Wednesday, 26 July 2017

AL3: Tyrants of the Moonsea Walkthrough Guide - Part I

AL3: Tyrants of the Moonsea Walkthrough Guide - Part I




The Moonsea, lad? Imagine this, if ye will: A land as hard and unforgiving as a steel blade, ruled by tyrants who covet power as greedily as a dying man clings to his last breath.

Aye, 'tis true that not every city in the Moonsea owes allegiance to the Black Network… but ask any citizen of Hillsfar whether life is really any better under the cruel gaze of Maalthiir the mage lord, or else see with thine own eyes the brutal oppression suffered by the Melvauntians at the hands of the sadistic Lord of Keys and his army.

If it’s adventure ye seek, know that the Moonsea has that in abundance. I’ll not deny that those brave or stupid enough to risk the myriad dangers of the region may find great riches. Ask thyself this, though: What use gold, when thy corpse is being fought over by the half-dozen magelings or dark warriors who have come to take those riches for themselves?

- Elminster of Shadowdale, 1373 DR.

So high a price / So willingly paid / Hot blood is spilled / And a ruler is made.
- Mintiper Moonsilver, "A Tyrant's Trade".

          I n t r o d u c t i o n          


Tyrants of the Moonsea is the third and final AL-series adventure module by Alazander. Breakdown of his modules:

AL1: Siege of Shadowdale (2002): Built for levels 1-7, SoS has been covered by me in full starting here.
AL2: Crimson Tides of Tethyr (2005): Built for levels 7-15, CToT has been covered by me in full starting here.
AL3: Tyrants of the Moonsea (2006): Built for levels 15-17.
AL4The Blades of Netheril (Cancelled): Built for levels 17+.

AL1-3 can be thought of as a trilogy of sorts, in that you can take one character through all three modules thanks to their progressive level ranges; plus, there are no enforced item strips. However, each module constitutes an entirely separate adventure that stands on its own and doesn't reference the other - with one or two exceptions. Also, The Blades of Netheril was supposed to be a direct sequel to Tyrants and tie up a few series subplots in general, but it was never released.

Like my CToT walkthrough reprisal, this walkthrough is gonna be a lil' rough around the edges. I'm not going for aspie-level of detail here but I will endeavor to cover the main quest, optional quests, companions and key itemization only, which is what's important. Plus, pics! Please note this is a work in progress.

I have imported my Fighter (1) Rogue (14) from CToT. Here she is, in all her OP glory:


Well, she's not that OP but I don't foresee her having any problems in this adventure.

               V o o n l a r               

Main Quest: The Dead of Winter.

Winter's grip is tight around the collection of city-states known as the Moonsea, mirroring the harshness of its people. A frontier land where loyalty and kindness are as rare as the most precious gems, the Moonsea is nonetheless said to hold great opportunity and adventure -- providing one can live long enough to find it.

You heard rumors of great trouble in the region while passing through the Dalelands. While strife and conflict in the Moonsea are nothing new, these events are something else: demons are said to roam the countryside, and a mysterious group has recently arisen, intent on nothing but chaos and destruction.

Having finally arrived at Voonlar, and accompanied by the dwarven merchant Madoc, your first thoughts are of finding a warm hearth and seeking shelter from the freezing cold. Adventure awaits: as the local battle cry goes, "Dare -- and beware!" - DM Alazander.

Note the quality of the writing and the Realmslore, which all three of Alazander's modules are notable for. TotM is probably the most polished of the AL entries, even though the scrapping of the Premium Module program by Atari adversely affected the quality of the adventure and caused it to be cut down from its initially projected size.

So let's begin at the beginning... it's a good place to start. We have just arrived in Voonlar...


Follow the dwarf, Madoc the Uncouth, into the Swords' Meet Inn and strike up a convo with him. The Bron, drinking at a nearby table with the Zhentarim, will recognize Madoc, accuse him of skimming off Black Network profits, and apprehend him. He will also demand a duel with you outside.


Head back outside to duel The Bron. No, no. Stop saying LeBron, damn you! It's THE BRON. Anyway, upon knocking him down Gormstadd of the Zhentarim will have Madoc executed and prepare to execute you as well, but the town will suddenly come under attack by fiends led by a balor, and the cowardly Bron will run off back to his tower and board it up. Take out the fiends, map-wide. You can rest in the barn but first you'll have to clear out the bebilith inside, which is dining on the town's cows.

