Part 1: Update I - Goondalf the G(reeter)Part I - Goondalf the G(reeter)
After clicking New Game, we are taken right to the character creation page. The fan patch adds some new options, including changing gender, but the game text doesn’t change to reflect it and assumes you’re male anyway. The sequel, Pillars of Avalon, was going to allow gender selection, but that seems… unlikely now. The bottom option (Quick, Tough, Powerful, or Lucky) used to just be how big your sprite was, but now they have actual effects! I haven't tested them extensively, so let's see what Tough does!
Anyway, aside from hair and beard style, the most important choice on this page is Training Style/Specialization, basically a very open-ended version of a class.
The thread has voted for the Magician, so we will be playing Goondalf the G. Once we click continue, we are taken to the first entry of a journal the main character keeps throughout his adventure.
The loading screens change depending on the area you're in. Switching maps in Avalon itself gives you a handy map of the fortress and the town outside.
Corvus approaches. His skin tone changes to match what you select in character creation, but I had to go with white, because anything darker would be too hard to see.
They are doing well. Mother sends her love.
You will have to tell me about everything that's happened back home—especially the real reason you've made such a foolish journey. But it will have to wait for my return in the morning.
Your return? Where are you going?
I have to ride out immediately on a raid with General Ovoron. We were waiting to see if the supply fleet could make it through the blockade before we took the risk, but since the Lady Aele was the only one to make it through, it seems that we must indeed resort to more drastic measures.
Do you have room for another sword?
Slow down, little brother. Horses are in short supply and we need to move fast tonight. I've pulled some strings and obtained a commission for you, but that's all our family name will get you here. You will have to prove yourself to General Roth and Captain Calvaric on your own before it will be anything more than a piece of paper.
So I am forced to wait here uselessly until your return, then?
Not likely. If I know General Roth, he has already asked the commander of lists to give you an evaluation. Just remember that the monks can do wonders for minor injuries; unless your skills have increased drastically since last we met, you will become very familiar with their faces! And before I forget, show your commission to the Outer Keep Quartermaster for some gear before you report for duty. He is located off the corridor just north of here.
I will, brother. Ride well, and we will talk more when you get back.
So, we have arrived at Avalon, at long last! With nothing but the clothes on our back and a commission letter in our inventory. But hey, one of our brother's friends died recently, so at least we have a bed.
We move around simply by clicking where we want to go. Objects you can interact, like these chests, gain a purple highlight and a name in the interface on the bottom. Neutral or friendly characters are in yellow, and hostile characters in red. Allied party members, introduced in Chapter 2, are highlighted in green.
The first order of business is to loot the chests in our room. They yield some truly epic treasure: different colors of shirts, pants,
and most importantly, vests!
The first number under Resistances is Invincibility, the second number is % resistance. Yes I know how confusing it is that there are two stats called resistance.
Alright! With two pairs of pants, two tunics, and a vest, we are truly ready to face the world.
This will have to do until I can reclaim my apprent—I mean, my Archwizard robes.
As great as that looks, it might be too much Restriction for too little damage reduction, but hey, no reason to change since we're not in a combat area.
There is also a quest log,
a journal (for important events, including the pages above that are done in a similar style; this is how the Corvus entry is different if you deliver the news right away),
and an adventure log (basically a repository of everything our character sees and hears, some of which might not be important or urgent enough to merit its own journal entry or quest.
And finally, our character page. Here you can see all the damage and resistance types too.
So, let's see where we need to go by clicking Map.
Oh no, the only indicator is our character's red dot! Luckily most maps are small enough, and I know this game well enough, that I can survive without objective markers. The Quartermaster is around the middle, off that long hallway.
We don't have control for long though. As soon as we exit our new digs, a messenger starts walking toward us and we are forced to wait in place for him.
Where is the Outer Bailey?
And what is it, exactly?
It is possible to trap this lad in an infinite loop of where is it/what is it, but we will spare him that fate. This time. Next time, lad, pray that Goondalf the Garrulous does not deign to employ his mastery of time and space against you.
With that out of the way, we can finally head up to that corridor. We'll need to get some equipment from the Quartermaster before reporting to the captain.
Greetings. I am new here, and just received my commission. I was told that you would be able to provide me with equipment?
Winchell: An old pig sticker is all I can give you. If you want something better, you’ll have to find it elsewhere.
A dagger? Is that all you have for me?
So where can I find better equipment then?
Winchell: These days, I don’t really know, but maybe Lucan can help you out. He’s out in the Armory by the South Gate, past the Outer Bailey. I wouldn’t count on it, though, lad. I also hear there are a few merchants in the Outer Bailey, but if the military doesn’t have proper equipment, I don’t see how commoners could.
I guess I shall try asking Lucan, then. I thank you for your time.
Damage is Piercing: 1-6 and Cutting 0-4. Not amazing.
In order to actually use the dagger, we have to activate “combat mode” by pressing space. This makes Goondalf swing at the thing we click until it’s either dead, or we click something else (no need to hold the mouse button down or click repeatedly.)
Don’t worry about accidentally attacking an ally though. If we click something that isn’t highlighted in red during combat mode, we are taken out of it and proceed to talk to them. We can force a stationary attack by holding shift down when we click, which is especially useful for off-screen sniper shots with bows, but doing that against a friendly will cause everyone in the castle to become hostile to us. Not something we want to do… yet…?
Now, we could go report to Captain Avarous right now, but the only spell Goondalf has currently is a pitiful cantrip called “Charge” that does even less damage than our dagger. Magic damage, so it can be useful against enemies that soak a lot of physical damage, but not impressive. Let’s see if there is someone nearby who can teach us something a bit more… dangerous.
Orders can wait, surely? I am a powerful wizard, and an officer now too. The Sha’ahoul aren’t going anywhere!
In fact, just above the Quartermaster’s room is this fellow, in a room that definitely has all the standard wizard accoutrements.
I have just arrived in Avalon and I was just having a look around. Who are you?
I am Elarath, and, as you can see, this is my laboratory, where I am doing research on the ancient ruins that lie beneath the village. I also serve as an advisor to Sir Roth and his council and, when I can, I teach aspiring mages to better control the forces around them.
I’ve studied the arts before but would like to develop my skill more.
Let us see what you know… [After several hours of instruction]... very good. You do have a natural talent for magic. Please feel free to use the obelisks behind me for target practice or, if you are ready, I can instruct you in some of the more advanced techniques.
I would be most interested in anything you have to offer.
Elarath is one of the trainers I mentioned previously. To give you an idea of the kind of Training Point savings on offer, let’s look at Mage Craft. Increasing a main attribute like Perception is 4 TP per point right now (the cost increases once we reach certain thresholds), and a focused attribute like Mysticism is 2 per point. Gaining 2 Recharge Rate would be a combination of Constitution and Mysticism that would add up to about 6-8 points. Elarath is offering all of this for 5 TP.
As if that weren’t good enough, he can also teach us some basic spells. Luckily, as our Mysticism increases, all spells get more powerful, so few spells ever become obsolete. We will certainly be using these three throughout the game:
As a training gift, Elarath also imparted us with a spell book. Clearly he has taken a liking to the young Goondalf. Does he see himself in us?
Now, let’s see what our spells can do at our current level of Mysticism. All of them can be assigned hotkeys for quick switching during combat.
That symbol is a %, meaning it heals 4% of the target’s max HP on top of the base of 5.
This spell is be really useful for locking down enemy archers or mages.
Hell yeah. Let’s burn some obelisks!
The obelisks are invincible, sadly, but that does mean we can unleash as much power as we want on them. Let’s see if the other guy in this room is impressed with our display.
What do you do?
Sherard: I am Elarath’s assistant. I have been his aide for many years now, since before the war. We came here from Fornax together.
Do you like working for a wizard?
A wizard would always be welcome by my side. I’m glad to know you!
Now that our true training is complete, let’s head downstairs… where we can talk to more people and loot more treasure chests. (Seriously, there’s no stealing mechanic in this game, so no one notices or cares if you take everything that isn’t bolted down.)
In this room we find some very important items.
Yeah, this chainmail is pretty good, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about these:
Excellent. We wouldn’t be much of a wizard without access to robes. Let us pray we do not need them soon, for that would indicate the fortress is in grave peril.
(The difference between the two is that they go in different slots, meaning you can wear both at the same time, and they have slightly different appearances.)
The kitchen is pretty empty, probably due to the food shortage and all, but there is a maid walking around the tables.
While I must admit that I could use a bite to eat, I am aware of the food situation here in the citadel. I’ve come because I arrived here but recently, and was merely wishing to make your acquaintance.
Bonnie: Well, you may call me Bonnie, then. I’m one of Anora’s assistants. As you can see, however, even if we’ve not much to cook, we’ve still quite a bit to attend to.
Apologies, my lady. I’m very sorry to have been in your way. I’ll take my leave, then.
Bonnie: Oh, now, it’s not as bad as all that. Stay a moment, and relieve the boredom. It’s just that having Anora catch me lazing about with some soldier would earn me yet another scolding. However, wiping down tables already licked bare by hungry soldiers scrambling after every scrap is as tedious as you’d expect. This is the fourth time today that I’ve wiped down these tables--and we’ve only had one meal!
I understand. Perhaps I will stay a moment then. As said, I am new to these halls and am trying to meet everyone I can. What’s the news been in the kitchens recently?
I’m glad, then, that you escaped with your life.
Bonnie: Anora didn’t believe me when I told her--she just scolded me. And Davet, that so-called warrior standing over there, he just laughed at me when I told him about it, and said he was too busy defending the keep to go poking about a basement because of a woman’s silly imagination. You, though--why aren’t you laughing?
I believe that you were seriously frightened this morning. I also believe you deserve to have your fears dispelled.
Bonnie: You believe…? I don’t--I don’t know what to say. Umm. Th-thank you, then. But still, I’d still stay away from the basement if I were you.
No, lady. For you I will personally investigate.
Anora is in the kitchen itself just north of the mess hall.
No, madame, I have not. I have just recently spoken with Bonnie and she informs that there is something unusual in the kitchen basement. I was wondering, then, if there might be something I could do to assist in the situation?
Anora: Well, you look like something of a soldier. Perhaps there is, at that. These creatures—
Creatures? What do you believe them to be?
Anora: Rats, perhaps, but I’m not certain. All I know for certain is that our precious stock of grain downstairs is being eaten, and it’s not by us. That silly girl Bonnie may think it’s a Shade or somesuch, but what would a Shade do with flour? Whatever it is, if it’s not stopped soon there’ll be nothing left for me to feed anyone. Not even General Roth himself…
Allow me to dispatch these creatures for you, ma’am.
Anora: Finally someone with the courage to investigate the situation! Be careful, lad.
I will return shortly, but not until everyone of the thieves is destroyed.
Our first sidequest! Yes, the game does offer a "rats in the basement" quest right off the bat. The key difference from most fantasy games, I think, is that it's during a siege, so food supplies are extremely important to the narrative. Plus, what we discover during the quest does absolutely come up later in the game.
Let us assemble a party of heroes and dispatch these fiends!
It seems as if there is something unusual dwelling in the kitchen basement. I was wondering if you’d care to assist me in dealing with it?
Davet: Did Bonnie fill your head with visions of glory? Don’t be daft, man! I’ve too much to do attending to my duties. I don’t have time to waste chasing “Shades” that exist only in some silly woman’s imagination. They’re simple shadows, more like.
As you say, but I shall find out the truth soon enough.
It seems we must shoulder this burden alone. No matter! Goondalf is not afraid. Let us don our raiment!
Chain, robes, AND a vest. (Please disregard the rose; that’s from another quest I haven’t shown for Goondalf yet. Some stuff may be out of order to maintain post flow, but I’ll generally try to keep things chronological.)
Please also disregard that the chainmail is rusty, the robes are discarded monk robes, and the vest probably belonged to our brother’s dead friend. We have thieves to slay!
Once we have acquired multiple map screens of an area, any time we attempt to exit one map, we get a navigation interface allowing us to fast travel to any other map we’ve discovered, or continue as normal to the one that links to the exit we clicked on.
The stairs north of Bonnie lead us to...
What… what is that? It’s coming toward me awfully fast… ACK!
Away, foul... beetle!?
Another of you? C-Come on then! Taste the flames of G!
Yes! YES! Who else wants some! Come get it you little bastards! ...Oh, you’re all dead.
This is part of why magic is so great. That single Flame spell just killed three of these beetles with area of effect damage, and left the fourth severely wounded. Goondalf the Glorious’s first victory!
Unfortunately, it has severely depleted our Mana reserve. It does regenerate slowly, but it was worth it, as we dispatched the beetles fast enough to avoid much damage to our red health vial. Health also regenerates, but much more slowly than Mana.
We also discover something…
Hmm… should that hole be there?
Time to report our success upstairs.
I’ve just come from the basement, madame; there was an infestation of giant beetles below feasting on the flour. However, I have dispatched every one of them, and our food supplies are once again safe from their unwelcome mouths.
Anora: Giant—? I had thought rats to be down there, or… something. Giant beetles, though… You are unhurt?
I am well enough, madame. However, I must report to you that the beetles entered through a hole dug through the wall of the basement. To prevent further infestation, that hole must be repaired immediately.
it would be my pleasure, madame.
Revenge on that buffoon who (literally) calls himself a guard!
While the creatures in the basement have been dealt with, they’ve left behind a sizable hole in the wall which needs to be repaired so that no more creatures may enter.
Davet: And what do you expect me to do about it? My duty—
Seems to consist of lazing about the mess hall! Anora told me to tell you and your friend here to fix the wall, or you’ll have nothing to eat at supper.
It’s your choice, soldier. Repair the wall, or grow even hungrier than you are now. I also believe that you owe the lady Bonnie an apology. You will deliver one, won’t you? I know you’ll make the right decision. Good day.
There we go! Back to Anora.
Yes, madame. He will be fixing it promptly.
Anora: Excellent. I thank you for all your work, soldier. You’ve my word that once we’ve more supplies, the finest pie that I can bake will be your reward.
Though it was only my duty to assist you, madame, I shall still eagerly anticipate your creation! Until then, a good day to you!
The quest is technically complete now, but we can also go talk to Bonnie again for some more dialogue.
Yes, my lady. The chittering you heard was, in fact, made by giant beetle-like creatures. They swept out from the corners, as you said. It was good you didn’t hesitate to determine the exact menace--I myself barely survived them.
Bonnie: I was right then--there was something down there! Thank you, my lord. Oh, thank you!
While it was duty that I destroy the creatures, it was also my pleasure to assist you.
Bonnie: Flatterer! Be off with you then! But don’t stay away long.
As you wish, my lady. Fare thee well…
This quest gives us 4 more Training Points, enough to cover the cost of Elarath’s last spell available and still have more for the other trainers in this chapter.
With our arcane arsenal finally as complete as can be for now, it is time to head to the Outer Bailey and speak to Captain Avarous.
As if I need any ‘training’ from him. Hmph. Oh well, orders are orders, even if no time limit is given.
There are a few points of interest out here, but let’s start by going to that enclosed area in the bottom left. Those are the training grounds.
Yes, I am, sir. He’s my older brother.
Captain Avarous: And a fine soldier he is, too! I trained him myself, you know. And you? Are you read to learn the basics of soldiering?
Of course, sir.
Captain Avarous: Fine, then. Mulduc will be your training partner; he’ll whip you into shape in no time. Report back to me when you think you’ve had enough.
Yes, sir. Right away, sir.
I’m Goondalf the G, your new sparring partner. I’m here to train with you.
Mulduc: Hmmm. You don’t look too tough. Just walk away when you have had enough. Time to play!
Have at you, then!
I can’t believe this man hasn’t heard of me. Time to show him what I’m made of! ...Ow, that hurt. Take this!
Well that’s not fair. He’s invincible. No matter how much you attack his health never goes down. This training is purely to introduce the combat clicking, since this does not assume you’ve done the beetle quest yet.
I feel confident in my abilities, sir.
Captain Avarous: As you say, soldier. I’ll report your skill level to the commanders and they will assign you to your duties. Dismissed.
Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.
As we leave the training grounds, a knight begins walking toward us.
What trouble? What’s happened, sir?
As you know, Corvus was part of a large troop that rode out on a short raid. The troop was led by General Ovoron, commander of our field forces. They are overdue, and we’ve seen no sign of them.
Is Corvus all right?
I don’t know. A search party just returned. They’ll be reporting to Sir Roth now. You should go ask around at South Gate. If anyone has seen anything, they will have seen it from South Gate. Ask for my friend, Calum. He’ll help you.
I appreciate your counsel.
My brother is missing. I must find him. I must!
Inhabitants throughout the castle have rumors you can ask them about. Some of them are important foreshadowing, some are bullshit, most are interesting. Since there isn’t really a way to insert them that doesn’t break the post flow, I’ll be putting one at the end of each update until I run out.
Avalon is strewn with scroll journals you can find that offer a lot of insight into the lives and feelings of the defenders. I really like these, so I will also be including one at the end of each update until I run out.
-we have no such control over our thoughts. The dreams come, and we are helpless against them.
We’re on constant alert these days, what with the Sha’ahoul getting bolder everyday. From the walls of Avalon we can see the Sha’ahoul some nights, scurrying through the city. It’s an eerie sight. I wish I knew more about this enemy we’re fighting. Our leaders don’t seem to be able (or willing) to share much information about them. Sometimes I think what makes the Sha’ahoul a truly terrifying enemy is our lack of knowledge. At least if we knew more about them we could be better prepared for their actions. I wonder if having such knowledge would drive away the dreams… or would it make them worse?