The Let's Play Archive

Realms of Arkania III: Shadows over Riva

by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 8: Session 6: The Great Outdoors

Session 6: The Great Outdoors

Hey, everyone.


“You think we’ll be able to do something today?”

That’s the intent. So after you guys wandered around town, you rested until Lewis’ character could regenerate all his AP. After that, you decide to finally leave the city.

About time.
The guards watch you pass with a bored look. Suddenly, Thorgrim shouts, “Stop! Wait a minute! I have been outside there [sic] for the entire week. Better travel without me for today. Maybe next time I will come with you.”
What?! But we just got him!
Seriously, how come you’re not letting him come with us?

I have my reasons.

I suspect that this has something to do with only letting us keep one NPC around at once. You’ll see why having Thorgrim leave makes sense in a little bit.

Man, and he would have been awesome to have around. Can’t we just wait in town for a day and get him back tomorrow?

Maybe, or maybe you could explore outside and find out why I wanted you to go out alone for now. You can get him back anytime afterwards.

*Sigh* Fine, whatever.

(Backup). This plays anytime you’re outside.


Where did you want to go first?

You said the water was to the right, right? Can we go along the coastline?

I suppose.

Is there anyone living around here?

Not that you can tell.

I want to check inside the hut.

Looking through a small window, you can see the interior. It’s just a shed, and partly flooded. Apart from the small, severely damaged rowing boats, it is empty.

Could we break in and get a better look?

Does Hal still have his crowbar?


Then yes, you pry the door’s lock off and enter. Inside, there’s nothing really worth taking, but it is a nice place to shelter if you get stuck outside somehow.

Stuck outside? The gate doesn’t lock at night, does it?
It’s also a very…inexpensive place to sleep, if you think about it.
Good point, good point. But we don’t need sleep now, so let’s keep going. What else is along the coast?

How broken, exactly?

Really broken. As in, nothing at all worth doing there, and if you keep trying, I just might make one of you fall into the water.

Completely washed in? Then how did we get here?

Through the other road that runs through the woods.

Can I go into the water and see how deep it’s flooded?

Ooh. I need you and Alex to roll Agility.

Uh oh. 17.

With a scream, Suzie’s…Belle Fleur keels over. The ground is even steeper here, too steep to keep in view, actually, and she stumbled. Fortunately, she didn’t seriously hurt herself, only taking…six damage. However, Boxter isn’t so lucky, and seems to have become sick with something.

What? Why?!

You were there to pull her out of the water, right? You got exposed to a lot of river water, and now you’re sick with something.

This is bullshit.

That’s nice. Just write it down.

You’re wandering along the edge of the mountain across from Riva, right? William, make a few Intuition rolls.

Okay. So did we find anything?

I’ll climb up. *Roll*

Kara looks for the easiest way up, then starts climbing, until finally reaching her goal about twelve paces above. She rips off a the leaves and comes back down. Later on, you find *roll* huh. Another Gulmond bush.

Well, I’ll climb up again. *Roll*

Hmm. You get up the rock face, about eight paces up, and gather some leaves, but halfway down, a stone gives way under your foot and you fall, taking *roll* four damage.

Still worth it.

Alright, now this last one, everyone can see. There’s a large stone slab in front of the rock wall, bearing an inscription beneath a Wheel of Boron. A pair of boots sticks out halfway from the rock. The inscription reads, “If he had had the boots, he surely could have escaped. In remembrance of my best friend, Lomar.”

So someone died in an avalanche and his buddy gave him a pair of boots?
I want the boots. Can I grab them?

…Yes. Who, exactly, do you guys have pull the boots out?

Uh oh. Sounds like someone needs to be prepared.
I’ll g—no, wait, I’m sick. Hey, can I take one of those Cure Disease potions?
Since we’ve got spares, we can probably do that, yeah.
So his cold gets cured immediately but I have to run around for days with tetanus?
We didn’t have spare anti-disease potions when you got tetanus, and I didn’t know that this module had some nonsense about not curing tetanus with herbs. I promise, the next time you get tetanus, we’ll get you a potion first thing.

So will anyone be grabbing the boots, or…

Belle’s our best warrior. Have her do it.
Alright, I pull the boots.

You grab the boots with both hands and start pulling as hard as you can. Abruptly, you find yourself, without the boots, inside a small cave. The ground is covered with skeletons and human bones. No exit is visible. You also find that you are not alone.

“I was a guardsman in Riva Castle then, with a fine career ahead of me! Always, when I went to visit my adored one…”

So how’s your love life been going, William?
Ugh, don’t remind me. First, she wanted to go visit the lake downtown, but then the sky got overcast and she changed her mind. So then she wants us to go see a movie, which is fine, since it’s got robots—
They all have robots this year, man. You’ll have to be more specific.
It’s District 9. Anyway, it turns out that the theater she wanted to go to wasn’t playing the movie, so now she wants me to go rent Short Circuit and watch that at my place.
Sounds fine to me.
Not to me. I fucking hate that movie. All that 80’s…egh.
You really need to lighten up about the 80’s. Not everything made back then was horrible.
Shut up, guys, I think Bob’s almost finished.

