Friday, July 15, 2011

Pool of Radiance - Sokal Keep and Kuto's Well

After working through some games this week, I've begun to believe that I will have to either write portions of this blog as I go through the week and wait for the posting to get long enough to post, or post a new update much more often than once a week.  Either will probably work, and will produce the same result.  I'll work on it after this new post.

I'll start with Pool of Radiance.  I've progressed this week a bit faster than in the past.  Due mostly in part to the party finally getting stronger and having a little more options in battle.  I left off last week with having cleared the slums and headed off to Sokal Keep to try my hand at the big battle there again.  This time, with a little more experience under my belt, I boldly charged into the battle in front of the chapel at Sokal Keep.

Mid battle - already a casualty.

I started the fight, making sure to be fully healed when I got there.  This time, the battle was much easier than the other times I've tried prior.  I only suffered the one casualty, and that was a swordsman hireling I brought along for some extra padding.  After a still lengthy battle, about 20 minutes, I emerged victorious!

Weak on experience...
Upon cleaning up all the loot, I saw that there was a note on one of the hobgoblins.  This is the first time I've gotten to read an actual journal entry so far.  These goldbox games and one other are the only ones I can remember that used this separate journal system.  I'm positive there were more, but these are the only ones I've had any experience with.  For those that aren't familiar, the Adventurer's Journal was a booklet separate from the manual that came with the game.  Since computers and storage back then didn't have the capacity to write out long stories, they would reference a journal entry in which they describe everything to their heart's content.  It really added a lot to the games, and still has its own charm.  Its exciting  to look forward to the next time you get a piece of the story.  Also, a kind of collection quest that the games now days seem to adore putting in.  See if you can find them all!

My first journal reference.
This particular entry read as such:

A ratty piece of parchment with large writing on one side.

'Our spies in the city inform us that a party of invaders will travel to Sokal Keep to free it.  To combat these invaders, assemble a force of  no less than three squads.   Travel by boat from the small docks at the west of town to Thorn Island.  Move undetected to Sokal Keep.  Find the adventurers in or around Sokal Keep.  Kill them before they can return to the city council with information about the true situation at the keep.  Return with the invader's heads as proof of completion of your mission.  Upon completion you will be rewarded with food, treasure, and many slaves.

Signed,
The Boss
Well, The Boss is the first sign that something out here doesn't want me out clearing any more sections of city and is willing to pay to make me stop.  Who is this Boss and how does he know about me already?  All I've done is kill some kobalds, orcs, and a couple trolls...  However he knows, he seems upset.  I like it when people take notice of my work right off the bat!

So off to the chapel I go, finally able to enter.  Just inside the door there are some orcs laying at my feet.  They've been blasted to all hell by something awfully powerful it looks like.  I believe the description said that their faces were still distorted in terror.  Something in here doesn't like orcs, lets just hope that they like us a little better. 

As I approached the alter at the back of the room, a ghost appeared before me.  It doesn't attack or anything, just waits for me to do something.  I figure that LUX word that worked on the other ghosts in this place might work here.  The ghost started to speak to me.  It says -  

"I am the form of Ferran Martinez.  Bound with the undead spirits of all who die within these walls to guard the keep.  Tell me, has the city been freed?"
I'm given the option to tell the truth, lie, and run away.  Since I worked so hard to get here I ain't running away.  I tell him truth and he seems satisfied.  Ferran tells me that the city fell long ago to creatures imbued with might from a magical pool.  He also gave me some names to remember as these must have been the leaders back then.  Tyranthraxus, Edranka, and Torath.  He also pointed out an illusionary wall in the armory where there are some magical items stored and gave me the password to use on the undead patrols, SAMOSUD.  He then faded away.

Ferran Martinez. 

I stopped by the armory, got the weapons, and left the keep.  I had to utter the password to a few undead patrols as I left.  I guess whoever moves out here will have to be ok with skeletons and zombies wandering around the courtyard forever since it appears that they could not, or would not follow Ferran off to whatever place they go when they die. 

I returned to the civilized section of Phlan, got some of my characters trained and rested to memorize the new spells I learned.  After a few days rest, I stopped by the clerks office to see if talking down FerranCadorna would like to speak with me about a job.  Guess I'm getting a little bit of a reputation now.

Another job done!
I walked into the Junior Councilman's chambers.  He talked about the Textile Complex, and that there was a family treasure hidden there since the fall of Old Phlan.  He told me that he sent a servant out to get it and that he never returned, so now he wants me to go out and get the treasure.  Sounds good enough to me, though he doesn't seem too distraught over the loss of his servant since he didn't ask me to find him too.

Junior Councilman Cadorna
Not knowing where any of the places were that I was expected to go to next, I just decided that I'll go exploring past the slums.  Something interesting has to be out there.  So I traveled through the slums.  They probably looked the same as before, but no monsters came out to bug me.  I emerged in the area just west of the slums.  Here I encountered much of the same as I saw in the slums, though this place looked even more run down.  Crumbling walls everywhere.  Nasty monsters everywhere too.  In this place I ran across kobalds, lizardmen, and gnolls. 

