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.

Avernum Castle

Avernum’s Castle is a city of its own.

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.

Formello looked more like a real fortified city, with a moat and proper walls. I started exploring it and soon got some tasks I could do. I also got one I might not be able to complete. The innkeeper Gad wants to get his hands on some sugar, which is extremely rare in Avernum. I already found a bag of it in Fort Avernum, but I didn’t realize I’ll need it, so I sold it already. I hope there’s another bag somewhere in the game, but if not, this will be a quest that I won’t complete. In the same inn, a sage named Golizar asked me to find the Orb of Thralni, which is an artefact I remember from Exile 3: Ruined World. Back in that game, it allowed the user to fly for a few turns anywhere, including the world map. Apparently, a dragon should know where the Orb is.

There was a job board in Formello to, so I managed to get a whole bunch of minor tasks, including a message delivery to the dragon Golizar told me about. Jen, the food manager has issues with her mushroom meal supply, so she asked me to get some from the Great Cave. I’ve spent a large chunk of my money to buy an iron broadsword for my berserker, and then the rest of it on powerful priest spells at the temple of the Holy Chance. I would have spent even more on mage spells taught by Miles, the local mage, but alas, I didn’t have any more. It was time to go earn some. Before that, though, I went to speak to the mayor, since apparently, her necklace, which is used for communication with the Castle, was stolen by nephilim.

The tasks turned out a lot tougher than what I previously encountered. Monsters started to pack much bigger punches and my berserker especially started dying often. I decided to try and backtrack for a bit, to gather some gear and gain a level or two. I have managed to deal with an ogre and dispose of some bats, but that’s about it.

Exploring the eastern galleries to the south, I eventually entered Fort Dranlon. This is basically the first line of defense from the Slithzerikai and it was in poor condition. Most of the outer walls are destroyed and magical barriers are put in their place, maintained by the fort wizard, Mairwen. She offered to teach me how to dispel these barriers, but only if I steal a tome from the nearby slith village.

Avadon, Warrior Art

This one looks like a Bible illustration to me.

I also met a mysterious man who told me something about an organization called the Scimitar. They are situated in Baghra, which is in the Abyss. I offered Commander Rosie to uncover what the slith are planning. She said I would need a bout to get to their base, which they don’t have anymore, but I might be able to find one in Cotra. Of course, I have no need for that information, since I already bought a boat in Formello.

I continued to explore the eastern gallery, this time with the boat. To the south of the central lake, I managed to find what I believe is a dragon’s lair. I tried to explore it, but I was soon chased out by drakes, which are still too tough for me. I also managed to enter the honeycomb, but that place also seems too tough. There’s one thing I forgot to mention in one of my previous entries. North of Cotra, I’ve found a hidden cave filled with strange crystals. Six of them were broken, with chunks missing, so I’ve been finding some of those while exploring. At the moment of writing this, I had 2 of them, but I assumed I’ll probably be finding more soon enough. In a series of caverns to the east of the great lake, I discovered a couple of slith settlements, as well as a cave belonging to an old drake. In exchange for some of my food, he gave me another one of the crystals, pushing my total up to 3. I didn’t hang around the slith settlements too much, since slith seem to be another type of foe that’s still too tough for me.

The further I explored the surrounding areas, the more obvious it was I won’t be doing any sort of training there. Just about everything I encountered was extremely tough for my party. It seems I had no other choice but to go to Formello and start doing my job there. Before I did that, though, I did manage to find another crystal in a hidden area north of Dranlon. This brought my total up to 4. I tried to bring the boat up north with me, but I couldn’t find a passage, which should have been obvious from the map, so I went there on foot.

The first place I started clearing out was the underground Nephilim fort in the north of the Eastern Gallery. At first, it seemed like there was no way for me to breach the gates, but soon I discovered a concealed switch which opened a hidden passage inside. The whole place was actually full of hidden passages, which I could use to flank and surprise otherwise tough foes and pick them off few at a time. In one of the passages, I discovered a soldier who got sent there to rescue some prisoners. I helped him with that and killed the nephil leader along the way. It was a tough battle, with my berserker dying, but In the end, I managed. I’ve cleared the entire fortress, other than a single locked door. I also found a dark altar with a nice dagger on it, but trying to take it summons dangerous demons, so I’ll have to return to that later.

