The Let's Play Archive

Neverwinter Nights 2

by Lt. Danger

Part 7: Act One, Chapter Four - Khelgar Ironfist

No, of course Calliope's not a Commoner. That's an NPC class! Calliope's a Rogue - an adventuring class that specialises in agility, skill-use and precision fighting. You might also know them as "thieves."

We've just escaped West Harbor and are on our way to Neverwinter. In our possession: a silver shard recovered from a battle in our village long ago.

This is the World Map. At the moment it's a bit empty - we can fill it up with locations by progressing along the High Road to Neverwinter.

First off, we visit the Weeping Willow Inn. Hrm. I was going to stop here for the night, but seems like there's a bit of an altercation developing out front. Better stop elsewhere.

Keep walking...

Keep walking...


: Nothing that concerns you... this is between us and the dwarf. And whatever coin he happens to have with him.
: Ah, you're welcome to try to take it, if ya, if you're all game... you all can't be frightened of one little dwarf, can you?

Aah, it's a shakedown. A dwarf has provoked a fight by walking into a bar with some bigots in it.

Nooo, don't antagonise them! Haven't you seen gunchart.jpg?

: We're not frightened of either of you... and it seems to me you need to learn a lesson.

This is the Lawful option, for some reason. I don't know, maybe Neverwinter has a set of statutes and regulations for racially-motivated muggings.

: This matter is between us and the dwarf here, it's none of your concern.
: Come on, someone try to hit me already... even the newcomer here sees that you're all too afraid to do anything.
: All right, I've heard enough of this - come on boys. Let's deal with the dwarf and his new friend.

'Friend' is a bit strong. I'm just an impartial obser

Ah, screw it. Open fire!

We weren't supposed to use weapons?

Khelgar's supposed to be extending a hand for us to shake, but I don't think Obsidian managed to implement the animation in time (and quite right too, it'd be quite complicated). As it is, he just gives us this cheeky grin.

: You seem rather calm, considering those men wanted to kill you.
: Yeah - it's a shame. I was just looking to trade a few punches, then share a drink when it was all done. Either way, they get my coin, the way I saw it.

Bit of an understatement there.

: Doesn't matter - they weren't worthy of a drink anyway, bringing blades into it. A friendly brawl I would have been up for... but robbery with weapons?
: So tell me, what brings you out along the Mere? Roads aren't exactly safe you know - and they're getting worse all the time.

: Seems it's your lucky day then. I happen to be travelling to Neverwinter as well.
: Really? Why are you going there?
: Now that's a tale - glad you asked. But... can't discuss it without a tankard or two, I think.

* * *

This would be a good time to talk about Khelgar Ironfist.

Khelgar is voiced by Adam Sietz (Listen here).

He's our first and most loyal companion, and pretty good to boot - a dwarven Fighter with high Strength and Constitution.

Now, here's the procedure for meeting companions: as we go through the game, we meet adventurers like ourselves who, for one reason or another, join our motley crew. We can't refuse them or stop them from joining, although we can ignore them. Several of them have special quests that you have to take them along for, though.

Most of the time I'll ask you to make a snap decision on whether you like them or not. You'll see some of their personality in the update they first appear in (and some of you know them already from playing the game), but I'll also give a little character summary as well so you get a fuller impression.

So, for example, Khelgar:

Normally I'd then ask if you LIKE or DISLIKE him. If you liked him, I'd do my best to get lots of positive Influence gains with him (i.e. sucking up to him and letting him fight whatever he wants). If you disliked him, I'd be a dick to him constantly.

Khelgar's a nice companion, though, and has lots of high-Influence-only content, so I'm making an executive decision and saying we LIKE Khelgar. Don't worry, you'll be able to vote on all the other companions.

NWN2 isn't like KOTOR2, in that most companions don't have special high-Influence content - Khelgar is the only one that's similar to the KOTOR2 model. For those that do have high-Influence dialogue options, I can cheat or use the toolset to gain access, so don't feel you have to LIKE everyone you meet (because it'll drive you nuts).