“…So, are you ready for a fight to the death? Or will you take your last chance for retreat and renounce the boots?”

What was he saying?
The guy mistakenly bought his magic boots from the other guy in his love triangle, and then died horribly in an avalanche. The cobbler stuck the real magic boots on the rock pile in remorse, but now this douchebag won’t let us take them until someone kills him one-on-one.

You know, I could have put the guy’s speech like that, but I guess I mistook this for a roleplaying game.

Relax, they wouldn’t have paid attention to us, either. So who’s going to fight him?
Belle’s still our best warrior.
I can do it, sure.

Welcome to one of the most boring (and hard) combats in the game. Select attack, get parried. Get attacked, parry. Rinse and repeat until someone gets enough hits in to win. You know what? Screw recording this. Let’s just use Computer Combat and auto-calculate results.

When you select auto-resolve, a short video plays of a hero and a monster dodging each other’s attacks until the computer finishes calculations. At that point, one of the two stops dodging and kills the other. As I said, though, this is a fairly hard combat for level six starter characters.

Using stat boosting spells can help. Even with zero skill, the spell can work fairly often, and it always raises the stat affected by two points. As far as I can tell, the skill itself only affects how long the spell lasts, and even then a -1 boost spell will last for several hours.

Even with all these boosts and all the armor, the fight is a tossup in the semi-undead guy’s favor. However, the computer completely randomizes results each time you try a combat. Save scumming? What’s that?

Oh look, we won. Seriously, folks, the game is hard enough to win without going “hardcore mode” with saves. You all saw it; the game wounded one person and sickened another for simply walking along the shore by a flooded road. And I wasn’t making things up about harming someone by wandering onto the broken dock, either.

Fatally wounded, the warrior sinks to the ground with a relieved smile. Within moments, his body decays, until nothing but his skeleton remains. Then, it too disintegrates. Belle Fleur looks around, but there’s nothing in here but the skeletons of various predecessors. So, you grab the boots again, and are transported back to the outside, where a soft rumbling makes the rocks vibrate.

Hey, I called them first!
You guys, I’m the one who killed him, shouldn’t I get the boots?
What do you think, Bob?

Oh, no you don’t. I’m staying out of this one.

We should probably think about this logically. What do the boots do, Bob?

It gives you +5 to movement speed in combat.

Right, and Suzie’s the only melee fighter right now who can go at the full 7 MP. We should give the boots to Hal or Alex’s character to shore up the issues they’ve got with moving around, and hand them over to Suzie when we need someone to go really, really fast. After all, we won’t exactly be buying another five of these any time soon.
Fine, that makes sense.
So who gets the boots, then?
Rock Paper Scissors for it?
Rock Paper Scissors Draw!
Ha ha, the boots are mine!

Note: there was also some inventory juggling that took place to get Kurzmann into that suit of scale mail, but it was too annoying to put into dialogue. It’s times like these I wish old RPG’s had a storage system.

Can I try to heal Suzie again?
NO! I mean, I’d rather have Paul’s character do it.
No, I mean, like, I want to try casting a spell this time.

So how’s it work?
How many LP did you want to restore?
Um, 30?
Fine. Just roll for success, then cross out that many AP.
Really? Man, that’s a lot…

Just in case you try, they’ve thought of it.

You’re near the forest now, right? William, roll some more Intuition checks.


You spy a group of wild Shurin bulbs.

I go get them.

You crash through the undergrowth, which isn’t quite as heavy around here, and put your hand straight into a rabbit trap, which fires a bolt into your arm for…ouch, eight damage. You still manage to get some bulbs, though.

Aw, man.
Is there anything else out here to find?

Well, there is the rather large building in the middle of the meadow.

How come you didn't mention that first?

Because then you guys would have ignored everything else around here and run straight for it.

That is true. So, we head for it now. Do we know what kind of building it is?

I ask him what’s the matter.
“What matters to me is no business of your’s [sic]!” The young man runs past you, only to stop in his tracks a second later and turn around, a look of embarrassment on his face.
He sounds kind of cute.
“I beg your pardon, I didn’t really notice who you were…”
“Precisely. It’s like this: every adept of the college has to undergo a special graduation test. And it’s not a test about the spells we’ve learned, but a puzzle to be solved. I just received my graduation challenge…”
…Which is where we come in.
So what’s the trouble?
“Well, it’s a succession of rhyming puzzles describing some place nearby. Every time I have found one, my magicienne teacher reveals the next rhyme. To contact her, I have to blow this horn.” He shows you the horn he’s carrying. “The last riddle will lead me to the place where I’ll receive the graduation ring that proves I’ve passed through Stoerrebrandt College. You see, once it’s been put on, it can’t be removed again!” By the way, Lewis, which college did you say your character was from?
Andergast. Stoerrebrandt is where I said all the wimps graduate, and I’m not seeing any conflict based on how you described this guy.
Right. So the kid, whose name is Stipen, by the way, hesitates for a bit, then comes to a decision. “Won’t you help me with this? Everyone who passes this test receives a magic item for his reward. If you aid me, I’ll give you everything I get.”
Well, he’s got a deal.
“Thank you, noble sirs and madam! …Madams.” See, this is why I didn’t want Thorgrim coming along for this adventure; I want to limit your NPC helpers to one at a time.
That still seems kind of silly. What are his stats, anyway?

