The Let's Play Archive

Neverwinter Nights 2

by Lt. Danger

Part 38: Act Two Chapter Four - They Were Sort Of Asking For It With The Name, Really

Talking to Haeromos opens up Ember and the Duskwood on the world map. Port Llast was damage control - it's in the burned-out ruins of Ember itself that we'll find out exactly what happened here.

Here we are, at the scene of the crime. Not much left.

: I was just traveling through here last season...
: There... there was the quartermaster's house...
: And Alaine's home... By the Gods, who could have done this... these villagers, none of them were soldiers... it would have been a massacre.

While we're here, we'll help Nya out with her burial rites.

This here's a corpse.

Using the wyrmsage in our inventory makes a pretty lightshow appear, which presumably appeases any upset ghosts in the area.

There's about eight or nine of these corpses scattered about the village, tucked away behind houses and the like.

It's a clever piece of design - Obsidian getting us in the habit of snooping about Ember for clues, looking around the edges of the village and not just the main green.

For example, approaching this corpse in particular triggers a dialogue. How would we have known to do that if it wasn't part of a sidequest?

: This corpse is unusually discolored, much different from the usual decay.
: Good eyes. What does it mean, though?
: Just doing my job. The sooner I put together these pieces, the sooner I... hmmm.

: You won't find it in any of the apothecaries or potion shops in Neverwinter. But it is a local favorite among several of the less friendly assassins' guilds in Luskan.

Sherlock Holmes, eat your heart out.

: Trust me, I've seen a lot of death over the centuries.
: Let me take a sample from the body... I think it will serve as a valuable piece of evidence.

This is Sand-the-counter chiming in. Still more pieces of the puzzle to find.

Like this one.

: He sure did keep a lot of notes.
: It's not as complicated as it seems - in fact, over the past few weeks, it doesn't look like many shipments actually came into Ember.
: Not even from Luskan? That's odd.
: Not if Luskan knew there wouldn't be any reason to send shipments anymore.


Tucked away in the corner of the village is this guy:

Guyven of the Road. God knows what he's doing here.

: Unfortunately, this will likely be our last meeting.
: Did you see what happened in the village?
: Unfortunately, no. I arrived after this senseless slaughter. All I can tell you is that this was not done by orcs or barbarians.

Just as well, little man. The last thing we need is another witness for the prosecution.

: I came here to explore the wonders of the Duskwood and found great tragedy instead. I've seen many things in my years, both wonderful and terrible, but seeing the fate of this town...
: I feel as if my remaining years have escaped me and my journeys must come to an end.

: You really mean that? I am very grateful. And I think I'll take you up on that offer soon.
: Your kind words have inspired me to make one last journey. When I am done, I will find you, and share with you my knowledge of the road.

It's easy to miss Guyven in each encounter. He's very small, colourless and hides in the most obscure corners of the map. It's worth finding him and talking to him every time, though.

Walking through the centre of the village, Sand interrupts:

: I heard it, too.
: It could be a survivor... or one of the murderers. I say we find out.

Down we go.

Oh no! The well, it's full of water!

And a small child!

: I'm hungry, but I'm okay.
: What happened to the village?

: I watched them kill all the people. I... didn't want to, but it felt important for me to see what happened, so I could tell you.
: I don't care what you did. I need to know about the attackers - numbers, descriptions.
: There were twelve of them, I think. They had dark armor, and... one of them looked like you. I knew he wasn't, though.
: And how did you know that?

How curious.

: Hmmm. This testimony could prove useful... we should take him with us back to Neverwinter when we're done here.
: I'll take you to Port Llast. You'll be safe there.
: I can make it on my own.
: All right, but be careful.
: I'll wait for you at the Alliance Arms Inn. Falgor always has some extra food, and places at his hearth.

And then he gives us Bishop's knife back. It's changed (for one, it's now a real item) and it's pretty useless for anyone who isn't a knife-fighter. Luckily, that's exactly what Calliope is!

Strictly speaking it isn't magical (it doesn't have a +1/+2/etc. enchantment) but it has some interesting effects, like dealing Slashing damage rather than piercing damage, or doing more damage on Critical Hits.

There's a door embedded in the rock wall. Does somebody live down here?

Somebody does live down here.

