Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Mask of the Betrayer Retrospective Walkthrough - Part IV



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

Mulsantir

I can feel an army outside the gate. They are here in great numbers. - Kaelyn.

We step through the gates...

Gates of Mulsantir - Okku & the Spirit Army

Okku can be seen waiting for us down the east road out of Mulsantir, flanked by his glowing spirit minions. Gann explains that Okku might be "a bit" invincible (visually indicated by the blue swirl); that we'll have to weaken him by focusing on the spirit army, first. Gann will let me know when the army is sufficiently drained, at which point the Bear-God will be vulnerable and we can try to take him down.


The party now buff themselves in preparation for the assault: bread n butter stuff like Persistent Haste, Premonition, Stoneskin, Extend Spell: Greater Invisibility, Extend Spell: Greater Heroism, Owl's Insight, Bless, Mass Aid, Prayer, Recitation - we know the drill (in retrospect, even that much buffing is overkill). Anyway, keeping my companions behind me, I head down the road to meet Okku; who also lumbers up to engage in a brief exchange. But once again, battle is unavoidable and hostilities are soon underway!


I immediately "lock-on" to Okku despite being unable to harm him at this point; as several of his spirit minions mob me from all angles (which is what I want; my AC is ~50). Initially, they include an assortment of eight spirits, three dryads and one Elder Earth Elemental; however, they respawn upon being vanquished (meaning I could farm them for essences & experience until the cows come home, if I were so inclined). As I tank and feebly swing my scimitars at Okku's immortal hide, Kaelyn and Gann are unleashing their Vengeance and Fire storms; and Safiya is dropping Empower Spell: DBFB and launching Empower Spell: Greater Shout and Maximize Spell: IGMS - all centered on Okku and I, so as to inflict maximum damage on the mobbing spirits.


Having dispersed a dozen or so spirits (+697 exp), Gann announces Okku's vulnerability; after which Okku quickly yields to my blades and the partys' still-raging storms...

I decide to devour Okku for +4,000 Exp, Evil +1, Spirit Husk and Okku's Essence. Why did I devour Okku? Meta-gaming reasons, mostly. He's a fifth wheel for this party I have; and his essence can be used for a powerful craft, later.


I am now officially the Spirit-eater, cursed with an urge to feed on spirits (the dark hunger). If I don't learn how to control the curse, I will be consumed from within and utterly destroyed. I've received a special on-screen meter that represents my curse status. The large vertical bar is my current spirit energy (currently maxed at 100); the small horizontal one my craving (which is fairly low at this stage). My spirit energy decreases over time, the rate of which depends on my craving level. As my energy drops, I start to incur stat-penalties which progressively worsen, and death occurs when my energy is depleted. So, how do I control the curse? Well, I now have access to Spirit-eater feats: Devour Spirit, Provoke Spirits, Suppress and Satiate. I'll mainly be using Suppress on spirits since each act of suppression yields a little spirit energy, but, more importantly reduces my craving, making the curse more manageable. I'll also use Devour Spirit, though sparingly: once-per-day won't increase my craving. Provoke is used to agitate passive spirits so they can then be devoured; I shouldn't need to use it much, and with any luck I won't need Satiate at all. At this point my spirit energy decreases quite slowly; it's really no problem providing I don't rest too often, don't leave the game unpaused, and don't travel long distances without good reason.

For reference, an eight hour rest consumes sixteen spirit energy points at the default craving level, eight when craving is minimized through repeated suppression, and a whopping forty-eight (48) when craving is maximized through repeated devourings. Anyway, other Spirit-eater feats will be acquired to ease the suffering, and other uses for the curse will become evident as I play on - so let's keep going!

The Rashemi spectators, who witnessed my to-do with Okku, now refer to me as "Spirit-eater", the curse not unknown to them. Fearful of things that are different, they retreat behind the safety of the gates.


The spirit of a Telthor Wolf, sniffing around down by the riverbanks, presents itself as my first opportunity to use Suppress (reduces my craving).

 
Needing to report to the Temple of the Three, the party heads back into Mulsantir - but not through the gate. Instead, I exit the area by means of the world map transition (there are two, actually), thereby using the world map to head back inside the city. This transition is treated by the campaign as the equivalent of resting: our wounds are healed and our spells and feats - including Spirit-eater ones, like Suppress - are replenished and reset. That means I can immediately leave Mulsantir, which I just entered, and return to the riverbanks to again use Suppress on a respawned spirit. So why not? I repeat the action four times, right now, to minimize my craving as much as possible.