Tidbit: Back in 2006, when I first played this, I gave up the adventure when I couldn't get past this encounter. :P That's how much of a newbie I was. But I didn't import, and so my character had access to only the default equipment against... a balor. It would have been better to include a starter zone in which the new players can equip themselves, but whatevs, there isn't one.

Fear! Fire! Foes!


The inn and other buildings will be locked up, and you won't be able to leave town by way of the gates due to the lockdown. Therefore, enter the Temple of Bane in search of those responsible for the attack.

The arrogant Gormstadd will accompany you, confront the Mysterious Mage of the Order of the Crippled Fang who is orchestrating the razing of the town, and be killed off by him in a rather gory manner: he has his flesh burned from his body and collapses to the ground as nothing more than a skeleton. Reminded me of the DragonLance novels. The Mysterious Mage will then teleport out of the temple leaving you to take on the 2ic, Zacharus. Slay this guy, loot his corpse for the Striker quarterstaff (it's nothing special) and then leave the temple.


With the assault on the town put down, the buildings should be unlocked for exploration and questing.

Main Quest: Order of the Crippled Fang.

You've had your first encounter with members of the mysterious group calling itself the Order of the Crippled Fang. The apparent leader, a smartly dressed mage wearing an eye patch, killed Gormstadd with horrific ease during a confrontation inside the Temple of Bane. He left after ordering one of his subordinates to take care of you. You have the feeling this won't be your last encounter with the mystery mage...

The mystery mage with the eye-patch. It is revealed later that his name is Maganus.


Back outside you will be approached by Sharalyn Lockleaf, a half-elf who will unveil herself as a Harper, give you the key to the second floor of the inn, and request that you meet her there before hurrying off.


You can now recruit three companions for a party of four. These first two are found in the common room of the inn:

• Astar Graysteel: Human Neutral Good Fighter (15)You have been joined by a gray-haired, blue-eyed warrior named Astar Graysteel. Despite being well into his middle years, Astar remains in peak physical condition. He moves with a deadly grace that indicates a swordsman of expert skill and despite his insistence that he is but a simple mercenary, you suspect there is much more to his tale than that. Perhaps in time you will learn more.


• Eremuth Silverwand: Half-elf Chaotic Evil Wizard (15)A half-elven wizard from Waterdeep named Eremuth Silverwind has agreed to accompany you on your quest. The mage is highly intelligent and obviously possessed of no small power, but behind his delicate good looks and rapier wit you sense a darker soul. Eremuth's contempt for those he perceives to be beneath him is obvious and his main motivation for joining you seems to be the pursuit of power rather than any desire to help make the Moonsea safe from the Order of the Crippled Fang.


The third companion is found in the Boring Pig Tavern, just across the street:

• Lyressa: Undead Chaotic Neutral Rogue (15). An undead rogue calling herself Lyressa has decided to accompany you on your journey. Unlike most undead, Lyressa appears to be in complete control of herself and harbors no ill will towards the living. She claims to remember nothing of her former life and her memories stretch back only a few years from when she awakened in a necromancer's laboratory in Suzail. Whoever she was in life, Lyressa is a thief of almost unsurpassed skill. Despite her state, she maintains a good sense of humor and a sane outlook on 'life.'


All three companions come with their own custom gear, which is welcome. And unlike CToT, you have control of their inventory. CToT imports should have access to several perma-Haste items, so I'd be quick to give each companion one of those. Eremuth should be gifted the Ring of the Lich for the bonus spell slots it confers. I gave Lyressa the Robe of the Darkmoon and Boots of the Sun Soul +3.

Head upstairs to the suites. Sharalyn's suite is directly opposite the stairs; pretty hard to miss. Agree to hunt down the Order of the Crippled Fang who are threatening the region of Moonsea.

Completed Main Quest: The Dead of Winter (2,500 XP).



Main QuestThe Road East.

Sharalyn Lockleaf has suggested that you start the search for the Order of the Crippled Fang in Hillsfar. The city has long been an enemy of the Zhentarim and it's possible the evil ruler, Maalthiir, is sponsoring the attacks as a means of gaining further power in the Moonsea.

