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Saturday, 26 December 2015

Bastard of Kosigan: Exile of the West Walkthrough - Part I

   T h e  B a s t a r d  o f  K o s i g a n   

   E p i s o d e  O n e :  E x i l e  o f  t h e  W e s t   

   T a b l e  o f  C o n t e n t s   

Part I: Introduction, Chargen, The Forest of the Wolves & The Dark Grove. Notes on the Adventure added at the end of post: Important Game-play advice, Build & Itemization etc.
Part II: The Road to Cologne, The Bridge of Saint Würz & The Kobold-Devil Caves.
Part III: The Southern Suburbs of Cologne, The Green Mountains & Kougor Beershaft's Mausoleum.
Part IV: Prinzen Stadt, Köln: The City of Cologne, Part I - The Missing Caravans Quest.
Part V: Prinzen Stadt, Köln: The City of Cologne, Part II - The Demon With Blue Fur & Learning Things from the Bishop and the Architect.
Part VI: Prinzen Stadt, Köln: The City of Cologne, Part III - Raids on the Chapter House Cellar, The Street of the Black Horses & The Foul-Smelling Sewers.
Part VII: The Grande Finale.

Fabien Cerutti's The Bastard of Kosigan is a mythic Medieval module series consisting of a Prequel and five Episodes, with four Episodes having (so far) been translated from French into English by Ginni Swanton: Exile of the West, The Bastard of Kosigan, Revelations & Blood & Tears (Update 17/01/16: The fifth and final translated episode has just been uploaded to the Vault: By the Word & the Blade).

The player assumes the role of the series' title: a young man (see portrait) who, upon the death of his father, has chosen exile from the County of Kosigan because his uncle Borogar (the Count) is hostile towards him. The bastard is now a sword-for-hire in the German principalities of the 14th century, seeking fame, fortune, women and wine... Will he emerge triumphant or will he have his ass handed to him and meet an odious end? Read on to find out!

The following recounting (i.e, "a written Let's Play") intends to cover Exile of the West as I have played it. I guess my recounting may double as a walk-through/guide but I make no claims to completeness or accuracy of info. Still, my Aielund Saga effort helped out a few people so hopefully this one can, too!  

EotW's quests are intricately interwoven and the dialogue is rich, full of swagger and powers along like a page-turning novel. To handle this I have posted YouTube vids for the longer conversations and have also briefly summarized the situation in my own words so that people can follow along and know what's going on even if they're not playing. Two final remarks before we get underway: 1.) I've written an install guide because the compiled archive on neverwintervault.org is an intimidating mess. I hope it can be of use to people who would like to play, too! 2.) I'm using the Project Q patch hak to upgrade the visuals and aurals. 

So, without further ado, let's get on with this!

Chargen

Male gender is a must! Human race and Fighter, Ranger or Rogue are strongly advised. Paladin stiffs & dumb Barbs are not recommended by the author (sensible multi-class "dips" are fine). BoK's conversational style consists of much worldliness and swagger; that's why traditional Pallys and Barbs just don't feel right in dialogue.

If you don't already have an appropriate level 8-10 warrior ready to roll then I recommend you begin this adventure as a tenth level Fighter build (UPDATE: I now recommend eighth level as the sweetspot, unless you're rusty and want an easier time of it), leveled-up and equipped beforehand in Pretty Good Character Creator & Customizer using the Quick Set Level & Gold option. Spend the 49,000 GP assigned to you on standard gear befitting your level at the Equipment Merchant (Basic, Warrior & Temple stores) and avoid going crazy on anything fancy. This is the loadout for my tenth level Fighter:

Bastard Sword (Exotic), Full Plate, Tower Shield, Amulet of Natural Armor +1, Ring of Protection +1, Ring of Resistance +1, Belt of Hill Giant Strength (Str +3), Gauntlets of Ogre Power (Str +2), Bag of Holding, Healer's Kit +1 (x30).

