Part 77: Act Three Chapter Thirteen - Dread Lord Of The KeepThis update's a composite one - one part Keep, one part cut content, one part plot.
We begin with the Keep (because that's what the update's named for):
There are two different epithets you can get for managing the Keep - Warden of the Keep (Good) and Dread Lord of the Keep (Evil). Naturally we're aiming for the latter.
Those of you with sharp eyes will have realised we've already had this conversation. I picked this up shortly after I came back from Mount Galardrym. Except, of course, that it hasn't actually happened.
: It's not easy living with all the rules that come with a city - but you've made things real nice here. Heh.
In order to get the Warden/Dread Lord epithets, you need to meet certain criteria; specifically, you need to have recruited certain people and built certain structures. For the Warden, you'll need Light of Heavens, her sister Joy, and Ivarr the Blessed, and you'll need to have built the church instead of the monastery. For Dread Lords, you want Startear, Uncus and Caelryna, and you'll need the Wizard Tower too. You've also got to be either Good or Evil.
These epithets are mutually exclusive, of course, but so are the requirements. You can't get Dread Lord if you built the church, for example, as that counts as recruiting Ivarr who as a do-gooder is not compatible with an Evil Keep. Ditto with Uncus and the Warden epithet.
Actual Keep management doesn't change at all - it's purely a roleplaying thing. You do however get a gift from either Joy or Caelryna that provides decent stat bonuses (we get extra Intelligence and extra AC vs. Law and Good from ours).
All that said... we didn't actually get this conversation at all. There's another requirement as well: your Keep Civility. Wardens have to have it high; Dread Lords low.
This screwed us over because we were aiming for a Lawful Evil Keep - strict, ruthless, authoritarian. Our Civility is on the higher side of Average, so we didn't qualify. I had to edit the savegame file in Notepad to get the dialogue to display... whereupon it crashed when I tried to save.
So now you know.
* * *
There's more missing/cut content to the Keep as well.
Ivarr the Blessed's Church of Tyr offers special quests to Paladins, Good Clerics and Evil characters. In the first two cases, he says that a dream told him to send you to Mount Galardrym, to fight a terrible beast that was allied with the King of Shadows, and to claim a powerful weapon for your cause. If you do go to the mountain and defeat Tholapsyx the dragon, you'll find something special in her hoard: Clerics get the Loremaster's Mace, with bonuses to Wisdom and extra divine damage; Paladins get the Holy Avenger Longsword, which can Dispel Magic on hit and provides Spell Resistance (amongst other things). Evil PCs get nothing at all but can have their alignment reset to Neutral by Ivarr if they so wish.
We didn't get Ivarr - we built the Monastery for Rolan, a wandering Monk who wants to settle down and pass his teachings along to a new generation. If you have more than ten levels in Monk, and if the monastery has grown large enough, you can ask him to teach you a few things: Rolan then puts you through the Trial of the Sun Soul. Alone and with no equipment, you must fight an elemental from each type. You can choose to take an item of power from the elementals - choose one and you get +5 gloves that do additional elemental damage; choose two or more and you get Improved Robes of the Old Order (not very good); choose none of them and you become a Master of the Sun Soul, with +5 Gloves of Balance that do +1d6 fire damage, +1d6 cold damage, 15 fire/cold resistance and Flame Arrow/Ice Storm once a day. Very nice. Then Rolan dies to let you become the new Grandmaster of the Sun Soul.
If it wasn't for the Dread Lord epithet requirements, I would have picked Nevalle for the Keep tower. Yes he's annoying, but if you build the Guard Tower for him then he'll offer to spar with you, adding a permanent +1 to your Base Attack Bonus.
As it is we're stuck with Startear the mage. Wizards can beg some high-level spell scrolls off of him; Sorcerers and Warlocks (and any other class for that matter) are just shit out of luck.
That's not all that was originally intended, though. The Tome of Iltkazar (which we'll be acquiring soon) is missing a few pages; Startear would inform you that the missing pages were in the hands of Shoon the Lich, an undead spellcaster that dwelt in the sewers beneath Neverwinter. It wouldn't affect the plot or anything (we could still use the Tome just fine) - it was just an extra dungeon for those that wanted it.
