Fortunately we’re going north, away from said angry person. I would of liked to explore more of the immediate caverns but all I found of major interest was a Nephil fort who’s guards punched my face in. So I guess we’ll have to get to that later.
Compared to what we’ve seen so far. Formello and the surrounding caves look more like actual civilization. There’s mushroom fields everywhere outside, along with traveling merchants, and their beasts of burden, There’s no horses in Avernum – apparently Hawthorne hasn’t come up with a good excuse to exile them yet – so they use giant lizards instead,
There’s also a job board,, which I sadly forgot to screenshot. It’s mostly standard stuff save for one thing; a very odd smelling pouch to be delivered to someone named Motrax. Who’s Motrax? A rancher nearby knows a bit about him.Motrax is a Dragon hanging out north of town, one of apparently 5 living in the caves apparently. Surprisingly, nobody seems worry about the fact that there’s a freaking dragon, nearby, quite the opposite, Ken is suggesting I go say ‘hi’, and it sounds like other people have done the same.In fact, elsewhere in town is a guy who’s apparently talked to him before! He was researching something called the orb of Thralni, along with someone named Leith who’s still at the cave. That might be worth looking into later, though I have to wonder why this guy is so worked up.…OK nevermind!
The big news in town though is the trainers. The skill trainer doesn’t sell much and is again too expensive to really think about. But the real news is Formello has trainers for both priest and mages spells. Well stocked ones two. There’s also an equipment shop selling weapons and more importantly, armor. We haven’t seen an armor salesman before now. Sadly, money is still kind of tight and I’ll be putting what cash I can get hold of towards filling out my spellbooks. Besides, Adolus isn’t strong enough to wear a breastplate yet.
It’s also worth nothing that the local priest temple is to Chance. Apparently everyone having the bad luck to get tossed down here has led to said luck becoming the local religion. They don’t pray to it mind you. They just kind of learn to deal with it.
It kind of says a lot about Avernum when you have a religion best summed up with “Shit happens, watcha gonna do?”
Finally, let’s talk to the mayor, it’s why we’re hear after all. Seems she has a major problem: Nephil stole her gold necklace! more importantly, said necklace is enchanted, she explains every mayor of Avernum has one. It has the magical ability to send and receiving messages over a long distances. This is important as sending messages by hand though the caves is quite difficult. It wasn’t brought up but I’d suspect that like with the horses, the empire hasn’t found an excuse to start exiling pigeons yet.The Necklace of Teamspeak is in a nephil fort nearby, and we’ll definitely go get it. first though, we have a quest to clear out the tunnels below town. Time to go double underground again!
fortunately, there’s a trap door leading down on the other side of town.It leads to another of those pylon things. I activate it, but can’t use it just yet. I’ll probably need to visit the mage tower first.
Meanwhile, a hidden switch leads to the rat nest I’m looking for.Suffice it to say this is a pretty uneventful trip. a small path leading to room with a bunch of rats in it. I clean house in short order and collect my reward.With that done, we had out of town to handle a few things.
A secret nets us a Wisdom Crystal, granting one part member a free chunk of XP.We also find the ogre we need to kill for a job board quest. He’s pretty tough, and his hits can readily knock party members away. Plus he has lizards helping him. Fortunately Cordelia knows Icy Rain, an attack spell that can hit everyone in a small area. it makes dealing with groups a lot easier.
Suffice it to say, I like this Icy Rain spell. Avernum doesn’t shy away form throwing large groups of enemies at you, so we’ll be getting a lot of mileage out of it.Sadly, I didn’t find that alternative entrance. So we have to do this the hard way. The worst part is the hallway leading in. There’s arches on either side, and trying to run through the hallway gets boiling oil dropped on you from above. along with even more Nephil waiting in the next room. It’s not impossible, but you need a good healer and have to be quick about getting into the next room before the oil can drop again.Blossthus here is pretty nasty, he’s surprisingly tough for a spell caster, plus his has a nasty lightening spell and another spell that tries to slow your entire party. It takes an attempt or two to successfully bring him down.
One thing I should probably mention right now is that the fort is pretty big. So far all the places we’ve visit have been one small area, This place has three floors. I actually had to run back to town a few times to sell stuff and restore HP and EP, It’s easily the first major dungeon in the game. There’s also a lot of cats here. not just the nephil. I mean actually, four-legged kitty cats. I’m not sure why the catfolk keep cats around, but they do. Sadly, they’re pretty small so I never got a good screenshot of one, but there’s enough of them running around that one or two might have snuck into a screenshot or two while I wasn’t looking.
