The important thing here is we need to find that message from Solberg. it’s in a tunnel to the northeast, so exploring the nearby area would be a good start.
If I had to take a guess, this burned out area nearby is where the Haakai lord was summoned. If it was moved into the tower, we saw no signs of it. Though there’s a large area in the center of the tower we couldn’t access. Maybe it’s there?South of the tower are these guys, selling a random assortment of goods along with an unusual disk. I think I know what thee guys are but it doesn’t come up until later in the series. For now enjoy this early cameo.We found the pillar though the location of it is a touch misleading. It is northeast of the tower, but the twisty nature of the passages here means you’ll want to start by going southwest to find it.Looks like Castle Avernum will need to wait a bit longer. We’ll want to go back up to Formello to find that tower.Before we go running off however, let’s deal with that ogre problem.The first thing you’ll likely notice is that the ogre cave is more like an ogre fort. for a bunch of giants that like to smash things and eat people, they’re done a surprisingly good job of building the place up.The cave is almost all ogres. The good news is we’re a lot stronger since that time we had to fight one for a side quest, and ogres aren’t cold Immune meaning Icy Rain is useful again. Even better, ogres don’t have any fancy tricks to them like the aranea or undead do, they just hit things real hard. The cave would be a very straightforward fight if not for the frozen worms. The worms have a ranged attack, an icy spray that covers a large area, and they’re cold immune.Electricity still works on them though, so lightening spray makes itself useful.Bantam here is from the Tower of Magi. He wants to escape, and thinks there’s a hidden passage that will let him do so, but first we need to kill the ogre mage that runs this place. The fact that there’s an ogre mage would also explain why this place is so well built: there’s some brains guiding the brawn here.We also find some nephil the next room over, fortunately they’re more interested in fleeing than fighting. I idly wonder if the the fact that we rescued them will crop up again later.Another room nearby gives us two books, one gives one of our spells an extra level, the other is really creepy.Across the hall from the books we meet our main objective. As an ogre mage, is what you’d expect: a spell caster that can readily punch you across the room, literally. The good news is in a small, mostly empty room like this the knockback isn’t too big a deal. She can do a lot of damage, hasting herself for two attacks a round, but even that’s not so bad if you keep your priest on top of it. The real fun stats when you begin to damage her.Though this spell only lasts a few rounds, having your melee attacks also do some damage to you is pretty nasty.To make things worse, her little stunt also summons some ogres to attack your back line, either that or they’re arriving from elsewhere in the cave as I kind of stumbled into this fight and hadn’t be able to clear it out properly.Do enough damage and she does another little trick that hastes her and slows anyone else in the room with her.We’ve still got ogres pouring in behind us.Once the extra ogres are dealt with however, she doesn’t hold out for too much longer.Among the loot we find a talisman that’s really nice for spellcasters.Now we can go tell Bantam the coast is clear. but he won’t leave until we open that passage for him.We find a switch that leads us to a boat we can ride.From there we can sail to a passageway that leads back to his cell, that takes care of that.A little more sailing leads us to this little area. There’s some lava worms here who die really easily to Icy Rain, and some extra coin for us.With that done we had back to the Tower of Magi to tell Ambrin the good news.This fixes the book we looked at earlier. Now we can learn a level of protection off it. With that done, we should head to Formello to go look for that tower.Normally, it’d be a bit of a trip to get back to Formello. fortunately now that we can use the pillars, we’ve got a shortcut.I also make a quick stop at Silvar and find out Gary here is looking for some hot springs, which we found previously. Guess I somehow missed that earlier.Anyway, hopping back to Formello, we can see Solberg’s tower is nearby, but the only way there is across the river. Sadly, while we did find a free boat in the Ogre Caves, we don’t get to take it with us. But we do know where we can get one.We sell a few things to raise some coin, and Brandon at Fort Draco here sells us a boat. now we simply need to ride it down to where the Tower is.But first, a quick boat trip lets us access this little hidden part of town, Where a very grumpy alchemist tells us to get lost.On the way down to the tower there’s a few tiny side areas you can explore. This one leads to items and some lizards.Amusingly, they’re not up for a fight.I also find a home with this recipe in it. Maybe Ms Grouchy wants it? I’ll check later.Looks like we found the tower, better go say ‘hi’.Here we are, meet Solberg. He’s gone into hiding since the rest of the Triad decided, led by Linda, to Summon a haakai lord. Haakai lord’s are basically demonic lieutenants, but because this wasn’t a bad enough idea they didn’t just summon any old lord, they summoned one of the big ones, a real leader among leaders.
Why summon this thing? Solberg doesn’t give an exact answer. He mentions his colleagues have “grand dreams of what they’ll win from him” and that’s about it. It sounds like they’re planning to cut some sort of deal and we all know how well those work out.
The big problem is they’re not gonna keep him bottled up for long, and there’s no way they can send him home, That means someone is going to have to kill him and by “someone” I mean “us”.
Solberg has a crystal key that will get us to where the demon is but he suggests we don’t take it until we’re sure we can fight off a demon. Namely he suggest getting hold of the sword Demonslayer first.As far as I can tell we’ve been nowhere near the places he’s mentioned, Not surprising as at this point we’ve barely explored a third of the map at best. We’ve got a ways to go yet before we get our demon slaying on.He also mentions an onyx scepter, also from the first expedition, it was used as haakai bait and is currently being kept in the tower with the demon.
If you ask about the Triad, he also makes mention of Erika RedmarkGoing by his story, Erika is basically the founder of Avernum as we know it. The various mushrooms and plants that all people to survive down here? Her doing. The various books and scrolls? She uses her magic to steal things like tools and books from the surface and bring them down here. The Tower of Magi? She built it. Then she got driven away.
Why? Well you see she was exiled, the mages on the surface were smart about it.If there’s one to note about Erika. The single point the game is trying to make here. It’s that Erika is the angriest mofo in Avernum. The typical Avernite might have a bit of a chip on their shoulder, what with the various asinine reasons to get sent down here. Erika’s got a whole damn mountain. Her entire being is consumed with plotting revenge against the surface and she’s apparently poked and prodded into some very dark places in search of it.
Alarmingly, the state of the triad makes Solberg long for her return. From the picture he paints of her. I suspect she wouldn’t summon a haakai lord, so much as 20 of them along with a massive haakai army, with plans to somehow set them loose on the surface.
He thinks we should go find her. Granted, she’d likely help as our long term goal is escape and possible revenge, but as he notes her ‘help’ might come with some unwanted baggage. no wonder X doesn’t want to talk about it.
We definitely have our work cut out for us. Somewhere in these massive caverns are three pieces to a powerful sword, and one very angry mage. We’ve got a long ways before that’s sorted out though. More immediately, the Castle is pretty close now. It’s about time we head there.