While we're on the subject of toilets, there was also a dunnyman with a silly speech impediment that guarded a privy in Neverwinter's Merchant Quarter. He'd relate a sad story about how his sister fell sway to a muck-dwelling undead demon or some such and murdered half the district before being the destroyed.
As it is I'm just gonna stop here with this unfortunate soul, dead on the porcelain throne.
* * *
There's some nice end-game content for certain classes here. Other classes get left out, though.
Elder Naevan wasn't always going to run off at the end of the Circle of the Mere quest. There was the possibility of him joining your Keep and setting up a grove, which would've been good for Druids and Rangers.
Us Rogues are left out too: Uncus was intended to set up a gambling den, ideal for sneaky thieving types. We'll just have to settle for him being our second adjutant.
Lastly, Aramin the alchemist (who I last mentioned as part of the Hollows questline) was also a recruitable NPC. Some of the unused epithet feats suggest that he and Naevan would come together to give Neutral PCs their own Warden/Dread Lord title and reward.
* * *
A few loose ends to wrap up.
Remember how we were always getting ambushed by githyanki, even though we had left West Harbor? Well, the githyanki captain and his duergar minions captured and tortured Bevil and forced him to spill the beans. That's why he was hiding when we revisited West Harbor - and why he came to make it up to us at the Keep.
We reassured Bevil (and gave him some advice) to make him a better sergeant. It doesn't have any actual effect on his sergeanting stats but it does have a minor impact on the ending.
We also tell Guyven about our visit to the Wendersnaven clearing and Mount Galardrym, and he changes our Explorer epithet to 'Pathstalker'. Again, no in-game effect, but it makes us feel fuzzy inside.
Kistrel, the spider we recruited in the caves below Ember, has finished weaving a cloak for us. Freedom of Movement and Spell Resistance; not bad.
There's an option to initiate conscription in our army in Act 3. Conscription increases Greycloak numbers at the expense of the Greycloak Elite modifier.
Of course we chose to start conscripting - it's one of the few Lawful Evil acts in the game!
Another is the case of Sergeant Dobbson: a Greycloak sergeant who Kana catches taking bribes. He's not really doing anything bad - just taking a little extra in exchange for ignoring some harmless old import/export laws, that sort of thing. But as a Lawful Evil Knight-Captain, I'd feel obligated to punish him to the fullest extent of the law.
The Sergeant Dobbson event is something you get only if you were a Watchman in Act 1. Same for the Leeves event - a nearby town is being attacked by the bandits we expelled from Crossroad Keep, and they request your help in defeating them. Also, in Act 3, Captain Brelaina asks for a few men to maintain order in Neverwinter during the evacuation.
The last thing we're missing is 'The Perfect General' - if you've formed the Captain's Company, have the best weapons, armour and training, high morale and all sergeants recruited, then Kana gives you a +5 Short Sword and compliments you on your wonderful army.
This is how things stand at the end of the Crossroad Keep minigame. We've reached 100% Time Passed, so everything's now frozen: no more upgrades, no more changes, no more revenue.
Not that we need it. That's a cool one million in the bank there. I'd make a withdrawal, except we have roughly the same amount of cash rattling around in our purse as it is.
We've also broken the 'hard limit' of 600 Greycloaks. Some people have reported thousands but I'm quite happy with seven-hundred-seventy, thank you very much.
* * *
Okay, let's recentre: we've just come back from the Arvahn Song Portal, with Silver Sword in hand. Nevalle accosts us as we enter.
However, one of our subordinates interrupts with dire news.
And then Ammon Jerro is there too. I don't know
: Never seen anything like it. It's tall as an ogre and dark as night.
: A Shadow Reaver. And pursuing Callum for a reason, no doubt.
: Soldier, where is Callum now?
: He's down at roadside, sir. He and his men are holding off those - those monstrosities! I think they're in trouble.
: Just what we need now - most of the patrols are out of the Keep or on training rotation.
This seems like the reasonable, sane option.
: I need not remind you of your duty to Nasher... and with Callum at your side, that is your best chance to fight off the Reaver before it comes for you.
No, letting it come for us was the whole idea. I'd like to see him get inside my Keep.
We don't have a choice in the matter. We're off to save Callum.
* * *
Bah. If Callum wants saving, the least he can do is spawn in correctly. He's supposed to be in the middle of the clearing, not off in a corner.
