Part 8: Nephil FortRaid on the Nephil Fort
"Time to train!"
As I mentioned in the thread, I did some off-screen training to get everyone up to at least level 3. And here's where we run into our first problem. The lack of money. While one of the bandits in the fort dropped a Bronze Breastplate (put on Karmas), our major source of weapons and gear is going to be stores. Compound the necessity of buying food and paying for training, and you quickly run out of cash in the early game.
I get some basic stat improvements here, mainly training up peoples HP and SP, as well as a couple sundry skills. We're not to level five yet, which I consider to be a good 'break point' for overt specialization. I didn't grab pictures of everyones stats, as I have another round of training at the end of the update I'll show off everyone's stats then.
"Captain Johnson said to head north of the entrance to the Bandit Fort and then west along the northern wall of the cave."
"I must say, I should hope this goes much better than our last... outing."
"You and me both, my friend."
"Oh, quit yer griping! I was careful during the entire fight."
"You hid behind Ember or Art for the most part."
"I wasn't useless! Art, dear, back me up here!"
"I couldn't tell you, I was busy fighting the people in front of me."
"I'll have you know that not everything in this world can be solved through the use of violence!"
"No, but some things must be, lest they rot and fester into something that will harm more that if addressed directly."
"Lotta words for that."
"Guys, while I love to hear you blather all day, we're coming up on some farms.
"This is quiet."
"Too quiet. Where are the cows?"
"Ugh. At least there are no bodies."
"Do not be so quick to come to such a conclusion, Art."
"I have to agree. Just because we see nothing does not mean nothing happened."
"I'm trying to take it easy, thank you."
"Look, how about we just keep going north? Put all this unpleasantness behind us?"
This is actually a set of four encounters. Three of which are like that, but the fourth, in the north-west corner of the set, actually contains a one-off encounter with a group of bandits. I messed up catching the trigger window due to how I had the new set-up working. It goes:
You see a homestead ahead of you by a small lake. Smoke is rising from within.
Leave / Approach?
You approach the farm and see that it is in ruin. What is more, it's been like this for some time. The smoke comes from the ashes of a recent bonfire. You turn to leave, but before you can get away, you see bandits approaching
This dumps you into a fight against some Thugs and a couple bandits. I wipe them out without too much difficulty.
"That sucks. I mean, why attack these people?"
"Lookin' around, it seems like whoever lived here has long since gone away. I think they were using this as a campsite away from the Fort."
"I have to agree. Though I hope that this particular group wasn't aware of our raid on their fortification earlier. That could pose.. problems in the future."
"I hope so. Can we just go now?"
"Anyone else getting creeped out by the skull totems?"
"They are non-human, so that needn't be your worry."
"Still. I mean, heads on sticks? Who does that anymore?"
"Barbarians. Cultural groups who think such a display marks their territory with the threat that all who oppose them will die and join those sorry few."
"What ever happened to a good ol' fashioned burning of everything in your path?"
"Efficiency. A little more effort now would result in less energy expended in the future."
"I think she's leading you on, Peregrine."
"Shhhhhhh! It doesn't work if you tell people!"
"Can I make an example of you?"
"EMBER! Quit toying with the boys! Rook's found the entrance and we're going in."
The Nephilim Fort is the first 'dark' dungeon you'll typically encounter. That means that unless you have a light source (torches are expendable items, or have cast the Light/Long Light spells) you will only have this one square radius around you that you can see. Some objects grant light, like the firepit we'll come up to shortly.
The good news is that if we can't see the enemy, they can't see us either.
"And for once, her pyromania comes in handy."
"You say that like you don't like me!"
"Ugh. Look, can we at least be quiet about this? Who knows how many are in here."
"Like those goblins?"
Nothing special here. I just wanted to show this shot off to demonstrate how the game places PCs when combat starts. It can get... wonky at times. And won't place PCs where the lead character can't see them in that moment. Which can result in Art being in one square, and everyone else trapped in a single square until I can spread them out.
"I hope we didn't raise too much of a ruckus. Perhaps we should stick to the side passages for now?"
"Oh, that's not good."
Meet the Lizards. Bog standard creatures. Oh, they also have ~30 HP and dish out three attacks in a single action. To the unprepared party, they are death incarnate. At least until we meet enemy spell casters. I set myself up with Blesses/Strengths and build a defensive line. Rook promptly Assassinates both of them.
Seriously. Bless and Assassination are just that powerful. I can't wait for Art to pick that skill up in a dozen or so levels.
"Ah, just like old times."
"Let's see if there's anything of value back here."
"Seriously? Even the Nephil didn't want to come here."
"I concur. Only animals would willingly come here."
"And the unwilling?"
"Come on, I found something."
