Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Harp & Chrysanthemum Walkthrough - Part IV

Continuing on from Harp & Chrysanthemum Walkthrough - Part III.

   H a m f a s t  B a i r n s o n ' s  H o m e   

Main Quest Phase 3: Harp & Chrysanthemum. Hamfast's home is situated right nextdoor to the inn. You might remember we engaged in a lil' thieving last time we were here..

• We share a pleasant meal together with Danmar and the Hamfast couple; after which, the gathering get down to business.

• Danmar congratulates the party for taking out the Zhentarim encampment in the Northdark. He used to be an adventurer himself and seems to carry more weight in town than your average innkeeper. He dispatched Revelian (elven guard of the inn) to Corm Orp in order to learn what's going on at Darkhold. The trouble in the Sunset Mountains is not unknown to him.. apparently, the orcs that have been leaving there in droves...
• Hamfast has studied the documents you recovered and found a second Zhentarim encampment, one overseen by Banite General, Clydus. It is located in the Backlands, a barren area that is situated 20 miles north of Drawn Swords. Our task is to assault this camp and gather what intelligence we can on why the Zhentarim left Darkhold, and what their plans are.
• The Zhentarim suffer from a couple of weaknesses, too: 1. Their enemy forces are deployed over 100 miles of territory, meaning they are stretched out and vulnerable to the guerilla tactics used by our small band of heroes (Wisdom check: 100 XP). 2. Also, internal factional rivalry is eating them from the inside out (Bane vs. Cyric).

• The wine that has loosened Danmar's tongue causes him to reveal that he has certain "connections", but he refuses to elaborate. He does assure the party they are friendly ones, though.
• Ok, we take our leave of the Bairnson household and step out into the fresh night air. The party retires to the inn to get a good night's sleep... tomorrow is a big day.

 • The next morning...

   T h e  S w o r d  &  D r a g o n  i n n — C o m m o n  R o o m  

• The party meets up in the common room, ready to roll. Last night Hamfast requested that we meet up with Brother Anselm before leaving for the Backlands, so let's do that (you can't travel to the Backlands before doing so, anyway).

   S w o r d s k e e p — C h a p e l  o f  I l m a t e r  

• For services rendered thus far Anselm gifts you his father's magical sickle: The Executioner of Azbravn (sickle, +1, +1d6 vs. orcs).
Side Quest: The Risen Sun. The kind Ilmaterian priest now requests that you investigate a cult that is gaining ground in the east. The cult worships a deity known as Amaunator, "an old solar deity of Netheril".

• We agree to investigate the cult (it's wrapped up in the MQ, anyway).
• The Backlands are now accessible from the World Map.

   T h e  B a c k l a n d s   

—We have arrived in a comparatively barren land. We are here to locate and destroy the second Zhentarim encampment but, first, we are gonna complete two side quests.

• First up, Saern's Sharp Swords. Follow the road north to arrive at the clearing in which the Backlands Boar dwells. It's on the verge of going hostile..

• Solutions:
a. Let it turn hostile and then slay it (119 XP). There is a DC-20 Survival check for the "quality" of the trophy (100 XP). Now, return to the Saern's Sharp Swords at the inn and present the head for 100 XP and 100 GP. If you fail the Survival check and present a "bloody pulp that could be mistaken for the head of a horse", then you of course get nothing.
b. Calm it down and let it go unharmed (Ranger/Druid lvl + Charisma modifier, 200 XP). If Gossam calms it down you receive 100 XP. Without a trophy you obviously get nothing from Melincourt and Co.
Arm-wrestling. But regardless of how you chose to deal with the boar, the Saern's Sharp Swords will challenge you (or Ianth) to an arm-wrestling contest with Ambergren. Again, take your pick:
a. Let Ambergren win (100 XP). Saern's Sharp Swords will be inspired and leave the inn to resume their duty of protecting Drawn Swords (they are volunteer militia).
b. Beat Ambergren. Let Ianth beat him (250 XP) or beat him yourself (Strength + Intimidate check, 500 XP). Either way, they just continue pissing up in the pub (350 XP). Completed Side Quest: Saern's Sharp Swords.
• There is a plant specimen for Gossam in the clearing: Sleight of Hand/Survival DC-18: Boar's Blood (Vigor, 1 charge/use).

   A  F o r g o t t e n  B a r r o w   

—Our second side quest is The Backlands Barrow. There are three caves in the Backlands that are not marked on your map: one just south of the encampment, one farther south of it, and one southeast of where the boar dwelt. They all lead to the same barrow. Descending into the barrow you will notice a warded door that cannot be unlocked conventionally. Click on The Ancient Scroll to be presented with a riddle.

Thrice from the north he came,
Then once from the south,
Then once from the east.

• Now, the trick here is.. the riddle's directions refer NOT to the locations of the barrows on the map, but rather to the direction the barrow entrances are FACING. So, if you look at the barrow just south of the encampment, you will see its entrance is facing north. Ergo, you must enter this barrow three times (aka thrice). Next, you will see that the westernmost barrow (closest to where the boar was) has its entrance facing south. Ergo, you must enter it once. And last, you will notice the southernmost (and easternmost) barrow has its entrance facing east. Ergo, you must enter it once, too. As you progress in the riddle you will receive confirmation that you did "something right". If you stuff it up, the puzzle resets and you must start again.
• When the riddle is complete you will find yourself on the other side of the warded door, in the inner chamber. You will have to defeat the mummy and wraiths lurking in here if you are to complete the quest and escape the barrow. Have the fear-and-disease-immune Ianth tank the mummy. Paladins are in their element against undead. You should have two or three sources of elemental damage to inflict upon it so it shouldn't pose too many problems.
Destevedh of the Black Heart (226 XP): Barrow Key.
Sarcophagus: Wand of the Heavens (Flame Strike [7] 5 charges/use), Adamantine Warhammer, Black Heart Circlet (DR 1, Concentration +2, Wiz/Sorc only).
• The key is, of course, your ticket out of here.

   Z h e n t a r i m  E n c a m p me n t   

—Ok, it's time to wipe out the Zhentarim encampment to satisfy this third phase of the main quest. You will find it just northeast of the clearing; however, it's already been destroyed by the Cyric faction, and Banite General Clydus is dead.

• Marcellus is here with his two companions.. he reveals that Clydus was his employer.

• But just as the trio are about to take their leave more hostile Cyricists come along, led by Tybalt Egarde. A fight is inevitable, even if you pass the DC-17 Diplomacy check (100 XP).

• If you like, have Marcellus, Teurneia & Belforet lend a hand against the forces of Cyric. They are immortal for the purposes of the encounter, meaning you can go and make yourself a cup of coffee while they win it for you. The force consists of Tybalt Egarde, three necros, three clerics, four warriors and ten skeleton warriors. Very, very cool.

Tybalt Egarde (280 XP): Grevelyan's Sword (longsword, +1, +1d4 fire), Tybalt's Black Sun Armor (heavy iron armor, +1, +2 vs. Lawful, Chaotic only), 43 GP, Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds x2.

• Vroman does not have any idea as to why the Cyricists would want him. Marcellus and crew take their leave. Report back to Hamfast in Swordskeep.

Continued in Part V..

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