After clearing the fort, I decided to postpone going to Formello, and went to Cotra instead, hoping there’s a reward for saving the prisoners. Is per usual, before entering the city, I explored the outer walls. At the southeast corner, I’ve found a secret room with murdered bodies. Of course, this needed to be reported to someone in charge of such things. At the docks, a woman named Nance taught me something I didn’t know. When the first people arrived to Avernum, they soon began finding strange blue crystals in various places. They called them Wisdom crystals, because they would speak to the user, teaching them things, but also possibly driving them mad. No one knows who made them or what they are exactly, but I’ve already found one near Formello and used it on my berserker. I’m not sure if there are any bad effects because of it, but I haven’t noticed any yet.

The local alchemist offered me a reward if I manage to uncover the location of Erika’s tower. Erika is one of the legendary Avernum mages. On a side note, I’ve also spoken to Elspeth, Nance’s “companion”. I guess their relationship is why the Empire exiled them to Avernum. I do not recall this being in the original Exile game, but I like the idea. It adds a dose of realism, so props to Spiderweb for adding this detail. Moving on, I’ve spoken to the mayor about the dead bodies and got my reward for freeing the prisoners. I’ve gathered some info around town, learning about a crypt in the tunnels north of the Eastern Gallery, accepted all the jobs on the job board and immediately started clearing some minor ones.

Eventually, I decided to go get the necklace stolen from Formello. I’ve found the Nephilim fort easily enough and fought my way to the back entrance. This got me direct access to one of their temples where I killed their priest. In a desk in the back room, I’ve found a letter addressed to someone named Thinshadow. Apparently, he claimed the necklace for himself and is now hiding behind a locked door which requires the key from the goblin lair. Since I already have it, I could skip a step.

Avernum - Dialogue Screenshot

There you go, my first in-game screenshot of Avernum.

The fort consisted of several levels, with me starting on the ground floor. The floor was cleared easily enough, with only an ogre mage being an issue. I got a bunch of loot, killed a bunch of cat people and goblins, and was ready to go to another level. I decided to go for the basement first.

 

The captain of Duvno has some problems with nephilim to the north and bandits to the west. I decided to resolve both of those problems, bandits first. The fort was relatively easy to clear, apart from the bandit’s leader, an apprentice level mage. Before I disposed of him, I asked about Lagran, the bandit that tried to kill me in the Arrival Caves. The mage said Lagran was there, asking to join, but they refused him so he went south. After killing him, I explored the rest of the fort and found the magical scrolls someone on the Silvar job board was looking for in a second floor room infested with goblins. I also found some books which would improve my Beast Call spell, but I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to decipher them.

Avernum - Dragon

Dragons are a big deal in Avernum.

After returning to Duvno, I did some exploring, found a pair of Swamp Boots in a hidden cache a bit to the north, and disposed of some brigands on the road to Formello. East of the brigands’ camp, I found a cave filled with bats and giant rats. I remembered there was something on the job board in Silvar about getting rid of some bats, so I tried to clear it, but I found a blocked passage with a mechanism I didn’t know how to use. I guess I’m going to have to return there later.

Next up, I decided to clear the sewers. I entered at the northwest corner of Silvar and fought my way through the worms, eventually reaching a central chamber where a nephil named Droknarr was waiting. He was the one breeding the worms. He seemed pretty laughable, so I offered him to just leave, but he wouldn’t hear it. He was dead soon enough. I reported my actions to the mayor and got my reward. He also said that to truly test my abilities, I should go to the Castle. To gain entrance, though, I need a Crown token. He doesn’t have one, but the mayor of Formello has. First, it was time to help Duvno with the nephilim.

I entered a cave in the north, from which I assumed the nephilim were coming, and I believe I wasn’t wrong. The lair was infested with both nephilim and goblins, all lead by a goblin shaman. I cleared the cave, defeated him and pocketed a bronze key from a chest in his private room. I’m not sure what I’ll need it for, but it’s probably important. On my way back to Duvno, I stopped by the bandit fort to decipher the texts I couldn’t before and gain access to a chest with a nice amount of gold.

Map of Avernum

Avernum is a series of caves. Sometimes I forget that part.

After reporting my victory to the captain of Fort Duvno, I made my way to Formello. It was a quick trip, but it was time to take a break.

