The Let's Play Archive

Realms of Arkania III: Shadows over Riva

by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 29: Session 20: The Deadly Drink

Session 20: The Deadly Drink

“Did you hear about the Monopoly movie?”

“Why do we always talk about Monopoly before sessions?”

“Apparently, there’s this kid who’s really good at Monopoly, and he gets teased for it. Then something happens, and he wakes up in Monopoly City, with Uncle Pennybags and the evil Parker Brothers and wheelbarrows in the background or something.”

That sounds like it’s going to suck horribly.

“I know. I can’t wait to see it!”

Why do you love bad movies? Never mind, we should get started. So, last time you guys got to the secret exit out of the castle, right? There you see Rohezal, and he tells you, “Let us return to guild headquarters. There, you shall hear all we have managed to find out.”

This, by the way, is how the “Arrest those fools!” screen a few updates ago worked: there’s the high quality image, the narrator who’s already doing too many voices for this game, plus I have to click to advance the dialogue. Not to mention the completely different audio and text versions of the dialogue. Oh, and some really powerful white wizards who let themselves be kidnapped. That’s important too, probably.

Bob seriously went down a laundry list for the most powerful good magicians in the setting. I didn’t recognize them last time without their titles. I’d say you were trying to pump up the importance of the campaign yourself, but you probably don’t even know who these people are, do you?

You’re lucky enough I practiced saying their names right ahead of time.

Exactly. So what’s so important that five of the world’s most powerful spellcasters had to show up all at once?

“Borbarad’s power is arisen again, and it has done so here in Riva!”

Ah. That would do it.
Who? The name sounds kind of familiar…
He’s the demon lord—think dark god, really—of evil magicians. He was cast into Limbo by Rohal himself centuries ago, but there are still plenty who spread fear in his name.
Who did what now into where?

I have no idea.

So we won’t be fighting him directly? I figured our levels were still rather low for that.

No. Rohezal tells you, “Praise the Twelve, it isn’t the Damned One himself we are up against; just his foul legacy. But it is too dangerous for me to dare face it by myself. Let me tell you what we have found.”

Sure are a lot of these all of a sudden.

What worm’s he talking about?
Walk without rhythm and you won’t attract the worm.
Remember last week? Rohezal got a worm stuffed up his nose.
Hey, that’s right. Should we be worried about this guy turning on us?

No. As he just said, even normal humans are usually good enough to avoid being taken over. Jarnug happens to be rather weak for a human (all that carnal indulgence was a hint towards that, by the way), so he got himself mindraped. Orcs are generally, well, dumber than other races, so they get taken over much more easily.

You mean a worm crawled up this guy’s nose and died? That’s even more disgusting.
Hang on, so all that stuff about the orc war was relevant to the story? This queen started the whole thing?

Right. “The actions of the queen’s tribes have encouraged almost all the other orcs to rise as well. The queen’s death will not end the war, as there are probably other motives for the uprising as well. But one thing is sure: if the queen is destroyed, the orc war will be nothing but a memory in just a few years’ time.”

Finally, finally we do something in this campaign worth our time! Stopping a war with the brutal orcs and ending an ancient menace that would steal away our very free will? Kara will gladly accept!
Hang on. Before we go any father, I want to hear the Answer.
Answer? Answer to what?
Bob knows what I’m talking about.

Yeah, I know. If you’re curious, Suzie, I always seem to wind up running campaigns with really strong NPC’s who could possibly do everything themselves, so Alex wants to know why they can’t. In this case, it’s simply that all the powerful characters are magicians, who tend to be rather squishy, and the place they want to send you is full of very angry things with tridents. Besides, there is something else they need to do, and all five of them are needed to handle it.

Why? Looks like they got everything figured out ahead of time to me.

Not quite everything. Rohezal says, “We shall try to discover the queen’s hiding place as soon as we have regained our strength, but something else must be done in the meantime. Borbarad’s wand is still aboard the Even Star. The power of that wand alone makes it possible to weaken the queen’s might enough for her defeat to become imaginable. Someone must salvage that wand! Give us one day to rest, and then we can start.”

Well that’s convenient, because I’m going to need a lot more than that to recover, myself.
We also have a bunch of junk to sell from the last two adventures.
And I need to get my damn sword fixed. Again.
Would the shops still sell to us?

They generally don’t care too much, plus most of them know the judge is corrupt.

But how do we get there without being spotted?
There is a way around that.

I should honestly be casting this more often, but I always forget. Visibili turns the party invisible, which basically eliminates all random encounters while it lasts. It doesn’t really remove required encounters, though, which is probably why I forget about it so often. As always, the Plot can see through your petty defenses.

You think we can get this silver ring looked at?

