The Let's Play Archive

Realms of Arkania III: Shadows over Riva

by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 9: Session 7: Totally Not Ripping Off Moria: Floor #1

Session 7: Totally Not Ripping Off Moria: Floor #1

“…So you really think they’re better?”

“The protection isn’t quite as good as the plate pieces, but there’s no downside to wearing them at all. Plus they’re lighter, which should help with encumbrance issues.”

Alright, let me see if I got what you want straight:

First, you get yourselves some money selling all the gulmond flowers and the rather frighteningly valuable joruga root…

It is the only thing that cures rabies, after all.

…Money you then use to purchase a large set of chainmail arm and leg armor, and then sell back the plate armor.

That sounds about right.

Hal, you’ve given up part of your share to Paul so that Kara can buy one of those really good light bows.

Completely worth it.

This is entirely true. The extra-light bow has something like a +3 damage over the light bow, which itself is +1 over the regular kind.

…But in exchange, Hal said you had to get him…

Some Fancy Pants! You sure I can’t get some tailor made, though?

It’s a lot more expensive than the trousers, plus everyone would have to wait while they got made.

Oh well. My pants are still fancier than everyone else’s!

Moving right along, you collect Thorgrim again, who is perfectly willing to follow you guys outside now.

That was still kind of stupid, making him leave us just so we could tote around a wimpy mage for a few riddles.

It’s already done now, so stop complaining. After you get him, Thorgrim directs you to where the mine has been hidden.

This landslide. I goddamn hate this landslide. Do you want to know why?

It’s not just that it causes a couple hit points in damage almost every time you cross it. It’s the fact that the injured character can get tetanus from the damage.



You examine the surroundings, and discovering a set of footprints in the ground, you realize that part of the rock face is actually an avalanche which can be moved aside.

We do so, then.

That must be the entrance to the mine.
Well yeah, duh. Let’s go inside.


We’re all going to die now, aren’t we?
Only if you and Belle suck at combat.

This is the finished map for the first floor of the dwarven mine. The red dot on the green minimap and the green arrow on the big map are where the party is, which happens to be just inside the front door. The upper rooms are all mostly just sleeping quarters, while the giant room to the right is the main dining room. Further right is the overseer’s office, down from it is the kitchen and food storage area, the two rooms on the main map are general storage, and the unexplored tunnel going down left leads to the second floor.

Should we try the old “follow the left wall” rule?
Might as well.

You find beds, beds, and more beds. Every area has been rather thoroughly ransacked, and the entire area seems rather abandoned.

Any magma-based death traps?

Not yet.

What’s the book say?

On the open page, it reads, “Today, we came upon a statue in the northeast—in the middle of the rock, a statue, totally surrounded by stone. Radomil sent us back immediately with orders to stop mining there. He told us to continue work in the south, where the rock contains more ore.” Did you want to spend more time reading?

Wait, did the dwarves here seriously Dig Too Deep and Uncover That Which Should Have Remained Hidden?

Asks the guy who plays far too much Dwarf Fortress. Don’t you have to uncover demons when you find the adamantine? So did you want to read the book or not?

Go ahead.

Well, it takes you several hours to read through the whole thing—

Not unlike a certain warrior’s monologue last week…

*Ahem* BUT it can all be summarized as the following: the dwarves were led into these hills by their duke Radomil. His followers were quite disappointed to find no real mountains here, and their mood darkened even further when they didn’t find any large veins of ore even after months of mining.

They should have spent more time engraving walls. Perks dwarves right up.

Despite their foul moods, Radomil insisted they continue looking. When a tunnel in the southwest area of the mine caved in about a year ago, seven dwarves were buried under the rock. Since then, the area has been given a wide berth, as their ghosts are said to haunt it. Every now and then since the cave-in, dwarves have disappeared without a trace. It is thought they left the mine to seek their fortune somewhere else.

They probably just—

There are no rogue elephants near Riva, Hal.


After the statue in the rock had been found, the first news about the gathering orcs arrived. A certain Manresh built a horde of orcs under his leadership that was superior to the dwarves in number. Their first attacks could be stopped, and the dwarves started to fortify the mine entrances. The orcs tried in vain to break through. The book ends on an entry about the orcs and some ogres marching against the entrance.