Act II - A Dark Hunger

Mulsantir

We return immediately to Sheva Whitefeather to inform her that Okku has been dealt with, finally capping off the Wrath of the Bear-God quest (+4,000 Exp). Sheva explains that the lives of past Spirit-eaters have not ended well, that they've been overwhelmed by indulging the hunger, or starved to death by not indulging. Hope may be found with ancient spirits who have fought Spirit-eaters in old times; namely, the Wood Man of Ashenwood - who may know of a cure for the curse. A vessel, currently docked at the Ferry Landing, can take us north to Ashenwood when we desire to leave, but it's several days' sailing and I have much to do in Mulsantir first; so I'm gonna lay the Ancient Knowledge quest aside, for now. Sheva permits me to speak with Magda at The Veil theatre, so that's my next port of call. Before leaving, I gain +300 Exp for answering Sheva's question and Good +3 for being kind to Kazimika.



My companions and I have gained another level, too!

I now hit twentieth level, taking my fourth in Weapon Master: Fighter (6) / Bard (1) / Red Dragon Disciple (9) / Weapon Master (4), Dex +1.

Safiya also hits twentieth level, taking her tenth in Wizard: Wizard (10) / Red Wizard of Thay (10); Int +1; Feat: Spell Focus: Necromancy; Spells: Horrid Wilting, Undeath to Death.

Gann hits nineteenth level: Spirit Shaman (19); Feat: Favored of the Spirits.

Kaelyn hits eighteenth level (Level Adjustment +4): Cleric (18); Feat: Extend Spell (for Persistent Spell at twenty-first level).

The Veil

Magda informs me of Lienna's dealings with a Thayan Red Wizard; and it turns out that Lienna might have been the one who cut the Gith-shard from my chest. Magda hands me Lienna's Key that opens a door to a secret room, the one I couldn't enter last time.


As before, a shadow portal appears in Lienna's bedroom, in front of the mirror; we dive in.

Shadow Theatre

I use the key to gain access to the secret room, consisting of four portals and The Keeper of Doors - an inanimate, ancient clay golem.


Upon querying her, Safiya suggests I use my Spirit-eater abilities on the golem to awaken it (Inf +6), but that drains my spirit energy and is only a temporary solution; so, I instead thrust my hand into the golem and extract its heart: a Blackened Spirit Core. This action begins the Golem's Heart quest and causes me to acquire a new Spirit-eater feat: Mold Spirit. Safiya then further suggests placing a "lively spirit" in the core to permanently reanimate the golem.    


Heeding her words, I place the Blackened Spirit Core and a Brilliant Spirit Essence - from Nakata, bless her - into the Enchanter's Satchel; then use Mold Spirit on the satchel to receive a Shining Spirit Core, which I now insert into the golem to bring it to life, completing the quest (+1,000 Exp). Now in the mood for molding spirits, I place Okku's Essence into the satchel along with my Belt of Frost Giant Strength (Str +4) and use Mold Spirit again on the satchel to make The Belt of the Bear-God (Str +10) - my first craft. Items can have up to three enchanments, four at epic levels.

Anyway, the newly awakened Keeper of Doors announces that I have visitors, "couriers" awaiting to emerge from the first door - "incoming". Having asked him to open it, three shadow gargoyles emerge from the portal: Seneth, Keth and Uabi. The gargoyles inform me that it was they who brought me to Rasheman, at the behest of Lienna and her "red twin"; that it was indeed Lienna who cut the Gith-shard from my chest; that Lienna then ordered the gargoyles to lay my body in the barrow; and that the two were acting on advice from The Slumbering Coven: nine hags who dwell in a sunken Imaskari ruin to the east. This completes the Ally At The Veil quest (+2,500 Exp) and begins the Sunken City quest. The wretched gargoyles then attack us, but are dispatched effortlessly and then looted for the Periapt of Wisdom +4, Ring of Protection +4, Ruby (2), Brilliant Earth Essence (3) and a score of volatile essences.


I request the Keeper to open the second door - "containment", from which a hostile Defective Imaskari Golem emerges - and charges the party! I take the construct down manually: +212 Exp, Shocking Golem Arm (+3, +3d6 electrical), Brilliant Earth Essence, seven Volatile Essences.


I request the Keeper open the third door - "Disposal". A hostile, thirtieth level Lesser Primal Fire Elemental emerges, opening up with Epic Spell: Hellball. For kicks, I use Devour Spirit on it to gain ten spirit energy points and inflict a solid 120 negative energy damage; then I just whittle it down with my dual-scimitars (+1989 Exp, Brilliant Fire Essence).


The fourth door - "outgoing" - can take me directly to places I've already been to, but since I haven't been anywhere yet, there's nowhere to go. Yay..

Kaji de-traps and unlocks the two ornate chests behind the golem, revealing the Grey Robe of the Archmagi (AC bonus +5, Bonus Feat: Spell Penetration, all saves +1, SR 10), Remembrance (quarterstaff, +3, SR 10, AC def +2) and +6972 GP. I also swipe The Wisdom of Immith Yabog and Greater Planar Binding and Summon Creature VIII scrolls from the bookshelves, the former of which mentions the malevolent Uthraki as reveling in the Spirit-eater curse, considering it to be "a Gift".

