Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Uukrul: Master of Hammer

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

A vision of Mara tells the group that they are now at the Palace of Uukrul (despite the graphics looking exactly the same  everywhere) and that they must "arm the beacon". What? Anyway, the initial group of necromancers is easy enough to defeat but wandering the Palace is more about sneaking past the monks, samurais and lamias patrolling the halls.

Oh, so he's a dremora!?

One particular passage guarded by three riddles leads them right into the throne room where Uukrul himself awaits! Using the knowledge gained from the magician's circle, Andraste breaks the glass heart on the floor - preventing Uukrul from fleeing, but that doesn't make the spell casting dremora any less agile with the team struggling to pin him down.

He also regenerates when brought to near death because ... only the relic hammer can kill him! Helga is on the precipice of death, being kept alive only through Linisha's healing hands when Balthazarr finally gets to use the move he has taught so many before... SPIRAL ROCK SMASH! Uukrul's head explodes into tiny, spiraling, giblets as the rest of him falls defeated to the ground. The team rejoice, their exhaustion vanishing as they find Uukrul's treasure chambers which hold a significant trove of treasure!

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Uukrul: The Dark Heart

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

After escaping the pit maze, and the wandering flame spirits within, the team reaches the next sanctuary and returns to town to restock on food (just in time), repair/upgrade gear and level up. Thanks to Helga now having access to more tomes at the magicians circle they learn the relic-hammer is going to be important in the battle against Uukrul so they get that repaired right away.

Lastly, they make a quick pit stop to the urn and unlock it fully, collecting the black, glass heart inside... the Dark Heart of Uukrul! The team then return where they left off, finding themselves in a dark zone which turns out to be Uukrul's barracks. A demon encounter here (posing as a stone heart, the bastard) weakens them significantly, leading to a catastrophic encounter against a large band of patrolling Lamias and giant snakes.

Nabirye sacrifices herself so that her team mates can get away, and in doing so meet Linisha hiding here in the depths. She too was one of Mara's team, and she helps the group reach the next sanctuary that so happens to be past four liches and four specters! Fortunately Helga and Andraste are on the ball with their magic, leading to a well earned victory. Balthazarr can't help but feel more and more useless as the enemies become even more physical resistant.

That should look much scarier than it does.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Uukrul: Snakes and Ladders

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Beyond the pyramid is a long passage guarded by samurais (sure why not), golems and undead hordes whom get obliterated by Andraste's prayers to Idris. In-joke for Neverwinter Online players there given she's an Undead Queen in that game. This leads to a strange mechanical zone of advanced machinery guarded by more monks.

A vision of Mara suggests the team must use the carriage to proceed. What she doesn't mention is all the back and forthing to lower the water in the flooded levels below, and that the carriage actually runs on electric eel juice. The team slays a whole school of them as well as a pushover demon guarding a broken relic-hammer and a surprise red dragon before hitting the next zone which is full of pits. Which you can climb up and down out of.

Supremely stupid too.

There's much falling and climbing and jumping in this part, and through sheer luck the group runs into a necromancer and a very tough giant guarding another stone heart. Andraste destroys the necromancer with Helga's assistance, while Nabirye almost dies to the giant before Balthazarr can land a killing blow.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Uukrul: Pyramid of Torture

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

The next area past the Jar of Hearts is some sort of pyramid of torture, with few enemies but lots of traps, locks and teleporters. The most annoying one sending the team into a one square prison with absolutely no escape, had they not picked up that "escape medal" earlier. A required key is also in that room so I'm not sure what the designers were thinking...

Helga is vital in using the collected access cards which let the team float up or down the vertical chute, which is a really odd design decision when it comes to non-mages as there are no stairs! Midway they find a dying fighter who claims he was one of Mara's party, saying that she is now a prisoner "in the chaos" and gives Nabirye another stone heart before dying. I wonder where he hid that during his torture? Ewww.

People can be ingenious when it comes to cruelty.

At the very top the team encounter the evil monks again, who are super effective at stunning Balthazarr and Andraste. Fortunately Helga's new "Kunlazar" spell is very handy (large AoE), leading the team to victory and the next sanctuary! As per usual, they then go on a back-track training run with Andraste finally finding Sage Sagaris' black rod which had been missed WAY earlier. Stupid secret doors. They also defeat the white dragon since it gave them time to prepare.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Uukrul: Jar of Hearts

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Beyond the testing chamber is a small puzzle maze with levers which takes a little trial and error, and manual mapping. The reward is a suspicious urn that holds a black heart. Neither can be taken though, as six heart-shaped latches hold it in place. The stone hearts fit exactly in but they still need three more so they delve deeper and find another sanctuary.

At this point Balthazarr leads the team back to the mirror maze where they discovered that particular monsters always respawn in the same spot. The Krefator is one of them, and between Nabirye and Helga is a one round combat that nets a good XP gain, so after spam killing the acid lizard for awhile they level up a fair bit.

They also find a hidden passage with a long keypad code... Really? A keypad? Fortunately the answer was in the crossword section, so they manage to unlock it and find another stone heart. They also find a white dragon nearby who is polite enough to let them flee via dialogue. They unload the new heart at the urn now only lacking two more.

Your puzzle was a keypad?

Friday, 21 July 2017

Uukrul: Speak Foe and Enter

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

Having completed their training run, the team returns to the mirror maze defeating a fire lizard and finding the plot device mirror which Andraste breaks to reveal a mysterious plaque. The noise attracts a bunch of monks who turn out to be very dangerous, forcing the team to flee to the other end of the mirror maze where a previously locked grate is now open.

Clearly, Uukrul's a dick.

As soon as they step through, Uukrul shows up and shuts it behind them, asking them to beg through the bars if they want it reopened. Balthazarr rejects the offer and instead leads the squad past floating eyes, a giant worm which Helga destroys, and away from the same group of monks - still in slow pursuit - from before!

They reach a room of testing with three paths, one full of locked gates, one with the promise of a fight, and one a dead end with a sign saying that only a single word will open it. Nabirye takes this literally and just says "word", which opens the path. How very modern.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Uukrul: HOYAMOQ!

Part of the Fate of Heroes series - spoilers ahead!

After the close call against Thurazz last time, Balthazarr decides to take the team on an upper level patrol again for experience, and to keep an eye out for stone hearts that they supposedly will need to defeat Uukrul. That last bit of knowledge was courtesy of Helga now being able to access the higher tomes in the magician's circle.

As expected, there is not much that can challenge them now - but through careful navigation and searching they do find secret doors they previously missed (or in two cases, missed due to floor spinners). Secret doors are annoying. Most cannot be forced. A few have levers that open them. Some need a magic word.

For all other times, there's Hoyamoq. A prayer to the god of knowledge. Like most prayers, it doesn't always work and even when it does - you need to repeat it. Many times. So poor Andraste is there praying in front of a wall, reciting "Hoyamoq, hoyamoq, hoyamoq..." over and over until the door opens. Helga found this hilarious, but later on she'd find variations that need the wizard spell "Talis". And yes, it also requires repetition.

So at what point can I just cast fireball or something to explode it open?

Despite the silliness, it's actually quite a productive (albeit long) outing - netting a variety of treasures and three stone hearts!