They're goblins, and they're friendly (for goblins).

: We already kill one intruder today. You go away now, or we kill you, too!
: Who was this other intruder?
: He was human, very fast, with sharp weapons. He kill some of tribe, but we kill him too.
: Glek take his skull for trophy. Stick shiny stones where eyes used to be.

: Why? Intruder was your friend?
: Actually, he may have been an enemy.
: Hmmm... you wait here. We see if Glek want to talk to you.

Well, lucky us.

: Why the surprise? I doubt you could speak our language half as well.
: I meant no offense. Who was this intruder you mentioned?
: He was a most vicious warrior. We would have been slaughtered were it not for our magic.
: Magic?

The Glowstone doesn't concern us - for now. Let's focus on the matter at hand.

: About that intruder - where is his body now?
: In ashes - little of him remains. I kept his skull, his weapons, and his ring for myself.
: It's a shame there's no body... but the ring might prove useful.
: I need that ring. May I have it?

I could just murder the lot of them for it. Nobody's going to miss a few goblins (they obviously didn't miss half of the City Watch).

Still, that way's no fun. Well, it is fun, but doing it the nice way is better for now.

: We share these caverns with a number of giant spiders. They, too, possess magic and are formidable foes.

There are a couple of traps around - set by the goblins to keep out the spiders. I make a pretence at disarming them but at these levels we can't even be hit by traps, let alone hurt by them.

And then a hundred spiders leap out of the darkness.


Eventually all the spiders are dead - as is Elanee, as I "forgot" to buff her.

In an adjacent side-cavern is... this beastie.

: Uh-oh. Looks like we've made another "friend" - and it's a big one.
: That spider looks unusually large - and its movements are odd. It looks like it's studying us.
: It doesn't seem to be attacking... but what I wouldn't give for a huge book to crush it flat right now.

: [For a long moment, the spider waves its mandibles, as if considering its response. Then it begins to scratch a symbol in the ground with its foreleg.]
: This spider is highly intelligent - why, those glyphs are close enough to writing to... my, this is fascinating.
: [The spider completes the first symbol, inspects it for a moment, and adds several more.]
: I'm not sure what you're trying to say.

Despite the many opportunities to kill the spider, it's worth staying your hand. There are rewards for those patient enough to befriend the spider - and those willing to put up with having Elanee in the party, since she's the only one who can translate for non-Druids/Rangers/Drow.


: {A little eager, then distracted} I say we go find it some food. Once it has a full stomach... why, it might be able to think more clearly. I know when I'm hungry, why, I can't think of anything else except food, food, food. Mmmmm.
: {Grunts, in response to "what should we feed spider"} I say we feed it Grobnar.
: {Impishly} I say we feed it Khelgar.
: {Thinking} If we could find insects - probably a lot of them - that should satisfy it. {Beat} If we wanted to feed it, that is.
: {Grunts, under breath - the party is talking about negotiating with a giant spider} I say we feed it arrows - one at a time, right through each eye.
: {Wary, doesn't want to encourage spider} I hope you're right about this. I say we leave it alone - it's been doing just fine by itself down here.

: If we find you some food, we'll be right back.

We'll pick up some spider-chow later. For now, back to the goblins.

"That group"... excluding Kistrel. Strictly speaking, it's not a lie!

: Then it is as my scouts have said. You have earned the ring, as well as the gratitude of my tribe.

Oh yes, magical invisible "scouts" that exist only to prevent us from using our considerable Bluff skill to fake completing sidequests and get the reward that way.

: Ah, excellent, another piece to the puzzle.
: Why? It's just a ring.

Aha! It's the same design as on that ring we got off the guys who tried to assassinate us during our Vigil. The Circle of Blades... that's who we're looking for. This is Luskan's work.

: The man the goblins killed was an assassin... very far from home, it seems.

Speaking of assassins, it's time we leveled up.

The Invisible Blade prestige class only goes up to five levels - half of what most prestige classes go up to. It was close, but Assassin just won out over Shadow Thief and straight Rogue.

We won't get enough levels to go up to Level 10 in Assassin - the NWN2 OC only gives enough experience to get to Level 20, and we've already hit Level 11 without taking any Assassin levels. That's all right, though, because Level 10 Assassin sucks.