Before you can leave Voonlar you'll need to get the key to the eastern gate from Lady Shrae at the temple of Chauntea. - DM Alazander.

But first, it's probably best to complete the two optional quests offered in Voonlar.

Optional QuestLocktower Rescue.

This quest can be acquired from Lashan Waters, who is lingering just down the hall from Sharalyn's suite. You can use two approaches in dialogue, depending on your social skills.


You've agreed to rescue the father of a young man named Lashan Waters from the Locktower; a foreboding keep and the base from which the Bron terrorizes Voonlar. You'll need to find a way in first and unless you want to risk bringing all of the Bron's deputies down on you, you'll need to attempt a little subtlety. One of the Bron's deputies is drunk and sleeping in his room in the Swords' Meet, so that seems like a good place to start.

Deputy Grimswold's suite is right here. The deputy is passed out on the floor due to drunkenness. Gotta have empathy, we've all been in this situation, and not just once but numerous times. And we always say we're never drinking ever again. What a joke that is! Anyway, loot his chest for his deputy armor and helm; you can wear it as a disguise.

Ok, time to save Lashan's father! Head over to the Locktower and knock on the door. Deputy Noric will answer but he won't open it unless you bribe him with 10,000 GP, pass a difficult social skill check, or impersonate Deputy Grimswold with the disguise (armor and helm). Either way, you get 500 XP for getting in.

If you got in by means of the bribe, you can tell Noric that you were lying about the gold (Chaotic +4). Enraged by your deceit, he will attack you and you will be forced to slay him and the other four deputies in the Locktower as you go in search for the one who has the prison key (Deputy Darzel). If you do cough up, Noric takes off and you have to storm the hostile tower in search of the key, anyway (Lawful +2).

If you got in by means of the disguise (party temporarily disbands), head upstairs and talk to Deputy Darzel. You will be time-lapsed down to the Locktower dungeon in order to beat up on the father of Lashan Waters, Bennart Waters. You know, sort of like Sipowicz in NYPD Blue (you can actually beat Bennart to death, or beat him and convince the Deputy to allow you to take Bennart to a temple for healing). But I beat up on Darzel, instead, and then carried Bennart out of the clueless tower.

Where is The Bron, btw - didn't he flee here? The Bron is on the top floor but his chambers are boarded up and you cannot gain entry to them.


Note how you can cast Stinking Cloud from Bennart's body :P


Level 5, too. Damn, that's some serious pong. Men really can stink, though, so it's probably accurate.

Anyway, the smelly Bennart will be removed from your inventory once you have exited the tower. Be sure to talk with him. Before going home to have a bath he will request that you inform his son of his escape.

Back at the inn, Lashan and Grimswold will be gone... where the hell is Lashan? Well, after looking everywhere for ages I found him in the center of town, getting taught a lesson by Grimswold. Confront the deputy and he will become intimidated and run off back to the Locktower. Talk to Lashan and then follow him back to the Waters' home.


Here you will be rewarded by Bennart, who is still dressed in rags. Note the lack of wife. That's what happens when you don't wear Rexona. Anyway, I got Good +4 and a Lesser Ioun Stone: Pink & Green out of him.


Optional Quest CompletedLocktower Rescue (2,000 XP).

Ok, next optional quest:

Optional QuestEvil Beneath Voonlar.

This quest is acquired from Lady Shrae in the Temple of Chauntea. She will give you the key to East Gate, which is required to continue the main quest, but more on that later. First:

There is more to Voonlar than meets the eye. Lady Shrae has told you of an extensive series of tunnels and catacombs beneath the town that have for decades been used as the final resting place for priests of Bane. She believes that in recent weeks the priests of the Dark Lord have been animating these corpses for use against the Order of the Crippled Fang.

With the undead now free of the priests' control, it won't be long before they discover an exit to the surface and start wreaking havoc. You've decided to investigate the catacombs and if they really are infested with undead, put a stop to the problem. The entrance is believed to be inside an abandoned house in the west of Voonlar.


