5] 1/day).

Safiya interjects backstage, hearing the voices in her head again. For not probing her to tell me more, I gain Inf +6. Safiya has now moved from Neutral to Supportive of me, meaning she receives the Trust of the Red Wizard history feat (Concentration +2).


En route to Lienna's bedroom, two more Gnolls are lain waste to (Handaxe +2, +2864 GP); and two armoires are also looted for the Greater Robe of Eyes (True Seeing, Search +10, Spot +10) and +1516 GP.

Now in Lienna's bedroom, I loot the maskmaker's work-table for the Greater Mask of Persuasion (Cha +2, Conc +1, Diplom +5); then step towards her mirror, at which point the stone in my possession causes a Shadow Portal to materialize, granting us access to the Plane of Shadow; and adding a forth quest to my journal: Shadow Mulsantir, which hints at there being other portals, elsewhere in Mulsantir.


Shadow Theatre

The party warily step into the portal, arriving in the grayscaled plane, only to be greeted by a second hostile Red Wizard and his Erinyes minion, both of whom we dispatch in short order (+134 Exp, +114 Exp); but it's the gated Horned Devil left behind by the Red Wizard that proves slightly more resilient.


The corpses, chests and bookshelves of this stuffy, shadowy room are now looted for all they're worth. The Red Wizard left behind a Dagger +3, +1040 GP, Red Wizard Robes (AC +2, all saves +1, Conc +5, Human & RWoT only), scrolls of Create Undead, DBFB, Mass Hold Person and Spell Mantle; and the Erinyes a Composite Longbow +1. Rummaging through two unlocked ornate chests we find a Wand of Summoning and +1083 GP; and Healer's Kit +6 and Potion of Heal (4). Poked into the bookshelves are scrolls of Summon Creature VI, Summon Creature VII, Planar Binding, Acid Fog; none of which Safiya can scribe to her spellbook, as Conjuration is her opposing school of magic.

The locked door in this room cannot be opened at this point; instead, we step through the other, unlocked door to reach "backstage", which, in the Shadow Plane, is a makeshift operating room. Standing beside the operating table, I experience the memory of a woman pulling the shard from my chest and saying it was "for love" (+250 Exp).


Behind the operating table, Kaji de-traps and unlocks two ornate chests (DC-20, DC-18, +308 Exp), one of which contains the Boots of Hardiness +3 (AC dodge +3, Con +3) and +450 GP; the other, +703 GP. I don the boots and give Safiya my old pair.

Stepping through the final door, we find ourselves on-stage in the shadow theatre. Lienna's charred remains litter the floor below us; it seems she took herself out to avoid capture by the Red Wizards - specifically, the sniveling Khai Khmun (Safiya's old flame), who currently stands gloating over her corpse, bolstered by two Erinyes and a fourth Red Wizard from Safiya's Academy. It seems Khai has been sent by one Araman to kill Lienna and Safiya! As per the last two wizard encounters, I make a bee-line for Khai (+201 Exp) as Safiya empties her IGMS slots on the Erinyes flanking us (+76 Exp ea). The last Red Wizard standing summoned a mummy, but was put down just after doing so (+114 Exp).


Khai Khmun's broken body is relieved of the Belt of Raumathar (Bonus Feat: Spell Focus: Evocation, Spell Penetration, Greater Fireburst [1], Magic Missile [9], Prismatic Spray [13], Sunburst [20] 1/day), Red Wizard Robes (AC +2, all saves +1, Conc +5, Human & RWoT only), Potion of Heal (3), +6430 GP; the last Red Wizard of Quarterstaff +3, Red Wizard Robes (AC +2, all saves +1, Conc +5, Human & RWoT only), Potion of Owl's Wisdom, Potion of Cure Critical Wounds, Potion of Lore (2), +950 GP; and the two Erinyes of Padded Armor +4, Longsword +3.

I gain +Inf by expressing sympathy to Safiya concerning the "loss" of her mother, Nefris (if, indeed, she is dead as a result of Araman's coup against her...); by telling her I understand if she needs to return home to sort things out; and by thanking her for assisting me (Total Inf +48).


So, the threat of the Red Wizards on the Veil has been neutralized - too late for Lienna, to our dismay. We backtrack to the Shadow Portal and enter it; then backtrack through the "real" theatre and step out onto the streets - at which point we're intercepted by three Wychlaran led by their judicious Hathran, Sheva Whitefeather. The Rashemi witches are holding Magda and the troupe under their protection, and won't let me speak with them until I face Okku, who has since marched his spirit army to the Mulsantir gates, thirsting for my blood. This opens up the Wrath of the Bear God quest. Since we ended the threat of the Red Wizards, Sheva allows us to recruit a convict from the prison to help us against Okku, opening up the Friends of Ill Repute quest. We'll be heading to the prison shortly, since the gate is now opened to the "North" area of Mulsantir, where it's located.


