Middlegate, Sandsobar, Vulcania and Castle Pinehurst are now completely known to us, but two more towns and four more castles remain. Well, three and a half, so we might tackle the one half this time.
Journal of Priscilla, the Paladin, 113-156 of the Year 903
I am not a chronicler of events, nor a historian. I prefer to focus on things that matter to me, not things that might matter to others. Consider this a record of my thoughts, not a chronicle of events.
Lord Hoardall is far from a desirable ally, but we have been at his castle already and I do hate lose ends, so I’ve convinced the group to go back there next. We even took No Name and Harry Kari with us this time.
Woodhaven was even more cluttered than we remembered. I was slightly worried that the lord might be offended of the fact that we haven’t found his Sharp Sabre yet, but in all likelihood, he doesn’t even remember us being here. In any case, he and his men were distracted enough for us to explore the halls freely.
The Green Bishop of Battle managed to get himself captured again, but we also bought another copy of the Green Key, so we freed him once again. Hopefully, this won’t turn into a tradition.
I’m just trying to make fun of repeatable quests here.
Harry and No Name are nowhere near our level of skill, but it has always been my opinion that everyone can be useful with a ranged weapon, as longs as they never shoot over their allies.
We remained at Woodhaven for about a week. It was short, but not without events. I must say, we’ve probably misjudged Hoardall. We all have. He might have an issue with material things, but his treasury is so vast because of it, even I, a paladin, was tested. Of course, I resisted the temptation, but I’m certain Rax and Harry were a few stones heavier as we were leaving.
Outside of that, we found something labeled as M-27 Radicon. I’m not certain what it is, but it looks eerily similar to the J-26 Fluxer, so Lorelei concluded we should take it.
Over the past few months, we’ve been steadily improving our survival skills, hoping to one be able to push through even the densest of forests and steepest of mountains. It might seem arrogant to say we are at that level now, but we are.
We returned to some of the old areas we’ve been to and started scouring through parts we couldn’t get to before. As it were, if a place is difficult to get to, those that do are quite dangerous indeed, so it has been painful.
It paid off, though. We found a cavern or two, secret paths and roads and many other things. It has been extremely difficult for Harry and No Name, but they are slowly getting the hang of it.
Castle Hillstone has its own Zoo, which, apparently, is a place where rich folk keep wild and untamed animals for other rich people to look at. I could understand the attraction in this activity, were I not an adventurer who sees exotic beasts on a daily basis.
Caslte Hillstone also has a dungeon, which we will, naturally, have to explore.
There was also another strange item to be found, this one labeled N-19 Capitor. Our experience with the Inner Sanctum made us familiar with alien technology, so I can now safely say that these items are not from this world. Since there has been one in each of the three castles we visited, I will also assume there is one in every castle.
Lastly, since they are not of this world, I will assume Corak, or someone connected to Corak left the items there for someone like us to find. The lords certainly didn’t put any importance into these items, as they were just placed there as ornaments.
The castle Grand Hall describes the personality of Lord Slayer perfectly. His guests are exotic beasts and monsters from all over the world and his festivities include fighting these beasts, to the death. As for the throne room, the lord had a quest for me, but I couldn’t accept until I paid a visit to Hoardall and formally declined his tasks.
There’s actually a guy selling an Elixir of Remove Quest, or something along those lines at the castle, so that’s what I used. The thing is, the Lord Quests seem to be of the generic type. I picked the page’s quest because I wanted to start from the bottom (there are four quest levels) and I got a task to kill a swamp dog. Easy enough.
This lord somehow captured the Red Bishop of Battle, so we managed to free him with the Red Key. I also freed two more prisoners, claiming they were imprisoned for killing an Earth Wyrm by using Magic instead of Might. Since Lord Slayer gave us a task to kill a Swamp Dog, we should probably keep that information in mind.
In fact, this is exactly what we did as we stepped out of the castle into the swamp and charged into the first pack of dogs we’ve seen. It pays off to keep maps and notes.
The lord rewarded us and gave us another, slightly more difficult task. We are to kill a royal horseman.
Royal horseman? Do the lords have an issue with the queen? We should get to Luxus Palace Royale sooner rather than later.
I urged the party to retire Harry for now and give Sir Hyron a chance to grow for a while.
Our first intention was to go explore Hillstone’s dungeon, but after taking a short stroll through it, we decided against it. Lord Slayer is a peculiar collector of dangerous things. While is Zoo was manageable, his dungeon was way past his Zoo in the danger department.
Instead, we remembered an unremarkable mine close to castle Pinehurst.
Rax clearly hoped to find riches in this mine, but I overheard people talking. The mine was abandoned ages ago and all that was left of the gold once abundant here is fine dust, pretty to look at, but utterly worthless.
Instead, the mine was home to something far less preferable – it was haunted by a dead necromancer and his minions, Sarakin. It was also extremely unstable, with frequent cave-ins taking their toll on us.
