Let's Play Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures - Page 3
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  1. #21
    I start off again from where we left. "Jenlar sees you to the guest rooms. When you are awake, he is there to see you to the door. Jenlar Temlin stops before the door, motioning to the guards to wait before pulling it open to the wintry air. 'I have a warning to give you. One that might help on your way. Master Arkayz wrote it himself and hopes that you will be wise enough to remember it and use it when you need it.' Jenlar reaches into his robe and brings out a small scroll. He unwinds it, clears his throat and begins to speak. 'Golden dreams can quickly turn to nightmares filled with flames that burn. Dark clouds may not bring you light, but watch for silver linings bright. Strength is not as strength might look. Remember falsely covered books! Simple treasures won't grow old, and all that glitters is not gold.' Jenlar winds up the scroll and adds, 'Legends also say that the secret is in two parts, visible and invisible. Luck to you all.' Jenlar Temlin motions to the guards, who pull open the door. The air of late autumn gusts through the opening to offer chilling greetings, and you step outside, listening to the click of the lock behind you."

    The heroes are let outside and begin to return from the trail that brought them to the manor. I'm not a big fan of the simple prose used so far, but I do like riddles. If anyone can find a connection between a piece of the riddle and a moment in the game, please point it out. I'll try to catch onto them, too.

    On the way towards the inn, the game gives me this script: "With the aid of Jenlar's map, you spot a little-used trail leading off to the west, towards the Rock. Looking at the map, you find yourself on the right, easternmost side, where the trail branches westward." If we continue towards the inn, we'd get another message that says we can still ditch the quest and head off to the city of Specularum. But we're heroes, and we shall not be driven off so easily!

    I turn west, down the new trail, and walk until I read "The forest has come alive with the setting sun. Unused to the presence of men among the trees, the beasts of the wilderness howl and cry out loudly."

    I think we just left the friendly woods... I step forward and...



    Yep... definitely left the friendly woods...

    "A large, sinister-looking wolf leaps from the shadows, boring into your party and snapping wildly its sharp teeth."

    A battle begins...



    The lone wolf appears on the tactical screen right next to our well-armored Scott DeWar. GlassEye gets to go first, and I aim a shot at the wolf. I find out when I move the cursor over our enemy that he is a dire wolf with an AC of 6 and 19 hit points. This wolf might be too dangerous, and consider using a precious sleep spell.

    But GlassEye fires and hits for 3 hps of damage. Certain ranged weapons, like arrows from a longbow, allow for a second shot if the character is standing still during the round. A second arrow does 5 more hit points of damage. Looks like I'll be saving the spellcasting for later.

    Scott DeWar misses, and so does Fenris. I'm getting nervous again when Col Pladoh hits for 3 hit points of damage with his sling, followed by Queenie's own sling shot for 1 hp of damage. (Un)reason is up next and misses, but I bring Fenris to the creature's rear flank at the start of the next round. Unfortunately he misses along with Scott DeWar, but GlassEye is showing off on why I spent most of my money on someone to have a longbow and a stock of arrows. He plugs the dire wolf once more with two arrows for 4 more hit points of damage. (Un)reason misses next with his mace, and Col Pladoh with his sling, but Queenie hits once more her slung stone, bringing the creature down to 1 hp. But the dire wolf attacks next and does 6 hit points of damage to Scott DeWar. Scott has 1 hp left now, too. But unlike the dire wolf, we have a cleric. Queenie attacks at the start of the 3rd round, hits the beast for 3 hit points with her sling stone, and kills the beast. I have (un)reason heal Scott DeWar for 4 hit points (bringing him up to 5 and near max), before ending combat. We get 22xp each for the battle, but the stingy dire wolf carried no valuables. I wish I got a screen shot of Queenie's killing blow, but I really didn't expect a magic-user to hit three rounds in a row and to make the party's first kill.

    We are jumped by a random encounter with six giant bats next, but they put up a pitiful fight, do no damage, and only give each character 8xp each for the encounter. It was a waste to shoot at one with an arrow. Good thing slings require no ammo. I guess the game figures there is a abundance of decent sling stones on the ground for those that look. Bah, is this the worst this forest has to offer?



    I should have kept my mouth shut...

    "Your party stops short as a lumbering creature breaks out of the overgrowth ahead of you. A mass of bulging, rippling muscles, the ogre roars fearsomely. 'You pay 80 gold, or me crush you!"

    We don't have a gold coin to our name.

    "Fenris shakes his head, saying 'He's asking for a bribe,' your friend mutters in disgust."
    Now now, Fenris. This is not the time to lecture the nasty giant with the huge club. I have the option to attack or pay. I try to pay, just for kicks, but the ogre notes that I'm not forthcoming and attacks... oh boy.

