Part 9: Loose Ends and Stats (1)To those reading the Archives, this update is going to be about finishing off the last bits of the stuff I've missed over the past 6. There's little in the way of narrative here, but I'll still have people talking over things rather than saying "This and That" are "Here and There".
"Come to papa!"
"You sure this is legit?"
"Of course I'm sure! I checked with some of the others, and it seems like this guy up and left a while ago. Cleaned out and everything."
"So why are you trying to break and enter?"
"Oh, I wish Rook was here for this."
"What is he doing anyways?"
"He's over at the training hall with the others."
"Heh. Keeping them from killing each other?"
"You bet. How's it coming?"
"I thought you didn't want me to do this?"
"I don't. But if you're going to do it, then I want you to at least do it well."
"Interesting philosophy. Ah-ha!"
"You're right. It's dusty in here."
"Others have been in here before. Come on. The back wall is too far out to mesh with the wall of the boat shop."
"Secret passage or hidey hole?"
"Now you're thinking!"
"Wouldn't it have been easier to simply, say, dig a hole under the floor?"
"Sometimes people ain't smart."
"Tight in here."
"You stand back. I see a tripwire ahead."
"Ygh. Give me a moment. I'll cure this."
As you can see from the screen shot, Duncan failed disarming the trap, and poisoned everyone in the party. What you don't see is me burning off a few SP to cure everyone.
"Here, you take this. What with your crazy combat style."
"You sure it isn't cursed?"
"Hidden like this? I don't think so."
This is a Steel Short Sword. It's a better weapon than Rook's Iron Mace. It goes on Art, and will stick with her until we get a second magic sword the first is going on Karmas.
"Pardon us ma'am. We've been authorized by the Mayor to investigate your concerns."
"Really? You'll take care of those noises?"
"Yes. Would you be so kind as to unlock this door for us?"
"Of course! Give me a moment to grab the key!"
Duncan picks the lock instead.
"What possible use could this passage have?"
"Loading or unloading the cows from boats straight into the pen without having to walk them through town?"
"An answer I can find no immediate flaw with. I suppose even you can improve with my presence."
"No, I asked the shopkeep!"
"I agree. Are you sure it's not you who has the benefit of her presence?"
"Huh. What's this?"
I am massively overpowered for this fight. Two Nephil and a Shaman aren't a challenge at all; although they could be if you manage to get through that lock at a lower level. Too bad they dropped no loot, and there's no change after beating them. It's just a one-off event to show off that yes, the Nephil to raid cities as well, rather than just being told about it.
"I think we should tell the Mayor about this...."
"Yes a very good idea."
"Damnation! I thought we were far enough back that they would focus on Duvno and Exile first! Thank you. I'll step up the water patrols from now on."
And here is the complete map of Silvar with points of interest pointed out.
This encounter is along the south side of the spire/column that holds the Bandit Fort.
Bronze Battle Axe. Less useful than Rook's current weapon.
The encounter changes to this if you come back after.
"I must confess some desire to see what lay behind this door."
This is the locked door in the Bandit Fort. There's another locked door leading into the same building from the north side, but this side is faster to get at the goodies.
"Oh my. Spirits unsent. Are they soldiers, or bandits?"
"How about we make them Twice-Dead?"
"A good idea. Sülh istirahət."
These Spirits are the first undead enemy in the game. They are a bit more powerful than anything else in the Bandit Fort, but the party is overpowered for them as well.
The only note-worth thing about this fight is if you look in the Logs. Peregrine cast "Turn Undead", a Level 1 spell that did more damage than anything else he could have cast. Hooray for specialized tools!
"It is done. Let us see what they guarded. Duncan, if you please?"
Gold and a minor poison. Nothing worth writing home about.
"Such a pity, they were bound to such things. Let us take our leave."
And here we have the final map of the Bandit Fort. We'll never come back here.
"Can someone tell me why we're back here?"
"Captain Johnson wanted us to check a couple things out. These locked doors for one."
You see a man in tattered armour. He is clearly underfed, and has been beaten as well.
"Oh thank the gods!"
"At ease soldier. You're safe now. We're the 1st EEC, and we've secured this fort. What's your name?"
"I'm so glad to see you. I'm Daniel." He looks at the party "Secured? Just the six of you? Where the rest of you?
"Just us! Cap'n Johnson thought a small elite group would do better than a large overt assault. He was right!"
"What about you? How did you get to be here?"
"I was part of a group that raided these caves. We thought they didn't know we were coming, but they must have seen us, 'cause they nailed us when we entered the main cave. I don't know what happened to the others."
"There were about 20 of us. A bunch of them died in the ambush. Others hid in tunnels. This place is riddled with hidden passages. Two of us were captured."
"Many of those bodies we found... Anyways, you're clear to go. We'll take you back to Fort Duvno once we've finished clearing out the last corners. Stay here until we come get you. If we're not back in an hour, try to escape on your own."
Actually, the tile with the door has a hidden 'NPC only' wall on it, much like Secret Passages. Monsters and NPCs won't cross them, but the party can.
"Time for the other one."
"He left a message."
"What are the Nephar?"
This little room is located along the north edge of the map. It's guarded by a single Nephilim Warrior
"Don't be jealous!"
