Part 16: Act One Chapter Thirteen - The Lytha Method
We were on our way to see our new boss, Axle Devrie, in the Merchant Quarter when we ran into these jokers.
: Why do I get the feeling you know this city even better than you've let on?
: It's not like these people are my friends or anything.
Terrible, terrible hair.
: You're doing this to become Leldon's partner? Trust me, I'll be doing you a favor killing you.
: This is getting tiresome. Let's get it over with.
Tremmel and his thugs are no match for us.
: Yeah, I'm enjoying this. But it can't go on forever - if it did, he'd kill us out of boredom. Time to pay him a visit.
: He'll be ready, though. Since he knows I'm here, he's got to know that I'll be coming for him.
: After the trouble he's caused us, I'm all for killing him - slowly.
: I don't plan to kill him. This'll be too much fun to ruin it by killing him.
: He's got a soft spot, though. There's this coin of his that he thinks is lucky. He always has it with him on jobs, couldn't stop playing with it - real annoying.
: He's probably got it well-protected too. So I want to steal it out from under his nose.
: Don't you see? If I can get my hands on that coin, he might give up. After all, without it his plans will always fail... at least he thinks so.
: I don't know...
: I don't think it's even a plan. It doesn't even make sense.
: And furthermore, it has nothing to do with why we're here in the city - not at all. If we want to do something, we should seek out the druid loremasters in Neverwinter Wood, as I suggested.
Elanee has made the fatal mistake of reminding Neeshka she exists. Now Neeshka is about to blow her fucking top.
: Maybe you haven't thought of this, but maybe there's a reason you haven't come across any druids, have you thought of that? Maybe they're all gone, or in hiding, or they just gave up their duties - kind of like you have by being in the city.
: I mean, why are you even here?! Huh? Why?
What the fuck Neeshka
: So, yes, I do not wish to be in this city, I do not wish to be a burden, but I do not know what else to do to help... all I can think of is seeking out the druids in case they know what we can do.
: But I will go along with whatever our leader decides - if we help you, so be it, if not, then I will stand by that decision as well.
: Well... all right. Maybe I wasn't explaining it well enough. But if we grab that coin from Leldon's stash, well...
Neeshka tells us to visit Ophala, the owner of the Moonstone Mask, here in the Merchant Quarter.
There's a third set of thugs that have been cut from the game - Raines, who's a bit intense and threatens to strangle Neeshka with her own tail. Still, I think we've gotten the basic idea about Leldon and Neeshka by now.
: I know, I know, we already got Leldon's messages.
: I am not surprised. He has a gang of thieves and cutthroats serving him now - he has become much more bold - and much more dangerous.
The Moonstone Mask is a whorehouse - a classy whorehouse, yes, but the end results are the same. It's very sanitised and clean.
We're not as keen on this sidequest as Neeshka is - the main reason Calliope is doing this is so we don't lead any thugs to Axle's estate. Best to keep our dirty laundry separate.
Ophala and the Moonstone Mask were in NWN1, as well, although obviously it looked a little different back then. Ophala in NWN1 was blonde and fat, whereas here she's thin and dark-haired. Her model is named Sarya, for some reason - not too sure who she was originally supposed to be. Ophala's an official campaign setting character as well: she's a former adventurer, just like Lord Nasher.
: Yeah, we might need to kill him. But even if we don't stab him to death in his home, we'll still need to rob him.
: Very well... you can find his home here, in the Merchant Quarter. I will mark it on your map.
: Be very careful... not only is his estate patrolled by dogs, but I think he's placed certain warding enchantments against those with... your heritage.
: I think he was expecting you would return, Neeshka - and he is ready for you.
* * *
: Stop right there, kid. We've got ourselves a thief!
: Why - why you're right. My coin purse is missing.
: You're going straight to the Watch, after you hand over that pouch!
: This little thief is the problem. It's not safe to walk around any more.
: Just last tenday I lost ten gold to one of these scamps. And I'm not about to let this one off, even if she looks so innocent.
Ten gold? Is that all? Pfft. That's not even enough to buy a loaf of bread.
I'm choosing the Chaotic option here because it's funnier. Sending the girl to the Watch is boring and doesn't really make sense later on.
: Not to say. Sorry, little girl... My mistake.
: Just don't let your mom get too mad at me.
* * *
Okay, this is Leldon's hideout.
There are no dogs. There are no wards.
There are, however, a ton of fighter/thieves armed with massive greatswords that Sneak Attack you for forty damage a pop.
You've got two ways of doing Leldon's hideout. These Noise Traps alert all the guards to your location.
Setting them off is the 'clumsy' way of doing it. You'll have to fight all the guards in the hideout, plus have another big battle at the end of the quest.
Real Rogues disarm them, then butcher all of Leldon's thugs.
It's tough initially, because we have limited crowd control and these guys hit like bricks. But because Elanee leveled up in the last fight, we can now cast spells like Ice Storm, which does lots of damage to lots of people in a large area.
At the end of the hideout is Leldon's treasure room.
We've got what we came for. Now we sneak out.
Sadly, this (and one other quest) is the only point in the game that you actually need a Rogue. Locks can be Knocked or broken; traps ignored. Sneak Attacks are nice, except when fighting undead, constructs or elementals - and half the time enemies just turn around to negate your flanking manoeuvre anyway.
I know top-down third-person isometric is the preferred format for most RPG players, but it's a format that really hurts the Rogue class. In tabletop D&D, Rogues (or Thieves as they were once known) have a lot more utility. With high Dexterity, they make excellent climbers and acrobats - Thief-Acrobat was in fact a dedicated Thief sub-class in early editions. While a Fighter would have to bash down a door, or a Wizard research some tunneling spell, a Rogue would always be able to climb over walls or gates or sneak in through a window or slip through a crack or something like that.
Unfortunately top-down third-person isometric games just aren't flexible enough to reflect that added utility. Rogues should be able to perform like the Prince in the newer Prince of Persia games, or like Garrett in (of course) the Thief series: using the environment to their advantage. However, they're stuck with Sneak Attacks and locks/traps skills, which in turn limits the character concepts you can have. Almost all Rogues are cutpurses, boxmen, assassins or trap-setters - the criminal (under)class of D&D, if you will. Even concepts like the private-investigator Rogue are ultimately tied to criminal activities.
I just think it's a bit of a shame, is all.
: I'm telling you, I heard something.
: And I'm telling you, it's the wind blowing between your ears. Let's finish our rounds, th-
: Oh Gods... the coin - the one he stole from the demon girl.
: And this thief was kind enough to leave a note... how considerate.
This is the cutscene we get if we successfully infiltrate Leldon's hideout. Normally Leldon would confront us immediately after stealing the coin - now, though, we're getting a showdown in the city park.
At least, that's what's supposed to happen. However, I think the game has broken a key variable and screwed everything up. More details next update!