Perhaps I went a lil' overboard with the Strength items but at least I'm not decked out obscenely OP (my sword, armor and tower shield aren't even +1). Combat is quite a challenge (at least in the early stages of Exile of the West) and you cannot rest in dungeons, which is why I loaded up on Healer's Kits and invested solidly in the Heal skill.

Speaking of which, here is my (no doubt sub-optimal) tenth level "sword n board" Fighter, Carradine (of Kosigan), who I intend to transition to Weapon Master at my next level-up opportunity. Carradine wields a Bastard Sword, naturally! Besides that I've always regarded them as a bad-ass medieval weapon - whether they actually were, or not..!

Character Sheet
Not all of my skill points have been assigned at this point, just Heal, Discipline and four ranks in Intimidate for Weapon Master. I'm thinking of focusing on Persuade but that depends on how useful it seems to be, as I progress. Update: Persuade is very useful once you reach Cologne.

By the way, there are two custom Prestige Classes offered: Knight Errant and Mercenary Spy. They didn't really appeal to me, though.

Ok, that's enough waffling; maybe we should start the adventure?

Episode One: Exile of the West
Introduction


The adventure begins in a flowery grove where you will be bumped up to eighth level if you're not already 8-10. There is nothing to do here so head east along the road to the map's transition point.

The Bastard of Kosigan is en route to Cologne.

Wolfswald: The Forest of the Wolves


Upon entry to the Wolfswald you find yourself flanked by a pack of ravenous wolves. Dispatch them and charge up the road to assist three men who are fighting off a second pack. Prince Frederick of Cologne will thank you for the assistance and reward you with 100 GP and Frederick's Seal, a ring that grants +1 Deflection AC. The Prince requests you meet him at his palace in Cologne (Quest: Rendezvous with Frederick). There is a bastard sword on the ground just here (+1 fire dmg).


A few more wolves lurk about in the forest; dispatch them and loot their hides to sell off later, if you like.

Concealed behind a waterfall is a cave. Inside you may awaken and dispatch an enormous hibernating bear (+173 Exp).


An old hermit (Pietr Schönberg) is found squatting at the end of the tunnel, hiding from the Inquisition after breaking his vow of chastity (he's a Priest). Accept his request to deliver a letter to Heinrich von Ruhe, Bishop of Cologne (Quest: Help the hermit). An Ancient Bible may be looted from a stack of books.


Make your way to a dilapidated old cabin and meet a Pretty woman who's about 30 years old. She will show her hospitality by serving up food and wine as you engage in pleasant small-talk with her. 


However, Soldiers of the Inquisition suddenly barge into the cabin and start attacking you both! What the hell, how rude is that?

In the name of the Holy Church, seize that bitch! And kill anyone who resists! - Inquisitor Officer.


Dispatch the two soldiers and officer, the latter of whom may be looted for Mission Orders and a valuable set of armor: Armor of the Inquisition (heavy armor, +1 armor AC, Spell Imm: Charm Person, SR 12). (This armor may be sold for ~2,500 gold pieces). The order contains the names of nine people who are to be arrested and brought back to the Cologne Chapterhouse: Willie Stein, Laura Stein, Yannia Königin, Kurt Wagner, Gertrūd von Baum, Werner Fritzlander, Pietr Schönberg, Vuradush Uskada and Karen Weisshaupt. The order is signed by the Grand Inquisitor (Cardinal de Las Casas).

The woman introduces herself as Yannia Königin, a witch of the Sénacle Lunaire coven, hunted by the Inquisition for various blasphemies. Her name is on the Mission Order. The dialogue is quite lengthy, but fun to read:


We learn that Yannia is married to a Half-orc (the "race of the devil") by the name of Vuradush Uskada, who is currently scouting the area for a witch safe-haven; that they fled the Inquisition in Cologne; that there's a passage to the sewers next to her home in Cologne and that an orilynx dwells down there (Completed Quest: Entrance to the Sewers, +20 Exp). We also learn that her friend (Gertrūd von Baum, another witch) has a familiar named Rūlfy (Completed Quest: The Name of Gertrūd's Familiar, +20 Exp).

