Neverwinter Nights Part 6: Sidequestorama

Previously on Neverwinter Nights…

So there’s this cult and they’re really bad. They want everyone dead for crazy reasons, and so all the most important and powerful adventurers in the northern Sword Coast are… sitting at home with their feet up while a gnome illusionist goes out to look for answers. The priorities of the rulers of Neverwinter are pretty screwed up, let me tell you. But at least this time all I have to do is walk down a road.

Onward to Adventure!

The South Road is called this for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a road. Second, it heads south. The road passes through rather desolate territory, but there’s plenty to be seen if you look. For example, gnomes hiding in tree stumps. Hello, gnome!

Oh come on, they're defenceless babies. You don't even get XP for them.

Oh come on, they’re defenceless babies. You don’t even get XP for them.

Stirge is one of those convicts I’ve heard about. This clown was in prison for killing babies, apparently. I think that means he’s a bit of a jerk. Stirge proposes a sort of riddle contest, and I agree. The game is that he says something and I have to name something that defeats it but is not the opposite. For example, he names candle, and I name crossbow bolt to the head.

Cha-ching!

Next, it’s off to Wanev’s Tower to “ask” him for the other jewel Eliath Sillyhair wants. This proves difficult because there’s a lot of trolls and ogres outside. I don’t quite know where this rates on the Minion Based Wizard Evilness Scale but I’m not too fussed.

Obligatory Troll Bridge

Obligatory Troll Bridge

His tower is certainly impressive…

Either that's an invisible tower, or there's something fundamentally wrong with the universe.

Either that’s an invisible tower, or there’s something fundamentally wrong with the universe.

Inside I run into the butler. The butler does not care because I am carrying a magical wardstone I looted from Wanev’s cottage in Port Llast. Of course, the butler is a flesh golem, so that moves Wanev several points up the Minion Based Wizard Evilness Scale.

Pretty far up the scale when you consider what's involved in making these.

Pretty far up the scale when you consider what’s involved in making these.

I wander around the tower, finding a rare mystical tome that I’m going to turn in to the local wizard library book drive, and then eventually find my way into Wanev’s study. Where he attacks me. Or tries to, it really doesn’t work too well for him.

Stoneskin is really only useful against non-casters. Why wizards always fire it up as soon as they see another wizard I will never know (spoiler: only one combat script).

Stoneskin is really only useful against non-casters. Why wizards always fire it up as soon as they see another wizard I will never know (spoiler: only one combat script).

After surrendering, Wanev is most apologetic for trying to kill me. As he should be. Who the hell tries to defend their home from intruders, anyway? Wanev says I can have the gem for Eliath Sillyhair if I go and banish an imp from his summoning room. How hard can this be? Its only summoned… fifty… other… demons…

Wait a minute! He’s got a small army of monsters and golems, why can’t they do it? That’s what minions are for! That’s certainly what mine are for.

Eventually I find the imp, kill it, and chuck its heart into the portal, which causes a large explosion.

Portals to Baator and the Abyss are rather unstable, and thus make excellent tools for mining or clearing rocks from farmland.

Portals to Baator and the Abyss are rather unstable, and thus make excellent tools for mining, or clearing rocks from farmland.

Wanev gives me some gold and the gem I need to tick off my to-do list, and I get out of there. On my way to Charwood I find a cave, go in, and find a lot of wolves. Which I kill. I also manage to cure another of those kids who got turned into a werewolf. This one is a pretty easy quest because I just have to hit them until they agree to put on the magic pendant that will turn them back to normal. Well… Grimgnaw does the hitting. I just make sure there’s fancy coloured lights blinking in the air while he’s doing it.

It's okay, it was a proper fight, not just a psycho monk beating up an innocent wolf man.

It’s okay, it was a proper fight, not just a psycho monk beating up an innocent wolf man.

Further south I go, finding a pair of farms. At Plant Farm I find a surly teenage boy, who has managed to let the teenage girl living at the other farm steal the locket of his dead mother, the only thing his father has to remember the long-deceased woman by. I subtly point out to him that there’s probably easier approaches to his hormonal urges…

“Kid, you do know the whores in Port Llast are cheaper and less likely to get you thrashed by your father, right?”

“But she’s so hot!”

I stare incredulously at him for a second, before remembering that young human men are basically incapable of reason and logic when attractive young women are involved. Or plain young women. Or basically any young woman, or old women, or cows, or dogs, or shrubs with a wig on top and a note attached that says “I am a woman, not a shrub”. I decide that I might as well go and see what all the fuss is about. Um, I mean go and get that locket back.