Sarakin’s shade was close to the entance of the mine, warning us to go back, but we chose to ignore it. With Alana and myself ready to turn any undead running, and Sir Hyron and No Name giving backup with their crossbows, we didn’t expect much trouble.
We even freed two adventurers that got trapped by a cave-in and they agreed to assist us in the future, for a symbolic fee.
Eventually, we found Sarakin’s tomb and fought the shade. It was a difficult battle, with Sarakin himself and some of his minions repelling any weapon attacks and spells, but nothing can fully resist Disintegration. Eventually, they fell and revealed a magical fountain, removing any unnatural aging the shades we fought inflicted upon us.
Sword of Valor
Naturally, we did not clear the mine in one fell sweep. As usual, we went back and forth between this place and MIddlegate several times.
At one of these occasions, just as we were about to enter the mine, Robin heard a noise in the nearby mountains. There was a highlander hunting party camping there. They got their hands on an ornamental sword and offered it to us in exchange for some sparring.
Mountain folk are hard, but they were no match four our cumulative experience and abilities, so the sword was ours.
It is a useless trinket, strictly intended for decoration, but someone clearly lost it, so hoping we would find that someone, we decided to keep it.
Side Note: Future Plans
I started training hirelings for the class quests ahead. The way I understand it, only the classes related to the quest, accompanied by robbers can go to class quest areas, so I need a group of high level guys to do this. Because of that, I was training No Name, the archer and have switched from Harry Kiri, the ninja, to Sir Hyron, the knight at first, but later on started switching in other potentially useful classes. I’m thinking the robber can be Rax herself, but I should probably have as many high level sorcerers, clerics, paladins, archers and nights as I can.
Well, technically, since I can only have two hirelings, I can also only have two of the required class.
I also spent some time going from town to town, taking all of the hirelings to Middlegate, since this is my base of operations, offering the cheapest services.
Side Note: Party Progression
Here’s my usual party report. Lots of upgrades this time.
Lorelei, Level 15 Dwarf Knight
- Helm +7
- Quiet Sling +2
- Dark Trident
- Ivory Cameo
- Mgt Gauntlet +1
- Plate Armor +5
A level and a far better armor for Lorelei. Plate Mail +4 got upgraded to a Plate Armor +5.
Priscilla, Level 14 Human Paladin
- Helm +6
- Shaman Pipe +7
- Mgt Gauntlet +1
- Plate Armor +5
- Tri-Sickle +5
- Agate Grail
Also a level and an armor upgrade, but Priscilla also replaced her Magic Charm for another pair of Might Gauntlets. She hits almost as hard as Lorelei now.
Rax, Level 15 Half-Orc Robber
- Crossbow +2
- Thief’s Pick +2
- Blazing Axe +4
- Silent Horn +3
- Great Shield +2
- S Chain Mail +4
Either Rax is all maxed out, or she has really bad luck with item upgrades. She did get three levels, though.
Alana, Level 15 Gnome Cleric
- Hero Medal +4
- Quick Flail +2
- Great Shield +4
- Helm +6
- B Splintmail +4
- Defense Ring +2
Alana gained two levels and her spell level is now 8. She needs spells, though.
Robin, Level 14 Elf Archer
- Speedy Sword +4
- Hero Medal +3
- Ray Gun +1
- Chain Mail +4
- Defense Ring +2
- Great Bow +5
Robin replaced her Ice Sickle for a Speedy Sword, so she can start the battle first again. She also gained a level.
Aleen, Level 14 Elf Sorcerer
- Dagger +4
- Magic Charm +3
- Silent Horn +1
- Padded Armor +2
- Defense Ring +7
- Hero Medal +2
Aleen got nothing. Seriously, no level, no items.
Side Note: Recap
So, just to recap what happened this time.
I explored Castle Woodhaven fully. There are treasure rooms, but I have no idea if there’s anything useful in there. Each castle has a bishop you can free by buying the key of the same color at one of the town’s locksmiths. Each bishop gives you experience for freeing him.
I also explored Castle Hillstone. The Lord is Lord Slayer and he seems to be thematically oriented towards might, but I’m not sure if it has an effect on the game. I freed a couple of hirelings from the castle to. I tried tackling the dungeon, but it’s too tough for now, in my opinion.
The Hillstone bishop apparently gives more experience if you do the arena champion thing I found some messages talking about.
I started training hirelings to make myself more ready for the later class quests, since you can only take characters of that class alongside with robbers on a class quest.
I explored Sarakin’s Mine. I thought the gold dust does something, but I couldn’t find out what. I killed Sarakin and was able to use the rejuvenation fountain behind him. I’m not absolutely sure it makes you younger, but I think it does.
I also got the Valor Sword from a fight in the nearby mountains. It doesn’t do anything, so my guess is that it’s a quest item.
I’ll explore some other place, basically. I have absolutely no idea what that place will be. I’ll also keep training hirelings.