"yeesh, not much."
The Nephilim Fort. Undocumented in the centre Trash Pit is an encounter with an Asp (can poison). Any section that seems disconnected from the rest of the map is accessible by secret passage.
"I remember people saying something about a cave up here!"
"Possibly recently used, by the looks of it. Did they mention what was in this cave?"
"Urgh! This is a tight passage!"
"Damn lucky I found those tracks!"
"Why are we doing this?"
* grumble *
50 food here. And it spawns in an encounter with some thugs. But because the party is level 5ish, they all run away.
Interesting thing. The game discourages grinding by setting enemy encounters on the world map to run away if you're too far above them. You'll see this occasionally in the log where it will say "Combat: Monsters Fled"
"Well, what do you know. There is a cave up here."
"Ember, you do not require guano to cast your Fireballs. That's a myth told by the ignorant and uneducated."
"True, but it helps to have some."
"Is it just me, or is it warm in here?"
"Let's have a look."
I mentioned earlier how the game discourages grinding in the over-world? Well, it does something different when dealing with encounters in a dungeon.
Art Assassinated this poor bat. Yet she doesn't have any of the skill! When the level difference is high enough, the game will let this happen on occasion to help make combat faster. It's a nice touch.
"This water is warm."
"What is that stench? Sulphur?"
"Yes. Hot springs nearby perhaps? Hot and humid would explain why there are so many bats here."
"There's more heat coming through here. I don't know about you, but I could use a good soak."
"You and me both."
I should note that there are three types of bats in this cave. Normal Bats for one. Then Rabid Bats which can attack twice and cause poison. And a third type we'll see in a couple moments. Oh, and you can't tell them apart by sight. You have to use the 'look' command to differentiate between them at a distance.
"I honestly did not expect lava here."
Meet lava. Don't walk on it.
"Bats that breathe fire? Curse you for bringing us all this way!"
Meet the third type of bat. The Fire spewing Lava Bat. We don't encounter them often.
What's interesting to note is that if the party is hit by a magical attack, rather than a physical one while out of combat mode, it can hit multiple people in the party at once as you can see in the above picture.
Much Combat later....
"That was NOT worth the effort!"
"I don't know, there's that bridge over the lava to the south there. It seems to lead into a cavern back there. The bridge looks constructed, not natural."
"Seriously. Did you actually say that?"
"Yes! After fighting through all that, I deserve a little relief!"
Map of the Bat Cave. The altar with the loot is in the lower right. Expect a lot of combat in this one, and only make your move after the Nephil Fort is cleared.
And here's the annotated map of the two sections of the map we've explored. Out of 42. The x.y notation is from the lower left corner. We're at the easternmost edge of Exile, at the halfway point along the y (North-South) axis. Based on your votes, Art and co will be going to 6.3 and 6.4 next.
Now, it's time for everyone's stats at long last!
Art is coming along nicely at this point. Her next few levels will be dedicated to raising her Strength and Dex. She will also be needing more SP and levels in Priest once we get past level 10.
Her equipment is decent. The Silver Ring and Silver Gauntlet (from the Bat Cave) both raise her defence in lieu of a shield. Art's gimmick, so to speak, is that she dual-wields swords. This build relies on massive offence from two strikes per attack, and once blessed and hasted, becomes a whirlwind of death.
Oh, did I ever mention that dual wielding is only mentioned in the strategy guide once, in the 'Wouldn't it be interesting?' section? Art is taking some accuracy hits (when I get to Exile 2, where the exact percentages are shown, you'll see), but that's what skill and buffing is for.
Karmas is much more protected. With a Helm and Shield he can take blows much better than Art ever could. This game makes Shields very, very useful. The Fang Necklace was pulled off the Nephil Shaman from the fort, and will occasionally Bless its wearer.
Duncan has Traps and Lock-picking covered, so I'll spend a few skill points raising Defence to make that Shield work better, and on Poison so he can start using that better.
Rook is a ranged Karmas with Assassination in place of Poison. The Iron mace is the most powerful weapon in our arsenal right now, with Art's Steel Short Sword coming in a close second. The Bow was bought from Fort Duvno, while the arrows are there for harassment.
I plan to drop a couple more points into Assassination over the next few levels while keeping his combat stats up. Spare points go into Item Lore as it's a communal pool there to ID items, rather than by person.
Peregrine, I'm sad to say, had money run out on him before I could finish levelling him up. His equipment is bottom of the line, but then again, he should be throwing spells, not darts (give those to Ember).
I need to dump a few points into Strength to start his natural HP gains going, as well as keep increasing his SP. Mage lore isn't vital at the moment, but I will want to get his basic spell levels up to 4 before we're done with Formello and the Mage's Tower.
Duncan continues to be a utility player, his lock picking skill saving SP better used for combat. His equipment is pure hand-me-downs, and will stay that way for a while.
I'm going to eventually invest in Strength and Pole Arms for combat, but for now, he can stay behind the lines. Traps also needs to be raised soon. Alchemy can wait.
Ember is pure magic offence. Her equipment is even more hand-me-down than Duncan's.
Her Int and SP need to be raised to match Peregrine's soon. After that, her Luck will serve her in good stead, and I'll need to drop a point or two into Strength for the HP gains.