Oh, hell yes! I’m calling dibs on this one.
Hey, I thought you got that magic shield just a bit ago!
I was looking through earlier, and everyone’s up to 4 magic items each. Now unless we changed the rules, it’s still “first come, first served,” so this is totally my ring of fire death now.

All right, that’s the ring, the sword, the equipment sold, the time spent resting…is everyone ready now? Good.

While Landor Gerrano tries in vain to calm down his colleague, you look at Lothur who is observing the mages arguing with a certain amount of glee. “Now what?” he asks Haldana, who enters the room with a long bundle. She explains that she is carrying kajubo buds, and with their help, you will be able to last half an hour without air.

That’s not very long.

They’re to be used for emergencies. The mages will cast a spell on you to enable you to breathe underwater, but you’ll each be taking two just in case it doesn’t last long enough.

I’m getting kind of a bad feeling about this.

Now Lea hobbles in, her leg still wounded from falling off the castle. She’s got a set of lead shoes, which will let you walk around along the harbor basin floor.

Why would we need lead shoes for that?
Humans tend to be a little lighter than seawater. We probably wouldn’t be able to walk around at all without them.
But what about scuba divers? They get around just fine.
They’ve also got a couple heavy iron tanks of compressed air on their backs, and that just makes them neutrally buoyant. Weighing us down at one end actually sounds like a decent idea.

If everyone could just mark down the two kajubo buds and have your characters put on the lead shoes?

Oh. Heh, whoops.


You know how I dropped my boots in order to keep afloat earlier? Turns out vVhorpax has been running around barefoot for the last few sessions.

I should make you roll retroactive disease checks for that, but I try to be a good DM. So later,

All of you then receive the same treatment. You all start to gasp, and despite drawing in great lungfulls of air, you feel like you’re suffocating. High time you get into the water!

We go in, then.

Since you don’t have any other choice, vVhorpax starts to breathe, and the water fills your lungs just the same as the air did before. The metal boots are so heavy they sink deep into the mud. Thanks to the sight spell, you can recognize your immediate vicinity, but everything beyond that is shrouded in darkness.

Neat. But where did the stone walls come from?

Oh no, nixies, whatever shall we do?! Aside from slaughter them mercilessly, that is. After a castle full of guards, nixies are practically harmless by comparison. In an interesting touch, however, it looks as though arrows travel noticeably slower through the water, and deal a good deal less damage.

I remember dealing with DSA nixies before. You see, they’re usually—

I’ll have to cut you off there.

Why? vVhorpax is a magician; he would know about this sort of thing.

That’s not the problem. Instead, the issue is that none of you can talk right now because your lungs are full of water.

We’re not drowning, though.

Yes, but the spell only lets you breathe using water. It doesn’t make your larynx able to make words using liquid.

What if we talk out of character?

What do you mean, “what if?” You all would use metaknowledge to your advantage in or out of character, so I’m nipping this one in the bud.

Either way, hostile locals aren’t that new. Can we continue now?

Suddenly, five nixies appear from behind a ruin.

I hope the whole adventure isn’t just this.

If they’re all as weak as that last group, I can’t see the problem in following.
Did you just say you would not leap forward and kill them all?
The truly wise player knows when the right moment is to leap forward and slaughter everyone. And that is when you can see the leader, obviously.

Too bad for you, the leader happens to be surrounded by close to a hundred armed nixies. The portal swings open and reveals a gigantic hall. You enter and suddenly find yourselves on dry ground. Behind you, the water seems to be held back by an invisible wall [how the ensorcelled party can breathe the air in here isn’t really explained]. Inside the room, there is absolutely no sign of the building being on the bottom of the sea. There is no sign of algae, seaweed, or shells. There isn’t even any sand on the floor.

I believe this is the longest voiced speech in the game, partly because the one guy gets sidetracked halfway through.

Bob? Why are you looking at me?
You’re the one Zorka is interested in, after all.
What?! Why me?!
Oh, I just figured on going with whoever had the highest Charisma, and that happened to be you. So now you’ve got a nixie girl hanging off your arm. Do you want to say anything to her? You can still use hand gestures, after all.
Bullshit. You knew damn well I had the highest Charisma after that talk a few weeks’ back. Can I make her go away?
Unfortunately, you can’t speak her language, and Zorka doesn’t seem to understand the hand gestures you use to dismiss her. Looks like you lovebirds are stuck together.
What the hell.
I wish you’d have picked me. I would have enjoyed roleplaying the interactions.

Um, no. Especially not when you’re playing a girl.

This is the funniest damn thing that’s happened all campaign.

Zorka is another under-leveled NPC, and manages to pull off a -4 MR in spite of 0 Superstition. Thankfully, she can take at least a couple blows, plus she’s sensible like Yann and lets the party handle all the combat. We just need to do our part and keep her away from the front line.

