Saturday, 17 September 2016

Harp & Chrysanthemum Walkthrough - Part II

Continuing from Harp & Chrysanthemum Walkthrough - Part I

   T h e  W e s t e r n  H e a r t l a n d s  — W o r l d  M a p   

• Ok, we have three new locations marked on our world map, and these may be undertaken in any order you like:
1. Northdark Wood (North). Presumably the area in which the Main Quest continues. This area will be covered in Part III.
2. The Flame Stone. According to Cornish at the inn the Flame Stone is a holy site of Sune (the goddess Ianth worships). I seem to recall it being important to the end-game. The intro to this area will also be covered in Part III.
3. Castle Joyous. This area will be my first port of call. In fact, the entirety of this post is given over to the quest by the same name.
.

   C a s t l e  J o y o u s  G r o u n d s  — O u t e r  

Asterchord's map leads you through the melancholy wastes of the Backlands, a boulder-strewn landscape of grasslands, small hills, and thorny woods. The scene changes when you approach Castle Joyous: a rocky dale opens up before you, and the sounds of battle impose on the loneliness of the trek...


The onslaught. The object here is to reach the castle on the far side of the river. But there is a map-wide battle being waged that you need to deal with, first. When you get here orcs led by purple-robed wizards will be on the offensive against the hapless gnoll "natives". It's a recurring match-up during this quest, actually.
• Also, Realmslore: Wearers of Purple = Cult of the Dragon.


• This is the situation you find yourself in when the cutscene ends:


• You know, I have to wonder how a party that includes two Rogues and a Halfling gets themselves into such an uncomfortable position, with orcs and gnolls breathing down their necks.. wouldn't we have heard the clamor from miles away, echoing throughout the dale? Why would we be up so close to its source? It makes no sense. Also, look at those immersion-breaking transition markers! God, they are ugly. Not a fault of the author, of course. Blame Obsidian, such appalling taste.
• Anyway, it's lucky the two factions are mostly aggro'ing each other and not trained on the party, or you would stand no chance. Try to get some distance on the clusterf*ck, first of all. You don't want a mob like this coming at you. Then fire your bows from afar. Note the other pack in the distance, just to the north. There is yet another pack just to the east, too!
• I found it easier to have the party pick off each pack with ranged weapons.. in fact, this worked really well. Concentrate on the squishy purple-robed wizards lest they summon zombie warriors and devastate you with fear and fireballs. They yield good XP, too.
Botanical field work. Once this side of the river is cleared of foes, harvest some Eventide Sedum in the far southwest (Sleight of Hand or Survival DC-19, 100 XP, Potion of Heal). Failing the check just means you miss out on the potion - the nimble Gossam still plucks exactly what he needs from the plant. This is part of Gossam's Green Thumb quest.
• To the immediate north of your starting position there is a riverside cave.

   G a r g o t h i s ' s  H o v e l   

• This is the home of Gargothis Warbeck: "demonologist, wizard, and, yes, gnome".


• You can ask him about stuff, browse his wares, and play a game of cards.
 Side Quest: War. This is just a card game that is played automatically, there is no strategy or anything like that. Except.. remember the Ace of Coins sold by Oudin in the antique shop back at Drawn Swords? Well, it increases the chances of you winning, a kind of lucky charm. I was able to afford it by the end of Part III of my walkthrough. I won on my 26th attempt. Here are my winnings: 200, 400, 200, 300, 300, 400, 200, 400, 200, 100, 400, 200, 200, 400, 300, 400, 400, 400, 300, 400, 300, 100, 400, 300, 300, 500
• The prize for winning is the Heart of Armanite (Electrical dmg +1d4, Str +1, Con +2, Will -4). Not exactly a game-changing item but it's nothing to scoff at either. I didn't expect that the on-hit electrical would work with projectiles, but it does. Completed Quest: War, 1,000 XP.
Diplomacy + Intelligence DC-15: 100 XP. Lore DC-23: 100 XP. Sleight of Hand DC-18: 200 XP, Ring of the Ghost (Strength -2, Freedom of Movement, Invisibility [3] 1/day).
• Take your leave of the hovel and make your way to the far side of the river, the northern side where the castle stands.
Far side of the river. Guess who's here? That's right, five more purple-robed wizards ready to unleash fireball, fear and animate dead. They are grouped together, too.. pushing their way up the hill, towards the castle, butchering the gnolls along the way...


