Part 125: Down Among The Dead MenPART 125: DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN
Down, down, deeper and down...
They called it Amgarrak--victory--out of arrogance, or optimism.
They hoped to earn a victory for the dwarven people by recreating Caridin's research.
But the thaig was abandoned, the researchers lost.
The Deep Roads swallowed Amgarrak and the dream of reclaiming our former glory.
While the darkspawn ravaged the surface, we sent an expedition to uncover the thaig. My brother was with them. They never returned.
I write to you, Warden, because you have accomplished things others have declared impossible.
Help me find my brother, and bring him home. This is a matter of great sensitivity, and I can trust no one but you, a complete stranger noted for their violent behaviour and roguish nature.
Ever your humble servant, Jerrik Dace.
Thank you again for helping me, Warden. Everyone else had given up, but l couldn't abandon Brogan. He's my brother.
I apologize for insisting that you come alone. House Dace does not want the location of Amgarrak known to the rest of Orzammar.
You're being secretive.
House Dace sacrificed many men to discover this place. Any knowledge found here should be ours, to do with as we please.
It feels like I've heard variants of that speech a dozen time over. Usually by people about to have their faces melted off.
Of course Brogan is my primary concern, but Amgarrak hides secrets... great ones.
Why ask for my help?
King Bhelen told me you were the one to look for. He said if anyone could save Brogan, you could.
Good ol' Bhelen. Never misses an opportunity to get me killed. Are you expecting trouble?
An expedition of over twenty men doesn't just disappear.
There's something in there, and I'm guessing it's not friendly.
Just be prepared for anything.
That's three ways of saying the same thing, Jerrik.
Let's just move on.
Amgarrak is not too far ahead.
[Welcome to Golems of Amgarrak, the DLC that is to Dragon Age what hobnailed boots are to genitals.]
[Our companion on this adventure is Jerrik Dace, a dwarven... rogue??? That's our niche. He's got decent stats and equipment, but he's still a dual-wielding rogue in light armor, so he'll evaporate like an ice cube in a microwave if anyone breathes on him.]
[Shiny. Jerrik also has a sword and dagger combo that makes him immune to getting flanked.]
In awe at the size of this lad.
[Snug the Bronto is a pure tank, a heaping helping of HP with some threaten skills to pull aggro. However, because this is Golems of Amgarrak, he isn't an actual party member. Instead he's a summon creature linked to Jerrik- which means if Jerrik dies, Snug despawns. As Jerrik is a melee rogue, he is Quite Vulnerable to dying. This makes things difficult. More difficult.
Snug also doesn't do enough nearly enough damage to hold aggo without using his skills. He's basically a useless liability. Cute though.]
You didn't hire the sharpest chisels for this mission, did you?
Money has been tight for the Dace family in recent years.
Something about this place makes me uneasy.
[Amgarrak does not put its best foot forward. The initial fights are against generic darkspawn goons in brown caves.]
Feh! Darkspawn. Our men will not have fallen to such a modest number of darkspawn. Theres something more sinister here.
[This room is filled with sinister black smoke and traps. Walking into the smoke is a very bad idea.]
[A few shrieks attack you out of the smoke.]
[Once they're dead, a gap in the smoke opens up. I don't know why this mechanic is even here. It just serves to keep you on a linear path in a supposedly open area.]
A golem! We must be getting close to Amgarrak.
This is one of Caridins golems, but... modified. They must have experimented on existing golems in Amgarrak. Maybe they also learned the secret to building new ones.
Recreating Caridin's work is a bad idea.
Spare me the moral judgements, Warden.
They melted dwarves into goo to grease the joints on these things.
Yes, but think how good they are at punching darkspawn.
I wonder if this golem is still functional. There might be a control rod somewhere.
[Another passage has opened in the smoke room, giving us access to an area with a rune forge that can enchant our equipment, like Sandal did for us in Origins. It also contains...]
[...a control rod! That's the golem puzzle solved.]
Rise and shine, big boy.