Yannia requests that you locate Vuradush in The Dark Grove, the entrance to which is in the southwestern corner of the forest (Quest: Find Vuradush); that you fetch her magic staff from her home in Cologne (Quest: Retrieve Yannia's Magic Staff) and that you help to find several of her girlfriends (Quest: Find the Other Witches).

Yannia hands you the key to her home and gifts you a Clochette, a fairy in a bottle. Activating the clochette lets you "fast travel" to any areas you have previously been to. Assign it to one of your quickslots.

Inform Yannia of the cave behind the waterfall and she teleports straight there (Completed Quest: Find a Safer Hiding Place for the Witches, +250 Exp). She leaves her dog behind but you can bring him with you, if you like.

A barrel here contains a Map of the Region which has a symbol on it: a reversed pentagram with a crescent moon in the middle, just like Yannia's amulet. This is undoubtedly the symbol of the Sénacle Lunaire coven.

Back at the cave, Yannia and Pietr seem to be getting along ok. You may probe Pietr for info about the Inquisition.


We learn that twelve years ago sorcerers and witches of the Vermillion Cult attempted to assassinate the Pope, in Rome; that His Holiness subsequently recruited fanatics to form the Company of the Very Holy Inquisition whose purpose is to hunt down witches and drive out non-conformists. According to Pietr, the Grand Inquisitor (Cardinal de Las Casas) is an unsavory character whom Pietr observed practicing a demonic ritual. (Quest: The Inquisition is Hiding Some Things, +380 convo Exp).

A Mysterious Man may be spied standing in the forest; I have no idea what his caper is - perhaps he has none, other than being mysterious.. Update: This guy is IRRELEVANT.

Along the road stands the merchant, Derich Werter, stranded in the forest after his wagon broke an axle. He requests that you inform a blacksmith in Cologne (Stannis Göwald) of his dilemma. I manage to convince him to fork over 200 GP for the trouble.

There is random treasure found on a corpse, under a tree, en route to The Dark Grove: I received a Tower Shield +2.


The Dark Grove

Ok, the Half-orc was EZ to track down... Vuradush (Yannia's husband) is spotted taking on a dozen wolves at the entrance to the grove. Help him slay them (+100 Exp). The blunt instrument will then request your assistance in saving a witch from a patrol of Inquisitors.

Note: Pluck a Pink Moonflower from the Pink Moonflower Plant just here. This can be sold to Morian Ster in the Palace for 500 GP (+150 Exp).


Follow Vuradush down the slope to the circle of statues. You will find that you're too late! The Inquisitors have impaled the witch's body with a halberd and a mighty minotaur guardian has slain the fanatics in turn. Take down the horned beast and loots its corpse for the Minotaur Guardian's Axe (greataxe, Attack Bonus +2, Cold +1d6).


Disappointed, Vuradush now heads back to the waterfall cave to be with Yannia (Completed Quest: Find Vuradush, +200 Exp). Loot Karen Weisshaupt's corpse for a Wand of Lightning (10) and Unfinished Letter to Yannia:

I read in the entrails of a pig that a man from the West may be a great help to us..

Butcher the crag cats at the back of the grove where stands a menhir (French for standing stone), sculpted by human hands. Behind it you will discover a secret passageway leading into Ancient Ruins; however the gate inside is locked and unbashable, so you cannot progress. I briefly reported back to Yannia to tell her about Karen (+100 Exp) and check that Vuradush returned safely (+100 Exp). I was surprised that I couldn't tell Yannia about the ruins or show her Karen's letter...


En route to The Road to Cologne you will encounter another Inquisitor patrol. After a lil' "diplomacy" I decided to pick a fight with the impudent louts. I just think they're in need of a killin' and the officer's armor can be sold for a pretty penny, but however you decide to deal with them, you are now free to exit the Wolfswald!

