Part 31: Update 028 Slith Temple and the Dark CavernUpdate 028 Slith Temple and the Dark Cavern
I must apologize profusely for this update. During the production of this update, over 50 images got corrupted and needed to be re-done. Alas, the nearest save was quite some time ago, so I couldn't just re-do this section. I had to take my post-update party back through the motions. It was a serious annoyance on my end. Anyways, on with the program.
Even I despise Gremlins. A blight upon the earth. Perhaps I can add domesticating the Drakes to the list of reasons?
One of the more unusual enemy encounters. Otherwise, I would have just skipped this one over like I have all the ones before it.
I really don't want to go through here.
Yet we must.
We should swing by the south side of the fort this time. Less chance of encountering stuff.
So much for that idea.
It must have been an inferno in here.
Requiescat in pace."
"Hey Shaynee! Whatcha got? I need something to raise my spirits."
"How about a magic breastplate?"
"Is that supposed to be an insult or a compliment?"
And Art goes from Bronze to Magic in terms of protection.
"Fort Remote is destroyed. The garrison butchered. Demons were responsible. They left a message from Grah-hoth. Normally they would have left a single survivor of who you would have sent as a messanger, but when he saw it was us, his loss of Sss-Thss was still fresh in his mind. We sprung the trap, and defeated their forces."
"Afterward, Art, as per her discretion, set about to recconoiter the caverns to the west of Fort Remote, but we failed to find any demon sign."
"This is..." His expression turns bleak. "Friends, Exile needs your help. The old enemy has returned. Destroy this demon Grah-Hoth. If you do, you will be given power and wealth as only I can give it to you. This I swear."
"I know such things do not motivate you, but you have proven your mettle. And most importantly for your motives, Grah-Hoth knows your names and faces. That demonic general will come for you sooner or later. Escaping to the surface will not change that."
"Micah has a point."
"I don't want to be killed by a demon!"
"Best defence, huh?"
"Wow, appeal to my sense of survival."
"You have one?"
"Don't tempt me."
"Anyways, this will require some planning before we can do anything. By your leave?"
"If you do not mind, I would like to speak with Micah a bit about the nature of the body politic."
"Sure. Why not. We'll be out in the garden."
"You looked like you had words to say to a fellow."
"Indeed. When I was sent down here, to Exile, I first thought it was an ugly place, devoid of joy, of quality, of hope. Then I saw the life the people who had come down here before me had carved out for themselves, and I learned that being here was not the doom I thought."
"Now, despite many threats, I work to maintain our government."
"I am surprised. It took a refrence from Art for me to remember who you were."
"Ah, I suppose we all can't leave our past behind. So very few remember me."
"Art and I were students of history."
"Still, I suppose it is a measure of the efforts of the Empire that so few remember."
"They are very good at covering up the history that they decide is... inopportune."
"Which is why I approved of Patrick's desire for a second major Library. Two storage places for knowledge are harder to change than one."
"Wisdom in that."
Oh, I had that beat into my head.
Tell me, of this land. There are so few frontiers left.
"We have good, brave people. We have excellent resources, and skilled magicians. What we do not yet have, alas, is a clear choice for my successor. My son is, shall we say, inadequate." He gives Karmas a long, careful look. "I always look for those who can lead. Remember that.
I kid you not, Micah implies in the actual game that the party could earn leadership in the future.
That is certainly something interesting.
Is there anything else?
Yes, actually. Why 'Exile'?
Ah, yes. Well, that name was in place before I came here.
But 'Exile' is a state of being. As a location, it is abstract. Are we truly in 'Exile' when we and I know a great many of the people I have encountered have made this known they feel that they are 'home'?
I have no answer to that. There... is no answer to that. It is who we are.
Yet the name remains. I have actually put thought into a compromise. May I have your opinion on it?
I have considered making official the name of 'Exile' as the definition of the geographic region in which we have found ourselves. From there, create a new name for the human nation that we have forged with our bare hands. Avernum.
Named for the mythical Gate to the Underworld.
Not many know that. But it has a certain poetry to it. We who were cast down; there is still farther to go, but only if we choose.
That didn't take too long.
The affairs of state can be quite short if needs are met. Have you discussed our plans?
We want to head back to Silvar, store or sell off our excess gear.
Then we'll make a search for the Graymold to cure Patrick's wife.
Duncan and Rook figure that having him on our side means they can slough some research onto him.
And his tower is the closest secure location to Fort Remote. They can keep an eye on things.
Still, based on the directions we were given, the necessary alchemy ingredients lay into, or past Slith territory.
I like the idea behind the plan. By ourselves, we would eventually be overrun. Gathering up allies will aid our survival and our long term goals immensely.
That should be all.
Then lets go.
Something seems off.
