Part 54: Occupational HazardsUpdate 13: Occupational Hazards
Our next stop is going to be the fortress of Hawkbluff (Not Hawksbluff, as I keep wanting to type), which was previously inaccessible. Any attempt to get here before clearing the palace at New Aurim will be stopped by a formation of troops that can't be interacted with in any way.
"So I guess this is the place?"
"It would seem so. I can't imagine that such a shop would see very much business in this type of town."
"I forge passes used in the temple to pass the guard posts, like this Keyhole Pass. That one lets you in the front gate."
"Sounds great. We'll take one."
"Then, there is the lantern pass, which allows you into the dungeon. The stairs down to the dungeon are in the southwest corner on the first level of the temple. If you wish to release a loved one, I can forge a release pass as well. There are many types of passes. I wouldn't be surprised if they required a latrine pass to go to the privies!""
"I'd just hate to be the guy who has to check those."
"Anyway, here's your pass. Now don't come back too often, or the authorities will get suspicious and well, I'd rather not say."
"You can wander around. The temple is a maze, and people get lost all the time. Watch out for the undead - they strike without warning or reason."
"I think we'll work it out."
"I heard it was 30. 30 men and a dog."
"Huh, must have been some dog."
"Like the ones that caught Davik? You'd think they'd have cut the chief architect a bit of slack."
"Oh, did I forget that? Must have left it in my room. Lose my own head next."
"Okay, seriously? We're two steps from the entrance. Screw this place."
"Certainly for Davik, please."
"The chief architect? He'd be pretty handy for actually finding your way around."
"Never liked him much alive, probably like him less dead."
"You can really feel the camaraderie around here."
"Oh wrong room, our mistake!"
"You know the penalty for not having your orders! I should have the guards arrest you now. Get out and I won't mention this breach in conduct, but don't let it happen again."
"Fine, we're leaving jerk "
"This temple has way too many places that you really don't want to walk into. We need to hurry to the jail."
"And if possible, set everything on fire on the way out."
"Davik? Right this way."
"Yeah, I think if we left this place a smoking pile of cinders the entire world would be better off.
So Davik's thing is that he will guide you to a number of destinations within the temple, usually through a variety of secret doors and hidden passages. For right now, the place we're looking for is pretty close to the actual temple but isn't on the list. Because that would be too easy.
"I take that to mean that some of the torches are actually levers? Clever, if somewhat overdone."
"That's a pretty strange congregation they've got here."
"Will the former scribe be here to assist me?"
"Didn't you hear? Trandamere accused him of treason. Now he assists as one of the ranks of the undead!"
"I hope he's not still assisting as a scribe."
"It's not a problem if you don't mind every scroll saying nothing but 'brains brains brains'."
"I think we've earned this."
"So the secret passages are patrolled too? That's just not fair."
Undead patrols are a mixed grab bag of just about any kind of undead you can imagine. This one lucked out by having a lich and some heavy duty meat shields. Yes, at this point in our adventuring career a lich counts as a random encounter.
"What a shocking and unexpected betrayal. Will they ever get their act together?"
"Let's not wait around to find out."
"Theesse are thee lasst eeggss wee havve for corruptiomn, yourr grrace."
"Hmm. It appears we were too late once more. This is a very unfortunate trend."
"When the Blackwater expedition is completed, we will be overflowing with eggs, and your army will be engorged with new draconians. None will stand in our way. Wait, you're not authorized to be here! Leave immediately!"
"I think I've got a much better idea than that."
One unremarkable fight later, we can pass through a secret door into the passage behind the temple...
"I can absolutely promise you that this won't end well."
"Although considering that Trandamere has fled out the other door, we should hurry."
That won't be a problem, luckily. Once that one wizard is taken care of, the rest of the enemies are a cake walk.
"Something looks a bit off about those things with the draconians."
"Kinda bulky for lizard men, too. This place is weird."
Meet our next enemy, the Bakali. They're noble savage lizard men, with a lot of hit points and decent strength. They've also come in several varieties. In this battle we've got the regular warriors and warlords, who come with spears that they can chuck at you.
"Not much job security being a priest here. Maybe if we're lucky they'll clear the place out for us."
There's a lot more Bakali this time around, and they've brought shamans around for the ride. Shaman are more annoyances than anything, lacking any of the more powerful destructive spells seen in human priests.
"That teleporter do you suppose ?"
"I think Fastillion has a lot to answer for at this point. We may have to pay him a visit after we've dealt with the draconians."
"For some reason, it looks like he left his boots*. Although they look like they're just about the right size "
* This is actually a second set of Boots of Speed. They got to our other Dragon Lance wielder.
"They've mobilized all the priests, too. These guys seem to have drawn the short end of the stick, though."
Zombies are a pretty sad joke at this point. Rip and Amanda can destroy them en masse through turning, and they're easy fireball fodder. At least the priests made an effort by hiding in the middle of the mob.
"Sounds like they're locking the place down. Davik, take us to the kitchens please."
"This isn't the kitchen! In fact, it's the exact opposite of the kitchen!"
"Never mind that! We've got to save the books!"
That was actually a wrong turn on my part to the kitchen!"
"This is more like it I'm just surprised none of the kitchen staff checked the dumbwaiter."
"It's hard to find good help these days. Now, let's take a look "
"A very instructive map. Hopefully we've found the right treasure to add to Tremor's hoard."
Spoiler: We have.
"Do you know where that door is? Could it get us out of here?"
"Then lay on, MacDuff!"
"Did they design this after they cut your tongue out?"
"Oww! This latch is pretty stiff!"
"Good luck, Davik. And Mrs. Davik, good luck working out that whole ' not having a tongue' thing."
For once, our helper is actually lower level than some of our party members. Boo's got more experience than Grunschka, despite having the lowest level in the party. Despite that, he's now the last of our party members to reach peak level. Every level from this point onward is going to result in a bit more HP. In related news, by this point Gable is possibly the best thief in the world. We'll talk about Ishmael later.
Average permanent party level: 22.18