Before I went to the Great Cave, I still had things to do and places to explore. The first thing I did, though, was to spend a huge amount of money to learn a bunch of new spells. Fights should be slightly easier from now on. I went north, to the cave of Motrax, the dragon. I’ve found an old sage in there, who gave me more information about the Orb of Thralni. Apparently, it was lost somewhere beyond the slith lands. I spoke with the dragon a bit, but I didn’t stray too far from the main hall, since his pets are probably still beyond my abilities.
Next up, I explored the crypt the heard about in some town to the south. There was some decent loot in there, but I also had to leave behind a Heal tome which requires 8 levels of arcane lore to get. Next on the menu was Fort Draco. The forge there seems to have a reference to Minecraft. One of the Bill’s there says the mines sometimes find gold, and since recently, lapis lazuli and redstone. They don’t know what to do with it yet, but they’ll figure it out.¸
I bought a boat there, since it’s the only way to get one for the northern river, as far as I know. I left town immediately to check out where I can go and realized I wasted my money. There’s only a small patch of the river accessible and everything else is blocked by rocks. That’s 300 gold I’ll never see. In exchange for 25 coins, a beggar told me about some friendly intelligent spiders living nearby.
After Draco, I went to look for the friendly spiders and soon found them to the northwest. One of their members was kidnapped by the aranea, so they asked for my help. The aranea city was tough, but I managed to clear it in time and found the spider in one of the cells. As a reward, the friendly spiders let me into one of their back chambers, where I got some nice loot.
I was wrong about the boat. It seemed like the southern part of the river was blocked, but there turned out to be a path between the rocks. I started exploring all the various nooks to the south and soon found a hidden tower surrounded by lava. I killed the drake outside, but I needed a password to enter, so I left. Nearby, I’ve also found a pool of liquid which increased my spell power temporarily. Another pool a bit further gave me a cloak of curses, but I could only get one of the two. To the western side of the river, I’ve found an abandoned hut of some alchemist. Among the research papers left behind, I’ve found a recipe for something called Graymold Salve.
After some more exploring, I decided it was finally time to go to the castle. The slith are still too tough, enemies to the south of the Eastern Gallery are just as tough if not more and I’ve solved all the minor tasks I could, so there was really nothing left to do other than one last thing. Remember those gremlins near Silvar? I’ve found a bottle of wine which they might like, so I decided to pay them a visit. As I suspected, they drank the wine and left, which opened up a path to the grove nearby. The grove is now offering me a steady supply of healing herbs.
Almaria was on the way to the Castle, so I stopped there to restock, sell some loot and complete a few minor tasks. Once that was out of the way, I entered the Castle. I was granted an audience with king Micah and soon learned my mission. Sss-Thsss, the Slithzerikai leader, is to be killed. Avernum has no navy so there is no way for an army to attack his island fortress. It needs to be a small team of assassins instead, and I have proven myself able to do this. Of course, to gain access to the fortress, I first I need to infiltrate some of the outlying bases to gather information. Before all that, I will need to train, though. The slith are still too powerful for me.
I went on to explore the Great Cave. At Fort Emerald to the northwest, there’s a huge green emerald which grant’s me a temporary cloak of the arcane upon meditating there. Emerald is on the Slithzerikai frontline, so it gets quite a battering. No one there seemed to need much of my help, though. A bit northwest of Emerald, I’ve found the rumoured friendly Slithzerikai village of Gnasss. There, I was finally told about the slith. They are all refugees from even deeper caves. The grandfather of Sss-Thsss was the leader of a warmongering tribe and the citizens of Gnasss disagree with their ideas, wanting nothing but peace with the humans. I’ve also learned that a piece of the Demonslayer is located in the temple of the dark tribe.
To the west were the neighbour cities of Blosk and Darnham. I’ve thoroughly explored both and visited their respective job boards. There were a mage and a priest in Darnham, so I’ve spent some money there to learn new spells. I still have plenty to learn, so I will be returning there once I get more money. All in all, this area still seems above my level, so I might backtrack to east of Almaria and see if that area is more suitable. Before that, I intend to at least explore the Great Cave some more and acquire new tasks.
Fort Remote, to the west, was quick to explore. It’s a tiny, dull place with not much going for it. To the south, there was Patrick’s Tower. Patrick is one of the three most powerful mages of Avernum, largely responsible for making it a liveable place. His wife is ill, and he needs graymold salve to cure her. Now, as I said before, I’ve already found the recipe, so I had no issues with sharing it, but we still need to ingredients to make the potion
Fort Saffron is another passage fort, this guarding the passage to the Abyss. The Abyss is basically Avernum’s Avernum, except it’s not as final as the actual Avernum is. They send actual criminals there, and leave them in peace to live as they want. Those who are willing can get admission back to Avernum, though.
Eventually, the Great Cave was fully explored and I made my way to the area east of Almaria. It was immediately apparent that this area was more appropriate for my level range I decided that my next objective will be the farming town of Mertis. It’s plagued by the undead, originating in the northeast. Before that, I went south, to the Tower of Magi, to see if there’s anything I’m able to do there.