As I explored the ruined corridors of this section of the city, I stumbled into a building and was immediately set upon by a group of kobalds.  Though they were easy to defeat, as soon as I had taken care of this group, another scrambled over the wall and attacked me.  These too were pretty easily dispatched.  I had walked into an ambush it looked like.  Thankfully, it was pretty easy to get out of.  Since they were lying in wait, they were either sent by The Boss to take care of me, or they were guarding something. 

This area of the city I found out as I explored is known as Kuto's Well.  The well itself is in the middle of the area.  I noticed rungs in the well that lead down, but decided to explore that later on after I had fully explored this place. 

Kuto's Well
In one of the southern buildings I ran into a couple lizardmen with giant lizards like guard dogs.  Obviously they were protecting something or watching for something as the door behind them was nailed shut.  Whether from the inside or outside I don't recall.  I bashed down the door and to my surprise, there was an old woman behind it sitting on a rug. 

This old woman told me that she was waiting for me.  She tells me that an evil spirit from an unholy pool guides my enemies.  This must be the magical pool that Ferran Martinez from Sokal Keep was talking about.  She goes on to say that this evil spirit hides behind a fair countenance.  A fair face, isn't that always the root of most problems?  Other than that though, no real clues as to who or what it might be.  Guess I'll just have to be suspicious of every fair face I run across...

Thankfully I didn't make her wait too long.
With that, I had fully explored this section of town.  So I decided to head down into the well and see if there was anything down there worth the trip.  At the bottom of the well, there was a secret door left open leading off into some caves.  As I stepped through the door, a band of kobalds jumped out and fired some arrows in my direction and then promptly ran off and disappeared into the shadows.  Cowardly creatures...

Someone left the SECRET door open again!
I explored the caverns a little.  I never ran across any of the cowardly kobalds again.  I headed east from the well, and then turned north.  I walked through a doorway and was confronted by what must be one of the ugliest dudes I seen in a long time.  I've just stumbled across the infamous bandits led by Norris the Gray.  He offers me a chance to surrender, but what fun would that be.  Norris himself was pretty tough, but his band was really no match for us.  I did lose a couple of my party members in the battle, but nothing serious. 

I wish I could make demands like this.
After looting the bodies, I again found a note on Norris the Gray's body.  This pointed to an other journal entry.  This one read:
An official looking notice. 
'Assemble a group of at least 30 of your followers.  Meet up with a hobgoblin assault force at the small docks to the west of town.  You and your group will be under the command of the hobgoblin leader.  Follow his orders.  Upon completion of the mission you will be rewarded with food, treasure, and many slaves.'
Signed,
The Boss
 Scribbled on the back of these orders is Norris the Gray's unsent reply to The Boss.
'I will never follow the orders of a hobgoblin.  I don't go on missions until I know exactly what we're supposed to do.  And I don't go on missions for an unknown amount of 'food, treasure, and slaves'.  I do go on missions where I am in command; where I know exactly what the target is; and where I know exactly how much I'll get paid.  Don't send me another order until you can meet my terms.'
Signed,
Norris the Gray
Well it looks like evil people just can't ever work together.  If evil could unite, they could take over the world.  Here it seems this guy was supposed to join in the attack on me at Sokal Keep.  If he had been there with another army 30 large, I would never have survived.  But instead, he had to have it his own way.  I have a feeling that if I hadn't come along and killed this guy, The Boss certainly would have after reading that reply.

I continued to map out the rest of the caverns.  Nothing more happened to me down here.  After killing Norris, everyone else must have jumped ship.  I found the bandit's treasure in the northwest corner of the caverns.  I think that this place can be mine if I want it to be.  It was Norris the Gray's secret hideout.  Now its Thanalis' secret hideout. 

I headed back to New Phlan after resting and counting my money.  There were a couple new proclamations outside the council building.  Still talking about finding maps and books.  And one to see the clerk about a pressing mission.  I walked in to see the clerk and was rewarded for killing Norris the Gray and clearing out Kuto's Well.  She then told me that I was to see Bishop Braccio about a mission he wants completed.  I headed off the the temple to meet the Bishop.
More money!
When I arrived at the temple, Bishop Braccio was waiting for me.  He introduced me to a man named Dirten and said that he was bound to recover the temple which has been desecrated to Bane.  He told me to accompany him to the temple across the river and that I could keep any of the treasures I find as my reward.

I bid good day to the swordsman I hired, and took Dirten into my group.  Having a priest along might be handy.  I agreed to go to the temple, but didn't say I'd go right over.  There are some things I'd like to do first, and hopefully Dirten will help.
Bishop Braccio
That's where I'll continue from.  Its been an eventful week in Pool of Radiance.  I had started playing The Ballad of Gay Tony as well, but right now its getting late, and I have to be up at 2 AM this morning.  After the length of this post, maybe I should not try and fit two different games into the same post as well.  Just keep them separate as I play them.  Forgive me as I try to work out a good system.  We'll see what works in the future.

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