Neverwinter Nights Part 4: I am the Law

Previously on Neverwinter Nights…

The quest to find ingredients for a potion is nearly over, but can the lone illusionist win enough drinking games to find out where the last part is? More importantly, what happens when she gets it? Will she win fame, fortune, and the keys to the city, or will she instead get pitted against an army of undead?

Yeah, you know how that’s going to end. But let’s see what happens on the way…

Onward to Adventure!

So the first thing to understand about the docks is that it’s full of criminals. They’re absolutely berserk, having gone from shaking people down to cutting them up into little pieces to sell to the local pie vendors. I think – and this is just a guess – they want some money for something. Maybe this auction that’s taking place later. I found the flyer on the body of someone who tried to turn me into pie filling. I suppose I’m going to have to act as a guard first and adventurer second. I’m not sure what the difference is but I suppose it means waiting for people to attack me.

The funny thing is, most of the other people standing around outside aren’t being attacked. In the case of the strangely translucent nobleman it might be because he gave away everything of value to someone called Calik who claimed to be able to get him out of the quarantine.

This one guy has never been fully visible and I've played this like TEN TIMES.

This one guy has never been fully visible and I’ve played this like TEN TIMES.

Hmmm. I wonder if that’s worth investigating? No, not really. There’s perps to bust. I also have a hilarious new way to take out hordes of enemies.

Tentacle surprise!

Tentacle surprise!

What’s odd is that the criminal scum are all carrying these things called smuggler’s coins.

"That, sir, is as good as money!"

“That, sir, is as good as money!”

Smuggler’s Coins? What the hell use is a coin that has the backing of a bunch of cutthroat ne’er-do-wells? “Sorry, we’re not honouring your coins. Because we’d rather kill you and take your stuff!” It’s like adventurers founded a nation. It’s kind of alarming to think that anyone would be so stupid as to place value in some bits of coloured glass, especially when the actual currency around here is this stuff called gold.

But the debate about the relevance of an imaginary currency that’s only used for nefarious ends can wait. I’ve got to teleport back to the temple so I can nip out to the wizards’ guild and finish the membership test. This involves me, alone, fighting a giant metal minotaur. Except I get given some single-use magic items which when used in the right order kill it. For my trouble I get a magic cloak that is quite good and then I zip back to the docks to mete out some more justice.

If I run around for long enough will it eventually wind down?

If I run around for long enough will it eventually wind down?

Actually I go back to the docks to hit up a tavern and celebrate the fact that I’m now a proper, official, guild-approved spell caster. All the people in the tavern just give me crap about it though so stuff them, I’ll go to a better tavern.

Alas, I do not have a fireball scroll handy.

Alas, I do not have a fireball scroll handy.

Unfortunately the only other tavern in the docks won’t let me in because I’m not one of the local pirate band, the Bloodsailors. I wonder if I can join up and head over to their ship to find out. Along the way I kill just about everyone else walking the streets because they seem to have it in their heads that I’m going to be rich. Though given the fact that they all have that imaginary money they probably have funny idea about what constitutes personal wealth. Finally I get to the ship I’m looking for and ask about joining up.

"So hey I'm a wizard who works for the watch, and I really would like one of those uniforms. Can I have one?"

“So hey I’m a wizard who works for the watch, and I really would like one of those uniforms. Can I have one?”

Unfortunately they just say no. No-one respects me now I’ve got one of these many-starred cloaks. I think it’s because now I really do look like a children’s entertainer. So I kill the pirates and take their stuff. There’s just one problem

Ahahahahaha. Oh dear.

Ahahahahaha. Oh dear.

But thankfully I have a magic spell that turns anything into wizard robes

Much better.

Much better.

Then I head up to the door to the Seedy Tavern, where they recognise the uniform despite the massive magical alterations to it, and I head on in. There’s some other pirates there, so I head over.

“Hi there, are you a new recruit?” one of the pirates asks.

“Yarr!” I reply. For some reason the pirate who greeted me backs away slowly. The other one challenges me to a drinking game. I drop a potion of endurance in the mug and proceed to win, though I’m not sure what that last drink actually was No-one will tell me, either.

Victory! I'm glad I'm not cleaning up the puddle of puke.

Victory! I’m glad I’m not cleaning up the puddle of puke.

The other pirate turns out to be another secret agent or spy or adventurer or something. Knowing my luck every single one of these pirates is an undercover spy for someone and I’ve been killing off half the intelligence networks of the Sword Coast. I get some info about what’s going on – Vengaul Bloodsail was planning to show off with the auction but he’s not here – and then I head over to the local black marketeer. He accepts smuggler’s coins, so I hand over some of my imaginary money in exchange for incredibly valuable magical items that I can sell for a shitload of real money.

Then it’s off upstairs where a dwarf in a sauna tells me the password for the downstairs. I go to the basement and find a lot of Bloodsailors who seem murderously angry despite the fact I’m wearing one of their uniforms. I guess they’re sticklers for regulations and can’t stand to see the sight of a magically converted uniform.