They should have had a magma death trap to flood the valley just outside their door. Works every time, assuming it doesn’t mix with bad materials and create a constant smoke that drives the inhabitants insane.

This isn’t Boatmurdered, Hal.

I know, I’m just saying it would be better if it was.

Wait a second, you mean that we can’t see to the top of the bunks normally? Can I check the top bunks?

Finally, someone noticed. Yes, you can check the top bunks. In fact, you find a bottle of brandy on one, a gold necklace on a second, and a mysterious red amulet on a third.

We should probably get that identified before—
I put it on.
Hey, I thought we said I’d get the next awesome item!
(Better idea: let him keep it until after we know it’s not cursed.)
Oh, fine.

Well of course we’re going to take them out!

You charge up to the first bed and knock out the orc lying there, but at that moment, the others wake up and grab their weapons.

Ah yes, the first combat after the mages get their AP back is always the most fun.

So all these orc sabers are edged weapons? Could I trade in my regular saber to use one?

Yes, if you like having a -5 penalty to attack and parry in exchange for +1 damage.

Never mind.
Hang on, what about the orc we only knocked unconscious?

Oh yeah, right. You shake the unconscious orc, and he slowly comes to. When he sees your questioning faces, he starts to talk: “Ah, you will suffer mightily! Manresh is waiting…he shall kill you…just like the beardnoses” …Oh, what now?

Sorry, I just never imagined orcs as having vaguely insulting Japanese accents.

“Vaguely insulting?”

Yeah, what are you talking about? All the accents we do for these sessions are completely insulting.
I’m just wondering if we should call them yellowpelts instead.
“Slap a Jap! Buy war bonds!”

I know what that’s from, but it’s still just horrible.

You started it.
Could we please move on now?

Why would there be a room full of tiny beds? And with a rocking horse in the corner…oooooohhhhhh.
Did the orcs really kill all the dwarven children? That’s horrible!
Not so horrible that we won’t loot the room. So what do we find?

A rocking horse, a useless bag of marbles, and—oh, whoops! You stuck your hand in the wrong place; it turns out one of the kids wasn’t fully potty trained.

Wait, what? Why would there still be a pee stain from however many weeks ago this happened?

Take 5 points of Charisma damage.

Damn it…just wanted to loot a kid’s room…dead anyway…

Well, you can’t expect the table manners of an Almadan noble from a bunch of marauding orcs: all the dishes are broken, and the table is covered with leftover food and pools of spilled wine (or is it blood?). Orcs are lying around and sitting slumped over on the benches about the table. You can’t tell whether they’re just asleep or maybe dead.

We should kill them anyway, just to be sure.
I’m kind of impressed that you know where Almada is.

I don’t, really; they actually put that analogy in the room description.

Come on, it’s clobberin’ time!

The moment Hal’s character approaches one of the orcs, the blackpelt opens his eyes. Kurzmann jolts back as the orc falls of the bench. He hits the floor with a loud thump and shouts something unintelligible. Five more orcs wake up and go for their weapons. You also hear hasty steps from one of the corridors.

This one is rather long, but with all the orcs running about, it’s actually quite a bit more interesting than the bandit ambush. The video cuts out rather suddenly near the end, but there was only about a minute and a half of the remaining two orcs dying horribly, so I didn’t think it was worth putting in a second part. Also note that this was before the time I remembered that hitting your encumbrance exactly lowers your speed to 3, which happened to Lord Boxter.

I have to say, I didn’t expect you to sacrifice yourself like that to protect our flank.
Sacrifice? I just wanted to get some kills all to myself.
Well, thanks anyway.

If you think this hallway looks funny, you’d be correct. It’s not actually three dimensional, but instead is a wall painted to look like a hallway. Since this is actually supposed to be a hallway and not an optical illusion, it’s a fairly good indication that there’s a trap ahead. Still, you need to run into it before it triggers.



You notice something strange about the hallway ahead of you. You see several deep notches in one of the side struts. When you look around, you notice notches in all the beams up ahead.