I was going to save all my money for the Steam summer sale, but Avernum: Escape from the Pit was on sale yesterday, so I needed to have it. This is another one of Spiderweb’s old school role playing games and I remember it as a truly good one. The original was called Exile and I preferred that name, but the remake is worth the cost of a good name. Well, to be more precise, this is a remake of a remake, but I don’t mind that either.

Basically, Avernum is a place deep underground, full of dangerous creatures and huge caverns where everyone who doesn’t fit in with the Empire gets sent, forever. Back when it was called Exile, it was also a state of being, but I guess we can’t have that anymore. The Empire basically controls the surface world and if they don’t like you, you’re gone.

Avernum: Escape From the Pit - Cover Art

Though the graphics receive an upgrade every time, the games somehow keep their style.

Now this is the first game, and I’m familiar with the story, but I’ll write my diary the same way I did with Avadon, like I don’t know anything. I feel it will work better that way. I created my party and started the game.

The intro is a slideshow with some text, as expected. Basically, I we don’t know why my party is thrown in and we don’t need to know. The important thing is there’s no going back. I started in a room with nothing other than some basic equipment on me. I found a cloak nearby and put it on my berserker.

In the next room, a band of nephilim did some gambling. Nephilim are a bloodthirsty catlike race which once had a huge presence on the surface world, but is all but eliminated now. In Avernum, however, they are thriving and they don’t like humans one bit. As soon as they noticed me, they attacked and I got my first combat experience.

A few rooms after that, on the other side of a narrow river, a guy named Lagran greeted me. It seems he managed to get inside the Arrival Caves (this is what he called it) and locked the door behind him. His intentions are to profit from new arrivals using any methods necessary. Basically, he intends to rob me.

I couldn’t do anything to him over the river, so I moved on, soon meeting a girl named Brissa and some other random people. She’s stuck, just like me, afraid to face Lagran and unable to go anywhere. Since I had issues to resolve with Lagran anyway, I promised her to handle the situation. A few rooms later, after fighting some of Lagran’s lackeys, I found and faced him. He would have fallen fast, but once I wounded him, he managed to escape and even slip past the Avernites on the level above. In any case, I was free to leave the Arrival Caves and enter Fort Avernum.

I was greeted by Andrew, whose job apparently is to greet people and give them some directions. He said I could get some supplies at Tor’s place, so I did and this got me some money and food. I also talked to Thairl who described the political situation. It seems the Avernites are having trouble with nephilim to the north, as well as slitzerikai to the west. The sliths, as they are commonly called, are lizard people. There’s a rumour that some of them are friendly, but for the most part, they are just as dangerous as the nephilim.

I continued exploring the fort and talked to a guy named Dunbar. He told me about the magical threes and mushrooms which the wizards created to feed the Avernites. I also met Varan, who said I should go to Silvar. Some other guys said the same thing, so I decided to listen

Avernum: Escape From the Pit, Art

I love the art of Spiderweb games.

Thairl told me some stuff about the slithzerikai and the nephilim and also suggested I go to Silvar.

On the way to Silvar, I found a campsite with some sad looking gremlins. I had the option to approach or attack them, but on approach, it looked like they needed something I don’t have yet, so I decided to spare them for now.

In Silvar, I met Carol, the baker. She complained about some noises behind her bakery, but I couldn’t access the area on foot, so I saved that for later. Jonathan, the mayor of Silvar had a task for me. Silvar is building sewers beneath the town and they have issues with a worm infestation. I’d of course be rewarded if I manage to solve that problem. I accepted, but decided to not do it just yet and explore further first.

I found the job board and took all the available jobs there. I also explored the rest of the town and got a few more tasks. Gary, the Innkeeper, for instance, is looking for a hot spring for his business. Finally, I bought a boat for 350 coins and checked out the area behind Carol’s shop. Some goblins were there, so I quickly disposed of them. After fully exploring the town, I decided to visit Fort Duvno, to the north. Before that, though, I spoke to Anastasia, the armour seller. She jokingly said I should ask her husband, Efram, about Demonslayer. I did and he told me about a legendary sword the first expedition to the caves had, which was extremely good at slaying demons. The sword was lost along with most of the members of the first expedition.

It was late, so I exited Silvar and decided to save Fort Duvno for the next day.

