Part 6: Update 004 Fort DuvnoUpdate 004 Fort Duvno
"Everyone had got food? Sitting? Good, let's call this meeting to order."
"If you intend to use Robert's Rules of Order, I wouldn't. We are far too small for such a thing."
"I have to agree. I doubt certain members of our group have the patience for such things."
"That's enough. Art's in charge."
"Thanks. I do have something weird to tell you guys about, but that can come later as I don't think it's relevant to our long-term plans."
"That, I would like to hear about. But I shall take the floor first." He clears his throat. "I have done preliminary research through local records and it appears as though the portal at Fort Exile is not the only such entrance location to the cave system."
"We already knew that. The Nephilim have a similar entrance."
"Obviously. However, there is no indication of where it is. This is where the local attacks on Fort Duvno... and my own unfortunate encounter... come into play."
"Not my fault!"
"Peregrine, please continue."
"As I was trying to say, there is indications of a fortification being constructed to the north by the Nephilim. It may be the location of their portal, or should contain pertinent information regarding it."
"All well and good, but why?"
"I propose a raid of sorts. The portal at Fort Exile has been examined by... competent minds from the Tower of the Magi to the south, and while I would certainly like access to those records, earning that would involve gaining information about the Nephil portal."
"You want a raid."
"Nothing so uncouth, but simply yes."
"I'm all for it!"
"You would be. So go look for information about another portal. Why would that help? There's no way the Empire would seal off the Exile end of the one they used for us and not do the same for the one they send bad kitties through."
"I have to agree with her logic."
"It has to do with the construction and maintenence of portals. By locating a second independent connection, I can begin to formulate a theory that would allow for back-linking a portal to the surface via Erika's Entropic Entanglement...."
"MY BRAIN HURTS!"
"Not MY fault!"
"Children! Is this going to be a thing?"
"So, Peregrine wants us to go north-ish to find a portal and use it for... stuff. While we think that over, what else is there to talk about?"
"I gathered some improved weapons for you and Karmas."
"Thank you. Not the best of blades, but I suppose what needs must."
"A bit heftier than this knife. I'll take it."
"Nothing for the rest of us?"
"Not at this point. We three are front-liners, while you three should stay in the back."
"We should reserve some resources for better armor all around through."
"Less pain for me, thanks!"
"Anything else anyone wants to share?"
"No? Guess you all want to hear about the statue, huh?"
"I would. Sounds weird enough."
"Alright, so I was looking at that nice pool in the center of town; I'm sure you've all seen it. While I was there, I heard some whistling but there was no one nearby. Listenting around, I found one of the statues there talked. It said it was there watching and listening, but wouldn't tell me more."
"I have heard of golems being used in such a manner as spies. Usually they respond to a certain password in order to reveal what they know."
"Question then becomes if the locals know about it or not. And do we tell anyone?"
"I'd say not. It's not like we're going to walk up to it and tell it to divulge what it knows to us, now will it? We have our own goals; and unless we come across what's up with these statues, then we should leave well enough alone. Of course, we shouldn't forget about it either. Just in case."
"I'm not sold on that. If it's a spy...?"
"What if it's not? We just got here, we don't have enough information about things to go jumping the gun."
"Karmas? Ember? Peregrine? What do you guys think?"
"This is not our nation, we should leave well enough alone."
"While I would be interested in it from a technical aspect, I have far more important issues to deal with. I must recommend against pursuing this issue for now."
"I don't like it."
"Neither do I, but they've got legitimate reasons."
"Wait. Boredom is legitimate?"
"The men have legitimate reasons."
"Very well. I abide by your decision."
"We'll talk later."
"You're a horrible monster who wants to eat cows."
"We've been over that. Cows are for milk and cheese. Lizards are for meat."
"Yes, Art. You should know that."
"Argh! Alright. We'll head for Fort Duvno. It's north of Fort Exile and should be a good staging ground for our future exploration. I've already rented a room for the night, so we should get some sleep and head out in the morning."
"Keep an eye out for any more of these talking statues."
"It's not morning until the sun rises. Why the hell did I ever think coming down here was a good idea?"
"It was better than the alternative?"
"Do you even know what that was?"
"No. But the fact that you thought coming to Exile was the, and I quote "good idea" confounds me to no end."
"Don't try to understand her."
"Why? You want first dibs?"
"Shutting up now."
"I figure we can cut a little north of east to get to Duvno. It'll take us off the beaten path, but there are farms out there."
"Huh? That's a weird grove of trees."
"Something about that doesn't seem right. We shouldn't be makin' a mess of things, I think."
"Still worth investigating."
"Says the guy who wanted to go straight for a vague goal."
"It behoves us to investigate all such things at this point; for example, this grove could contain an advanced Nephilim party with information about the location of the fort!"
"Quit waffling back and forth!"
"Hey! Look! Gremlins!"
"Oh, that's a lot of them."
"A whole lot."
"Perhaps I was a bit hasty?"
"I suggest we withdraw in good order before we gain their ire."
"Running away now!"
