The Let's Play Archive

Neverwinter Nights 2

by Lt. Danger

Part 44: Act Two Chapter Nine - With Friends Like These

After being released from the courtroom, we head down to the Temple of Tyr in the Merchant Quarter. We must prepare for our duel with Lorne on the morrow.

We don't have a choice in the matter. Guilty or innocent, we must fight to the death for the honour of Neverwinter.

: It is a cleansing ritual of prayer - it is held in seclusion here within the Hall of Justice.
: By purifying one's mind and reflecting on one's deeds, sometimes it allows one to achieve the clarity needed to avoid bloodshed in a trial by combat by admitting one's guilt... although I do not believe that will happen this night.

And just what is that supposed to mean??

: I am ready.
: Your companions will have to leave you alone for the first phase of the Rite. It is tradition.
: All right everyone, you heard the man. Out.

Suddenly Khelgar bursts in. We haven't heard much from Khelgar for a long while.

: What are you doing here?
: Why am I here? Well, it's because I want to take your place. That... Torio, she's got you matched up with a Luskan-trained killer!

He seems really quite upset.

: We know how to solve situations - by hitting them until they break. They know it, that's why they're doing the duel now, and I want to hit them. Hard.

There's an alternative line Khelgar can use here instead if he's on the Vision quest... at least, I think that's what it's for. There's some... complication in the matter.


: {Frowns} I mean... you've shown me that you can win a battle through words, and it may have opened my eyes a little, just a little, but seems to me we tried the wordplay, and now the real fight's here.

It might just be because we haven't cashed in his Vision quests yet, but I doubt it.

: Why are you upset?
: Because it's not fair, that's why!

This is, in fact, the third and final part of the Vision quest - the Trial of Justice. Although we could make Khelgar see how his actions could hurt those he loved, and how he could be blinded to true worth by prejudice, he still didn't fully understand the why of fighting, why it is so important... until now.

It's the only one you have to wait for. The other two can be completed almost as soon as you get them, but this is tied to the main plot.

: After all you went through, all the searching for clues and those poor villagers... to lay it all on your head... by the Gods, I want to fight him! I'll show him justice!

: You must still undergo the Rite of Tyr, but when Lorne emerges on the field tomorrow, it shall be this one who fights in your stead.

You can take Khelgar up on his offer if you wish (a good idea for some characters) but we're not going to do that. This is personal.

: I will see your friend out, then return. May Tyr's justice fall upon us all.

* * *

: You are permitted visitors during this time, for often, justice does not solely lie in the words and deeds of the accused, and you may gain truth from the words of those closest to you.
: We will return for you on the morrow.

* * *

There's six different characters that can come to visit you during the Rite, although you'll only ever see two. Sand is the first to see us.

Hah, I like how even though we're the one facing death in the morning, we're still playing psychotherapist for our companions.

: I must say, I didn't expect that we would be able to force Torio's hand like this - trial by combat is a rather desperate maneuver, quite unlike her.
: It's really rather quite pleasing. And if you were to beat Lorne... well, that would make me simply ecstatic. I could help, you know.
: Anything you can do to tip the odds is fine by me.

All right, to be fair, they also offer you some help. Some more than others.

: And, uh, no need for thanks - it would just be embarassing. Let me leave you to it.

Hrm. Interesting. Going to enlighten us further, Sand?

Thought as much.

* * *

If Sand doesn't turn up, then Qara will. After all, if you're not friends with one then you're almost certainly buddies with the other.


: {Looking around at mediation chamber} So you're already here - Khelgar said you would be, but he beat me here. {Beat, remarking to herself as she looks at room} Pretty quiet, it's like the Rooms of Thought at the Academy - drove me mad.
: {Trying to make conversation, failing} So... uh, this is what you need to do, sit here to get ready for the fight tomorrow?
: That's why I'm here, yes.
: So... uh, look, all right. This Lorne, he's fighting for Torio, right? Let me fight for you. {Scoffing} He's just a warrior, I can torch him in seconds, he'll be ash.
: This isn't about killing him - I just want justice, and I need to do it myself.
: Well, I don't think much of your chances... without me, well, your chance of getting out of this is even less. But I tried... I don't know why. There's times I don't even like you much.
: But go on, maybe Tymora'll take pity on you tomorrow. Who knows?

