The Let's Play Archive

Neverwinter Nights 2

by Lt. Danger

Part 28: Act One Chapter Twenty-Five - Old Friends

We're stopping by the Flagon to have a quick drink. Killing Luskans is thirsty work!

Our newer companions were originally intended to have introductory cutscenes that would play when you first entered the Flagon with them. Grobnar's goes a bit like this:


: Look, I don't mind you all camping out here at the inn, it's actually good for business - the dwarf alone drinks a keg a day.
: Ugh, but that gnome... always going on about how I can adjust the structural supports, or trying out new spigots of all things, busting my kegs.
: {Telling a boring story off in another corner of the tavern, in an excited way} ...and most people make the simple mistake of confusing a cog with a gear, which is a fascinating story in itself...
: {Irritated, to player} All I'm saying is he needs to do less chatting and more singing.
: Talking doesn't bring the drinkers in, and he needs to be pulling his weight. {A little frustrated} I'm the only tavern on this block with a bard that doesn't sing.

Casavir's got one too, but I'm saving that for a special update.

We've actually seen Qara's already - the insult fight between her, Neeshka and Khelgar. You know, the cutscene we almost didn't see due to a bugged global variable.

Guess what else was bugged?

: More trouble?
: It's for her - the girl with the tail, it is. The one who sounds like a sneeze.

This is from my secondary, backup City Watch save, so technically none of this happened. Think of it as a really intense dream sequence.

: It's from one Leldon, big fellow in the Merchant Quarter. Says he wants to see you both, he does.
: What? Where?
: Wants to meet you both in the Park - says he'll be waiting for you and the fiend-girl.
: Without her, he doesn't show. Smells like a trap to me.

This is the second half to the Neeshka sidequest (that is, if you took the stealthy route, as we did). It's supposed to trigger after the Back Alley quest, once Wolf has joined your crew as an errand boy.

: Then we'll go meet him and kill him, get it over with.

* * *

: Truth told, I'm surprised you even had the spine to come here... seeing you can't even steal a coin from me and keep it. Now where could it have gone...?
: Give it back to me, girl.
: Always with the threats - why can't you admit you just lost, Leldon? You'll never be as good a cutpurse as me... ever.

: Of course she did, because it is her coin. It's worthless, but it seems to drive her crazy not having it, so I've kept it close by all this time in the hopes she'll come crawling back for it.

Goddamnit, Neeshka. Lying to us again.

: And here she is, just in time to die.
: Touch her, and you die.
: Yeah! You don't have me outnumbered like last time. So if you want a fight, then come on - we'll carve you into bits.

And goddamnit too, Leldon. Just fuck off forever, would you?

Hnngh. Well, at least it's over. (Until Act Two.)

: Hey - thanks for your help. We'd better get out of here before more of his men show up.

* * *

From one thief to another. At least Axle is straight with us.

: I have another mission for you, a somewhat more personal one. It seems other visitors within our walls have taken an interest in you - but they do not seem to know that you are allied with us.
: What visitors?
: They are strangers who seemed to have slipped into the city without our notice... which means they are able to move quietly indeed, without a gate guard or tavern keeper informing us of their movements.

Oh, Axle, I didn't know you cared!

: As long as they are here, they will look for you and place us in jeopardy. Deal with it, or we will be forced to distance ourselves from you should they strike.
: They have made their lair near the warehouse you so recently defended... I do not wish it to remain their safehouse for long.

* * *

This is the place. That's our warehouse in the background, at the end of the street there.

All quiet here. Let's just open this door and

shut the door shut the door

it's the motherfucking githyanki

* * *

The presence of the githyanki as one of the major factions in NWN2 is something of an open secret. As I mentioned previously, previews of NWN2 were pretty relaxed about telling everyone the githyanki were behind the attack on West Harbor.

It's not even as if it's that big a revelation. We just sort of... bump into the githyanki here, in their secret Neverwinter lair. "Oh, it was the githyanki who murdered my friend and burnt down my village. Those jokesters, whatever will they do next!"

