Part 7: The Nephilim CastleUpdate 004 - The Nephilim Fortress
We sshould take a recovery period after that.
Oh, I could use a hot bath!
For once, I agree completely with you!
Alright. Kai-Lyss, you're in charge of that. Make sure everyone is well-rested and recovered. I'm going to talk to someone and report in.
Shall I come with you, Art?
I'll come too, Sir Ma'am. There may be... retribution for our actions.
Not necessary, but thank you both for your concern. I'll catch up with you at the inn.
You sure, Sir Ma'am?
I'll be alright! Now go!
Yeesh, it's like they don't trust me, or something.
Art! Ye'r back!
Yep. We took a look, and there was a small place under the storage silos. The brigands didn't offer, or accepted surrender.
Messy business, that. Damn girl, you sure know how to solve problems, don't you?
I've had a lot of experience in stabbing the things in front of me while leading the people behind me.
That you do, that you do! So, I suppose that's over and done with then. Aston will be glad to see that problem taken care of, though he won't admit to it.
About that, apparently he was here back when we came through and fixed up Demonslayer. But I don't remember him at all.
I know what you mean, but he wasn't head of the Fort 'till a couple years ago. Besides, I can't expect you to remember everyone you meet in passing, can I?
No, you're a pretty unique man yourself. So, now that's over and done with, what's this about augmentation?
Hand me something, and I'll show you....!
A moment to talk about what's about to happen first. There are five grades of equipment in Exile that correspond to the type of material used as a descriptor, which in turn equates to the 'bonus' stat applied to said item. Stone and Leather are the base materials, and are +0, Bronze is +1, Iron at +2, Steel at +3. 'Magic' is a special descriptor that represents a +4 or higher bonus to the item, regardless of the material involved. In the above screenshot, the Stone Axe is a 7/+0 weapon, while the Bronze Broadsword is a 9/+1.
What Boutell can do is take any non-Magic item, and increase the bonus by 1. For a hefty price. That's a 5% increase in to-hit, and a extra point of damage.
Unaware of what is coming later in the update, I decided to upgrade the Bronze Broadsword. I should have done the smart thing, and applied it to Chester or Aaarth-Tsss' weapon, as there are less good Bashing and Pole weapons, so the improvement there is more commiserate with the effort.
Anytime! Don't be a stranger!
Sir Ma'am, why are we checking the walls?
To find another exit, I suspect.
And who threw these out? They're still usable!
At least I have enough things to throw and fire for now.
Interestingly enough, if you have a throwing weapon and a Archery weapon equipped, picking the 'Ranged Attack' option defaults to throwing, not archery.
Come on, let's go. Time to hit up that Fortress.
How ssshal we reconnoitre the location?
Indeed, a well laid groundwork is essential to any operation!
I have no experiensse with ssuch thingsss, how are they done?
Usually a good infiltration will require observation of the locale in advance, knowledge of patrols, residents, known means of ingress and egress.
You're starting to sound like a thief, Ma'am.
Why I nevah! I'm indignant that you would suggest such a thing!
Well, you do, Ma'am. Not that I'm judging you for your past choices though.
Sssay thosse wordz later. Nephil Banditsss.
I won't be showing off every random encounter, save to show off what's available in each area, or any interesting encounters. In this case, a small group of Nephil ambushed me as I left Fort Draco. Also in the area are bands of Giant Spiders.
But with your experiences, we could really use them to help make our job easier!
Your accusations wound me!
Oh, your jesting kills me! What one man says, so does another!
You're not helping either of our cases here, Mister Cat.
Dahling, Dmurr is female. Not male.
I thought it was obvious.
It didn't matter to mysself.
But...! How? Why?
A question then, young man.
Can you tell the sexual differences between Aaarth-Tss and myself?
Um... you're shorter. And your snout is smaller. You're also more scarred. And Artist
Sorry. Aaarth-Tss' scales are smoother, so I think that you're male and female respectively.
Right, but for the wrong reasons.
What do you sssee?
It is to your credit, human, that you ignored our voicess. But for the Slithzerizai and the Nephil, our speciesss sexual dimorphism is less overt than humans. Your females tend to be shorter while having secretion glands on the front of their torso, whereasss Sliths tend toward differences in the hipss and legsss.
This conversation just went into uncomfortable places.
Get used to it.
But what does that mean?
Environmental factorsss. That is all I will say, for you are to think on them, and come to me later for more wisdom.
We leave the road here. We go east until we hit the fort.
This looks like an abandoned mine.
I didn't draw attention to it before, but now there are multi-tile features like this in the game now. It's purely for flavour, as this rubble pile can still be walked upon.
At least there are no heads on pikes.
You were saying?
Front door. The map indicated a side passage around to the north.
Yet you advance on the front.
It is dark though.
Momma always told me that I would get eaten by a Grue in a dark place.
Let's go west first.
How did you know?
Having a bolt-hole out the front is a common thing.
We call them Sally Holes.
We placed ours under water.
I don't think I can deal with this.
Fine, let's turn back and go in the back.
It feels weird, knowing I have to turn back from these for now.
And here it is. Little more than a hole.
It need not be... obviousss.
I thought the whole thing behind being a secret entrance was that it was, well, you know, a secret?
Which doesssn't explain the map.
Maybe they changed the password?
This rubble in the way certainly helps the deceit.
So much for stealth.
<What I wouldn't give to be able to cast Fireball again.>
I'm surprised, Sir Ma'am.
How did we do that?
Be so... good at this.
Indeed. I expect asss much of you and I, Art. But the othersss?
She leads by example. Who are we to do not but follow?
Yes, but why?
