The Let's Play Archive

Neverwinter Nights 2

by Lt. Danger

Part 59: Act Two Chapter Twenty-Four - Construct

Hey, remember our Blade Golem? The one we found in the Githyanki Lair at the end of Act 1? It used to belong to Garius? Yes? No?

I wouldn't blame you if you'd forgotten. It's been quite a while since we encountered it.

The Blade Golem is Grobnar's toy (he's the one who wanted to take it with us in the first place) so we'd best ask him about it. Just what is he doing with it anyway?


: {Distracted, thinking about invention} Oh... hello. Sorry... just a little distracted.
: What's wrong?
: Well, you see... I've been thinking about that Construct, that blade golem we retrieved from those rather unpleasant githyanki.
: I was thinking... even though it's damaged and potentially deadly, I might actually be able to get it serviceable again.
: Are you sure that's wise?
: {Scoffs, then speaks quickly and inspiringly} "Wise?" Pffft.
: Was it wise when I decided to test my leather-reinforced spiked hat to try and spear fish and nearly drowned?
: Was it wise when I decided to drink molten lead to try and discover the formula for a leadskin spell? I think not.
: But in each case, I learned valuable lessons that have helped me to this day, whatever they were.
: All we would need to do is keep our eyes out for missing pieces, runes, tomes, that might help us understand the Construct better, get it running again.
: Like what kind of pieces?
: Well, some of the runes on its surface are marred and will need to be redrawn.
: Whatever was used to ink them in the first place was unique - it's a glowing, flowing golden liquid, stored in lead pots, that when drunk, gives the most delightful hallucinations.
: The ink actually reminds me of this glowstone I once had... but ah well, that's another story I've half-forgotten after drinking those leadskin potions.
: Also, because the runes are damaged, I really don't know what the original designs were. If we could find some samples... most likely Illefarn in origin... we could possibly redraw them.
: And there's many basic principles of golemcraft that do elude me to this day. I could use a book that outlines the material in a clear, orderly format, that I could always go back to when I forget the important bits.
: That's all I can think of. There might be more we could do, if we chanced upon it.

I've put this in quotes because I can't access it in game. This conversation sounds like it should trigger at any time in Act 2 - when you have the Blade Golem in your possession. Technically you're storing it at the Sunken Flagon (and there are cutscene comments that explicitly state this) but it's not actually physically there - it only actually shows up when you get Crossroad Keep.

So, okay, maybe the dialogue should only show up then too. Except... there's another sequence in the Construct sequence that's triggered when you hear about the Tome of Iltkazar from Sydney Natale - which happens before you get Crossroad Keep. So the game just skips over the set-up for this quest entirely.

At least, that's what happened to me. So I don't have any shots of that conversation to show you.

There are three items we need to collect for Grobnar to fix the Construct. One we picked up already when we killed Garius - the Tome of Golemcraft.

If you don't pick it up during that initial assault, you can find it in the library any time after you pay Veedle to repair it for you. Or even if you did pick it up - we've got two copies, as it happens.

We also need ink. Grobnar gives you a hint for this one - the Glowstone pool in the caves under Ember.

Finally, we return to the Arvahn Gem Mines. There's a smithy in the north-east corner that contains a sample of the runes we need.

But there's one or two things we ought to see first.

* * *

A band of pixies harass us on our way out of Arvahn, solely because we're Evil. We successfully Bluff them into leaving us alone.

If you're Good/Neutral, they just play pranks on you (pretending to mug you, which goes badly for them if you don't cotton on to the trick).

That's not what I wanted to show you, though.

Back in Blacklake there's this big open-air-theatre-thing. Let's take a look.

Cain strums a perfect riff

And the challenger blows it

: Yeah, well, what was your song? "Ode to a... um... lute player who's not that good"?
: I... really must be off. It's getting late and my mom... no! I mean... my wife, my wife will be looking for me. Yes. Excuse me.

It's 'Battle of the Bards' with Neverwinter rock star Cain Lethellon!

This is a right bastard of a sidequest and I hate it. It's also absolutely fantastic and whoever designed it ought to have a medal.

A medal with "Fuck You" on it, but that's just my opinion.

: That's right, I'm here to challenge you.
: Right. Here are the rules, then. Very simple. I play a tune, you play it back.
: Get it right, I have to play it again - defending my honor, so to speak. If I succeed, it's a draw. If I fail, you win the round.

Cain's incredibly smug and very sure of himself (he'd have to be in that outfit). He's got a hell of a dry sense of humour too.

: What do I get if I win?

: Standard wager is, loser gives up his lute. Now, my instrument is from such fine stock that taking the loser's lute's not exactly an upgrade, is it?
: So usually I'm a good sport and let him keep it - or what's left of it after I snap it over his talentless head.
: So if I win, I get your lute?

: Couldn't tell you for certain, love. Never actually happened.

See? I told you.

: Don't let that stop you. Come on. Give us a shot, then.
: Okay, let's play.
: That's the spirit, love. Have your lute ready?

Oh jeez.

: Well this one here's a fine musician, isn't she?
: "Oh yeah, look at me, I'm going to beat Cain Lethellon with a gefarging imaginary lute."

That was uncalled for.

: Here, take this one. Always keep a loaner on hand in case another of you luteless loonies comes up here thinking he's the next Cain.
: Right. Let's get on with the show.

* * *


: Your turn, love. Take all the time you need. No pressure. Just all of Neverwinter's well-to-do's watching your every move.

Okay. Cain sort-of explained how this quest works but I'm going to explain in more detail.

There's two parts to it. The first is the defence - playing back Cain's riff.

The lute has seven notes. Each riff (there are four in total) consists of a combination of these notes. The first is seven notes long, but the others are longer.

The goal is to play back the song Cain just played by selecting the notes in dialogue. You can practice for as long as you want before choosing to play for the audience. Be careful - one wrong note and the whole thing sours.

Sounds brutal, don't it? Well, you can use the Perform skill to listen to Cain's song again, even if you have no points in Perform - but the more points you do have, the more repeats you get.

And if Grobnar is in the party, you can ask him to replay it for you as many times as you like. This only works if you have high Influence with him, though, else he gets distracted.

After the defence comes the offence: tripping up Cain so he messes up. It's a simple skill check - just use whichever one you have points in.

He starts out calm and collected...

...but becomes increasingly ratty as time goes on.

We might just win this!

We'd better pull all the stops out. Certain of your companions can be asked to help out with the final round.

: Grobnar, I want you to play this last one with me as a duet.
: I'm sorry? Play with you? Why... I'd be honored. I'd be more than honored, whatever that word is that describes that.

: It takes a big person to admit that. I'd be happy to.
: I mean, the autograph of a musician so bad he made the audience's ears actually cry? Yeah, it's gotta be worth something, right?


But he can't stop the Dream Team!

: It doesn't matter. The crowd likes me more. That's all that matters now.

This is what it boils down to.

To win the competition, you've got to beat Cain in a popular vote. How very Pop Idol.

You get points by successfully playing defences (and the companions helping you in the last round gives you some points for free). Cain gets points by replaying his defences, so normally you two would draw - but we've been sabotaging him throughout so he has no points at all!

It's very in-depth for a short, one-shot sidequest, with a ton of funny one-liners and options (most of which we haven't seen yet).

Haha, hell yeah! Eat it and weep, Cain!

* * *

All right, I have a confession to make.

I've been cheating.

I am incapable of beating this quest on my own. I'm the most unmusical person I know. In fact, I have the sneaking suspicion that I'm tone-deaf.

I just can't match Cain's tune to the solitary notes you play in the dialogue. It goes by too quick and... I can't... I...

This is why I hate this quest.

It makes me think: I'm roleplaying a character here, right? With strengths and weaknesses that aren't my own, right? So why is my character penalised for my deficiencies?

I'd bet that Calliope could probably carry a tune better than I can, enough to be able to do this quest. I mean, I didn't put any ranks into Perform, but that doesn't mean anything, right?

But that's a bad road to go down. Yeah, a character with 19 Intelligence could solve any puzzle in an instant, true enough, but D&D isn't a simulation and the player needs to have something to do once in a while.

Possibly this all has something to do with my utter, utter hatred for Bards. God, I hate Bards.

I just think the idea of someone walking into a dungeon and playing music at monsters is ridiculous. It just makes no sense! Singing! Telling stories! Poetry! All totally inappropriate responses to life-threatening situations!

I blame the 2nd Edition AD&D Player's Handbook, which contained an illustration of a Bard replete in bright primary colours and unnecessary frills.

It's funny because the Bard is probably closest to real-world mythological heroes than most D&D classes. A lot of heroes tend to be a little good at everything, much like the Bard, rather than one-note specialists like the Fighter or Wizard.

Plus, of course, the real-world heroes who used music as their weapon of choice.

Anyway, enough about my neuroses.

In the real playthrough, we're failing our battle with the bard.

Aside from Grobnar, there are two companions that can aid you during the last round: Qara and Sand.

Qara provides some cool pyrotechnics.

: Why, of course. Although I prefer to call it "critical praise with just a bite of sarcasm."

Sand, meanwhile, makes the most of his rapier-sharp wit.

But it's still not good enough. With the crowd cheering for Cain, we have one last chance to turn things around:

Tell a joke.


Oh man, this blows!

This is a stupid sidequest anyway. If only there was something we could actually do...


No way.

Oh my god


* * *

I suppose this is our punishment for murdering Cain. We get another encounter with the animus elemental.

: Why can't we just walk someplace without getting attacked?
: It's stalking us.. stalking Qara.
: Not again! Didn't we drive this thing away once?
: Then we'll do it again.
: Second time's a charm.

