Part 67: Act Three Chapter Three - Last Of The Lizardlings
In media res: the best way to start an update.
Highcliff's currently the southern-most point of civilisation on the world map and the last outpost standing between Neverwinter and the King of Shadows. I'd say it's a priority target.
Even with an army of the dead on their doorstep it still hasn't been evacuated yet, though. And now we know why: Highcliff is besieged by lizardmen.
Act 3 begins with five quests available: four of them are seeking alliances with Neverwinter's neighbours. Khelgar's suggested the Ironfist clan; Grobnar wants the Wendersnaven; there's another I haven't shown you yet; and Elanee thought palling up with the lizardmen of the Mere would be a good idea.
I shouldn't be so dismissive - we suggested the same thing to Nasher during our knighting ceremony.
We saved Gera and Zachan from duergar (remember them?) back in Act 1, then a little later on stopped their son from being eaten by wolves.
: We can never repay you for this. We can only offer you our gratitude.
: Surely you can offer something.
: Well... I have a few coins to offer, but really nothing else. All we have are in those overturned wagons.
: What is coin in comparison to your life?
Actually, I think coin's an excellent measure of personal worth in fantasy-land. The circumstancial evidence is overwhelming; every important person in Neverwinter has to have at least a few thousand floating around somewhere, since they obviously think nothing of giving it to us in exchange for running minor errands. Nameless commoners and tavern-dwellers with no importance to the plot, meanwhile, have no money at all. Furthermore, the more important the quest-giver, the more money they have - compare Commander Tann and Elder Mayne to Axle or Lord Nasher. And as Grand Saviour of the Realms, we're valued at something like over a million gold pieces, which I reckon is a fair estimate of our worth.
Of course, under this system, common-garden merchants are the secret overlord class of all Faerun, seeing as they possess both the +5 weapons and armour sold by adventurers but also the hundreds of thousands of gold pieces necessary to buy them.
: I don't mean to add to your troubles, but we have to get the word out to anyone we can. Highcliff is under attack!
: We don't know why they haven't swarmed into town yet. Maybe they're trying to separate us to make the pickings easy.
The last time we were in Highcliff, we got the town elder and the lizardman chieftain to agree to live in peace.
Gosh, don't we feel foolish now!
* * *
This is good news, really. I mean, it's bad for Highcliff, sure, but at least we don't have to walk far to find the lizardmen.
We've made peace with the lizardmen twice before now: once at Highcliff, once in the swamp ruins. What's say we go for the hat-trick and recruit them as allies in the defence of Neverwinter?
It's looking pretty grim. The town's been encircled and the Greycloaks are too busy hauling ass out of Neverwinter to liberate Highcliff.
: We do not know for certain. The lizardmen just appeared one day at the south end of town.
: They never moved into Highcliff itself. They simply stood their ground and fortified themselves right outside of town.
: Most of us retreated to the north end of town. Those beasts then blocked the cliffwalk itself, so now we have no access to the water.
Things are worse than I thought.
Ah, superb. Let's put our knife skills to good use.
: We will question the captive, but I will not allow you to torture him. Where is he?
: We are holding it in the old pen. Just over there. As for extraction... I will not ask what you mean.
Well, why don't we find out?
Let's put our Jack Bauer hats on.
: Let me heal him - or tend the wounds. I can't stand to see any creature in pain like this.
: Let's patch him up - we can't interrogate him in this condition.
: Agreed. We need the information this thing can provide, and we have little time to waste.
Nice! Ammon's already getting into it. I like the "this thing" - good dehumanisation technique!
: You would heal him to harm him more? Even if he could help us?
: I do not object to healing him, but I do not wish our questions to be accompanied by further pain.
Oh, whine, whine, whine. How about: you two shut the fuck up while I defend America?
Even a crappy Cure Light Wounds spell is enough to stabilise the prisoner. That'll keep him alive long enough to find out what the lizardmen are up to.
: Highcliff is ancient home. Warmblood take from tribes. Now we take back.
: But Highcliff is far from your ancestral grounds in the Mere.
: Once, all land here is swamp. Tribe's swamp. Batha tell us tribe's past.
: Batha unite tribes with great vision of future. All tribes see wisdom in Batha and follow.
Batha must be the leader of the lizardmen - and the one behind all this siege nonsense.
: How can he see into the future?
: Batha great prophet. All words come true.
: He tell about swamp dying, about great darkness. He say warmbloods run north, that tribe no need fear. All words true.
: It Batha's will we keep warmbloods caged here. Part of future he sees.
Fantasy terrorism, eh?
: How is Batha so powerful?