[Contrary to appearances, the golem is our party healer. Look at those stats! It starts with the high level Cleansing Aura ability that heals everything around it over time. This will be left permanently switched on. Worth noting that while the ability is useful, it's still only a slow heal over time. We have no pulse healing apart from poultices.
Our new friend also has the generic golem punchy abilities, but those are secondary to its gentle aura.]
Where did they go? Warden! Did you see where they went?
Im starting to see strange things. I'm not comfortable here, Warden.
[About a dozen non-hostile Deep Stalkers run past as soon as you enter this area.]
The stalkers are running scared... but from what?
Whatevers going on in Amgarrak is related to this, and most likely causing it.
It better not be a smoke monster. A smoke monster is too stupid for words.
[In the zone atrium is a mini-boss, an Arcane Horror and Revenant combo, along with a bunch of angry skeletons.]
[The Horror is the serious threat, but you can bumrush him and keep his spells from going off. Leave him alive and he'll use marks to reduce your accuracy to nothing, making you helpless before his adds. Once he's dead though the battle becomes a lot easier.]
Aaand we're done.
What... was that?
Everything went blue for a second.
Either we've simultaneously sustained serious head trauma, or something magical's happening.
Both seem likely.
I'm calling some backup.
I might need you to eat some ghosts.
Like that one over there.
That's one of the men I sent on the expedition! What's going on here?
That's the door to Amgarrak. We made it.
I thought it'd be taller.
What the...? What sort of magic is this? Blast! We'll have to find another exit.
If there is one.
Don't say such things. You'll upset the golem.
Keep your wits about you. Dozens of men have been lost here, and I'm not looking to add to that number.
That thing wasn't a dwarf, or any creature I recognize. I don't like this.
This is... this is blood. And those are lumps of... flesh. I'm afraid of what we'll find here.
Follow that... thing!
[Down the hall is this room, the first time Golems of Amgarrak really tries to screw you over.]
[Going to the centre of the room activates four enemy golems, one in each corner. They will then commence throwing rocks at you. Rocks that damage and knock down everyone in an area. They can and will spam that attack over and over again.]
[Roundabout starts playing.]
[The way I beat this section was by sending the golem and Snug in first to tank the initial wave then splitting your party to go after every golem individually. Group up and you will get stunlocked.]
[I still got almost everyone killed. Fortunately, Death Bear saved the day again. Having an extra warm body to throw at the enemy is really useful.]
Chests but... ghosts? Ghost chests.
The spirit of lost property.
[Let's get out of this room of death and move on to some other rooms of death.]
W-whats wrong with him? This magic... this light... I can't even touch him!
Brogan! Brother, can you hear me?
Pitter-patter, pitter patter. Listen... the shadows, they whisper...
What is this? Some sort of... surfacer curse? He's here... I can see him... he's still alive...
Something's happened to him. We'll find out what.
I hope you're right, Warden. I'm not leaving this place without him.
I'm going to save you, little brother. Just hold on...
Looks like whoever this is was torn limb from limb.
[And then a bunch of dudes spawn in and attack you. Basically every encounter from here on out will have you walk into the middle of a room and then a shitload of guys just spawn in around you. So much for stealth.]
[It's not too tough, the crossbow ghosts go down easily. The fighter ghost takes a little more, but he only has single target abilities and our healing golem pal can outheal his damage.]
Someone left this behind. It's covered in blood and... fingers.
Playing with magic is like playing with kites. Unnatural.
Oh, hey. More creepy ramblings.
[The chest next to the note just contains a magic grenade and a health poultice. Amgarrak is fairly generous about giving you supplies.]
It's that creature again.
Did you... did you see that? It had hands, and a face...
I know these men. They... look like they were ripped apart. Ancestors, what happened here?
What do the signs say?
I'm just going to hit the big switch and hope for the best.
This better not be the sodding Fade again.
NEXT TIME: Rhapsody in Blue
NEW CODEX CONTENT:
A Bronto Named Snug