    Things quickly go bad. Scott DeWar takes 8 hit points of damage from the ogre as the giant won initiative. Scott goes down and is dying. GlassEye fires his arrows and hits twice, but only for four hit points of damage. The ogre still has 14 hit points and a lot of attack bonuses. I decide enough is enough, and waste a sleep spell on it from Col Pladoh, which works. Queenie is up next and finishes him a coup de grace from her dagger; magic blast animation in full glory (I wanted to show it off).



    We win 52 xp each, 40 pieces of gold and the giant's club. (Un)reason heals Scott DeWar with two spells, bringing our fighter/thief up to full hit points, but using up our last healing spell. The game still won't let me camp for the night, so we must press forward with only one sleep spell left in the party, and a cleric and magic-user who are tapped out of magic.

  2. #22
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  3. #23
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  4. #24
    I made a mistake in the last battle, as I stopped the fight right away instead of bandaging and healing Scott DeWar on the field. Because of that, he did not receive any XP from the battle with the ogre. On the other hand, he was hit so hard and fast that I doubt he even knew there had been a battle. Scott's character was bleeing out each round when it came to his turn, and would have done so until one of the other characters used up their turn to bandage him up. So there is a slim chance that Scott DeWar could have died if I didn't stop the battle when I did, anyway. Those are he chances one takes. I press on, trying to find a place that the party can camp and recover spells.

    That's when we get another random encounter. A single wild boar charges our party of six.


    "The brush rustles and breaks apart to reveal a snorting, ravenous wild boar. The creature paws the earth, apparently preparing to charge."

    I'm expecting another fight, but then the game throws an unexpected curveball by asking me if I wish to send my ranger up to the creature in an attempt to calm it. GlassEye elects (or is elected) to do so.

    "Glasseye steps forward, slowly, cautiously. With one hand, your friend offers the beast meat. The boar's snorting slows and finally quiets. While it devours the meat, you move past."

    Yay for us! But now I am worried as the party is getting further into dangerous territory with a front line armed with only clubs and studded leather armor. Last time I played this I was attacked by random encounters consisting of the ogre, and two bands of goblins armed with shields and scimitars. I had planned for our band to encounter these goblins and loot their bodies for the shields and blades. But now I am realizing with some worry that these encounters are random, as I have yet to see a single goblin in this session and this is the first time I ever ran into the boar. If we didn't have a ranger, I am sure we would have had to fight. This original module was based on BECMI, which lacked the ranger class, so I am not sure how the encounter originally played out.



    I reach the first site where I can camp. "You have travelled for one full day's ride, through the hours you chose. Carefully, you stake out your ground and set watches to guard the camp." We rest without incident and replenish our spells.

    After some more walking towards the west the trail broadens. "The trail is about twenty feet wide here. Overhanging trees block out most of the bright sky. The sun is still hidden by the tall trees, and only the bright sky lights up the forest. Rabbits, squirrels and other small animals run among the trees, bushes and shrub. A few deer show their faces for a moment, then turn and run until their white tails vanish into the thick forest. The trail seems to be opening up just ahead. To your right the line of forest is moving away to the north." I decide to keep pushing the party west.

    "You come to a clearing with bright green grass and some patches of fragrant wild roses. Suddenly you hear singing; soft fair voices singing to you, calling you to leave the trail and come to them. You take a step north, towards the voices before you realize what is happening. You are being ensorcelled! The rustle of feathers turns your eyes upwards to see a pair of harpies diving down upon your party! One of the harpies is twice the size of the other and she wears a glittering tiara. 'I am mighty Helgrath, Queen of the Harpies!' The large one screams. 'Who dares to attack the wings of death!'"

    But we weren't attacking you! You can't yell at us to get off your lawn if we didn't even know it was someone's lawn! We were just walking by and... darn it, a battle begins and we have to fight these beauties.



    The harpies start the battle a good distance off the screen. We will want to close on them quickly, since they attack with charm spells and bows. Scott DeWar goes first, probably because he was paranoid and alert after being traumatized by Mr. Ogre. He slams his club down on the smaller, lead harpy for 4 hit points of damage. (Un)reason travels next, but can't close enough distance, making it only halfway to the harpies. Glasseye has a longbow and can easily shoot both harpies from where he is. The lead harpy has 9 hit points left (from a max of 13) and an AC of 7. It looks like she is also armed with a mace, and not a bow as I first assumed. Helgarth is similar, with the same AC and 15 hit points. I have Glasseye shoot at the wounded one, and he nearly kills her for 7 hit points of damage, bringing her down to 2. Dartis moves up and barely reaches Scott DeWar's side, finishing off the harpy before she ever could act. The magic-users surprise me by being in range with their slings. Col Pladoh hits Helgarth for 4 hit points, while Queenie misses with her own shot. Helgarth stupidly decides to attack instead of charm and misses. Fenris attacks her and hits for 7 hit points of damage. Queenie fires once more and strikes Helgarth for 3 hit points of damage from her sling and barely kills her. Our magic-user, Queenie, continues to be an unexpected killing machine, firing a murderous sling stone from offscreen.



