Part 15: Update 013 Formello and the Nephilim FortressUpdate 013 Formello and the Nephilim Fortress
"Another river. I wonder if it hooks up to the river that flows north by Dranlon?"
"Perhaps. That would require exploratin via waterways."
"There are boats for sale down in Silvar and Corta. Although I don't know why we'd ever want to do anything like that."
"This looks like an irrigation ditch of all things."
"I have to concur. The fertile fields to the west, and it looks like there is a small creek coming out of the town. With the moat, this is a very excellent fortification, able to withstand a large seige."
"Who would do something like that?"
"Alright, the usual. Split up. Rook, you're in charge of finding the Mayor and seeing what's up with the necklace of hers."
"Well, Inn for when we stay overnight. Or whatever time it is. I really need to see if anyone has a proper clock in this Sol forsaken place."
A man sits at the table, hunched over a bowl of some sort of purple beverage. He mutters to himself quietly.
"Hello? Is this inn any good?"
"Huh?" He notices you. "Oh, call me Crisper."
"I'm Art, with the 1st EEC. What brings you here?"
"I'm sort of a sage. But now I need a vacation. A long vacation." He drinks more of his purple syrup.
That can't be healthy to drink. You're a sage? What are you studying?"
"I was researching with Leith. We were asking Motrax about a magic sphere. He may have found something out. Beats me. I was too busy being driven insane!" He takes a deep swig from his bowl, realizes it's empty, and gets it refilled with gray fluid.
"Leave me alone."
Food supplies. Nothing out of the ordinary here, except for when you talk to Ken in the lizard kennel:
You see a rugged man with a short beard and long blonde hair. He wears heavy leather clothes, and has a surprising variety of scars.
"I'm Ken." He seems slightly distracted by the lizards, which never stop eyeing him hungrily.
"Hello! I'm Ember. What are you doing?"
"Well, I take care of the lizards. Feed them, look after them, try not to get eaten by them." He chuckles evilly. "Butcher them."
You butcher the COWS?!?!?
No! Well, there's not too much in the way of livestock down here. The abovegrounders sent down some cattle once, which are good for milk, but the mushrooms turn their meat rancid. So we raise giant lizards for the meat. At least they aren't dragons." He looks down, and notices a giant lizard is chewing on his leg. He kicks it off.
"Dragons? Not that good eating. Problem is, try to butcher them, and they blow you up. Plus, there's only five of them. Or, at least, five we've heard of." He stops talking, in order to try to keep a lizard from killing him.
AAARRRT! SAVE ME!
What's her problem?
Nothing of importance here. There's a couple Iron weapons and armour, but we can't afford anything at the moment.
Can't afford much, but can always see what we can purchase later.
There is a portly man with short gray hair sitting behind the counter. When you enter, he is writing haphazard notes on a sheet of vellum.
"I'm Bernie. Welcome to my shop. Would you like to hear The Chart?"
Before I do that, can I see your wares?
"I have all manner of potions and the like, which you may purchase. You can also sell me your excess magic. And, if you would like, you can hear The Chart. It's about the meaning of life.
He has nothing spectacular.
So, what's this about a Chart?
He pulls out a sheet of paper, and start talking and writing. He describes and draws his life above, how he was thrown into Exile, and what he has learned since he arrived, throwing in on the side many opinions on life in general. It is very interesting. It also makes practically no sense whatsoever.
I like the sheer randomness of this. He has a CHART and isn't afraid to use it!
I wonder if Karmas has come by here yet?
You see an old woman in white robes. She wears a small gold ankh around her neck, and radiates peace and calm.
"Greetings, child. I am mother Claudette."
Peace be unto you, Mother-under-the-Sun. If you do not mind my asking, what services do you provide?
"Alas, I am very busy. I can provide healing, if you are in need, for a small donation. But other than that, running a church such as this is much work."
I've mentioned earlier how sometimes you'll have to name drop a person to open up new options. Before this, you can only buy healing from Mother Claudette.
Oh! Before I forget, I met a man by the name of Caius in Fort Duvno, on his way to the Great Cave. He said you could help people like me.
Her face lights up! "Oh! You're friends of Caius!" She asks you of his welfare, and you tell her how he's doing. She sighs. "I have been so busy since he left, running the church and helping the mayor. There is little I can do for you." She thinks. "Actually, if you want, you could buy some spells. For a modest donation."
