With that out of the way, We have a Crown Token and could head south now if we wanted. But there’s still the matter of that dragon Motrax to the north. It seems he’s more inclined to talk to people than eat them, and we do have a delivery for him. might as handle that now.
There’s a gate to the north, let’s go exploring!
It’s worth noting that the north and west of Formello are more random and maze like than what we saw around Silvar and Fort Duvno, complete with the occasional small secret or special encounter. The game rewards exploring. Even if said ‘reward’ is occasional a hidden cave full of hostile lizards.Out of all the things I’d except outside a dragon’s lair. That sign ranks pretty low amongst them.More proof that the Empire kind of sucks. Part of me wonders how you’d fit a gryphon or dragon into one of the portals. Think the have an extra large one somewhere on the surface for that?
Leith we heard about earlier. He tells us a bit more about the orb. Apparently it lets people fly and he was hoping to find it so he could fly his way out of the cave with it. He thinks it’s lost somewhere in a place called the water maze. a strange mess of waterfalls found west, past slith lands.
Surprisingly, the game is yet to bring up the idea of simply tunneling to the surface. Though the game does briefly mention the Empire has been closing any exits it can find, and with the Nephil and Slith around, along with other exiled races and plenty of actual hardened criminal getting thrown down with the jaywalkers and drunks, there’s likely too much fighting going on to organize a dig.
You can ask both Leith and Marian to train you. But they won’t. That’s fine. Formello has our spell training needs covered for now.Ko is the man we need to see about seeing Motrax. Mostly, he’s here to warn us to stick to the path leading to him and not wander around, as doing so will result in either fire lizards, or finding Motrax’s home and treasure horde. Which sounds kinda cool until you realize going in there means we’ve got an angry dragon to deal with. The party is about level 8 right now. We’re not exactly equipped for dragon slaying.We give him his delivery, then get down to business.
Motrax is old. Really old. Old enough to be here before Avernum was founded. In fact going by his words, he wasn’t exiled, he lives down here only knows about the surface from talking to the Avernites, and his first meeting with anyone from the surface when the first expedition found him.The game mentioned this once or twice before. But before Hawthorne went all exile happy and started throwing everyone who so much as sneezed underground. the Empire found the caves that make up Avernum and tried to explore them. It was a disaster, pretty much everyone got killed and the Empire concluded that the place sucked and they want nothing to do with it.
They then decided it’d be awesome to send people they don’t like here.
He also has some interest in us, namely our party has that sort of spark that signifies we’re destined for great things, like he saw in some of the early exiles who helped tamed the caves.Not that he thinks will actually achieve anything. but this being a video game, and the first in a 6 part series no less, I think it’s safe to say his judgement is a tad off here.
Also, he likes cats.
Anyway, while we were told to stick to the path. It turns out there’s something here for us. Motax did tell us about two groups that entered his cave back in the old days. The first group was fleeing from some slith and demanded his help. Then because one bid idea is never enough, they decided to attack a dragon while already on the run from much less terrifying lizard folk. He gave some of the stuff they had to his pet fire lizards in the west tunnels and we’re welcome to it if we don’t mind having to fight them off for it.
It’s a tough fight. The cramped quarters means my party is nice and grouped up for the lizard’s fire breath. There’s more than a few close calls before we reach our prize.Our reword is some gold and this broach. Interestingly, the brooch is a key item, Meaning it’s needed for something somewhere. Though right now I have no clue what that something is.
The second group Motrax mentioned we’re on the run like the last. but were smart enough to bring a bribe, a stone key. Sadly Motrax was still a bit angry about last time and chased them off. They died in a battlefield a short ways form the lair. Again it’s a key item. hopefully we find the lock somewhere.
Speaking of being chased. I get followed into this part of the caves by a random encounter, but my party is buff enough that they run turn and run when they finally catch up to me. This has been happening a lot now. so we’re likely good to search further abroad.
There’s not much inside, just a single gate and 2 adventurers sitting outside.Gooley here wants to put the souls stuck here to rest, but has no idea how to get in. He was also exiled for the silliest reason I’ve heard so far.Grammar Nazis, even the Empire hates them.Young-Mi is Gooley’s partner. she mentions they’re heading south soon. Interestingly. She was exiled voluntarily. She mentioned something about a marriage she was against. apparently it was so terrible she decided it’d be better if she simply threw herself down here and be done with it. Better to die free and all that.
Anyway we go to look at the door and…
The ugly part about this is the main area of the crypt is somewhat open and has plenty of undead to deal with. We get swarmed pretty quickly.Just to make things even more fun, they’re cold immune, so Icy rain won’t help me. Fortunately, outside of the ghoul’s previously mentioned ability to slow people. Undead individually aren’t all that tough at this point.There’s a handful of side rooms, they’re all either empty or reveal more undead to deal with. The highlight is Theza Blooddrinker, an undead with some nasty debuff and lightening spells. Though there’s also a hidden room or two if you keep an eye out The big prize is this book near Thraxa, That’s our third and final rank of the heal spell accounted for.
Not pictured: The large number of ogres the giant brought with him. Fortunately, these guys aren’t cold immune. Even better, Aldous has a trait called Challenge, which passively draws nearby enemies into fighting him over other targets. It’s not perfect, my back line has a couple close calls and poor Marion passes out for what I think is h\the third time this update, but this could have easily been a lot worse.
With that done, we return to Formello to hand the quests in. At this point we’re more or less done up here. There’s a fort to the north I might visit since that’s the only major landmark in this part of the caves. but otherwise we’re all set to go south and visit the Tower of Magi on my way to Castle Avernum.