Update: There is another map that you should visit at this point, accessible in the north, just behind Yannia's dilapidated cabin: The Northern Forest of the Wolves. Slay the wolves, bears and kobold-devils in here (the old savage bear may pose a challenge); then locate the werewolf in the stone ruins and briefly engage it in battle - but do not kill it!


Instead, return to Yannia in the waterfall cave and ask about an antidote for its lycanthopy. She will refer you to a druid merchant in the Marketplace at Cologne. When you reach Cologne, the merchant will sell you Meat laced with Wolfbane for 500 GP (+150 Exp). Return to the werewolf and let it beat up on you until it eats the mixture and reverts to its human form. It turns out to be Gustavo, a distant cousin of yours, who will join you as a Henchman (Completed Quest: A Werewolf in the Forest, +200 Exp, +200 convo Exp). The chest here is holding the Talon of the Werewolf (dagger, on-hit DC-14 Disease: Blinding Sickness).


(Pluck a Pink Moonflower from the Pink Moonflower Plant in the north. This can be sold to Morian Ster in the Palace for 500 GP (+150 Exp). The corpse in the south can be looted for a Dagger +2.

***

So far the characters and dialogue are pretty intriguing and amusing (e.g, the lore about and rivalry between the Coven & Inquisition, the German accents). I like how you receive experience as dialogue progresses. The custom music is beautiful, the area design is above average and the combat is fairly challenging and will heat up on The Road to Cologne, where we're off to now!

Next Up:

The Road to Cologne

***
Notes on the Adventure

Skip this next section and continue to Part II (above link), unless you want more info on the adventure.

Important Game-play Advice

Never, ever, under any circumstances "Escape-key out of dialogue" (this was my habit for the OC). It will cause bugs. The dialogue "powers along" and is a pleasure to read, anyway.

Questing is non-linear but you may break things if you go too far. Be sensible and don't try to push the boundaries unless you can accept reloading an earlier save when the campaign grinds to a halt.

Sometimes a dialogue session won't cover all available threads until you speak to them again. Also, save your game before talking to someone, as you may get locked out of certain paths that you can never return to (luckily, none of these are plot-critical). 

Unlike most modules I've played, the journal entries are brief and sometimes won't tell you exactly what to do. You will need to pay attention to the dialogue and scripted events to advance. Otherwise it may not seem like anything is wrong but then slowly you will reach a dead end, and facepalm. 

Be sure to explore the edges of maps for transition triggers, as they're not always map-marked! This is annoying because I hate waving my cursor around, pixel hunting. I missed a whole map, a quest and a Henchman because of this... (the quest wasn't doable later because the dialogue "had moved on"). Also pay attention to the feedback panel for hints about secret transition points.
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The following notes are ongoing and subject to change. They also contain SPOILERS.
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***SPOILER WARNING*** 

Build & Itemization (very mild spoilers)

I have been consistently succeeding in Persuade checks up to the point of Cologne with -1 ranks in the skill (which is absurd), but when you reach Cologne and the meat of the campaign kicks in the checks will become harder so don't skimp out on Persuade! There are also Intimidate, Bluff and Ability Score checks. You will notice a difference in dialogue between 13 and 14 Intelligence. You will need to be charismatic if you want to flirt/seduce (makes sense!)

Alignment checks and shifts are extremely rare but you have lots of choices in dialogue and how to solve quests. Update: I encountered one dialogue-based alignment shift in the whole adventure...

Don't take Appraise because early merchants don't do the check at stores and, from my experience, the later ones that do are easy to get a favorable reaction with.

Even with no Rogue levels you might like to invest a hard point in cross-class skills such as Open Lock, Search and Disable Trap because they are useful to have and you will find items - early on, and usable by non-Rogues - that buff them to reasonable ranks. Pick Pocket can be useful, though most players will have to remove their Full Plate and Tower Shield to avoid significant penalties. 

Don't forget about Thieves' Tools

Note that some doors can only be unlocked conventionally, they cannot be bashed. There are two companions with Rogue levels to help you out (Diane and Gustavo).

