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.