Here's an example of a static outdoor encounter. In this case, we're given three options. At this point "approach" and "leave" do the same thing. We get out of a potentially sticky situation because we haven't attained certain things yet.
However, if you choose to "attack", this is what happens:
Doesn't seem like much, does it? Well, guess what? You just lost all your food, and everyone's HP dropped to 1. As you can see in this screenshot leading into Fort Duvno. Don't worry, the actual events involve not doing the suicidal thing.
"Does anyone else feel like we dodged an arrow back there?"
"No. Sign says this is Fort Duvno. Let's head inside."
"Alright, the usual. Split up. Meet at the Inn."
"Huh. Farming supplies?"
A tall, peculiar looking man dressed in leather sits behind the counter. He has long hair and a broad smile.
"Afternoon to 'ya, lad."
"I'm Jason. Pleased ta' meetcha'."
"Duncan's my name, business if my game. Tell me, is there really much use for farming equipment out here?"
"Well, I used to sell farming supplies. When there were farms. Then, I diversified."
"We used to have a bit of them between here and Formello. But with the Kitties and the bandits, they've all been moving away, closer to the protection of the cities."
"And so you diversified?
"Into supplies of a more esoteric nature."
"Now you have me intrigued. What do you mean by 'esoteric'?"
"Ask to purchase something, and you can see your yourself." He thinks. "Also, if you want, you can sell me things you may have ... ummm ... obtained."
"Sure, I may be able to buy something."
This is the purchase screen. You have your active party member at the top, and a list of items you can buy as well as their price. Very simple. You can also sell items to certain people (this guy will buy anything, he's useful like that) through a similar interface.
"Ah, good. About time someone had a decent archery set. Except we don't have any money, damn it."
Shopkeepers can be very boring people. Here's the Fletcher shop owner's dialogue:
Look: A small, slender woman sits behind the counter, working on fletching an arrow.
Name: "I'm J.R. Please don't ask me what it stands for."
Job: "I sell archery supplies. And a few darts. Let me know if you want to purchase something. My stock is kind of low - most everything has been going to the soldiers."
"What do we have here?"
"Sage. I figured you'd want to chat."
"Your thoughtfulness is commendable."
"Hello! I am Peregrine IV, and I bid you good day!"
The man behind the counter is short and heavy-set. He wears mages robes, not crisp and clear, but ratty, as if he'd been travelling recently.
"I am Walner. Walner the mage. Acting as a sage, at the moment."
"Oh my. That sounds quite unfortunate. What, pray tell, would cause such a thing?"
"Well, I try to be a sage. But lately, I've been seeing a lot of action." He looks down at his robes apologetically."
"What sort of Sage are you?"
"Well, my speciality is item lore. I can identify your items, if you like. But I've also come across some interesting alchemy information. I know a recipe for poison, that only uses toadstools."
Walner sells our first Alchemy recipe Weak Poison for 50 gold. We can collect Toadstools from places around the world map, and with sufficient Alchemy skill (we do), turn that into said poison.
But what he's vital for is his identification spell. For a small fee, he can identify items in your possession. Although with sufficient item-lore, you can get a general reading, this allows you the specifics. It's bloody useful, and I'll be making a lot of trips back here, one way or another as the game goes by.
"Let's see what's...."
"You know, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if you could really talk."
"Meh, it was a boring conversation anyways."
Yes, you can talk to this lizard. All it says is "hiss".
You see an old man sitting under a tree. He's fishing.
"Hello. I'm Art."
"I'm Scott," he says in a very low voice. "Be quiet. You'll spook the fish."
"Hello. Is this like, your job or something?"
"Well, not much. I used to be a farmer. Now I just do odd jobs. And fish."
"What happened? To your farm, I mean?"
His speaks loudly for the first time, in anger. "Those cat bastards, they burned my farm. They wanted the land, so they took it. Johnson sent out a group to attack their new fort, but they were never heard from. So I'm stuck here." He calms down then, and goes back to fishing.
"Fishing any good?"
"You be surprised. The cave fish are pale and strange looking, but they make great eatin'."
"I'll keep that in mind. Thanks for the word."
This is Grimmet. He's the blacksmith and can sell weapons like in Silvar. He'll also buy weapons back off you. I just summarized his conversation tree.
You see a tall, attractive woman with short dark hair. She studies you carefully.
"Hello. My name is Carol. Above ground, I was of the Hamer clan, but that hardly matters now."
"Wow, usually I introduce myself first. I'm Art. Nothing fancy. Just Art. So, the sign out front...?"
"I provide healing to the soldiers of this rather put-upon fort, as best I can. It's a difficult, but necessary job."
"Fort Duvno doesn't seem to be in that bad of a bind."
"Well, yes. Between the bandit raids and the Nephilim, there is no end to the wounds I must tend to. We're always looking for help against them. You could find out more from Captain Johnson."
"I think I will. Thank you for your time, and I hope to never require your services."
Carol can heal people, remove bad statuses, oh, and raise the dead. I really hope to never require her services.
"Well, this is getting obvious."
"And the inn."
"Oh, pardon me. I thought you may have been someone else."
You see a small, worried man in traveller's clothes. A holy symbol hangs prominently from his neck.