And now we can buy fourth level spells from her! Except I can't afford any of them. A running theme until I deal with the next dungeon, I'm afraid.
Thank you for the offer. I may have to take it up in the future. You mentioned something about the Mayor?
"She has been furious, almost debilitatingly so, ever since Nephilim spies stole her necklace. It was one of the few powerful magic items down here - it aided one in leadership. Since she lost it, she thinks of nothing but getting it back. In fact, if you ask her about it, you could get a job. If you want one."
I hope Rook will be alright talking to her. Thank you Mother-under-the-Sun. I will take my leave now.
Please let this be the right place.
Yes! Let's see if that boy in Mertis was correct about the library.
Not bad. You there!
A young mage putters around, straightening the books on the shelves. He carries a broom.
"I'm Zed. The assistant librarian."
A good job, what are your duties?
"Oh, learning things man was not meant to know. Plumbing the forbidden secrets of the unknown. Sweeping."
"Yes. Mainly sweeping. I'm apprenticed to Miles. He does most of the work. Most of the people who come here are mages, you see. If you have any real business, talk to him. Now if you'll excuse me, I have forbidden secrets to plumb." He starts sweeping.
Forbidden secrets aren't all that cracked up to be. Most of them are that way because someone wanted to feel self-important about their works.
The mage sitting behind the counter is surprisingly fit. He is young, just shy of middle age, and very tall. He has a nicely trimmed black beard.
He stands to shake your hand. "I'm Miles. What can I do ya' fer'?"
A wonderful Library you have here. You are in charge of it?
"Well, I run this library. Third best in the pit. Only ones better are in the castle and the mage tower, a long ways away. Mages come here to do research, and compare notes. Oh, and occasionally purchase a spell."
Level 4 Mage spells. Still can't afford them.
A man in long silk robes putters around looking mysterious. A large hood hides his face. It's a bit much.
He intones mysteriously, "I am (dramatic pause) the teacher." You snicker quietly.
He chuckles, in a peculiarly sinister way. I train all those who come to me. (dramatic intake of breath) For a price!"
This guy is just so off the wall, it's funny. I like to imagine him as Exile's equivalent to Street Fighter's Hibiki Dan.
Karmas was right, this place can definitely hold out against a siege.
And which one of you guys talks?
This is a statue of a tall, armored woman. Looking closely, you see she is making a slight swaying motion. She looks down at you and whispers "I am Myrtle." Then she resumes her pose.
You're the first one to actually give a name, you know that? So, you going to talk to me any more?
"I will be talking to those that I am supposed to talk to."
A fidgety woman in a lovely blue dress sits in a chair, rapidly flipping through the papers on the table next to her. She wears a sash of office.
"Greetings, visitor. I am Mayor Evelyn. I am also very busy."
I an understand that.
"I look out for the residents of this city. And occasionally they look out for me. Now, if you will excuse me, I have much work to do." She makes a big show of turning away from you.
This is about your property ma'am. Your necklace?
She looks at you dubiously. "Yes, my necklace was stolen, I suspect by the Nephilim in the big fort to the west. I see you don't have it. If you return it to me, I will reward you very generously. When you get it, if you get it, return to me."
That was a quick turnaround.
The local Mages knew Solberg was in the area, but professed ignorance of the exact location.
And we're hoping we can get that information out of the Mayor when we get her necklace back.
So what is so special about this necklace anyways?
From what we've learned, it's somehow magical though the specifics were no divulged to us and it is also a symbol of authority here in Exile for the Mayors of the major cities.
And it cannot be replaced easily? It is better to send armed groups off to retrieve it?
Well, we're getting closer?
How dare they destroy a sign like that!
You poor sign...
You don't have to be a strategic genius to figure out attacking this place from the front is a bad idea.
It really is. A very, very, very bad idea. Don't try it unless you're very overpowered. I'm not.
I say we go around the back instead.
Of course they would have this way guarded as well.
Both nodes here are one-shot encounters with guard groups. But if you go get a boat, you can bypass both fights entirely! But why would you want to do that and leave yourself without loot and XP?
Back doors are always good, especially as we have dispatched the guards.
Of course, it would be a trash pit. A building this size would obviously generate a lot of refuse.
This dungeon is big, and I'll show you how big when we get a bit further in. For that reason, there will be a lot of interconnected pictures without much commentary. Assume I'm fighting half the time I'm not talking.
A pit inside a trash pit? No thank you.