In case you were wondering, these stats are bad. I mean really bad, even for a level one character. Nothing good is above 11 (out of 13), and nothing bad is less than 3 (out of 2). This kid just plain sucks.

Is this supposed to be hard? It sounds like weeping willows. Are there any pairs near the river bank?

Yes there are, but it looks like something happens before you can get there…

The video is pretty long and repetitive; I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t choose to watch it. However, there are two important things that happen, and they’re fairly early on, so you should at least watch to that point. Don’t worry, you’ll know them when you see them. Also, I should warn you that I did all this stuff before I actually switched who’s wearing the magic boots. Just pretend Belle isn’t wearing them, alright?

Well, damn it.
That’s what you get for not helping out in combat.
No, that’s what I get when the bandits don’t stop aiming at me.

What, so you wanted them to go for the heavily armored warriors, or the dangerous-looking fellow in the back with the robes and the mystical wand?

Can we just get back to town and rez me?
I wanna finish this quest first.
What if more bandits come?
We dealt with them fine without you. Alex, what do you think?
Boots for everyone!

Fine. So do we find the willows?

Yep. Stipen blows his horn, and another riddle appears on the document. It says,
“There is a thing which rises high,
A picture is on its side,
Made from stone and not a house,
Protects the town from nigh.”

That’s a horrible rhyme.

It was translated from German. Give the guy a break.

“Stone protection” with a picture? Is there a picture on the city wall somewhere?

Sounds more like graffiti.

It is what you’re looking for, though. Stipen blows his horn again, and another rhyme appears.
“A man was struck to death ‘ere,
Was broken skull and bone,
There was a great lament to hear,
‘Cause of the violent stone.”

So that’s the dude we just killed, right? Let’s go visit his grave again.

It’s the right answer, and another rhyme appears.
“Here I stand, wait year by year,
With legs wet by the bank,
It’s pitiful indeed, hear, hear,
And rarely one will thank.”

Should we visit the dock?
If it’s “pitiful” (much like these rhymes, I should add), it’ll probably be the broken down dock.

It is. Stipen blows his horn, then says,


Stipen’s got another document that’s been giving hints one at a time after each riddle gets solved. Thanks to your effort, it now says,

“The estate?”
Probably the college campus. What’s there, aside from the main building?

There’s an outbuilding with a giant stack of firewood out front.

That’ll be it, then.

Indeed, seven of the logs are suggestively stacked alongside each other.

Someone start pulling the logs out, then.

You pull out a short branch five fingers thick and look into the opening you created.

Hell yeah, we wait for him. He owes us.

Nearly half an hour has passed, when a crow alights on the woodshack roof. At that precise moment, a blue shaft of light shoots out from one of the upper windows of the main building. You hear a painful caw from the roof of the shack. Do you really want to keep waiting?

Keep waiting.

“Look what I got! A magic shield! And I got potions and elixirs.” On reaching you, he displays his valuable new possessions: a shield, two magic potions, one healing potion, and two elixirs of Wisdom. What do you say to him?
“Pony up the goods, lad!”
The poor boy’s jaw drops from disappointment. Shocked, his eyes wander from you to his new treasures and back. Are you really going to insist on payment? After all, he might be willing to give you the one item you really want and keep the rest.
He said “all,” we want “all.” Come on, kid, give it up!
It takes a lot out of the young fellow to bring himself to do it, but in the end he hands over the vials. Now all he has left is the shield. The conflict is obvious in his face: should he hand you the shield or run away with it? Finally, he makes his decision. With shaking hands, he holds the shield out to you. Do you really take it? Paul?
Is there an alignment system?
Then we take it.
Stoerrebrandt sissies don’t deserve nice things.
“You don’t gamble with money you can’t afford to lose.” Besides, he gets to keep being a wizard.
I don’t suppose you want the kid to keep his shiny toys, William?
Fine then.

…You dicks.

It’s his own damn fault for hiring adventurers to do a bunch of easy riddles. So what does everything do?

You get one super healing potion, two elixirs of Wisdom, two strong magic potions, and a “miracle shield.”

What’s the miracle?

It’s defense is 4 instead of the iron shield’s 2, plus it weighs 60 ounces less.

I’ve been meaning to ask about that. How come everything is measured in ounces?

Maybe the translator thought it’d be simpler if he translated everything to ounces and forgot that we prefer to use pounds. As it is, I think the shield weighs only…a little under nine pounds. That sounds about right.

So who gets the shield?

Rock Paper Scissors Draw!
Damn it, I’d better get the next awesome thing.
What about us?
You can get it if it’s a distance thing.

Is there anything else you guys wanted to do out here? You could talk to the college dean about the campus, or find out that they will identify stuff for only one gold per item.

I’d rather just get back and resurrect me now.

Ah, much better.
Anyone else think this is a good time to end the session?

Yeah. Goodnight, everyone.