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28 August 2016 @ 01:45 pm
Dorchadas Plays Baldur's Gate II, Part XXV: Scarytown  
As the party uses the magic infinitely-long rope to descend into the Underdark, I'm taken to another cutscene of Irenicus (spoilers after 18:25), this time talking to dark elves about a drow assault on the "temple of the false gods" before two surface elf prisoners who recognize Irenicus and address him as "Joneleth" are brought in. That's right, this whole thing is so he can get revenge on Suldanessellar. I'm not surprised that Irenicus would ally with the drow, since he's already allied with a vampire, but I am surprised the drow would ally with him, since he's a surface elf and a male at that. What is it that the Matron Mother is referring to that was so compelling?

After the cutscene, a new chapter begins:

Chapter 5

The Underdark is one of the parts of D&D that I really like. Like I mentioned in the last post, the first D&D book I bought for myself was Drow of the Underdark, and while the portrayal of the Underdark has some problems with it--here's underground elves, you can tell they're evil because they have dark skin; here's underground-er dwarves, you can tell they're evil because they have dark-er skin!--the basic concept of a network of tunnels beneath the surface filled with creatures that hate and fear the light is amazing. It helps justify the dungeons that are scattered around everywhere, provides a dangerous area for powerful characters that's not on another plane of existence, and keeps a sense of mystery and wonder present. The land beneath the PCs' feet is home to creatures strange and foul, like ropers or myconids or shriekers or cave fishers, as well as the drow, which take everything the PCs know about the surface elves and turn it on its head.

It's great and I'm glad to be here, is what I'm saying.

Aerie, however, is not:
Aerie: "This... this is the Underdark. Oooh, I don't want to be here, I don't! This place is death for my people! I, I feel as if I'm going to suffocate here!"
Chiyo: "I'm here. I'll protect you, Aerie."
Aerie: "You...? That's sweet. I must sound so silly. You've had your soul stolen from you and here I am, crying about being here...in this place. Let's go, then, and do what we must. I'll...control myself. Just don't abandon me here, Chiyo, I beg you! I'd go mad!"
Minsc: "Don't be worried, Aerie, I'm here to protect my witch. Boo, too, though I think he would leap to protect anyone in distress. It's his heroic nature, you know."
Aerie: "Th-thank you, Minsc. I...feel much better now. It's just the thought...of being here. Let's just get moving and I'll stop thinking about it so much."
Aerie occasionally says, "Ooo, I hate closed spaces," when you're in dungeons, but it doesn't actually affect her combat abilities. Avariel in the tabletop game had to roll to avoid panic when underground, but maybe being locked in a cage didn't give Aerie crippling PTSD and instead let her deal with adventuring better? Or maybe it's a dungeon crawling CRPG and so the devs wisely avoided making a character who couldn't go into dungeons without panicking. Admittedly I mostly use Aerie as a debuffer anyway, so a penalty on attack rolls wouldn't matter that much.

Next up, Xan has something to say:
Xan: "What could be worse than you turning into an avatar of Bhaal? Only entering the domain of the drow."
Chiyo: "It is so dark, and rumored to be so dangerous...I wish we were anywhere but here."
Xan: "We will be. I am strangely confident of this, since now I know that your enemy is only mortal. My spells harmed him once, and will kill him next time, this I swear to you. Estel'amin, my heart, how are you? Does it get worse?"
Chiyo: "I'm just sick and tired of it all. I want to go home."
Xan: "Home...if only we had a home. But we have none. No home, no hope of starting a family, and no future, either. But I do not regret it. Not in the least."
We'll see if he changes his tune ere the end.

I move a bit forward into the strangely well-lit Underdark--I mean, I realize that the Infinity Engine has no option for dynamic lighting, but you'd think that darkness would be the defining characteristic down here--and find a gate to the Elemental Plane of Air spewing out air elementals:

For a while I thought it was free XP and set to farming, but after I kill ten or so at 7K XP a pop, the flood stops. I guess the elementals realize that it's too dangerous and don't want to tangle with a well-armed band of murderhobos. There's no way to go through or destroy the portal, so I leave it behind for now.

