Part 7: Goblin Caves and Silvar"Next time, can we do something that doesn't get half of us horribly killed, twice?"
"Is that like getting all of us horribly killed once?"
"I don't think statistics works like that. Also, if we all died then who would get us back to town?"
"He's right, you know."
"Anyway, I'm with Kane. Let's go out and not get killed."
"What's that giant green lizard man next to the farmhouse there?"
"A slithzerkai, maybe?"
"Wouldn't even give us a chance to talk to him."
This lone basic Slith isn't very dangerous. I mean, he handily outlevels us and does pretty good damage with his attacks, but all he can do is attack and there's only one of him, so we eventually wear him down.
"I hope all sliths aren't like this."
"I wouldn't get my hopes up. But hey, check out his spear!"
One-Eye is using spears for now mostly because Kane is using swords.
"Let's check out that farmhouse now."
"I thought all the farmers here had been driven out by raids!"
"Which means this is probably not a cooking fire. Still, better check it out."
One-Eye is still hurt from fighting the Slith, but these are just thugs and two Goblin Flingers (goblins with a throwing weapon), so we'll be okay. The two Flingers eat it to Well-Aimed Blows from Kane and One-Eye, and the rest is just mopping up. Amusingly, the only thugs to not be dazed all miss every single attack, so we take no damage whatsoever.
"So these were opportunists, not murderers."
"Only as far as you know. I would not exactly trust a bunch of highwaymen with my life."
"This may be the nephil fort Captain Johnson was talking about. If they wiped out a squad of professional soldiers, we should be careful."
"...though if professional soldiers can lose to goblins, I may need to revise my standards down a tad."
"They don't typically exile Imperial Dervishes, you know. I doubt that Avernum's military is especially well-trained."
"Howdy folks, I'm here to serve you an eviction notice. You have five seconds to pack your bags and get out."
"Oh would you look at that, you're out of time."
There's a Goblin Warrior here. He scores a critical hit on Kane, dealing...3 damage.
"We seem to be attracting a lot of attention, boys."
"On the other hand, they aren't accomplishing a lot."
Kane and One-Eye can both one-shot basic goblins somewhat often, and Elly and Byff hit them reliably with bows despite their total lack of training in archery. We are, amusingly, now overleveled.
"This must be the fort proper."
"Try...jail cells? Why would nephils keep prisoners?"
"I don't know, but help me!"
"On our way! Just have to do some housekeeping first."
"The main cave?"
"Ate it to the goblin guards, eh?"
"A shaman could potentially be dangerous. One magician is worth a dozen goblins, easily."
"How many of you were there? This still seems a little unrealistic."
"Hey, fuck you too buddy. I'm a scout, not a warrior."
"Hidden passages? But the fort's incomplete, why would they waste time digging secret ways?"
"Anyway, the way out is clear. You should get back to Fort Duvno."
And then he vanishes. Amusingly, you don't have to open the door to free him; you can just do the conversation through a window in the cell. Who knows how he gets out.
In the cell next to him:
But hey, he had a gold ring (easy money) and a pair of leather pants! Elly finally gets to join civilized society.[/i]
"I see one of those buttons that scout was talking about."
"...this is a lot of effort to go to to build a closet."
The red guy is a Goblin Shaman. Dunno what he does because he died in one hit.
"Anyone speak Goblin?"
"I think this is just marking the trash heap."
"How can you tell? This entire place smells awful."
"There's more tapeworm eggs."
"Found another dead scout."
"Dibs on his cloak!"
"Of course goblins would put a secret passage in their trash heap. Any bets on if it's for a sanitary system?"
"No, of course not."
"You should take that ring, Kane."
"Can I clean it off first, please?"
Kane is now significantly better-armored than anyone else. He still eats more attacks than anyone else. The enemy has poor target prioritization.
"There's another corpse up there."
"So you're strong enough to climb a sheer ledge, but not strong enough to survive once up there?"
"We'll figure it out later."
"Those are leadership markings; I think this is the local chief."
"Sir, could we please convince you to leave peacefully?"
"<I spit on the graves of your ancestors!>"
"I'm guessing that's a no."
"Did you really think that would work?"
"I'm an optimist."
Split-Tail is pretty durable, but he's no Grave Wight, and he's totally alone.
"Hopefully this will slow down their construction."
"I'm frankly more worried about that shaman."
"We'll be better-equipped to deal with him, anyway."
Broadswords have a small chance to deal bonus damage to a random target adjacent to the one you attack. Halberds do it more reliably, but of course are two-handed weapons.
There's also some money and a Cavewood Longbow in the chief's bedroom.
"Found the route to that guy on the ledge."
"He doesn't need this armor any more."
"Not more worms! Ew ew ew ew ew."
"It's not my fault this time!"
"I think that's everything except what's behind this door. Which, by process of elimination, probably has that shaman."
"Ehh, a magic cat is still a cat."
"Wait...a goblin shaman is their leader?"
"You can tell he's a smart goblin because he's learned our language."
"Oh, now be nice."
"Eat sound waves!"
"That was less effective than I was hoping."
"They must be familiar with modern music."
More annoyingly, both Kane's and One-Eye's Well-Aimed Blow disciplines missed. So much for combat disciplines in this fight.
Shaman Dorva has basic mage and priest spells; he hits Elly with a firebolt, buffs his companions with Protection...and punches Kane in the face for piddly damage. Well, I guess he is still just a goblin.
"I still can't get over the fact that a goblin was actually able to attain leadership over some nephils."
"Don't know, don't care, just gimme that loot."
A Coated Cloak is the standout here, with better armor and some minor fire resistance. We also get some iron gauntlets, which are a tiny increment better than the leather gauntlets Kane already had.
The leaves are various alchemical herbs, and the purple blocks are incense (which can be sold for negligible cash).
"I wonder what this opens?"
"Whatever it is, we now have a warrant, so to speak. Unless this key is stolen, the corresponding lock must be allied to the nephil cause."
"Looks like we have...a healing potion, some money, the goblin's clothes, and a wand."
"Wand of fire. Could be useful against groups."
There's more money, a gold bar, and a curing potion in the other chest.
"Are we done yet?"
"I can't see any suspicious gaps on the map. I think we are."
"Good. Then let's go back to Fort Duvno, and take a bath."
"Not a fan of eau de goblin, eh?"
"It's a little avant-garde for my tastes."
"Captain! We rescued one of your men!"
"Thank you, sir."
Rescuing Hinthek just gives you an immediate reputation boost. Captain Johnson only cares about you killing the shaman...which I guess is fitting with his personality.
We now have 1300 gold, so we get Byff level 2 of Minor Heal. Our reputation of 4 (ranked "Anonymous") is alas still not enough to convince J.R. to teach us any archery though.
"That's everything everyone asked us to help with here! I hope the farmers are able to get back to their farms soon."
"So where to next?"
"Don't forget about that Silvar mayor. It never hurts to make some friends in government."
"I hear Silvar; anyone else?"
"Formello and the Tower of the Magi are my votes."
"Those are a long walk away though, and who knows what's en route."
"But you hauled One-Eye's corpse like 20 miles! I saw you!"
"And? I don't care to repeat that performance anytime soon."
"I'm with Elly."
"Okay, executive decision then: Silvar for now, if only because I'm pretty sure it's closer."
"Goodbye, Fort Avernum, and good riddance."
"Nice farms. Kind of weird how they're green though."
"Well, plants on the surface are green, but these aren't plants, right?"
"So? Mushrooms can't be green?"
"This town feels like a fort."
"I'm starting to understand why Sage Thairl was so grumpy."
"Ahh, reminds me of my days in the army."
"Hello, Mr. Threescars! What kind of style do you teach?"
"Sounds good; sign me up!"
"...on second thought, maybe after we've had a few more paydays."
Not really our highest priorities for training, to be honest. There are better uses for our money.
"So hey, nice scars. Got a story to go with them?"
"Heh. They didn't kill me."
"Then someone was protecting you. Or the soldier you killed was an asshole."
"Thanks for the story, sir! Good luck beating these maggots into shape!"
"Elly, you were in the army?"
"Well sure! Where do you think I learned so much combat magic?"
"I admit I just figured you picked it up from whatever apocalyptic doom cult you joined."
"I'll let that slide, because I'm nice. But no, the Way of the Word doesn't really have that kind of resources. I guess technically I was High Priest for a little while there."
"Oh good, an armor shop. The monsters down here really don't like lawyers. I can't fathom why. Let's see what you have."
If we'd come here before doing the Duvno quests...then it still wouldn't have been worth spending money on outfitting ourselves with basic gear. Well, except for the pants.
It's important to maintain a minimum degree of decorum.
"Sell anything else?"
"Magical items are that rare? That's a shame."
"And who is Efram, dear?"
"I thought you said magical items were rare!"
"Demonslayer, eh? Intriguing..."
"Oh! We met a friend of yours in Fort Avernum! She's been looking for you!"
"We will, dear, never fear."
"Hello, sir! You must be the local smith!"
"Anything interesting in your stock?"
"So that's a no, then."