Two levels of Paladin can be very helpful for Divine Grace & Aura of Courage. Fear is an annoying and common negative status effect. You can quaff a Potion of Clarity to ward it off, but they're rare.

A Fighter/Rogue build with UMD is entirely feasible: you can find scrolls and wands (though in limited supply). Sneaks Attacks can devastate if you have a companion to attract the aggro.

Potions are sold in limited quantities. You can buy one Potion of Clarity (abjures Fear) and three Heal potions pre-Cologne. There are one or two Freedom and Remove Disease potions in stock. Merchant are stocked up on Healer's Kits +1, so bag 'em up! 

Bugs & Stupid Things 

Experience exploits: one of the veteran mercenaries at the merc camp can be freed twice. Also, you can repeatedly gain 1,500 Exp when you bring Pietr to the Abandoned Cavern. Don't abuse this because if you over-level yourself it can cause bugs.

Something stupid: You have to cash in the fifty kobold-devil heads one at a time..! I mean, really?

Dialogue oversight: When you first meet Prince Karl he will give you two quests. If you speak to him again immediately you can tell him you heard he was investigating the coven. From whom did we hear this; we have spoken to no one? I hope this doesn't break a future quest... Update: it doesn't.

I have encountered a bug with Stannis Göwald, the blacksmith in Cologne (this has nothing to do with Escape-keying out of dialogue). When he returns to Cologne to confront Armand, you will find him at Frantz's Place just standing there in the common room and Armand won't be around. Moreover, Stannis will say nothing of Armand and when you ask to see his vendor inventory it will not pop-up! Dah fuq? He will not even return to the Blacksmith shop after you have dealt with Armand and completed the Missing Caravan quest; instead just standing there in the common room like an idiot, forever. Really annoying! Therefore, if you want to buy some of his stuff do so before he leaves to help Derich.

I wasn't able to open the Nicean Bible quest with Meredoc Sorn, whether I had the bible or not.

The journal will say you kept the sacrificial dagger even if you gave it to Eowen (Cloak & Dagger quest).

When Armand accuses you of lying you can repeat a response that has already been given ("I won't deny...")

Rodrigo's placement in the Chapter House is odd: stuck in the corner near the entrance, facing the wall? He also has nothing meaningful to say, so I just gutted him there and looted his corpse for the (untranslated) Armure d'officier de L'InquisitionThen, the Cardinal rewarded me 1,000 GP for saving him from the witches, unwitting of the murder that occurred just down the hall!

Oddities

You will lose Exp if you slay Gustavo in werewolf form! (I have never seen this before.)

What's with all the magical katanas, in a mythic European setting?

Why is there an adult green dragon so close to Cologne, with neither rhyme nor reason?

The kobold-devils use the goblin model and can be looted for orc heads. Where are my Deekins?

Laetitia Gabrielli and her Holy Guard of the Night are imposing/prominent, and yet there is no mention of her or her order. It would have been nice to have some dialogue with her.

***MAJOR SPOILER WARNING***

The rest of this post contains major spoilers! 

You will receive a "fast travel" object that will allow you to visit any location you have previously been to: the Clochette, a fairy in a bottle. You can use it to escape most areas, but not all.
 
You can recruit your first Henchman when you reach Cologne (the Old Knight at Franzt's Place Inn). You can also recruit Gustavo in the Northern Forest of the Wolves after he has been cured of lycanthropy. Another may be recruited on the Northern Road after you have dealt with the mercs (Diane). There is also a temporary Henchman near the merc camp (Drolin the dwarf). Note that you will receive fewer experience points for kills if you adventure with companions, summons or familiars, as per NWN's party size penalty rules. Quest and dialogue experience points are unaffected, so I wasn't too bothered by this. There doesn't seem to be any extra role-playing options with companions, but they may remark on the location you're in, to add some flavor. You can only take a max of two companions at any given time.