Qara, ever the direct one, offers to take your place in the duel. Actually, you don't need Influence with her to choose her as a champion, but that's not really the point of this segment.

* * *

The second visit. This one is your romantic option - Bishop or Casavir for the girls, Elanee or Neeshka for the boys.


: If you want, I can help you deal with Lorne tomorrow. I've been watching him, I know how he fights.

Bishop comes with advice rather than potions or bravado. He's going to tell us how to kill Lorne, as only a hunter could know.

: Lorne's barely keeping it together at the best of time. I could tell at the trial, he wanted to fight you then and there - not the sign of someone in control.
: So do this - keep hitting him, but stay out of reach. He won't have any ranged weapons, he likes that falchion too much to fight smart.
: He doesn't like being weighed down with armor, so you shouldn't have trouble hitting him, so keep hitting him and hitting him and don't stop.

So, we should hit Lorne: got it.

Okay, this bit is useful advice. Lorne's a berserker, and he'll be most dangerous when he's almost dead - when he has nothing left to lose.

: He's not going to spare you, not after all Luskan went through to get you.

There's a final line that Bishop is supposed to say if you have enough Influence. Originally Influence was on a much larger scale than it is currently but Obsidian evidently didn't correct all their Influence checks because this one only shows if you have 30 Influence with Bishop:


: Anyway, I've said enough. If you want me to fight for you tomorrow, I might do it, I might not. Ask for me before the fight, and if so, I'll step in.

* * *

In a way, this sequence is bad design. I invested tons of skill points into Bluff and Diplomacy; skill points that I could've spent on Disable Device or Hide, combat skills that play a much larger role in the game. So to have my one chance to shine, my one opportunity to resolve a major conflict through words, forced into a combat solution? Unacceptable.

But I'm willing to make allowances for it because of the companions. It's a dramatic moment that lets the player engage with his companions - makes them seem more like personalities rather than little RPG soldiers.

It's also our first real taste of the Influence system in NWN2, rather than the Influence system that Obsidian ported over from KOTOR2. Obsidian actually decided to move away from the unlock-based system of KOTOR2 and try a new system that was entirely about roleplaying, with no pressure on the player to game the system so they can turn everyone into Jedi. In fact, only two characters - Khelgar and Shandra - have anything material associated with their Influences.

For everyone else, it's just a measure of how much they like your character, nothing more. And the Rite of Tyr is the first sequence in the game that shows just where everyone stands with the player.

It's a better way of doing it, I reckon. There's less pressure to consult a walkthrough so you don't miss out on vital Influence. Remember Bao-Dur from KOTOR2? How you had only three chances to get enough Influence with him to turn him into a Jedi?

If you're not friends with Bishop, then Casavir shows up. He, too, offers to be your champion against Lorne. He also gives you advice: namely, don't hold back because Lorne sure won't.

Male characters will see neither Bishop nor Casavir. Instead, it's either Neeshka or Elanee who show up.


: Just thought I'd swing by. I didn't want you to get ambushed in the middle of the night - Shandra mentioned what happened last time.
: So I thought I'd check out the meditation chamber - big statue, by the way, but don't look for the donation box, there isn't any - and, you know, make sure everything was safe.
: No one can stay with me through the Rite.
: {Irritated, defensive, wanted to stay} I wasn't offering, you're on your own, just like every night. "Stay with you through the Rite," - in your dreams.
: {Not really sure how to cheer the player on} But... uh, I did want to say something - you know, good luck tomorrow, and all that.
: And... uh... you know, I could... make justice happen a little easier, if you wanted.
: What do you mean?
: Well, a little corrosive acid - {aside, quick} courtesy of Sand's shop, don't tell him - and Lorne's falchion won't be as sharp as it normally is... nor will his armor be as strong. It happens, things weaken over time. Entropy or something. Blameless.
: I want to fight him fair.
: {Shrugs, hurt}All right. I mean, I only had to steal the acid out of Sand's shop and avoid his wards, but if you don't need it, you don't need it. Or me.
: {Hears someone coming, goes quiet} Oops - time to go. If they ask you about the donation box, tell them it was missing when you got here, all right?