I like the githyanki; their backstory is pretty cool. A long time ago, the illithids (AKA mind flayers - octopus-headed psionic brain-eaters) ruled a vast interstellar empire and made slaves out of hundreds of species. Amongst these slaves were some humans; amongst these humans was Gith, a powerful warrior. She led her people in rebellion against the illithid and won their freedom.

Unfortunately their time as slaves changed Gith and her people - they had turned this really weird yellow-greeny-grey colour, you know, and had all these strange mutant powers and shit. Oh, and they hate and despise all other living beings and seek to destroy or enslave all whom they capture so that they can never be threatened again. Look, the point is that they're not orcs, okay?

Githyanki are great by association, too; they're a big part of the Planescape and Spelljammer campaign settings. Spelljammer was a really niche and far-out setting involving magical spaceships (emphasis on the 'ship' part) and Ptolemaic crystal spheres; Planescape a more philosophical setting that tapped heavily into themes of belief, (un)reality, gods and the afterlife.

While I appreciated Planescape's imagination and adventurousness, it did sort of blow open the contradictions in D&D morality. On the ground, alignment is just a tool; but up on the Great Ring of Planes, when you're dealing with physical embodiments of alignments and pitting them next to ideological factions based on serious philosophies... things start to come apart at the seams. Think the wrong thought, and foom! the whole multiverse goes up in smoke.

(What an oddly Planescape-ish thing to say.)

Anyway, Spelljammer got discontinued by TSR (along with all the other interesting settings), while Planescape sort of clung on for a little longer as the 'official' D&D cosmological system. 4th Edition dumped the Great Ring and the Astral/Ethereal system for a new (simpler, arguably more elegant) design, but some Planescape stalwarts (like Sigil, the City of Doors) survived the purge and made it in.

I can't mention Planescape without also mentioning Tony DiTerlizzi, the artist who did a lot of the illustrations for the setting. I like his style, and now, you can too! This here's his blog if you're interested in artsy sorts of things

* * *

Anyway, the githyanki certainly explain where the bladelings came from. Unfortunately, we're still not clear on why they're attacking us (other than the fact that we're there, which is usually enough for the githyanki).

Githyanki are a bit scarier to fight than orcs or bugbears (or City Watchmen). Almost every group has some kind of wizard (or "gish", which is also a general term for a multi-class warrior/spellcaster player character build) and even the footsoldiers can buff themselves with minor spells.

You know, for brutal raiders from another dimension, they got some pretty nice digs here. Okay, so it's a little fuzzy and I could do without the purple lighting, but this is a classy joint.

Maybe we're making a mistake here. Just because they're yellow and have nose-slits it doesn't mean they're not respectable members of the community.

"I say, do you know the Bishop of Gul'hakor?"


"He's an awfully nice fellow, but he never remembers to pass the blood-wine-made-from-the-ichor-of-our-most-hated-enemies-the-illithid."

There's one drawback to fighting the githyanki in this wonderful, spacious home located right in the heart of Neverwinter; it's very easy for groups of githyanki to overhear a battle in the next room and overwhelm the player.

Or they could just all spawn in one big room right at the back of the house.


The traditional way of handling this is to bring in the heavy-hitters (Qara or Elanee) but that's not necessary. Our current group might not have any punch, but we can still take these guys through correct application of tactics.

It's good to know what saves are all about, for example.

In case you're not familiar with D&D: saves are what you check to defend yourself when you're not in a proper battle. Attack rolls and Armor Class are approximations for the lunges, dodges and counterattacks of real hand-to-hand combat - but sometimes you need to defend against something that doesn't have a Base Attack Bonus, e.g. dodging a dart trap, enduring a disease or resisting mind control. That's what saves are for - a single number that you add to the roll of a D20 and check against the Difficulty Check of the trap, disease, whatever.

3rd Edition saves are pretty simple: Reflex saves for avoiding a thing, Fortitude for enduring a physical pain or transformation, Will for resisting mental attacks. Saves increase as you level, but different classes advance in different saves at different rates. Calliope's a Rogue, so she's got good Reflex saves; Khelgar's a Fighter, so his Fortitude is his best save. Some classes get good saves all around (Paladins and Monks).