To the southeast are duergar merchants, who speak what I assume is Undercommon until Chiyo replies and they realize that the party is from the surface:
Carlig: "Cor der noror rrin doth samman?"
Uder Mordin: "Ol raugh corl sargh? Xunder to thuldin sonn? Thuldul ol torst?"
Chiyo: "I am sorry, but I cannot understand the tongue you speak."
Finderlig: "Gordul! Ta jarge."
Carlig: "Ahh haha. (ahem) You must excuse my fellows. It is not often we encounter surfacers down here."
Finderlig: "Yes, very seldom. They do not live long."
Carlig: "Well, unfortunate things can happen in the depths, but we do not partake in such events. I am Carlig, a trader of sorts."
Chiyo: "I am Chiyo. I am looking for a couple of other 'surfacers,' as you say."
Carlig: "I haven't seen many strangers around here, and I talk to everyone. Well, almost."
Uder Mordin: "Those two creepy ones were back, Carlig. You remember, the neck-biter and the mage."
Carlig: "Oh yes, those two. Bad news, I would wager. I've seen them near the Drow city. Must be up to dirty dealings; those ol morogh dark elves don't usually let strangers live."
Chiyo: "Those are the two I'm looking for! Bodhi and Irenicus! I'll have to go after them!"
Carlig: "Well then, I'll wish you luck, though you won't be able to simply walk into the Drow city."
Finderlig: "That place will come down on your head harder than a llargh tunnel unshored."
Carlig: "That's their choice to make, Finderlig. No need to worry them more. Ask about before you go assaulting that place. Might be a better way."
Finderlig: "Ha!"
Carlig: "Well, in any case, I've wares to sell if you are interested. Always looking for fresh faces to trade with. No matter the color of shadow in you."
Chiyo: "I'll have a look. Let's see what you have."
They don't have much other than some scrolls, but I do buy a scroll of project image for Imoen. The other dwarves don't have much else to add to Carlig's tale, though one mentions a wizard who lost a duel and was imprisoned to the north, and the other has an exchange with Minsc:
Finderlig: "Outsiders always cause trouble. Nothing more to say about it, really."
Minsc: "I do not cause trouble! I merely seek it out and put the bootheels of justice to it! Ask Boo!"
Finderlig: "Forgive me. Obviously I was mistaken."
I head north and run straight into a drow warparty that slaughters me. On reloading, I try my standard ice and fire saturation tactics, but it doesn't work as well this time because the drow have massive amounts of magic resistance, so instead I try summons. It takes a few tries until I manage to avoid having everyone put to sleep by greater command, but I win by turning Xan invisible and having him run in and cast prismatic spray to start off the battle, which catches two of the war party's priestesses and kills them immediately. There's some drow armor, which I take and put on even though it disintegrates in sunlight. You can still cast spells in it and I figure that I'll be in the Underdark for a while. Even Imoen can wear it because she used to be a thief.

To the west are some myconids and spawning colonies, which I deal with by ice storms and fireballs. Past them is a tunnel west, so I turn around and head back past where the drow were waiting, and find a fishman:

The kuo-toa does not speak Common and gets increasingly agitated as Chiyo talks to it until eventually it attacks. And I slaughter them, and the other war party on the other side. There's two more maps exits on the other side of the bridge, so I grab all the loot, head back to the duergar to sell it only to find that they don't buy kuo-toa bolts and pay only a pittance for drow armor. I sell what I can, buy a scroll of freedom, and use it, freeing the mage that Carlig mentioned from his extradimensional exile.

The Imprisoned Mage

You can see me in the upper right. When they said north, I didn't realize they meant literally right next door.

