Part 32: Golddale, the Golddale Mines and the Ursagi LairUpdate 027 Golddale, the Golddale Mines and the Ursagi Lair
Lots of stuff to cover, so we're jumping right into it.
"Selling Unicorn Horns for profit is always fun."
"Yeah, but we only had a couple dozen this time. Say, while we're here, let's check out the job board. Maybe there's a package going our way?"
"Seems like a good idea to me."
"We are taking that message to Ahonar."
"Do not argue with me on this."
"It's not like we know where any of these other places are."
"Alright then. But if it's that important, we should take the Ernest's teleporter, but that will cut our profits in half."
* * *
[priest] "Curious, I had not expected this missive to arrive quite so quickly. You are a credit, Delilah."
"Thank you, father. But I must go for there are other tasks that must be attended too."
* * *
"Where too this time?"
"Well, we should finish following that road north. To the east!"
* * *
"This poor river...."
"And this looks to be about where we got distracted by that flower."
"We can cross here. Barely."
Those snakes flee as I'm overleveled.
"Interesting, we're on the back side of the valley of the Nephil tribe."
"I can see that. The river, while flowing from the north, turned west to go around the hard rock of the mountains, through the softer stones."
"But it still passed through this gap here."
"You know, we find these little spots we can't get too without flying. Once I have my baby back, we're going to check them out."
"Another natural source of alchemical ingredients."
"And back to the west is the Goblins. We should backtrack east across that ford to get back to the road."
"This land would make for good farming. Between the mountains and the river."
"Except the water is disgusting!"
"I think we're close to a town."
"But this doesn't tell us which town this is!"
"Signs say 'Golddale'."
"Pretty obvious what this place is. A town with a gold mine."
"Alright, everyone split up and look around. You know the usual."
"I wonder what they work, aside from Gold? Because gold is pretty soft, and not all that useful."
Generic shopkeeper selling Iron weapons.
"How do you pronounce that? ih-VAH-noh-vah ? Or ih-vah-NOH-vah ?"
"Curious. Openly walking through our town." This woman is piercingly beautiful, and has the air of one who is comfortable holding power. Her robes are simple and precises. She has two wands at her belt.
Welcome to Golddale, where every named NPC is from Jeff Vogel's favourite show during the timeframe he was making this game. All character portraits are taken from the relevant character page on the B5 wiki.
"Hey there! I'm Sass! And of course I'd be walking around. There's not enough water to swim in."
"I am Ivanova, sage by trade." She grimaces. "I do a lot of metal analysis. Leaves little time for my ... well, my other studies. I presume then that you're not from the mines?"
"No...? Not really. I mean, I was born underground, but then we all are. So, you do metal stuff?
She looks impatient. Metallurgy! What else would a sage by a mine do?
No. I am a sage. I study items. You can have me identify your items, and then sell them to me. Beats working.
But isn't that work in the first place? And what do you really study?
She looks at you shiftily. I study teleportation a bit. Quite an interesting field of study, eh? In fact, if you wanted to undertake a little mission for me, the reward would be worth you while.
Oooh! missions are always fun!
She describes a book to you. There is a mage named Ernest, Valorim's leading master of teleportation. He lives in a hut southwest of Farport. I can guarantee that book is somewhere inside. Get that book and bring it to me, and I will teach you how to cast the spell Identify.
I'll need to talk to scary boss lady.
Man, Sass is getting weird looks. Well, weirder than your typical Slithzerikai does on the surface.
Vo-Tech? Why do I want to say 'Vorlon Technology'? But that can't be right, they're mythical, and I'm pretty sure everyone calls them angels anyway. Maybe this is a religious place? That can't be right, those aren't usually in places of business like this.
A short, stocky man, mostly bald, sits behind the counter. He has several knives and a sharp analytical gaze. I am Londo, he says in a thickly accented voice.
Bronwyn. Did I get that right? Vocational-Technical?
I am responsible for education in this filthy town. I teach the people who go to work in the mines.
More than any of the other cameos, this one is easiest to hear in the voice of the character.
You sound like you're not impressed with the mines.
The mines are dangerous in the best of times. The poor workers must be told what to do at all times. I need to teach them a wide variety of skill. If you need training, I can help you too. For a fee.
So, why do you say this town is filthy? I mean, the river's a mess, and compared to Pergies, this place is clean.
The dust constantly clogs my nose, and the dirt is always in my clothes! At least it's been better lately, because of all the troubles in the mines.
That sounds important. What's the trouble?
The mines have been attacked by many, many dangerous monsters. I am not who you should ask about that, though. You should talk to Delenn. She runs the mines. Her office is nearby.