Anyway, I’d head downstairs, but we’ve got something important to deal with up above first.
Taking it out means the oil trap at the entrance stops working. so getting in and out is much easier. you’ll still have to deal with enemies occasionally respawning, but compared to what’s initially in the fort? its nothing, just the occasional nephil or tow to get in the way.With that done, we head back downstairs to look around.There’s some lizards and a few Nephil down below. nothing interesting, until…
Approach the door at the back, and the walls slide away to reveal Ghouls. Ghouls are a pain to deal with, their every attack can slow their target, Leaving you with party members stuck standing around while they get beaten up. Even better? They’re immune to cold damage, so Icy Rain doesn’t help. My only option is to have Mycroft keep everyone alive while the others focus on bringing them down one at a time, whenever they can actually act that is.A side room behind the ghouls has a bronze key, but we already got one off the goblins. My guess is this is a backup in case players came here first.
We find a torture chamber, and in it, a prisoner!He’s a bit weird though. He claims he’s a master of escape, and has been in and out of this fortress several times already.You’d think he’d be dead, but the person running this place a woman named Zemera seems to have taken a liking to him.
Zemera is surprisingly, human. how a human ended up leading a fort of Nephil? Maybe we’ll find out in a bit. The real question is, why is Kneedler still here, given he could leave any time now?
Anyway, we need to make our way upstairs. One thing I should point out is that Many dungeons in Avernum have sort of mini bosses. I haven’t really been pointing them out much because well… the game doesn’t. Sure we have Blossthus and Darkhaz in the fort. But there’s others, both here and in previous dungeons, that sort of show up with no fanfare. in the screenshot above is a nephil named Subchief Darmul. He’s the reddish one. He doesn’t say anything or do anything special, he’s just tougher than normal. The only way to know he is Subchief Darmul is when you mouse over him and see that’s what his label says.
Suffice it to say, unless it’s an interesting case like Blossthus or Darkhaz, I’m not likely to note when I run into these guys. The lack of acknowledgement form the game means I’m not likely ot notice a lot of them until it’s to late to speak up anyway.
Searching the ground floor. We find these notes. Wee have an idea o where the necklace is now, and it seems that key we got off the goblins is needed to get at it. At this point we’re running out of floor to search, so we might as well head upstairs.There’s undead on the other side of this door. It’s not super important, I just like how silly this sign is. Eventually we find Zemera to the southeast.
Zemera’s a pretty typical power mad sorceress. Fortunately, being away form people for so long, she’s up for a chat. of note, you might recall way back at the start of this adventure, Lagran mentioning an Abyss in the middle of his crazed ranting? She describes it briefly.
She also tells us how she became the leader here. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it involved a lot of killing nephil and yelling threats at them until they got the point.Zemera’s a fairly heavy hitting spellcaster, but her guards aren’t much of a threat and the cramped room means Icy Rain hits almost everyone. She doesn’t last too long.Her robe makes some nice armor for Cordelia.
The rooms past Zemera’s contains some loot and interestingly, this journal. Zemera will gladly tell you most of the details herself if you talk to her. but if you skipped talking or just want a nice synopsis of what happened? There you go.
Our bronze key unlocks this door. The temple is inside.The fight inside is pretty nasty. The larger room means everyone doesn’t start nice and clumped up for an Icy Rain, and the ghouls are immune anyway. And while you’re busy fighting with them, The priest way in the back can poison the entire party.As a final “Screw you!” from the game, if you destroy the alter imps appear. fortunately, they’re not that tough. The fight with them was so quick I forgot to grab a screenshot of it.
I should mention a bit about how spells work. All spells have 3 ranks. Two of them you can buy from trainers, just like you can purchase 2 points of any skill off a skill trainer. The third rank you have to find out in the world, such as with this spell book here. you can get the ranks in any order. Mycroft learned Call Storm here, so he’ll have to buy ranks 2 and 3 off a trainer.
With all that done, we’re set to leave Formello for awhile. The great cave to the south is open to us now and with it Castle Avernum and the Mage Tower. But there’s still the matter of the dragon Motrax somewhere to the north, so we might want to take a little detour first to see what he has to say.