The mage's name is Vithal, and sensing a group of murderhobos he immediately mentions that he was in the Underdark looking for treasure:
Vithal: "Ahh, thank you for releasing me. I was sure my destiny was to end imprisoned here forever. I have never been more glad to be wrong."
Xan: "Do not get your hopes up: it is the Underdark, after all. I am sure that your eventual fate will be much, much worse."
Vithal: "I am indebted to you. Perhaps we might be of use to each other. I had great plans before I was so rudely interrupted."
Chiyo: "You must be looking for valuable treasure if you are willing to risk coming here."
Vithal: "Indeed I am, and my goal may have blinded me to local custom. I fear I do not even know who it was that I angered, but their fury was great indeed. Regardless, I must continue what I have begun, and would do so with your help... if you are willing."
Chiyo: "I will consider it."
Vithal: "Hear me out, and I am sure I will entice you. The prize is wealthy, but the finding is tricky. This spot is 'thin,' and careful spells may breach the walls between dimensions. On the other side one might find some valuable magic, if one knows where to look. If you could aid me a bit I would be forever grateful. There will be items enough for us both."
Chiyo: "What is required of me?"
Vithal: "I cannot lie; there will be combat. I thought I was prepared for such but my failure has obviously proved me wrong. With your aid things should go smoother...though your first duties would be less dangerous by far. A few errands..."
Chiyo: "I am no stranger to mundane tasks."
Vithal: "I apologize if I have suggested anything that would demean you, but the greatest plans have simple flaws. I can stay here and begin preparatory spells, but I cannot cast the actual dimension-breaching spells without the procedures outlined in my book of rituals. I imagine it was taken after I was imprisoned. There were svirfneblin observing my conflict: perhaps they took it. I cannot blame them. I am sure I appeared quite permanently lost."
Chiyo: "I will fetch your book of rituals for you then. Where might they have taken it?"
Vithal: "I believe there is a svirfneblin village to the north. They may have taken my gear there. If you go, tell them they may keep everything but the book. Thank you if you can do anything. I will be at the earth elemental portal 'softening' the area with minor spells."
Then he heads south to the "earth elemental portal" to start the preparations.

I head north toward the svirfneblin city and as I'm crossing the bridge to get there, a drow war party teleports in at both ends. The first time destroys me completely, but the second time I slaughter them by buffing Chiyo up, sending her to trigger the teleport, and laying down stinking cloud and web spells. While the drow have magic resistance, both of those spells require a new save every single round, so it doesn't matter if it doesn't hit the first time if they have to run through it to get to me. The game took control away from me during the teleport animation and prevented me from preparing, so I think I'm justified in my reaction here. Especially since it turns out that the drow city is across that bridge, not the svirfneblin one. The svirfneblin city is off to the west, and after Chiyo tells the guard her name, he grudgingly lets the party in, telling her to head immediately to the leader. So I walk across the bridge, down the long tunnel--good defensive structure, that--and speak to Goldander Blackenrock:
Goldander: "Ahh, travelers to our fair city. That would be rare enough, but you are surfacers by the look of you. Come, I would have words with you, if you are willing to hear."