Again I engage in banter with Safiya, this time gaining Inf +6 for disagreeing with her "reasonably"; and for thanking her for telling me about the voices. Safiya has now moved from Supportive to Loyal to me, meaning we both receive the Loyalty of the Red Wizard history feat. I receive Int +1 and saves vs. Spells +2; Safiya receives Int +1, Conc +4 and the Bonus Feat: Improved Empower Spell. Note the three "Inf successes" in dialogue: passing those checks enables me to continue speaking with Safiya along certain lines, on a more personal level.




Just outside the theatre we're approached by two half-celestial siblings, Susah and Efrem, who are seeking their sister, Kaelyn the Dove. It seems Kaelyn has ventured into the Death God's Vault in Shadow Mulsantir; Susah letting it slip that her reason for doing so is to learn about the Betrayer's Crusade (which I'm also interested in; it's one of my quests). The concerned siblings request that we track Kaelyn down and bring her back to them, beginning The Prodigal Daughter quest.


The campaign opens up a little at this point. I have seven active quests in my journal, most of them interwoven.  I can face Okku, presently, if I like; I can explore The Sloop theatre and Ferry Landing; or Shadow Mulsantir and Death God's Vault in search of Kaelyn. But, after some umming and ahhing, I decide it might be prudent to track down the convict first and then Kaelyn as a priority before exploring Mulsantir further and facing off against Okku. So, with our course set, we head north along the road, uphill and through the gate, circling around anti-clockwise towards the prison; on the way looting three barrels for +1437 GP, Potion of Heal (2), Healer's Kit +10 and a Restoration scroll. 

Mulsantir Prison

Inside the prison, the Witch-Warden grants us access to the convict, warning us to guard our thoughts when talking with him.


At the end of the corridor I find my second prospective companion: the violet-skinned Gannayev-of-Dreams, a Chaotic Neutral Hagspawn Spirit Shaman of seventeenth level. Thanks to a Spellcraft check, I gain Inf +6 with Safiya for noticing that Gann had altered the wards which bound him. I then gain Inf +24 over the course of the convo; after which the Hagspawn signs up with us. Recruiting Gann into the party completes the Friends of Ill Repute quest and rewards me with +1000 Exp.

 

Of course, Gann can't resist playfully trolling the warden on our way out...


Gann is decked out well - for a convict: Spear +4, Shortbow +4, Arrow +4 (99), Fire Arrow (99), Ice Arrow (99), Lightning Arrow (99), Periapt of Wisdom (Wis +3), Ring of Power (Freedom of Movement, Regen +1, Fire/Cold/Lightning Resist 15/-), Rings of Resistance +3 (all saves +3), Cloak of Protection +5 (AC def +5), Leather Armor +4, Bracers of Archery (Bonus Feat: Point Blank Shot, Dex +1), Belt of Agility (Dex +4, Freedom of Movement), Boots of Striding +3 (Con +3).


Back outside, looting two fresh graves in the cemetery yields Scale Mail +4, Heavy Shield +3 and +2529 GP, but causes Angry Telthors to manifest from each (+283 Exp ea, one Brillant Power and two Brilliant Earth essences).


Atop a steep hill in the far north are two dirt mounds covering the Boots of Hardiness +3 (AC dodge +3, Con +3), Wand of Summoning and +1173 GP.

Sheva Whitefeather and her Wychlaran are nestled high above and overlooking Mulsantir at the Temple of the Three. When told about Kaelyn, Sheva is kind enough to mark a Shadow Portal location on my map, which, when entered, will allow me to explore Shadow Mulsantir (and access Death God's Vault). I must simply arrive at this location at night, with the Shadow Stone in my possession, and the portal will appear. Katya is the temple merchant, to whom I sell off a boat-load of loot and from whom I buy the Scimitar of Mielikki +7, Brooch of Shielding (Shield [5] 3/day) and Amulet of Natural Armor +5 (-140,000 GP).  

I would need two Pristine Power Essences and Safiya would have to be a twenty-seventh level caster (she's currently only eighteenth) to craft the Mielikki scimitar; so, that's a bargain if you ask me...

 

Strolling down the slope from the witches' lookout, we have now come full circle around the north area, ending at the Temple of Kelemvor. Buried in the garden behind the temple is the Mace of Disruption +5 (+1, vs. undead +5, +1d8 vs undead).

Temple of Kelemvor

Outside the Temple of Kelemvor, its fence symbolizing the Wall of the Faithless

Hmph. Another temple to your "gods". - Gann.

