Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Categories

Dark Dreams of Furiae - a new module for NWN:EE! Buy now
Attention, new and old users! Please read the new rules of conduct for the forums, and we hope you enjoy your stay!

IWD2 Playthrough (RP, minimal reload)

Hello! So, inspired by some of the other threads here, I decided to document my own RP-ed playthrough. However, I decided to try giving IWD2 a go instead of the BG saga. I've played the start of this game a lot, but normally lose interest in the ice temple, so I'm hoping that documenting it here will keep me going. I really enjoy the freedom in character creation and the first few chapters of the game, but later on it can be a bit of a slog, so by focusing on the characters, I'm hoping I'll stick with it.

I've always enjoyed RP over powergaming (heck, I normally play on easy), but I will try to include a little detail about the battles so people can enjoy judging me provide feedback

I absolutely love playing with my own characters, but I thought it might be fun to try something a bit different, so I'll be playing with the cohorts from Neverwinter Nights 2: Storms of Zehir. In game, these companions are similar to BG1 NPCs (bare-boned, but with a dash of personality - just enough to inspire, but also provide creative freedom). I've spent the last few days painstakingly creating soundsets from their limited audio, as well as combing through pinterest to find even half decent portraits.

I know lots of people don’t enjoy IWD or IWD2 to the same extent as BG, but maybe someone will be interested in following along, all the same. Fair warning, I’m no wordsmith!

Anyway, without further ado, here are the characters I ended up with.

Lastri Kassireh - the halfing duelist
ozojcazzq1zn.png
Originally from Neverwinter, Lastri is the former ship captain of the merchant vessel the Vigilant, which was tasked with transporting the famed author Volothamp Geddarm from Neverwinter to the jungles of Samargol. After a series of unfortunate events (play NWN2: SoZ for details), she was left with no ship, no money, no crew and no hope, her reputation as a captain in tatters. Stranded and alone, she decided to form her own adventuring party, hoping to earn enough coin to eventually buy a new ship and hire a new crew.

What Lastri lacks for in size and strength, she makes up for in courage, determination and gusto. Prone to rash action, she is able to compensate for her lack of planning by thinking on her feet, and she can often be found in the thick of battle, toe-to-toe with the toughest of opponents. She may be headstrong and even a little domineering at times, but she is also the life and soul of the party, and her bellowing voice can cut through the clamour of the tavern as easily as it can cut through the wind in a raging storm.

Author’s note: Her build isn’t ideal, but I was really enamoured with the idea of a loud, bossy halfling sailor. She will also double as lockpicker and trip-disarmer when she takes a level or two of rogue - I reckon sailors need to be pretty good with their hands, dealing with all that rope… right?)

Umoja - the human druid
d6yg7oczephw.png

Umoja is from the jungles of Chult, a druid and worshipper of Ubtao, the Father of Dinosaurs. With his dinosaur companion Yushai, it was Umoja that convinced Lastri to seek her fortune in the blistering cold of the Spine of the World. He believes that life, like the jungles which he calls home, is a maze - a test that must be navigated before one can find peace in the afterlife. It is impossible to predict how the maze of life will twist and turn, and he therefore did not question why when he felt a gentle, insistent tug, calling him northwards.

Considerate and kind, many think Umoja’s relaxed temperament seems at odds with the harshness of the jungles in which he was raised (and the ferociousness of his protector, Yushai). He is friendly and easygoing, though he prefers to listen than to speak, making him a calm, reassuring presence that complements Lastri’s impulsivity and passion.

Author’s note: Obviously, it’s not possible to have a dinosaur animal companion in game. I’m pretty sure a dinosaur would die in the cold, but we will just imagine that the animal companion bond and some sort of magic allows Yushai to survive.

Grykk Bannersworn - the half-orc paladin
zo96fz66tcwg.png

Abandoned at a temple of Torm as a squalling child, Grykk was raised by the monks therein to be a devout and faithful champion of his faith. Raised on principles of structure and discipline, Grykk found joy in the calmness and routine of temple life, and through Torm, Grykk found purpose and peace. It wasn’t until he left the protection of Torm’s temple so that he could better help the needy that he realised that not everyone would treat him so fairly. A half-orc is rarely welcomed warmly, let alone one armed to the teeth, and Grykk has found it difficult to accept that most people do not trust him and would sooner reject his aid than associate with him. He has travelled with Lastri and the others away from the prejudice he faced in cities to the Ten Towns, where he hopes his actions will create a stronger impression than his appearance.

Formal and a little stiff, Grykk can come across as uptight and serious to those who meet him. However, his zeal and fury when combating injustice belies an inner turmoil raging within him. He claims that his lineage is nothing more than an accident of birth and rejects his orcish heritage completely, but despite this, there is a black rage in his heart that he struggles to control - one that he secretly fears runs deep in his blood and bone. He therefore tries to compensate for this chaos within him by keeping busy with incessant, almost-compulsive drills, routines and practice. Despite his stilted, pompous speech and his impossibly high standards, people who take the time to get to know him recognise that there is a tenderness to him, and few could match his courage, integrity and dedication to making the world a better place.

