Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Sapphire Star: Review & Walkthrough Guide

Sapphire Star: Review & Walkthrough Guide



Review / Overview

Authored by Yaballa, Sapphire Star is a Hall of Fame module notable for its non-linear exploration, reactive questing and high degree of replayability. As such, and as with Defense of Fort of TremagneSapphire Star may be called a precursor to Swordflight. The difference is that Sapphire Star focuses on non-linear exploration above all; this, at the expense of story, characterizations and overall polish. At times, the dialogue and quest progression is a bit rough around the edges (with the former seeming especially rough compared to Swordflight and DoFT), but the lack of polish rarely detracted from my overall enjoyment of the adventure. I encountered no show-stopper bugs, just a few oversights and things that didn't feel properly fleshed out or concluded. More often than not, such instances were amusing rather than disappointing. 90% of Sapphire Star consists of exploration and side-questing within its 100 zones; really, the main quest is quite short. There is a little bit of exposition at the beginning and more later on but, for the most part, you are trying to level up, get good gear and discover all kinds of secrets and how certain quests and NPCs are related to the lore and story, within an open campaign structure. And I like that.

That said, Sapphire Star may not resonate with some players; for example, its lack of hand-holding, its lack of respawn (I don't like respawn that isn't plot-based, anyway) and its non-linearity coupled with non-scaling hostiles that lets you get in over your head, straight out of the blocks. Go and fight the ankhegs and trolls as a first level scrub, the DM doesn't care. Go where you like, when you like. Employ your ingenuity and reap the rewards, or have your ass handed to you and come back later when you're more powerful in order to rip those monsters a new one. Both are satisfying, and in this respect are reminiscent of Fallout and Baldur's Gate. So yeah, this is an oldskool module. Combat encounter design is at times brutally tough, and you could play the adventure over and over again, enjoying the meta-gaming and build-optimization. One very notable thing: almost no NPC is flagged as being immortal which means you can kill pretty much anyone and take their stuff! As a result, you may miss out on quests and limit your options later, but I don't think you can break the module. That's just like Fallout.

I'd say Sapphire Star is for expert players only — take the plunge only if you're up for a challenge! This is a top-tier module, an underrated gem. Thanks to Rogueknight 333 for the recommendation and pro-tips!

Below: The two hubs of the campaign: Silbran & Hluthvar.


Walkthrough

Spoiler Warning: Don't read on if you want to work out Sapphire Star for yourself.

Tidbit: In raiding the heavily-guarded Hluthvar mansion you will find a pissing trough for the guards. You get this message when you click on it: You accidentally dipped your hands into the piss. Yay for toilet humor! :D

I've decided to post a short guide for Sapphire Star because I thoroughly enjoyed it. Due to the non-linear nature of the adventure I've formatted the guide by simply detailing the quests: how to get the quest, where to get it, how to resolve it, and what you get out of it in regard to experience points and material rewards. The quests are not listed in any particular order; please note that some are gated by character level.

Blue highlights NPCs of importance, gold highlights permanent stat boosts/penalties, purple underlined highlights notable alignment shifts [1]red highlights powerful enemies and Pink highlights items of considerable value, utility and/or interest.
[1] Alignment can be tweaked through dialogue with the beggar outside of the Silver Dragon inn, in Silbran. I would avoid exploiting it.

[*] unsolved mysteries/things I couldn't work out. Search post for [*] if you can help me out.

• Level range is 1-10. Keep that in mind for chargen and building. In addition, you might like to check out class-based quests [4.00] and work towards a three-class build, and also check out what Henchman are available, before creating your character [5.00]. Note that Armor Class (AC) is of paramount importance, even for Wizards (maybe get Expertise).

Prologue: Battle of Elveldar

Spine of the World. DR 1275. You are one of the mercenary soldiers participating in a war for freedom. On the opposing side are evil orc clans and mysterious dark warriors. The sky is filled with black and silver dragons. Your allies, the free army of Eaglefoot, are  fighting with honor and valor. But valor and honor are not enough to ensure victory. Today, just before dawn, the pinnacle of war is in this place, the valley of Elveldar. Your army looks broken and complete defeat is near. Brave heroes are dying, but you may live. Escape this hell. - DM Yaballa.

This is just a very short Prologue. You will start off with a couple of items to get you going; nothing to write home about. You begin in the southern portion of a raging battlefield, as a mercenary of the Eaglefoot force. The Eaglefoots are facing off against an orc horde led by King Orel the Grayhand, a frost giant overlooking the field in the north. In addition, an allied silver dragon is facing off against a black dragon, and catapults are hurling balls of hell all over the place. Basically, it's all happening. And you are but a lowly first level scrub! So yeah, you might like to avoid engaging in combat...

Head to the far southwest of the battlefield to locate an Eaglefoot Soldier on his last legs. Help him lie down and he will give you the Wedding Ring before he dies (100 XP, Good +3).

Return to your starting position, climb the hill to its highest tier, and make your way west along it. Below, and to your left, you should catch sight of a yellow portal. Slay the nearby orc and step into the portal to escape the battlefield and cap off the Prologue to Sapphire Star.

Silbran: Northern Pass

1372 DR. You arrive in Western Heartlands during harsh winter time. - DM Yaballa.

• [1.00Main Quest — War for Freedom. You find yourself transported to the Northern Pass in the Western Heartlands. Archmage Xarsus saved you from the epic onslaught. Ask him about what happened and this quest will be capped off in your journal, with a summary. However, it isn't particularly important. Before leaving for his Hold in the Eastern Hills, the archmage will give you 20 GP, Bracers of Armor +1, Fine Leather Boots and a Map of Silbran. You will receive 200 XP. Xarsus can help you out with a few quests. Xarsus can:
◦ Send you to Avernus for the Crystal Rose quest [1.05]
◦ Decipher the scroll for the Strange Winter quest [2.00]
◦ Send Sidoc back to the abyss. [5.04]

• [Xarsus' Hold] To locate Xarsus' Hold (there is no urgency to do so): Take the southern exit of the Northern Pass to arrive in the town of Silbran. Next, make your way south through the town and take the eastern path out to arrive in the Hluthvar Pass. Now, enter the rat-riddled cave there and touch the darkness at its dead-end. You will be transported to Xarsus' Hold. You will find Xarsus studying in his library. Make sure you get the Portal Stone to Xarsus' Hold from him (5 charges). Refer to [2.00] for more info on Xarsus and main quest continuation.

