Part 44: Pre-emptive Questing
Chapter 32 - Pre-emptive Questing
Now, where were we? Oh, right. We'd just been made to look like drow via draconic magic.
So, while exploring the Underdark, we encountered this fellow.
That sounded far too hostile for my liking, creature!
Klodg do g'ith dal shaog gossath! Geetaaah!
An obvious threat! There's just no talking to some people!
Sekath da glossanda! Odg! Dassa!
Odg! S'dros kath rom!
Kath rom dros rog?
Rod grob log thog nog!
Jan, you're just making up sounds aren't you.
Anyhow, we killed him and his friends and entered a nearby cavern. It was full of BEHOLDERS.
Note the Elder Orb on the upper left. He's a little cunt, he is. We took from his corpse an eyestalk, the blade of the Equalizer, and an Amulet of Spell Warding. In a nearby grotto, after killing some drow and the beholder they were fighting, we found the Sling of Arvoreen.
This here is a pretty common grouping in the area.
I took out this one in a relatively legit manner before busting out the Shield of Balduran. It seems fair to be not too cheesey once before being lazy and letting them kill themselves with their own spells. For the rest, it worked out a little more like this.
Send in Minsc holding the Shield of Balduran...
Minsc and Boo shall not fall to the likes of you!
Wait a bit...
I told you so! Now I crush you into chunky bits! RRRRAAAAUGH!
Then have him smack around the ones that petrify themselves so they explode into little chunks of stone, just because I like doing that.
The Elder Orb was originally supposed to be elsewhere in the cave, not right in the front - I have a sneaking suspicion that this staircase had something to do with that.
In one last niche, we found a Greenstone Amulet, then left because there was nothing else to do. We entered another nearby tunnel, this one not quite so nice.
We awoke some time later in a cell.
Our jailor showed up after a little bit - apparently he was a slave kept by the illithid because ogres are intimidating or something?
What is this place?
Questions, questions, always da new fighters got the same questions. You listen then, and I tell you what you need to know. First thing, I not the one that capture. You trespass on the home of the flayers, and you got caught. Now you pay for your stay. Understand? Next thing, you better fight well in the arena, because if you don't fight well, you die. If you don't fight at all, you die. Maybe you live long enough to get servant position. Better than fighting. Oh, last rule, never attack the flayers. You are in their home. They kill you with their thoughts.
So I must fight for the amusement of the flayers? Do you mean "Mind Flayers?"
I mean the masters that control the fights. You do as I say and they don't kill you. You will face many opponents before you are servant like me. You will live if you fight well. I warn though: do not anger spectators. They extra strong in this place because of big brain. First battle begins now!
Umber huuuuuuuuuuuuulks! It was not very interesting.
Well! You fight well! For now you live! I come tell you when next battle begins.
We discovered that the door to the neighboring cell was unlocked, so we said hello because seriously what the hell else were we going to do?
And to thinkwe would suffer the same fate as you; you who should have died in our ambush upon the sea. We are all destined for the same fate, as playthings in the arena. A foul way to end a being's life, I think.
So you will fight here? We will probably have to fight each other then.
Perhaps we shall, and one of us will have to die. It is not a threat we are unfamiliar with. We came to this realm with the thought of battle, to reclaim a silver sword. But our ship was capsized and now we are in the custody of the most hated of enemies, the illithid mind flayers. This is an abomination I will not allow. We harbor a special hatred for the illithid, and we will see them dead before we are done. Or we die ourselves.
Well, what a happy bunch of fellows. I'm resigned to fate myself, but they *really* bring me down.
I can speak no more. My charges must meditate for the coming battle. It will take great strength of mind to escape this place. Great strength.
I was understandably confused by their ability to recognize me despite Adalon's magic, but they were pretty much unique in that ability so it didn't matter.
A few moments later...
And about fifteen minutes after THAT...
They cannot make us do this, can they? To house us together that we might speak... then force us to fight... it is monstrous. Or do you taunt us?
We could each boast about who will live, but I believe a far better plan is before us. It is a slim chance, but it is the only one that is available.