There is a word for this form of leadership, but I do not know it.
Really? We're doing this now?
You encourage dissscusion...
Yes, but on the trail! Not in the middle of something!
You sound ssurprized.
There's some stuff in this box here.
Not edible either.
I don't know. This seems nice!
Please don't eat in front of me. It makes me nauseous.
Humph. No understanding at all.
Don't touch anything.
Do not worry. It waz automatically triggered.
How about some fighting now?
Why do our foes always seem to go after Kai?
Kai-Lyss, Cat. <I do not know. Perhaps a lingering curse from that cave?>
It doesn't matter. We protect Kai-Lyss if that's what it takes. Chester and I can do that, with Aaarth-Tss. Dmurr can be beside him, supporting with arrows, while Marianna is in the flex position.
You only came up with a plan now?
Yes. I had to see you all in action first.
You're a crazy woman, you know that?
So I've been told.
Oh, I don't like the look of this.
Meet the Baby Hydras! Three attacks per round, they are the new equivalent to the Giant Lizards back in Exile 1. Except of course where there are Babies, there will also be Adults. Not that we'll see them for a while, but for a low-level party like this one, they are a serious threat.
Here, I am casting Envenom on Dmurr, causing the Bow and Arrows to start poisoning enemies when they hit. I cannot overstate how useful that is at low levels, especially for archers, who can start dishing out Damage-Over-Time at range. And it's far more cost-effective than directly poisoning the target.
There's a lot of them down here.
Let us leave this charnel house.
Webs. That's always a bad sign.
Meet webs! In Exile 1, they were a fixed terrain piece, but in Crystal Souls, they're far more insidious. You see, they can now be used to remove them, and if your PCs step in them or worse yet, have them cast on you, they loose 1 AP. And the effects stack. They are horrific.
As noted previously, if there are two or more Webs beside each other, they block LoS.
You can see that in effect after I've cleared out one square there.
I hate Spiders. Give me a horde of Haakai and Mung Demons any day. These guys will now throw web around, sticking someone into uselessness, aren't affected by Webs themselves, and in general are the worst 'status' foe in the game by far.
I HATE SPIDERS!
I undersstand your rage, Art.
Good. Anyways, this piece of rock looks fragile. Too bad we don't have the power to break it down, I think I see something back there.
This is an example of a tile that can be affected by the Move Mountains/Shatter spell. I'll come back to it later.
We'll draw attention. Stick to the wall.
Serious advice here. If you come in with lights on, you'll just draw too much attention. I got overwhelmed at one point, and had to reload.
<Who are you?>
And I wass not on the brink of collapsss thisss time.
But now we're clear.
Are these farms?
Probably. Just mushroom cultivation though.
The poolsss are too sssmall for fizh.
Sleeping area to the south, Sir Ma'am.
Now that we have some time, let's go over what we've got.
I fell out of my chair at this moment, having cheated up identifications of all the stuff in my inventory. The Electrum Ring is simply cash, but the Magic Axe was a random drop.
It's only 3 points of damage short the Alien Blade, and lacks the Always Poisoned quality to it. Aside from that, this is a piece of end-game equipment. And it's going on Art, as Marianna is currently carrying the Alien Blade for training's sake.
Art's stats with the Bronze Broadsword +1 and the Magic Axe.
I recognize the patternsss.
I don't know about you guys, but I don't want to desecrate these things.
Yeah, that's just plain wrong.
Let's be sneaky.
Ah, the perils of stacking up. Here, a one-tile Flame Cloud is capable of damaging five party members.
Let's get out of here.
These doors are far too locked.
And I don't have the ssspelsss to open them.
That's it. I'm grinding Kai-Lyss to give him Mage 3. I NEED Unlock.
The bow is nothing special.
But the Plate will fit me.
After that detour?
<A Great Hall>.
What did she say?
A great hall, for feasts.
Oh, and Giants too. How delightful.
And here's where things started to go wrong.
Fall back to the entrance! We can bottle them up there!
Alright, time to advance.
Screenshots cannot do my experiences justice, for you see, I am in WAY over my head here. The lack of Fireball is really felt here, as I am limited in my ability to actually hurt my foes. There are massive numbers of foes around the map, more are spawning in, and if I was smart, I would turn tail and flee to grind on random encounters until Kai-Lyss gets his third level.
Notice a pattern yet? Mage 3 is a vital tier for spells, and I don't have it.
A couch? How silly.
And a kitchen.
I think we can risk a light here.
I can still hear activity from the south.
And where isss thisss cheiftan?
Oh hell! Falling back, he's HERE!
We need to leave. NOW.
Except I had spent too much time 'Long Wait'ing, and... well.. you'll see.
There's no end to them!
This is my screw up. All my waiting allowed the re-spawns to hit stupid amounts. I have to slog through a good 30 enemies from both sides, trapped in this little 'L' here. I even had to cheat once to restore all my HP.
Note, the cheater can't restore SP. You can add in an Energy Potion, but that's the closest you'll get.
I can't believe that!
You doubt Art?
To be fair, Aaarth-Tss, this was an assassination mission, not something more... complete.
Come on, let's get out of here.
When you hand her the head she smiles, and gets a sack of gold coins from her desk. "Well done, adventurers! You've earned ten times this for the service you've done for this area. This ends your work here. Good luck to you."
Now that I've read off the official response, get out!
Another small map, the back of the Nephil Fortress is mostly a transition map to the real dungeon. That's not to say it isn't dangerous, as you have three methods of getting to the actual back door. So, take your choice of poison.
And here is an incomplete map of the Nephil Fortress. We're not done here, so this map will be finished sooner, rather than later.
Here is the current map of the outside.