Part 14: Charge Of The Light BrigadePART 14: CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE
While the King's army baits the darkspawn, the forces of Teyrn Loghain will flank the horde and crush the enemy in a decisive pincer attack. But Loghain is waiting for a beacon to be lit to signal the charge, and the beacon tower has been overrun by a darkspawn advance party. Bianca and Alistair race to avert disaster...
Right, you and your friend in the dress have just been deputised.
It's a robe, actually.
Shouldn't we report this to someone? Maybe get some more troops out here?
Everyone else is a little busy at the moment. Pitched battles are terribly time-consuming.
As the saying goes, when the going gets tough...
...the tough find some cannon fodder to hide behind. Yeah, I get it.
[Advancing towards the Tower of Ishal you find some more NPC soldiers being slaughtered by the darkspawn. I'm not sure if its possible to save them, they all have about 3HP and the darkspawn target them first. There's no reward for helping them regardless.]
[We do have some new friends though. The Tower Guard is a generic sword and shield fighter like Alistair. Bet you never thought he'd be joining the party when he first appeared in Update 9.]
[Our other pal is the Circle Mage, our very first mage companion. His spells can do tremendous damage at range, but he will also die in about three hits if anything gets close, as is traditional for mages. His area of effect spells can also hurt allies, as friendly fire is turned on for all difficulties higher than easy.]
[And yes, Tower Guard and Circle Mage are their names. I'm sure these well-developed characters will be with the party for a long time.]
By the Maker! If there's this many out here, then...
Let's knock and see what answers.
It's quiet... too quiet.
Well someone had to say it.
[The Tower of Ishal exists to teach new players that letting their AI controlled allies charge after every enemy is a very very bad idea. There's ambushes galore, starting with the big empty room near where you enter the tower.
Here I'm killing the few visible Hurlock archers at range, with the rest of the party ordered to stay put. Eventually you have to enter the room though.]
[The barricades are ignited dealing fire damage to anyone nearby, and a crowd of Hurlocks charge you.]
[The goal is to fight through and kill this Genlock Emissary who peppers you with spells at range, but folds quickly when you attack him in melee.
There's a goo trap on the path through the barricades, slowing your movement drastically, which allows the Emissary and the archers (if you hadn't killed them before entering) to shoot you to pieces. This is doubly a dick move, because if Bianca wasn't a rogue we would have had no means of spotting it.]
These must have been the men Loghain stationed here.
That could've been us!
The night is still young.
[I like the design of the Tower of Ishal, each level is a vast open chamber subdivided into rooms by half height walls. It's both open and claustophobic.]
This must be how the darkspawn got in. I honestly think they're better at digging than dwarves are... Don't tell my father I said that.
Gah! What is this?
Maybe the darkspawn were planning a barbecue.
Heads on sticks. How... traditional.
Maker's breath! What are all these darkspawn doing ahead of the rest of the horde? There wasn't supposed to be any resistance here!
You could try telling them they're in the wrong place.
Right. Because clearly this is all just a misunderstanding. We'll laugh about this later.
At any rate, we need to hurry! We need to get up to the top of the tower and light the signal fire in time! Teyrn Loghain will be waiting for the signal!
[Another ambush ahead.]
[Darkspawn pour out of the doors either side of this passage when you walk through. If you're too keen and charge past you also aggro all the darkspawn in the room beyond as well.]
[These ballistas do minor damage, but they knock down anything they hit. You can't aim them, so you have to hope the darkspawn position themselves just right.]
Looks like we interrupted dinner time.
Can we please save the discussion of darkspawn eating habits? I have a sensitive stomach.
Wouldn't it be funny if they'd already won the battle outside, and we were doing all this for nothing... No? Well, I'd find it funny.
Stay here, I'm going to scout ahead.
[This is what stealth looks like. At high levels stealth gets very powerful, as you can do it in the middle of combat and you automatically crit when attacking from stealth. It also lets you do tricks like surrounding enemy mobs with traps while they're unaware of your presence.]
[But at low levels stealth can be unreliable.]
[Anyway, you want to make a beeline for the switch in the middle of the room. It opens the cages which releases the...]
[The dogs are lethal. They have two abilities- Overwhelm which lets them paralyse an enemy for a long time, and Dread Howl which briefly stuns everything around them. They fight with us for the rest of this level.]
Sorry about that.
This is the top floor! We made it!
[So there's this asshole. He has a huge amount of health and a bunch of powerful attacks. He is also a big fan of Bristolian trip-hop bands.]
[He can send people sprawling with his fists and can throw boulders if you try attacking from range. Bracket him with fighters, chug down healing
Your mage is really the MVP for this fight, as the Ogre has high resistance to physical attacks but not much in the way of magic resistance.]
[This is his most dangerous attack, picking up one character and beating the hell out of them. You can free them if one of the other characters can stun the Ogre, but you're kind of screwed if all your stun powers are on cooldown.]
Good going, Alistair!
The beacon is over there! We've surely missed the signal... let's light it quickly before it's too late!
Tinderbox... tinderbox... Right!
[VIDEO: The Betrayal]
Sound the retreat.
But... what about the king? Should we not--
Do as I command!
Pull out! All of you, let's move!
NEXT TIME: ???