(Warning! This post contains spoilers about Icewind Dale. If that bothers you there are certainly other interesting things in the web to read about. Also this post is brought to you by... Alladin! He thinks this might give some XP so here it is)
When we last left our heroes they were playing detectives and solved a murder mystery! Ok, they weren't really playing detectives. They just got lucky to find the evidence they needed. Also it wasn't really a murder mystery as much as a case of forgery.... *clears throat* In any case, there were still mysteries to be solved. Much bigger ones at that. It was to find the evil that has been plaguing Kuldahar. The only clue they had was given to them by Arundel who said they might find some answers in the Valley of Shadows. So that is where they were heading next.
As soon as they tried to go out of town though, a man came running at them shouting something about being chased by yetis.
(Warning! This post contains spoilers about Icewind Dale. If that bothers you then just skip it. Also it is brought to you by... Goldilocks! Because she stole the key to my house and wouldn't give it back until I wrote it. Dang thieves!)
When we last left our heroes they were exploring the town of Kuldahar. There was just one more little thing they wanted to check before they rested and headed to the Valley of Shadows though. It also just happened to be in the same place where they could rest their weary bodies. Well, as long as they got lucky enough to not be kidnapped in the middle of the night or worse. Anyway, what they wanted to investigate were the rumors of how a halfling came to own the local inn, the Evening Shade. From the rumors the halfling, called Aldwin, just appeared right after the previous owner disappeared with a claim in hand. Only problem is the previous owner had the palsy which made it hard for him to write. That is if he even knew how to write! Something was fishy about that story so the party headed there to investigate.
As if circunstances weren't suspicious enough, Aldwin had a very terrible personality for someone whose living is dealing with people:
(If Aldwin's dialogue seems weird for someone just starting the conversation that is because I messed up, forgot to take a screenshot of it, quit the dialogue, tried again and this screenshot was the result of it. *sigh*)
Seems like the halfling had some attitude problems. That is ok. The party could play it rough too. And they wouldn't leave until they got some good answers! And a good night of sleep! But answers would have to come first.
(Spoiler warning! This post contains spoilers about Icewind Dale. If that bothers you just skip it. Also, this post is brought to you by... Hansel. Because he preached me into it. Dang paladins!)
Alright. This post won't have all that much in terms of plot advancement. But there a lot of NPCs that the party met in Kuldahar who although didn't give some direct side quest they did say a few things that can become a side quest later on or that seems like it will be part of the main plot. So just to avoid the possibility that later on we get into a situation like "Cool! The party found this place that NPC X mentioned. Now let's see if we can find the Thingmajic he wanted. What? You don't know who NPC X is? And I didn't say anything about the Thingamajic? Ops!".
The reason I am so unsure that these conversations may turn into side quests later on or not is because of the way quests are given in Icewind Dale (and a lot of the CRPGs of the time, actually). Unlike current games the quests aren't automagically added to a laundry list, neated organized with all the information you need to know and what reward you will get by completing it. The journal in Icewind Dale is more of a "Dear Diary" type of deal, with all the noterworth things the party did or heard in the appropriate style. Here, let me show you:
As you can see that isn't any big sign saying "THIS IS A QUEST! DOOOO IIIITTT!". And everything noteworth they do is added in that style. Even that talk with the goblin and the ogre earlier was added in the journal.
Now that is all explained and out of the way, let's get back our usual Icewind Dale post.
(Spoiler warning! This post contain spoilers about Icewind Dale. If that bothers you then just skip it. Also, it is brought to you by... the rain! Because it is about time it rained here!)
When we last left our heroes, they were having some fun with goblins. By that I mean I had fun while they weren't having so much of it and were just busy killing any goblin in the way. Also, unlike what I stated in the last post chapter one didn't start then. It started after that area. Ops!
In any case after writing (and hearing in-game) about Kuldahar so much it was nice to finally get to Kuldahar and get a few more steps in the main plot. The party even get a welcoming commitee in the form of a... boy?
(Warning! This post contain spoilers about Icewind Dale. If that bothers you then just skip this post. Also this post is brought to you by... ratongas! Because according to Drusi everyday is hug a ratonga day.)
After a much deserved rest from a day of adventuring and solving problems for the locals, the party was ready to be go to Kuldahar with the rest of Hrothgar's expedition. This also happens to mark the start of the game's first chapter (everything before that was the prologue). One of the neat things about Icewind Dale is that it starts with these sort of cutscenes with some artwork and a narrator explaining what was going on. 🙂
The prologue had something different, which was a background image of Easthaven while some text scrolled by with a narrator reading that text. At the time I didn't think my screenshots of it were all that interesting so I didn't post it back in the series first post.
Anyway, like all stories like this, there was bound something terrible to happen during this trip. As the expedition was passing through a valley some Frost Giants started to throw boulders at them. This in turn created an avalanche which ended up killing everyone except the party. Apparently they were the only ones smart enoug to run forward when the avalanche started.
(Warning! This post contains spoilers about Icewind Dale. If that bothers you just ignore it. Also this post is brought to you by the word spoon. SPOOOOOONNNNNN!)
It looked like Easthaven was finally safe. Or at least it didn't have any problems inside it or near its entrance that required the help of a band or roaming adventurers. That was the only thing the party wanted to make sure of before they went to meet Hrothgar about his invitation for an expedition. There was only one small problem. They decided to let Red Hood lead.
Like any talented ranger she got them lost. How lost? Well, they found themselves somewhere outside Easthaven fighting hungry wolves. In the dark.
(Warning! This post contains spoilers about Icewind Dale. If that bothers you then skip this post.)
