Part 12: Update 010 Fort Dranlon and ExplorationUpdate 10 Fort Dranlon and Exploration
"Don't be so quick to drink your sorrows away. We can fix it."
"At least Art didn't get the full brunt of it though. Her magic is more divine than arcane."
As a thamatagure, I was especially susceptible to the effects of the broken crystals.
Barkeep! A double for my friend here!
Are you talking about the Crystal Cavern?
Yes. Been there?
I've been looking for it!
Don't. Some idiot broke it.
WHAT? But it's supposed to have healing properties by being a major Lux Line!
Some muggle went and broke some of them an took the crystal shards. It's broken.
Here, I'll tell you where it's at. Be mindful of the headaches. You'll see what pieces are missing. You find any of them, tell us. We're going to be looking a bit farther abroad.
Hey guys, we're headed out. Apparently Duncan found some stuff that should help us out, but we need to head north-west to another Fort. Dranlon, or something like that.
Thank you for the information, I'll have a look as well. Do let me know if you recover any of the missing pieces.
I for one think this place would be good for acquiring alchemy reagents. A large marsh like this would create all sorts of herbs.
Which would also require us walking through the marsh. I for one have no desire to do that.
Oh, how bad can it be?
I hope these were worth it!
This location gives the first refreshing encounter in the game. Namely, this is a location were we can acquire alchemy ingredients, and the encounter will 'reset' after a certain period of time.
Toadstools are used to make Minor Poisons, the recipe for which is found back at Fort Duvno.
Also, welcome to Marshes! You're going to hate them with a passion by the time the game is done. Walking through them comes with a high chance of getting poisoned, which can be extremely aggravating for larger marshes. There are a couple items to help alleviate that, one of which is a plot-level item.
Pay no attention to the log. Nothing to see there. Go about your normal LP business!
What are those?
Meet the Slithzerikai. Whose basic random encounter consists of general Slith's, Slith Warriors and Slith priests. In multiples. They are a major step up from the Nephilim I've been fighting so far, and even a random encounter like this can strain my resources.
We'll learn more about them in the mid-game.
Oh gods, they are tough. What sort of species are they?
Lizard Men. Quite strong. And their spellcasters are quite powerful as well.
So, these are the Sliths that people keep talking about?
I would say so. We need to be on our guard in this region then.
And in response, the game also ups the size of encounters with the Nephil in this region.
We're a bit east of the Underground Fort, aren't we?
Indeed. I suspect that this was the battle that resulted in the captives we freed earlier.
And there's nothing else left here. Let's move on.
I could use a drink!
I agree. A quick stop for supplies would be a good idea.
Another fixed encounter.
This happens every so often two sets of random encounters at the same time. In this case, one of Sliths and one of Bandits.
I was told that a lot of Exile is more like these; smaller ones only a mile or two wide, or even smaller. Larger caves like the one behind us are the exception.
You're right about them being much smaller.
This camp is quite dead and cold. It could have been here months ago.
What about this one?
Far more recent.
This is a very tough battle. No mooks here, just Warriors, Priests and Mages. They will cast Curse All, Slow All, Fireball... and honestly not an easy fight at all.
Oh wait, no. The fixed encounter was easy.
This is a random encounter that I didn't see coming due to the curves of the caves.
I thought you said we were going North West, Duncan?
We are, but we can't go the direct route over-land.
This is still a massive lake. And it must have some sort of heat source under it. You can see fog and clouds coming off it!
And more besides.
They're quite some ways away. I doubt they can hear us. We were lucky to spot them at all.
Yes, yes, we know. Sign.
That wasn't so bad now, was it?
Aside from the half-dozen life-or-death encounters? No. Not really.
What the heck? What's up with this Fort?
It looks like someone has been repairing the fort through the use of magic. The effort required must have been immense!
I'm not a barrier kind of gal.
How do we get in?
Just tell the truth.
I'm Art. This is Rook, Duncan, Ember, Peregrine IV and Karmas. We're the First Exile Escape Committee and we're in response to... Duncan, you had all the information?
We are here to acquire resources and information in line with our mandate, and had received word that Mairwen had commissioned a certain work in exchange for assistance both materiel and magical.
Stick together. As a group, you won't be as suspicious. Sorry, but things are tense as of late.
This is a pure military installation. Of what help would they need from us?
Who knows? And how is this helping, Duncan?
I have my goals in mind. For now, let's go find Mairwen.
A heavy set woman with blue robes and a staff watches the river carefully. She has a serious expression and short brown hair.
She whispers "Shh. I'm Sianonn. Be quiet. I have to listen."
