Part 19: Kuper and KneeceUpdate 017 Kuper and Kneece
Another short update. I might have been able to incorporate the next town into it, but I wasn't prepared for it. Better two shorter updates than one bulging-at-the-seams-one.
Are we going for another boat ride?
Yes, but we have to go through town first.
I wonder what it will take to get a skiff of our own. Nothing deep water, but being able to sail around on our own would be nice.
I agree. That should be looked into.
I don't know... I'm still sick from the last one....
Alright, everyone split up. Bronwyn, I'm tasking you with making arrangements to get to Kneece. Everyone else, meet up with her in an hour, either at the docks, or at what passses for an Inn around here.
Oh boy. Hello there, gentlemen.
You meet an Empire Soldier. He has a nasty scar running down the side of his face, which he fingers as he watches you. "I'm Captain Zog." His voice drips with contempt.
"Oh, don't act so clever!" he spits. "You think you're so smart, wandering around like that! Well, everyone knows about you!"
Look, I don't know what you know
"Everyone acts how it's so great you're around. You guys flouted the Empire, and we can too! Well, they don't know! They didn't get wounded in that pit!" He points to his scar.
I agree, that's a nasty scar, but
He voice becomes a hiss. "I lost friends to all of you. One of your spells scarred me for life. There'll never be peace between the Empire and Exile. As long as I'm around, there'll always be a little bit of war."
You're not the only one who feels that way, Zog. Lucky for the rest of us, you don't have the power to enact your desires.
Captain Zog is the NPC on the right. The one on the left is bounded into a 2x2 box in which he is the upper-right at the moment. The box is fixed to the lower-left corner of the map.
An Empire soldier is here. He regards you with naked, barely controlled loathing. "I am Bagzath, worms."
And you're the calm one?
He seems barely able to restrain himself. "I found a way down there. I swore to slay Exiles wherever I can. Back away, or I will destroy you." He fingers the pommel of his sword, hoping you'll give him an excuse to attack.
Bagzath here is the first NPC we've encountered in this game whose hostility meter can flip. Right now he's a friendly NPC, but if we ask him about Exiles, attack or destroy, he says this:
And turns hostile. He is also no longer bounded to this corner of the map.
Because Zog was right there, and he stayed friendly, he's now attacking Bagzath. And while it would be fun to watch this play out between two perfectly equal NPCs, I just reload the game to reset the town.
Damned orchard. Where are the docks?
Ah, here they are.
A stocky woman stands my the docks, looking you over. She seems pleases to have potential customers.
Good day. Name's Bronwyn.
"I am Olga."
I saw your sign.
"I run the ferry over to Kneece. The tickets are only 30 gold. Expensive, I know. But the journey is tricky."
What's wrong with the journey? Roaches don't swim.
"Kneece is an old ruined town, surrounded by jagged rocks. I don't know if anyone lives there or what. All I know is that people pay enough to go over that just selling a few rides there makes some good money!"
Here's your gold. I've got five more people showing up in an hour or less.
Thank you. When you're ready, just head out to the middle dock. That's my boat.
* * *
More people sleeping away from homes.
* * *
And another completely unwelcoming inn. I'm beginning to get a taste for some of these surface drinks.
* * *
Dress straight. Hair semi-clean and not in the way. Let's do this.
You meet a priestess of the Anama Church. She seems quite friendly, perfectly willing to take a break from her work to speak with you. "I am Mother Melamed. How may I help you?"
Oh, I'm Delilah. I'm on the pilgrimage. Do you do much here?
She smiles. "Oh, I just sort of guide things here. We haven't had as much trouble from the roaches as other towns, so we just try to keep things safe and simple."
I haven't seen many of them, though I just came from Fenris Port. Is that normal?
"I'm not sure why we've been hit with so many fewer roaches." She smiles, dimples showing. "Just blessed, I guess."
Then you must have plenty of time to help guide the people of this town!