And this is Khelgar's character sheet. You'll notice he has high Strength and Constitution but low everything else - this is the basic Fighter build. Strength lets Khelgar hit hard and often with his axe; Constitution lets him take tons of damage without breaking a sweat.

Fighters are probably the simplest class in Dungeons and Dragons. They don't have a lot of fancy powers but they do consistently good damage at every level. They can use almost every weapon and wear any armour in the game right from the start, and since they gain lots of feats as they level up, it's easy for them to gain new special attacks or special bonuses to specific weapons.

They're absolutely vital at low levels, since no other class has the high hitpoints AND access to heavy armor that Fighters do. At higher levels they become less useful, since Wizards and Sorcerers can now protect themselves with powerful magic and similar combat-heavy classes like the Monk and Barbarian have enough unique abilities to overcome their armour restrictions.

* * *

This is something I really like here. We don't see it often in games - and not much more often in NWN2 after this - when the protagonist just sits down and actually eats something. Obviously having to eat is boring as a part of gameplay, but the dinner table has lots of interesting connotations and such associated with it and it's a good place for a dialogue. Think of da Vinci's The Last Supper (or for a more low-brow example, a dinner table scene in any soap opera).

Something like that would've been really cool towards the end of Act 3.

: So to make a long story short, I take pride in what I do - fighting. It's something you can't get enough of, and it's something where there's always room for improvement, if you apply yourself - stay focused - and keep swinging.
: And that's why I'm headed to Neverwinter. I heard there's a house of monks there... a monastery, right? ...heard they'll train anyone, just for the asking. Couldn't ask for a better opportunity.

: Aye, that's the short of it.
: A dwarven monk.
: No stranger than half of what takes place in Faerûn, I can tell you that.
: Why a monk?

Ah, crud. Looks like we've been followed.

Khelgar's never heard of the refractory period.

We're starting to see less of these grey dwarves - duergar - and more bladelings. If I remember my Planescape right, Bladelings are inhabitants of the Lawful-Neutral-and-slightly-Evil plane of Acheron, in which massive armies fight across the surfaces of colossal cubes, their lives forfeit to the luck of war and the slim possibility of being crushed between cuboids.

So what the hell are they doing here?

Normally I'd negotiate a price before rushing in, but doing that gives us Chaotic alignment points (?). So I do my best 'hero' impression instead.

It works, too. Khelgar jumps at the chance for a good fight and we gain Influence with him for it.

: And that's quite a lot. We'd best hurry... don't want those creatures to leave before we get there.
: Thank you so much, madam! Please hurry. I'm afraid of what the creatures might do to him!

Upstairs, we're ambushed by a horde of giant dwarves (??).

Cleave is a Fighter-orientated feat that allows you to make one single bonus attack after you strike the killing blow on something. Great Cleave allows you to make lots of bonus attacks, so long as each blow is a killing blow on an enemy. Very useful for dealing with hordes of low-level beasties.

Gera's husband is upstairs, cornered by two bladelings.

: You won't hurt me? I... I should thank you then. Those things were ready to tear me apart when you showed up!
: I think I deserve a little something for saving you.

: [Success] Yes... yes. Here, take everything that I have. You certainly deserve it.

Clink, clink, clink... I hear the patter of tiny coins.

Before we let him go, we'll ask him about the attack.

: Do you know why the creatures attacked?
: I have no idea. I couldn't make out anything they were saying, except for one thing...

Hrm. That's what they said when they burst in downstairs.

Across the landing, we find a familiar face fending off an attack from three dwarves.

: Well now, a small reward seems reasonable enough. Nothing in life comes for free, eh?
: Wait. Yarek and I were the ones to keep your worthless skin intact, Galen. If anyone deserves a reward, it's us.

: [Success] You're right of course. My journey would be far more hazardous were I to have lost my guards to this unpleasant attack.
: Very well. A fair reward. Now then, if there's nothing else...