Inside this dingy temple we meet up with Davorik, the Kelemvor priest I've been looking for in relation to the Lamentations of the Dead scrolls (mentioned in a tome I found in the barrow). Davorik suggests seeking for the ancient scrolls in a vault shrouded in "shadow". This obviously points to Shadow Mulsantir, or, more accurately, Death God's Vault; which is where we're heading next in search of the half-celestial, Kaelyn. On the subject of the Betrayer's Crusade, Davorik explains how the priest, Akachi, turned against his god, Myrkul, and marched to the City of Judgment seeking to tear down the Wall of the Faithless, to free the trapped souls within it. His crusade failed, and he was punished by Myrkul; though the nature of the punishment is unknown to Davorik.

Gann is now Supportive of me, receiving the Dreamer's Grace history feat that grants Cha +1.



We pick up another quest from Yusev the Acolyte, that of A Question of Faith. Yusev requests that we retrieve necromatic lore from Death God's vault. We'll try to.


Six chests in the back room are looted for +8,234 GP, Sapphire, Adventurine, Amethyst, Potion of Heal (6). Kaji unlocks the DC-25 door to Darovik's private quarters; and in here I loot an armoire and chest for +2,295 GP, Grey Robe of the Archmagi (AC armor bonus +5, Bonus Feat: Spell Penetration, all saves +1, SR 10), The Ancient Sermon amulet (AC bonus nat +3, Bonus spell slot Cleric 1-3) and Ring of Holiness (Bonus spell slot Cleric 1-4).

The other large building in the North area is the berserker-occupied Ice Troll Lodge; but I won't be going in there until after I've dealt with Okku at the gates. My priority is to find Kaelyn; so, after buying Safiya a Ring of Clear Thought +6 (Int +6, -50,000 GP) from Mother Feodorra, we stroll over to the location Sheva marked on our map, and rest until nightfall. Sure enough, a Shadow Portal appears before us.

What is this? Shadow leaks from this portal, and there is a strange chill in the air. - Gann.


We step into the portal...
 

Shadow Mulsantir

11 comments:

  1. Ohhh so many events and quests I did not remember at all!
    But... what's happened to the portraits? I see them quite different, did you change them?
    (Gann is always the best, of course!)

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    Replies
    1. Tchos' UI mod uses the NWN1 aspect ratio. If you use the default NWN2 portraits they will be stretched vertically in the frames. So I installed "NWN2 OC and MotB portraits" (fan made, I think) and use them instead. All the links are here:
      http://www.nexusmods.com/neverwinter2/mods/81/

      Gann makes me laugh in dialogue, and I think he's the most entertaining companion - just behind Kaji, of course :). Though I've always ignored his spirit abilities for the most part and just used him as a backup caster, Barkskin buffer and Zen Archer with Owl's Insight, which is great for him (and for Kaelyn's DCs). Played like that, he's very effective in combat.

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    2. Yes they are fan made and they are very good! They remind to me the beautiful custom portrait I used for BG2 (but the fan community made a ton of them, as good as the original ones), but if I am correct only MotB had portraits, the OC and SoZ used snapshots of the models.

      I didn't remember Kaji! My thief!

      I liked Gann storyline too, not only his usefulness (while I was never able to use Kaelyn effectively) but also for the storyline.

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    3. You could see how the quality of the portraits improved from BG1 to BG2, though. But I thought the NWN1 portraits were the best by BioWare. The Icewind Dale portraits were brilliant, and a good selection, too. Arcanum's were gorgeous.

      I think Kaelyn is very powerful in combat, what with her healing, AoEs and eventually the Persistent Spell which bolsters the party with perma-buffs so you can fight longer and don't have to rest so often (which then drains the spirit meter). She's no slouch in melee combat, either. I've found Clerics to be the most powerful class overall in 3.0/3.5, though I've only found their Turn Undead to be especially useful in IWD2. I went through IWD2 solo with a Dreadmaster Cleric, they are insanely OP. Anyway, after I get Persistent Spell for Kaelyn, I will probably give her Tower Shield Proficiency, not sure yet.

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    4. "You could see how the quality of the portraits improved from BG1 to BG2, though. But I thought the NWN1 portraits were the best by BioWare. The Icewind Dale portraits were brilliant, and a good selection, too. Arcanum's were gorgeous."

      While I find them good, Nwn1 are too varied in style for my tastes, BG2 for me had the best ones because they had all a similar position, still they are different and realistic. The only problem is: too many dreadlocks! :) Arcanum had good ones too.
      Still, my favourites (were pretty good for the time) were Ishar portraits:
      http://static-1.nexusmods.com/15/mods/161/images/390-1-1413112808.png

      They did not gave you the typical heroes, but mercenaries and all sorts of desperate bad people you usually do not want in your party! I also like how the style used is always the same but the position is always different.

      clerics are powerful but..in my game I don't remember her tand out..that's why I said I probably wasn't able to use her effectively. My character was a barbarian, and Safiya & Gann (Kaji too of course!) gave a great support. That's strange since usually I like playing clerics...