The Review: Is Avadon a True Spiderweb Game?

So, now that I’ve completed Avadon: The Black Fortress once, what do I have to say about it?

I think that the best way to go through the pros and cons is to compare it to Spiderweb’s previous games of the same style – Exile and it’s remake, Avernum.

Story in Avadon

The story of Avadon is decent, nothing more. It will keep you intrigued, it’s unique, compared to mainstream RPGs (I’m looking at you, Bioware) and it will keep you interested in the game. A few minor quests have their own nice little short stories, your companions have a background and it all fits together well enough. Nothing revolutionary, but OK.

Character Development in Avadon

I have to say, the character development in Avadon is different to previous games and also, not as good. The classes just don’t seem unique enough, it’s to unified, to uniform. Each class has their utility tree, their aggressive tree and their passive tree. You are pretty much forced to pick the passive tree and one other, if you wan’t to get the last upgrade for the top skill. Technically, if you make use of skill bonuses on your equipment, you might be able to “max” the last tree to, but that just makes it even less unique.

Avadon - Screen

The writing is where Spiderweb games excel. There’s a lot of it and it’s quite good.

In addition to that, the characters also play basically the same. You blow all your spells/abilities on tougher battles and then proceed to attack with your main weapon and/or use items until they recharge. Vitality is there just for show and to maybe make you go back to the local pylon once in a while. There is no need to conserve your resources. It simply doesn’t feel like there’s enough variety or possibilities. With Avernum, it felt better, and with Exile, even more so.

Also, the fact that level 30 is max and you can reach it before the end of the game if you do any side quests kind of removes the pleasure of making your characters overpowered. Sure, being overpowered makes the game unbalanced, but it’s also one of the charms that make me like this genre.

Still, it’s good enough, and it won’t bother you to much on its own. It just isn’t what I prefer, compared to previous games.

Gameplay in Avadon

I sense a hint of Bioware in the gameplay of Avadon. It feels a bit overly structured and predictable. You pretty much know where your next quest will take you and when your next companion will abandon you. This could be done better, less predictable. Also, the world seems less open than the previous games, with less stuff to do and explore. It kind off reminds me of the first Baldur’s Gate. This isn’t a bad thing, but again, I preferred the way Avernum and Exile did it.

The Verdict

Based on what I wrote, you would probably think I don’t like the game. You’d be wrong. I do like it. I like it a lot. I just don’t like it as much as Avernum or Exile. It’s still better than most of the crap you get today, however. It’s old school RPG goodness with a bit of new design thrown in. If you love this, you will adore this game. A definite buy, even more so, considering the price. At worst, it’s a bit too formulaic.

Meaningless Score: 8/10

We stepped through the portal, but only Cordelia came out on the other side. The Avadon pylon was damaged, so this must be the reason. I arrived to the sounds of battle. The fortress was under attack. I fought my way through the passages and soon found Miranda in a pylon room I didn’t have access to before. The pylon was active, but I couldn’t tell where the portal was leading. Miranda said that Avadon has been betrayed. Infiltrators gained access and traitors in our own ranks helped them get the upper hand.

I told her everything that happened in castle Vebaux, but she didn’t at all seem angry at the fact that I let the duke go. In fact, she seemed pleased. She asked me about the Wayfarer and I told the truth. I intend to overthrow Redbeard. She then pointed her wand at me and everything was clear. She realized Avadon will fall and she is escaping to the Tavon Empire – the new center of power. Everything that happened to me, she orchestrated. The deaths, the events I’ve seen, even the Wayfarer. Now she wants me to finish it – kill Redbeard and take my place as the new Keeper. I agreed to let her go.

She stepped through the portal and I started fighting my way to the central stairway, to Redbeard. There weren’t many assassins left, so I didn’t have much trouble getting to the upper floor. As soon as I ascended the stairs, I’ve found Hand Callan. I told her about Miranda leaving, but I decided to leave out my intentions. In the next room, I’ve found Sevilin and told him what I intend to do. He expressed his agreement and joined me. I then met the rest of them and did the same. Jenell joined me, and I sent the other two downstairs, to fight off the assassins. We moved on and soon found Redbeard in one of the chambers, fighting off a shadowwalker. It was the Wayfarer. He jumped back and, as they both spotted me, he took off his mask.

Avadon - Final Boss Room

The final showdown took place here.

It was Shadow Tarkus, the same man that escaped the prison on my first day of service. I jumped to battle on his side, but it was too late. Redbeard killed him in an instant. It was my turn. I fought him, and he beat me to a pulp. I tried it again, and he did it again. I tried it a few more times and failed. The closest I got was to about 30%. I tried reducing the difficulty – same thing.

Ok, this is not the outcome I expected. I went to use Google, and found out what my problem was. Apparently, you can have a party of five in that fight. I thought that when I was saying my companions to go defend the bottom level, I was actually choosing which two I’ll take. In reality, I was just gimping myself, because I could take all of them, and, as long as I did their quests, I would have all of them with me in the final battle.

Avadon - Ending

The ending was several screens with flavor texts, based on my choices.

Well, this is disappointing. I decided to go for the “positive” ending and not take down Redbeard. Since I was not at all loyal to him, the only option I had was to stay a hand under his command. Oh well, I guess another playthrough will be needed to see the other endings. I have a few achievements missing anyway. For now, the game is finished.

So, officially, by loyalties were questioned, but in the end, I remained loyal to the pact. Redbeard has seen, partially, the error of his ways and decided to make things different. The Pact is in danger of falling apart, but with work, it can prevail. Avadon is not seen as the omniscient, omnipresent, all-powerful institution anymore, but that might be a good thing. There’s hope.

I’m not really sure if there’s an absolutely positive ending here, so this will suffice.

I have arrived at castle Vebeaux and spoke to the duke immediately. It seems that the peace negotiations are close to completion. Several envoys will soon arrive from Holklanda and Monitor Shigaz has asked for me specifically to help secure the castle and stop any potential assassins. There’s some work being done under the castle. Some new halls are being dug and Shigaz feels that this would be the most likely direction an attack could come from.

I went down there immediately, and promptly got attacked by cultist assassins. I disposed of them and found Shigaz in the next room. He was mortally wounded and, in his delirium, thought I was working with the assassins. He attacked me, so I was forced to defend. I incapacitated him quickly and tried to heal him from his previous wounds, but it was too late. Before he died, he said the duke sent him down here. There’s something suspicious going on. I went through the passages and soon emerged outside the castle, in the woods. The duke’s men were already after me.

I fled through the forest and soon encountered a helping Holklandan who directed me to an escape route. After some fighting, and some dodging, the route led me to a brigand encampment. However, they were not hostile. In fact, they seemed to expect me. Their leader, Minaka, said the rogue Hand, Gavin, told them to expect me. He is here, in the camp, and he want’s to talk to me. I obliged.

Avadon - Showdown

I hate getting myself surrounded, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

Gavin told me he was betrayed by the duke, just as I was. Publicly, the duke works on forging a peace agreement with Holklanda. Privately, however, he is working for the Tavon empire. Gavin uncovered this and was framed because of it. Avadon has failed to prove his innocence or to even show concern for him, so he became a brigand. As for me, I need to somehow get to the pylon and return. He has an idea how, but first I need to help him. I need to kill a hunter that’s become a threat for them. He is to the south.

I went there and realized the hunter is a she. Tender Melisande, to be precise. The same animal tender who gave me several tasks at the castle. I told her the truth about the duke, but she didn’t care. By her own words, Avadon’s time is past. It has become weak and corrupt and the duke has a better path. I said I agree with the statement about Avadon, and she was surprised, but also told me her orders are clear. I guess there was no way out of that battle. She and her beasts were tough, but they posed no threat.

I reported this to Gavin and he decided to help me. I need to clear the way to the east, off the main road, and look for a hidden passage. He will wait for me there. I went as he instructed and soon met the Wayfarer again. No job this time, only questions he needs answers for. He asked me where my loyalties lie, how I feel about Avadon and if I would be willing to have Redbeard “replaced”. I would prefer to just leave, but the mark that makes me a Hand cannot be removed and it also means I cannot run away. The only option is to overthrow Redbeard. Before he left, he gave me advice. I should spare the duke. It will mean a lot in the future. With that, he was gone and I continued. After some fighting, I met up with Gavin, and soon we were at the castle.

Sadly, Gavin soon fell to a trap, so I was forced to continue alone. I fought for a long time, moving back and forth between possible routes of escape, defeating the duke’s lackeys, until I finally reached his inner chambers. He pleaded for his life, explaining his motivations, appealing to reason, and he finally succeeded. I let him go. In the end, he was just trying to protect his people. It’s Redbeard that needs to go down. The duke fled, the way to the pylon was open. Time to kill Redbeard.

As I arrived to Dhorl Stead, I was greeted by militia. They hate their lord, they know he has done wrong, but still they want to defend him and their home. Sadly, I was forced to fight them. I fought my way to the gates of Oghrym’Tor and soon met the Wayfahrer. He didn’t have any task for me this time, he only asked if I feel regret for what is happening. I admitted I do and he left.

Oghrym’Tor was devoid of any guards or soldiers. I’ve reached the throne room, and Carsta’Arl was there, waiting for me. He tried to justify what he had the wizard do, and ended up escaping thanks to some powers the wizard granted him. I went in the only open direction and soon encountered and fought his wife, Antja.

After she was defeated, a new passage opened. I fought through the rooms of the fort for a long time and eventually reached Carsta again. He was waiting for me in the center of the fort. This was definitely a hard battle, but eventually, he fell. He dropped an excellent sword and shield, so my blademaster will be switching to those again.

I won, but it was a bittersweet victory. On one hand, Carsta and his wizard did horrible thing, but on the other, it is a shame that the people of Dhorl Stead got caught in the crossfire. I don’t think this Pact will last for long, and I’m starting to think I will be its downfall. I reported the events to Miranda and she sent me to Redbeard for my next mission.

I find using the same title constantly a bit lame, so I decided to try and mix it up a bit. Let me know what you prefer.

So, last time I wrote, I just returned from the bandit hideout victorious and was about to return to the castle. I didn’t clear the entire hideout, because I was alone. I’ll probably return later, once I finish my report, with my entire party. The duke was very pleased with the results. As for my other missions, I gave the drake egg to the castle caretaker and got a Titansteel Girdle for it. I also brought the news of the incantor’s return to the castle mage and she gave me a nice breastplate with a big strength bonus. I think my blademaster will be using it. As for the rogue Hand, sadly, I had to report I did not find him.

Avadon - Geometrical Layout

When the area has a geometrical shape, it usually means something’s up.

I returned to Avadon to report in and, as expected, Shima Treespear was on his way through the portal. He has stuff to deal with and he wouldn’t take no for an answer. I guess I’ll have to go after him next. I offered to come with him immediately, but he wouldn’t accept it. He did say he would leave some papers in his quarters, though.

I spoke to Redbeard, and he was pleased, but he immediately sent me to speak to Miranda for my next mission. Whatever it is, I will go after Shima first. Miranda said I need to return to Oghrym’Tor and deal with the leader, Carsta’Arl. It seems they have found evidence that he was the one supplying the, now not so rogue wizard. As I said, Shima is on the top of my priority list, so I gathered my party and returned to Beraza Woods.

I went to the location Shima mentioned in his papers and, as promised, It was infested by ogre’s. I destroyed one of their camps and killed their chieftain, but got nothing really of note, other than a nice staff for my shaman. Once that was done, I continued north and soon found Harua Honored Forge waiting for me in the middle of a ravine. He was not alone. Two of his men brought Shima, hands bound behind his back, towards me. He tried to murder Harua in his sleep. Even though he had every right, he didn’t punish Shima by killing him, claiming he, unlike others, is able to rise above clan disputes.

They warned us not to follow and then left Shima with me. He was conflicted. The Honored Forge are well respected by Redbeard and loyal servants to Avadon, but they have killed his family. He cannot let that go unpunished. I decided to help him. He joined my group and we moved on.

The direct route was trapped so we went to find another way in. There were several passages leading in the general direction, but only one of them wasn’t a dead end. Eventually, we reached a well supplied Holklandan camp. This is extremely odd, since there would be no need to have such a camp in this location, unless it is for military purposes. The Holklandans might not be as devoted to the peace treaty as I thought. After a lengthy battle, we finally reached Harua. He had something to say, so I decided to give him a chance to speak.