Normally, I wouldn't have capped a fight against a single Ogre (oh yes, there are Ogres in the Nephilim Fort, they're supposed to be tough, but I'm overpowered), but I wanted a picture to show off how encounter points disappear while in combat mode. This can be abused in rare conditions, but I won't go out of my way for this in this LP. I want to show things off, not avoid them!
We're not finished with this floor yet.
Let's backtrack for a bit. We're pretty close to the front of the
Nothing special about this one. Let it be.
I assume Thinshadow is one of the Shamans we've killed. And this is circumstantial proof that the Nephilim here did take the Mayor's necklace. But who would be writing in English that they want it back?
Someone who wanted to keep the message secret by using a language the rank and file didn't understand?
I would do that. Although wouldn't it be better to use a dedicated code rather than a language that can be used by spies?
This message was hidden behind a secret passage in the private storage room in a temple area. I think that limits the number of people that can get back here.
We're back here!
We've also been killing everyone in our way, and shouldn't be back here either.
Another stairway up.
Ogre Mage! Kill it!
As mentioned earlier, Ogre Mages are powerful. Major Poison there would have been worse off if Rook wasn't still wearing that Ring of Poison Resistance.
While I'm at it, I should explain something about Poison. While it does what one would normally expect (HP damage over time), it comes in two varieties: Major and Minor. Major poison has a Red P instead of a black one as you can see in the above screenshot. It deals more damage more often than the normal version. In addition, multiple applications of poison stack, which can upgrade normal poison to major. In addition, you may require multiple applications of Weaken/Cure Poison to get rid of it.
Major poison is bad when on you, and great when on your enemy.
40 Gold! It's a gyp!
Glad we didn't try to come in the front door. That looks nasty with all these murder holes.
You have no idea.
Still no sign of the necklace. Let's go downstairs and see what we can find. Perhaps a vault of some kind.
And here's the real reason why the Nephilim Fort is so big. It's actually three floors worth of dungeon all at once. We've gone over the main floor, now we're in the basement.
There is also a little cat here that you can talk to, but all it does is meow and purr.
Don't judge me. You like the cows!
And people keep taunting me that Dragons are real! They're all dead!
Ember, why would total strangers go out of their way to upset you by telling you that dead creatures are alive?
It's a conspiracy!
I expected something a bit more... problematic for a vault. Oh well, let's see what we got.
FIREBALL FIREBALL FIREBALL FIREBALL!
Meet Ghasts, upgraded Wights. Able to slow you on contact and deal a bit of damage. Thankfully the way the fight is set up, you can spam both sides with Fireballs before they can do anything.
Let me check for traps first!
Nothing else really worth it down here. Vendor trash mostly.
Assuming this is not cursed, I shall take dibs on the armour.
I wonder what's on the other side?
A prison, it seems.
Um? Is someone out there?
You see a very short, very relaxed man.
Hello. We're the 1st EEC. And you are?
"I'm Renee. Sure is nice to see a human face."
What brings you here?
Well, I'm a prisoner of the Nephilim. But what I spend most of my time doing is escaping."
Really? You're still here.
"Yep. I'm a master of escape. They throw me in here, I get out, and then they catch me and put me back in. It's kind of fun. They would have killed me long ago, but Anastasia likes me. Heck, I've been around this fort a dozen times now." He grins. "In fact, if you were looking for something, I bet I've seen it. Try me!"
We're looking for the necklace of the Mayor of Formello.
He thinks long and hard. "You know, I'm not sure. Anastasia said something about it once, something about being mad at the priests for putting it away and throwing away the key. But she didn't say much else."
Who is this Anastasia?
He smiles serenely. "Ah, yes. She's a fiery one. She's a human, but she practically runs this fort. Good mage. Nasty too. I think she'd of killed me long ago, but she sort of misses human company."
Where were you headed before you were captured?
"I was headed for Fort Draco. North of here. Pretty remote. It's called that because one of the dragons, the friendly one, lives near it. Well anyway, they grabbed me and I ended up at this fort instead."
Don't joke about dragons!
"I hear he's called Motrax. Loves humans. I wanted to meet him."
I smell Stockholm here. But that's enough out of him.
There's nothing left down here. Let's head upto the top floor and see if we can talk to this Anastasia about the necklace.
If she stole it, I doubt she would return it.
As a thief, she needs to be punished.
Probably. But if she attacks, then we'll respond in kind.