The only thing remotely of interest is the javelins, and J.R.'s are cheaper.
"Your wife said that you had a sword by the name of Demonslayer?"
"Not the real thing? Howso?"
"Ah yes, sword jealousy. I've heard of that problem before. You also get it with spears! Heard of any gigantic spears that our friend One-Eye here could lust after?"
"Are you done?"
"Yep. Now let's go tell Warrick that her sister is nearby."
Back in Fort Avernum...
"Warrick! Your sister's in Silvar!"
Warrick and Anastasia then proceed to...sit right where they are and claim they're waiting for a safe opportunity for Warrick to walk the 7 miles from Fort Avernum to Silvar.
At least everyone levels up from the quest-completion experience.
Back in Silvar,
"Actual bread? Like, made from flour?"
"You aren't alone, sister. Is baking bread your life, then?"
"Could you settle a debate between me and Kane here? Why are there cows in Avernum?"
"Oh, not this again."
"So...not much of an answer."
"You'll just have to live with the mystery, Byff."
"Well hey, weird cows are better than no cows."
"Maybe someday we'll breed flying bat cows."
And this is what she has for sale:
The flavor text for almost every single food item is merely "Sufficient to sustain life, if not happiness."
"What are we doing in the stable, One-Eye?"
"Just a hunch."
"Remember the Formello mayor who lost their necklace to nephil spies? Spies could be everywhere."
"Still, this seems unusually subtle for goblins."
Two Goblin Warriors and a Goblin Shaman. None of them get turns.
"I wonder who this was."
"Whoever they were, they don't need this stuff any more."
"Hostile effects" refers, I believe, to your ability to resist being tagged with debuffs like War Curse. One-Eye has no necklace, and mages and priests tend to have good resistances, so he gets it.
"Oh dear, the cows have gotten out. But Carol, we found some goblins behind your store! And they shouldn't be bothering you any more."
"There's no pleasing some people."
"Ahh, at last!"
"I must say, our reception has been unexpectedly welcoming."
"We endeavour to serve."
"I want out."
"How do you run a town down here anyway?"
There's really no good way to have this party go "wut towns have mayors" gracefully, but:
"Aha, records. Those can be quite useful. Are they available to the public?"
"Sure, but you're the first person I've ever heard be interested in the things."
"And you have a council of towns?"
"If the Empire did find out what was going on down here, I expect they wouldn't be too pleased. They hate any organization they can't control."
"That's a lovely sash and amulet you have. Is it a badge of office?"
"That amulet seems special somehow."
"That sounds useful. Can't govern if you can't communicate. Anything interesting about the sash then?"
"And what about the job, then? Something we can do for you that the army can't?"
"You want us to what?"
"Hey, sewers are important!"
"But why build one here? There's a river, isn't there?"
"Thank you, but we're not savages."
"Don't suppose we could get that advice ahead of time?"
"Okay, so where's the entrance? Wouldn't want to go barging around town in search of a manhole."
"We have other reasons for barging around."
"I believe that's everything. I wish you the best of luck. In the sewers."
"Thank you, sir. We'll be going then"
"I wouldn't have thought you could say something like that with a straight face. ''We endeavour to serve?''"
"Hey, you don't piss off the boss. If he's a kittie-hater, you hate kitties. If he's a soft politician, you play nice. Tell him what he wants to hear."
"Wish I'd known he wanted us to play exterminator in the sewers though. What the hell."
"A job's a job, right?"
"Oh, shut up."
"I guess we'd better postpone that bath."
With careful positioning, everyone can stand away from the mayor's line-of-sight, allowing us to loot the Steelward scroll on the desk. The chest at the foot of the bed is impossible to steal from...but all that's in it is 7 copper pieces, so who cares?
"Hold up, there's some postings on here we might be interested in."
"Nice. Take all the postings."
"What? But we don't need them to do the jobs!"
"Sure, but it'll keep anyone else from stealing our thunder. Especially since we've already done the hard parts for two of these and a third is literally just talking to someone."
The jobs board has minor sidequests that don't really warrant dialog. There's zero downside to taking all of the quests as soon as you can, especially since some job boards have more than four available (but they can only list four at any one time).
They're mostly just fetchquests, completionist rewards, and reasons to visit dungeons that had no attached quests in the original game (like the Batcave). For example, Walner's quest? It involves that random tower of goblins in the bandit fort. Or I guess it's a corpse fort now. Dungeons don't repopulate in this game.
"I thought maybe there could have been something in these papers. I guess if Walner wants to clean them, that's his lookout."
"Heyo, Walner! Got those papers for you!"