Author’s note: Definite Anomen vibes here, although I don’t intend for him to be nearly as arrogant or prejudiced. There is no paladin of Torm available so I went with Helm. I could have changed the narrative, but I think Torm works a lot better for him, so we will just have to use our imagination.


Inshula sar Mashewe - the human ranger
0a2bmtpbvqi0.png

Hailing from Tashalar, a small nation far to the south, Inshula and her sister, Kwesi, are both skilled hunters and trackers. Always looking to challenge themselves, Inshula and her sister sailed to the jungles of Samarach, hoping to test their skills against new and challenging foes. Unfortunately, on the journey, her sister was gravely injured, and Inshula did not possess the patience to wait while her sister recovered. She therefore ventured onwards alone. It is then that she met Lastri and her companions, and she readily agreed to travel with them north, keen to see what challenges the wilds of the northern forests would offer her.

Inshula is a woman of few words, often perceived as aloof and haughty. In truth, she prefers to say little because she finds that most people she meets are disingenuous and false, saying one thing and meaning another. She has therefore learned to ignore the honeyed words of strangers and trust her instincts. After all, in the wilds, instincts are the key to survival, and Inshula prides herself on her keen intuition. In the jungles of Tashalar, she learned that danger can come when you least expect it, so Tashular acts as the eyes and ears of the party. In battle, she tends to hang back and protect the frailer members, peppering any enemy foolish enough to come within range of her deadly bolts.

Author's note: Wakanda forever!

Quarrel - the half-drow warlock/sorcerer
dgjb4hjcqfnx.png

Drow are feared and hated all over the surface world, and often for good reason. Even half-drow, who are often raised on the surface, are viewed with just as much hostility. Treated by those around him with, at best, disdain and pity, or at worst, revulsion and abhorrence, Quarrel grew up to be an angry young man. Incredibly gifted, he scorned those around him while also craving their validation, which he never received. He swore revenge on those who tormented him, vowing that if it was a devil they wanted, a devil they would get. He therefore sought out a master to help him develop his innate arcane powers. He had shown signs of being a sorcerer at any early age, but all his life, he had struggled to contain and control his abilities. Eventually, he found a master, who taught him how to embrace his fell powers, but before his training was complete, his master mysteriously vanished, leaving Quarrel alone once more. He was surprised when Lastri and her band offered him the chance to travel with them to the frozen north, but he decided that there was safety in numbers, and the goblin hordes threatening the Ten Towns would make excellent practice for him to continue to develop his arcane might and plot his revenge.

For obvious reasons, Quarrel has a hard time trusting people. A lifetime of bad experiences has made him wary, and he is always straddling the line between cold, condescending indifference and firey, explosive rage. This rage often leads to disastrous consequences in battle, where Quarrel releases his frustration and pain with wild abandon, caring little for who or what gets in his way. Sometimes it is not clear who he is so angry at - his enemies, the world at large, or maybe himself.

Author’s note: In SoZ, Quarrel is a broody warlock, obsessed with following in the footsteps of his master, Ammon Jerro from the main NWN2 campaign. No warlock class in IWD2, so I’ve had to take some liberties.

Chir Darkflame - the deep gnome mage
stp82bl2h8gp.png

Like most gnomes, Chir always possessed an innate curiosity. However, unlike most gnomes, Chir’s curiosity had a dark and macabre bent to it. Known for pushing boundaries in her field of research, she seemed to care little for the suffering she caused, and sometimes even revelled in it. She was never happier than when she was dissecting a new specimen, a maniacal glee in her eyes and a happy tune on her lips. The tale of her journey to the surface was a long one (involving arrest, mindflayers and being sold into slavery) but suffice it to say, she managed to escape, and she revelled in her newfound freedom on the surface - no more stern-faced, joyless family warning her that she was risking the safety of her clan, just total, unbridled intellectual freedom! Rather than being concerned, the party are baffled and bemused by Chir’s passion and curiosity. It seems they have yet to realise just how far she will go in her pursuit of knowledge.

With her excitable voice and her sweet appearance, one might be mistaken for thinking of Chir as cute. She has a boundless energy and optimism (completely alien to any respectable deep gnome) that can be in part infectious and in part exhausting. People often leave a conversation with Chir feeling confused and dazed because her mind moves a mile a minute, and words tend to tumble out of her mouth in a torrent of excitable cheer. This works in her favour, however, because it somewhat helps to distract the listener from what she is saying, which is often related to her grim projects.

Author’s note: Chir is a generalist mage in SoZ, but both her and Quarrel are already at a level disadvantage due to their races, and I didn’t want to impair her even further by losing an extra spell per level. I initially chose illusionist because gnomes have a natural affinity for it, particularly deep gnomes, but I decided to switch her to a Transmuter because illusion magic did not really fit with her love of dissection and curiosity about the way the world works. It drives me nuts that this portrait doesn't really match the others, but there are very few female deep gnome portraits. If anyone finds one, feel free to send it my way please!