In a cupboard I find a woman being menaced by some thugs and she tells me what’s going on. Apparently Vengaul’s lieutenant Calik is tired of flashy swashbuckling and wants to start doing things like actually making money. So he’s run off to kill Vengaul while the rest of the district gets burned down because everyone thinks the old rogue has a cure for the plague. Oh, brilliant. Apparently the way to find them both is to duck through the old Silver Sails trading company and romp through the sewers. That sounds easy, but there’s just one problem…

Whose idea was it to store a million giant insects in here?!

Whose idea was it to store a million giant insects in here?!

The whole building is infested with beetles and arachnids! And not just any kind of spiders, no. These are wraith spiders. You know how undead are immune to illusions, and spiders are also immune to illusions? WELL COMBINING UNDEAD AND SPIDERS DOES NOT CANCEL THAT OUT. Instead it’s a giant spider that can drain my life force. Hey you know what would really help right now? A paladin.

I despise wraith spiders. I might just take some ranger levels to emphasise how much I despise them.

I despise wraith spiders. I might just take some ranger levels to emphasise how much I despise them.

Anyway I make it into the sewers, and find the last of the lost tombs which is naturally full of undead. I then catch a boat downriver from the sewer guide. Apparently he’s not too pleased with having to hang around here all day long pretending the place is of some kind of architectural and cultural significance. I would be annoyed too, given the tendency of every sewer in Faerun to fill up with slime monsters and beholders as well as the stinking effluent of several hundred thousand people.

Worst job on all Toril.

Worst job on all Toril.

So finally we meet the nefarious scoundrels making so much trouble. I turn up to apprehend the criminals, but what does Vengaul Bloodsail do? He pretends I’m his backup. What a bastard. Thankfully I’ve been dabbling in necromancy lately.

"I've got you dead to rights!" - isn't it great how many awful puns this game lets me make? :D

“I’ve got you dead to rights!” – isn’t it great how many awful puns this game lets me make? :D

The leader of the local pirate band is apologetic about his schemes causing so much trouble. I don’t know whether to be annoyed or not, because at the end of the day wiping out all the criminals in this part of the city was a lot easier than a prison break, undead horde, and house full of hellhounds. On reflection, it’s not worth making a fuss about, so I let him go.

On reflection, he's flagged as unkillable anyway. Grrrr.

On reflection, he’s flagged as unkillable anyway. Grrrr.

Then it’s back to the temple, but not before I stealthily sneak into another fortified home to carefully steal a trinket to sell.

This is why I'm not in the thieves guild.

This is why I’m not in the thieves guild.

The best part is it’s another opportunity to conjure up writhing tentacles!

This never gets old. Tentacles for everyone!

This never gets old. Tentacles for everyone!

They’re much more useful in combat than conjuring pigeons out of a hat, that’s for sure.

After I turn over the last of the magical reagents (cockatrice feathers, and since it somehow lost its powers on death I won’t be flailing the carcass at foes any time soon) to Aribeth she tells me I’m welcome to come to the castle and watch the magical ritual that will create a small vial of plague cure.

“A small vial? For a whole city?”

“Well we can just magically duplicate it.”

“Can you duplicate some magic items for me?”I ask Aribeth eagerly. She doesn’t seem interested in helping out, muttering something about service as its own reward as she walks away. At the castle I get to talk to a bunch of people I already know, like boring Fenthick and probably-evil Desther, and also meet Lord Nasher, who is apparently not able to move from his chair. Then I get to watch the big, showy ritual.

This ritual needs more tentacles!

This ritual needs more tentacles!

Then once the excessively gaudy ritual is done, Desther grabs the vial of plague cure and leaps through a portal. Apparently Fenthick is the only one surprised by this.

"Oh come on now, Fenthick, everyone knew this was going to happen. Stop crying. Aribeth will buy you some icecream."

“Oh come on now, Fenthick, everyone knew this was going to happen. Stop crying. Aribeth will buy you some icecream.”

Fenthick jumps through the portal, apparently so distressed by the completely unexpected betrayal that he’s got to go and check that Desther’s cackling and stealing the cure isn’t just all just a misunderstanding. Aribeth tells me she will keep it open long enough for me to follow through the power of her faith in Tyr, but I have to be quick. So I have a chat with Lord Nasher, rest for a bit to make sure all my spells are ready, reorganise my backpack, and then idly stroll through with an offhand “thanks, Aribeth”. On the other side I find some dwarf who apparently just tore down a bridge at Desther’s request. I ask him what the hell is going on with the bridge destruction and find out I’m near Helm’s Hold, so I mosey on down the road. There I meet some kind of hooded figure who hisses a lot and is apparently an illusion or projection or sending. But she’s definitely annoying.

The "because we can" school of grass placement in games. Less is more, folks!

The “because we can” school of grass placement in games. Less is more, folks!