We get scrolls of Group Heal and Speed Burst. The latter puts the entire party into a battle frenzy, which is the new version of the AP multiplier. Very useful. And of course, healing the entire party can be a godsend.
"We may as well inform Captain Johnson about that soldier while we're here."
"Easy money. Y'know, we could probably make a decent living as couriers, considering how unwilling everyone is to walk a few miles."
Back in Silvar...
"Oh come on now, you aren't fooling anybody."
"I hope you're being nice to the lizards, young man!"
"Well, that's good. I guess."
This was a lot more subtle in the first game, where the sprite for a Statue was the same as the sprite for a Living Statue. Here they decided to just use a generic golem, presumably so that players wouldn't feel paranoid about having to try to talk to every random bit of inanimate scenery in the game.
"A shipwright! Can we get a ship? I always wanted to be a sailor."
"They're boats, not ships. Can't get the wood for a proper ship down here."
"Aww, don't you make anything besides boats?"
"The sliths are hurting the shipping industry? Do they have ships of their own?"
"Nah, they're great swimmers though. Good at holding their breath too."
"Okay, that's good to know. And kind of scary. Never had to deal with submarine lizardmen on the surface."
"Hm, can't say as we're interested in tangling with sliths just yet. I don't think we can justify a boat."
"But sailors! And pirates!"
"Sorry, Byff. Some other time."
You can also ask Krantz why everyone's so pale, if you have trouble putting 2 and 2 together.
"Gruber's Weapons. Out of Business."
"Dumb idea, having two weapons stores in the same town. No wonder this Gruber left."
"Okay, Kane, keep an eye out, would you?"
"I think you can guess."
"There's nothing here."
"Oh come on, Byff, use your eyes!"
"I hate to think what kind of extraplanar method of perception you're talking about now."
"No, your physical eyes. Like, for seeing light."
This is the kind of situation in which the old secret passage system did work better than the button system. This button is hilariously obvious, while in the first game you were more likely to notice the hole in the map where the passage leads to. Oh well; on average the button system is still an improvement.
"Hm, old Gruber isn't so foolish as to leave any valuables unprotected."
That disk on the floor in front of the crate is a trap. All traps are clearly marked, and if you lack the Tool Use skill needed to safely disarm them, then you're given the opportunity to back out. Fortunately, we've invested heavily in Tool Use and can easily clear it.
(And this all worked the same way in the original game)
Our reward is a small amount of money and another Fiery Wand (AoE fire attack).
"Heyyy, another inn! Maybe this one will be more hospitable."
"I admit I have no idea how that woman in Duvno stays in business."
"Captive audience -- there's nobody else in town willing to run an inn. I'm guessing Avernum doesn't have much in the way of regulations on innkeepers."
"Hey buddy, need a drinking companion? How's the soldiering business?"
"Imma mercenary, naaa soldier."
"Yeah? What's to fight lately?"
"Yeah? Alright, go get shitfaced in solitude then."
"Nice to meet you, Jay!"
"Warrior and refugee? I guess work's been slow lately?"
"Well hey, want to try your luck with us? We can always use more firepower."
In Avernum 1 (the first remake), there was the occasional NPC you could hire into your party if you had empty slots. Hell, for all I know you can still hire Jay here. But there's not much point honestly.
"Didn't the Silvar innkeeper want someone to kill some bats for him? Because I still have nightmares about what happened to Kane's face back in that cave."
"And now I need a drink, thank you very much."
"Good news, you're at the bar."
An upgrade over Kane's old Crude Broadsword, which he hands to Byff on the extremely remote chance that Byff ever tries to use a sword.
"Thanks for the help there. Bats are a menace to our mushroom farms."
"I would not have anticipated that."
"Ale sounds good, mushrooms don't. But beggars can't be choosers I guess."
"Could we get a room, please? My feet are killing me."
"We are, as you noted, still rather new here. Got any advice for newcomers?"
"Keep doing what you did on the surface? That's probably not much of an option for me."
"It's an option for me!"
"I didn't really have a job, as such. Not a paying one anyway."
"Look, maybe we'd better stick to what we do best as a team, rather than individually. Got any more jobs for us?"
"We'll keep an eye out, sir."
"Can't ask for any more. Good luck out there."
And that's it for Silvar's topside. Here's the map:
The mayor, job board, and food shop are along the south/southeast; you can see the niche with the goblin spies on the water south of the wall there. The weapons, armor, and training are in the northeast. Entrances to the sewers are in the far northeast and northwest. The inn is in the northwest, the abandoned weapons shop is where the red rectangle is, and the shipwright is south of there.
"Ready to dive headfirst into the sewers?"