Hello! I am Ni'aurrl.
A Nephilim male maintains the inn, keeping the bar clean with feline fastidiousness. He purrs in greeting. I am G'kar.
It is good to see one of us gainfully working with the Empire. Tell me, what are the prices for your inn?
Mrrr. We have a fine room for only 15 gold. Apologies ... we have none of our usual mead.
What do you mean? What happened to your mead?
He shrugs, in a smooth, feline way. The monsters to the north of here have made merchants nervous about coming here. Thus, my usual sources of mead have dried up. Still looking for a new source.
What monsters are those?
Troglodytes by Sharamik. Giants in Lorelei. Even heard rumors of golems to the Northeast! He hisses. Horrible days, to be sure.
I don't think we can fix his mead problem though.
Much more interesting.
Ah, yes, the ones with the damned lizard.
I'm sorry, I think we got off on the wrong foot. My name is Matthias.
You meet with a middle-aged woman with long dark hair and an air of command. She wears a long, flowing, very professional dress. She stands and shakes your hand. You are right. I apologize. I am Delenn. Welcome to my office.
Thank you for you for your time. Are you also the mayor?
No, this town doesn't have a mayor. We are a Company Town. I run the Golddale Mining Company. Challenging, but rewarding work.
I haven't heard of Golddale before my party came here today. What's it like?
A wealthy and peaceful town. Fortunately, we have suffered little at the hands of the troglodytes that have plagued the north.
Sounds prosperous. I assume that the mining is being protected?
We pull gold and silver out of the mountains to the east. Considering the poverty of much of Valorim, valuable metals are a great blessing to us.
There is much wealth in the ground and many monsters interested in it. We often pay adventurers to undertake missions for us.
That's a curious reversal from the usual 'no adventurers' policies.
Those are for the Empire, not for towns such as mine. We run them according to our needs.
Alright. So, what's this mission of yours?
Our mine is to the northeast, but it has been taken over by strange lizard people, much like the one whom you entered with. And I will have to talk to Garibaldi about his guards. They are led by a certain chieftain who wields a huge spear and commands several lizard mages. Slay their chief, and drive the rest out of the mine, and I will reward you well.
Alright, first thing's first. They're called Slithzerikai, or Slith for short. Second, yes, Sass is one of them, but there are many tribes. You can't ascribe conditions to one that are from another like that. Third, how the hell did they get up here? They're native to below Exile, and the population there is tiny!
And I know you're from Exile as well. Word of your presence and your actions are why I believe I can trust you to deal with this. If it is as you say, Matthias, then they are your problem as much as mine. Now get rid of them.
We will investigate. I hope the gold and silver are worth it.
It's very simple. We need precious metals to trade with the rest of the Empire for the supplies we need to grow. Without them, Valorim will be a backwater forever.
So, that's the deal, huh?
That it is.
We must investigate! Talk to them! Come to make everyone happy!
If we can for the surface Nephil, we can do the same for this colony.
Something about Golddale's population made me realize something about Valorim's cities. In the past games, you could talk to everyone, from the random guards on up. They all had names, and had something to say, even if it was incidental dialogue.
But with Exile 3, that changed. Golddale only has 4 people to talk to. Two of the shopkeepers are generic, and the rest of the NPCs don't even have a dialogue box.
Valorim is empty of talkative NPCs, and I'm not sure how to feel about it.
At least the mines aren't that far away.
No one at the entrance. Curious that.
Well, at least we're authorized.
Really wondering where these Sliths are.
I'm thinking there.
Hello? I'm Sass! I'm friendly!
Ow! They're not!
What's their problem?
I want to talk!
What do you mean?
You work with the humansss!
Let's fall back for now. Come up with a better plan than straight ahead.
Perhaps we should see if there is some sort of 'back entrance?
Sounds good to me.
Not this way, there isn't.
This is where the bad stuff comes from!
Did we just walk all the way around the flower valley to get to the other side?
* * *
Fairly rugged and dry here. Blocked from moisture from the west by the mountains, and I have no idea how far inland we are from the eastern ocean.
* * *
* * *
There are tracks up this valley.
And definitely something over there.
Each time you say 'yes', you get 100 gold. Do it three times, and this is what happens:
There are a lot of them.
All the better to Firestorm them with.
And you wonder why the Anama don't like you guys.
To be fair, our offensive spells tend to be more precise than theirs, not that we object in totality.
Lots of signs of Ursagi.
And here's our back door.
And of course there would be Ursagi here.
Why would they move in here? It's obvious this is a place of work, not living.
What's with these rocks?
Random rocks in this dungeon are actually Gold or Silver Ores!
There sure are a lot of them.
Like, a whole lot!
This was after Sass took 15 HP off.
Was that all of them?
They're being mean! We should beat them all up!
No chief with a huge spear, so I'll say we have more to go.
This choke point would be better if the AI pathfinding didn't get stuck on the corner to the left that turned south just out of sight.
There are Gremlins here!
Less important than this.
Gah. Why did they think they could take us while we defended here?
I don't know, but lots more are coming out of everywhere!
Especially from this way!
Curious, I think they've abandoned the front door to attack us.
OH HELL, WHAT IS THAT?
I suppose I should head back. There's no flanking them this way.
Where were you?
Not going around the back, alas. But we can push up now.
Why do you attack?
Our masters demand it!
This guy's tough.
Just as dumb at tactics as the others.
To be fair, he's used to attacking miners, not people like us.
You're a big one, aren't you?
That's for making us look bad!
Come on, we'll clear out the rest, then report back.
A lot of loot.
She's not kidding. The Slith drops lots of coin, and that Archer's bow is amazing! End Game equipment, actually.
Come out, come out, wherever you are!
Search the place. Let's see if we can find out why they were here.
But you did that!
I did. I caused this.
Don't be silly. That was, what, a decade ago? There's no way you could have known about this.
Doesn't change a thing.
Regardless, let us back to Delenn, and inform her that her mines are clear.
* * *
We are back.
What is this new mission?
If you go through the Golddale mines and emerge at the other end, you'll be in a rocky valley infested with the Ursagi. At the east end of the valley is the largest nest of them. They live in caves that also happen to be filthy with gold deposits. She grins. Clean this cavern of monsters, and a magical sword is yours.
I think we can do that.
Stabilizing the continental economy seems like a net positive for everyone.
You know, Delenn isn't joking. Golddale is the only source of precious metals in Valorim. There are Iron and Uranium deposits elsewhere, but those aren't exactly mintable.
And these Ursagi are dangerous creatures anyway. They should be contained.
Their range includes the Isle of Bigail, so it may not be that easy.
You know, this is a huge valley.
Nope, not the place.
At least no one will miss the ores we're picking up.
No. They won't.
I think this is it!
Um.. talking? Are you sure those weren't their Goblin servants?
Well, you know what I like to say when this happens?
Something arrogant, no doubt.
We're not trapped in here with them. They're trapped in here with us!
Attacking from behind. How vaguely original.
Especially when our marching formation puts us in danger?
Not for long!
This is going to be a running theme, right?
Yep. According to my guide, you need to depopulate this dungeon to complete the quest. And the requisite number of kills in 38. Most of the enemies (about 2/3) are Ursagi, with the rest being generic bears and a coupe Goblins for measure. So enjoy plenty of screenshots of me killing stuff.
I don't want to be in their pantry any more.
Ugh, my arms are getting tired.
This is different.
The best way to handle this guy is to abuse the fact he only creates ice walls while moving. Stop him, and he won't generate any ice fields in front of him, where the front trio will stand, beating on him with blessings and curses. After that, it's just a matter of beating him down.
I think we got real lucky. What's the loot look like?
Well, they can't get out through that thin passage. Delilah, Ni'aurrl, shall we simply rain fire down on them from safety?
Oh hey, this is interesting. You know, for being in the farthest corner of their cavern.
Forget anthropology, this is wrong.
Reload. And after I went through the trouble of resting and restoring my party.
Curious, but irrelevant.
I smell fresh air!
Yep, looks like a hidden passage out. Shall we take it?
Nah, one more pass.
* * *
We should head back now. Report this to Delenn.
* * *
One cave of bears, wiped out.
You know, if peaceful Sliths come up in the future, you might want to hire them. They can live in the caves, and help fight off the monsters while mining.
They just like to build statues everywhere.
Perhaps. But that's something for the future, after the wounds have faded.
* * *
So, she gives us this as a weapon:
Bronwyn gets this, as the 9/+5 is better than 10/+3 of her Steel Waveblade, though I keep that around for later augmentation opportunities.
The Archer's Bow we picked up is a glorious gift from the RNG. It's a Bow, so it doesn't have an encumbrance value, but provides 5/+3 Defense. I give it to Bronwyn for extra tankyness. It might end up on Art because she has no shield.
* * *
Well, that's that. What next, I wonder?
Haven't had one of these in a while. You see, Golddale is kinda in the middle of Karnold Province, and I can either go west from here, find the capital and get on the road to dealing with the Trogs in the region, or I can go further East, and explore the great unknown. Cast your votes, and I'll tally them up eventually.