    We receive 429 XP for each character, the jewel tiara and two maces. I give Fenris and Scott DeWar the maces, which are better than their current clubs. Queenie gets the tiara since it looks better on her than it does Fenris. This was won with no loss of spells or hit points. I remember it being a bit tougher last time, but with great initiative rolls comes great victory.

    I push west into a new, narrow trail until I reach another random encounter. "Wolves, starving from the late autumn cold, emerge from the forest in a pack. Growling ominously, the creatures approach, and at the first scent of food they attack!" Hell.... I guess our ranger couldn't calm these down.

    This battle starts in a bad way, with the wolves right up against my party members. Poor unarmored Queenie goes first, but is face to face with a wolf that will tear her apart if she takes a step back. Also, a tree is blocking (un)reason from coming up from Queenie's left to assist. I switch her from using a sling to using a dagger and attack, hoping that the other characters will swiftly fight off their wolves and come to her aid. Each wolf has an AC of 7 and 11 hit points.



    Queenie actually hits the thing for 4 hit points of damge. I have Col Pladoh try to back her up with a sling stone, but he misses, as does Scott DeWar and Fenris. If we don't start putting the hurt on these creatures soon, I am going to have Col Pladoh help with a sleep spell next round.

    Glasseye comes through, firing two arrows into Queenie's opponent and killing the wolf before he could attack the vulnerable mage. This is again why a ranger with high Dexterity and a bow is so important. (Un)reason steps over the dead body of the felled wolf and attacks, but misses a second wolf. Glasseye attacks again, only shooting once but wounding for two hit points.



    Scott DeWar, (un)reason and Col Pladoh all miss, but so does Queenie after I switch her dagger for a sling and one of the wolves attacking Fenris. Both sides go another round of missing one another until finally Col Pladoh and Glasseye bring down another wolf with ranged attacks. Scott DeWar takes a bite for 3 hit points of damage from the last wolf, before Fenris flanks the creature and hits it from behind. (Un)reason contributes, and Queenie also wounds it slightly. The creature panics and tries to run, but Scott DeWar's unlucky streak ends and he finishes it off with an attack of opportunity. We get a meager amount of XP, and use a cure light wounds spell on Scott DeWar to bring him fully up to health. At this point I believe we are close to the next campground, so I plan to be more liberal with the sleep spells in the next battle. We've still have found no goblins to loot shields from, although the maces are nice to have.

  5. #25
    I think that I understand the system better. There are probably set encounters, such as the battle with the ogre and the harpies, which I do recall from before. However, the other encounters are random, and have a chance of happening for each step I take in the wilderness. It was typical of encounters of the time to occur in a 1 in 6 chance, and so every time my charactes make a move deeper into the forest we also have a 1 in 6 chance of an encounter. Because these encounters have been so different from my first time through, I believe that there is a second random roll made by the program to determine what is encountered. Hence in the first go I fought goblins, and now I have yet to encounter any goblins, but have deterred an attack from a wild boar and fought some giant bats.

    We continue in a westerly direction until we receive another notice. "Before you the trail splits into three separate trails, one heading to the northwest; one going due west; the third running southwest. Each trail, your map shows you, will lead to the Rock. But it doesn't show what dangers you will face on the trail. One of your friends muses, 'The forest to the north is Sylvanhome, but these trails divide other, smaller woods. To the northwest is Western Bough, and the southwest is Rendwood. Behind us and to the south is the Greenweald. We stand amid four great forests, mostly untouched by mankind.' Your other companions shake their heads and look for a good campsite."

    I'm able to rest again. So despite having no shields, we've gotten lucky in comparison to the last time I played. Previously, I had more random encounters that I could not avoid, so this whole gambit through the forests was more terrifying. I rest, restoring the one healing spell that (un)reason had cast before. Then we break camp and choose to go straight west instead of taking either of the other branching paths.

    "The trees of the Western Bough rise up on your right, tall and beautiful in their autumn shades. Likewise, Rendwood on your left is full of color: red and yellow leaves, brown trunks covered in green moss. The blue of wildflowers, deep black shadows."



    I move on to the west again, and surprisingly avoid more random encounters for quite awhile. Until I reach this event: "Abruptly, the ground caves in beneath Col Pladoh! You leap forward to help your friend from the earth." This was an odd random event, and Col Pladoh takes two hit points of damage from what seems to be a sinkhole. I look around, but there doesn't seem to be any other threats in the area or hidden treasure in the hole. Shrugging our shoulders, we move on.

    "After about three and a half miles, the Western Bough rolls away to the north; one half mile away, across a flat plain, stand tall mountains with snow-capped peaks shining in the sun. Your trail turns south and west, Following the edge of the Rendwood and heading for a narrow strip of flatland between the woods and the mountains." The text paints some descriptive, vivid scenery. We push west once more until we hit a fixed encounter.



    "You travel for another mile when, suddenly, ten strange looking humanoid creatures clamber clumsily out of the brush ahead of you. With awkward swiftness they form a line across the trail, blocking you path. They look like living rainbows, their tall and thin bodies striped with red, blue, green, orange, yellow, brown, black and white. Those closer to the trees of the Rendwood are harder to see; they seem to blend right in with the forest. They wear loincloths and carry long daggers. Each has a very small sack tied to his waist. One of the creatures holds up his broad hand. In halting common he says in a rasping voice, 'This place is ours. Strangers pass only by the leave of the lord of shade. Surrender your weapons and come with us. You cannot escape the judgement of the 'Omnerubesk.'" I decide against surrender and retreat, which leads us with only one viable option. We attack.
    "No sooner do you start to move, than five of the chameleon men vanish and reappear behind you. Weapons at the ready, the two groups close in on you."

    We are in trouble, and this is by far the largest battle yet. The creatures only have an AC of 10, but they seem to have two hit dice, as each has 10 hit points. There are 10 of them, five on each side of the party. On the left side we have Fergus, Scott DeWar and (un)reason setting up a blocking melee wall. (Un)reason is out of position, as he should have been on the right side, helping Glasseye, who is facing off with his bow against another five of the chameleon men. Instead of using a melee weapon, I have Glasseye open up right away with his bow. He only injures one for two hit points of damage. One of the chameleon men on the right rushes past him to attack Queenie, but luckily misses. Fenris went next, but missed the chameleon man in front of him. I have Scott DeWar move up to back him up and he misses, too, but helps create a blocking wall. Even though Queenie is face to face with a chameleon man, I have her cast sleep into the western line of attackers since she can get four of them in the area of effect, and hopefully her companions can protect her in exchange.



    We get lucky and she knocks out all four. Col Pladoh is up next, and I use another sleep spell on the eastern flank to knock out four more. We have now changed a battle we should have lost into a fight we cannot lose. There are only two awake chameleon men left. (Un)reason misses the one that is awake on the western side, but Glasseye wipes out the one threatening Queenie on the eastern side. The one remaining fighting chameleon man returns (un)reasons attack, bringing him, our only healer, down and bleeding.

    I have Queenie and Col Pladoh start coup de gracing unconscious chameleon men before they can get back up, while Fenris and Scott DeWar close in on the chameleon man that just took down (un)reason. Scott DeWar nearly kills the chameleon man with a 9 hit point bash. (Un)reason is still dying, so I use up one of Queenie's turns to bandage him before he dies. Fenris kills the last awoken chameleon man, so the party begins the systematic and morbid elimination of the rest of the sleeping ones. I leave the only weapons, the enemy spears, on the ground since they are comparable to the party's maces. I'm now in trouble. Col Pladoh only has 1 hit point left and our only cleric is down. Then I remember Fenris is a paladin and he performs Lay on Hands on (un)reason to bring him back to 2 hit points. The screen gives me a little bonus, too, as it reads "In each of the chameleon man's pouch you find twenty electrum coins, ten gold coins and two platinum coins. " A pretty good haul. I use up two cure light wounds spells to bring Col Pladoh and (un)reason back to full health, then continue west. I hope our luck holds on random encounters, because our heroes are nearly out of magic. If we encounter more chameleon men, we're dead. I wonder if we made the right decision in fighting. We would have lost if we didn't have two magic-users with sleep spells. I could try to rush back to the previous campsite and recover spells, but it seems the game only allows you to use a campsite once, so it would be a waste of a trip through hostile land. We push west.



    "The land on both sides of the trail is hard and rocky. Jagged boulders and sharp stones litter the ground. The trail remains smooth, however, and you have no trouble moving along it."

    I follow a trail highlighted by worn green grass until I come to a stone bridge over a river. The last time I played this I decided to leave the trail and was ambushed by another party of chameleon men and was killed. Following the trail resulted in no ambushes, which is a good thing in our tender state. "A swift-flowing river crosses your trail, spanned by a bridge made of dull gray stone. An arch made of the same stone stands at the mouth of the bridge. Old runes are carved into the arch. The runes are ancient, yet somehow familiar. Beyond the bridge the trail leads into a small stand of trees, which blocks your view of the terrain beyond." The game gives me a chance to decipher the runes.