(It's a damn sight easier to use than the 2nd Edition system, which had six or seven different kinds of saves for various situations, most of which were very similar to the others. Someone casts Finger of Death - do you save vs. death or save vs. spell?)

When choosing spells, it's tempting just to go for the massive damage spells like Fireball and Lightning Bolt - and NWN2 is easy enough that, yes, you can just do that. But if you do do that, you will notice, for example, Rogues and other agile enemies taking less damage because they're more likely to make their Reflex saves to take half or no damage.

These githyanki are mostly Fighters - and although Fighters are strong physically, they were weak mentally. And if they're weak mentally, then they're vulnerable to spells that use Will saves.

Spells like Cloud of Bewilderment, a Level 2 Bard spell.

These githyanki - not only are they completely helpless, they're actually more vulnerable to attack. Neeshka can sit in the back with a mere Shortbow and do twenty damage a shot, easy. An overpowering encounter becomes a piece of cake with a little forethought.

Yeah, Cloud of Bewilderment runs out after a while, so try to get finished before everyone recovers.

* * *

Here - this is how the githyanki are getting into the city.

What the hell is that?

A cut conversation doesn't shed much light on the issue:


: {Impatient, but still calm} Where are those reinforcements? The Kalach-Cha is still alive.
{Portal starts up}
: Ah... they've finally decided to join us.
{Construct appears. He looks mean.}
: A blade golem! So the Kalach-Cha has drawn our enemy's interest as well.
: Destroy it, quickly! If it is using this portal, our brothers must be in trouble.

Okay, so what the hell is a blade golem?

Whatever it is, it's as strong as a bus. I can't even Sneak Attack it!

We beat it, though - and it ran off into the portal, just before it blew up. How strange.

: No... no, that's about right.
: Good.
: Because if my drinking is catching up with me, I'm stopping right now.

: We should follow it! I mean... if the portal was still open. Which it's not. But to let it get away before taking a good look at it - why, we're missing out!

Quite right, Neeshka. Come on, Axle will want to hear all about this.

* * *

Oh, God. Now what?

: While you were dealing with the visitors, there came news of another murder within Blacklake - a Lord Hawkes, murdered in a similar fashion to the other two nobles.

It's no use, Calliope. We're doomed to remain Obsidian's Axle's mindless pawns for all eternity.

Well thank fuck for that.

: I only tell you this so you will take caution when you enter Blacklake - anyone tied to me or this organization found there will not be given mercy.
: As for the Docks... with your efforts, I doubt even the Nine could uproot us now... and certainly without causing more trouble than they wish to prevent.

: Go on, I'm listening.
: All that I have requested of you is to help stabilize our presence here, and also stabilise Neverwinter itself. The social function we represent cannot exist without a city to live within.

The Shadow Thieves are the most infamous of all the Thieves' Guilds of D&D. You probably have fond memories of them from Baldur's Gate 2.

Okay, so they're merciless collection of irredeemably-evil cutthroats and backstabbers, but they sure as hell beat the Harpers.

: It is knowledge that few under my employ have, even Moire, but such things are easily cloaked from her. You, however, deserve to know more.
: Why?

I suppose it's as simple as that.

: You need not be a member of the Shadow Thieves to continue in my service - but if you wish to become part of their organisation, that prestige is now open to you - just as the gates of Blacklake are.
: What benefits are there?
: The benefits are largely those you would enjoy in my service, but if you choose the prestige path, you may find your skills and abilities strengthened by such a connection.

What Obsidian is trying to tell us here is that we can take Shadow Thief of Amn levels now. It's a little clumsy, as things always are when the Game intrudes on the Narrative - although not nearly as bad as Obsidian's explanation of XP in Knights of the Old Republic 2.

This is a serious decision that could have major repercussions. We need to take time to think this through. Maybe sit down with the party, talk it out, listen to some alternative viewpoints.

: You may choose this path at any time, not solely here. Just be aware it exists, and keep it in mind.

Screw that, let's go to Blacklake before Axle remembers another errand for us to do.