Final comments: I’m playing on Normal mode because I’m not brave enough to play on anything harder, but I may increase the difficulty later on if I think things are going too smoothly. I’m also playing with the semiOverhaul mod for IWD2 (link below), which I wish I had discovered before, so let's see how it goes!

https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/69911/semioverhaul-for-iwd2-update/p1

I'd love to hear any feedback or comment, if anyone decides to read along!

RaoJuliusBorisovStummvonBordwehrGate70IseweinRedRodentAerakarmonico
«1

Comments

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,282
    The ice temple is a boring dungeon but the game goes back on track after that, stick to it!

    energisedcamelJuliusBorisovmonico
  • energisedcamelenergisedcamel Member Posts: 85
    Hi @Rao! Thanks so much for your feedback. You absolutely give me too much credit, but hey, who I am to turn down praise!

    1) I hope I get to explore those ideas in depth! I am trying to let go of my instinct to over-analyse and plan and just write whatever comes to me, because if not, I will happily spend hours googling relatively unimportant details like "typical Chult diet" and "how were crossbows made in medieval times" (and have a great time doing it) and make no progress in the story. For now, I am just hoping that I will be able to find a balance between authentic and easy-to-write!

    Regarding Grykk, I actually didn't have comedy in mind, though maybe such situations will arise organically as I write - in Storm of Zehir, he speaks pretty formally, but has a low intelligence. I like to think he was just raised very strictly and his manner of speech and pompous attitude are a symptom of the environment he was raised in. I think of it as similar to people who attend expensive private schools who manage to succeed academically, despite being dumber than a box of rocks. I imagine the strict monks of Torm were very intolerant of poorly expressed ideas, or god forbid, incorrect grammar and I'm sure he spent many hours of his childhood writing lines for some poorly-worded thought, haha. Also I am taking some liberties with ability scores because I need to survive the game ;) I still quite haven't thought of a reason to explain why Quarrel has a charisma of 18, despite the fact I imagine him to be as charming as an angsty hormone-filled adolescent who thinks the world is set against him (which is to say, not very).

    2) I think your analysis is much better than the prose itself, tbh! I loved hearing your interpretation! I wish I could claim that such thoughtful analysis went into the writing, but I am not nearly good enough. It's one of the reasons I chose the diary format, because I am not capable of imaginative prose full of beautiful figurative language and evocative descriptions! You're absolutely right about Umoja's conflicting feelings, and it is something he will have to battle with in the future, because IWD2, like IWD, is pretty much just endless slaughtering.

    3) Thanks for the feedback. With the format I've chosen (diary entries of a specific character, etc.), it makes it a little difficult to give play-by-play accounts of battles, so I am just going to see how things develop and follow my gut. If anyone reading would like to hear more about the tactics and battles, perhaps that's something I can consider in the future, where battles are a much more significant part of the game, but for now, I think the RP element is more fun for me.

    4) My idea is to write different "chapters" from different character's perspectives, although there are definitely some kinks I need to work out, considering this is a playthrough and not a real story or novel. I might send you a PM to get your thoughts on it, if you don't mind, because I really respect your opinion, but I don't want to bore anyone else reading here!

    5) In that case, I hope I provide enough details for the story to make sense! It will be great to get feedback from someone with a fresh perspective :smile:

    Again, thanks so much for your thoughtful feedback. It really made my day! (I will definitely try to provide some commentary more exciting than "THIS IS AMAZING!!1!!" in your own playthrough)

    JuliusBorisovRaoBelgarathMTHAerakar
  • RaoRao Member Posts: 141
    Always a pleasure to offer whatever off-the-cuff impressions I can - I"m glad you found them interesting/helpful. Happy to field some questions via PM, but can't promise same-day turn-arounds haha

    Anyway, don't sell yourself short. I'm excited to see what this thread has in store :) Hope you have as much fun writing it as we all do reading it!

    energisedcamelJuliusBorisov
  • Gate70Gate70 Member, Developer Posts: 3,769
    Hello
    That's a good read so far, will try to follow updates.

    I finished an IWD II playthrough on Wednesday with the difficulty slider on middle setting apart from three encounters (Chult guardian, Lost Followers in Kuldahar and the final duo). There were a few more reloads than I liked, not having played the game for many years, my party being sub-optimal for situations such as the hook-horror spawns and my gaming skills are on the decline! 20-30 reloads overall so could have been a lot worse.

    I redid the final battle last night on the central difficulty and a different strategy, and was surprised how easy it was given the first time through my party was quickly wiped out. I'd been doing a bit of the game each day so checked over my saves to see how long this had taken and it's been going since 23 March - UK lockdown. The first save is from 13 June 2016 and I vaguely remembering rolling up the party and stopping there, and in March must have decided to use them instead of rolling up 6 more victims.

    Almost gave up a few times but glad I persevered. The music throughout was phenomenal. I thought the dialogue was really good in places - didn't make notes of it unfortunately so that will be my plan for next time through the game. I'm not sure the game areas related very well to each other and felt like a series of mini games instead of one epic adventure .

