About Time I Finished This: The road north (Avernum: Escape From the Pit pt 30)

ISo, last time we finally met Erika, she’s scary and made us jump through a bunch of hoops to reach her.

Talking to her and looking around her tower also gave us a bunch of insight into what’s needed to finish the game. We know where the exit is and where to find the parts to the password for it. If I wanted to I could totally run off to start handling that. but first, we need to pay a visit to Grah-Hoth.

While there’s not a huge amount of land to cover, there’s still some items of interest leading up to the fort. For example, the crystal formation near the top of that screenshot. This nets us a handful of useful crystals. Hilariously, the attackers that show up when you take them are treated like a normal random encounter. Meaning my party was given the option to simply evade them.We also find a fort that from the sound of it, had a dragon pass through. Also we can tell by the crown in the wall that it’s an empire fort.The fort is mostly suffering form a bat infestation, though some lizards and worse, gazers have also shown up.It’s definitely a dragon’s handiwork. Though we don’t know who actually did it.Exploring a bit more finds me… this. We have that scroll already, maybe there’s a use for it somewhere nearby?We also find what appears to be another empire orb. As always, I decide to peer into it before I start smashing.Interesting. Curiously, with the way Garzhad speaks he apparently doesn’t know that the fort was lost to a dragon, Avernum proper likely has no clue this place exists. Still, he’s not joking. This is the first game in the series and a remake at that, so he’s likely making a little cameo here before we end up punching his lights out in a later game. That’s pretty much it for the fort. Back to traveling north.The swamps it turns out are fairly small and it’s not log before we enter what I can only describe as demon country.We also find this guy. I decide to just smile and not to Mr. Crazy here.Yep.We find another cave, what could be down here?O…K. I think I’ve mentioned these guys before. We’ve definitely encountered them a couple times at least. Like I said with all the previous encounters though, this is more of a sequel thing and there’s not really anything we can do now.We also find a chasm we can quickly hop over.There’s some undead and golems to fight off on theother side.. Apparently they we’re guarding a Vahnatai tomb.Interestingly, around the area is a couple passages like this one, potential exits to the surface that for various reasons, are not.This spot is kind of interesting. There’s little bits of land cut off by lava. fortunately, we can use the orb to hop from landmass to landmass. The reward?The third level of Cloak of Bolts. We must be getting close to Grah-Hoth’s fort now.Yep, a little further north and we’ve arrived. That said, I need to make a little detour first, there’s an area a little east of here I might as well explore before I go rushing in.We find some osrt of cave nearby, guarded by spirits we can apparently talk to.Turns out it’s the home of the dragon KhothDespite being let in by the guards outside, we still need to fight these golems off.Then a hidden switch reveals the way in.This appears to be the spot where that dragon scroll we found ages ago came from. If it was being kept at that ruined fort nearby at some point, that’d explain what happened, Khoth most of torn through the place looking to get his scroll back.

coincidentally. putting the scroll back does nothing of interest and it’s safe to simply walk away without doing so, so let’s keep the scroll for now.Odd. if I had to guess this is what happens to thieves that don’t manage to escape. There’s also this room we can’t seem to make any sense of.Finally there’s Khoth himself. Khoth is basically Motrax: Grumpy hermit edition. Content to hide in his cave reading, and would really refer it if us punk humans got off his lawn.While we can ask about the password,it turns out he doesn’t know, but Athron might. We’ll need to go back to the honeycomb.Coincidentally, in talking to him we also learn the reason he’s such a hermit is apparently he got cheated humans before. Which basically verifies what I said earlier: The empire stole the dragon scroll, took it to the fort that Khoth and ruined, but apparently by then the scroll was already in the abyss where we found it.

Coincidentally, he does not accept your offer to find the scroll, and there’s no dialogue that opens up by either having the scroll or putting it back in it’s place. so again we’re just going to keep it for now.Finally, past a series of small rooms hidden in Khoth’s lair is this book. Oh hell yes. FINALLY! Barriers shouldn’t be a problem for us anymore.

Sadly, I did try going back to the Vahnatai cave, even at level 3 you can’t dispel the barriers there, and with level 3 as the max level there’s clearly no getting inside. Heading back towards Grah-Hoth’s fort, I find a hiden cve with something interesting in it.Solberg apparently sent some help! Namely, she gives us a key and lets us know we’ll need the orb ot get in.Should you have missed her, a second, more easily spotted spirit nearby lets you know she’s hiding nearby.And that’s it, we’re at the fort. That said I’m not going in just yet. I’d rather make the big showdown it’s own update. It’s also worth noting at this point that we’re basically out of cave. We’re not quite done with the game yet but we’ve gone more or less everywhere there is to go. Once Grah-Hoth is dealt with, the game will be a lot less about exploring new areas and more about revisiting places, gathering all the things we’ll need to make our final push towards the surface.

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