Uh oh. Golems that reassemble themselves? Bad news.
: Ah, Nasher, I failed...
: The King of Shadows will reward me greatly for bringing your lifeless husk before him in the Vale.
: Keep it occupied while I recite the name... it will take some time to recite it, so keep him at bay until I am finished.
Ooh, this fight's nasty.
As you've just seen, each of the Blade Golems has an elemental bonus. One fire, one acid, one ice, one lightning and one negative energy. They're pretty strong tanks - and the Shadow Reaver in the back likes to throw his spells around, too.
A judicious use of the Perilous Flame Warlock invocation and some of our Ritual powers balance things out nicely. Again, much like the ambush in West Harbor, you're better off getting a few spells from Ammon and/or Zhjaeve to clear out the opposition before using the True Name scroll on the Shadow Reaver.
And Nevalle arrives just in time to see the Reaver hit the floor. I don't see any reinforcements - did he take twenty minutes just to put on his armour?
: I arrived too late to help you... and Callum as well, it seems. This war has cost us much... and it is not yet over.
: Your delay cost Callum his life.
: And so did yours, no doubt. Were you here when he fell, or were you also delayed? Speak not ill of me if there was more you could have done yourself.
Nevalle's error lies in assuming we cared about saving Callum's life.
: Before he died, Callum said that Highcliff has fallen.
: A reaver falls, and so does Highcliff... it seems no matter what our victories, the King of Shadows' influence grows.
: I must bear this news to Lord Nasher - we will need to ready the Neverwinter forces to march on Highcliff. But before we commit our soldiers, Crossroad Keep must be prepared.
: Make whatever preparation you need at your keep, then speak to me when all is ready for the army to march on Highcliff.
Okay, some good came of this. The Tome of Iltkazar will allow us to teleport into the Merdelain and strike at the King of Shadows... assuming we can defeat his army at Highcliff.
And we can also
give it to Grobnar to upgrade the Construct.
: Oh my word - yes, yes I can!
: Let me see what I can do with this...
: I do need to do more research on the actual interlocking plate mechanics, especially with the rune grafting and the explosive powder infusion, but it's really all rather complicated - in fact, I hope I don't get the parts confused, or else the whole Keep will go POOF! Ha ha ha. Oh well, live and learn, I suppose.
+2 to physical stats... we've had worse.
* * *
There's nothing left to be done. The Keep is fully fortified, we've recruited everyone, made two alliances and even summoned the fiends of Hell itself to do our bidding.
: Then I shall ride and join with Nasher near Highcliff.
: How can you think you'll win this battle without my help?
: Nasher has asked that you remain here and make sure the Keep is secure - and he does not wish you or your companions risked at Highcliff, when so much depends on you stopping the King of Shadows.
: It sounds like Nasher doesn't expect to win the battle.
: If we can pull a victory from this battle, we will, but I will not lie to you, Captain - this battle is intended to buy time to allow the people of Neverwinter to escape the city before the King of Shadows arrives.
: And to buy you time to find a way to defeat the King of Shadows before his troops advance any farther.
* * *
Battle at Highcliff
The following 'cutscene' comes in the form of these illustrated stills, accompanied by music and voiceover. I'm not sure whether it's the result of crunch-time or a design decision (because the engine couldn't handle hundreds of objects on-screen at the same time).
To be honest it doesn't look very good. What's with all that unnecessary blur?
: It is as if all the dead of the Mere walk, milord - there are miles of them.
: Then we shall make a road of their bodies.
: We are more than their match. They know nothing of courage, of honor - they have no loved ones they fight for.
: And that is why they will fall before our swords, our spears, for the Gods are with us - brothers, sisters, all, standing side by side against death.
: Know that all of Neverwinter stands behind you. Let us remind them of death - and send them back to the Hells!
: Lord Nasher!
: Men of Neverwinter - Lord Nasher is wounded! Everyone, to Crossroad Keep - we will make our last stand there!
* * *
: Waterdeep and the Lords' Alliance have reinforcements on the way, but if we cannot hold the keep until they arrive, then all is lost.
: Worse, Lord Nasher was wounded during the battle and is being taken inside the Keep. We cannot risk moving him further until he has recovered.
: We must hold this keep at all costs - talk to your people here, see what can be done to prepare for the coming siege.