    Anyway, enjoy your game and I'll try to find the mod you linked (link doesn't work when I try it)

    BelgarathMTHenergisedcamelJuliusBorisovAerakar
  • energisedcamelenergisedcamel Member Posts: 85
    Gate70 wrote: »
    Hello
    That's a good read so far, will try to follow updates.

    I finished an IWD II playthrough on Wednesday with the difficulty slider on middle setting apart from three encounters (Chult guardian, Lost Followers in Kuldahar and the final duo). There were a few more reloads than I liked, not having played the game for many years, my party being sub-optimal for situations such as the hook-horror spawns and my gaming skills are on the decline! 20-30 reloads overall so could have been a lot worse.

    I redid the final battle last night on the central difficulty and a different strategy, and was surprised how easy it was given the first time through my party was quickly wiped out. I'd been doing a bit of the game each day so checked over my saves to see how long this had taken and it's been going since 23 March - UK lockdown. The first save is from 13 June 2016 and I vaguely remembering rolling up the party and stopping there, and in March must have decided to use them instead of rolling up 6 more victims.

    Almost gave up a few times but glad I persevered. The music throughout was phenomenal. I thought the dialogue was really good in places - didn't make notes of it unfortunately so that will be my plan for next time through the game. I'm not sure the game areas related very well to each other and felt like a series of mini games instead of one epic adventure .

    Anyway, enjoy your game and I'll try to find the mod you linked (link doesn't work when I try it)

    Congratulations on finishing! I think the lockdown has inspired many of us to dust off old games and give them a whirl. Even though I've stated this is a minimal reload, I wouldn't be surprised if I reach 20-30 reloads too. I completely agree about the dialogue and the music (not to mention the location art is stunning). Not quite sure why the mod link isn't working, but it has some pretty nifty features that you might appreciate (chief among them that you can skip chapters you don't like - though I didn't install that this time). Thanks for reading!

  • IseweinIsewein Member Posts: 375
    edited May 2020
    IWD2 is so underrated. I had a great time playing it last year with the IWD2 NPC mod. It really takes the basic promise of the actually pretty decent story and expands on it, offering a myriad of opportunities for an RP-heavy playthrough. :) Try it sometimes, if you haven't yet.

    energisedcamel
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,615
    Before I read this latest entry, I had no idea there was a difference in definition between "maze" and "labyrinth". So, you taught me something there.

    One thing that I was left wondering is how a dinosaur animal companion is supposed to receive a written letter. Does Targos still have messengers traveling out? Who would receive the letter on behalf of the animal? Is it so supernaturally intelligent that it can understand language and read? Or was Umoja just writing as an exercise of self-expression and to leave a record, similar to but not quite the same as keeping a journal? Does he have a telepathic link with his animal companion such that it can hear him even over great distance? Could writing down his thoughts to the animal function as kind of a spell that helps maintain the telepathic link while the two are separated?

    This whole entry leaves me with a lot of questions about the details of the druid-animal companion relationship being portrayed. I'm reminded a bit of Anne McAffrey's "Dragonriders of Pern" series. She spent pretty much the whole first book laying out the details of how a human rider bonds with and communicates with his dragon, before she relaxed into writing normal conversations and interactions between the two.

    Also, I can't remember if Icewind Dale 2 has any animal companion mechanic for druids and rangers. I don't think it does, does it? That's kind of too bad. I believe it was there in 3rd edition rules, and it was implemented very well for Neverwinter Nights, but IWD 2 was a really early attempt to make a 3rd edition D&D game, so maybe they couldn't figure out how to implement it back then, or didn't have the time in development to do it?

    energisedcamelJuliusBorisov
  • energisedcamelenergisedcamel Member Posts: 85
    @Rao, thanks again for your great feedback :)

    1) I really love these little questionnaires. I actually often do something similar when I make a party from scratch, just for fun, but I haven't done anything similar with this lot yet (it can be a little intimidating and time-consuming to do it for 6 characters :sweat_smile:). Definitely a good suggestion to help round them out as characters, I agree. Thank you!

    2 & 3 & 4) Yeah, I surprised myself a little with his reactions, but it just seemed right. Ubtao seems kind of distant and aloof as a god, so I'm interpreting that as Umoja not feeling the need to stick his nose in and tell everyone what they should and shouldn't do. This is part of why Umoja is confused about feeling this subtle but insistent tug northwards (which he assumes is a gentle nudge from Ubtao), because Ubtao normally doesn't interfere directly in people's lives.

    Ubtao is a True Neutral god, even though Umoja himself has a good alignment, so I'm trying to find a balance. Ubtao thinks people just need to find their lot in life and reach a sort of inner peace (regardless of whether or not this lifestyle aligns with his morals and dogma), whereas Umoja naturallt likes and wants to help people, and wants to help guide them through life/the maze, however he can. Like I said, there's not much info on Ubtao, so I'm just making it up as I go along!

    Regarding the nature aspect and the triad, it's something I've found a bit difficult, because Ubtao is so closely tied to Chult, jungles and dinosaurs (none of which the north has). My plan is to not worry about it and just see what happens as I write :lol: I know next to nothing about dinosaurs or jungles, so I'm definitely freewheeling!