So she tells me the Hold is full of undead now – OH JOYOUS DAY! MORE UNDEAD! I CAVORT WITH GLEE! – and there’s some kind of ritual of Desther’s I probably want to stop him doing. I’m sure there’s no rush. Inside the main courtyard there’s some shadow demons or something or other. They’re angry, which is pretty normal. Oh and they’re immune to illusions. Thankfully they’re not immune to Evard’s Black Tentacles.

"This is what I say to your immunity to mind spells! Hey wait, you're supposed to stay in the middle of the tentacles! NOOOOO!"

“This is what I say to your immunity to mind spells! Hey wait, you’re supposed to stay in the middle of the tentacles! NOOOOO!”

I also score a magic gem from a corpse. Inside the main keep I get to use it to activate some animated armour which will, hopefully, go and kill the evil people in the fortress.

"Okay, no deciding all beings of flesh are weak and inferior and trying to wipe us out, okay? Or at least, don't include me in that."

“Okay, no deciding all beings of flesh are weak and inferior and trying to wipe us out, okay? Or at least, don’t include me in that.”

So with some automatons teleporting around and a psychopathic dwarf things are looking pretty good. So good that exploring the basement seems like a hunky-dory plan. Except in the basement I find some kid who apparently has been hiding out in the storeroom.

Being flagged as unkillable is clearly handy when villains invade your home.

Being flagged as unkillable is clearly handy when villains invade your home.

This small and annoying child sells me some gear but otherwise has no useful information. I can’t persuade him to act as a human shield despite his invulnerability, so I explore further. Through the next door I find that the Helmites had a ready stocked torture chamber for just in case some villains took over Helm’s Hold and needed to torment the leader of the order.

"Well if you didn't keep a torture chamber here Desther couldn't have tortured you, could he?"

“Well if you didn’t keep a torture chamber here Desther couldn’t have tortured you, could he?”

Dumas, leader and now sole member of the local order of Helm, is not very useful. So it’s back to the main floor to explore. It’s all well and good until I find someone… er, something, called Caohinon of the Void.

I think this thing might just be bad news...

I think this thing might just be bad news…

It appears the fiend – not demon, they’re different for some vague reason known only to them – was summoned to get rid of the guardian spirit of the hold and now wants to be set free. If I find the book that will do it I will be rewarded. Hey, it’s in that room over there anyway…

Good? Evil? Or just whatever gets me the best reward?

Good? Evil? Or just whatever gets me the best reward?

I decide that perhaps it might be a bit risky letting a monstrous otherwordly evil free, no matter how cool the stuff it can give me is… or how much hilarity will ensue. I banish it as it screams of revenge, and then summon the nice and wholesome guardian of the keep… who gives me a magic ring and then disappears again. Oh well, the ring is pretty good.

From there it’s a merry trip upstairs where I find Desther has an army of undead and also some kind of useless flesh golems that keep him alive unless they’re killed first. But that’s not a problem, I have a new friend to help out…

Holy crap! Where did he come from?!?! (Don't you dare say "the demiplane of shadow")

Holy crap! Where did he come from?!?! (Don’t you dare say “the demiplane of shadow”)

So with Desther knocked about a bit we drag him off to be burned at the stake. Fenthick, who didn’t make himself useful with anything like turning the undead, gets hanged, and Aribeth is a bit sad about it for some reason. Me? I decide to get away from this city and all the intrigues. I decide to go on holiday to the sleepy frontier town of Port Llast.

"Wait, how do I even get to Port Llast?"

“Wait, how do I even get to Port Llast?”

Tavern Break

Well, that’s the end of act one of Neverwinter Nights. It’s an entirely rudimentary plot involving chasing some items of plot related reasons, offering an opportunity to see multiple environments and try out various things. I think everyone class gets to do something specific to their focus, though this usually means bashing the hell out of people for half of the classes.

Were you wondering where the picture of the final battle with the most unsubtle hidden villain ever was? It’s too chaotic and tricky to take a good picture, so instead you get the shadow mastiff. Tough. But wow, that shadow conjuration business gets pretty good, doesn’t it?

Of course, since a wizard levels up faster (threat rating difference or something like that) the opponents get really powerful. Just out of shot in the last picture is a ghoul lord, which is grossly unfair. I didn’t even try summoning anything until I realised I’d have no way of winning without the biggest creature I could call up. Oh well, I know what to do in the future.

Suspension of Disbelief Shattered: How is it Aribeth never thought to detect evil on Desther? How is it no-one cast a massive divination spell to find out who was attacking the city and got pointed at him? How did they not know? HOW DID THEY NOT KNOW?

Department of Missed Opportunities: Freeing Caohinon of the Void doesn’t let you meet him later in the game, which would have been really great. He’s one of my favourite characters in the game, because he reminds me of a Skeksis.

Tune in next post for the next exciting episode!

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One Response to Neverwinter Nights Part 4: I am the Law

  1. Pingback: Neverwinter Nights Part 3: Share the Wealth or Else | Seven Fourteen Seven

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