Isn't that were the Goblin Colony is?
I suppose we should be able to exterminate them.
Let's sneak closer!
GIVE THAT BACK YOU!!!
They... are not hostile?
There's something back here.
These aren't Graymold, but they'll do!
What do they do?
They're a key ingredient in the mixing of weak Strength Potions and moderate Healing Potions.
Not worth it. GIVE ME BACK MY WINE!
Calm down. We can buy a new bottle in Almaria.
But that was my bottle! I called her Bottly!
... Let's just leave.
Even I don't feel like hurting them.
I think we're supposed to go farther north.
You're not the one wearing a ring of poison resistance, right?
That has nothing to do with this decision!
Children, don't make me get mother down here.
I think these are religious symbols?
What makes you say that?
And this place. Remember those maps we found? This was marked on some of them. There's something important here, I know it.
Well, at least let me take care of all the accumulated poisons in our system first.
While you do that, I will map the place out.
Secret hidden area to the upper right. Might have something valuable. What are we looking for, exactly?
I am not sure.
Perhaps we can justify this as a.... You know what, I don't actually have a clue.
Let me deal with this trap.
Not shown, a fight against a couple of priests, and a couple warriors. Except I couldn't get at them directly because that damned trap was in the way; I couldn't bypass it in Combat Mode, so I had to drop out, and take the free hits while Duncan disarmed the trap, then got my revenge.
Dick move, Exile.
I'd say it was quiet, but even I know better than that.
A lot of stores here. Nothing we can use though.
Alright, here's a question. These Slithzerikai are not known on the surface; ergo they must be natives to the caverns.
Statement, not a question. But do go on.
Why, therefore, is their skin pigmented? Green is either indicative of chlorophyll in plants, or the result of some evolutionary pressure in terms of survival camouflage.
Well, there are lights from the moss along the cave walls in most places.
If what you were supposing was true, then the humans down here shouldn't be loosing their skin pigmentation either.
Different types of light, my friend. The light of the sun is different than the light of the moss.
Possible. I suppose a proper theory could only be tested if a Slith were to spend a long period of time on the surface.
And here I was, thinking you were going to suggest asking the Kitties.
I wouldn't need those data points. Yet.
Expendable source of the Light spell. The next place I'm going is a dark dungeon, so I'm going to keep this around to preserve my spell points for more important things.
Let's come back here later, after we've checked out that secret room.
Really? Hiding your secret passage behind some stalagmites?
Well, I suppose we were going to encounter some basic security for these things eventually.
Oh, come on!
Corrupted image, unique event.
Let's see here....
Why would anyone think jewelry is worthless?
I mean, at the least, sell it to people who can't afford the real thing.
Although this key may be useful.
Now, let's try this.
Well, that looks like something.
Now taking bets. Shrine or Tomb?
I feel like being contrary and go with.... with... political assembly.
I suppose that storeroom can only be accessed from the inside.
Of course. That would be too easy.
Let me take care of these.
Sorry, bad image here. There should be a couple encounter dots to my left.
It's a DEAD END? Who booby traps a dead end?
The Sliths do, apparently.
That's just mean! And spiteful!
It does lend credence to the 'tomb' theory.
Oh, shut up.
This is one of the corrupted images, but it still has the visual information I wanted.
Care to try these ones?
At least I know this isn't a dead end.
Ceremonial water pools?
Still a nice spell. Very aesthetic. I thought the Slith culture tended to work with stone, not flame?
Why don't you ask these guys?
Hey, before you die, why do you guys occasionally use the human language for your threats?
Let's check that storehouse now.
And this is why you keep weapons at hand.
Spell scroll, can't read it right now. Gems are... decent.
And I'll need to check this out later.
Door is locked.
I don't believe this.
This is scary.
You mean that we picked up a key, and it had an immediate use?
That can't be a good sign.
Well, we are still carrying around that stone key, if it makes any of you feel better.
Well, we actually have a chance to prepare ourselves for a battle. Peregrine, if you please?
What. Where is everyone?
There would have been a minor graphical glitch where I outrun the map's drawings of itself. You actually have to try to pull this off, but it's nothing serious. And I failed to get a recap. I'm not going back here a third time. *sigh*
The Demonslayer Blade?
Why is it here?
And more importantly, this is a shrine, not a tomb! Pay up!
Oh, there's the rest of them.
This is a wonderful discovery!
Still need to find the tip.
And I'm still pretty sure we need to go north to find that Greymold.
That's alright, this passage simply takes us to the body of water that holds the Slith castle. But without the benefit of a boat.
I also suspect this channel was cut by moving water in the past, which later dropped.
Would explain the Slith villages we keep bypassing.
I wonder if anyone has told them that Sss-Thsss is dead?
