Sunday, 19 May 2019

The Cursed: Mine Later

[Part of the Cursed story line]

The mine boss is a talented mage, but seems to be restricted to where he teleports to. A cloudkill does the job of interrupting his spells and killing him but his two summoned battle horrors certainly live up to their name, slaying Branwen in melee.

That's pretty close to a battle horror.

Catharina manges to sun fire one to oblivion and then ice storm the second while Khalid holds it in place. From the letters recovered after the battle it seems the Iron Throne is in cahoots with the conspiracy had plans to capitalize on the iron shortage. Handy that their head quarters is in nearby Baldur's Gate.

As for the mine, the slaves suggested to flood it but without a way to unlock the lower cells this would mean drowning some other captives too. Instead Catharina just asked them to wait for her return. On the way out, the team actually catches up with Eldoth who is still lost in the forest and let him join them to rest and recover at the Friendly Arms Inn.

Insight: I figured I'd be able to recruit another thief elsewhere, but a knock spell would have also sufficed. Alas, it's not one any of my casters had at the time.

Friday, 17 May 2019

The Cursed: Cloakwood

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Following the clue from the bandit camp, the team heads next to the massive Cloakwood forest - home to a multitude of wolves, ettercaps, annoying web traps, jihadi druids, a nest of wyverns and lots and lots of spiders. Poison is abound here, so Branwen prepares all the curatives she knows.

As they work their way deeper the meet the bard Eldoth who is thinking up some plan to get into a girls pants, the ranger Coran who wants aid in hunting wyverns, and the druid Faldorn who wants the new mine deep in the forest to be shut down. Coran and Faldorn are recruited while Eldoth is told to take a hike.

Not a cave sane people would enter.

Coran manages to kill his wyvern but is stung in return, forcing him to leave the party while waiting for his antidote to kick in. Just a bit further the team finds the mining operation setup by the Iron Throne traders using slave labor. No cursed iron here! The defenders put up a good fight, but are unable to stop the party from reaching their mage boss on the bottom floor. This teleporting bastard is a difficult fight.

Insight: Items of free movement will reduce your annoyance in the spider parts of the woods. Otherwise, you'll be waiting a long while like I did for the web traps to expire. Alternatively, bring a thief who can detect and disarm traps.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

The Cursed: Bandit Hunt

[Part of the Cursed story line]

The Firewine Ruins are home to more kobolds who have rigged traps galore. As the party gets separated while wandering through the tunnels, both Safana and Viconia are dragged off into the dark by the little bastards while the rest of the party locates and defeats their ogre mage boss and finds a clue where to find the main bandit camp. It seems all these baddies are working in unison!

Gold is a great unifier!

This also accidentally saves the halfling village of Gullykin, as stairs up lead to a hidden place well behind their town walls. Here they encounter the man hater Shar-Teel once more who was helping to defend against the kobold infiltrators. She joins the group and convinces them there is no time to waste and to abandon the two missing girls in favor of scalping bandits.

There are plenty of victims for her at the bandit camp hidden deep in the woods - a combination of humans, hobgoblins and gnolls making up their number. None of them are a match for the team with Party Girl one shotting most with her heavy crossbow. Their boss seems to be away though, and correspondence indicates something about a mine in the Cloakwood forest.

Insight: Summoning creatures, especially via wand, works well when out numbered against ranged opponents - as I learned in the thief battle of Black Pits. Get a mass of them and send them in as meat shields / distractions for your main party. It's more fun than casting protection spells.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

The Cursed: Firewine

[Part of the Cursed story line]

On the return trip from the goblin lands the party goes by Firewine Bridge, a ruin rumored to contain great treasures - and even more kobolds. Outside they find a hapless adventurer with a cursed box, and she explodes when the ogre mage contained within bursts forth.

Catching the party by surprise, this foe manages to do massive damage and in a flash of light both Neera and Baeloth vanish into ash mid combat. That's enough to dissuade the survivors from exploring the underground below and they move on, crossing paths once more with the dark elf Viconia who joins their number.

Only the unworthy would fall to little blue men.

With her they achieve many things, exterminating a Xvart village, culling a gibberling horde, saving a berserking captain from a cursed sword, securing a dig site where Viconia decides to take a cursed Netherese idol for herself, and helping the thief Safana to raid treasure underneath a lighthouse. Safana is impressed at the group and offers her services. They accept, knowing they'll need her skills in the Firewine Ruins.

Insight: The cursed idol makes your party the target of a number of undead each time you sleep. This interrupts spell memorization and healing, but you also get all the extra experience for killing them.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

The Cursed: That was Wild

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Down to half strength, the party returns to the Friendly Arms Inn to recruit Dorn the orc as well as Neera and Baeloth who (seem to be getting close) returned there from Nashkel . Neera is particularly annoying this time, saying the team owes it to her to escort her to an elder wild mage so that she can learn to control her powers.

Catharina obliges her and they follow her lead to a goblin infested area. Fortunately they pass a bluff test to convince the goblins that they are friends, letting them skip right to the boss' cave - who happens to have the elder wild mage hostage.

The boss goblin isn't fooled though and attacks, and Dorn "the ultimate warrior" is defeated by the little green man. I assume the orc was castrated before being kicked off the cliff into the underground ravine below. It's only after defeating boss gob that the Thayans chasing Neera show up, and put up a good enough fight to warrant the use of summoning wands.

Frankly, Baeloth is preferred.

Despite the victory it is ultimately all for naught as the old wild mage has zero wisdom to impart and accidentally teleports himself out of there. Possibly to the moon.

Insight: Wild mages are potentially really strong if you are willing to reload unfavorable random effects. They can literally kill themselves and their party each time they cast any spell.

Monday, 13 May 2019

The Cursed: Shortcut to Death

[Part of the Cursed story line]

The "shortcut" exit leads into a plateau littered with small tombs. In one such cave, Minsc (and Boo) are dragged under the soil by a trio of ghouls, removing them from the party and causing Dynaheir to cry.

Xan also gets beheaded by an ogre berserker with a magical two hander, which triggers Khalid's PSTD. Still, the team accomplish a few other tasks such as saving a crazy sculptor from a bounty hunter and turning in a deserter to the flaming fist authorities.

He's got everything under control.

The team also encounter the "legendary" Drizzt Do'Urden fighting a huge pack of gnolls. Faced by her familiar captors Dynaheir crumbles during combat. Once all the gnolls are dead Drizzt whisks her away to get healed instead of helping to unravel the goings on in the region. Thanks hero!

Insight: You can actually fight Drizzt if you so choose, but be prepared for an ass whooping as he has unfair stats.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

The Cursed: Iron Shortage

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Khalid finally leads Party Girl, Catharina, Minsc, Dynaheir and Branwen to the Nashkel mines. On the way the team encounters yet another assassin group but have the unexpected ally of Dorn the angry orc who wants payback on his ex-crew.

With all the scum cleared Dorn thanks the team and suggests that if they ever need a "real" warrior, he'll be waiting at the Friendly Arms Inn. The team proceed to the still active mine and find (four floors down) that a team of kobolds had been corrupting the ore veins with a strange fluid, causing the iron shortage.

Seems that they also work for money!

They are led by a human though, and based on his correspondence he is just one small cog in a bigger conspiracy. Also found at the base of the mines is the elven mage Xan, once adventurer now prisoner/bitch. They free him and make their way out the "back way" which is a massive shortcut to the bottom floor. That would have been handy to know about on the way in!

Insight: All those "important" letters? Junk them after reading them to save bag space. It's only at near end of the game where you need to hang on to a few of them.