I go over to Cow Farm and first have a chat to the farmer. There’s some crazy wolf killing his cows. Hmmm. Two quests. One is to kill some wolves, probably for a reward. The other is to recover a locket from some girl, probably for a reward. Now, given my past experiences working as an agent of Neverwinter, I know exactly what to do when I need to get a valuable item back from someone. It means killing everyone in the entire region. But if I kill the farmer, I can’t get a reward for the wolf killing. Maybe I’ll do the wolves first? Yeah, that will work.

This cow was pushed TOO FAR and is OUT FOR REVENGE. But cannot CLIMB HILLS.

This cow was pushed TOO FAR and is OUT FOR REVENGE. But cannot CLIMB HILLS.

Into the wolf cave we go, killing every wolf we see. Then I meet a talking wolf. It’s some rangers animal companion who has gone rogue and is out to kill all the cows in the region. This is too weird, so I kill it. Problem solved! The farmer gives me some gold, which I then use to buy back the locket from his own bratty daughter after she spins a sob story about how she was going to sell it to buy replacement cows.

Locket returned, it’s off to Charwood. Now, I don’t know about you, but normally when I hear that there’s a forest full of mystery and shadows, I go the other damn way. They’re always filled with orcs, zombies, devil spiders, necromancers, mysterious tinkers… and this forest doesn’t even have a wizard tower outside where you can buy single-use magic items. But I do get paid well for finding evidence of the cult so we can figure out it’s location. Which is probably Luskan. Maybe I should forge a letter or a diary or something? No, damn it, the Paladin can detect lies.

Oh damn it, NOW I develop a conscience!

Oh damn it, NOW I develop a conscience!

Well, into Charwood it is.

This is much more serene, tranquil, and not-evil than I expected.

This is much more serene, tranquil, and not-evil than I expected.

Charwood is actually kind of nice. It’s well lit, not too full of undead, and generally a nice little break from the tiresome farmland. In fact it’s probably a nice spot to camp out after clearing a campsite of rocks, branches, and skeletons waving rusty swords. Peaceful, quiet, and…

Okay: rain is only tranquil and serene when I'm not trying to sleep outside in it.

Okay: rain is only tranquil and serene when I’m not trying to sleep outside in it.

Typical! Even the corpses staked out for the crows have better sleeping arrangements.

Hammock of Death! Hmmm, that sounds like a Fighting Fantasy book...

Hammock of Death! Hmmm, that sounds like a Fighting Fantasy book…

In the morning I am feeling well rested after a relaxing night in sleeping in a freezing torrential downpour in a forest full of skeletons, I roam around some more. Eventually I find one of the myriad dead archaeologists whose bodies litter the lands of the Faerun. Between you and me, I think an archaeologist is an adventurer who doesn’t just loot tombs for forgotten wealth, but expects to get tenure afterwards. Like all archaeologists this one died with his journal nearby and curiously unaffected by the dampness and mouldering decay that inhabits all forests. It mentions that a nearby pillar is some kind of magic key to a treasure trove. After locating the pillar I decide that nothing could possibly go wrong here and push the buttons.

"Oh an eldritch pillar, this will be fine!"

“Oh an eldritch pillar, this will be fine!”

Oh no, not again.

Oh no, not again.

I’m teleported to an outcrop of rock with a portal leading down into the ground. Inside are the…

Inevitable Skeletons!

Inevitable Skeletons!

Hordes of zombies!

Hordes of zombies!

Mummy battle! Note: Not about cleaning my room.

Mummy battle! Note: Not about cleaning my room.

…and I get an axe. Or something. I hate fighting undead so much, thanks to their immunity to illusions, that very little is worth the trouble.

Anyway, I need to explore more of this forest to find secret evil cult information about secret evil cult schemes, so it’s off to the village of Charwood…

This does not look foreboding at all!

This does not look foreboding at all!

I am sure there is a perfectly good explanation for all these impaled bodies.

I am sure there is a perfectly good explanation for all these impaled bodies.

…But let’s be honest, they’re probably demon worshipping cannibals.

Charwood Village is, well… the people are wandering around in a daze and don’t seem to know what’s going on. Either they’re all hung over or they’re about to flip out at attack me. I head to the inn to see what’s going on, where I find a crazy person who attacks me. After killing him in self defence – no, really – it turns out he’s another one of those secretive cultists who doesn’t know to burn his orders and not keep a journal of his evil cult expedition. Hooray.

I decide to see what the problem is in Charwood, and it turns out that the town is probably trapped in some weird time vortex. Oh well, I better go check out the castle and fix it. Mainly because there might be loot.

Castle Jhareg. Or Cave Jhareg. Or maybe Castlecave Jhareg. Whatever.

Castle Jhareg. Or Cave Jhareg. Or maybe Castlecave Jhareg. Whatever.

I am sure this will be simple.

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