Not even a scratch.

Well thanks for the vote of confidence, Grobnar. Last time I help you repair a death-dealing whirlwind of destruction.

: The way our luck is running, we definitely haven't seen the last of it.
: I am not certain we can fight this creature... but we may have no other choice.
: That was a little rougher than last time...
: We'll see if it returns.

* * *

We bring Grobnar the pieces for the Construct.

: Oh, really? Let me see! Oh my, yes, this should help nicely.
: Let me see what I can do with this and what I have here...
: Let me just put what we have together, see if we can wake our big bladed friend here up.
: Just need to put the last few finishing touches on him, do this here, and...

: Shouldn't he be moving... or doing something?

Yes, the scripting's off, it's not actually moving. Use your imagination.

Grobnar certainly does.

: My, that was a surprise, really gets the blood pumping. Phew.
: I must say, I'm rather proud of it. Look how tall it is... it really has grown since it was damaged way back in Neverwinter fighting those nasty githyanki.
: I'm impressed you got it working again - good job.
: Well, thank you. I must say, I had my doubts there for a while. A long while... but I appreciate the support and patience, sometimes you just have to wait for inspiration to strike.
: Go on, try it out - we can bring it along on our adventures from now on - just talk to it, if you'd like. Not sure it'll answer, though.

Well, well, well. It's finished. It's complete.

It's alive!

* * *

Construct is voiced by... er...

Construct is the penultimate companion we get in NWN2, and the only optional one. Every other character is forced into the party and you have to take them along at (at least) one point each in the game. The only exception is Grobnar, I think, and that only half-counts. However, it's entirely possible to miss out on Construct altogether, especially as the prompt for his quest is bugged.

Unsurprisingly, Construct doesn't have Influence or any personality at all - he's a golem, an animated hunk of material designed to obey simple commands. A kind of fantasy-robot, in a way. This also means he doesn't have any dialogue or banter - so if you like listening to your companions' reaction to stuff, don't take Construct 'cause he's got nothing to say.

Although he is hella cool.

For all intents and purposes, Construct should be considered an accessory of Grobnar's.

And how! Look at those stats!

Construct's our third Fighter, and easily the best. 26 Strength outstrips anything any normal character could get. We'd have to get to Epic levels (and be extremely min-maxed) to get that kind of Strength/Constitution. His other stats aren't too bad either.

The drawback to Construct is that he's a golem. He's a bit limited in what he can equip - which is bad for Fighters, as most of their power comes from the magical items they carry.

As a suit of armour, he can't wear any himself - though his base Armor Class is pretty good anyway. And he's got a giant sword for an arm, so he can't equip weapons either, nor can he be trained in them. Oh, but yeah, he's got a giant sword for an arm. Just look at his Attack bonus and Damage!

All right, so I lied, Construct doesn't really have any drawbacks. Yeah, he can't equip gauntlets or belts to boost his stats, but he doesn't really need them anyway. His only real weakness is his poor Reflex/Will saves, and that's par for the course for single-classed Fighters.

* * *

Let's inspect our newest addition.

At least this companion won't talk back to us.

: Oh, well, just ask it, I suppose. It's already designed to fight for us and follow our command - I think you'll find it a versatile opponent.
: Can it be upgraded?
: Upgraded? Well, I suppose. Just getting it working again was hard enough, though, not sure what else could be done.
: I mean, it's not quite up to the level of the other golems, it's seen some wear and tear outside of the whole arcane golem thing... but it's hard to see if it needs any other repairs from my height, you know.

We get to use our skills to improve the Construct and make it even deadlier.

Two problems, though:

1) We have no points in any of those skills.

Oh, but Sand is good at alchemy. He can step in and fix it for us.

: As reluctant as I am to do anything to this huge, hulking murder golem, my conscience nevertheless compels me to offer my services in case leaving it be might cause more trouble.
: Go ahead, I trust you.
: Very well. Stand back - well back in case I trigger something we can't stop. And get ready to run.

It doesn't matter, though, because:

2) It's bugged! Even if you succeed, the Construct won't actually receive any upgrades.

You have to cheat them in manually. The upgrades provide +3 to AC, +15 to hit points and +6 to Strength (!)

32 Strength and 29 AC? Yes please!

And we're not actually done with Construct yet.

: So?
: Well, if we were to get a hold of it, we might be able to use it to help upgrade the Construct.
: I mean, he's walking around and healthy - as golems go - but I only know so much about golems. There may be something I missed that could help him that would be in the tome.
: Sounds good. If we can restore him completely, he'll be an asset.

We won't be getting a hold of the Tome of Iltkazar for some time, but when we do we can use it to upgrade Construct again. Khelgar and Shandra must be thinking about hanging up their boots and retiring by now.

All right, that's it: no more sidequests. We're done with arsing about. Last quest of Act 2, coming up!