• A "Wise Scribe" dialogue should pop up just after the initial dialogue with Xarsus, enabling you to set game-play parameters. I recommend disabling auto-save (just make manual saves often) and enabling Extraordinary Battles. "Go hard or go home", I say. :P


Ok, you are free to explore now. Try not to die. :P

• [1.01Searching for the Four. Loma Blackfoot, a halfling, is hanging out in the Northern Pass. Accept his proposal to find four men: Cyrahune Thrul, Red Wizard [1.10]; Kandar Khjull Simendorian, Warlord of Tempus [1.06]; Lamadrien, Torm's Paladin [4.00] and Vanya Feanur, Archdruid [1.07] (Vow: Lawful +7). Before leaving, Loma will tell you to seek him out in the Silver Mines. These mines are located just to the east, but the entrance to them has collapsed and the mines have been closed by the council of Silbran. Refer to [1.06] for how to get into the mines. Now, Loma is hiding out in the northeast quadrant of the mines. From the entrance, head north and take your first left. For each man's location given, you will receive 250 XP and 1,000 GP. It's best to wait until you have found all four locations, then milk him and kill him. If you don't kill him, he'll start taking out his marks and you may miss out on content (though you will get the loot, see below). Loma is apparently a madman, an assassin and a natural-born black werewolf. Yes, all three. Thus, Hluthvar has a bounty of 5,000 GP on his head (signpost in the Pass). Anyway, take Loma's head to Malshan Lamstrand in Silbran jail for 5,000 GP and Lawful +7 or Lamadrien in Hluthvar for a "wtf" moment.
◦ Come back later and cast Raise Dead on the headstone. This will animate Milo the Zombie, which you can kill for Dagger +1.
◦ I'm not sure if Loma goes for all four men, but here is the best of what they drop: Kandar: Stormlord (battleaxe +2, Electrical +1d6); Cyrahune: Greater Red Wizard Robes (Fortitude +4, Concentration +6, True Seeing, non-Good only); Vanya: Scroll of Master's Aid (use on animal companion: grants +2 AC and retributive attack); LamadrienVisage of Torm (Immunity: Charm Person, Saving Throws +2, Concentration +1, Good only)Golden Full Plate (Base AC 8, Dex bonus 1), Greatsword +2.

• [1.02Missing Cattle. Speak with Burgell and/or Allathya Amalith in the common room of the Silver Dragon inn (both in Silbran). Like Burgell, Allathya is one of the leaders in town. She will give you some leads on the cattle thieves, but it's the starving orc tribe that's responsible. You will need to go to the orc village. From Silbran, take the northern exit to reach the Northern Pass. From there, head into the swamps (Light Hammer +1 in a hollowed-out tree stump by the Tiki Mother) and take the northwest exit to reach the orc village. Tell the orc guarding the gate that you wish to speak to their tribe chief (Good +3). He will admit you. Check out [5.01] and [1.03] before proceeding. Enter the chief's tent and speak with Surk, the elderly chief. Resolutions:

◦ Tell Allathya the truth: that the orc children were starving; then, open up trade between Silbran and the orcs (500 XP). You will act as the go-between to set this up; it's straight-forward.
◦ Lie to Allathya that the orcs were selling the cattle for money. Evil +13, 0 XP. [*] I am not sure if anything results from this later in the campaign.
◦ Slay Surk, the seven other orcs and the halfling, Tulik. You will come up with a Scythe +1 and other minor loot. Report the slaughter to Allathya for 500 XP. Bug: There is an infinite quest XP bug with Allathya.

Either way, Allathya will offer you a two-storey house with basement for 1,000 GP. Cough up, and you will be given the key. [1.04] continues.

• [1.03Gudish's School of Defense. Duel the orc in the village for a permanent AC +1. I think you need to be >=lvl3 in order to receive the bonus.

• [1.04My Own House. This is offered by Allathya Amalith after completing [1.02]. The house is located in Oakhill, just north of the town of Silbran. There are lots of placeables holding some items of interest. You can rest until a certain time of day, too. That's handy for [1.11]The key to its basement is in the armoire upstairs. In the basement is the ghost of a Holy Warrior of Tyr. If you look in the sarcophagus you will receive a permanent +2 to Wisdom. Julia in Silbran will gift you a cat that will live here and apparently you can get a servant, too (the alignment-tweaking Beggar squatting outside the Silver Dragon inn). You can find some gold buried under the ancient pine (1333 GP). (Yay! let's cut down and dig up an ancient pine just in case there is something buried beneath it, that makes sense! :P)
◦ Note that, for main plot purposes, your home will be automatically assigned to you in [2.01] or [2.02], regardless of whether you purchased it or not.

• [1.05The Crystal Rose. Riud and Malake are a young couple dwelling in one of the northern houses, near Ander's house. Malake can't have any children because of the curse of the crystal rose. They will give you the Crystal Rose and ask you to remove the curse. You need to seek out Xarsus: go to the first Hluthvar Pass map (accessed from Silbran), enter the cave there, and touch the darkness at its dead-end. You will be transported to Xarsus' Hold. Xarsus will give you a Ring of Minor Fire Shielding and send you to Avernus. Slay your way through lemures and Red Abishai, cast the Crystal Rose into the hell pond (500 XP), slay Fael at the portal, and step into the portal to get back to Silbran (500 XP). Tell Malake the good news for 500 XP and Good +13.