Important! Be on the lookout for four Placeholder for Storyline items given to you during key conversations. It seems they are useful in future Episodes.

Placeholder for Storyline 1
: Diane Keneheim - when she surrenders in the forest.
Placeholder for Storyline 2: Armand du Prince - when you confront him in the Underground Forge.
Placeholder for Storyline 3: This item exists in the module (token3), but in checking the scripts and conversations I found no instance of it. Update: Fabien told me it isn't used, so forget about it. 

Placeholder for Storyline 4: Bishop Heinrich von Ruhe - when you inform him of Pietr's safe relocation.
Placeholder for Storyline 5: Lord of Chaos - the Finale.


Also be on the lookout for catalytic objects:
Ancient Bracers of Fire Resistance and Ancient Object: Found in the Ancient Halls. (Yannia does not seem to want the Ancient Gold Piece.)
Ancient Statue: Found in the Ancient Passage (where you first meet Willie).
Both of the above areas are accessed from the Kobold-Devil Caves, Second Level. 
Ancient Fishing Pole: Found as part of the Find the Missing Fishing Pole quest, in the Southern Suburbs of Cologne.
Ancient Sacrificial Dagger & Ancient Elven Cloak: found as part of Eowen's Cloak & Dagger quest, but neither are accepted by Yannia as catalytic objects.

I found three other items in the toolset, but not in-game: I'm assuming the Ancient Demonic Mask and second Ancient Statuette are found in the Cardinal's library chest. I have no idea where the Antique Metallic Grenade is found (the dialogue to give it to Yannia is screwed up). For testing purposes I consoled these in, gave them to Yannia, and it still didn't complete the quest. I suspect Yannia's dialogue is bugged to not recognize the coin, dagger and cloak. See Unsolved Mysteries, below.


Major Bugs

The witches may not begin their ritual if you side with them. I hate this bug! Reload, and try again.

The Cardinal is bugged to go hostile if you side with him. See end of Part VII for details. 

Unsolved Mysteries

How do you open the chest in the Cardinal's library? It can't be bashed or unlocked by a Rogue: it needs a key. I pick-pocketed the Cardinal for a key (Clé de Las Casas), but it doesn't open the chest.. the hell?!

Where are the other catalytic objects? I assume the Cardinal's library chest may hold two? of them, but see above.

How do you complete the Cloak & Dagger quest? This quest is bugged out, but maybe it's possible..

How do you begin the Nicean Bible quest? Whether I have the bible or not, I cannot speak to Meredoc Sorn about it. 

Where is Werner Friztlander, the only person on the Inquisition's Mission Order that I didn't encounter?

Is there a use for the Grey Key found in the black chest of House No. 3?

I have found three Pink Moonflowers. One each in the Northern Forest of the Wolves, The Dark Grove and Farther Along the Northern Road. Where are the others?

Does anyone know of a workaround for the frequent crashes that occur in Episode Two: The Bastard of Kosigan, mainly when just trying to load a save game? It is unplayable in this state.

EoP

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for this blog! Glad to know someone is still playing with those mods :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Esarn,

    Yes, lots of people are still playing NWN mods and some are even making new ones to play.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lilura, I know what you mean with the crashes in episode 2. It almost made me quit playing as well. I am glad I had enough patience, as the rest of the saga is very rewarding. I did not find a workaround though (although I sometimes had impression lowering level of details to minimum helped to lower the frequency of on-load crashes). I finished the module anyway (it is quite short if you concentrate on the main plot), by trying to accomplish as much as possible in one go, without having to reload. When it happened that I did have to reload, it was really tedious to reload the game 5-7 times before the game loaded properly. In order to relaunch the game faster after a crash I launched it in SafeMode (that omits introductory animations).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you mean the logo animations? You can skip them by adding Disable Intro Movies=1 under [Display Options] in nwn.ini. You can also install NWN to a RAM disk to reduce load times (I did this for Swordflight because its load times are longer than most modules out there).

      Delete

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