Probably not. Best to keep it under wraps until the new leadership can exploit it for their own ends.
Just logic, I would think.
Anyways, lets just get back to the boat.
Row, row, row your boat...
A song about the futility of existence. How delightful.
I think there's something interesting over there.
We can't get at it from this side due to those shoals. We'll have to go around, past that geothermal lake.
What is it?
Not sure yet. I'll have a look at it later.
This is interesting. And we're going in the right direction, I think.
What's that sound?
Waterfall, I think. But it's low. Like a huge one much further upstream.
Which stream? There's three of them here.
We should come back later to investigate those islands.
Back south then.
Hrm, why haven't we been accosted yet? Usually something comes by at this point.
But it is a legitimate warning.
I see no reason to violate that interdiction.
This is odd...
Giants? I wasn't aware that the Empire exiled them? I thought that they, and the Troglodytes were hunted to extinction?
It's a surprise to me too.
Sorry for the image, but this is a unique, unrepeatable encounter. Meet the giants. They're the next step up, in terms of difficulty, from the Slitherikai. They hit harder, take more damage, and by default have a ranged attack where they throw a rock at you. Other than that, there's not much to say about them at this time.
And this is also the first chance I've had to show off the damage output that a Slayer-type weapon like Smite can dish out. See the numbers there, where Rook is doing a base of 16-20 damage? Then he's doing 20+ simply due to the weapon property. Then Assassination on top of that, and when fighting Giants with Smite in hand, Rook is the top damage dealer by far.
I think we should leave before we run into any more problems, right, Ember
But they're shiny!
Why are we headed back towards the Slith Castle, again?
Checking on the deep end of this lake?
I'm more concerned about what ever has those Sliths running for their lives.
Now, that, I can get behind.
And this took too long to find.
Magical darkness. Give me a moment. Duncan, you may want to use up those Glowstones we found.
That... tight caverns like this. Most ominous.
Well, we're better than mere Sliths, so I think we can make a go of this, while whomever they were attacked by is still weak.
Well, let's light this place up for a moment.
What are those things?
I don't know.
Duncan, the door?
On it. This place is old. Gives me the creeps.
Much like that tomb where we fought the Vampires?
Oh, you just had to make me remember that.
Keep the light off. I know what this is.
Long, thin, passageways with separate platforms? I'll bet there are undead casters like spirits outside of our immediate reach, and they're set to fire on anyone they see.
Then wouldn't it be better to have a light on?
In doing that, the defenders would compromise their location, allowing attackers better options. Especially against the undead.
A shade floats here. It's not of a human, though. It's of a creature from a race you've never seen before - tall and spindly, with an angular face and piercing eyes. It stares at you sadly. You hear a voice in your mind. "I was Brethis, of the Vahnatai. We were the cave dwellers, long ago fled or died."
I was of the Vahnatai. A race of old, we have gone deeper. I know not what happened to my brothers and sisters who fled. I but stay here. And sense the debaucheries."
I've never heard of you, or your kind. I'm Art. I'm human. These are Ember, Rook, Duncan, Peregrine and Karmas.
I greet you.
How is it that you know our language though? Who taught it to you?
The lord of the crypt. Fear it. Flee it. It lusts for the blood of any living thing. I will not serve it. I will wait on this ledge until the world ends."
Great. A Lich. Is there anything you can tell us about it?
No. I simply haunt this place.
What about your people?
"The only Vahnatai left anywhere I can sense are dead. But alive. Like me. Many are in the crypt."
Is there anything we can do for you?
Slay the lord of the Crypt, then I will be free. Perhaps to join my ancestors, and share in their wisdom.
The spirit will say no more.
THIS IS A SERIOUS NO SPOILERS ZONE. I'll cover what this all means when I get to it, and not before.
Only way in. Let's go bag an undead monstrosity.
Still, a warning.
Well, this was not completely unexpected.
I think we can light it up now.
Beware, there are a lot of undead behind secret passageways. To the north....
And oddly enough, this one is not cursed to summon a demon if we touch it.
I think I've found the passage...
Hello! We're your regularly scheduled exterminators, and we hear you've got an undead infestation!
Art, stop with the quips. You're just bad at them.
And how will I get any practice?
Just for giggles, I threw a Protection spell on Art as she was the only one the Lich could target. It didn't make a difference, but it will in the future.
That was no where near as difficult as I thought it would be.
Oh, that's just ugly.
This is a Scepter of Death, which can cast the Kill spell 4 times before depletion.
But this might be useful.
I think I'll end the update here. I want to actually get around to training people up soon, so I'll leave you all with a small vote:
I can buy UP TO 15 Skill Potions (at 2 Skill Points each) and give them to people for additional training. Who should I give them to, and for what skills?
And now, time for maps: