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 Spire Fortress lies on the path to the Abyss. It was under bandit control so I had to clear those out. I’ve found the emissary from the dragon inside and he said that there is another dragon servant somewhere in the Abyss and he is the one that has the message for me. I also killed a bat demon there.

I went to the Abyss, first did a few side quests in Spire and then went to Baghra. The warlord there has a few screws loose and doesn’t let anyone out of town. Even the farmers can only work on their farms and are forced to sleep in town. I’ve found out from townspeople that he is holding the dragon servant captive somewhere outside of town. I managed to find the prison, free him and kill a bunch of guards on my way out.

Everything else in the Abyss seems a bit too difficult so I brought the message back to the cycle to get deciphered. While this is being done, I got three new missions in northern Avernum, around Silvar and Cotra. This is where I will be going next.

I’ve fully explored the Western Reaches and then went to the Eastern Gallery. On the way through Almaria I solved a few side quests and met a trainer that trains Gymnastics, Melee weapons and some other useful stuff. I think I will use his services a lot.

When I got to the portal, I realized I was assigned to serve under my old commander from the Castle Food Depot. I was supposed to handle the flow of refugees through the portal. It didn’t go well. After letting two refuges through, one of the crystal pylons that held the portal together cracked and demons invaded through it. I was forced to escape and watch my commander die.

I went back to report to the caster and got reassigned to my previous commander who sent me on three different missions in the Eastern Gallery and the Great Cave. I was to solve a hostage crisis in Almaria, help with a situation at the Tower Colony and help with an ogre problem in a new fort inside the Western Reaches. After doing all of these, I got myself promoted and was to serve under a higher ranking officer. He sent me to meet with an envoy of a dragon in the Abyss.

Before doing all of this, I decided to explore the Eastern Gallery some more. I did some quests in Mertis, at the Undead Spiral and explore most of the Honeycomb. Then I went back to the Great Cave and did some of the quests I was too weak for before, including one of the quests for Gladwell and the quest with the Blessed Athame. Gladwell sent me to do another quest, but I don’t think I will. He wants me to break one of the seals that keep the Undead Spiral in check.

Right now, I’m in Fort Safron, getting ready to go to the Abyss. Hopefully, it won’t be too hard.

After doing some minor side quests with what little time I had yesterday, I decided to progress the main quest a bit today. I went to Patrick’s tower, where the archmage Soldberg is trying to develop a strain of mushrooms that would be immune to the plague. After exploring the tower as much as I could, I went to the levels bellow, where the new mushroom strains are being bred. I had to kill a strange fungal creature and release the blight in the area to see if the mushrooms are resistant. This failed, so the solution of the problem will have to be found elsewhere. When I reported this to Soldberg, he mysteriously said that “it’s time”. Time for what, I do not know.
After returning to the castle, the commander had a new mission for me. I was to go past the blockades in Almaria and solve a problem with the Great Portal. I decided not to do this yet, as I still have to help Gnass. Before doing that though, I decided to explore the rest of the Great Cave. I managed to stumble into a lair of giant rats near Patrick’s tower. The magic from the tower caused the rats to mutate so I had to kill their hive queen and stop her from hatching more rats. Yes, hatching. I said the magic caused them to mutate.
Anyways, now I’m off to explore a mine that I bought from a guy near Darnham.
EDIT: The mine will have to wait. There is a ghost in there that, when killed, splits into three vengeful shades and another ghost. I managed to kill him 3 times and he split every time. In addition to that, the shades hit like a train.
After escaping the mine of doom, I decided to go save the son of Gnass’ chieftain. It wasn’t that hard because my party was way overleveled for that area anways. Also, I did a few side quests and explored pretty much the entire area of the Great Cave. All that’s left is the area west of Fort Remote. Anything other than that is still too hard for my party, so after checking the place out, I will go to the Eastern Gallery where the next part of the main quest is.

I’m a big fan of the series, but somehow I missed the release of what is supposed to be the last game. If you played any Avernum game, there is not much to say about it in here. There are no towns this time, and I can’t remember if there were in Avernum V.

Everything is one giant map, with a separate huge map of the various caves and lairs that you visit. This time, a savage tribe of Slithzerikai is threatening the Avernites, and some strange blight is destroying all of their food. People are leaving Avernum and fleeing to the surface. My party is just a group of soldiers whose job is to kill rats under the main food storage for all Avernites.

After investigating a storage breach by goblins and killing their leader, I find out that the Slithzerikai are somehow behind it. This sends me The Castle where I get my main mission. My job is to stabilize the situation in The Great Cave and try to find out as much about the Blight and the Slithzerikai as possible while doing this.

Long story short, I solved a few side quests, learned how to use the portals in various towns so I can travel faster, and resolved a food hoarding situation in one of the major towns. My characters got a few levels, and I already managed to acquire some nice gear, but the game is just starting. I just hope I will get the chance to play it some more before the exams start again.