    I try to translate with Scott DeWar, but he is unable, meaning the script is not dwarven. Col Pladoh can't read it either, so it is not in a human or magical tongue. Having no elves, halflings or gnomes in the party, I give up and try to cross. "Col Pladoh points to the water, where bubbling pools have appeared and seem to be quickly taking the shape of angry, roiling pillars." We decide to make a dash for it before the water-shaped columns attack us. "Behind you, the pillars have risen impossibly high, and have taken on a serpentine appearance. As your last companion steps foot off the bridge, though, the pillars instantly dissolve back into swirling eddies on the surface of the river."

    Seems like it was a good thing we ran. We move west towards the woods when a band of elves stops us. "In the distance, across the plains, you spot a band of humanoids dressed in green cloaks. Looking closely, you believe them to be elves, each wielding a bow and likely also a sword. They do not seem to have noticed your party. At least not yet." I decide to greet them, figuring them to be good-aligned. "As your two bands draw closer, you see that they are indeed elves. Their party is slightly larger than your own, and each watches you and your companions with the wary eyes of battle-hardened warriors." Battle-hardened warriors with fancy hats.



    "'Greetings, strangers in this land', offers their leader. You reply appropriately and the elf asks your business this day." I have the choice to tell the truth or lie. I would have liked a choice to say that we were exploring or just passing through, instead of the whole truth. I decide to tell the truth.

    "'The Rock, eh? It has been many years since anyone has traveled to that place.' The elf leader sighs heavily as if foreseeing a terrible blight. 'Fare you well, travelers, for I sense that you would seek the Rock for just reasons. I pray I do not misjudge you.'" With that he leaves without so much as a warning of what we might face. But he's right. We plan to seek the Rock for the just reasons of plundering its secrets in order to get paid by an eccentric crank in an expensive manor. Another step takes me to a site where I can camp, so I have the party load up on much needed spells, before continuing into the forest.

    "You travel into the thinning tree line, entering the rugged foothills or the Barkel mountains. The trail sometimes winds or slopes upward, slowing you down, but the going is still fairly easy."



    "After a few minutes of moving through this rugged landscape, you hear the quiet movement of someone or something else in the rocks about forty yards to your right. There is definitely something moving. Something that doesn't want to be seen." I decide to investigate. "You carefully clamber up the rocks, watching carefully for whatever it is that is trailing you. There, to your left... one of your companions readies a weapon, but stays his hand for the moment. You move a bit more, but pause listening for your quarry to move again. After about five minutes, you see a short, stocky figure dashing for the cover of large boulders." I decide to call out to him rather than attack. "The figure, you now clearly see him to be a dwarf, stops abruptly, thrusting his arms into the air. 'Don't shoot,' he cries. 'I'm coming out!' The dwarf steps out from around the few remaining boulders between you and him. He looks you over nervously. 'I am Dunnak Ironhammer, of the Clan of the Krayzen Mountains. I had to be sure I'd be alright if I showed myself.' Dunnak plops down on the edge of a rock and draws out his waterskin. 'Share a drink with me?'" I agree to a swig. "You share a drink with Dunnak, and he relaxes noticeably. Shaking his head he settles down to talk with you. 'So, you're adventuring in the hills, eh? As am I, as am I. Nothing like dropping a few goblins and looting their purses to settle a full day's work. How's your haul coming in? Many kills lately, or are the creature's getting a bit smarter?'" I change the disturbing conversation to the Rock. "Dunnak says only, 'I've never been there, but I heard going there is a bad idea.'" I then make some small talk. "You answer the dwarf and he seems satisfied without inquiring any further. The discussion continues on different subjects and Dunnak drinks more as the tensions recede further. After a few minutes the dwarf asks, 'How about a friendly game? A weapon throwing contest? I'll put up a gemstone if you can offer ten pieces of gold.'" Curious, I agree. "Dunnak draws a long, sleek dagger and prepares to compete against your party's champion. The dwarf faces off the distances, then asks who will be competing against him." I'm not sure if it matters, but we don't have anyone with throwing weapons. I pick Glasseye to compete because of the ranger's skill in ranged attacks. "Glasseye prepares a throwing weapon and lines up alongside Dunnak. They throw, and then throw, and then throw. Dunnak wins and extends his hands for the ten pieces of gold Glasseye wagered." Glasseye pays up. "Dunnak smiles and pockets the coins, then settles down to drink and talk some more." Out of options, we tell the dwarf goodbye. "The dwarf waves good-bye and slips off into the boulders."

    This was a lengthy and complex sequence. Dunnak is a fixed encounter, and I was unable to beat him in the throwing contest in my last playthrough. I wonder if I should have focused on a strength-based character instead of a dexterity-based one. Either way, Dunnak was a fun and quirky dwarf. If a bit disturbing, murderous and all around sociopathic. Good thing we weren't a peaceful, yet cheery band of travelling goblin minstrels. He would have murdered us in our sleep for our lutes and coppers.