• [1.06Amwel's Curse: See also [1.14]. The Temple of Tempus map is just north of Silbran. Speak with Kandar Khjull Simendorian, Warlord of Tempus, to get this quest. There is a curse preventing clerics of Tempus from becoming High Priests. Now, make your way back to Silbran and then north to the Pass. Then head to the Silver Mines and then the Druid Grove. Enter the Druid's tree and talk to Vanya, the Archdruid. Ask him about the woman who knew Amwel. He will point her location out as being the Silver Mine. Return to Kandar and inform him of the woman's  location. With the tunnel collapse in mind, he will point you to Wugwash, Rurik's ogre apprentice. Rurik's Arms & Armor is located in the south of Silbran. Enter and ask Wugwash for help in breaking the boulders. You will be time-lapsed to the summit of the Silver Mines mountain. Wugwash will bash the boulders away and take his leave.

Enter the Unexplored Caverns of the silver mines, riddled with dire rats, wererats and falling rocks. It's suitably dark down here: hold up a torch or employ a magical light source of some kind. This place is a huge maze with lots of dead-ends. Kill and loot everything as you explore. There is some magical loot in north-central (nothing special). You can find Loma in the northeast [1.01]. Your goal is to find the Rat Queen in the center of the map. You will know you're getting close because the passageway will be positively choking with hostile vermin. Slay the tough wererat guarding the gate (Scythe +1) and speak to the non-hostile Rat Queen in her lair. She points to the north (love the cackle!) so make your way to the far northeast to find Amwel's Tomb. Demand that Amwell's spirit remove the curse on the priests of Tempus. In turn, it will demand you tell the Rat Queen that he never loved her, that she should leave his soul alone, and also that she can go to hell. Either tell this to the Rat Queen or Persuade-lie that he still loves her. Amusingly, the Rat Queen will respond with "Ow, alright'en" or "Alright'en", respectively. And then, she will teleport away (350 XP).  Now, return to Amwel again and get rid of him, too (150 XP). Finally, return to Kandar who will reward you with 1,250 XP and Punisher (battleaxe +1, +1d6 slashing vs. Lawful, Keen). There are other ways to deal with the Rat Queen: 16 Wis is enough to banish her outright. You can also just slay her for the Winter Wolf Cloak, Hair Shirt of Ilmater, Ring of Disease Immunity, Ring of Wisdom +2. Note: You should find a Short Sword +1 in the dungeon and the Evening Star (morningstar +1, On Hit: Disease DC=16 Filth Fever) and Gem of Clairvoyance (fully explore a zone) in the Rat Queen's lair.

• [1.07Vanya's Sickness. Vanya is the archdruid found in the Druid Grove, accessible from the Silver Mines map (itself accessible from the Northern Pass). You will find Vanya dwelling in his tent. Vanya is sick and you need to find a cure. Go to Ander's House and he will point you to the swamps, where you are to find a mushroom. Feanur's Mushroom can be found in a hollowed-out tree stump in the southwest of the Swamps. Be careful because four hostile violet fungi will spawn. Ander will concoct a potion when you return the mushroom to him (100 XP). Take the potion to Vanya for 1,000 XP, Good +7, Scarab of Protection +2 and Rod of the Woods.
◦ Evil characters can choose to lace Ander's cure with poison in order to kill off Vanya (Evil +25). Loot his corpse for Vanya's Tunic, Scroll of Master's Aid (use on animal companion: grants +2 AC and retributive attack), Winter's Cloak, Iron Boots.

◦ Evil or not, Vanya dead or not, characters with at least one Druid level can join the Druid Circle through Airina (Air Genasi found in Vanya's house). A ceremony initiation will be held in the Great Oak circle by the Lord of the Forest. As far as I can tell, you get no XP, no items, no quest, no nothing.
◦ [1.07.1] The Lord of the Forest will spawn at the entrance to the grove if you slaughter his circle, demanding that you become the new Archdruid. Accept and the Game Over menu will pop up, letting you know that you're not dead but spend the rest of your life in the forest, serving nature. The Forest Lord will turn hostile if you refuse, but the Lord of the City will spawn on your side and an epic battle will ensue. This is just an amusing easter egg.

• [1.08The Mantidrake Hunt. Rangers Sand Dannilo can be found at the small campsite in the north of the Firewisp map, accessible from the orc village. They want to take out the mantidrake and get its treasure. Go to and enter the dryad tree in the northeast. Along with the two Rangers who now join the party (for a party of 4 during this quest only), slay and loot everything in the tree roots map, including Shelbera, Nyth and the Vampiric Wolf. Slay the Mantidrake in its lair to the north and loot its treasure for 2,000 GP and Black Pearl. After this Sand and Dannilo will auto-leave the party. Before leaving the dungeon, trap Shelbera's soul using the Black Pearl: becomes the Black Dryad Pearl (Vine Mine [9] 5 Charges/Use, Evil only). Now, a White Stag will be blocking the bridge as you backtrack through Firewisp. It turns out to be a Drow by the name of Hadekun. He will demand the Black Pearl. Give it to him or slay him for Oboll Robe (Intelligence +1, AC Bonus +3, Bonus Feat: Combat Casting), Longsword +1, Ring of Protection +1, Journal.

• [1.09Prisoners. You can get this quest from Fakor, a satyr hanging out in a small campsite in the east of the Reaching Woods (west of Silbran). He wants you to find and save his daughter, Maktar. Head to the Darker Woods in the north. The Darkwood is swarming with crackshot goblin elites. Cut a path through them north to their stronghold. Crash through the gate and slay Vauragor for Askar (shortbow, Regeneration +1, Unlimited Ammo), note and the Goblin Gate Key. Unlock the next gate and slay more goblins than you have ever seen. Go through yet another gate to arrive at the main gate. Slay the Goblin Golem and loot its corpse for Stronghold Main Gate Key and Golem's Magic Stick. Slay the Gray Render on the other side of the gate and enter the stronghold proper.

◦ You will find yourself in a prison complex with lots of goblins, rats and innocent people calling out for help (there are about 20 to rescue for 25 XP ea). Unlock or bash down the door to the torture chamber that is jam-packed with goblinoids headed up by bugbear, Warchief Hizzit. Loot his corpse for Skull Key, Amulet of Natural Armor +2 and Bracers of Striking (Bonus Feat: Improved Critical (unarmed strike), Use Limitation: Class: Monk). I found gauntlets in a nearby chest, too. Use the key on the nearby door, slay Kala Worg, and loot the treasure for precious gems, minor magical rings and Scimitar of the Battles (scimitar +1, Light Dim [5m] Orange, Massive Criticals 1d6 Damage). Now, slay King Zumunay and the goblins that flank you. Loot the king's corpse for Composite Shortbow +1, Karck's Flail of Binding (flail +1, On Hit: Blindness DC=14 75% / 1 Round), Chainmail +2, Boots of Striding +1 and King Zumunay's Head (take the head to Malshan Lamstrand in Silbran jail for 1,250 GP). Finally, locate Maktar in the storage room and you will be time-lapsed back to the grateful Fakor, who will reward you with the Satyr's Harp before taking his leave (750 XP) (refuse reward for Good +7).

• [1.10] Mysterious Woman. Speak with Kizzaf in the Silver Dragon inn, Silbran. She will charm you and auto-transition you to the Reaching Woods, trying to sell you into slavery. Slay the slavers that try to grab you or it's game over. Next, speak with the disoriented farmers to get a lead (turns out she's a Red Wizard of Thay). Make your way to the Silver Mines and then north to the Red Wizard Enclave. See [5.00]. Tell the gate guards that you're here to trade. Tell Cyrahune about this to get the key to her quarters. Now, go in and confront her but she teleports away. Cyrahune will tell you that she fled through the gates. Find Kizzaf back on the Silver Mines map, and slay her for Red Wizard Robe and Nightcloak (ring, Charisma +1, Immunity: Damage Type: Electrical 5% Immunity Bonus). Btw, there is an Ancient Ironwood in fallen timber, in southwest of Reaching Woods. From Rogueknight 333: The Ancient Ironwood can be used as a component for brewing special potions at Ander's house.

No quest? Enter the Reaching Woods Den and slay all the spiders en route to the Sunken Village. Talk with Marney who will be killed by Maya, a sea devil. I got a Stone King Card (summons the Stone King, a sixth level Fighter ally that wields the Asp flail) out of this (drops only at level 5 and above, according to readme). Scavenge the remains of the four villagers and place them in the Sunken Village Tomb (50 XP ea). [*] Journal didn't update. Not sure what this quest is.

• [1.11Removing the Curse of Lycanthropy. First, you need to contract lycanthropy. You will want the wolf Henchman, Slasher [5.01], for this because having Slasher's Fur in your inventory will guarantee the infection. Remove your armor (because it may be destroyed during the transformation), rest until nightfall (Silver Dragon inn or Oakhill home), and go to the cabin in the southwest of the Reaching Woods. Slay the grizzly outside and unlock or bash down the door. Inside, the werewolf will whale away on you immediately. Upon being hit once or twice, you should get the message: As the soft rays of Selune fall on the nearby ground, you succumb to the lycanthropy. You should now polymorph into a werewolf. Perks of being a werewolf: physical stats set to 18, enchanted claws (+1), damage reduction (10/mundane) and notable movement speed increase. Best of all, you can now comb your face!

But maybe you don't want to be a werewolf, afterall? To cure the affliction, go to Hluthvar Pass at nightfall and seek out Trelunos on the third map, just outside the Dwarven village of Anvilhill. This is the guy who gives you the actual quest. The Selunite priest wants you to recover his holy symbol from within Hluthvar. You're looking for Feb's hideout in the nearby town. It's cunningly placed in the southeast of the map. Look carefully. Unlock or bash down the door. Inside, take out Feb and his pack of dogs (7 of them!) You will find the Selune's Holy Symbol (Wisdom +1, AC Bonus vs. Racial Group: Shapechanger +3, Cleric of CG, CN, NG alignment only) in a loot bag along with 322 GP and Winter Cloak. Deliver it to Trelunos (225 XP) and he will set you another task: slay the Malar Panther in the Cave of Shadows (2nd Hluthvar Pass map). Slay it or simply persuade-lie. Either way, he will give you the Belladonna necessary to cure your lycanthropy (75 XP). I thought it happened on-rest but, according to Yaballa's readme, you must "succeed a Heal check or Fortitude save vs. DC 20" to cure the affliction. You can also cure yourself without doing Trel's quests:
◦ Bash the pile of stones at the Cave of Shadows entrance. You should find Belladonna.
◦ Donate 1,000 GP to the Temple of Helm in Hluthvar.
◦ Apparently it is also possible to become a wererat (fail save vs. wererat on-hit DC 15 disease), but I didn't transform after failing the save and getting the message. Resting didn't trigger the transformation either [*].

• [1.12] Trouble in the Mines. You get this quest from Bafdor in the Dwarven village of Anvilhill. To get there, take the east exit out of Silbran to arrive in Hluthvar Pass. Continue through the pass to its third zone. Anvilhill is accessible from the cave on the second tier. Tell the Royal Gate Guard that you come in peace, and he will admit you. Make your way east to the forge. Bafdor is standing in the center of the forge. He will give you the key to the abandoned caverns. Make your way through this linear dungeon, slaying the umber hulks and then the Black Devourer at its end-point. Return to Bafdor to receive your reward and cap off this quest: Fire Bear (greataxe +1, Fire +1d6).

• [1.13] Ruby Golem PlansCyrahune of the Red Wizard Enclave will offer you this quest at around PC level 5. He wants you to track down the Ruby Golem Manual that's in the possession of priestess of Auril, Yrta. Cyrahune will give you the Thay Ring (summons Thayan golems). Head back to Silbran and then out through the Pass to Hluthvar. Yrta's little square house is located in the southeast quadrant of the slums. Look for the wagon and barrels; it's just north of that. You will need to cast the Knock spell within close proximity to unlock the door. Once inside, slay the water elementals, bash away the furniture blocking access to the trapdoor, drop down the hatch, slay the Ruby Golem along with Yrta herself, and loot their corpses for the Great Ruby and Ruby Golem Manual along with Bandit Mail +1 and Aurilian Ice Axe (battleaxe, +1d8 cold). Now, deliver the RGM to Cyrahune at the Enclave for 1,500 XP. You can remove the pages containing Yrta's notes beforehand, but they are not added to your inventory, and there doesn't seem to be Xarsus dialogue for them, so maybe there is for Ayrestat as part of the Evil Path [2.02] [*]. The Great Ruby yields a tidy sum. Note the inconsistency in the spelling of the antagonist: Atserayt.

• [1.14Warrior of Tempus. Speak with Kandar about joining Tempus (the temple north of Silbran). You will need to pass a difficult persuade check and then take a challenge based on your stats. Pass the challenge to receive 500 XP along with Holy Symbol of Tempus (AC Bonus vs. Alignment Group: Lawful +1, Darkvision, Chaotic and True Neutral only), Brawler's Belt and Cloak of Resistance +2. You can sacrifice all of your gold for the same reward. In addition, you can sacrifice items and gold on the altar to acquire some good items:
◦ Cloak of Protection +1 and 3,000 GP: Sprayed with Holy Blood (cloak, Bonus Spell Slot of Level: Cleric Level 2, Light Low [10m] Red, Saving Throw Bonus vs. Divine +5).
◦ Scale Mail and 4,500 GP: Scales of the Battlebringer (AC Bonus +2, Weight Reduction 80%, Bonus Feat: Cleave).
◦ Red Torch, Sapphire and 1,000 GP: Crimson Harp (instrument, Charm Person [2] 1 Use/Day, Flame Lash [3] 1 Use/Day, Bard only).
◦ Large Shield and 2,000 GP: Shield of Sacrifice (AC Bonus +1, Saving Throws vs. Death -2, vs. Fire -2, vs. Fear +4).
◦  Scrymgur the bear can be slain for a second Tempus holy symbol and bear pelt.

• One other thing. There is a Suspicious-looking Diamond beneath a bedroll in the Temple of Torm. Now, Kiert Goodman is looking for something nearby (he awkwardly says, his "family ring"). I wasn't able to give him the diamond with a good or evil character. Thing is, Kiert actually turns out to be a Banite as part of the Evil-alignment path [2.02]. However, you can take the diamond to Kandar (250 XP). Furious, he will enter the temple and lock the door behind him. Wait a few moments, and follow him in. You will notice that Kata Synder is gone but there is a pool of blood where she was standing. Having presumably slain her, Kandar will return to his post atop the temple, with nothing to say about the matter. Thus, I am completely lost in regards to what is going on here. [*] That said, there is 15,000 GP and some great loot inside the temple...

Ok, that's it for the sidequests. See sections [3.00], [4.00] and [5.00] before continuing. What follows is the second segment of the main quest, and two-path Finale.

• [2.00Main Quest Strange Winter. Ok, let's rev up the main quest again. You can get this quest from Vanya or simply head to the Ruined Castle of your own volition, north of the Swamps. Slay frigid undead and loot everything in the grounds. Taba can be recruited here [5.03]. One of the abandoned houses is holding a Fochluchan Bandore. Climb down the trapdoor and slay more frigid undead. Break the ice tanks and save the people (100 XP ea, Good +3). The trapped fountain is holding Necklace of Prayer Beads. A Cloaked Man and a Masked Man will teleport away. Descend to the basement riddled with rats [2]. Loot the trapped desk for Ayrestat's Journal, Old Scroll, magic pouch, Nymph Cloak +1. The Hidden wall door leads to a frozen cave in which you will take periodic cold damage on a failed save (there is no need to enter it yet).
[2] There is a secret room accessible under one of the crates, holding the Minotaur Key. This key is used to unlock a trapdoor in a home directly west of the jail in Silbran. In that basement you will find the ancient minotaur, Deda. Slay it for The Key ([*] What's it for?) and Deda's Horned Helm (Charisma -2, Immunity: Damage Type: Acid 10% Immunity Bonus, Light Low [10m] Green, Concentration +1). Head down the loooong passageway to find Unexpected Dissimilarities in the Social Order of the Flying Eye & the Dragons (magical book) and signpost pointing to Star Sapphire's sequel, but you can't get through the door in "the demo". Also, in that same house, by the bed, is a hidden cache that you can take to Malshan for Lawful +3.

• Ok, we need to talk to Xarsus about the Old Scroll found in the Ruined Castle. Activate the Portal Stone to teleport back to his Hold or you will have a long trip ahead of you. See [Xarsus' Hold] for how to get there. Upon your arrival the Scimitar of Battles will be removed from your inventory and reacquired, presumably due to the presence of the golden dragon, Eldenser [3], but I couldn't detect a change in the weapon? [*] Anyway, Xarsus will recognize the scroll as symbolic of the Cult of the Dragon (1,000 XP).
[3] Can be slain for whopping XP and Dragon Blood. Shield Golem can be slain, too.

◦ Time-lapse back to the frozen cave and slay the white dragon, Kyeresa. This caps off the quest. Loot her hulking corpse for White Dragon ScalesUnexpected Dissimilarities in the Social Order of the Flying Eye & the Dragons (summons Flying Eyeball sporting Spell Immunity), Prayer to the Overgod (Light, Prayer), Mithral Bells (amulet, Cast Spell: Sound Burst (3) 1 Charge/Use, Skill Bonus: Perform +2), Ring of Protection +3, Dragon's Blood, precious gems. Back in Silbran, have Rurik forge you armor from the scales (10,000 GP for scale or persuade-free for leather): White Dragon Scale (AC Bonus +2, Weight Reduction 80%, Immunity: Damage Type: Cold 25% Immunity Bonus)White Dragon Leather (AC Bonus +1, Weight Reduction 80%, Immunity: Damage Type: Cold 10% Immunity Bonus).