TELL ME WHERE THE BOMB IS etc.
: Vlssk not sure. Know that Batha, when shaman, dance with shadows in swamp.
: Shadows ancestor spirits, give Batha great wisdom and power.
: Shadows aren't spirits. Batha is confused.
: What you know about swamp and tribe? Batha show power of spirits.
: Will he talk to us at least?
We never get the drop on anyone in these games. Always we're off doing our own thing when some asshole with a prophecy of doom comes along and says "Prepare to die, Shard-Bearer!" We may be destined to destroy the King of Shadows, but it seems sometimes like the Gods informed everyone else of this fact but forgot to tell us. Zeeaire, Garius, Zhjaeve, and now this Batha person...
Anyway, that's all we can get from Vlssk.
Forearmed with knowledge, we head off towards the lizardmen encampment on the south side of town.
We can pay a visit to the cliffwalk, even kill the lizardmen and reclaim the docks - but the ships have been destroyed. There's nothing of value there.
And Slaan makes a reappearance. Slaan's an honorary companion from Act 1 (and I can think of a few NPCs I wouldn't mind swapping out for him). He's still alive because we chose the peaceful option in the Highcliff questline.
: Slaan not want break truce, but Batha say we must for good of tribes.
: Tribes now strong because of Batha. We can live, even with swamp gone.
: But Slaan not want harm Highcliff. Slaan and tribe stay and guard, only fight human when must.
: Let me speak with Batha.
: Slaan believe you, will talk to Batha when he come.
* * *
This must be Batha.
: I have known your face for some time. It is the face of the one who will decide the future of my tribe.
: Yours is a rare talent... how did you learn to speak using your mind?
: My visions tell me many thing - of future, of past, of layers within the present.
: Always, I see the shard. Your shard, your wound. It is the wound of my land, always is it in my visions.
: And now my land is in shadow, the waters poisoned. The sun is cloaked by night, and cannot warm us.
: I lead all lizardmen tribes. They join me because I have been given power from our ancestral spirits.
: Our ancestors saw the destruction of our land and came to me, deep in the swamp. They filled my sight with that which is to come.
: I saw the end of my people, so I became a vessel for their rage. In me you see the will of all lizardmen.
: Why have you trapped the townsmen here?
Whoops. Sorry Highcliff!
: We let some escape north, just enough to call for help. And now I stand before the Shard-Bearer.
: What do you want from me?
: I wanted to see the Shard-Bearer with my own eyes. I have come to tell you that we will not accept death as our fate.
Negotiations are off to a bad start.
: I have seen the path of this blade in my mind. It has left an open wound in this land.
: Everywhere it goes, the shadows follow.
: Perhaps you are merely a fool. You carry metal in your chest but do not know how closely it cuts to the heart.
: How do you know you can trust your visions?
We use Vlssk's info to deflate Batha's righteous rage.
: Used... impossible. Your people have many names for things they do not understand.
: The King of Shadows destroyed your lands, not us. And the shard was meant to kill him and put and end to this darkness.
: Impossible. Or so I had thought. I do not trust you, but I cannot deny my doubt, either.
: But... I have experienced the visions and felt the presence of my ancestors. I have only heard your words.
What follows is a one-on-one fight between Batha and the party. Yeah, I know that's not one-on-one... do you really want a repeat of the Castle Never fight?
After you get him down to Near Death once, he super-saiyans and transforms into an Earth Elemental. His guards also realise 1v5 is not fair odds and join in too.
Fine by me. That just means we get to kill them too for experience!
Batha's non-italicised dialogue is supposed to be in Lizardish (?) which is similar to what Obsidian originally intended with the Statues of Purification speaking in Elvish. This is I think a relic of when Obsidian intended all dialogue to be in cutscenes, like KOTOR2: hence the script direction for voice-actors in dialogue that is not voice-acted.
We can use a skill to make friends with Batha. Alternatively, Slaan will pipe up here and vouch for your good intentions - if he is still alive.
You don't need to have made peace with the lizardmen previously to ally with Batha, but it helps.
* * *
: And I have nearly destroyed my people at the behest of our true enemy.
: Turn that power against its master. Show the King of Shadows his mistake.
: Turn upon the deceiver of my people with his own devices... My tribe may grow strong yet again.
: Then let it be so. We shall stand together until the shadow is swept aside.
That's all for Highcliff.
Short, wasn't it? I told you Act 3 was a lot more concise.
I prefer things this way. We can zip through Act 3 like a Hasted Barbarian, and because each of the quests are so short, we always feel like we're making good progress.
Don't worry, there's a few nice moments coming up - and this way, we can spend more time on them. For the best, really.