  6. #26
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  7. #27
    It looks as if the encounter with the dwarf was one of the last before the climax. I get this message soon after pressing on. "You're approaching the end of your journey. Jenlar Temlin's map indicates that the Rock is less than two miles away. Barring any trouble, you should reach the Rock soon. The trail slowly bends until it is heading due north."

    After awhile of working through the rocky pass, it opens back out into a field and we receive this tidbit: "Within a quarter mile, the trail ends in a tangle of boulders and rubble. Ahead of you lies a land filled with huge boulders and thousands of rocks of every size and shape." A few steps into this rocky field, the game allows us to rest and gives us partial congratulations for making it so far. "You take a chance to catch your breath. You have come so far; however, you are no closer to your real goal than when you started. The secret of the Rock is as hidden as ever. You think back on all you have seen and done on your way here. You remember again Lirdrium Arkayz's cryptic message, which Jenlar Temlin gave you as you left the safety of the manor. 'Golden dreams can quickly turn to nightmares filled with flames that burn. Dark clouds may not bring you light, but watch for silver linings bright. Strength is not as strength may look... remember falsely covered books! Simple treasures won't grow old, and all that glitters is not gold.' Even these words still mean little. But, you have come so far already! You can let nothing stop you now! With new resolve you set out again-- this time for the Rock itself!" I believe this is the last chance for us to sleep before the Rock. We haven't used up any spells or been injured since the last rest. The lack of random encounters compared to in my first play through has made this game easier so far, but so has the fact that I loaded up an archer with arrows.



    "You see in the distance a solitary peak in the center of a plane one-half mile square. Your heart tells you this is your goal, this is the Rock. This mighty pillar of stone has a flat summit and steep sides. The base is roughly rectangular, but the Rock becomes more circular near the summit." I walk forward three steps. "As you approach, you see someone standing at the base of the Rock. The person sees you and yells, 'Flee! You are in terrible danger! Flee for your lives!'" I take another few steps towards the strange rock structure in the center of the stone field.



    And helloooo nurse. There are so many fantasy game tropes in this scene I don't know where to begin...

    "You ride forward and see a lovely young woman chained to the Rock. Her clothing is purple and yellow, but frayed and tattered; she wears a tarnished golden tiara. Her face is botched with grime. Her features are pale and drawn with pain and loneliness. In a shrill voice, she shouts to you, 'Flee for your lives! An old hag who loathes my beauty has imprisoned me here until I die, old and ugly. Flee before she returns to punish you for daring to come near me!' Too late... the game throws me into a series of three battles that I cannot avoid. "Wolves, eyes an unnatural luminescent yellow lope across the field to attack you."

    The first battle is against four wolves, with 11 hit points and AC of 7. They start behind my party, and I can't get three or four of them inside a sleep effect because of how spread out they are. So I have Queenie and Col Pladoh move away from the wolves before firing off sling stones (which miss), have Glasseye walk forward next to (un)reason in order to create a blocking shield before having Glasseye shoot the lead wolf for 7 hit points of damage, and reposition Scott DeWar and Fenris to support the wall before the wolves move in. They almost take Fenris and Glasseye down with nasty bites, but we have them all lined up now for a sleep spell and (un)reason comes up next with a cure light wounds spell for Fenris.



    Glasseye switches from bow to club, but misses a wolf. Queenie casts sleep, but the dice were not in our favor as we only knock two out of the fight. Luckily for us, Col Pladoh and Scott DeWar combine their attacks to kill one of the two wolves still fighting. Glasseye's great AC allows him to avoid going down to another wolf bite. I start surrounding the last wolf, while the mage's take out the unconscious ones. Finally the wolf goes down from our combined attacks. I have (un)reason use up another cure light wounds in order to bring Glasseye up to full hps before ending combat.

    "You turn back to see the woman chained to the Rock, only to see that six shimmering knives have appeared. The weapons hover for a moment, then dart forward..." We are thrown into a second battle with animated knives. I have one sleep spell left. The last time I played this I decided to use it against the animated knives, thinking that the programmer who created these would have forgotten that animated objects could not be magically slept. But no.... Ray Dyer remembered, darn it. This is a tough fight. The knives start off mixed up with our units, and have only 1 hit point each, but an AC of 2, making them quite difficult to hit. They only do a few hit points of damage, but they are fast and hit our party members often. There are six of them, and Glasseye and Col Pladoh both miss before (un)reason takes one down. The rest of the party misses, and Fenris takes 2 hit points of damage with only two of the five remaining flying knives attacking, reducing him to two hit points. I'm not feeling good about this fight.