And we pop right up by somewhere that looks different from the rest of the fortress. Want to bet there's valuable stuff in there?
Well guarded valuables.
Nothing we can't handle.
Seriously? The key we grabbed from that fort we raided north of Duvno? It's that key?
Yes. There is a note elsewhere in this fort telling you where this key is, but you're not required to read it, for as I have done, I collected the key long before I 'knew' what it was to be used for. As I've said before, this game's non-linerality is wonderful!
You don't look like a maid.
Not pictured: Fight against four Nephil Shamans.
Search the outer rooms.
Forgot to grab a screenshot of picking up the Gold Necklace. Both times due to TPK shortly. It's just a simple You found it! announcement.
And now it's added to our Key Items so we don't lose it.
Let's get out of here.
We still have the thief to deal with. If she could do it before, she can do it again.
I'm not sold on the plan, but being able to reassure the Mayor of that would help.
Alright, we do it.
DO NOT FUCKING TOUCH. It'll summon another Haakai. TPK just as fast as the other one I encountered. As in, before I could get into Combat Mode. Seriously people, save often because my last save was before I cleared out the bottom floor of this place!
I feel like we dodged a great evil here.
This pot of oil is set to flow into that murder line below us at the front entrance. I suggest we destroy it.
Meet Anastasia. Our first named enemy in the game. Being a specific person, rather than a generic enemy, expect them to be a bit more powerful than otherwise. Also, there's no chance to talk to her, she just opens up with an Ice Bolt, a level 4 spell. Time to get killing.
Damn you! You've killed everyone!
There goes negotiation. You shouldn't have been a thief!
I have the power! I will take and do as I please! She throws another magical attack at the party as her honour guard ready themselves against the sudden intrusion These Exiles are weak! They have to measure of what must be done to avenge us!
Then you understand nothing; vengeance is a personal thing, not a cultural one!
I got lucky on this picture, as it shows the targeting line for Ember's fireball. I'm centering it on this brazier even though you can't actually enter this tile to hit Anastasia and two Cheiftans.
You will DIE!
Someone had best tell that man downstairs.
We shall do so when we leave.
Come on, let's see if she left anything of value to us.
Nothing in the box.
This is the note which tells you where to find the Bronze key if you didn't find it earlier. Also, Major Blessing is another level 7 spell.
I haven't made this clear, but spells of upto level 6 are available for purchase around Exile. Mostly Formello and the Tower of the Magi. However, all the Level 7 Spells are only available by finding them through exploration. And they are very powerful for it.
This will be useful for Ember and myself.
A bolthole. We should have foreseen this.
But we didn't. Need to be more careful in the future. Now, let's go give Renee the bad news.
Anna is dead. I can see it in your eyes.
It would be best if you fled before any remaining Nephilim took it out on you.
It was probably for the best. Um, if you don't mind, I'd like to say my goodbyes.
She's in her throne room. Be quick about it for we cannot escort you.
Thank you. And goodbye.
That's it for the Nephilim Fort. We'll be back here in Exile 2. And here's the map:
Madame Mayor, we have your necklace. He produces the missing golden artefact and presents it to the woman.
Her face brightens! "My necklace!" She takes it and puts it on. She summons an assistant, who brings you a small pouch of jewels and a small token. "You may well be who King Micah is looking for. Go to the Castle. This token will get you in."
If you don't mind me asking, what is so special about the necklace?
You have done me a great service, so it should do you no harm to find out. This, and several others like it are in possession of the leadership of Exile. They allow us to communicate across vast distances and coordinate our efforts.
You'd think that such a valuable item would warrant a stronger response than us.
Yes, but then I would have to admit to the theft. Here is your reward, and I will communicate to my fellows your trustworthiness.
Thank you, your honour.
The Mayor gives us 2000 gold, and some experience enough to level Peregrine in the above screenshot!
What comes next isn't in 'canon' for the LP, but I want to show it off anyways. Here's how to Rob Formello's Treasury.
First, let's break into the Mayor's private office.
Then find the secret passage in her bedroom.
The south path has a necklace. The north path has 5000 gold. However, the south fork is guarded by an unskippable trap that Major Poisons everyone in the party and deals ~30 damage. The North path is worse Major Poison and two attacks that deal ~30 damage each. I don't need the gold, so I skipped that.
Here is the final map of Formello:
Next time, I'll finish off this section of Exile, and then have a vote for what to do next.