Log in

No account? Create an account
21 August 2016 @ 10:34 am
Dorchadas Plays Baldur's Gate II, Part XXIV: City of the Sea-Devils  
The party comes to in an air pocket in the depths of the sea, in the city of the sahuagin.

Sahuagin are kind of odd. D&D has a bunch of underwater fish-like humanoids--the sahuagin, of course, but also the locathah, kuo-toa, skum (note K), and some underwater variants of dryland monsters like merrow (aquatic ogres) and scrags (aquatic trolls). But for some reason, it's the sahuagin that have taken most of the popular D&D consciousness. They got their own book for AD&D 2e, called The Sea Devils, and even showed up in the first Final Fantasy game as SAHAG. As a child I thought it stood for "Sea hag," but the Japanese is サハギン, so the source is pretty obvious. Looking at Wikipedia tells me the sahuagin originally date from Blackmoor, so maybe they get first billing simply by virtue of being the oldest.

Sahuagin Power Struggle
When the party awakens, they're surrounded by the sea devils, conversing together in their own language:

Captain Feerlattiys: "Vass, ss'uri! Vass! Illuryssallya mer temas vur pasynar ssaraii!"
Senityili: "Shur'e..."
Xan: "Imprisoned by sahuagin... the shark-men..." Groans. "We are doomed."
Senityili: "Es ss'uri net rylliaren. A'sook, Feerlattiys."
Captain Feerlattiys: "Vass mae'nyarlu, sya ss'uri muss rylliaren!"
Senityili: "A'sook, a'sook..."

The high priestess casts tongues on the party.

Captain Feerlattiys: "So can it understand me now, High Priestess? It must be able to understand! The King awaits!"
Senityili: "I heard you the first time, Feerlattiys. And, yes, I have called on Sekolah to grant these beings the ability to understand our tongue."
Captain Feerlattiys: "So... it understands, High Priestess? Is... is it dangerous to us? Shall we be forced to collar it?"
Senityili: "The surface beings are varied in their ways, Feerlattiys, but they are quite intelligent. You can, I am sure, speak to the creatures directly."
Minsc: "No! No collar! I will not be collared by the smelly fishmen! My warrior spirit will not bear such a thing!"
Senityili: "My apologies. Captain Feerlattiys performs well as protector of our Shark-Father's Temple, but has little experience with your kind. I am sure this must come as a shock to you, after your recent harrowing experience. You must brace yourselves, soft ones, for your journey gets no easier."
Captain Feerlattiys: "High Priestess, we must take the surface beings before the King! He commands it!"
Senityili: "In good time, Feerlattiys. Allow them to gain their bearings and discover why we have brought them here. Otherwise, they may resort to hostilities."
Captain Feerlattiys: "No... no, that must not be allowed..."
Senityili: "Indeed. Sekolah has spoken of these ones to us, so let us treat them not as prisoners for the banquet table. Let us instead make them welcome. I shall introduce myself to you. I am Senityili, Royal High Priestess of Sekolah. And you are in the City-of-Caverns, one of our most ancient places. You are fortunate, surface dwellers. In the normal course of things, creatures captured from the sun lands would be dinner for our plate. This once, however, is different. Sekolah has told of your coming in an ancient prophecy, and I have scried that you are whom the Shark-Father speaks of."
Jaheira: "I should have known. Once again your peculiar destiny has drawn us into something, Chiyo. Even the shark gods flounder in anticipation of your arrival."
Senityili: "The most exalted King Ixilthetocal calls for the presence of the prophesied ones, now, but there is time for you to ask questions if you have the desire."
Chiyo: "What is this prophecy you speak of?"
Senityili: "Ah, yes, the prophecy. Sekolah visited the City-of-Caverns long ago... all raised their arms in rejoicement as the Great Shark's song filled our hearts. Sekolah told of a time when the City-of-Caverns would be no more. He also told of signs that would precede the arrival of surface dwellers in the depths. Sekolah said these surface dwellers would be all that stood between the City-of-Caverns and destruction, and we would do well to watch for them. We... Sahuagin, as you call us... have watched and waited from our temples here in the City. The signs have come, surface woman, and now you are here. You have come...and the City-of-Caverns does, indeed, stand on the brink of destruction. You will save us, as Sekolah has promised."
Captain Feerlattiys: "Most sacred Senityili, the most exalted one will wait no longer! We must bring the surface beings to him quickly, lest we be punished!"
Senityili: "The most honored Ixilthetocal will not punish us, good Feerlattiys. But... we must hurry, lest Tlyysixxous convince the King of her views in my absence. So, surface woman. You have heard me tell of the prophecy and your role in it. Will you see the King of the Sahuagin to hear more? Or will you struggle?"
Chiyo: "I will go voluntarily, for now."
Senityili: "Good. Captain Feerlattiys, we shall now proceed to the royal chambers. Lead us."
Captain Feerlattiys: "At once, most sacred one! I shall also bring the equipment collected from the sunken ship. If they pass the test, they may have any of the things that I've found."
I could try to fight, but I think the odds are against me, and as long as Chiyo has a divine commandment on her side, I might as well go with it, yes?

The sahaugin lead me to the court, in front of the king of City-of-Caverns:

In the king's court there's a divide between Senityili and another high priestess, Tlyysixxous, the latter of whom feels we are not the prophesied ones and thus should be eaten immediately:
Senityili: "We are here, most honorable Ixilthetocal, at your command."
King Ixilthetocal: "And... and these... (hee hee!) ...these are the strange creatures from the surface? (hee hee!) These are the ones you... claim... the mighty Sekolah has promised us?"
Senityili: "They are, most honorable one. The leader amongst them, here, is what I believe they refer to as a 'elf'."
King Ixilthetocal: "It seems most... most strange! They have no scales! Look how small and puny their teeth are!"
Minsc: "Boo, too, has small teeth compared to fish-men. But they hurt just the same when they latch onto the eyes, yes sir!"
Baron Thelokassyil: "You must kill it, most exalted one! They should not have remained alive! You must kill them, sacrifice them to the Shark-Father!"
King Ixilthetocal: "So you keep telling me, Baron Thelokassyil. Shall we turn away a gift of Sekolah, do you think, then?"
Tlyysixxous: "The surface creatures are not sent by Sekolah, most exalted Ixilthetocal. They are not the ones spoken of in the Shark-Father's prophecy. They are nothing more than spurious beasts that have fallen into our lap. We should sacrifice them and feast upon their meat!"
King Ixilthetocal: "Oh?"
Senityili: "No! Most honorable Ixilthetocal, the signs were clearly seen! All has come to pass as Sekolah had foretold!"
Tlyysixxous: "Not ALL the signs have come, Senityili."
Senityili: "I do not see what I wish to see, Tlyysixxous. I see only what Sekolah has shown me, and these ARE the saviors of the City-of-Caverns!"
Tlyysixxous: "So... (hee hee!) We have a disagreement, do we? The high priestess and consort of my Baron Thelokassyil contests the belief of my own high priestess, does she?"
Tlyysixxous: "I do, most honorable one."
Baron Thelokassyil: "She does. It is as we have been trying to tell you, Ixilthetocal...these creatures are no more worthy than a meat crab, meant for consumption and nothing more!"
Xan: "So, they want to eat us. I expected nothing less."
Senityili: "No, Ixilthetocal! Do not listen to them! They are sent by Sekolah, I swear! To refuse them is to pledge the City-of-Caverns to its destruction!"
King Ixilthetocal: "Oh, I shall be the judge of that, good Senityili. Oh, yes, I most surely shall! (tee hee hee!) What do yoooouuu think, elf? Yes, you. Do you think you are more worthy than a sea crab, hmmm? Do you think you are who the prophecy speaks of?"
Chiyo: "I could be. I will help you if I can."
King Ixilthetocal: "Aha! Well, now, that sounds promising. I wasn't aware we needed such help, but you never know when a tasty elf might come in handy! I don't suppose either of the most favored priestesses will change their minds? (hee hee!) Relinquish their position in this arbitration, perhaps?"
Tlyysixxous: "Most certainly not!"
Senityili: "No, most honorable Ixilthetocal."
King Ixilthetocal: "Ah, I didn't think so. So be it! We shall decide this with a challenge, we will! Although...not a challenge between our dear priestesses. That would solve nothing! We wish to see if these surface beasts are truly the ones the Shark-Father has spoken of, yes? So I shall offer them the chance to prove their power! Well, elf? Will you take this challenge? Will you fight a creature of my choosing, a slave from the surface...and see if you survive?"
Chiyo: "But... my colleagues and I are in need of rest and healing. Some of us were wounded during the ship battle..."
King Ixilthetocal: "Sekolah demands perseverance, strength and self-reliance! But not stupidity...the priestesses shall heal you before you fight, surface elf. But rest you shall not get. We dislike sorcerous powers here, elf, and you shall have no time to study them. Healing should be more than sufficient. So, then! Do you agree, my tasty elf... or... (hee hee!) ...do you refuse?"
Chiyo: "I agree."
King Ixilthetocal: "Excellent! Excellent! Sport for us all! Take them away, and let us see what they do against our freakish surface slave!"
After healing is granted, the party is taken away to an arena and put in combat with an ettin:

I love how it looks like the two heads are discussing strategy.

I win easily, and when the party is brought back before the king, he sends Tlyysixxous off to the sacrificial chamber for losing the challenge:
King Ixilthetocal: "Ah. Now that that little dispute is over with, perhaps we can get down to real business, eh? (hee hee!) Are you bitter, Thelokassyil?"
Baron Thelokassyil: "N-no, most exalted one. As...as long as the prophesied ones deal with the rebels, they will have served the purpose Sekolah intended..."
King Ixilthetocal: "The rebels! That's right! And here I was on my coral throne, forgetting all about those rebels. That is an excellent task to set these surface dwellers on!"
Senityili: "If... if I may speak, most honorable one, as to the Shark-Father's intentions?"
King Ixilthetocal: "Eh? Are you still here, Senityili? Didn't I just have you sacrificed?"
Senityili: "That was Tlyysixxous, honorable Ixilthetocal."
King Ixilthetocal: "Oh. How disappointing. Well, I suppose you can speak, then."
Senityili: "I urge you not to listen to the Baron. He would have you destroy the rebels, when there is a far greater need for them in the City-of-Caverns. Our numbers dwindle, honorable Ixilthetocal. You have...exiled many. The hatcheries are barren, and there are too few females... In short, our bloodline grows thin. We need these rebels to join us, to add their blood to ours so that the City-of-Caverns may grow strong again!"
King Ixilthetocal: "I see what you say, Senityili. Oh, yes I do. We should have the rebel and his army join us... in principle. The drow and the illithids take more each year. I've no wish to retreat to the depths... But, no. I'd rather have the rebel's heart."
Senityili: "But... but, honorable Ixilthetocal --!"
Baron Thelokassyil: "Excellent decision, our King!"
King Ixilthetocal: "I thought you would like that, my Baron, but I am not doing it for you. The rebel will invade with his army of exiles if he isn't stopped, you know. So it comes down to you, surface elf! I am sure you have no wish to help a race such as us. But you've no objection to killing a few... Hunt down the rebel leader for me, my elf...bring me his heart and I shall reward you with great riches!"
Imoen: "We'd best be careful, Chiyo. I don't know how much I trust this King to remember we're supposed to be rewarded and not eaten, you know?"
King Ixilthetocal: "Your kind does not object to sorcery? We have collected much that is magical during our raids. You are welcome to it all, if you bring me his heart. So... what do you say to that, my surface elf, chosen of Sekolah?"
Chiyo: "I can't fight this rebel if I'm a prisoner."
King Ixilthetocal: "Prisoner? (hee hee!) You are the chosen of Sekolah, my little surface elf! You have been sent to us by the prophecy! After we're done here, you can wander off on your way...rest, rearm yourselves...whatever it is that you surface people enjoy doing, I suppose. Soon you'll leave the city and kill this rebel Prince, saving the City-of-Caverns as the prophecy foretells! And I shall reward you with great riches! Until that time, you will have the free run of the City-of-Caverns. Go where you wish, my good elf."
Baron Thelokassyil: "B-but... but, most honored one! You wish to let them loose in the city?!"
King Ixilthetocal: "They are doing us a great service, my Baron. I want everyone to treat them like...like...like pale, small-toothed, skinny fellow Sahuagin. Yes. Like that."
Chiyo: "Very well. I will try to find this rebel you speak of and return his heart to you."
King Ixilthetocal: "Good. The less rebels running about, the better. You shall save the city and be rewarded...everybody will be happy! Except for Villynaty. And then you'll be free to go off to the Underdark, if that's where you're headed. Unless you'd care to try the oceans again, my little elf! But off you go, chosen ones. I desire meat, now, and the King always dines in private."
Senityili: "Before you leave the city, surface beings, come to the temple and speak to me again. I can tell you things that will make your job much... easier."
King Ixilthetocal: "Yes, our Priestess shall tell you how to gain access to the rebel camp. The rebels are locked away with magic, you know. Go now and destroy them. (Hee hee!)"
And then, finally, the cutscenes end.  photo peanut.001.gif

I head slightly north to where I first entered the city to see High Priestess Senityili sacrifice Tlyysixxous to Sekolah the shark god, which sadly just involves a spell effect and not an animation of sharks:
Senityili: "An offering for you, Sekolah! Open your mighty jaws and take this, your former servant, as sustenance for you! We are mighty, Shark-Father! We strike without fear and without remorse! Take this gift as a measure of our power!!"
Xan: "I cannot watch this. Will we be next?"
Tlyysixxous: "NOOOoooo!!"
The ritual having been completed, Senityili explains that the prince's base lies beyond a door sealed by Sekolah himself long ago:
Senityili: "Ah. It is good you have come to see me before you left. The king has made it clear I should instruct you as to how you may enter the Prince's base. The Prince's Base lies at the far end of the city, beyond a chamber with two great doors. Long ago Sekolah appeared there and slew a thousand infidels. He decreed no heretic should again enter the city and sealed the doors. He placed his tooth upon the doors so that we could open them. Later, the drow came. With powerful magicks they stormed the city, led by a mage of great strength. He took Sekolah's Tooth from our lax guardians with the intent of blocking pursuit. The mage built an edifice in the southwest section of the city. He was killed, but his complex remains. Sekolah's Tooth is guarded somewhere within... We have little need for it... the ocean is the means of our travel. But you need it. Seek out the drow's construct, foil his guardians and obtain the key."
Chiyo: "If there is no other choice, I suppose I will have to."
Senityili: Excellent. This brings me to the next point. You must do something for me. Our King is mad. Surely your audience with him showed you this. He is the result of...poor breeding. Like his father, he has executed or exiled far too many of our kind."
Xan: "You speak ill of your King. It is not that I disagree, but I thought you were acting under his orders, were you not?"
Senityili: "I have no other choice but to disobey, surfacer. Listen and decide for yourself. Our numbers are too few, our blood too thin. We must regain what we have lost. Prince Villynaty, the exiles' leader outside the city, is our only hope. With the Prince on the throne, we would be strong again...to fight the illithid and drow. I have been in contact with the rebels and now is the time to strike! What do you say, elf? Surely you hold no love for our mad King. Help us to survive, lest we be swept away by the denizens of the Underdark!"
Chiyo: "The King's offered me a reward to kill this rebel...what are you offering me?"
Senityili: "I can offer you nothing, myself. And I know that the exiles have little in the way of gold or magic that you would see as a suitable reward. Still, I ask that you speak to the Prince. Perhaps...perhaps he has some reward in mind. I...I beg of you, elf! Do not let our mad King destroy my people!"
Chiyo: "Very well. I shall do as you ask."
Senityili: "Good. Here is the orb. Keep it in your possession. Keep it in your possession when you leave the City-of-Caverns. You will be approached by an exile to be brought to the Prince. I pray that you and the Prince can come to an agreement...for the sake of all my people. Go then, and may Sekolah guard you from harm."
I was a little tempted to tell Senityili that I don't care if her race gets wiped out, but it was the note about fighting the drow and illithids that changed my mind. Anything that keeps the Underdark at each others' throats and not uniting to attack the surface is a good thing, I think. Plus this is extra content, so.