We leave the shadow theatre.

The Veil - Mulsantir

I sell off a bunch of gear to Magda (+240,000 GP) and buy from her Finch's Finest Cap (Cha +2, Dex +2, Bluff +8, Diplomacy +8, Perform +6, Sleight of Hand +6) and the Nymph Cloak +6 (Cha +6) (-100,000 GP). I don those items and have Safiya cast Greater Heroism on me so that I can be more sociable with Gann (from Bluff -1 to +13). I pass the Bluff check and let Gann know I'm an orphan (Inf +11).


Gann has now shifted from Supportive to Loyal to me, bestowing upon me the Dreamer's Eye history feat (Cha +1, 5% bonus to Devour Spirit ability). Gann's personal bonus also increases to Cha +2.


Safiya and Kaelyn also have something to say about my Spirit-eater status, the latter appreciating my desire to achieve balance and suppress my hunger (Inf +6 Kaelyn, Lawful +1).


Three Rashemi residences are no longer locked as they were in Act I; namely, the Vremyonni hideout, Madatov home and Avolov estate.

Vremyonni Hideout

It always amuses me when heroes barge into Vremyonni hideouts, rudely interrupting their arcane practice sessions. Like most wizards, these guys were on a short fuse. I wasn't exactly trying to be congenial either, attempting Diplomacy with -1 ranks in the skill - talk about tongue in cheek!


The Vremyonni quintet find themselves at the mercy of the party's barrage, led by Empower Spell: Horrid Wilting from Safiya followed by the elemental storms of Kaelyn and Gann. I sprint through the middle, my dual-scimitars arcing back and forth to drop Darthek before he could raise a Finger of Death; then Moorlig drops, too. Vroshan and Triyelo both belch Acid Fog and Jestred squeezes out a Mordenkainen's Sword before the three cave in to the room-wide AoEs (+689 Exp).


Vroshan's crumpled corpse is looted for the Robe of the Archmagi (Armor bonus +5, Bonus feat: Spell Penetration, Bonus Wiz/Sorc spell slot 5/6/7, all saves +3, SR 20), Ring of Resistance +3, Brilliant Water Essence; Darthek's for the Amulet of Natural Armor +4, Vremyonni Key; Moorlig's for the Ring of Regeneration (Regen +4); Triyelo's for the Bracers of Armor +6; and Jestred's for the Staff of Valmaxian +3 (AC def +2, Chain Lightning [11], Ethereal Visage [9], Fireball [5] charges).

The alchemy workbenches are ransacked for Potion of Heal (3), Potion of Invisibility, Potion of Greater Heroism, Potion of Bull's Strength; and the tables picked clean of scrolls of Bigby's Crushing Hand, Cloudkill, IGMS, Scorching Ray, Many, Summon Creature VII, Wail of the Banshee, Polymorph Self, Shapechange from the tables.

We use the looted key to leave the hideout (which was locked by one of the wizards before the fight broke out).

Madatov Home

Stepping into the Madatov home, it seems a "special" young girl is refusing to leave to somewhere with a woman holding a position of obvious authority.


Baumar says the wychlaran hathran, Daniyarra, wants to take his daughter, Yelina, away for "testing". The Rashemi witches think Yelina sees spirits, but Baumar thinks it's just an imaginary friend.


I pass a Wisdom/Lore check to convince Yelina to go with Daniyarra for testing. Yelina walks over to her room to say goodbye to a telthor teddy, Misha; after which her and the hathran leave together, and Baumar is thankful to us for resolving the issue (+1,000 Exp).


I loot Baumar's box for the Ring of Clear Thought +3 (Int +3), Potion of Heal (2) and +1296 GP. The trunk in Yelina's room contains the Ceremonial Uthgardt Belt (Imm: Death Magic, Disease, Fortitude +5) and +1399 GP.

I'll leave the Avolov Estate alone for now; nothing can be done there at this point.

Ice Troll Lodge

Behind the lodge a barrel is looted for Handaxe +1 and Throwing Axe +2 [50].

Hopefully our time here will be brief. This place crawls with those who loathe my kind. - Safiya. (Safiya speaks of the Rashemi distrust of Thayans - remember Minsc/Dynaheir and Edwin?)

A telthor badger guards the grounds around the lodge, chasing us down, growling, and gnawing at our ankles.

Someone needs to silence that annoying spirit. - Gann.

Inside the berserker-packed lodge, I learn from Jurak that I have to pass three initiation rites - administered by Forovan, Lena and Yulia - if I am to join up with the berserkers. They are the rites of strength, prowess and endurance.