Ok, head to the abandoned house in the west of town, and enter. The desk is holding a Brooch of Shielding but most importantly the Symbol of Bane - Upper Right Quadrant and Gormstadd's journal:

This black, leather-bound journal appears to have once belonged to the high priest of Voonlar, Gormstadd, before his death. The journal recounts the priest's efforts to raise an undead army from the buried remains of former Banites within the catacombs beneath Voonlar.
Entry 1
Word has just arrived from Zhentil Keep, from High Imperceptor Fzoul himself no less. He wishes that I push on with my plans to raise an undead force for deployment against the Order of the Crippled Fang. Alas, I fear Fzoul overestimates the power of the clergy here in Voonlar. The changeover from Cyricism has left most of us weak still, and only Merkul and Charon possess sufficient experience to assist me in the ancient rituals for raising the dead.
Entry 2
Those Chauntean wenches continue to frustrate me. I would dearly love to see them all beheaded and the Earthmother's temple razed to the ground, but despite the best efforts of Bourstag and myself, we still do not have sufficient justification to move against them. I am unwilling to risk drawing the direct wrath of Shadowdale or the Harpers by acting rashly.
Something unexpected occurred today. Charon claims to have had mind contact with a strange sentience whilst exploring the darkest reaches of the catacombs.
On further investigation we found a sealed door, accompanied by an ancient stone pillar etched with scenes glorifying the Black Lord. No more communication was forthcoming, so I will try again on the morrow.

Entry 3
The mysterious entity today revealed itself to me. Shrazgul is his name, and he claims to have once been a powerful priest of Lord Bane before he was eventually rewarded with eternal life. I have heard of such beings -- baneliches they are called, the result of the Black Lord's greatest blessing.
I believe I may have discovered a powerful ally, although Shrazgul's intentions are still unclear. He has asked me to recover four missing pieces of our Lord Bane's symbol, the gauntleted fist squeezing forth rays of green light, which will enable the magically sealed door to open. I will do this. I do not fear Shrazgul; we serve the same lord, do we not?

Entry 4
I managed to recover the pieces of the missing symbol, which were unaccountably scattered around the furthest reaches of the catacombs, and gain access to Shrazgul's resting place. He is truly magnificent to behold, a festering visage of dread and terror made real. I believe that somebody must have imprisoned the banelich beneath Voonlar, although it makes no sense for such a revered servant of the Black Lord to be held directly beneath one of his temples.
I searched the ancient texts and journals in the temple for clues, but all mentions of Shrazgul seem to have been removed. The undead priest would not answer my questions regarding his state or situation, but he did lend his assistance in raising corpses in the catacombs to do my bidding. This is a boon indeed!

Entry 5
I am beginning to realize that something is terribly amiss with my new ally. Shrazgul seeks far more dominance over the undead that I am happy to permit and I am helpless to deny his power. He is possessed of unimaginable arrogance, bordering on blasphemy. Could it be that Shrazgul was bound there by the priesthood of the Black Lord as penance for past sins?
I have been betrayed. The undead horde I have spent all my energies creating these last few months has turned against me. Shrazgul is behind it all. I fear he is no longer a servant of Bane's will; the foul creature has its own agenda.
At least I managed to secure the fourth piece of the symbol before fleeing the catacombs, sealing the banelich in his chamber once again. The other three pieces are still down there. I have no doubt Shrazgul will attempt to send his minions to recover the last quadrant. They are slow and cumbersome, but eventually they will discover the entrance to the surface.
The Zhentarim representatives in the town have assured me that reinforcements are on their way from Zhentil Keep to tackle the problem. Until then, Voonlar is woefully unprepared in the event of an Order attack.

This is the final entry in the journal. The ink still looks fresh.

Most impressive.

Also, you will spot a secret trap door in the living room. Descend the ladder into...

               T h e  O l d  C a t a c o m b s               

Be prepared for a dungeon crawl in which you will face off against myriad custom undead such as Baneguard, Banedead, Direguard and Zhentarim Spirits. But most importantly are the Minions of X based on the three undead types:

SkeletalThe Minion of Hatred is lurking in a large chamber in the northwest. It is holding the Symbol of Bane - Lower Left Quadrant.

SpectralThe Minion of Darkness is lurking in a small chamber to the southwest. It is holding the Symbol of Bane - Lower Right Quadrant.

CadaverousThe Minion of Tyranny is lurking in a small chamber to the southeast. It is holding the Symbol of Bane - Upper Left Quadrant.