• I suggest you wait until their numbers are thinned out on the gnolls, or fire at them from the other side of the river to break them up a bit; otherwise, you don't have a snowball's chance in hell of defeating them. Eventually, you will arrive at the courtyard overlooking the entire grounds... 
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   C a s t l e  J o y o u s  G r o u n d s  — I n n e r   

Who in the blazes are you? What marvelous misfortune brings you before me at this hour of ripeness?


• Here you will catch up with Aniphilistes, Keeper of the Secret Hoard (aka Cult of the Dragon). He is flanked by some ugly muthas, including an ogre, all of which he sets upon you before fleeing into the castle to begin his raid of it. Slay his minions, loot their corpses, and follow the wizard inside.


   C a s t l e  J o y o u s  — H a l l   

• It seems the trail of the wizard has gone cold, already. Not much to see here, just a Statue of the Bard: erected in honor of the author of "The Falcon and the Dove". Guess we're on the right track..

Take the door down to the basement.

   C a s t le   J o y o u s  — B a s e m e n t   

• No sooner have you arrived this gnoll barbarian rages hard and charges you. Slay him.
Brutal Bragragh: Masterwork Spear, 32 GP.
Old Dwarven Halls. Push further down the hall, taking out more members of both groups; that is, the invading Cult of the Dragon and the gnolls who are defending the castle.
• Backtrack a bit and break the barricade blocking the trapped and locked door (DD DC-15, OL DC-20).
• The Dove's burial chamber. First, disable the proximity traps hidden under the two rugs (DC-26 x2). Next, the four chests contain 1 GP each: loot them. Why? They are to place on the scales. What scales? Look carefully, Z-key to highlight. There are a set of scales sitting just here. VERY easy to miss if you play mostly zoomed out. But we don't know how to manipulate them just yet. We will return when we do.


• The sarcophagus is the resting place of The Dove, but it's empty. Exit the chamber for now.


• A gnoll shaman, last of his tribe, has locked himself in the room at the end of the hall (DD DC-15, OL DC-15). His name is Raghragh. He will tell you about a magical portal that exists down here.. one that was discovered by the Dwarves who dug these tunnels, long ago. The Dwarves were wiped out by the serpentine guardian of the portal, but their goddess managed to defeat the guardian and reseal it. But now, the invading Cult of the Dragon have reopened the portal to the Well of Dragons (Realmslore: their citadel) in order to bring more of their forces through it and set this place up as another of their strongholds.
•  But the goddess still dwells in Castle Joyous. The gnolls worship her now. She is merely asleep in a magically warded chamber. Raghragh gives you the key to the library and requests that you search among the books for a clue as to how to reach her. How does he know about the clue? The goddess told him in a vision. Why hasn't he done this himself? He's a gnoll, he can't read. Hah!
Chest: utility potions.
LEVEL-UP! Each party member reaches their fifth level.
Lilura takes her fourth in Rogue (I also have one level of Fighter) and gains Uncanny Dodge.
Ianth takes her fifth in Paladin and gains Smite Evil.
Vroman takes his fifth in Rogue and gains Sneak Attack (3d6).
Gossam takes his fifth in Cleric and breaks into third circle spells (f.e, Animate Dead).
Main, central chamber. Ok, step through the nearby door and into the next chamber. Again we catch up with Aniphilistes and AGAIN he gets away, this time leaving us to fend off a pack of hell hounds. Slay them.