    The other knives move, cutting Scott DeWar for 1 hit point of damage and bringing Fenris down with another slash that did 2 hps of damage. Glasseye and Col Pladoh miss, but Queenie brings down another knife with a sling stone. We need Fenris for the next fight, so (un)reason uses his last healing spell on his prone body. I get very lucky and none of the flying knives makes contact during their go. Glasseye and Queenie take out two more, leaving two knives remaining. They attack again and thankfully miss. Col Pladoh takes out a fifth, and Glasseye shoots down the last. We got very lucky towards the end of that battle, but I am now out of cure light wounds spells.

    "After the last of the magical daggers is destroyed, the form of the young captive woman changes. In mere seconds she becomes a withered, hideous old woman with sparse hair, leathery skin, fangs, long inhuman arms, and large hands with claw-like fingers. Shrieking, she attacks."



    You found me beautiful once.
    Baby, you got real ugly.



    We are fighting the Crone of Chaos, with her AC of 7 and 20 hit points. Glasseye opens the combat up with an arrow that does 5 hit points of damage to her. Queenie misses with a sling, as does Fenris who I have attack her from behind. Col Pladoh and Scott DeWar also miss. The dice gods conspire against us. Finally, (un)reason hits her for 6 more hit points of damage, she counters but only hits him for 1 hit point. I think she rolls a d8 for damage. Queenie and Glasseye combine their attacks and almost bring the Crone down. We go through a series of misses on the part of both sides, before Fenris hits her from behind and kills her. We win, though Glasseye is now out of arrows and he switches to a club, which means a large part of our offensive success is out of commission. "You nearly slump, but your victory is too great! The last guardian of the Rock has fallen. Moreso, there is a niche where the Crone originally stood. Examining the crack further, you find a golden sword wedged in the far end. Withdrawing the sword, you find that runes in the common tongue have been etched into the blade. 'Broad and wide the path to nowhere; thin and narrow the way to true riches. Unravel the riddle the riches to win.' You read the runes with a frown on your face. Another clue. And what to make of this one?" Fenris takes this and wields it as I doubt it is cursed, and I pass his mace to Glasseye, who wields it instead of the club.

    Next time... "Welcome to the Rock!"

  8. #28
    Welcome to the Rock! Obligatory Sean Connery picture inserted here:



    Oops... wrong Sean Connery image. Moving on....

    There has been a longer than usual break between updates, caused by my coming home from a year long deployment and the wife and kids catching up on lost time. However, I am able to get some free time today and have a new update for everyone. When last we left off, we killed the last guardian of the Rock, but are out of cure light wounds spells and down to only one sleep spell, while we have some small injuries to Scott DeWar and (un)reason. In graphics the Rock is depicted as a tower. With the visual limitations of FRUA, it is depicted thusly:



    So now we know we have to enter the Rock, but see no visible means of doing so. First, I try the Look option twice, which is an active party search. We find nothing. Next, I decide to try to walk forward and see what happens. Again, nothing. I go left a space and try to walk through the wall again and am rewarded by this query: "The stone is not solid! Anything that touches the side of the Rock passes through it as if through air! Is this the answer you seek, or yet another deadly trap? Do you attempt to continue into the Rock?"

    Of course we do. We are adventurers, after all. I answer yes. "You find yourself in a large hall, hundreds of feet long and wide. The hall is brightly lit, as if the light of the noon sun were shining down into it. The walls are fifty feet high, and from there the ceiling curves upward until it is approximately three hundred fifty feet high overhead. You stand in the center of the hall, looking forward. At the far end of the hall, you see four raised platforms on the floor, grouped in two pairs, and seven chests between the pairs of platforms. Each platform has a statue of a crowned king on it. The walls of the hall are made of white marble filigreed with gold and silver in various natural forms: trees, flowers, wildlife, clouds; and human life: warriors, builders raising cities and marketplace scenes. Letters of silver and gold are etched on the floor in front of you. They read, 'Hubrelis Tumassen'. To your left, the hall seems to be run-down and battered, as if time and weather had eroded the splendor of that side. The right side of the hall, however, glows and sparkles with beauty and wonder, as if newly built. You stand with all your companions at the very heart of this magnificent hall!"



    Since we only have humans and a dwarf in the party, I doubt we will be able to translate 'Hubrelis Tumassen'. I go south just for the heck of it and follow the wall starting east, then north, and west. I do not see anything of note in the room beside the chests at the dais. I go to the starting point and walk forward. "You stand among the tall letters etched into the floors of the hall. 'Hubrelis Tumassen'. Would one of your more learned companions like to try to decipher these words?" I choose yes despite having doubts on our chances of succeeding, and pick our human mage, Col Pladoh, to decipher the runes. "Your friend murmurs while reading them. 'The hubris of Tuma. The words translate into The Great Pride of Tuma." Let's hear it for the father of the game. Nothing gets past him. I'm glad we brought him along.