    5) Ohhh these are great! Thank you! Quarrel and Chir are definitely the ones I'm struggling most with because they are both outcasts (and have morals so completely different to my own). I'm sure one of your suggestions will work for them. Or if not, not everyone needs a chapter from their perspective. Maybe it will add a little bit of mystery...

    @BelgarathMTH Good question! I did a bit of research and there's no telepathic or magical link between an animal companion and their druid, at least according the sources I checked. They're basically just best buddies! Umoja has no way of contacting Yushai, and Yushai wouldn't be able to comprehend any of it anyway (I think he would have an intelligence of 2, if we're being generous). It's more just like an internal monologue, directed at Yushai - similar to how people kind of "talk" to loved ones who have died about their day, their dreams, their fears, etc. You don't expect a response, but it can be comforting nonetheless.

    You're right about there being no animal companions in IWD2 :( That would have been really cool!

    Thank you both so much for your feedback and questions. I really appreciate anyone who takes the time to read!

    BelgarathMTHRaoJuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 21,618
    Hope you'll be able to fix the issues with the audio eventually. This has been a great playthrough.

    Raoenergisedcamel
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,615
    @energisedcamel , That was a great chapter; I enjoyed it.

    If it gets to be too much work or not as fun to write detailed narrative in formal style, I'd still be interested in reading any abbreviated reporting style you might care to change to. I haven't played Icewind Dale 2 in a long time, and I don't even know the ending parts of it. I'd like to read a reported run with a few screenshots, even without the fully written out version.

    Also, you might inspire someone else to try a minimal or no reload run of IWD 2 and report it, which I would also enjoy reading about.

    AerakarenergisedcamelJuliusBorisov
  • energisedcamelenergisedcamel Member Posts: 85
    @energisedcamel , That was a great chapter; I enjoyed it.

    If it gets to be too much work or not as fun to write detailed narrative in formal style, I'd still be interested in reading any abbreviated reporting style you might care to change to. I haven't played Icewind Dale 2 in a long time, and I don't even know the ending parts of it. I'd like to read a reported run with a few screenshots, even without the fully written out version.

    Also, you might inspire someone else to try a minimal or no reload run of IWD 2 and report it, which I would also enjoy reading about.

    Thanks @BelgarathMTH! I'll definitely keep that in mind if I get tired of the longer write-ups. For now I'm still enjoying it, but if I change my mind, I'll try to keep posting here with shorter summaries. It would be great to see another IWD2 run here!

    RaoBelgarathMTHAerakarJuliusBorisov
  • IseweinIsewein Member Posts: 375
    Thank you for doing this in-character writeup. IWD2 is criminally underrated.

    AerakarBelgarathMTHJuliusBorisovenergisedcamel
  • energisedcamelenergisedcamel Member Posts: 85
    Author's note: So, just to remind anyone who's forgotten/didn't read the first post, Quarrel had a brief period of training under a master sorcerer (in Neverwinter Nights 2: Storms of Zehir, it is the warlock Ammon Jerro, from the main campaign). His master up and left without a trace, so this instalment is like a sort of monologue, vaguely addressed to him (similar to the Umoja instalment). I'm not sure how well it works, but it was the easiest way for me to this, and I'm all about doing what is easiest.

    5th Mirtul, 1312 - Year of the Griffon

    I sometimes wonder, master, if you ever cared about my training at all. You taught me to harness my magic and gave me a taste of power, of control, and then you disappeared without a trace. Now I find myself chasing a high I will never be able to recreate, like a weak-willed black lotus addict.

    In our pursuit of Torak, my magic has proven to be of little use. My travelling companions say nothing, but I feel their judging eyes and mocking laughter as they jest and banter gaily about who took down the most orcs in our most recent battle. I must not let them see me as weak, or they will abandon me here in this frozen hell, and until I have more control over my powers, I need their protection.

    Pursuing the fleeing Torak, we were met with yet another ambush, a dozen clay-brained orcs frothing at the mouths and eager to die by our hands. Unsurprisingly, Torak himself fled, once again.
    weravcox5k8w.png

    In the midst of our battle, a priestess appeared out of nowhere and came to our aid. After the slaughter, she approached us and said that during the chaos of the battle, her gods-blessed sword had been stolen by a troll, of all things. How stupid one must be to be robbed by such a lumbering, ungainly creature?
    jtxuf66cxun0.png

    Lastri had the good sense to ask what the priestess would offer us in return for its retrieval, and she said she would be happy to provide healing, free of charge. I believe she said she is a Selûnite, or some such. It matters little to me. Divine magic is infinitely inferior to the complexities of the arcane - what skill is there in walking up to the local temple and paying a little lip service? As you taught me, master, yes I needed your guidance to channel my gifts, but my power comes from within. I will admit, however, that it is important my companions stay healthy if they are to protect me properly, and I am not so stupid as to reject free healing.