[2.01Main Quest — Battle for HluthvarGood-Alignment Path.  Once you have completed the Strange Winter quest [2.00], head back to Xarsus to hear about Ayrestat and those responsible for the Winter of Doom. Make sure you have talked about the other quests, too, because you will be time-lapsed back to your home in Oakhill, with 3 months having passed. A boy will give you a letter from Xarsus. It seems Ayrestat is soon to attack Hluthvar! Make your way back through the Pass and to Hluthavar. Upon your return, it will be a war-zone due to the invasion of Cult of the Dragon. Slay the Dragon Mages and Dragon Guards en route to the Temple of Helm; then, bash on the locked door to the temple, guarded by Djunn. Natham will spawn nearby and take you to speak with the cave giants in their village. Basically, you need to defeat the Fire Giant, Drer, in a duel to win the maul that will allow you to break down the door to the temple: Giant Maul (warhammer +1, +1d8 Bludgeoning).

◦ Bash down the door with the maul and slay the cult on the first two levels, including the General. Loot his corpse for Dragon General's Armor (AC Bonus +2, Damage Resistance: Fire Resist 15/-, Lawful Neutral only), Shaad's Head (Darkvision, Regeneration +1, Concentration +4), Dragon's Tail (greatsword +1, +1 Acid, +1 Cold, +1 Electrical, +1 Fire, Fire Resist 5/-) and Dragon's Well Key. Desend to the Well, slay the Bone Golem, rescue High Priest of Helm Maurandyr, and enter the flame to face off against Ayrestat. Slay him and loot his corpse for Adamantine, Ring of Disease Immunity, Boots of Elvenkind, Boots of Hardiness +2, Nymph's Cloak +2 and Bracers of Striking (Bonus Feat: Improved Critical [unarmed strike], Monk only). Return to the temple where you will be greeted by Lamadrien as a hero.


◦  Now, you need to make your way to the Dwarven village of Anvilhill. Back in Silbran, get Turik to make you Adamantine Breastplate or Adamantine Longsword (+2, could have at least given it +1 magical! :P). Ok, make your way to the Hall of King Fad in Anvilhill. Now, get the Dwarven Key from King Fad and enter the Deeper Caverns into the Sapphire Star.


◦ Cut through the Dragon Guards and Dragon Mages en route to the Source of Winter. Don't forget to click on the corpse before entering: Another one bites the dust. Now, slay Kyeresa for good and loot her corpse for Dragon Blood and Heart of the Beast (Divine Power: STR +4). Exit the Source to end the module and have your character exported.


A pretty abrupt ending but it's more about the journey than the destination. :)

• [2.02] Main Quest Siege of SilbranEvil-Alignment Path. Once you have completed the Strange Winter quest [2.00], head back to Xarsus to hear about Ayrestat and those responsible for the Winter of Doom. Make sure you have talked about the other quests, too, because you will be time-lapsed back to your home in Oakhill, with a ten-day having passed. Now, you will be assailed by a Dragon Guard outside of your home. Slay him and loot his corpse for the Map of the Cult of the Dragon Hideout. Make your way to the entrance to Anvilhill in Hluthvar Pass and activate the unique ability of the map to be transported into the hideout. Allow the Dragon Guard to escort you into Ayrestat's cottage, and agree to the terms of Master Ayrestat: he gives you the key to the Tomb of Mazixmaris and orders you to slay the white dragon, Kyeresa.


◦ Enter the tomb, slay Kyeresa, and return to Ayrestat. Milk him for lore like you do with Xarsus; then, ask him about his next move. You and the Cult of the Dragon will march on Silbran! A massive battle with ensue as the Dragon Guards reign down hell on the town, led by Banite Kiert Goodman [1.14]. Cut a path through peasants, merchants and militia men en route to the Silver Dragon inn, where you need only slay Burgell, Allathya and Korvus. Note that Korvus is actually across from the inn and Burgell is in the inn, upstairs. Once they're dead, Ayrestat will manifest to congratulate you (2,750 XP), your character will be exported, and the module will end. :)


Misc. content of importance

• [3.00Hluthvar Pass Cave. This cave is found in the second section of the Hluthvar Pass. Slay the undead bonebats and loot the place for Cormanthyrian Elf Blade (longsword +1, Keen), Boots of the Sun Soul +2, magic rod, Spear +1. Now head into the Giant king map and loot the throne for Huge Great Sword (not usable by PC or companions) and Mask of Persuasion. The pressure plate under the altar unlocks the door to Shadows of the Past. Now, slay Nivan and loot his corpse for the Ice Queen Card (summons the Ice Queen, a sixth level Paladin ally).

• [3.01Toth-Draconis. Slay or merge with the powerful spirit hanging out in the Reaching Woods cavern. Doing the former yields Blade of the Rashemi (greatsword +2, SR 10); doing the latter yields -1 level, DR 10/- vs. negative energy and SR 10 + Cha mod.

• [3.02Bloodfeed. What at first seems to be just an old mansion (in Hluthvar) with an extremely severe rat problem turns out to be my death, when a crimson wraith by the name of Bloodfeed floats in to inflict curse and on-hit wounding status. Vanquish it conventionally (good luck) or by simply luring it into the sideroom with the Sir Tezalus urn. The urn is holding Armor of ThornsSilver Shortsword (Attack Bonus vs. Racial Group: Shapechanger +1), Light Crossbow +1, 563 GP, gems. Leave as the place goes up in flames! (Very impressive.)

• [3.03Guarded Mansion. There is a lot of treasure to be found in one of the mansions in Hluthvar. There are lots of strong guards and even a Shield Guardian to fight. You will find about 3,500 GP, gems and minor magical rings in the treasury along with The Great Oak (armor) and Small Shield +2. Slay the thieves for Gloves of Pickpocketing and Ring of Lock Picks, too. Lastly, there is a Golden Key in the Divining Pool but I'm not sure what it's for [*].

• [3.04] Silver Mines Thugs. An unmissable encounter. The elf is actually the Judge in Hluthvar.  [4.00]. Loot: Hagan's Belt (Hide +1, Immunity: Daze, Barkskin [3] single use).