She pats the altar. "It's not difficult to figure out the path to take, with the Anama faith to help light the way."
Tell me more about the Anama, please.
"Yes, this town, like most towns on this island, is shepherded by an Anama priest. It's a beautiful religion. Would you like to hear some of my interpretations of its philosophy?"
I have to agree. When one looks at the works of magic against the works of the priestly, you can see that they are more aggressive, more combative. Yes, there are magics to harm available to us, but we also temper it with healing and strengthening of ourselves. I dare say that we are better known for our mercy than our cruelty.
Further checking indicates that I did not miss out in Hectar, the Anama Question. I only need one more, from the next proper town, in order to advance to the next step of the sidequest.
* * *
Is this everyone?
And what are you?
Sass! I'm Slithzerikai!
Huge lizards. I've never heard of you but... I know that Kneece has been infested with the things, from previous groups going there. I shouldn't be surprised.
Why are other people going there?
Why, to salvage of course! Before the town was abandoned, it was a Mage Town!
In the past, yes. But not anymore.
Welcome to Kneece.
What really happened here?
I don't know. But this used to be an inn of some sort.
The nice lady mentioned lizards. Where are they?
I avoided fighting these back in the Goblin Warrens, and now you can see why. They can completely demolish an early party through triple attacks. Now, they're no biggie.
Wow, that was fun! Let's do it again!
This building it's intact.
Perhaps we can work our way around and find an entrance?
As long as we keep the Lizards away from us.
Man, this shelf has been shredded by the lizards. Enough that someone's lost coinage is now available!
Old forge, adjacent to what looks like a temple by the tile on the floor.
Hey, there's a really big lizard in here!
What? How big?
This guy is practically a boss fight for us Art is Level 12 or 13 at this point, and this thing is basically a toned down DRAGON.
Check out that damage! I think a creature's Skill stat acts as Intelligence when applied to spells, so this Drake is casting as though it had 18 Int. Remember, our stats can only go to 20.
What are these things?
Wasn't there that man in Krizsan who wanted their horns for proof they have been killed?
She's right. We should look into that!
How about killing the Drake first?
The creature was starting to build a horde here. I suggest we rest up, and look through these things for anything of worth.
A half-dozen of these.
This weighs far more than it should.
Finally! Hey, Delilah, you can ditch the bow you've been using. Here's a real weapon!
Once her Archery Skill goes up past THREE that is.
We should keep this one. Never know when someone might need it.
No sign of an entrance on this side.
Less powerful than the Drake we just killed. But still strong.
I hear more lizards to the south.
I wonder where McEnroe went to? He obviously wasn't concerned about the Anama, what with this as his door plaque.
I look in this room. I look at my HP/SP. I close the door.
Let's camp outside of town for a moment, to rest up.
Hey! There's Kuper!
Very close by. I wonder what happened here?
Aside from the giant lizards?
That should be obvious, yes.
Ah, here's the entrance. Very welcoming.
This is welcoming?
I stand by my statement.
This is a passable barrier. I suppose it keeps the lizards out.
Ah, the joys of taking damage. I miss Dispel Barrier.
That looks like a house!
Sure, just past this completely, not ominous at all portcullis.
It has to be safe!
I think that had the sense of an infection detector, in case the persons passing through were sick.
Well, an invitation is an invitation.
A withered old man watches you serenely. He sits with a pair of wands nearby, in case you cause trouble.
You can even see the wands on the table!
Sorry for the obvious, but we have to check you are?
He scratches his nose thoughtfully. "I am Purgatos. I live in seclusion."
So I see. Two layers of defenses around your home makes for a certain degree of seclusion.
It will not be enough in the long run, I am afraid. I am avoiding the tentacles of the Empire."
Did you do something wrong? To get the Empire after you?
No, not in such a manner as yourselves. The Empire's control is not something I can adjust to. Exile is too cold for me. This island will do, until the inevitable occurs."
Hey! Exile isn't that cold! We have magma veins. And fire.
"One is cruel, the other damp. Neither are good choices."
What do you mean by the inevitable?
"The Empire will come here someday, and suffocate all free thought." He sighs. "But I know that hearing the complaints of an old man is not the reason you journeyed here."
I was taught to listen to my elders! They have interesting things to say.
And yet, we did journey here.
"News of you precedes you everywhere you go. I can tell you about Kneece, or the Anama, if you wish. But I suspect you are most interested in the problem of the cockroaches."
Let's leave business until last. What the hell happened to Kneece?
"This city was a magical center before the Anama came to Bigail, and suddenly our supply shipments started 'disappearing'. The mages abandoned this place, and a bunch of giant lizards moves in. I am the only person left here. The solitude suits me."
Hold on, can you prove that the Anama 'misplaced' the shipments?
Not officially, no. The ruination of Kneece was their fault. I despise them. Avoid them it at all possible. By the way, they have a huge treasure in their temple somewhere. I hope someone steals it."
Steal a treasure? That would be... rude!
He grins wickedly. "You didn't hear that from me."
I guess that means we're just left with the cockroaches.
"I do a bit of scrying and ethereal wandering. I know how the monsters are created. There's a small difficulty though."
You know where the monsters come from?
"The cockroaches are being made in a huge underground factory, which creates filth for them to grown in and eat before they go out to cause havoc. The Filth Factory is hidden somewhere on the Isle of Bigail. Therein lies the main difficulty."
Of course there's going to be a difficult part.
"Recently, someone came to me. Don't ask for more details. I choose not to give them. This being told me that when you came, you should be helped. I have developed a device which I believe will destroy the factory. However, this would only be useful if the place was found. If you found it, I would make the device a gift to you."
I want to say it's in the valley north of Shayder, and west of Hectar, but we couldn't find it there.
When you have your evidence, come to me. Until then, keep searching.
Ohh! Nice books!
Before we head back to the mainland, I want to scout around for a bit. See if there is anything out of place or the like that could be attributed to having an island set aside for magical research.
You think we'll find anything?
No, but it's worth a look.
Something to note about Valorim the forests here are MASSIVE. It doesn't really come across in these screenshots because I haven't extracted them into full maps yet. But we're talking about continent spanning! Bigail is our first real taste of them, and as we proceed north, it'll just get thicker.[/i]
This is so... I don't know the word...
Brown below the canopy.
Really? A Forest Primeval would not be this easy to traverse!
You're right. There is something here, but I can't put my paw on it...
Just walk around with your claws out and you'll find it eventually! Like this!
Nice view though.
There's an optional dungeon here in that 'empty' tile. However, we haven't been told about it, so it's not there yet. And some checking about what's supposed to be in there indicate I don't want to be here for a while yet.
Now we wait.
You want to come back again, it'll be 30 gold again.
I think we can afford it.
Time to circle west now, there's the town of Bavner we still have to investigate.
That's a good idea.
* * *
What is that?
Did any of you hear that?
Not me either. Unless you count wind and trees.
I can hear it... this way.
What's the procedure for when the party leader starts hallucinating?
Or goes senile?
I am far older than her, and I've still got all my faculties!
Where are we going?
That doesn't answer a thing! And what is it that you're hearing?
I... I can't describe it.
I am officially worried.
As are the rest of us. Be ready for anything!
This doesn't look evil.
Still, could be a trap.
No, it's not a threat. At all.
Please, don't scare us like that! What if something had gone wrong and it summoned demons?
Then we would have killed them all!
Yeah, only in the stories, kiddo.
Um... where did the stones go?
They weren't needed any more, so they left.
There are six stone circles like this in Valorim, though we can only reach five before the endgame. They have escalating rewards for locating them, and I will be certain to do them all. The next one will be hit up on the way back to Fort Emergence after we've dealt with the Filth Factory.
Webwood? How is this the first I've heard of that town?
It may be too new for my map.