Chiyo: "I will trade you words. I need information about some fugitives I am chasing."
Goldander: "I will help as I can, but my matter takes importance. Too much svirfneblin blood has been shed over this already. I will give you details of the task first, and you may decide if you wish to accept. I tap rock that you will. As you can see, our granitehome village is quite empty. I have sent the majority to deeper climes far from here. It was no longer safe, and it is our own fault. We tunneled too deep recently, and unearthed a monstrosity. A strange cavern that yielded death, a monster we have not seen outside of dreaming. The task I ask of you is simple to explain, but difficult in deed. I ask that the beast be killed, and the tunnel be closed."
Chiyo: "Could you not just collapse the tunnel upon the creature?"
Goldander: "The tunnel will readily collapse, of that we are sure. What is unsure is whether that would kill the beast now that it is awakened."
Imoen: "A... awakened? Please tell me that you mean it was hibernating and not... otherworldly."
Goldander: "As I said, it is a beast out of dreams, or nightmares, if you prefer. It is not of the rock. I do not know what to call it."
Chiyo: "The goal is clear enough. Now I must mention what I will need from you."
Goldander: "I am listening, but keep in mind that we are not the richest of granitehomes. We are under constant pressure with the Drow being so close."
Chiyo: "I require no payment for helping others, but I seek two surfacers that came this way."
Goldander: "Surfacers other than you? Ahh, I know of them, but you will have a hard time finding. They passed within the city of the Drow, Ust Natha. Now before you ask, I may know a way into the Drow city. Well, I know a being that might help you. She could see you safely inside, but after that you would surely be dead. If such is the risk you would take, I will gladly point you in her direction. The great staircase goes to her lair. It is the blackest of all the tunnels, but there is glorious light on the other side. She is called Adalon by choice, though 'My Lady' will suffice just as well. Show respect and you will have it in return."
Chiyo: "What manner of creature is this Adalon? Is she Svirfneblin like you?"
Goldander: "Oh, goodness no. She is a creature of great beauty, as you will hopefully see. She does keep very particular company though, more so than others of her kind. I'm sure she will see to your concerns if you approach politely, but I fear I must restrict your access until the needs of my village are met."
Aerie: "We would help regardless. Please know that."
Goldander: "The passage to her lair is guarded against intruders by a force of her design. It is the blackest of dark, preventing even the Drow entry. When the beast in the cavern is dispatched I will give you a 'light gem' to banish the darkness of the tunnel. I carry it with me always, but I will gladly give it to you for this service."
Chiyo: "Fair enough. Where must I go to find this beast you need killed?"
Goldander: "I am glad of your decision. The passage is to the Northeast, guarded by one of my best breachgnomes. He will let you pass now. Take this Stoneshape scroll. It is linked magically to the stone of the cavern. When the beast is dead, use this to bring the cavern down upon it. I shall make it a forbidden area forever after. Thank you, Chiyo, you do not know the good you have done here."
Of course. They dug too deep. Sometimes, I wonder why anyone ever digs in a fantasy world.

I go to the northeast and past the deep gnome guard, and beyond the door is DurinSvirfneblin's Bane  photo 1-shedevil.gif:

A balor. I kill it pretty easily, though with much drinking of potions of extra healing due to its aura of fire, and then go back and talk to Goldander, who hands over the Skullcrusher and light gem and then...has nothing else to say, so I start looking around to see where Vithal's book is. It's not in any of the barrels and chests I check, but there's a makeshift inn set up next door and asking the innkeeper about it hits gold. I hand over 300 gold for the book and then talk to Therndle Daglefodd in the north of the inn, who says that his child is missing:
Therndle: "Ad gos'l ta stoone? Gos'l? Da rot."
Chiyo: "You look saddened, as though you have lost something. What is wrong?"
Therndle: "My child Bedlen Daglefodd has been missing for a tunnel's worth of digging. I simply cannot work without knowing his fate."
Chiyo: "Ehh, I'll have a look for him. I'm sure he's... fine. Yeah... fine. Can I see your wares?"
And then he opens his store. What an out-of-character response, but it was the best one I could pick for Chiyo. Therndle doesn't have anything, and so I head back to Vithal.

On the way out I pick a locked chest and find a...ring of folly inside. Not going to get much use out of that one.

I hand over the book of rituals and Vithal says that he will enter three portals and lure the guardian of each back so the party can fight it:
Vithal: "You have returned. My work goes well, though there is only so much I can do without your help."
Chiyo: "I have found your book of rituals. Here, have it back."
Vithal: "Thank you. This will prove a profitable venture yet, I assure you. Now, to the dangerous bit. There will be three gates I must enter. There will be a guardian in each, and it will not be pleased to see us. I will lure each one through in turn. Be ready with your defenses."
Chiyo: "A guardian? What kind of guardian? Whose treasure is this that you seek?"
Vithal: "I do not know the nature of the guardians, nor who placed them there. I imagine the place was a safehold of a mage from ancient times, but I cannot be sure. Curiosity has driven me crazy to find out what is there. I regret placing you in harm's way, but I cannot fight the creature while maintaining the spell. I will pay you well with a share of what I find, I assure you."
Chiyo: "Then perform your rituals, I am ready!"
Vithal: "Very well. Let the walls between dimensions yield to me! Let the ether be made solid, that a mortal man may pass!"
I draw up battle lines. A greater earth elemental comes through the gate and summons up three shambling mounds, which take an inordinately long time to kill...because shambling mounds grow larger if they're affected by electrical damage and Chiyo's Celestial Fury does lightning damage. Oops! After they die, Vithak goes through the portal and comes back with some loot, then asks me to head over to the fire gate, so I do. After I head back to the svirfneblin city and rest in the inn so I don't get jumped by urophions or something.

The fire elementals go down quickly after I summon some ogres, with the only difficulty being trying to make sure no one gets killed by their flame strikes, and the only danger in the air elementals is the greater air elemental blowing everyone around the cavern and having a clear path to the casters, at least until Chiyo gets back on her feet and a strike from Celestial Fury freezes the elemental in its tracks. When all of them are dead, Vithal goes through and returns with loot.  photo latest.gif
Vithal: "I return! Ahh, it is good to have the Prime Material under my feet. There is beauty on the other side, but it is not my home. And you, my friend, my helpful stranger, I am true to my word. You shall receive your due, just as I have promised. Given the nature of the magical objects I have brought back, it shall be difficult to divide them perfectly equally, but I shall allow you to choose items amounting to roughly one fourth of the total worth. There are a number of magical scrolls available, and two other items of significant power. The scroll of Time Stop is worth much more than a fourth share, so I must reserve that for myself. The Rod I retrieved has the power to cast a powerful protective enchantment, although I expect only wizards and clerics would be able to learn how to use it effectively. The enchantment will, I believe, deflect spells cast against the wielder. It works in a manner similar to most wands, and I estimate that there is enough power in it to work maybe a dozen times before it must be recharged. This helm is actually made of bones... rather gruesome. But effective, nonetheless: it is imbued with magic capable of extinguishing the life of weaker foes. Personally, I am rather hoping you will choose this, as I have no use for it--or, indeed, any desire to be seen with it. It is hardly pleasing to the eye. So. I did most of the research and experimentation behind this endeavor, and thus I deserve the greater part of the material rewards. But I do not forget your part in saving me from imprisonment, or re-obtaining my book of rituals, so I shall allow you the first pick of the trove."
I take a scroll of Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting and a rod of absorption, and Vithal thanks me again and teleports away.

After another night at the inn, I head over to the dark cavern, enter, and find the lady that Goldander spoke of.

The Stolen Eggs

A silver dragon.
Adalon: "Welcome, welcome to my lair. I have watched your progress with great interest."
Chiyo: "My lady, you honor me with your words."
Adalon: "I'm sure I do, but flattery is not why I have allowed you to come here. Do not think me too generous; I am not as tolerant as others of my kind. I am Adalon, the guardian, and I have done my duty as well as I have been able for many a century. I was not the first, but I know the history. My charge here is the elven ruins above, an ancient temple that marks the gateway to the Underdark. There are others elsewhere, but this is the first."
Chiyo: "The first what?"
Adalon: "The temple marks where the elves of dark hearts first descended, truly separating from the Elven kind and becoming Drow. The Drow keep the outpost of Ust Natha here as a symbol, one that is fought over regularly, though I have governed the hostilities and seen peace for decades at a time. But there has been a crime here recently, and I can no longer honor my commitment. I will ask your assistance, and in return I will aid you."
Chiyo: "Speak on. I will listen and see what I can do."
Adalon: "Silence! I... I will tell you when you may speak. This is a very important matter, and I will not be interrupted. The Drow respected the borders of this place for centuries, only venturing out for sport and small skirmishes. That was the balance. The two you seek, this Bodhi and Jon Irenicus, I believe they have made a deal with the Drow for their own safe passage and offered a way to tip the scales against their Elven enemy. You may ask why I do not extend my influence. I cannot. Irenicus bargained with my most prized possession. He violated my lair and stole from me. They have taken my eggs."
Chiyo: "Vile creatures. Such a crime is unthinkable!"
Adalon: "I have been informed that to move from my lair is to cause the destruction of my eggs. It is the final straw in a long list of atrocities I have been witness to."
Minsc: "Boo shakes with disbelief! Such a crime will not go unanswered!"
Adalon: "You must retrieve them for me. Do this, and I will reveal a safe escape route to leave the Underdark, one that emerges close to where Irenicus plots his next move. In addition to placing you near your target, I will also make a gift of an item from my hoard. It will be powerful, and worthy of your service."
Chiyo: "I wonder what it is that you think I can do? You ask me to face an entire Drow city."
Adalon: "I realize the danger of the request, but I do not ask you to simply assault the place. No, there is a much more subtle way to succeed. You will take the identity of a group of Drow I dispatched recently, a party from another city destined for Ust Natha. I will transform you, and you will be able to pass among the Drow with ease. They will not see through the fiction I create. When you arrive at the gate, tell them you are from the city of Ched Nasad, and that you seek sanctuary within Ust Natha."
Chiyo: "I question the logic of this. I do not know the ways of the drow as well as I should."
Adalon: "Improvise. They are in the turmoil of war at the moment and will overlook much. They will not turn away extra hands. You will not be discovered by any other means than your own mistakes, so be careful not to make them."
Chiyo: "Let the casting begin."
Adalon: "Yes, let it be done." She casts the spell. "It is done. You now resemble the denizens of the Drow city, complete with a house insignia that will not draw undue attention. I suggest you act like Drow when speaking to anyone you meet. You will also have knowledge of the language of the Drow, and your speech will be heard as though you have spoken their dark tongue all your life. The illusion will last as long as it needs to. Trying to leave the city through their main gate at the surface will dispel the magic. You will be on your own against impossible odds."
Xan: "No..."
Adalon: "I am sorry, but I must protect my interests. The only safe escape is through my influence once my eggs are recovered."
Chiyo: "I will do what I can, Adalon."
Adalon: "I thank you. Remember, you are from the city of Ched Nasad. Take a Drow name as well. Use 'Veldrin,' it is commonly used."
That's...not usually what silver dragons are portrayed like. Then again, if my eggs had been stolen, I'd be pretty on edge too.

Also, as soon as the spell goes off, Jaheira says, "I hope this is not a sign of things to come."  photo emot-objection.gif I hate to tell you, Jaheira, but...

Adalon doesn't say anything else, so I leave her lair. As I do, Xan has something to say about the situation:
Xan: "I wish I did not keep silent during our transformation, but I was so shocked that I could not say a word. To become a drow, to see you as a drow... Now we are truly doomed."
Chiyo: "Adalon would not send us to certain death. We'll make it."
Xan: "Our disguise is impenetrable, but our minds are not. I know little of the ways of the drow, and I suspect you know even less. We have no other way out, so we must continue. But trying to survive in Ust Natha, of all places, is nothing short of pure folly. Especially in this...form."
Chiyo: "It suffocates me. I fear I will never look the same again."
Xan: "I wish I could close my eyes, touch your hand, and tell myself it is only an illusion. But I cannot. I see a drow, and I myself am an equal abomination. Let us continue; we should. But how scared I am of this place."
It's sometimes hard for me to properly roleplay Chiyo's personality with the dialogue choices available to her. I kind of view her here as trying to keep up a cheerful facade for everyone else's sake even though she's terrified on the inside. Which makes sense--in the past twenty-four hours (not counting time to rest to recover spells) she's been betrayed and captured by her archenemy, had her soul stolen, been thrown in a labyrinth and chased by vampires, escaped on a ship only to be attacked but otherworldly pirates and thrown into the sea, almost eaten by sahuagin, and then had to go into the Underdark, home of the drow, the greatest enemy of her people. It's enough to set anyone on edge.