    The priestess also told us of a nearby logging community to the east, who she suspected needed aid against the orcs. The hulking half-orc, Grykk, was predictably outraged and insisted we investigate, even though we were already heading that way in our pursuit of Torak. Luckily he possessed enough common sense to avoid rushing in. He said that he had a bad feeling about what they had waiting for us and thus concluded that we needed to approach cautiously. A self-righteous, stupid bore he might be, but he is not a complete fool.

    As we got closer to the village, we were approached by a woman who warned us that if we came any closer, Torak would slaughter all the villagers, who he was keeping hostage. Alone, I would have burned the village to the ground, villagers and all. In any other situation, they would no doubt try to burn me at a stake, as so many have tried before. Instead, I kept my mouth shut. What do I care if my bleeding-heart companions want to rescue them? It is no business of mine, and if I am to master my powers, I need all the practice I can get.

    The woman informed us that there was a way to rescue the villagers, but it would require sneaking. The villagers were being kept in the logging camp, locked behind a massive gate too high to scale, and guarded by a large contingency of orcs. The gate, she informed us, could only be opened by turning a wheel located in the village, currently occupied by Torak and the remaining orcs.

    She suggested - as if it was the easiest thing in the world - sneaking into the camp and opening the gates. She drew a layout of the village in the snow, indicating how we could sneak in unnoticed if she provided a distraction.

    Author's note - she provides no such distraction, but in the game you can walk right by someone in the middle of the day "invisible". From a narrative perspective, that's just insanity.

    I think Grykk would have volunteered himself if no one else had offered, but I’m sure he was relieved when Inshula volunteered. I don’t know if she is worryingly stupid or spectacularly confident, and I also don’t know if I should admire or despair that she is so blasé about risking her life. I noticed that Chir did not say anything, despite her race’s innate magical ability to turn invisible. Smart girl.

    Author’s note: Or maybe I just forgot about that ability?

    Watching Inshula walk alone towards the village, I must admit I was nervous. If you had taught me more, master, I would not need to rely on anyone, but losing Inshula now would put me at incredible risk, as she is often the one defending Chir and I on the outskirts of the battlefield.

    While Inshula was away, we waited anxiously by the gates to the logging camp, ready to slip past. It felt like an eternity, and for once, the others were silent, teeth chattering in the cold wind, lost in their own thoughts. After a long while, the gate cracked open and in we rushed, ready to take the orcs by surprise.
    v910xnkbasty.png

    Inshula later informed us that she had succeeded, but just barely. She had entered the camp easily enough, thanks to the villager’s distraction, but had almost tripped on a tent peg and fallen. Luckily the orcs were too busy arguing to hear her, and she had been able to sneak past the guards, open the gate and sneak out again without being noticed, but she had been very, very lucky.

    Author’s note: This was stressful! There’s a potion of invisibility in the ruins of one of the houses, but I arrogantly thought that was too metagamey and then this happened! This was stupid of me, especially considering Inshula’s low intelligence means she can’t have Hide in Shadows and Move Silently at the highest level (because I want points in Wilderness Lore, which is apparently very useful later on).
    meuuh8eneh44.png

    The villagers were being kept like a herd of cattle in a pen, with some signature Torak explosive barrels waiting in the middle to obliterate them all into a cloud of pink dust. Luckily for Grykk and his soft heart, the orc who was supposed to light the barrel decided to attack us with his flaming arrows, instead of setting off the explosive.

    Author’s note: Dumb AI.

    We took care of the orcs guarding the villagers quickly, though not unscathed. Somehow, the orcs in camp did not hear the dying screams and outraged roars of their dying tribesmen. Lastri, Grykk and Umoja then started to free the villagers.
    6n7xcrkapz7o.png

    For our efforts, the villagers offered us only their thanks, “too poor” to reward us in coin. Even after rescuing them, they glared at Grykk, Chir and I warily, eyes burning with hatred and suspicion. How I despise all these small-minded yokels; they are as weak as new-born lambs, but still think of themselves as better than us.

    After that, all that was left to do was confront Torak himself. At this point, it felt like we had already single-handedly defeated an army of orcs, and Inshula reported that in the orc camp, there was only a rudimentary force.
    i4x0xrb8w4jb.png

    Author’s note: Forgot to take any screenshots of the battle. Oops!

    We lured the orcs out of the camp, and then proceeded to take them down, the druid Umoja once more entangling the orcs in vines and summoning a localised electrical storm. This allowed the fighters to solely focus on the orcs who managed to break free and escape the storm, just a few at a time.

    As I said, I fear my talents did not prove useful. In the battle, I had to resort to casting the most simple of cantrips and shooting my bow. If I don’t prove myself soon, my companions may abandon me. I know they hold little love for me, and people will look for any excuse to abandon one such as I. I would happily sneak away one night and leave them before they can leave me, but I am simply not strong enough yet to survive on my own here...

    With Torak dead, we will now inform the villagers of his demise and then search for the priestess’s tacky moon sword. Truth be told, I am exhausted and my magic is spent, but for now, I am in no position to make demands that we stop and rest. I will not let them see me as the weakest link.