So yeah, lots of undead. Holy warriors like Paladins and Clerics are gonna clean up down here.


As you explore the dungeon you will locate the remains of Priests of Dark Lord Bane. The corpse of Charon is holding a Belt of Fire Giant Strength (+5 Strength) and the corpse of Merkul is holding Boots of Striding +4.

The various sarcophagi are holding several decent items such as Ring of Elemental Resistance, Bracers of Dexterity +4, Armor of Command, Ring of Protection +4. Plus, some gold and gems.

Now, in order to gain access to Shrazgul's lair, you will need to place the four quadrants of the symbol onto the rune pillar in the extreme north. The door to the lair opens...


Of course, Shrazgul is a Banelich! You know what to do! (Run away, screaming your head off in terror.)


Loot its corpse for Bracers of Armor +4, The Black Lord's Caress (light flail +4, Massive Criticals 4, Negative Energy dmg +3), Talisman of Pure Evil (amulet, Cha +3, Wis +3, SR 12, Evil only).

Back in the abandoned house... ok, so the silent backtracking through the dungeon followed by the sudden manifestation of the Black Lord Bane scared the hell out of me... Hey, I'm playing in the wee hours of the morning. :P


Anyway, return to Lady Shrae in the Temple of Chauntea and tell her what went down. She will be grateful but will not reward you materially.


Optional Quest CompletedEvil Beneath Voonlar (2,500 XP).


Now, you should have the key to Voonlar's East Gate in your possession, given to you by Lady Shrae of Chauntea. When you're ready, take your leave of the town and head into the snowy wilderness, with the city of Hillsfar as your destination.

***

Ok, the adventure takes a bit of a nose-dive at this point: it becomes very linear. We are simply making our way east through the wilderness, from Voonlar to Hillsfar, by way of the Shind Road, solving a few problems along the way. Things pick up a bit once you reach Hillsfar, but the sheer amount of cutcenes began to bore me, and I found the Arena segment to be tedious.

Now, you should have the key to Voonlar's East Gate in your possession, given to you by Lady Shrae of Chauntea. When you're ready, take your leave of the town and head into the snowy wilderness.

The Shind RoadAstar will spot a force of Zhentarim on the road, triggering the first intra-party banter.


Speak with Captain Malakar: it seems a shadow dragon has decimated his force, and he has no desire to hunt it down. Morale-broken, his party of survivors will run off back to Voonlar with their tails between their legs.


Follow the raven (it's Sharalyn's and is carrying a message to Hillsfar) east along the corpse-littered road, taking out packs of assorted fiends along the way. Note that even more fiends lurk atop the north and south ridges.


Optional Quest: Fiends on the Road. This quest can be acquired from Kazz'Temmet, a balor who stands on the south ridge.

You have met a balor lord by the name of Kazz'Temmet on the road east to Hillsfar. The demons and slaadi summoned by the Order of the Crippled Fang are engaged in a conflict and you have agreed to hunt down and slay the slaad lord, who is named Grazkahn, in return for great reward. The white slaad is apparently somewhere close to Hillsfar.


It's advisable to slay these three fiends here and now, since Kazz'Temmet is going to betray you, anyway. Loot his corpse for the Abyssal Blade (bastard sword +3, on-hit vorpal DC-14, Outsider only), loot Morgana's for the Luckstone, and loot Asamoth's for the Soulrazor Minion (longsword +3, Vampiric Regeneration +3, 1d6 acid dmg vs. Good).

This quest is continued below, when we catch up with the white slaad lordGrazkahn.

The cave entrance in this area is blocked by boulders; it will be accessible later when we acquire the relevant quest (search: A Merchant's Tale).

The Shind Road: Narrow Valley: Here you will be waylaid by Gloomfang, the shadow dragon that littered this region with the corpses of Zhentarim. It is in the employ of the Order of the Crippled Fang, and mentions a mage by the name of Maganus (who is actually the eye-patch guy we met in the Temple of Bane). The party slew this dragon like it was nothing.


This was a very small area; head north to the next one.

The Shind Road: Outside Yulash: Second intra-party banter.


There is another event just up ahead. Resolve the issue as you see fit.