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    5. "but mercenaries and all sorts of desperate bad people you usually do not want in your party!"

      Sounds like Jagged Alliance 2, which had great portraits - and even better voicesets, hilarious! - for mercs and other individuals you could recruit along the way. There were some REAL undesirables in the roster.

      I remember Kivan's archer portrait from BG1 was so cool that people thought he's the best archer because of it, when in fact he was third best after Coran and Khalid (if given the proficiencies).

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    6. Feels very sword & sorcery. The only decent people you meet in that game are only temporary followers you have to help :)
      Also killing wandering people for their gold is something that lots of players did in that game.

      Jagged Alliance was really good, but I've never been able to finish JA2.I wasn't able to grab a copy until recently, and I did not play much still it looked great compared to the first, it's a pity it has few roleplay elements and it's more strategic compared to other games, but the possibility to create yout character was the best addition. Lynx & Fox were always on my party from the times of JA1.

      I didn't know that other people were so influenced by portraits. :)
      I made mistakes too: I was pretty sure that Kaelyn was a Favored soul, not a Cleric! (since Gann is a Spirit Shaman, and these are the two classes introduced in MotB so I was sure they created two companions for the two new classes).

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    7. With the Jagged Alliance 2 1.13 mod you can make a party of IMPs if you like (six custom mercs). It also has an option to remove those profiling questions, so you know what stats you come out with. Yes I agree JA2 is more tactical and strategy, not so much role-playing. But, to me, it does at times feel like a RPG; probably wouldn't be hard to mod into a full fledged RPG considering how much 1.13 has changed the game... doubt the strong fanbase would be interested, though.

      I used to hire Lynx for one day when I start out, so his sharpshooting can get me from Omerta to Drassen. Or rather, I would take his gun for my IMP and then ditch him (he's too expensive to keep at that stage of the game).

      I have never played JA1. I hear that it's good, but that some characters are actually completely useless or a burden (whereas in JA2 basically all mercs can pull their weight).

      I'm glad they made Kaelyn a Cleric, she's like a more naturally gifted Nellise. ;)

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    8. One custom merc is enough for me! :D
      anyway I looked what every answer does in order to create a decent character... I'm not fond of random generation/re-rolling.
      I'm pretty bad at tactics, but I do not know, I finished the first pretty easily (Snake, Lynx and Fox were the best mercs I had), while played the second I had lots of sectors attacked at the same time. Well yes, some cheap mercs were pretty useless (but a couple of them became decent after getting some experience), more or less like the militia guys you earn in the JA2... but they are free!

      A cleric is always needed, no matter what. ^^'

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    9. I looked up what answers to choose, too, even in my first game. There are sixteen questions in IMP profiling with between 4-8 responses each, and it isn't obvious what the outcome will be! If you want a certain trait you have to choose the "right" answer twice and not choose a competing answer, or the game will select randomly. In the base game, I think the most useful personality traits are "psycho" and "optimist" (but you can't have both); you can also get "automatic weapons expert" if you choose right. I remember psycho + AWE to be.. awesome. The 1.13 mod makes chargen more fluid and easier to get what you want, but the game itself is much harder (though can be configured to be even easier than base game because it's almost like every aspect of the game can be tweaked by the player with 1.13).

      You need good teachers to train your militia from green to blue (?) before you leave a sector you've just taken. If you leave inexperienced militia alone while you and your mercs leave to take another key sector, the enemy may retake it. It's all about consolidation and not wasting time. 1.13 adds wandering militia, but I never tried it.

      I found the best mercs in JA2 to be those of low level but with high Wisdom, who gain Exp fast because of their Wis. So just hire level 1 doctors for a pittance and train them into lethal sharpshooters over the course of the game. I found this to be the most rewarding way to play because you get to feel your squad members grow on the field.

      Anyway, if I keep talking about JA2 I'll probably dump this recounting to go play it, so I digress. One of the best ever games, though! ;)

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    10. "but mercenaries and all sorts of desperate bad people you usually do not want in your party!"

      I forgot to say a thing about Ishar: some of these npcs that join the team are really bad people that will attack the party as soon as you rest! :D luckily this doesn't happen in Nwn!

      JA & JA2 are great games (I also played one of the spin-offs), engaging but not too hard for me luckily! I've the same problems, too much to play and few time (including the JA2 campaing..luckily this and PoQ don't need reinstalling/keeping saves, they always work. Lots of games waiting, And I've not recounting to do! ^^ )

      Delete

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