    Master, it is so frustrating to know how much power resides in my veins, and yet not be able to access it! I am stronger than all of these weaklings combined! There is a swirling river of magic coursing through me, and all I can do is dip my toes in it. I feel it bubbling just under the surface, a hair's breadth away…

    Why did you abandon me, master? Did I do something to displease you? Just when we had started to make progress, you left without a word.

    I swear, if I ever see you again, I will make you rue the day you deserted me. I just need to grow stronger, and quickly. I will show them, and I will show you. I will show you all that I am not to be underestimated.

    RaoAerakarBelgarathMTHRedRodent
  • energisedcamelenergisedcamel Member Posts: 85
    Author’s note: I was struggling to figure out how to write from Chir’s perspective because she doesn’t really have anyone to write to, and I don’t imagine her writing a diary, so here are some of the short notes she writes to herself, scribbling away while the others are looting/scouting/whatever (thanks for the suggestion @Rao ). Does anyone else find it difficult to play as high intelligence characters? IRL, my intelligence is no higher than 13, if I’m being generous. I'm also terrible at playing evil!

    Date: 5th of Mirtul
    Subject: Slimes

    Our pursuit of the troll, and with it, the moon priestess’ sword, has led us to a cave near the village. Here, we have encountered most curious creatures, slimes. I must investigate the physiological properties of these forms at a later date. What exactly are they? What motivates them? Are they conscious? How do they move? They seem to be drawn to human flesh and show a rudimentary hunting instinct which is almost automatic in nature.

    Some of them were still digesting their former meals, enveloping corpses and manipulating the bodies to attack (albeit clumsily). We have named them “slime zombies.” Slow as they are, one of them managed to touch Grykk, and he described the sensation as it slowly crawled up and enveloped his arm as an intense crushing pain. What would it be like to turn into such a creature? Is it possible to replicate their physiology through magical means? How would it feel to slowly squeeze the life out of a victim? I must investigate this possibility.
    51n2tw4hykt8.png

    In addition to their crushing attack, their mass allows them to absorb blows and incoming missiles easily, and they seem to secrete an acid that allows them to dissolve flesh and other materials. I would love to observe the dissolving process from start to finish. I have taken a sample to conduct my own research at a later date, and perhaps I can ask Inshula to catch me a live rodent for testing.

    Author’s note: What on earth are these slime zombies supposed to be? Couldn’t find anything about them online!

    Date: 5th of Mirtul
    Subject: Trolls

    We have defeated the troll, Vrek Vileclaw. How did he get that name? Is it his family name, or did he earn it? Certainly his claws were vile, but does that mean some trolls have clean claws? Attractive claws?

    When we confronted the troll, he showed us how, with the sword in his possession, he feared no normal weapon, as trolls are famous for their regeneration and can only be killed with acid or flame. He even gave us a demonstration, cutting himself and gloating. I need to study this phenomenon up-close. Do trolls feel pain? Is the regrowing process traumatic? What would a troll scream sound like, I wonder. I have a hypothesis that they have a high tolerance for pain, so I would need to be pretty creative. Certainly, acid or fire would need to be involved. Sounds like a fun evening!
    k04nfdcrkleb.png

    It’s a shame I wasn't closer when Lastri threw the explosive potion we had prepared for the troll. Hopefully I will have the chance to observe more closely, next time. I think I will dedicate some time to learning elemental magic, just in case.
    y2x5oq8f6emv.png

    Author's note: So I didn't actually rest after the fight with Torak (dumb) because I forgot how annoying the slimes are, so we ended up doing this with very little magic. It wasn't too bad, but I really need to start playing more carefully!

    Date: 6th of Mirtul
    Subject: Dam

    It seems the goblin forces were using this town to collect lumber for their fortress, as wood is scarce here. Interestingly, the pale-faced villagers informed us that the army has also been constructing a dam along the Shaengarne river. Right now, the river is frozen, but the villagers suspect that the goblins are planning on overflowing Maer Dualdon once the summer thaw begins, and flooding towns like Targos.

    Personally, I think it would be quite funny to watch the humans drown, but the others seem opposed to the idea. I swear, they can be so boring, sometimes!

    They wouldn’t even let me keep the moonblade to study its magical properties! Instead we returned it to the priestess. Anything that is translucent and glowing is typically imbued with very powerful magic, and I would have loved to have had the time to study the enchantments properly.
    plb2vouzgcdj.png

    I wonder what awaits us in the highland pass? We must proceed through there to reach our destination, Shaengarne Ford. Maybe we will see an arctic fox! Or a falcon! Or a snow leopard!

    AerakarRaoBelgarathMTHRedRodent
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,615
    Wow, Chir's thought process is chilling. I bet it would be really awkward if any good characters in the party found that journal and read it.

    I think you write the thoughts of an evil person quite well. I'm curious which form of evil you are interpreting. Her scientific but unethical thoughts make me think lawful evil, but I guess she could be neutral evil, too.

    energisedcamelRedRodent
  • energisedcamelenergisedcamel Member Posts: 85
    Wow, Chir's thought process is chilling. I bet it would be really awkward if any good characters in the party found that journal and read it.