You can find Ogson the Trader just to your right. You might remember him from CToT. He sells some good gear: up to +4 in most cases.

You can't get into Yulash, atm, so keep heading east towards Hillsfar.


The Shind Road: Nearing Hillsfar: Help Artemis Entreri fight off a pack of slaads. For those who don't know, Artemis Entreri is a famous character from R.A Salvatore's Drizzt novels.


Whether he ends up helping you against the white slaad or not, Artemis will seek to take out Astar. Upon being overwhelmed by the party's assault, he will take his leave. Coward.


Next, confront Grazkahn the white slaad lord. You already have the Abyssal Blade looted from Kazz'Temmet's corpse, so give it to Grazkahn to cap off this quest. (You could also just slay the slaad but it's a tough fight that doesn't yield good XP or loot.)


Optional Quest Completed: Fiends on the Road (2,000 XP).

Continue east along the road...

               H i l l s f a r              

Well, we're not really in the city as yet. We're stuck outside the locked gates. But there are two optional quests to pick up here before we try to convince the gate guard to grant us access to the city proper.

Optional Quest: Madmen and Villains

Upon your arrival here you will be accused by an old man of stealing his spoon. Trivial alignment shifts aside, it doesn't matter how you respond to the accusation; the man will just run away.

A crazed old man dressed in filthy rags approached you near Hillsfar's gates. He ranted about some kind of spoon, which he believed you had stolen from him. The raving old man made little sense and tottered off after you pushed him away.


This quest will be continued when we get into the city.

Optional Quest: A Merchant's Tale.

Next up, speak with the merchant couple standing nearby: Cheswick & Amberlyn


You met a merchant named Cheswick and his wife Amberlyn outside Hillsfar. They made the journey from Sembia to deliver a wagon of merchandise, but were locked out of Hillsfar when Maalthiir decreed the city closed. They have no food, little gold, and no chance of making it back to Sembia in the raging cold, so you've offered to find a place for them to stay and keep warm until Hillsfar opens its gates once more.

You've told Cheswick of Ogson's caravan, stranded on the side of the road outside Yulash. Although the caravan is small, it should hold sufficient room to provide a temporary shelter for Cheswick and his wife. They have taken their two oxen to offer in return for hospitality.


Return to the map Ogson the Trader is in (Outside Yulash). Cheswick will come running up to you as you approach the caravan.


Ok, head all the way back to the first wilderness map, where the boulders were blocking the entrance to a cave. You will see that the boulders are now gone. Enter the cave.

Frost Giant cave: Storm the cave, slaying all the crap in it without a second thought. Giants, wolves, bears. There is even a token white dragon to take out, too. Loot it for dragon blood. You will find Jarl Bashnagg in the southeast. Slay him and loot his corpse for the key to the kitchen, where Amberlyn is being held by the cook.


Slay the giant cook, free Amberlyn, and escort her back to the caravan outside (time-lapse).


However, the treacherous Cheswick will be gone; his location a mystery. Amberyln will give you Cheswick's Dagger as a reward (dagger +3, Polymorph 7, 1/day; True Sight 9, 1/day). The dagger enables you to polymorph into Zombie, Troll, Umber Hulk, Fey and Giant Spider. Pretty cool. 

I hit my sixteenth level at this point. I notice here that companions do not lvlup with the PC.


Optional Quest Completed: A Merchant's Tale (2,500 XP).

Ok, return to Hillsfar and march up to the Red Plume guard at the gates. 


Persuade got me an audience with Kalor Onehand, who then granted me admittance.


Main Quest Phase CompletedThe Road East (3,000 XP).

              H i l l s f a r  :  M e r c h a n t  D i s t r i c t               

What the hell? Where is my party? I really hate it when your party disbands without warning!


Main Quest: The City of HillsfarHillsfar is covered in a blanket of snow and Kalor Onehand fears it soon run red with blood if war with Zhentil Keep comes to pass. He has asked you to meet him at the Diamond in the Dung inn to discuss your quest. The inn can be found east of the central market.

[to be continued]

2 comments:

  1. AnonymousJuly 30, 2017

    I always love the music in this module. David John is the composer:

    http://www.david-john.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked his Darkness Over Daggerford music, too. Thanks for commenting!

      Delete

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