So if we go any further, the whole ceiling is going to come down right on top of us? We should give them a tug and find out. I pull on the nearest beam.

When the beam breaks, the tunnel ahead of you collapses with a tremendous roar. Fortunately, you were all far enough back that you weren’t injured. Well, except for Lewis, who takes…2 damage from rock scratches.

But now we can’t explore that cave any more!

Actually, you see a small crack halfway up leading to the direction of the old tunnel. Yes, miraculously, there’s still enough space to crawl through the cave-in without having to waste hours on figuring out the “clearing a cave-in” mechanics. Did you want to go in now?

We probably shouldn’t. If they wanted to cave in the passage, it probably leads to deeper defenses, and that means lower levels, when we’re not quite done with this one.
Kara would also like to make sure there is no one behind her before proceeding.

At the far end of the room, three ogres get up. Apparently, they were taking a break while trying to bash in the metal door. Now they stand in front of you, hunched over because of the low ceiling. Their warhammers at the ready, they hiss at you in a decidedly threatening manner.

I hiss back.
You can’t, you’re unconscious.

What does it say about ogres when the orc with a bow in the back was able to do more damage then all three ogres combined?

Ouch. Man, that orc kicked my ass. So was there anything in here worth getting busted up for?

This used to be the dwarves’ armory, but the ogres apparently amused themselves with breaking all the arms and armor. The only things left now are a dented pot helmet and a “beautifully crafted war axe.”

So what was behind the metal door they were breaking down?

Just the forge.

Anything here?

No, it looks like you got here too late to find anything useful.

What about in the forge itself?

Why would there be anything in the forge?

I still want to search the ashes. You know, there might be a hidden compartment or something. What about the rest of you?
I’ll search.
You’re still unconscious, remember? But yes, Kara will also search the ashes.

There’s nothing in the ashes.

We just need to search harder. William, your character’s good at spotting stuff. You want to try?
Hey, why don’t we get Thorgrim to help us, too?
Yeah, does Thorgrim find anything?

THERE’S NOTHING TO—you know what? Fine. Sure, you find a sledgehammer, which is a weapon with a +2 to attack that only dwarves can use—


—but it’s an edged weapon, and both you and Thorgrim specialize in axes.


Oh, and the lot of you take Charisma penalties for getting covered in ash.

Since when have we needed anything that used Charisma? Let’s go somewhere else.

Dwarf in a bucket?
Two bits!


Sorry, never mind. Well, let’s pull him out.

Alright. Thorgrim grabs the body’s legs and pulls it out. The dead dwarf is horrid to look at. His face has been eaten away by small scavengers. Thorgrim takes one look and starts to get ill. On the second try, Thorgrim manages to pull the dwarf clear and lays him on the floor.

So that was fun. Now what?
This was the first dwarf body we’ve come across in the entire level. There’s probably something on him that we need to look for.

Stupid failed necrophobia roll…

Nonetheless, you do finally notice something interesting: the dwarf died with his mouth closed.

He drowned. Should I search in his mouth for something?

With a look of utter disgust and a lot of effort, you pry the dead dwarf’s jaws open. Inside his mouth, you find a small key.

Must’ve been important, if the dwarf was willing to die to protect it.
Kara decides to search the rest of the room.

You find a broken jar, whose contents you determine to be joruga roots.

Sweet, we take them.

Are those barrels full of what I think they’re full of?

They were. There are two dead orcs sprawled on the floor with an empty expression on their faces. The cask is empty.

“There’s something to be said for moderation,” says Thorgrim, who then examines the bodies without finding anything but a few copper bits.
Lame. Are there any other places we haven’t been yet?

So it’s the overseer’s office?
I check the bed.

Who would have thought that dwarves have such luxurious bedsteads?! Still, it’s not for nothing: the “dwarven treasure troves” are legendary, but the “dwarven bedsteads” are not. You find nothing of value.

Why the sarcasm?

I’m getting a little tired of you guys always searching the beds. There’s never anything in the beds, guys. Seriously.

What about the amulet?


Can we search the bookshelves?

Yes, actually, the orcs haven’t even bothered touching them.

