The Let's Play Archive

Divine Divinity

by Stabbey_the_Clown

Part 84: Lair of the Stalker

Chapter 62 - Lair of the Stalker

Music - "A Forest Dark and Deep"
Download (Thanks to Grawl)

Previously on Divine Divinity:

Ah... well, I'm glad you stopped by. I've been recovering my papers from where I hid them when I was... ill, and I've found something you could use. It's my old copy of "Natural Alchemy", written by Medicus. It'll help you identify what mushrooms and herbs you find in the wild can be used for potion-making.
I'm honoured, Mardaneus, thank you.

Chapter 62 - Lair of the Stalker

32 Sembten 1218

Following the directions from the book in the Cursed Abbey, I investigated a thick cluster of brush, identical to dozens of others. If I hadn't been looking for it, I never would have found it. Hidden in the center was a stairwell leading down, slick with moss and overgrown with hanging plants.

I carefully made my way down the stairs and lifted up a hatch which was almost rusted shut. There was a ladder leading down.

There was a statue of someone I didn't recognize.

I stood in one of the circles and a voice boomed out.

I had decided before entering what I wanted.

I wish to sacrifice the sword and the dagger and to keep the blessed amulet.
I placed all the items into the other circle.

There was a flash of light and a surge of magic. When the light faded, the sword and dagger were gone.

"About the Game" posted:

This is important. Do NOT touch any of the tombs. Otherwise, you piss off the spirits of the place, and you can't get the Holy Weapon.

Funny enough, despite being called the "Holy Weapon", all of these items are called "Nobleman's Sword/Dagger/Amulet." All are super-uniques - Rank 5 magical items with up to 10 modifiers.

  • The amulet is the best possible one in the game, the only one with up to 10 magical modifiers.
  • The dagger is also the best in the game for the same reason. It is a perfectly viable end-game weapon, assuming you've maxed out Assassin's kiss.
  • The sword is a decent one-handed sword, but you can  (and we will)  get another super-unique, 10-modifier one-handed sword later.

I didn't actually get the amulet at this time. I waited until after I hit level 40+ to give me better odds at getting the best modifiers in the game.

I returned to the Dark Forest. This time I decided to take a road which hadn't been well-traveled. Some of the lizards who lived in the forest were attracted by my fight with the Ghouls.

You shall die for this trespass, ssmoothsskin!

I gave up playing nice with them. Once they were dead, I followed the path. It ended at a quaint, yet somewhat shabby cabin in poor maintenance. An old man was standing out front.

Is this another one of Iona's traps? You'd think she'd have sent someone a little... younger.
Can I ask you why you have awaited me?
I was told of your arrivel by Ebucadthan, the Earth God. He spoke to me on the wind and foretold the arrival of a great warrior who would defeat the great nemesis of the forest.
Oh, I see. He's mad.
I am a mage and not a mighty warrior, old man.
But you are versed in battle magics are you not? This in your heard and skills you are a warrior. Your presence here is a sure sign from the Earth God. Will you not help me defeat the Stalker?
Actually, I'm looking for the famous Talking Tree. Do you know where it is?
The Talking Tree? Ah yes, it is very dangerous. I know a secret for dealing with it, yes...
Dangerous? It's a tree!
A very dangerous tree.
Mad, simply mad.
Yes, I'm sure that it is. Can you tell me where it is?
Oh, you wouldn't leave an old man all alone, at the stalkers mercy, would you?
Of course, he's not going to tell me until I help him.
Tell me more about this Stalker.
It is a demon of great hunger who roams the forest and defiles the natural beauty and order of things. Have you not noticed the absence of many animals in the area? Even the old trees that have stood for many ages are dying. Ebucadthan tells that you shall restore peace.
Worry not old man. I will see to this demon. Where can I find it?

"About the Game" posted:

This actually is one of the places where the game checks your class, so the line where Jeremiah corrects him about being a mage and the old man countering with battle magics is actually real dialogue.

If you're a survivor (and presumably a warrior, instead you ask "What makes you sure I am the mighty warrior you seek?"

His lair lies to the southwest. The entrance lies at the end of a canyon. You will likely smell the stench from the cave before you see it. The Stalker hunts during the night and sleeps by the day so you should slay him, easily.

I remembered my previous narrow escape with the sword in the stone.

Only a fool would assume killing a demon would be easy!
Yes, yes! The Stalker is a foul monster indeed. Good fortune adventurer!