An Old Well. You can descend the well in the northeast of this chamber. There is a monstrous Glow Spider lurking down there (188 XP) and An Ancient Skeleton holding the following treasures: Light Crossbow, Bolt x99, Masterwork Longsword, Bruyken's Boast (instrument, Bluff +4, Perform +4, Bard or Harper Agent only).
Note: You must click at the foot of the ladder to return to the halls (the transition marker is concealed by water.)
Door to the goddess. The door to the south is magically warded and cannot be unlocked conventionally. Just take note of its location.
• To the north is nothing but a nest of bombardier beetles, an annoying swarm that respawns at intervals. It was funny watching the orc on its last legs try to beat them, though.
• The Old Dwarven Library lies just to the north. Enter using the key given to you by the gnoll shaman. The floor is trapped (DC-26).
• Click on the wooden bookcase and examine the books. One bound in bronze should grab your attention. Now, Search the shelf near the book's base to spot a trigger that sets off a trap (Search: DC-25, 100 XP). Vroman will congratulate you on the catch. Avoid the trap and copy the only remaining page of the book to your journal. This gives us the clue we need to solve the "scales puzzle" in The Dove's burial chamber.

But if you'd see what yet remains
Take one coin for each their eyes,
Place them on the scale amain, 
And seek the cave where still she lies.

Return there and place four coins on the other side of the scale. This breaks the magical ward on the door on the south wall of the main chamber.
• Return there and wind your way through the tunnel to reach the lair of the goddess, The Dove, a Song Dragon.

   L a i r  o f  t h e  S o n g  D r a g o n   


•  The Dove will begin to tell you how she and the Bard, The Falcon, fell in love, how he claimed this spot of land and built Castle Joyous for them to dwell in [there is an accompanying piano piece that plays to this].. but gently interrupt her romantic reminiscences to inform her that an urgent matter is in need of her attention.
• At this point the insolent Aniphilistes (Keeper of the Secret Hoard) appears in the dragon's lair, supported by a trio of ogres. He will insult and threaten the dragon, thereby commencing hostilities.

 

 The Dove will command you to stand back.. and yeah, she should make short work of them with her fear aura, lightning breath and claw attacks, but if one of your party members happens to land the killing blow on the wizard, you get 240 XP. Just be careful Aniphilistes doesn't turn on the party and unleash a Horrid Wilting...
Corpse of AniphilistesAniphilistes Scythe (+1, Keen), Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds x2, Gold Necklace, Bracers of Armor +2, scrolls of Vampiric Touch, Animate Dead, Restoration.
The Dove will tell you that the portal has been opened on both sides, that the only way to seal it is to travel through to the other side, as well - to the Well of Dragons. Realmslore: a suicide mission. However, she is prepared to sacrifice herself by doing so. Your job is to fight your way to the portal and pronounce her true name once you reach it ("Aspeaddyrdhalis").
• And no, you don't get to loot her gleaming pile of treasure because the dragon instantly teleports you back out to the main chamber (you will be lucky if you get the time to loot the corpse of Aniphilistes). Anyway, the dragon hoard is just there for show, and a playful tease.


• From here, make your way back to the library and then north to the portal room, dispatching orcs and wizards along the way.
Portal chamber. Slay the quartet of cultists guarding the portal - easier said than done.


• When they're dead click on the portal and pronounce the true name of the dragon to summon her to it.
• Aspeaddyrdhalis will materialize and enter the portal in order to reseal it, but not before giving you the passphrase for the mysterious door in Swordskeep crypt: Ludos.


• That's it, we're done here. If you didn't rest during this segment (one that I shall term "from the grounds to the portal") you will receive a rest bonus of 250 XP. Backtrack out of the castle and through the grounds to return to Drawn Swords.


• Make your way up to Swordskeep and drop down into the crypt.

   S w o r d s k e e p — C r y p t   

• Navigate to the mysterious door and pronounce Ludos before it. As expected, the door opens.
• Open the gate to find a Spectral Knight standing before its sarcophagus: it is the ghost of The Falcon. He will tell you his sad tale and then disperse. You will receive 1,000 quest experience points for solving the mystery (Completed Quest: Castle Joyous).
Don't forget to loot the sarcophagus: 190 GP, King's Tear (precious stone), Falcon's Loss (greatsword +1, on-hit ability drain DC-14 Strength).
• Be sure to read the description of Falcon's Loss for a wrap-up of the Falcon-Dove sub-plot.


• Finally, report your success in solving the mystery to the resident loremaster, Oudin.


Continued in Part III..

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