• [3.05Wedding. Depending on your gender, you can marry Allana or Malshan. From Rogueknight 333To trigger the romance with Malshan you need to speak with him with a female character while wounded (i.e., with HP below your maximum). Aside from that the romance plots are pretty straightforward, as far as I recall. The romance related dialogues are so badly written I would hardly bother with them, except possibly for a laugh, though if you carry through with a romance you get a brief wedding cutscene at the end of the module.

Class-based Quests

You only need one level in a class in order to unlock its quest; however, there will be alignment considerations in some cases, too. Please note: this section is a WiP.

• [4.00Judge Zupilmare (Cleric & Paladin levels only). You get this quest from Lamadrien. He is standing outside the House of the Guardian in Hluthvar. Lamadrien will assign you to investigate Judge Zupilmar, who is expected of drug trafficking. He will give you an invitation to the judge's mansion. Take it to the mansion in the west of town and present it to the door guard, who will admit you. Servant Unebril will then escort you to the receiving room. However, the doors are magically warded. Grab Zupilmare's Room Ward Key hidden in one of the bird cages; it grants you access to the warded room on the ground floor. Once inside (be careful the servant doesn't catch you and throw you out!), loot one of the bookshelves for Zupilmare's note, take it to Lamadrien as proof of the judge's corruption, and he will prepare to arrest him (250 XP, 200GP).
◦ Until arrested, the judge hangs out in the Hall of Order. You will recognize him if you previously encountered the thugs slaying the peasant in the Silver Mines map (a very difficult encounter if stumbled onto early on, which is probable [3.04]). Good +7 for trying to expose the judge as being corrupt.


• [4.01Sun Soul Monastic Order (Monk levels only). You can join the Sun Soul Order through Celor Wefeyja, leatherworker and Rogue merchant in Silbran. All you need to do is ask. Celor will give you Amulet of the Sun Soul (Light Bright 2m Yellow, Immunity: Blindness, Deafness & Darkness), Kukri +1, 400 XP. Looks like you also get a skill-point bonus of some sort.

• [4.02Red Wizard (Wizard levels and non-Good only). Cyrahune Thrul of the Red Wizard Enclave will welcome you unofficially into their ranks if you are of non-good alignment. You will get 400 XP and Red Staff (quarterstaff +1, Bonus Feat: Spell Focus [Evocation], Light Low [10m] Red).

• [4.03Sewer Rat (Rogue levels only). You want to go to the west of Hluthvar and look under a ramshackle shelter near the water, on the edge of the map, for a trapdoor. This grants you access to the sewer system where the thieves' guild is located. There's a club +1 and a Cloak of Resistance +3 in a chest. It isn't hard to find Rallts. He'll whisk you off for an initiation test. Tirp the zombie will give you the Phantasm Egg and follow you around, clumsily stepping on traps (try to keep him alive and tell me what happens [*]). Yep, this place is heavily trapped but mostly DC 22-23 (+10 for recover). There is one DC 36 but it's easily ignored. You need to find the Sewer Door Key in the east and two key parts to form another key. Galgaroth can be found patrolling the east: slay and loot for a third key (use the Phantasm Egg on him). Make your way across the water and into the fire tunnels. From there, return to Rallts (350 XP). You will be given the nickname "Mouse", a suit of Sewer Rat Armor (Dexterity +2, Invisibility [3] 1 Use/Day, Rogue only), and your next mission.

◦ Which is: Find a traitor among the guild members that is selling info to the Hluthvar militia. Use social skills. One of them will high-tail it; slay him and return to Rallts for Kukri +1 and XP. That's basically it for the guild. Now, every time you want to do a deal with Rallts, he takes one sixth of your total gold. Probably the best things on offer are the Greater Mask of Persuasion , Thieves' HoodShadow Legion Armor and Fist of Iron (club +1, Damage Bonus: +1d6 Bludgeoning, Wisdom -1, Rogue only). Slay Rallts for Short Sword +1 (x2) and Rallts' Leg Strap. Take the leg strap to Lamadrien at the House of the Guardian (Hluthvar) and report the militiamen, too, for 1,000 GP, 100 XP and Lawful +10.

Unnamed Quest (Druid levels only). This is not a quest per se since it doesn't seem to result in anything concrete. It is covered in the second section of [1.07].

Henchmen


Sapphire Star offers a pool of five Henchman or companions. Handily, all henchman scale directly to PC level whether they are in the party or not. All Henchmen are available early if you bee-line to their position; none of them are behind gating encounters. You have control over their inventory and basic tactics, but not their build (selection of classes, feats etc. during the level-up process). You may only have a max of two Henchmen at any given time (or 4 when you temp-recruit Sand and Dannilo [1.08]). You will receive fewer kill experience points with Henchmen in your party, as per NWN party size penalty rules. This is the case for familiars, animal companions and summons, too. That said, soloing is suicide for normal players; that is for experts only.

• [5.00NiclaiNiclai is a devoted Red Wizard acolyte. He believes that it's destined for him to become the zulkir one day as it was written on the Prophecy Stone in Anauroch.
◦ Chaotic Neutral Human Wizard: Transmuter. His feat selection is a mess (Greater Spell Focus: Abjuration?) Anyway, he can be ordered to ID magical items and eventually pre-cast around a dozen spells so he isn't useless by any stretch.
◦ Found in Thayvian Enclave [1.10]. Will join with no issues.

• [5.01SlasherThis faithful and trained wolf seems to show unusual interest in you.
Male True Neutral Animal (wolf) Fighter. Takes Power Attack, Cleave, Great Cleave and Dodge. Being a wolf, his equipment options are limited.
◦ Found in the orc village (you need meat from the orc cook).
◦ Having his fur in your inventory will guarantee contraction of lycanthropy [1.11].