Don't feel bad. He's a merchant, and a member of the parasitic oppressing classes. We're simply redistributing money to where it is needed.

The Forgotten Realms is primarily an adventurer-based economy, after all.

Anyway, we should probably ask him about what's on the road ahead.

: Can you tell me anything about the road to Highcliff?

: The fort was in a bit of disarray when I last made a stop on the way to West Harbor. Something about their commander gone missing, lost patrols - very unpleasant.
: And refugees had begun trickling in. I assume it's due to the lizardfolk migration.
: The men and I should be leaving anyhow. It would seem I'd be safer resting on the road tonight.

That's it, all the monsters are dead. That was a nice workout.

: [Success] Of... of course. You have done a great service for me by saving my husband. I should not be so ungrateful. Here... it's all I have. Thank you again!

We're actually making quite a bit of money out of this. I think we've made at least 200 gold pieces tonight alone. These dwarves that are chasing us - we could lure them into villages, let them rough people up a bit, then come swooping in to save the day and make a tidy bundle out of the reward money.

Oh wait, that's basically Clint Eastwood's scheme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

: We'd best be moving on - I don't mind a fight, but I don't like bringing others into our battles.

: A reward? Barely enough travelers for me to stay in business nowadays. And with the ones who died here, even fewer will want to visit.
: [Diplomacy] You would have been left with nothing if it weren't for me.

Now that's not entirely true. If we hadn't been here, those dwarves wouldn't have shown up looking for us in the first place. But let's not tell him that.

: [Success] You have a point there. And I suppose there's no hurry to the repairs, seeing as how the attack chased off what few customers I had.

We make conversation while he counts out the gold.

: I didn't actually build it. This building was already here. I just fixed it up.
: After poking around for awhile, I learned that there used to be a village here. This building was the only one that survived.
: What happened to the village?

Gah. This King of Shadows keeps popping up, but nobody seems to know anything about him.

: Lots of fighting up around Fort Locke as well. You can still find relics strewn around the area.

Despite what the landlord said, we're probably not welcome here anymore. Besides, more of those dwarves could arrive at any moment. We'd best make for Fort Locke - we'll be safe there.

: Look, we're headed in the same direction and you seem to have more enemies than friends, what say we travel together? Might be able to teach each other a few things.

I like Khelgar. He's got balls, but more importantly he's got the hitpoints and the crazed short-man syndrome that I need to take punches for our weak little Rogue.

: And don't you worry about me keeping up - Khelgar Ironfist carries his own weight, I won't be slowing you down.

* * *

There's not a lot of cut content in NWN2 - at least, not on the same scale as KOTOR2 - and most of it comes towards the end of the game. But I did find this little tidbit, meant to play as we left the Weeping Willow Inn:


{Keep the same camera angle, and then suddenly the feet of a Deep Gnome come onto the screen, then another pair, and they stop. All that can be seen is the backs of their legs, their upper bodies cannot be seen.}

{The camera changes to show the two Deep Gnomes from the front, with a cowled figure behind them... and several other Deep Gnomes behind him, to give the feeling of a whole crowd of vicious killers chasing the player.}

: {Staring ahead, almost to himself} I must report this to Zeeaire.

: {To gnomes} Follow the Kalach-Cha. Retrieve the shard.

{Cowled figure turns, walks away from the camera, sinister. Time the fade to black to occur at the end of the line.}

: I warn you - if I have to report failure to Zeeaire, you shall not survive it.

It may have been cut due to time constraints, but more likely because it's quite similar to some other cutscenes we see in this part of the game. The 'Cowled Figure' model doesn't exist, either, but it was probably the same person as the wizard who killed Amie in the attack on West Harbor. The 'Deep Gnomes' are now duergar, because gnomes aren't very menacing.

But who is Zeeaire? And what is this 'Kalach-Cha?' And when are we getting to Neverwinter?