At the foot of a mountain, I found a canyon, one of many in the area.

There was a field of butterflies hovering. It must have had something to do with the pollen in the area, because I sneezed six times, shaking the mountain and the woods.

That was close. I almost caused a rockslide. Wouldn't that be a fine epitaph for my grave. "Sneezed himself... to death..."

I could smell something else though - rotting flesh and moldy bones. I followed my nose.

The place was full of nasty ghouls.

I sure hope that the Stalker is a sound sleeper. I don't want him creeping up on me.

I cleaned out all the Ghouls I could find, but no sign of the Stalker, until I approached the far corner of the cave.

What are you doing here?!
You truly are a fool! Behold the glory of the Stalker!

So you are the Stalker! Why did you not kill me when you met me in the forest?
I am bound to this cave by a curse that the elves placed on me. However, I discovered that by casting a slight modification of the Necroshift spell, I could walk freely through the woods in the form of Quentus Noramond.. In this form I could lure careless travelers to my cave and dine on their flesh!

I had to laugh. The Stalker stopped, confused.

Wow. This has got to be the dumbest plan I have ever heard.
What do you mean? It's a good plan. It tricked you, didn't it?
Kinda. I totally bought that "help a poor old hermit" story, good job, on that. I'm talking about your choice of prey.
What do you mean?
You're hungry so you want to lure people to this cave. So you concoct a story about a monster. Do you see what the problem with that is?
Not really...
The kind of people who go into dark caves to hunt monsters, tend to be MONSTER HUNTERS. You know? Well-armed, heavily armored, full of potions. It takes forever to kill them, and they're likely to give you a good wound or two in the process. Then after you kill them, then you've got to peel off that armor, and underneath it's all tough muscle.
You have a better idea?
Oh, yeah... You want someone fat, slow and stupid. Go to a city, your disguise works pretty well, I must say, and say that you need someone to help move your treasure, you're just an old man. Promise them a bunch of it. Then you'll get someone not too bright, not likely armed or armored. Much easier to kill, and there's a greater chance that they're nice and fat, too.
I never thought of that! Thanks!

I snapped my fingers in disgust.

Oh drat. I just realized that's not going to work.
Why not?

I looked at it, with a great big grin which was completely absent of humour.

Because you'll be dead, silly.
Wait, I thought you were telling me that so I'd let you go?
OK, let me explain this again, slowly. Try to keep up, please. You. Lured. A. MONSTER SLAYER. Into. Your Trap. Killing monsters is what I do. See a big fireball in the night sky over where an Orc supply train USED to be? Me. Troll king threatening the farmlands? He's gravel. Ever hear of the Cursed Abbey? It's just known as "The Abbey" now. See, I don't need you to let me go, you need me to let YOU go.

There was a truly delightful silence as the Stalker contemplated me. Watching its expression I could actually tell that it was re-calculating the chances of a favourable outcome in its head.

Uhh... let me go? I've got some nice silver armor in the chest over there.

I put my hand on my chin and pretended to consider.

"Hmmm... a tempting offer," I said with mock sincerity "... Naaah. I'll just take it after you're dead, 'kay?"

Reputation +2

The Dark Forest Stalker

"About the Game" posted:

There was a long stretch of time during the LP when I didn't use Elemental Hail. That's because most enemies then had a particular weakness or resistance, and Elemental Hail costs a lot of mana to cast, especially the saturation bombing style I use. But without a weakness or resistance, this spell is really devastating. It's not the top-of-the-line Elemental Spell, though, although it is the best area-effect elemental spell.

With the horrible super-Ghoul destroyed, I found the chest the Stalker had indicated and claimed the Silver armor for my own.

Eh... this doesn't seem like anything really special.

"About the Game" posted:

The Silver Armor is the same as mentioned in the Holy Weapons book. But it's not related to that quest. I'll show that off in a tremendously awesome fake update much later on. It won't become canon for some very good reasons.  (Complete and total destruction of the fourth wall.) 

One thing I remember about recording this is that the game crashed when I cast Elemental Hail on the Stalker.

I went back to the Stalker's cabin. I saw signs of an animal trail leading southwest. With no other leads on the Talking Tree, I decided to try it.

If I don't find more information soon, I should stop looking. This place is too big and dense. I could walk right past the drat thing without even knowing it.

I followed the trail, which lead to cabin which was in much better condition. There were more angry lizards around, and they attacked me on sight.