Watching for sliths. Be very quiet."
I think there's a joke about a rabbit in there somewhere, but I'm not sure I want to go there.
"We have to keep the dock here to get supplies by boat. But the sliths approach underwater. Usually I only hear the littlest noise before they come up. Shhh."
We should let her be.
Hello there. The First Exile Escape Committee, I presume?
Oh gods, you've heard of us.
A man in a heavy breastplate sits and nervously shuffles papers. A little bit. I heard about your raid on the two Kitty forts. Good job in releasing those prisoners. Mayor Steele sent some messengers out to let other leaders know you were trustworthy. Oh, where are my manners. Welcome to Fort Dranlon. I'm Captain Rosie. I look after this fort. This is the front against the Slith menace, the first line of defense."
We encountered a few bands on our way here. Very tough fighters.
"The Slithzerikai. Nasty warriors. Powerful mages. They batter the walls with fireballs, trying to knock them down. Fortunately, we have a mage to repair them." He grunts. "If only we knew what they were planning."
Yes, we're looking for Mairwen the mage.
"Good woman, Mairwen. She fills the holes with magic barriers. Weren't for her, this fort would have fallen long ago. Her office is in the centre of town."
What's this about knowing the Slith's plans?
"We have spies, but they've done little good. If you ever find any evidence of what the Slithzerikai are up to, bring it here. I'll reward you well."
We'll add it to the list of things to do.
Thank you. I best not take up any more of your time. Reports to fill out, supplies to requisition. That sort of thing.
Do... do... do we have a reputation now?
The start of one, I'm sure.
It will be useful in opening doors otherwise closed to us. Otherwise I would object to all this.... adventuring.
A young man in white armor with an ankh design on the chest greets you. He has a fresh scar on his forehead.
"I'm Toddric." He smiles, then winces. Apparently, the scar still smarts.
Art. You alright?
"Well, I provide healing for the soldiers of the fort, and passers-by. I also occasionally help in the fighting." He touches the scar gingerly. I wasn't so quick to help myself though.
Not that good at fighting?
"I'm afraid so. I'm not too good at it. Not too long ago, a slith swung one of those nasty two-prong spears at me, and I didn't duck quite fast enough. Tell the truth, I'd rather be in a nice quiet chapel somewhere. Or travelling."
Travel? To where?
"I love to travel. I've even been to the north. There's a huge cave up there. It's dangerous to go to, because of the spiders, but the sights are wonderful. My main goal is to see the crystal cave."
"I've only heard of it. Around here there's supposed to be this really hard to find cave, just filled with these humming quartz crystals. I've heard it's damaged, and not what it once was, but it's still a sight."
Thanks for your time.
This looks to be the place.
You see a short woman with long, curly brown hair and a very broad smile.
"Hi there! I'm Mairwen the mage!" (pronounced Mire-wen) "Welcome to my little home."
The pronunciation is actually part of the dialogue. I think it's supposed to be Irish or Welsh in style, but I'm not sure. I'm sure a Goon will say something in time for when I come back here.
Hello. He introduces the party. Before we get down to business, can I ask what you do around here?
"Working with the army, I suppose. Getting to see lots of sliths, really close up."
The Sliths? I would suspect you stay behind the front lines.
""I lend them a fireball here, a haste spell there. At least that's what I do some of the time. Most of the time, I put up magic barriers. She switched track. Yep. They have really admirable mages. You know, I've heard a prisoner talk about an amazing tome they own."
Your barriers are well built.
"Yeah. You see, the sliths have a lot of mages. They've been hitting the wall with spells, trying to knock it down. I fill the holes with barriers. Then, when need be, I dispel them."
Dispel magic? His eyes lit up like diamonds at the thought of such power at his command.
"Us mages are supposed to teach Dispel Barrier to as few people as possible. Mage's secret and all. But I want that slith magic tome - it would be a great help to know their secrets. Bring it to me, and I will teach you the spell."
Tell us more about the tome.
A prisoner told me, swore up and down, that their mages have this powerful tome in their fort nearby, in the swamp. I wish I could meet someone who could steal it."
I suppose I may know a thief who could possibly muddle his way through...
: Fort Dranlon Map:
The rest of this cave:
We're not going to go attacking the Slith Fort. That's suicide at this point, but we will need to later as Dispel Barrier will be vital to our quests.. So, shall I head North to help out Formello, or head south towards a new city and the Mage's tower? We'll have to do both, but I should tell you that Tier Four Priest spells are in Formello, while Tier 4 Mage spells are in the tower.
Vote goes on until Monday evening!