After talking with the priestess off to the west and buying a few spells for Imoen--mostly spells to debuff enemies, thanks Sword Coast Stratagems--I look around the rest of City-of-Caverns. Just around the corner from the temple, I find a group of rebel sahuagin who immediately attack. Thinking quickly, I lead them back around the corner into the royal guard...who sits and does nothing:

Maybe he doesn't care that a group of filthy surfacers are the ones being attacked? Still, you'd think they could have programmed in some kind of faction animosity. With no other choice, I easily slaughter the rebels and keep looking around. The city is crawling with rebels and it's kind of amazing that the royalists haven't already been overwhelmed, but on the other hand, most of the rebels drop bolts of biting that I sell to the priestess for enormous amounts of money, so I'm not complaining.

After slaughtering my way through a few dozen rebels and getting slaughtered a couple times myself by rebels running away into other groups of rebels, I eventually give up because it turns out that there are infinite rebels. I find this out when a group of them spawns right on top of me, though I suppose I could charitably say that they leapt out of the water in an ambush. That leads to a reload when the priestess summons a death knight and crossbowsharkmen kill Xan with bolts of biting, so I figure I've done enough kill and look for this prince. After a bit of searching, I find a stairway on the eastern part of the city guarded by a single shaman who flees down the stairs at my approach. Going down the stairs I find a bunch of sahuagin, and then a door...which is locked, because I need the tooth to get through, just like Senityili told me. Oops.

Tower of the Drow
I head back west and south, and a royal guard warns me that the area beyond is the headquarters of the "blackened elves," full of deadly traps. And when I head south, it's pretty obvious that part of the city wasn't built by the sahuagin:

Also notice the spiders crawling up from the south in more proof that this was a drow stronghold. Past that is a bone golem that crumbles to dust under the attacks of Chiyo, Minsc, and Jaheira. Imoen leads the way, checking for traps, and to the west is a large platform with several chests and two imps, who challenge the party to a "game" as I approach. Chiyo asks why she would want to, and the imps say that most of the chests are empty but one has a bunch of treasure...and something that will kill anyone who opens the chest. If the party wins, the imps will protect them from the monster. I agree, and the imps explain the game. Images of famous people from the Realms will appear--Elminster, Khelben Blackstaff, Drizzt Do'Urden, Alustriel, and Piergeiron Paladinson--and the imps say that each one will provide a token and a riddle to match the token with another image. It's incredibly easy and I solve it in about a minute, after which the imps keep their word. Despite Xan's misgivings, they open the chest, kill the spectre, and then vanish. The chest has boots of etherealness and a cloak of protection +2, which is kind of disappointing for supposedly being all the drow's treasure, but I'll take it.

North of the imps is a giant beholder, but it doesn't attack. When Chiyo talks to it, it reveals itself as a spectator and says it was ordered to guard the chest:
Beholder: "Visitors! It has been some time since I have had anyone but the mad little Sahuagin come to this place...and that one is not full of riveting conversation. Ah --- but I see you hesitate. No doubt you have heard of my kind before, or even met some. You call us Beholders...yes, I think that is the term you use. I am but a Spectator Beholder, however, and not quite like others you may have met. I am set in this place to guard one thing and one thing only. I will not attack you... unless you try to touch what I guard. Touch anything else you'd like! Provided you weren't driven insane by the imps back there."
Chiyo: "How is it that you came to be in this place?"
Beholder: "Mmm. I was summoned by a mad little drow who took over this part of the Sahuagin city a long time ago. This chest was extremely important to him, apparently. The Sahuagin were attacking, and he didn't want them to get the chest after he died...so 'POOF!' in I came, attached to a 99 year contract. Only 40 years to go. The drow wasn't much more entertaining than the Sahuagin, really. He smelled better, though. I don't think I'll ever be able to stomach fish again...yech. To top it off, I got stuck with the drow's imps, too, which are bound here but keep teleporting away from the Sahuagin. I wish they would just go away. I mean, I can only play 'I spy' and 'peek-a-boo' so many times without getting tired of it, but not them, oh no. Rotten impish bastards."
Chiyo: "What is it, exactly, that you guard?"
Beholder: "Just the one chest behind me. You are welcome to open the others with the imps, or do whatever else...I'm not here to do anything about them in the slightest. I think the Sahuagin looted the other chests long ago. They might have put some stuff of theirs around here, though, thinking I would scare off thieves. ...oh, that reminds me. I promised that mad little Sahuagin that I would make an effort to scare off intruders... So... boo! And that's about as much effort as I'm willing to put into that." Sighs. "It's been a pretty lonely experience so far, you know."
Chiyo: "Is there no way I can release you from your task?"
Beholder: "Awww, that's sweet. Short of death, there isn't any way to shorten the 40 years I have left...and I'm not eager to greet the Beyond just yet."
Chiyo: "Are you sure I can't see what's in the chest?"
Beholder: "What? Are you in desperate need, or something? You have a dying relative that desperately needs what's in this chest? OH, I get it! You just HAVE to have what's in this chest, right? Because if a Beholder's guarding it, it HAS to be cool! Keep in mind that the drow who summoned me was mad. But, hey, who am I to judge, I suppose. I've been playing tic-tac-toe with a pair of imps for sixty years. ...sigh... Oh... in case you didn't hear an answer in that: no, you CAN'T look at what's in the chest. The drow specifically summoned me to guard this chest."
Chiyo: "Did the drow summon you to guard just the chest or what's inside the chest?"
Beholder: "Hmmmn. Well, he screamed 'my chest', as I recall. A spear was being thrust through his own chest at the time, though, so he could have been referring to that. I assume he was talking about this chest, though. And that means I can't let you open it...or do anything to it...even if I'm not guarding what's inside."
Chiyo: "But that doesn't mean you can't open it, right? Then I could get what's inside without touching anything."
Beholder: "Hey, you're probably right. Hmmn. Actually, I've been wondering what was inside. Tell you what...I won't turn around and you just go take a look, ok?"
Inside is, of course, the shark tooth to open the door, and the spectator seems disappointed until it rationalizes that no one could possibly want it to guard an empty chest and its contract must be over:
Beholder: "Hmph. Is that it? Shoot, you'd have thought the whole future of the drow race depended on it or something, the way that mad drow was screaming." Sighs. "I suppose I have to resign myself, now, to guarding a completely empty chest for the next forty years. Yay."
Imoen: "You wouldn't have to do that, would you? Keep guarding an empty chest? What would be the point?"
Beholder: "Huh. You know... you're absolutely right. Not even that drow mage would want me to guard an empty chest. It's not even a nice chest. There's no way that the Beholder Council, bloated bladder-bags that they are, would hold me responsible for this contract! I... I'm free! Free!! Yippee! What to do now? Hmmn. The Underdark is near here, isn't it? That means a female beholder can't be far. And that means...well, never you mind."
Quest accomplished, item got, no violence necessary.

On the way back, Xan speaks to Imoen:
Xan: "...this is out of the question! An aspiring mage like you should not even try these spells! For now, you are nothing more than a wordy girl, let alone a recklessly dangerous one!"
Imoen: "No more wordy than you, and I've learned things since we last met that you couldn't begin to dream of! ...aw, Xan, I was just teasing you! It was your fault in the first place! 'An aspiring mage,' my hat!"
Xan: "You do not have one. Though it would probably become you; at least, it would hide that dreadful hair of yours."
Imoen: "Hey, you...you're smiling!"
Xan: "Well, I could not say this seriously, could I? But much has changed since your imprisonment, Imoen. We are more powerful than you perhaps have thought us to be. You will have to work hard on improving your magic, if you wish to be of help."
Imoen: "Yeah...I know. I want to scream sometimes, it's so frustrating. But I'll catch on, Xan. Doncha worry."
Xan: "Of course. I pray you have time to do so, before..." Sigh.
Imoen: "We'll get them. We'll get them, Irenicus and all, and we'll make them pay. We will. I know."
I fight my way back across the city and to the door, which opens this time and lets me through to see the prince. As soon as the door opens, one of the rebels notices the token that Senityili gave me and leads me into the rebel prince's presence:

Prince Villynaty: "Ahh...so it seems the surface creatures we have heard so much about have finally come to see us. Are these the ones that your mother spoke of, Sallinithyl?"
Senior Priestess Sallinithyl: "They are, most honored Villynaty. The most sacred Senityili was most specific in her description."
Prince Villynaty: "Hah! I do not think the description had to be all that specific. As if they would be anyway else, ugly as they are. Their flesh, it is so pale and scale-less..."
Minsc: "My skin may not have scales, but it has seen many suns come and go. Boo thinks you could use some sun too, then you might not smell so much like wet laundry."
Prince Villynaty: "But your hideous appearance means little. As does this nonsense about Sekolah sending you, as Sallinithyl and her mother seem to believe so strongly in. What matters is that Ixilthetocal has sent you surface beings to collect my heart. He is so certain of your success that now is the perfect time to strike!"
Senior Priestess Sallinithyl: "We have a heart, surface elf...a heart that you can reutrn with it Ixilthetocal and claim as Villynaty's. The guard of the City-of-Caverns will be down, and we will be able to strike."
Prince Villynaty: "Do not attack any guards. This will tip off Ixilthetocal to your treachery. Wait for our attack, then launch your own assault on the King and his Baron. I will come as soon as I can. Once Ixilthetocal and Thelokassyil are dead, I shall take the throne of the City-of-Caverns. The madman shall be dead!"
Senior Priestess Sallinithyl: "And the City-of-Caverns shall be saved with the return of its exiled blood."
Prince Villynaty: "Yes, yes. Whatever. The throne is what is important, here."
Xan: "Did you hear that, Chiyo? the throne is important. Our lives are clearly not."
Prince Villynaty: "So, surface creature. Assuming that you are capable of intelligent thought, do you agree to this plan? Or shall we be forced to engage in simple slaughter?"
Jaheira: "Must it come to slaughter, sahuagin? Your priestesses speak of your entire people needing your blood...have you attempted to resolve this with the King peacefully?"
Prince Villynaty: "You have met Ixilthetocal. What do you think, haired one? If, of course, you capable of coherent thought. No. There can be no peaceful resolution. The King is mad...he does not see reason, and that will be his undoing."
Chiyo: "The King has offered me a reward for your heart...is your deal better than his?"
Prince Villynaty: "Bah! You get to live, you hideous, finless thing...is that not enough for you?!"
Senior Priestess Sallinithyl: "Most honorable Villynaty...we are trying to gain the cooperation of these creatures. We need their help. Do not...do not agitate them, I beg of you!"
Prince Villynaty: "Sekolah grants power to those who take it, not those who rely on the assistance of weaker beings! How can you believe that Sekolah has sent them?" Sighs. "But an attack is impossible without them. Very well...I suppose some reward is called for. But I have nothing to give until the throne is taken."
Chiyo: "Will I be free to go once this is over?"
Prince Villynaty: "Of course. Your kind does not belong here with us, and we are not like the vicious drow that we would turn even on those who would offer to help us. After Ixilthetocal is dead and you have been given your reward, you may leave City-of-Caverns and go off into the Underdark...if that is your wish."
Chiyo: "I agree to your plan, then. I shall take your fake heart to the King."
Prince Villynaty: "Maybe you are intelligent enough...for a surface species. Take this heart and bring it to Ixilthetocal. I shall set up my forces and prepare for the attack."
Senior Priestess Sallinithyl: "This is the only way to save our people, elf. I pray that you are indeed the one promised by Sekolah...and that we shall all meet with success."
So Senityili's daughter works for the rebels and that's part of why she sent me, and Villynaty thinks this whole prophecy business is stupid and just wants power. I like the background here. I kind of wish there were more quests in City-of-Caverns that expanded on this, but it's just the one, sadly.

Returning the Heart
I take the fake heart back to the king after casting buffs on everyone and summoning up a few monsters, which obviously isn't suspicious at all:

Don't mind us.

The king happily takes the heart and definitely isn't planning to betray and murder the party at the first opportunity:
King Ixilthetocal: "Not that we were planning on feasting on you, my favorite little elf. No, no. You weren't planning on eating any elf, were you, Baron?"
Baron Thelokassyil: "Err...no. I wasn't planning on it, most honorable Ixilthetocal."
Not too much longer after that, a guard bursts in and yells that the rebels are attacking. The king realizes that he's been betrayed before he could betray the party and attacks. And die, because I'm fully buffed and I had Xan cast simulacrum so I have an extra Xan with all the spells that implies. Prince Villynaty shows up about three-quarters of the way through the battle to mop up the last few loyalists, and then thanks the party for their help. For an evil sharkman, he's actually quite magnanimous:
Prince Villynaty: "Ahhh, yesss! So I am now the King of the City-of-Caverns! The mad tyrant is dead, and we are well rid of him! May Sekolah gnaw upon his bones for an eternity! You have done our people a great service, elf!"
Senior Priestess Sallinithyl: "Greater perhaps than you even know. With Ixilthetocal dead, the exiles can now return to the City-of-Caverns. Where once our people grew weak, now they can become strong again."
Aerie: "Is that what we've done? They... they sound like they're going to take over the world. But there's so few of them, now. I suppose anyone can dream, after all."
Senior Priestess Sallinithyl: "Their blood will return to mix with the old, and only together can we protect our city from the advances of the illithid and the drow. Ixilthetocal was too mad to see what he was doing."
Prince Villynaty: "And now the City-of-Caverns is saved. The prophecy is completed... even if not quite the way that pale eel thought it would be, eh? We owe you a debt, elf. We are unfamiliar with your kind, but you are welcome amongst us. And you did more than was asked, bearing the brunt of the battle. For that, I give you the first spoils of war. Take the treasury key from Ixilthetocal's corpse...use it to enter the city's treasury and take what you will. I am feeling generous today...to enter the Underdark, you need the magic rope from the king's corpse. Use it to go down the pit behind my former throne."
After looting the king's body, I open the treasury which has...three items. A scroll of protection from elements, a rod of lordly might, and a set of sahuagin scribe's notes about how the sharkmen are scheming to take over the world but fail due to constant infighting. The king was also carrying a spear +3, impaler, which I take.

Then I head back to the east end of the city, where Prince Villynaty's old throne was, and descend into the Underdark.

Game time elapsed: 99 days, 5 hours.
Party levels:

  • Chiyo, female elf Fighter 12/Mage 13

  • Jaheira, female half-elf Fighter 12/Druid 13

  • Minsc, male human Ranger 15

  • Imoen, female human Mage 14 (dual-classed from Thief 7)

  • Xan, male elf Mage (enchanter) 16

  • Aerie, female elf Cleric 13/Mage 13

That was fun. Not super complicated and a nice diversion before I get back to the plot. That's the reason why I agreed to Saemon's plan in the first place, since I knew it provided access to an extra area that I otherwise wouldn't be able to see. The most surprising thing to me was Prince Villynaty not betraying me at the end. Too many games have conditioned me to expect betrayal in those kind of circumstances, because games based on combat tend to fall back to combat to resolve all situations. I even got to take the sahuagin's treasure horde. Looking them up, they are Lawful Evil, so that does make sense--the prince made an agreement and he's sticking by it.

Next up is the Underdark, which I've heard a lot about--I think I have to disguise myself as dark elves and infiltrate a city--but never been to in any D&D game I've ever played even though the first D&D supplement I ever bought for myself was Drow of the Underdark. I'm looking forward to this.

Next: Part XXV: Scarytown.
Current Mood: mellowmellow
Current Music: VGMPire podcast