At this point, I get to explore the sea bed. There’s not much of note out here, beyond the evil nixie hideout and the downed ship we can’t really examine yet. For instance, this clam is a source of pointless pain and misery, much like the geyser back in the Swamp of . Avoid it. There’s also a pot with a few silvers and a moray eel inside, which does nothing if you break it first. Once again, violence is the first and best solution.

Then there’s this anemone thing.

Is there anything in the room?
I’ve been meaning to ask about that. How come there are so many buildings down here? Did the nixies build them all?

I believe it’s implied that a good portion of Riva got washed into the bay somehow. You don’t see anything past all the plant tentacles, Suzie.

I’ll try getting closer.

I am suddenly thinking of something very, very naughty.
Let’s just say it involves your character, some long appendages, and some skimpy clothing.
What?! Seriously, what is this about?
*Whisper whisper*
Oh, God! No, I don’t mean anything like that!
Is this the first you’ve heard of it? And you call yourself a fan of anime. Shame on you.
I hack it to pieces with my sword! God, what would that even look like?
Google image search the phrase and prepare to be amazed. I join in the hacking.

Everywhere you are being grasped by the tentacles, you feel a strong burning sensation.

A painful burning sensation. Apparently, the plant is secreting some form of poison. Together, Belle Fleur and Lord Boxter finally manage to hack off all of the plant tentacles, allowing Belle to escape her doom. You do take a lot of hit point damage, though.

Good thing we’ve got all these healing potions, then. So what’s in the room?
Lemmie roll for it. *Roll*

You don’t see anything.

Wait, so I got horribly mangled for nothing?!

Maybe, maybe not. All I said is that you didn’t find anything.


Still nothing.

Does this system let me take 20? Or 1, in this case?

Not really. And you are burning through those six hours you have.

Fuck. Let’s go look somewhere else, then.

Here’s the ship we’re looking for, but sadly we can’t do anything with it just yet; we’ll need the nix king’s rod for that.

With a few unmistakable gestures, Zorka informs you that this is one of the rebellious nixies.
Let’s kill it.
No, wait. If it doesn’t see us, we might be able to find their hangout. Let’s hide behind the wall.

Isn’t that the one with the anemone?
Ha, I knew it!

Like I said, there may or may not have been something there.

This map shows the harbor basin, as well as about how wide the exploration distance is. The red dot that signifies the party is near the building where you get the above encounter, while the room just north of it is the anemone location. The large map, on the other hand, is showing the nixie palace location.

Now that you know where and what to look for, your circumstance bonus has gone up enough that you find the trap door easily.

The cellar is a straightforward area from one end to the other, so there won’t be a map.

Iron hinges?
Must be why they haven’t found it before now.

What, so they’re killing themselves now?
Alcohol’s a helluva drug.

Now do we jump out and start the murder?
Sure. Let the murdering begin.

And so the murdering occurred. I’ve also noticed that the nixies don’t like pain too much, because they run for it far more often than any other enemy.

What? Oh right, the whole “doesn’t like killing people” bit.
That’s not how you should treat your girlfriend, William.
What, is she here? Because I don’t see her anywhere in the room. I have to admit, though this nixie chick sounds less crazy than my real girlfriend. She’d probably have thrown me across the room for killing her friends, then complained about what they were like on the trip home.

A few rooms later…

Hey, if Paul can do it, I can do it. What do I roll? Oh yeah. *Roll*

William tries to follow Kara’s example, but flops on his belly instead. In the end, you all manage to enter the next room, but the nixies have noticed you. Oh, and William?


What the nixies lack in power, they make up for in number. Except they still don’t manage to do all that much. Really, the big thing I had to worry about was making sure none of the nixies could move past the melee fighters to get at the backline. Seeing Zorka die in this fight is not too uncommon. Also, this combat is another one that went on for over eleven minutes, although by then there were only two enemies left. Oh, and I should mention how something like half the nixies wound up fleeing instead of dying. I only hope I got the experience from them anyway, because I’d otherwise be a bit miffed.

That is a lot of fucking booze. Can we take some with us?
We’re obscenely wealthy and this stuff is probably both old and waterlogged.
Eh, you have a point. Well, smashing can be just as fun. Let’s get to it.
Zorka starts by taking a bottle down and tries to smash it against the shelves, but underwater she can’t build up enough momentum.
We’ve all got these lead shoes, though.
Stomping bottles? I like it.

Your boots make short work of the alcohol, and the fluids slowly diffuse out into the surrounding water. In a few days, maybe, it’ll pose no threat to the nixies.

Good. Now let’s get back to the main quest.

Can we get to the boat now? For some “odd” reason, I can’t wait to get out of this ocean.