You can see here some of the remains of the cut Neeshka romance.

Elanee is useless as always. She only complains about you having to risk your neck to fight some stupid trial, and suggests running away to the forest. Well, they can't all be winners.

These aren't the last of the Influence dialogues for this sequence, by the way.

* * *

And this is Nevalle's version of a pep talk. I'd honestly rather have Elanee visit.

Oh wow, it's Edmund! Hey, is he back in the sto

Guess not.

: No - how are they different than the Luskans we encountered at the Docks?
: The Arcane Brotherhood are mages who have a stranglehold over Luskan, and many believe to be the true rulers of that city. They have never had any love for Neverwinter.
: Nevertheless, we have had no reason to deny them passage through our city, whatever their intentions - until now.

So that explains that. Shadow Thieves running the docks is a small price to pay for getting rid of the Arcane Brotherhood.

A cunningly underhanded plan. I didn't know Nevalle had it in him!

: What happened at Ember was a terrible crime, and they are responsible, of that we are certain. Fight Lorne, defeat him, and you will prevent Neverwinter from sharing Ember's fate at Luskan hands.

Oh nice. Being a squire was good and all, but full-blown nobility? Hell yes, my son.

* * *

The arena. This is where we'll fight Lorne.

Our friends...

...our liege...

...and our patron.

Grobnar and Shandra are here at the gate to wish us some last-minute luck.

: You sure about this? It's not too late to choose someone else to fight for you. Not like I don't have faith in you, or anything.
: Shandra, you changed your mind? I'm glad! After all that terrible crying last night and that phrase you kept saying, what was it... "I don't see how she can possibly..."

: I want him to answer for what he did. I do. But that man is built like a mountain, and if he wins... well, he's out of our reach.

More importantly, I'll be dead.

: Yeah, but I wasn't crying. I haven't cried since I was a girl, and even then, only when peeling onions.

Hold up here a second while I explain our options.

Yes, we're going to fight Lorne ourselves - that's the heroic thing to do, after all. But we're not exactly the best build for it; Rogues can dish out the damage but can't take it. There's a very real possibility that we might die. Bards are probably the only class even less suited for the duel than Rogues.

So we can choose a champion instead, just like Torio did. Khelgar's one possibility (he's got the hitpoints to wear him down), while Qara is another, even if she didn't approach you during the Rite (she can blast Lorne with magic and can avoid his attacks if you chose her spell selection wisely). Either Bishop or Casavir will also fight for you, but only the one with highest Influence.

But we won't be doing that.

And we pass an Influence check with Grobnar. It's quite tough to get the necessary Influence, since there are so few opportunities to gain Influence with him.

But for our efforts, he rewards us with a little song... and a few magical buffs like Heroism and Iron Skins. That's why we look a bit funny in the next couple of screens.

: Is the accused or her champion here?
: The accused is here and ready.

: Torio Claven, ambassador of Luskan, has accused one in the service of Neverwinter, and has called for a trial by combat to resolve the matter.

And we get the chance to conduct some last minute psychological warfare.

: What would you know of my mother?

: [Success] Shut up! Just for that, I'm gonna carve my name into your hide while you still breathe.

The full list of insults:


: [Diplomacy] Lorne, are you mad? I'm a Harborman, too. Don't do this.
: [Perform] Your mother would be so disappointed in you if she could see you now...
: ...[Perform] She was so proud of you as a boy. She would be devastated to see you as you are now.
: (male only) ...[Taunt] Let's just say she's a very lonely woman, and I had ways of elevating her mood.
: ...[Bluff] I was an orphan in West Harbor. She raised me as her own, because she missed having you around.
: [Taunt] Is that a beard, or did all the hair on your head just slide down?
: [Taunt] I would tell you "good luck," but I don't want to use words that are too big for you to understand.
: [Taunt] You think you can defeat me? You couldn't even beat Cormick in the Harvest Brawl.

Hmm... you know, that last one makes me think...

And the duel begins.

We start out strong, thanks to Grobnar's buffs...