I am listening.
As your jailer has told you, the illithids are strong in their house. They have power here to slay as they wish, and escape is impossible. But we of the Githyanki have power of our own, and I believe we may be able to disrupt the illithids and allow another to make an escape. When we are called to battle, we of the Githyanki will meditate within the ring, pushing back the minds of the illithids. You may then open the arena doors that we may all escape. You must find a way out of the Illithid city. We will distract the Illithids until you you succeed in forcing your way from this twisted city. Once our meditations are done there will be no more instant death in the arena, but through the door is the only path that is possible.
Then that is what I will do. We will work together.
Then ready yourself, for the time of battle is at hand. The jailer will come for us both soon.
You fight them Githyanki this time. Hope you didn't talk too much with them. That makes the killing harder, I know.
And so, off to the Arena!
We slew the kuo-toans and then our ogre jailor. He was nothing special, really.
Actually, he is substantially stronger than your average ogre. According to Shadowkeeper, an average ogre has 50 HP, bace AC 5, THAC0 14, and 1 attack/round. Our little friend here has 240 HP, base AC -3, THAC0 10, and 2 attacks/round. Of course, that really doesn't count for much against our party.
On the table, we found the hilt of the Equalizer. (Pity the entire sword isn't that good.) We cleared out the other cells (kuo-toans, sauhagin, etc) but they weren't really worth talking about. Same goes for the bunches of illithid (MY BRAINS DAMN YOU) that I chopped to pieces with self-wielding swords along the way. Now, this room full of enslaved guys was pretty interesting.
In a separate room, I found some sort of thick liquid (it smelled terrible) that seemed to heighten my senses with its smell alone.
I headed back to that room and found the machinery connected to each slave.
Found the hole to pour in the liquid...
And did so.
They woke up.
Thank you, dear man, thank you! My... my name is Camaris Highcastle of... of Myratma. If only there were some way to properly repay you!
For starters, tell me how you ended up here.
I am unsure. We were part of an expedition to find adventure in the Underdark. Hah! This was... hardly what we were expecting, you can be certain. We set out from Myratma and had been in the Underdark for a week, maybe more. I heard a noise, and then everything went grey and blurry. The mind flayers must have surprised us. Next thing I remember, we were hooked to these machines. It was strange... you could see everything and... be aware... but not quite. They somehow used our minds to power those machines over there. It makes necklaces... circlets rather... which the mind flayers use to control their slaves. If you were captured, too, I... I can only imagine the next batch of circlets would have been meant for you. Good thing you escaped when you did.
Do you think these circlets would work on the illithids? Do you know how to work the machine?
I... I suppose they might. There's no reason they wouldn't. As for the machine, it's fairly simple, but I don't think it's fully charged. You could only make a few. I suppose I must ask you, stranger... do you plan on escaping? Have you a means of leaving this city?
I have a plan. We'll see if I can execute it or not.
Well, if you find a way out or stop the mind flayers somehow, we can leave the city on our own. There is a cache of equipment I know of if we locate our old path. I can lead my people to the surface again, but you would have to find us a way ou. No offense friend, but I don't think we could face those mind flayers ourselves. We will wait here until we can leave. We will pray for you, friend... I only hope that our ordeal is finally over.
The machine worked well enough to make four Control Circlets.
They proved useful for opening doors of this variety.
To do it, you head back to this room, which has an infinitely-respawing mind flayer with a relatively reasonable delay on the respawn.
Use the control circlet on it...
And plop it in front of the door you want to be opened, at which point it turns hostile again. I will only open one door this way, because I will show the other way on the other door of this type that you need to open to kill the brain.
The githyanki Simyaz and his group returned at this point and semi-betrayed us.
And here would come the change in plans, am I right? Wonderfully chaotic plan if it is. I expected no less.
You will remain here, I fear, for we cannot carry you and still remain free ourselves. In future we will return and kill all the filth that their tentacles have touched.
Then go, but when next we meet we will be at each other's throats.