    "The chests along the wall with the balconies are all made of wood; but the first is a simply constructed chest while the seventh is richly decorated with gems and silver and gold metalwork. The chests vary in decoration so that the first is the simplest chest and the last is the most ornate. You hear quiet voices calling to you. They tell you to look at the glorious side of the hall, saying, 'This is Tuma! This was the greatness that was once lost but can now be yours. For long years its glory has waited for bold adventurers like yourselves to come and claim that which your daring and bravery has earned you. This is yours by right of valor, by might of arms. By sleight of hand and by keenness of mind. Others have tried, but they have failed--all because they would not take the riches they have earned. Come now. Take your due. The wealth of Tuma is yours. You deserve it more than any other. Behold the folly of those who have ignored Tuma's greatness. See the worn and weary section of this great hall. It has been brought low by fools who mistook poverty for humility. Simplicity for piety, who called wealth and riches greed and avarice. These fools thought honor meant lowering one's self. One should be elevated to one's greatness! Do not be a fool! Let the trumpet of your true worth ring out! The great deserve the best! The bravest demand the finest! You have made it to the Rock; do not walk away empty-handed, a pauper forever! Be not a fool; be not a fool!' You stand gazing at the seven chests lining the wall beneath the balconies. The first chest is elegant in its sheer simplicity, but each succeeding chest surpasses it in value and design. The last chest is by far the best of the lot. Its jewels sparkle in the mysterious light of the hall; its gold and silver glitter with light. And then, from nowhere, a deep rich voice calls out its welcome to you. 'You are indeed brave heroes to have reached this great hall! To you a reward shall be given for your great courage. In one of these seven chests lies the goal of your journey, and much more! But you can choose only one of these seven chests and must be content with what you find. You have done well thus far; choose well and your journey shall be a success. What you have experienced on the way here will prove to be a guide beyond measure. Think, then, and choose; think and choose!' The second voice falls silent, and you are left with only your thoughts. You must choose one of the seven chests. Which do you choose?"

    I have Fenris reach out and pick the seventh and greatest treasure of course. We are adventurers and I could not imagine doing anything else. This is the result:

    And this is our end game screen:



    Well thanks for joining me for this Let's Play... ok, yes I am just joking. We will choose the first and less glamorous chest for a number of reasons. First, I really couldn't stand the elitist tone of the first voice who was egging me on to grab the riches. So I want to tweak that speaker. Second, the riddles that we've been given have downplayed riches and judging books by their cover. Previously we fought a dangerous hag who appeared to us as a vulnerable and beautiful woman. Now we are presented with chests that appear in various states of beauty on the outside, but whose riches on the inside are not known. Choosing the first of seven chests is therefore the correct answer, and by doing so we receive this congratulations:



    "The chest opens on gold and platinum coins! You find gold wristbands, and a thorough search reveals a silver ring, two crystalline vials of transluscent blue liquid, a pair of silver daggers and a curiously shaped talisman that looks like a capital 'T' with a short, diagonal stem hanging off the right side of the cross bar of the 'T'. At the tip of the diagonal stem is a small red stone. The stone is not a ruby, and none of your companions can place a value to it."

    We get 1000 xp each, and the treasure mentioned above which includes 2000gp. Col Pladoh and Queenie split the daggers, potions and wristbands amongst themselves, though Col Pladoh keeps the sing ring. The talisman is added as a quest item. "Again, the deep, rich voice speaks to you. 'Well done, brave heroes! To you shall the secret of the Rock be revealed. And this be the greatest of secrets: a soul falls into judgement seat; judge not what is seen, but what is truly there. Let the eyes of the heart guide and counsel the eyes of the body. Glitter does not make the golden prize; hidden in the heart and answer lies. How a creature looks never changes what's inside. Judge with righteous judgement; be wise. Be wise!' The echo of the voice dwindles, and then the hall begins to fade. A moment later you are standing outside the Rock, staring at its solid exterior. And which of the three trails will now take you to the manor?"

    I am now facing east, which is the direct trail back. We won't be going that way since I believe once you use up a camping area, you can't go back and reuse it. Meaning we would have to go all the way back to the chameleon men territory with at best only one sleep spell. This would be suicide. So we are going to go south and cross our fingers that we'll find an adequate campsite to restore our spells before we run into random encounters that would chew us up.

    Next up: The Return Journey from the Rock!

  9. #29
    Queen of Everything COPPER SUBSCRIBER
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    Congrats on getting home, you must be so happy!

    And also congrats on not getting us killed. Well played

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