So does anyone want to read a book?

I’ll read something.

You read “Speak and Write Well in Rogolan.”

vVorpax reads something, of course.

You decide to examine a book titled “Finding Your Way Underground.”

Is there anything with a nature emphasis?

There is a book called “The Composition of Soil.” Thorgrim also decides to read, taking the book “Doors and Portals and How to Carve Their Frames: Part 4.”

Well, that was certainly pointless.
Oh hush, we’re having fun. What’s on the other bookshelf?

The shelves of the second bookshelf contain thoroughly uninteresting tomes on mining, stuff like an 800-page study on “The Consistency of Brick.” Did you guys want to check out the chest?

Wait, there’s a chest?
Why didn’t you say so?! Of course we open the chest.

It’s locked, and the chest looks too secure to simply bash open.

What about that key we got from the dead dwarf?

It fits perfectly, and the chest opens to reveal…

What’s a cross spanner?
It’s sort of like the key you use to wind a mechanical toy. You simply plug it in and crank it up.
A what?
…You’ve never even seen a mechanical toy, have you?
Is there anyplace we can use it?

Not that you can see.

So where can’t we see?
Hang on, I know how to handle this. Bob?


If you don’t tell us where the hole is that the cross spanner goes, I’m going to make William roll Intuition four times for each room we’ve found today.

…Hey, William?


You know that boring bookcase? You find a hole in it.

We put the cross spanner in and turn it. What happens?

The shelf snaps free and slides to one side, revealing a secret passage.

I’ll search the corpse.

You can’t call dibs on gold, dude.
Is there something in the chest?

Just a bunch of torn up records.

That’s annoying. Can we piece them together?

You can try. *Much rolling* Okay, looks like you’ve pieced together the following documents:

“Greetings, Radomil. I forgot to mention that you should be careful with the ‘book.’ Best you bring it to me unopened. Signed, K.”

“My subjects get increasingly restive. But, I am making progress with the mystery. Tonight, I visited the statue with Nombosch. He answered the first question with yes, and the statue incinerated him with a beam of fire from its eyes. I put his remains…”

“The orcs in this area behave in a very peculiar way. More and more, I can see their leaders display remarkable cunning while the common troops are as stupid as ever. One of the leaders even addressed me in Bosparan just a while back. Would you believe it? Watch out for them. Signed, Abelmir.”

“I greet you, Radomil. I am pleased to see you have finally found entry to the ancient passageways. But, beware of the traps when you go further.”

This must have been the duke, then.
Locked behind a secret door and starved to death? I should try that next time I start a game of DF…
What does the book on the table say?

“I have had a lot of time to think and have come to the conclusion that the ‘book’ should be destroyed before it can wreak even more havoc. To reach it, the horned one’s questions must be answered. I cannot remember the exact sequence, but only two of them may be answered with ‘yes.’ I do hope this text will reach the right hands and will not condemn its readers to a gristly end as well.

This is so totally ripped off from Lord of the Rings, isn’t it?
What gave it away, the orcs, the small dwarven population looking for something thought lost, or the Digging Up What Must Remain Buried?

Come on, guys, not every dwarven mine is a reference to Moria. I mean, having to answer yes or no questions to proceed to a book isn’t in the Fellowship, right?

It wasn’t a playable campaign, either. Heh, imagine how horrible that would have been…So, are we done on the first floor yet? If so, I think we should finish up with things and have the characters leave for now.

There’s still the passage you haven’t gone through…but yeah, that’s the way down from here.

Let’s just rest at the boathouse for now.

Alright. It takes a week, but eventually everyone gets their stats back up.

Hang on, we need to get that amulet identified, right? Let’s go visit the college again.

Sweet! Now come on, Hal, you’ve already got those boots.
Fine, fine.

We should check out those other amulets from the graveyard while we’re here.

According to the magicians at the college, the gold amulets are completely non-magical. Guess you should have sold them after all.

Damn. Well, speaking of selling, we should probably get all that extra loot back to town.

*Much Haggling And Inventory Juggling Later*

Great, so we can start back at the mine next session.

Yep! Oh, but before we go, I should check something quick…