A golden Ylin stone. This is only the second one I've ever seen.

"About the Game" posted:

The lizards in the dark Forest (and maybe the Rivertown and/or Verdistis sewers) have a chance to drop golden charms. But the chance is so slim for golden charms to drop - even with higher-level enemies later on that you can't count on this, and it's certainly not worth reloading.

I put this into my boots, but I'd have been better off saving it for later and trading it 1:1 for a better charm. Constitution charms, for a wizard only give +10 to Constitution, or 40 hit points. If I'd traded it for a Golden Vitality Charm, I would have gotten 100 hit points.

I walked around to the front of a cabin. There was much more well-traveled trail leading east, but I was more interested in the sign.

Go Away! (Voice Acting)

With those angry lizards and other monsters about, I should check and make sure he or she is alright.

I opened the door and went inside. A man looked up from his reading with irritation.

I was in good spirits, so I decided to make a little verbal jab at him.

Is it necessary to be so rude? If you do not wish visitors, why do you not place a Do Not Disturb sign outside your house?
Bah! If you must know, there is such a sign outside my house!
Is there? Oh. Anyway, what are you doing here so deep within this forest?
I spend considerable time studying the plants and herbs of this magic elven abode. When I am not being disturbed, that is.
Might you be Medicus, the author of the book on alchemy?
Ah, you know my book? How marvelous. Why it seems like an age since I wrote that.
I am looking to further my knowledge of alchemy. Could you help?
Help You? You mean you wish to become my apprentice? I can't say I relish the thought, but...
But what?
Er... yes in fact. You look a sturdy and healthy youngster capable of a little runn... eh... walking.
What do you want from me?
There is a specific herb I need.
And I assume you want me to go and look for it? Is that all?
Ah, but wait. You should know that the herb is guarded by an old tree.
Guarded by a tree? You are jesting, are you not?
It is no normal tree, I do assure you. Don't even try to attack him, because it's impossible. Even if the tree is afraid of woodcutters. He believes they have some sort of magic to hurt him. A long tome ago, a clever dwarf made him believe this ridiculous story...
This is the famous Talking Tree, I assume?
That is correct.
Excellent. I've been looking for that for reasons of my own. Where may I find this old tree?
Oh, the location is very easy to find. Simply go east from here and cross the road. Continue eastwards and you will encounter the tree. You can't miss it. Just look for the rainstorm.
That's right. Be careful, it's extremely dangerous.
Dangerous? It's a tree!
I've given you the warning. Heed it or not.

I followed the pathway, and it came out to the road in a familiar spot, just below the Warrior's Guild teleporter.

I studied my map and looked at the notation Medicus had made on it, and then I set off into the woods.

After several minutes of wandering, I heard approaching voices, speaking... in Elvish. I waited.

I'm looking for the famous Talking Tree... Could you show me the way, please?
The trees around here aren't happy anymore... too much evil around here...
Be careful. You're very near the domain of Abanayabar, the old Talking Tree. He is in a really bad mood lately... And if this is the case, you don't want to get in his way...
If the tree is so dangerous, why don't you simply cut him down?
Silly human. You can't simply cut Abanayabar. If it were possible we would have done it long ago. He's magical and can't be harmed so easily. Even if he tends to believe, woodcutters could harm him. He heard so many horror stories from the others trees, so he think wood-cutters are all great giants with huge magical axes.
What are you doing out here?
This is our forest, human, remember? We're on a patrol mission to reduce the tremendous amount of monsters around here.
In my youth, we were swimming in the river... today, we are swimming in the blood of the monsters...
Hopefully, there are better days ahead...
This forest used to be a quiet and friendly place... before all the monsters came...
Don't worry! I'm helping you get rid of them...
If you value your life, I'd stay away from Abanayabar.
It's. A. Tree!

I followed the direction the elves pointed. Soon I approached an area where it seemed to be perpetually raining. It was a cold rain, but there was also a deeper darkness in the area.

Calm yourself tree. There is no reason for alarm. I have traveled far to meet you.
Meet me? What is it you want of me?
I would be most grateful if I could have one of your branches.
Also, I am in sore need of a herb that I am told only grows near your roots. So I wanted to ask you...
Calm yourself tree. It's in your best interest to just give me what I want.
Just why should I let you have a branch and the herbs?

It was just a drat tree. I was tired and cranky, and I was not in a mood to negotiate.

Because otherwise I will make firewood of you.
Wrong answer!