That is acceptable. We wait to see if you can muster the strength to free yourself from this place. If you can conquer this place, if you can kill the elder brain, all the doors shall swing open and you may walk free. If not, we will return at a later time with a greater force. This den of filth will be wiped from existence. I hope you succeed, and the elder brain falls beneath your feet, but I hope the arm that wields our silver sword is lost to you.
Also in that room was Methild's Harp.
This little room gave me the ability to make Brine Potions which temporarily protect against psionics. Considering that I was doing all the fighting with self-wielding magical swords, this was completely and utterly useless.
Also, I gained the ability to cast level 8 spells.
This room had pods with things I guess were meant for the arena next.
This little guy was the only noteworthy thing, and only because he had a Ring of Fire Control. The 50% fire resistance is really the nicest thing on this.
Also on a table behind a hidden door, we found a Staff of Command.
Right, these doors. The other way to open it, pretty much unique to me...
Is to transform into the Slayer and give it a good kick. Minsc approved heartily of this method of brute force, though he did not approve of me becoming the Slayer so much.
Minsc charged in and opened the door, then dashed back - surprisingly unaffected by the Master Brain's psionic attack.
It, ah, kind of slammed the door shut with five Hasted Mordenkainen's Swords in there with it. Not. The greatest. Plan.
We mopped things up inside and took a good look around. Nice decorations, really.
Turned out the slaves made it out okay. (This gave me warm fuzzy feelings.)
Good luck in the Underdark if you intend to remain. I will pray for your success and safety. Come, my friends... let us leave this hellish place once and for all.
So, we left and rested. Oh, yeah. In the Underdark, these fuckers like to try to attack you while you sleep.
Lizard men - the kobolds of the Underdark.
Anyway, we found Simyaz and company camping under an inexpicable tent thing. Why is there a tent. There's no weather. Or sun. Or anything you would want a tent for. It's not like it has walls, so it can't provide any protection from weird animals either.
No, actually, I DESTROYED THE WHOLE DAMNED BUNCH WITHOUT YOU!!
I sense hostility. I would advise that you redirect your anger. It is admirable that you survived, but that does not imply you would survive against us.
No, what implies that I will survive against you is the fact that I am going to kill you. Right now.
And I did.
And so, it was off to another area - a ruined kuo-toan city of some sort. I took some Corrupted Tadpoles from this trough thing after destroying the guardians.
Say hello to Powerful Flamestrike Trap That Cannot Be Disarmed. Getting this screenshot killed Asim. The easiest way to get across it is to just cast Haste on the party and send them across one by one. This way, there is no one on it long enough to trigger it.
Also, this is one of the places that the Saeriterrible mod screws things up. This would normally make things slightly easier by not forcing you to fight all 5 Demon Knigts all at once, if Tactics didn't give these fuckers the ability to cast dimension door, so you fight them all at once in a much stronger version anyway. However, as you will soon see, it is very, very, VERY worth it.
'To free the five and receive your reward, place a sacrifice before Demogorgon.'
Yeah, this place gives me the creeps. Let's go.
With all speed, Asim! [Saerileth turns to go, but her eyes widen and her jaw sets as she slowly turns back.] Too late! They come. For Tyr!
We survived, and it was good. And we got some nice treasure out of it! The Armor of the Hart and Soul Reaver.
Also motherfucking Girdle of Frost Giant Strength.
Everybody, say hello to the Kuo-Toan Prince.
Now say goodbye to the Kuo-Toan Prince.
Only noteworthy thing on his corpse was this - the Bracers of Blinding Strike.
And then, we found some Drow guarding a door.
There is nothing to be said. No one passes without just cause. Return to the city.
It is urgent that we pass! An elven attack is planned against our forces!
What? This cannot be true! We would have been apprised of the situation by our commanders! Hmm... You maintain this as fact? Speak your word again and I shall see if I believe. May you die by the webs of Lolth if you speak untrue.
There's no cause to doubt me. Take the side of caution and let us join the slaughter.
Very well, though I shall not greet your return so generously. Do not come back this way.
Yeah, you CAN just talk these guys into opening the door like that, but who the hell does that when there's so much experience and loot to be gained by going through the quests?