Spellcraft allows me to detect that Aleksei is cheating in the dart throwing contest. His opponent, Yagor, rewards me with Arrow of Petrification (on-hit Flesh to Stone [7] x10) for exposing him. 


Standing by the fireplace, staring into it with his blind eyes, is Nak'kai the Shaman (a Spirit Shaman like Gann), flanked by his two snow leopard pets. The shaman relays what he heard from wind and spirits: that the millennia-old Spirit-eater curse appeared after Akachi, a Rashemi-born Myrkulite priest and leader of the temple in Mulsantir, failed in his rebellion against Myrkul, God of the Dead.


The first initiation rite I attempt is the arm-wrestle with a giant of a man, Forovan; I succeed in this rite of strength (+1,000 Exp).

Lena's rite of prowess involves successive duels with berserkers of the lodge. I face Radu the Untested, the dire mace-wielding Forovan, Yulia and Jurak; defeating them easily (+500 Exp). In the second set of duels, I face Nak'kai's Pet, Forovan again, the sneak-attacking Lena and finally the awesome Sergei who, upon being defeated, rewards me with his wicked Transcendent Edge (falchion Bonus Feat: Spirit's Ruin); and a further +500 Exp. During the duels, I highly recommend wearing the Periapt of the Lost Witch for crit-immunity.
Note: Buff before the duals, if you like. For mundane builds, stuff like Keen Edge, Bless, Prayer, Stoneskin and Greater Invisibility is advised.

Being Ki critted for 184 damage sort of hurts...

Yulia's rite of endurance requires me to remain in cold water for a certain period of time. Being Constitution-based, I'm unable to pass the rite. This means I miss out on +500 Exp. Nevermind.

I now decide to wipe the floor with the berserkers because this is one of the better and harder battles offered by the campaign, but the tactics I employ are pretty much the same as in previous battles: summon, buff, tank, bombard - in that order. I bait Jurak into violence; then allow myself to be swarmed by a dozen berserkers as Safiya, Gann and Kaelyn create a hell hole for the berserkers to wither in.

 
It takes many AoEs to bring down the lodge (+1311 Exp); after which the telthor badger scurries into the lodge, takes a look around at the carnage, sees the blood on our hands and becomes very, very upset; growing significantly in size and attacking us! At our level, the thirtieth level Barbarian badger is quite a handful, but Safiya's IGMS spam saved the day (+1989 Exp).


Epic loot is epic: Nak'kai the Shaman is looted for Golden Circlet (Imm: Mind-affecting, Will +1, Conc +1, SR 10), Bracers of Armor +8, Brilliant Power Essence, Brilliant Fire Essence,  nine volatile essences; Jurak for Rashemi Berserker Chainmail, Ring of Protection +3, Amulet of Natural Armor +4; Yulia for Barbarian's Outfit (AC bonus +5), Boots of Hardiness +3 (Con +3, AC dodge +3), Ring of Protection +5, Ring of Regeneration (Regen +4), Amulet of Natural Armor +5; Lena for Rashemi Berserker Chain Mail, Amulet of the Master (Diplomacy +6, Disable Device +6, Lore +6, Open Lock +6, Search +6, SR 16); Nak'kai's Pets for Brilliant Earth Essence (2), eleven volatiles; Forovan for Belt of Storm Giant Strength (Str +10); and the Angry Badger for Heart of Rasheman (Freedom of Movement, Haste, Improved Evasion, Dim Light 5m [white], Regen +5), Obsidian.  

Sergei slept through the battle.

Mulsantir

Oddly, the berserkers in the training grounds don't seem to be aware of the massacre we just conducted in their lodge; nor do the wychlaran make comment at the Temple of the Three. Shrug.

A young girl, Ku'arra, greets us at the city gates. She explains that the leader of her tribe has information concerning the Spirit-eater curse, marking my map with the Wells of Lurue location and beginning the Wisdom of the Hill Tribe quest, before running off to meet us there.


So now I have four leads that might yield info on the Spirit-eater curse, and my plight: Death God's Vault (the crematorium and lower level), the Wells of Lurue (wherein the "hill tribe" dwells), the forest of the Ashenwood (the "Wood Man"), and the Sunken City (the hags of the Sleeping Coven). These interesting locations can be visited in any order, though I'll probably be revisiting Death God's Vault next, followed by the Sunken City.


Death God's Vault Revisited!

2 comments:

  1. Nooooo... poor Okku! ^^'
    I never did that, I couldn't kill the fluffy bear!

    "Yulia's rite of endurance requires me to remain in cold water for a certain period of time. Being Constitution-based, I'm unable to pass the rite"

    I can't remember the difficulty of the rites but I'm almost sure that my barbarian passed them...well maybe it was easy with that build.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. High HP builds should have no problem, but I only have natural Con 14 because my build needs high Str and Dex.



      Delete

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