The drat tree itself hurled bolts at me, and creatures which seemed to be made of pure fire itself arose from the ground to attack.

The tree's magic blasts were so powerful, they nearly knocked me off my feet.


"About the Game" posted:

Seeking Flame
- What that tree is shooting at us is an actual skill we could use ourselves. It is called Seeking Flame, but that is a misnomer, because it does not seek in any way. It is a very, VERY, slow-moving attack which slowly goes to a spot on the ground and explodes. It is first available at level 24, and there are no skillbooks for it.

It does a huge fixed amount of fire damage (80 at Rank 1, 240 at Rank 5), but apparently it only does any damage if the enemy's fire resistances are below 5-25%, making it not simply less effective, but completely worthless against anything which has fire resistance. Resistances get more and more plentiful the further we get into the game, and the enemies move around too much for this extremely slow-moving spell to be worthwhile.

Also, the area around the tree is constantly subject to a rain storm. It's the only other place in the game where you see rain. It's really strange.

I hurled lightning and fire at the tree, to no effect, not even a scorch mark on the bark! It was time for me to pause, take a moment, and thoughtfully reconsider my approach.

The elves heard the noise first. A loud, almost freakishly high-pitched screaming sound. It was rapidly getting closer.

Suddenly, a human ran through, heading west and accelerating. He seemed to be on fire.

As the screaming faded into the distance, one of the elves rolled his eyes and snorted.

"Humans," he said.

Next Time: Baud Makes His Tea Extra-Strong

Behind the Scenes

The map.

I killed a couple of the Infernal Zombies the tree summoned and reached level 33. The Infernal Zombies, in defiance of all common sense, are WEAK to fire.

By the way, I know that I had some update delays in February-March, only updating twice in a month's span, but I am doing better since April 9th. I'm updating with some content every 2nd or 3rd day.

There will probably be some delays later on towards the end of the act. I've got something planned which will take some time to make. I'll mention when those delays will come when it's time.

When talking with the hermit, you can say:

I have no interest in the tales of an old hermit about demons. You can go and deal with him yourself!
You deny the call of the Earth god Ebucadthan? Be gone from his place! I will ever hate you.

If you then go in to the stalkers cave, then the old man appears, you get this.

If you choose "Stop telling me these horror stories", the game bugs. The conversation ends, but he won't attack and you can't harm him. But he'll still keep turning to face you.

Talking with Abanayabar

I'm really sorry to disturb you. I'm on my way...
This time I let you go... but if you ever disturb me again, you should better have a very good reason.
Oddly enough, you can then just walk up and take the herbs and branch without any resistance.

It is only I. I merely wish to collect the herbs near you. Then I shall be on my way.
This initiates "combat". But like the game says, you cannot harm the tree with any weapon or spell you possess. When fighting, the tree summons a bunch of Infernal Zombies, and the tree itself shoots Seeking Flames at you until you get far enough away. Seeking flames are mis-named, they don't seek at all, in fact, they're slow-moving and only target the ground. That's one reason we don't use them, they require you toe estimate where the enemy will be.

Calm yourself tree. There is no reason for alarm. I have traveled far to meet you.
Meet me? What is it you want of me?
I only wanted to see if you were still standing here...
Your humour is quite pitiful, human. Wait one moment and I shall give you an example of my kind of humour...
This initiates combat.

If you preface your remarks by being polite and saying you've come to meet it, you can ask about the branch or herbs without immediately pissing the tree off.
Calm yourself tree. There is no reason for alarm. I have traveled far to meet you.
Meet me? What is it you want of me?
I am in sore need of a herb that I am told only grows near your roots, So I wanted to ask you...
The line about the branch has the same effect.
And just why should I let you have one?
Well you see, there are some woodcutters nearby looking for a special tree they say. Of course I would never tell them about you.
Woodcutters! You try to trick me surely? But... I am not willing to take the risk. Very well, go on.
You can take the branch and herbs now. Talk to it again, and...
What are you still doing here? Leave me alone, you brute...!

The easy solution of course, is to bluff the tree with threatening to tell nearby woodcutters about it. Both Medicus and the Elves tell you about this method. The harder solution is to run up and get the stuff while the tree is still shooting at you. But there's a very special way to deal with the tree.

Divinity 2: Ego Draconis Reference
  Abanayabar also appears in this game, although when and how I'll keep secret. It's pretty neat, though. 

What's fake in this update?