He admitted that his clan destroyed Shima’s, but he also said that they did not act alone. Avadon was fully supporting this action and even sent several Hand’s and Eyes to help. He offered me a reward if I let him escape because “it is better for the Pact”, but I think I’m done with this pact. He didn’t give us much of a fight. Shima’s vendetta was over.

I returned to Avadon and then took the portal to Khemeria. My mission awaits.

This is my second post today, so be sure to check out the first, not to miss anything.

It was time for my mission again. I met up with Shigaz in the woods and he gave me some information. We are to find where the bandits reside and destroy them. I asked him to wait while I scout ahead, simply because I can then move at my own pace and not worry about something or someone killing him. As soon as I walked a bit to the north, the Wayfarer aproached me again. I seem to have encountered a bug, though. I destroyed the titan paper’s, but the only conversation option I had was one that said I didn’t. Either I missed something about the quest, or this is a bug. He offered me another task, though. The merchant I helped before now want’s his competition completely removed, so she asked me to lie to the authorities and have him accused of some random crime. This doesn’t really appeal to me, so I refused, but the quest is available to me anyway. He didn’t seem dissapointed by the refusal, though. He seemed more surprised that I still have a conscience.

I’ve stumbled into a camp of surly woodsmen, or at least that’s how the game describes them. They weren’t very talkative and seemed completely unimpressed by the fact that they met a Hand of Avadon. I’m guessing they will be important later, but for now, I moved on.

Avadon - Surly woodsmen.

The woodsmen seemed very suspicious.

The next thing on my path was a crumpled old tower. I started exploring it and clearing the spiders it was infested with. There was also a humanoid presence I kept encountering during the exploration. It seemed non hostile, but it kept running away, floor after floor. On the third floor, I’ve finally cornered him and his invisibility wore off. It was a frightened mage named Herenus. He fled from the Tavon Empire to hide here, but his tower defenses backfired, causing the infestation. I got nothing else out of him, so I guess he will be important later.

I left the tower and kept exploring. To the southeast, I’ve found an abandoned camp where I cleared some rats out of an old building. This got me some leather and other minor loot, bot nothing of importance. There was another tower, this one still under construction, very near the abandoned camp. The owner was Incanter Maron, the mage I was supposed to find and request to return to the castle. He was trilled that he is allowed to return and thanked me for the news. With this, I  finished exploring the outlying regions of the woods and moved inwards. In one of the clearings in the central area, I’ve found Orian, the spy woodsman I’ve met before. Since the authorities asked me to kill him, I did just that. Well, actually, I offered him a chance to leave first, but he refused.

With the region clear, It was time to return to Shigaz and take him with me. He led me almost straight to the camp of those surly woodsmen. Well, it turns out they aren’t woodsmen at all. He offered them more than they would earn if they return to the castle for questioning, and they attacked. It was easy to deal with them, so they weren’t the ones we were looking for. We continued. Shigaz led me through most of the areas I explored until we finally reached the rocky part in the southwest, where he found a hidden passage. Shigaz was ready to get in, bot only with me. My companions needed to stay behind.

As soon as I was alone with him, I asked Shigaz why he only allowed me to follow. He said he finds my companions and their intentions suspicious. All of them are of questionable loyalty and strange origin, but somehow, they have all gathered around me. We started going through the caves, fighting bandits on the way. Pretty soon, we were forced to trigger an obvious trap and Shigaz was injured to the point of not being able to fight. I was forced to continue alone.

After a while of sneaking around and exploring passages, I’ve encountered another shadowwalker, Harua of the Honored Forge. He was on a mission of his own and offered me some advice on how to continue. On a cavern near him, I’ve found an old, withered drake. It attacked thinking I was gonna steal his egg. Once he was dealt with, I took the egg, remembering the castle beast keeper needs one.

Thanks to the key I got from Harua, I managed to enter the bandit fort and, after some fighting, I’ve found their leader. His name was Audric, and he was a cultist of, the way he called it, the Deep Earth. He didn’t give much information and instead almost immediately attacked me. I killed him and the goons he summoned with ease. I took his very nice staff and equipped it immediately. With him out of the way, the bandit attacks will probably stop, so my mission was complete. I returned to Shigaz and met Harua again. He was administering first aid to Shiguz. Before we left, Shiguz warned me that the my shadowwalker companion might have an issue with Harua, since their clans are feuding, so I should be careful in approaching that. I left the caves and returned to the castle.