• [5.02Brakk Ma Tok. Brakk's attitude and looks make him more an orc than a drow.
◦ Male Chaotic Neutral Drow Barbarian. Takes Weapon Focus: Greataxe, Dodge and Toughness. Just like Daelan in the OC, it seems Brakk is too stupid to take Power Attack and Cleave. If you can work out what to sacrifice [1.14], I guess you could give him the Scales of the Battlebringer (AC Bonus +2, Base Item Weight Reduction 80% of Weight, Bonus Feat: Cleave). You can tell him when to "rage". Gets Drow SR.
◦ Found in the Silver Dragon inn in the town of Silbran [1.02]. He won't rejoin if you have low CHA (>=15).
Quest: Run through his banter thread, tell him you'll be on alert for assassins (Good +7), and then talk with Drow Xilla in the Hall of Order, Hluthvar. Xilla will take her leave but later ambush the party with deadly ranged and melee attacks, targeting Brakk. For me, this took place in Hluthvar, near the exit to the Pass, just after taking out Ayrestat in the Temple of Helm (PC level 8). Slay her for Drow Helm (Concentration +1, Search +1), Drow Chainmail (AC Bonus +3, Weight Reduction 20% of Weight, Elf only), and Lolth's Murderer (longsword +1, Damage Bonus vs. Racial Type: Elf 2d6 Damage Acid, Keen, Vampiric Regeneration +1, Evil only). Brakk will be relieved.

• [5.03TabaTaba is a shield dwarf noble, which escaped the dull halls of her home, the kingdom of Oghrann.
◦ Female Chaotic Neutral Shield Dwarf Rogue. Sub-optimal feat selection and skill pumps (7 in open lock and 4 in disable trap at eighth level is just "wrong").
◦ Found in the northeast of the Ruined Castle map [1.14].

• [5.04SidocSidoc is a quasit, a minor demon in Abyss, his homeland or homewasteland as he likes to call it. He is trying to find his way home after being summoned to Faerun. 
◦ Male Chaotic Evil Quasit Bard. You can order him to buff, identify your items and activate Bard Song. Sidoc takes the Curse Song feat, too. He is strong in Perform but doesn't invest much in Tumble or Use Magic Device. Being a quasit, his equipment options are limited.
◦ Found in the storage room of the High House, just north of the Mage Librum in Hluthvar. (Bash down the door on the house's eastern end to gain entry.) Sidoc is being hounded by no fewer than eight rats. You will find Amulet of Armor +2 and Ring of Disease Immunity in a trapped crate.
◦ Xarsus can send him back to the abyss (450 XP). However, I did not receive the parting gift: Eye of the Graykin (amulet, Damage Resistance: Acid Resist 5/-, Saving Throw vs. Death +1, Spell Resistance 16, Chaotic only). [*]

Merchants

Arcane vendor. Abdas of the Mage Librum in northern Hluthvar can also upgrade weapons. It costs 50,000 GP to keen a weapon and 50,000 GP to turn a +1 weapon into a +2 (and progressively more up to +10).
◦ Also, Cyrahune Thrul is located in the Red Wizard Enclave.
Rogue/Monk vendor. Celor Wefeyja is the leatherworker located in the north of Silbran. Note that he has two inventories. Bring him a Winter Wolf Pelt (Ruined Castle entrance) and he will fashion Boots of the Winterlands out of them (Cold resist 5/-).
◦ Also, Rallts in the Hluthvar sewers.
Warrior vendor. Turik Ungart is the Dwarven blacksmith located in the south of Silbran. He sells heavy arms & armor and can forge weapons from Dragon Scales and Adamantine [2.00]. His inventory upgrades later in the adventure with +3 and magical items of note.
◦ Also, Storage Master in the Cult of the Dragon Hideout (Evil Path only).
Maurandyr. Priest/Monk vendor located in Temple of Helm, Hluthvar.
• Potion vendor. Ander's house is located in northern Silbran. He will give you the Guide to Brewing Potions. Give him 80 GP and he'll teach you how to brew potions.
Misc. Vendor. Burgell Uvarkk dwells in the southwest of Silbran. This Gnome sells Powder Kegs, Iron Bars and other materials.

Other stuff

Endings. According to the readme, Sapphire Star has "a total of four alternative endings plus two fate endings."
Fate endings: Good [2.01] and Evil [2.02] alignment paths.
Alternative endings: Become a slave [1.10], become the archdruid [1.07.1]. Apparently, one of the Red Wizard quests can affect the story. I'll leave it for others to discover them. [*]
Pick Pocket TargetsVanya [1.07]: Scroll of Master's Aid (use on animal companion: grants +2 AC and retributive attack).
• Where is the Garrote itemized? [*]

Please search this post for asterisk [*] to help me with things I couldn't work out. Refer to Yaballa's readme for other hints and tips, too. Yaballa, if you're out there, I would like to hear from you about the sequel you've been working on for so long (haha).


3 comments:

  1. On the * comments to which I believe I know the answer, (based on what I remember from playing a long time ago, so not guaranteed to be 100% accurate):

    1) You can hire the beggar found outside the Silbran Inn to be a servant at your house. You need to speak to him after buying the house.

    2) Ancient Ironwood can be used as a component for brewing special potions at Ander's house.

    3) Yrta's house is in the Southeast quadrant of Hluthvar, a bit northeast of the gate, just south of the wall dividing the city, and immediately northwest of a cart and barrel in the street. I believe you need to cast a spell from the Dispel Magic series on the door to open it.

    4) To trigger the romance with Malshan you need to speak with him with a female character while wounded (i.e., with HP below your maximum). Aside from that the romance plots are pretty straighforward, as far as I recall. The romance related dialogues are so badly written I would hardly bother with them, except possibly for a laugh, though if you carry through with a romance you get a brief wedding cutscene at the end of the module.

    5) To find Sidoc you need to enter the large mansion in the northeast quadrant of Hluthvar, immediately north of the tower with the mage store, through the door in the northeast corner. IIRC, other doors on the same structure go nowhere, and the northeast door is not locked and does not present any other special problems.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the pro-tips. Post updated.

      Delete
  2. Awesome! Your first two paragraphs made me think of Morrowind. I'll add this to my playlist as I'm still playing Swordflight and have Aielund on hold. NWN mod content truly is endless ;)

    ReplyDelete

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