    I think you write the thoughts of an evil person quite well. I'm curious which form of evil you are interpreting. Her scientific but unethical thoughts make me think lawful evil, but I guess she could be neutral evil, too.

    That's a very good point! I imagine she's keeping these notes under magical lock and key, maybe with a bit of invisibility thrown in for good measure. She's not exactly secretive about her interests, but I think for now the others view her as a nuisance and not much of a threat. Like your annoying younger cousin who won't stop talking about how cool and gross it was when he saw a cat get run over, or a bug explode.

    I'm playing the alignments a bit fast and loose because I don't really like the limitation it places on nuance and growth and I think it's so hard to categorise people realistically, but in game, she is chaotic evil. She is a sadistic little so-and-so who wouldn't let anyone's rules stop her from investigating what she wants, how she wants, when she wants. You might have a point, though!

    Thanks for your comments. It's always good to hear your perspective! I know reading about a bunch of unknown PCs is not as fun as reading about the NPCs we all know and love (in BG, for example), so I appreciate it a lot.

    RaoBelgarathMTH
  • RedRodentRedRodent Member Posts: 78
    I have very little constructive to add to this thread, I just wanted to chime in and voice my appreciation. I'm currently playing through Icewind Dale 2 (struggling, thanks to technology. Oh, how I wish the source code would just magically turn up on Beamdog's desk) and having a blast. Reading this thread is an inspiration, and I'm a fan of the format you're running with here. Keep up the good work! :)

    energisedcamel
  • energisedcamelenergisedcamel Member Posts: 85
    RedRodent wrote: »
    I have very little constructive to add to this thread, I just wanted to chime in and voice my appreciation. I'm currently playing through Icewind Dale 2 (struggling, thanks to technology. Oh, how I wish the source code would just magically turn up on Beamdog's desk) and having a blast. Reading this thread is an inspiration, and I'm a fan of the format you're running with here. Keep up the good work! :)

    Thanks @RedRodent ! I appreciate the words of encouragement. How far along are you? I'm playing at a snail's pace, so I imagine you're ahead of me already (or you will be soon). If you have any spell/combat suggestions for upcoming battles, feel free to let me know as I am just so damn bad at actually playing games, despite how many hours I spend on them :sweat_smile:

    RedRodent
  • RedRodentRedRodent Member Posts: 78
    It's been a week or two since I last played, but I'm just ahead of you, just finished my business in Shaengarne Ford. Unfortunately, the game crashes every few minutes when playing full screen, and I have a lot less fun playing in windowed mode. Still working on that, whenever I can muster up the motivation!

    And I'm not sure how much advice I could actually give, haha. I'm rp:ing a very much sub-optimal party who's only saving grace thus far have been a sharpshooting dwarf with a crossbow. But it's been fun seeing how much the game reacts to my party composition and how well it lends itself to rp:ing!

  • RaoRao Member Posts: 141
    @energisedcamel - just wanted to second @RedRodent's praise, and leave a comment or two on the last few installments.

    1: The field-report style of Grykk's chapter actually seemed quite fitting from a cleric of a militant order. I'm not sure if you've ever perused Caesar's De Bello Gallico, but a detailed reporting of practical facts, troop movements, etc. with minimal personal naval-gazing or speculation were actually core conventions of that distinctively Roman style of military writing of which De Bello Gallico was an outstanding exemplar. Grykk's report definitely had that sort of flavor to it, and it seemed to me to work just fine.

    2: Quarrel's chapter did a great job of holding Quarrel's pride in relief against his insecurity, and a sort of internalized mistrust he is quick to project onto others. It will be interesting to see how these inner dynamics find their expression as he hits that classic power spike at access to third-level spells, and then afterward, as his power appears to ramp up exponentially next to the more melee-focused characters, whose progressions tend to be more linear and gear-dependent.

    2a: The line, "Why did you abandon me, master? Did I do something to displease you? Just when we had started to make progress, you left without a word," delivered right after Quarrel meditates on his supposed closeness to the power he so craves, is very well-placed, and reveals a lot about the aforementioned tensions in a way that is very clear without being heavy-handed - well done!

    3: It's worth recalling that the expression of human intelligence in character, writing, and reflection is highly varied, and so there are many, many plausible ways to narrate an experience from an "intelligent" perspective - many of which (perhaps ironically) may not have many (or any!) of the stereotypical markings of intelligence. I think you did a fine job expressing Chir's intelligence in her curiosity, which definitely seems to extend to much of the world around her, even if it has a distinctively macabre bent. More generally, Chir's character reminds me of the medieval distinction between, on the one hand, a well-ordered and admirable desire for knowledge, and, on the other hand, vana curiositas - a vice corresponding with curiosity that is vain, idle, or directed toward improper objects. Many of Chir's other vices, such as her cruelty and her pride, seem to me to have a common root in this principal flaw, and I will be interested to see whether / if this theme is developed or subverted as the narrative continues.

    @RedRodent - a heavily RPed playthrough with a sub-optimal party, you say? Sounds like an excellent candidate for a write-up ;) any chance of you bringing your party's story to these boards?

    BelgarathMTH
Sign In or Register to comment.