(Ignore the Neverwinter Nine prestige class, that's a Storm of Zehir change - we aren't supposed to be able to take it yet.)

The Assassin class focuses on stealth-play. Our Sneak Attacks now can potentially paralyse opponents, while we get some spell-like abilities that make evading direct combat much easier.

We also get 'Use Poison' and 'Poison Resistance', which are not especially useful. Our main goal is 'Hide in Plain Sight', an 8th level ability that lets us stealth in combat and is great for cheesing the game.

Assassin is our third class. 3rd Edition changed the way multi-classing works - in previous editions, it was incredibly complicated and asinine. Only demihumans could multi-class, because only their superior minds could balance learning two disparate skill sets at the same time (yet at the same time, they could not advance beyond mid-level because "they'd already learned too much stuff!") Humans could dual-class (i.e. switch from one class to another, keeping all old skills acquired thus far), if they had the right statistics, but couldn't use their old skills until they reached a certain point...

3rd Edition cleaned up all those rules and changed things so that anyone could take any class at any time, so long as they met the pre-requisites. No more 'approved multi-class combinations': if you wanted to be a Fighter/Wizard, just take a level in Wizard at next level up.

The only complication is the XP gap: to minimise cheesy min-max builds that took a single level in a class just for the starting benefits (e.g. Fighter for weapon/armour proficiencies, Bard or Sorcerer to qualify for the powerful Red Dragon Disciple prestige class, or Shadowdancer for Hide in Plain Sight at Level 1), having multiple classes of different levels resulted in an XP penalty proportionate to the gap. In other words, if you wanted to take multiple classes, you had to keep them all at the same level. This would mean taking 'unnecessary' levels for min-max builds.

Except there were a whole bunch of exceptions built into the system that make min-max builds entirely possible. Races have Favored Classes (stereotypically appropriate classes, like Wizard for elves) which don't count for the XP gap; Humans and Half-Elves can use their highest class as their Favored Class, giving them even more options; prestige classes don't count towards the gap either, which is worst of all since prestige classes are the ones most often abused.

I'm not complaining too hard, mind. If the XP penalty applied to prestige classes, then as a 5/10/X Invisible Blade/Assassin/Rogue we'd get a 50% XP penalty - more if we removed Favored Classes as well. Just goes to show you can't stop gaming the rules.

Here's some more news for you: we're Lawful Evil. Officially, that is. Huzzah!

I was a little concerned we'd never get to this point, but here we are. We hit Evil way back in Old Owl Well, but racking up the Lawful points at the same time was hard work. Still, I wanted to hit Evil first, since we'd need that for the Assassin class.

I'm not sure why, though. There's nothing inherently evil about being better at sneaking through shadows and stabbing people. I mean, it could all be theoretical. I can think of several characters, like Jack Vance's Kirth Gersen of the Demon Prince quintology, who were assassins but for good (or at least non-malevolent) reasons.

Thinking about it, it's probably for the same reason that Paladins have to be Lawful Good, or why all Monks are Lawful even though a Chaotic Neutral Monk would be the most Zen class I can think of.

But hey! Alignment is a crock of shit anyway.

We're done with these caves. Let's head outside.

We emerge from the caves in the middle of the Duskwood, and immediately Elanee starts whining.

This is a secret exit - approaching from the outside, we'd find the cave blocked by boulders.

: There's something wrong with them. It's some kind of poison, running up through their roots.
: Poison?

Maybe Poison Resistance was a good idea after all.

: Since my warnings only serve to bore you, I shall remain silent - on this and anything else I sense that is out of place.


: Lethargic? This place is making my gut churn.
: These trees act as a damper on magical energies... your talents... and my considerable ones... may be reduced while we are here.
: Is that why you brought me here, to weaken me and humiliate me?

Qara getting all crazy and paranoid because she can't throw fireballs around with abandon any more.

: Our friend is right, dear Qara. Besides, I thought the powers of the Duskwood were known to all in the region... well, for anyone who can read.

We side with Sand for positive Influence...

...and promptly lose it with Qara. Or maybe it's Qara that's losing it?

It'd be for the best if Qara went home and maybe had a bit of a lie down until the feelings of murderous rage have passed. I'm afraid Duskwood will just have to wait.