I want to check out one last thing, the strange structure near the middle of the map, since it turns out that it's interactive. When I click it says "manipulate the facet to release a trapped soul," so I do and out comes...Bedlen Daglefodd, still protesting that he meant no harm and asking someone to cease casting. He thinks we're drow due to Adalon's magic, but I tell him we're here to save him and he heads back to his father, who gives me a set of bracers of defense AC 4 which I immediately put on Aerie.

But there are still facets to check, so I try another one, which releases...a lich who immediately vows vengeance on the living.

The first attempt it casts time stop and I reload. The second attempt I gather around and, as soon as it appears, launch overwhelming force, killing it before all its protective spells go off. Which is good, because it shouldn't have any in the first place. Tell me, Sword Coast Stratagems, how exactly is it possible that the lich cast mirror image, shield, and fire shield while imprisoned beyond time and space?  photo emot-colbert.gif. It has scrolls of delayed blast fireball, summon nishruu and spell turning, which I take, and then open another facet.

There's a githyanki who drops a spear +3, backbiter, a drow wizard who speaks only in grunts and spawns with a dozen protection spells already running--if that were true, how was he even imprisoned in the first place, Sword Coast Stratagems?--a man who thinks he's trapped in a dream and drops Jhor the Bleeder, and a man named Gont who wasn't imprisoned long enough to go mad, who thanks me for letting him go and warns me about the dangers I've already encountered.

The local area thoroughly explored, I go north toward the gates of Ust Natha, where a guard meets me at the door:

Since the party is impersonating drow, I go with the imperious answer--and actually if you humbly request entry, the guard gets suspicious and attacks you, since no drow worth anything would trust the nonexistent mercy of another drow:
Chiyo: "Stand down, male worm! I am Veldrin from the city of Ched Nasad. Let me pass!"
Drow: "My apologies, I merely follow my duty in questioning you. You are welcome to pass, Veldrin of Ched Nasad. There would normally be an extensive questioning of you, but we were expecting your group from Ched Nasad. Your late arrival has delayed the plans of Solaufein. Enter quickly, and be sure that you seek Solaufein's counsel. He of the Male Fighter's Society will instruct you on your conduct within Ust Natha. Be aware that your welcome is conditional, and that if you fail to meet with him or fail him in any other way, you will be hunted for sport by all that care to join in. The Male Fighter's Society is in the North end of the city, past the Female Fighter's Society and just before the Spider pit."
Then he enters the gates, and I follow him into the city of the drow.

Game time elapsed: 101 days, 10 hours.

This is one of the times that tried my patience with Sword Coast Stratagems' pre-buffing. Putting pre-buffs on insane wizards trapped outside reality where time doesn't pass? That doesn't pass even the faintest muster if considered from an in-world perspective, which is the whole reason I installed SCS in the first place. I beat the wizard after pouring dispel after dispel into it and suffering through his pre-cast buffs, spell trigger, chain contingency, second spell trigger, third spell trigger, and then finally whatever spells he cast. On the other hand, I did manage to kill him with a systemic approach to debuffing rather than relying on an alpha strike, so that's promising. I just need to get extra scrolls of ruby ray of reversal for the other wizards in the group. With four mages I can strip enemy wizards of their buffs pretty quickly when I put my mind to it.

I'm looking forward to the upcoming section in the drow city! When I tried to beg entry and the guard attacked I was pleasantly surprised--I didn't think that the game would actually put much emphasis on having to roleplay being one of the most evil races in Dungeons and Dragons. Pointlessly evil, which I'll probably get into in the next entry. Am I going to be betraying and murdering my way through the city like this was a game of Paranoia? I bet I will. I can see this being the trial that turns Chiyo's personality toward a more sad, haunted one, like Imoen's.

Next: Part XXVI: Vault of the Drow.
Current Mood: worriedworried
Current Music: Nox Arcana - Darkness Immortal