"I'll hold onto this. We may be able to return it to his family."
"Good call. Come on, let's get out of here."
"Hey, Karmas. I think that ring there is magical."
"Hrm. But that does not change my decision in that regard. In fact, it only reinforces it. If it is valuable, it only behoves me to make its return more important."
Duncan's Item Lore skill got lucky and identified the ring as a Silver Ring of Protection, a decent magical defence booster. It's an event reward, so I knew what it was, but seeing that happen was a nice break.
Items will always have their qualities, if you've identified them or not. And yes, some items are cursed.
"More focus on the now, not the yet, if you please."
Two Goblins, a Nephil and a Nephil Archer. The normal kitty drops a bronze shield that Duncan quickly identifies.
"And down this way we have...."
"I think we've reached the back of this cave. The rock's getting pretty hard. It would take specialized equipment and a lot of time to expand back here further. You can see the rubble where they've tried"
"And my light is starting to go out. Let me fix that."
Light sources do not instantly flick off in this game, unlike some others. Instead they fade away, reducing the visible radius until it's back down to one square again.
"Hush! Somethings coming up from the south!"
Random spawn Nephil and a pair of Nephil Archers. Normally, I wouldn't have documented this, but they dropped something special.
A second Silver Ring of Protection. SCORE! Not to mention massively lucky. This one goes on Art and will stay with her for most of the game due to her build.
As I head for the next section of the map, the west/left side, I encounter a few more random spawns than I was expecting, so I left the fort and ran all the way back to Duvno to use the inn and ID some of the stuff that Duncan missed.
"Alright that's that for that side. Let's go over to the west end. I think it looks more developed than the east."
"Right behind you."
"Ember? Some light please?"
"Allow me. I have greater reserves than you, and you did it last time. It is my turn."
"You're being nice. You are you and what have you done with Peregrine?"
"While you two argue, how about we stab this Kitty?" * stab *
"Definitely artificial construction. But the place is no where near complete. If the Nephil managed to fortify this properly, they would be very hard to dislodge."
"I concur. Best these beasts be eliminated now."
"North or south?"
"South. Less space to expand this way, so there will be less stuff to explore and secure."
"South it is."
"Dang it, the door won't open when I use my magic."
"We really need to buy me some lock picks so I can have a go at some of these doors."
"This section seems to have been built first. It's a lot better constructed."
"Leader's quarters perhaps?"
"I hope so. I am beginning to dread the possibility that there will be no leads on the Nephil Portal here."
Meet the Nephilim Shaman. A major step up in terms of casting power from the Acolyte in the Brigand camp. More HP, and as you can see here, can cast 'Curse'.
Of course, it had to choose Peregrine for that, which was completely useless.
And then it promptly goes down in two hits from Karmas and Rook.
"You alright, Peregrine?"
"Ah! Yes. It simply cursed me. It'll wear off in a minute or two."
"It had this necklace on it."
"I can feel the magic coming off it. Duncan, do you know what it is?"
"No, my Lore fails me in this case. I'll hold onto it until we get back to Duvno for proper identification."
"Let's see what's back here."
"Not a foul altar. Not yet at least."
"I agree. Looks like it has a private room over here."
"This dresser is empty. DAMNIT! Look around for a secret passage. There's no way there's nothing here!"
"Oh, this is so trapped it's not even funny. Give me some time to take care of this."
This trap can deal upwards of 30 damage to whoever is disarming it. I freely admit to save-scumming here to avoid Duncan dying.
"And done! Now, let's see what we have here...."
"Oh, this looks interesting. Best keep it."
The Bronze Key here isn't an actual inventory item, but our first Key (pun not intended) item in the game. We weren't told about it, nor do we know what it's used for. But we have it because this game doesn't do stupid stuff like spawn in important plot items only after we've been told about them by a quest giver.
"And this chest contains... Gold, a ceremonial stone weapon and what looks like poison."
"I think that's enough. Let's get back to Captain Johnson and sort out what we want to do next."
"DAMNATION! There's NOTHING HERE!"
"Calm down, Peregrine. We still have other possible leads."
"The Mage Tower. This also can't be the only place the Nephil have. There have to be other locations we can search out. Hell, the Castle wants to hire professional adventurers, and we can use that to get into places we wouldn't be able to normally!"
"Peregrine. We need time to think. Let's go back to Duvno and report to Captain Johnson. He may have another lead for us."
There's still more to the Nephil Fort, but I'm going to save that and the other little bits I've missed in places for the next update. I'll also do some training and update everyone as to people's stats next time.
I also apologize (rather belatedly) for the image sizes in this update. My new method didn't work out so well, so I'm going to ditch it and go back to the old method of manual screenshots for everything. Sorry for the inconvenience.