"Oh, no worries. Art."
"Greeting, my son. I am called Caius."
"Uh... last I checked, I was a woman."
"Gender non-specific masculine."
"Only usable for legal documents, not causal conversation. So you're the local clergy?"
"Not here. I bring the word to the flock. I once did so in Formello, but now I am moving to safer ground."
"Sorry, I'm new here. Formello?
"I was assistant priest there, but the raids got too much for me. I worked for Mother Claudette, a good, fine woman. Plus, she had the ear of the mayor. If you're ever there, mention my name to her. She'll help you get settled."
"Caius, are you really worried that Mother Claudette will send people after you?"
You see a slender, middle-aged woman, outfitted to travel.
"Greetings, m'lord. I am called Helena."
"Once again, female. Yeesh, do I have to start dressing like Ember to get that recognized?"
"You're wearing a poncho that disguises your feminine features."
"You wound me. Really. You do. So, you and Caius are...?
"Travelling now. My lord, Caius, decided to leave Formello, and I was in no mood to argue."
"And Caius is...?"
"He's a priest, and a good one, but he's more interested in preaching than fighting, so we're going to the Great Cave, where things are calmer." She looks worried for a moment. "Or, so we hear."
"Once again, new here. Formello?"
"It's a city to the north. They've had troubles, though not as bad as down here. The worst thing that's happened is that some Nephilim spies stole the mayor's necklace." She giggles. "Sounds trivial, I know, but it's supposed to be magic." She moves to take a seat across from Caius. "Still, the attacks were starting to increase. I'm glad we're going."
"I won't take up any more of your time then."
A little while later...
"I hope you two don't mind being over there."
"I shall alert you if you need to speak loudly."
Yes, I went into combat mode inside the inn just to set up this shot of everyone sitting down. The things I do for my LP's...
"Can I start?"
"This place is boring. But there's apparently a cave between here and some place up north called Formello that's full of vile and vicious creatures that need killing!"
"I do not know how that is applicable to our current situation, dear Ember."
"Well, I think it's interesting."
"We should talk with Captain Johnson, here in the fort. I was unable to see him personally, but it was indicated that he was looking into hiring a group of.. mercenaries to perform special operations. If we go together, I and Art can talk to him more about our goals."
"Seems prudent. Why don't we go now?"
"But I just got comfortable!"
"Such is life."
"No sense in wasting time."
"Back again with my posse.
"Go right in then. I already let the Captain know you were coming soon."
"Oh! Hello there!"
You see an archer. He is wandering around, looking somewhat distracted.
"Wow, second time in an hour. I'm Art. These are Rook, Ember, Peregrine"
"... Karmas and Duncan. Are you Captain Johnson?"
"What? No, Not Jake Johnson. Silly name, that. No, I'm a guard. Half the time, I stay here and guard. The other half, I try to find someone who can play chess." Chess? You've never heard of it.
"Oh! You're interested! Well, it's this game..." He talks about something having to do with kings and queens and mating. It seems interesting at first, but after awhile, you realize it's just a game, and a strange one at that. Jake notices your glazed look and sighs sadly. "I wish I could find someone who plays."
"As do I."
"Really! Great! You guys have time for a game or seven?"
"Alas, no. We have other concerns at this time, including your Captain Johnson."
"Darn it. Well, maybe next time."
"Captain Johnson, I presume?"
You see a large, bearded man in gleaming steel armor. An iron halberd is strapped over his back. Fortunately, he looks glad to see you.
"That I am. I'm the boss around here."
"Protecting this fort from the bandits and Nephilim. It's my job to not rest until all the vermin are dead. And I can use all the help I can get."
"You mean the Nephilim?"
His face twists in a very disturbing way. "Vicious vermin. I'd love to strangle every one. They're building a new fort to the north, and I sent a small group to check it out. They killed them all. We need to nail that fort while it's small." He grins. "Of course, we're getting them back. We got two of them in the cells. Dying slow."
"And these bandits?"
"I'm not too worried about them. They live in the fort to the west. They destroyed several farms, but we're wearing them down. Good pickings for adventurers." He winks at you.
"You have good soldiers, is it not within your power to remove these bandits from their nest?"
"And I know it! Our soldiers are the best, but we can always use some mercenaries too. The bandits are off balance now, and we can really use help against the Nephilim." He practically spits out the last word. There is a weird gleam in his eye.
"About this Nephilim fort..."
"I can't let you know where that is to give you folks a crack at it. Not until you've proven your worth to me. The Bandits are camped out in a sub-cavern a ways west and north of here. You take them out they have a mage with a certain wand, bring that back as proof and then I'll give you leave to go rip the Kitties a new one."
"I say we should do it."
"Bandits of all stripes are a plague upon the earth."
"Sounds fun to me!"
"His motives are sincere. And it seems like the Bandits will be a softer target than the Nephil fort. Good practice."
"I am disinclined to diversions..."
"We'll be back with this wand, sir."
"Good! See you soon."
- - - - -
Map of Fort Duvno:
((apologies for the misspelling))
Map of local area: