I did it again. I’m spending so much time writing about Icewind Dale, I can’t find the time to actually play it. It’s time to tighten the belt again. This report will be about the entirety of chapter 3. If it feels too long, I’ll throw some of the less interesting things out. Let’s begin…
Seldarine’s, or Severed Hand is supposed to be a fort, but it was laid out like a tower. From what I can tell, and I hope I haven’t missed anything, there was the main path to the top, but there were also branching pats spanning multiple levels, with dead ends, treasure and monster ambushes.
The monsters were annoying, with plenty of archers and spell casters, but for the most part, they were manageable. Robin is excellent against spell casters and she usually takes them down before they can do anything. The only issue is that she burns through arrows extremely quickly, so I ran out of an entire inventory’s worth within the first half of the tower. Luckily, there was a shop on the third, I think, level of the tower, where I was able to get more. Ammo was literally the only thing the shop was selling, so I guess the designer’s intentions were clear.
The treasure was quite nice to. I got a Sanctified Morning Star + 3 for Alana, which gives her and actual decent chance in melee and, more importantly, two extra first level priest spells.
Past the town area, my objective was to find parts of a broken machine called the astrolabe, in order to get Lorell’s sanity back, so he could help me with the Heartstone. I had the option of just killing him, but that just seemed like a silly choice, since I was there to ask for his help.
I found all but one of the machine parts easily. One was kept by the guard captain, who gave it to me after disposing of her undead guards, a few were on some named enemies throughout the dungeon and one or two were guarded by groups of enemies and placed in item containers.
Before I got the last one, I went back to Kuldahar, hoping the wizard would give me a clue, since I found a book he might like at the fortress library. He took the book and I got the experience, but I didn’t get any information. It was a long shot anyway.
I did eventually find the final piece of machinery the next day, but that was only after some Googling. In hindsight, not resorting to a guide would only make it last longer, since my initial plan was to retrace my steps and check for missed containers. One thing is for sure, the Throne of Baal feature of highlighting containers with the tab key is priceless.
Larell gave me the info I needed through an animated scene, though this my have bugged out, since I saw the pages of a book being flipped, but there was no sound other than the background noise.
My next target was Dorn’s Deep, an abandoned dwarven settlement.
I got a Girdle of Labelas from within the dungeon. It applies the Free Action effect on the wearer, making them amazingly great against various Hold effects. I gave it to Priscilla because she didn’t have a girdle, and she can cast Lay on Hands on anyone in a pinch.
I also bought a Shimmering Sash, which similarly applies the Blur effect. I gave it to Alana, primarily because she didn’t have a belt. My first choice was Aleen, but she wasn’t able to equip it.
Next stop, Dorm’s Deep and chapter IV.
Well, I guess this chapter wasn’t as long as I thought. I’ll talk like someone cares for a bit.
Dungeons and Dragons’ character system is not the type I usually enjoy. I like leveling up, be it stats, individual skills or anything of the sort and D&D is usually cheap on levels. I also like getting insanely powerful items and D&D is also cheap on that.
Somehow, though, it works. Each level gives small increments in power, but each of these increments feels very noticeable. Each weapon is only marginally different than the last, but still, it somehow feels different.
I don’t know what it is the designers of the D&D system did, but they made something that’s minor and major at the same time. I can’t really explain it, but I really do enjoy the way it plays out. You get characters that are constantly weak and in danger, but also constantly stronger than ever before.
The part I enjoy the most are the items, though. The two girdles I mentioned are a great example. Both of them just give you one simple effect, but it feels like you found some amazing artifact. It’s not just +x to Strength, it makes the wearer completely immune to Hold effects.
That being said, even a simple +1 to Strength would feel amazing, since items like that are so rare in D&D and each attribute point is worth so much.