...but Lorne makes up ground quickly. Iron Skins eventually wears off and after that there's nothing to protect us from him. We are so dead.

Wait... what's this?

In what seems our moment of defeat, a memory emerges... a memory of our master, Georg-sensei, all the way back from the West Harbor Harvest Brawl...


: It so happened that there were two village lads of the same age, and both of 'em were big. Not just big in a physical sense, mind you, but big in talent, and big in courage, and big in potential.
: One of 'em alone would have been too big for this village, but they were two, and the time was ripe for a contest between 'em.

: Now old Lorne was champion of the Harvest Brawl. Three years he'd held the title, and most boys had only to look at him, 'fore they'd faint dead away. But our Cormick had a notion to win the Brawl that year and humble his rival for good.
: So up he steps, and the crowd goes hushed. Then Lorne starts insulting him.
: It begain as good-natured ribbing, but Cormick just stood there, and he didn't say a word. And that got Lorne angry.

: He took a few hits, but mostly he tried to stay out of Lorne's way. And Lorne got madder and madder and madder still.
: It went on for hours like that, through one day and into the next.
: Folks watched the match in shifts, one fellow sleeping and another awake. Then they'd swap places, and fill each other in. And still Lorne got madder, and wilder.

: Cormick gave him another punch, and another, and another, until old Lorne toppled over like a felled oak.
: And just like that, Cormick won the Harvest Brawl.
: So what happened to Cormick and Lorne?
: Next day, Cormick was gone. Folks reckoned that he'd done all there was to do in West Harbor, and it was time to move on. As for Lorne, well...
: Lorne Starling never was the same after that fight. He and Cormick had been friends, you might say, but only one of them was going to leave that ring with his pride intact.
: Lorne skipped town, too. Went and joined the Neverwinter army, I hear.
: Why did Cormick strike when he did? Why wait so long?

That was from all the way back in the beginning of the game, in the tutorial area. That's our secret to beating Lorne.

I'll admit that the first time through, I didn't realise Lorne the bald-headed Luskan thug was supposed to be Lorne Starling, brother of our best friend. It was only in the duelling arena, when I decided to Examine Lorne for kicks, that I finally made the connection.

The key to beating Lorne Starling as one of the 'delicate' classes is to not get hit in the first place. One of the potions Sand gives you is a Potion of Invisibility: use it. Failing that, buy a potion or just cast it yourself if you're able.

Once you've no longer got Lorne breathing down your neck, you can manoeuvre yourself into striking position. Haste up, use a Feint, throw a grenade-like... so long as you're controlling the terms of combat.

You'll know he's almost dead when he enters his Deathless Frenzy - a super-special version of Barbarian Rage that stops Lorne from dying, no matter how much damage he takes. This is where Haste comes in handy, because you'll have to run from here on out.

When it runs out, he'll be winded - slowing down dramatically. Swoop in for the kill and you're done.

Practically none of the above applies if you're a big dumb Fighter, natch.

: You've won nothing. Garius lives. He seeks your death - and you will not be able to stop him.
: So go on - kill me. If you have the courage.

: There is no law, not here, not anywhere. You are a fool.
: I will never be punished for what I did at Ember... and no law, no decree, will ever erase the stain I've placed on your name.
: Even in defeating me here, you have achieved no victory. The people of Ember are still dead.

That's not why we did this, Lorne.

: My judgement passed at the trial shall now take effect, as was intended.
: The Arcane Brotherhood of Luskan is to leave the city of Neverwinter within three days time, and they are not to be permitted within our walls again, by royal decree.
: The possessions of the champion of the Luskan ambassador, Lorne, are to become the property of the accused.
: And ambassador... you now have much to answer for.

* * *

The cutscene is very slightly different if you chose to spare Lorne after the trial by combat. In it, Lorne is present as well - but Garius kills him around about at this point. Evidently, Lorne had failed him for the last time.

: Ember destroyed, the time wasted with this trial... I trusted you, Torio.
: Brutes like Lorne... they swarm the Luskan streets in hundreds, thousands, but you...
: Master... Garius... the one we seek, she still has the shards, they are in her possession...

: The shards are out of my reach... for now. But I have almost all I need for the ritual.