When we last left our heroes things were pretty good. They saved a merchant's shop from a hungry wolf and got a pearl for doing nothing but delivering an ancient sword. Still, they had a hunch their work in Easthaven was not done yet. There was all those rumors of orcs and goblins near town after all as well as the missing caravans. With that in mind they continue exploring the town in search of adventure, riches and XP! (That last one being something only Alladin cared. The others still have no idea what he is talking about)
Their next stop was the local temple to Tempus, the patron god of battles and warriors. This may seem a strange place to look for adventure but considering the kind of things that happen in a fantasy world it is a good place as any!
The temple is very impressive, containing several relics probably collected of battles of past ages and two impressive giant horse statues guarding a glyphed door. The person responsible for taking care of the temple is a man called Everard.
(Spoiler alert! The following post contains spoilers for Icewind Dale's story and some quests. If that bothers you this may be a good point to stop.)
On an unrelated note, I am going to try breaking things up with a tease break. That means, if you are reading this on the site, just click on the "Read More" link down there. It is just so people don't have to scroll down too much to look at previous posts if Icewind Dale and/or Let's Plays are not their thing. If someone doesn't like it let me know in the comments please. For those reading it on a RSS reader or via e-mail nothing should change. Now back to our usual wall of text...)
With the bugs dead and the booze secured (remember: priorities!) it was time for the party to do their next logical step: interrogate every stranger in the tavern in search for another quest or at least some useful information. Their search for another quest with the tavern patrons didn't bear any fruit. However they did get some interesting information about the going-ons of the town:
Hrothgar is putting forth an expedition. Several folks of Easthaven, including the town merchant, are joining it.
There was a messenger from Kuldahar that dropped dead in front of the Temple of Tempus. Since then Hrogthgar has been rather rattled and decided to organize said expedition.
Apparently only Everard, the temple's priest, and Hrothgar know what the man's final words were.
The weather has been worse then usual with things being colder than normal for this time of the year and the south pass probably getting snowed in earlier.
There have been several sights of goblins in the Pass. Some drunkard even claims to have seem orcs outside town.
One of the boys was playing out and says that he saw a footprint in the snow as big as a man. Nobody believes that possible since a giant haven't been seem in the Pass for a very long time.
Some caravans from the south have been missing. At first people thought it was the unusual snow burying them but now folks think that it might be related to the sightings of goblins and orcs.
There were a few more things said but this I think are the most interesting bits. Probably the biggest foreshadowings too.
With that kind of business taken care of, it was time to go to town.
(Spoiler alert! The following post contains spoilers for Icewind Dale's story and some quests. If that bothers you then this is a good point to stop reading it.)
Like most adventures in fantasy-land, this one begins in a tavern, more specifically it is the Winter's Cradle Tavern in the small town of Easthaven. The group are just relaxing when someone approaches them:
Ok, before we begin, let me warn that this is purely a superfluous post. It is more to explain why I chose the names for these characters and a homage to the sense of humor of my teenage years than anything else. If you want to just skip ahead to the beginning of the series just go right ahead to the next post. For anyone else who wants to read the rest of this one I will just say that I won't be held responsible for any trauma that my silly sense of humor may cause!
Anyway, to give it some absurd theme as well as to make me amused (and hopefully someone else as well!) I decided to go with a fairytale-based party. With that said, here are their names, classes and how they end up fighting evil:
Alignment: Lawful Good
Alignment: Chaotic Good
As children, the simblings Hansel and Gretel had an harrowing encounter with a witch. Using nothing but their smart thinking they were able to survive the whole affair. It did make them think though about all the children that weren't so lucky and what they could do to make sure no one else had the same fate. So as they grew up they trained to fight evil wherever it was to be found. Hansel took on the path of the paladin while Gretel decided to become a warrior since she didn't like much the whole idea of celibacy and having to answer directly to some bossy god.
In their quest to vanquish evil they found themselves in Icewind Dale. Though what may initially seem like a trouble-free region may end up being an epic battle for the two simblings and their companions.
Alignment: Chaotic Good
During her childhood, it was common for Red Hood to visit her grandmother who lived in the forest. Some times she would get lost but she always got there safely. One day she got really lost. Not even the helpful instructions of that nice furry men she met on the way helped her!
By the time she got to Granny's house it was already dark. A night with a full moon at that! But Granny looked really weird that evening. She looked bigger, hairy and with bigger and sharper teeth. Turns out it wasn't actually Granny but the furry man she met earlier on the road, who was actually a werewolf. He took a shortcut to Granny's house, ate her and now intented to eat Red Hood too.
Red Hood barely escaped the house but the werewolf followed. Luckily there was a ranger nearby, who upon hearing the screams, came to the rescue and slayed the werewolf. Despite her sorrow and shock, Red Hood decided right at that moment to also become a ranger so that the forests would be safe to all.
Years later, after growing up and completing her ranger training, Red Hood met Hansel and Gretel on the road. The three of them got along well enough with Red Hood offering the simblings to guide them to the nearest town. Turns out the nearest town was some miles away. Well, a lot of miles away, in Icewind Dale region of all places. But she got them there safely at least!
Alignment: Neutral Good
By some reason Snow White was raised by a powerful human witch. She never questioned her circunstances though, knowing that the gods placed her there for some good reason. Despite all the witch's powers and resources, she still could not stop being jealous of Snow White's beauty as the elven maiden got closer to adulthood. The witch finally had it when even her mirror said that Snow White was the fairest of them all!
The witch then ordered a hunter to murder Snow White while the elven maiden was away wandering through the forest. The hunter however got so impressed with Snow White's beauty that he decided instead to spare her life, tell her the witch's orders and promise to lie about the deed. Snow White wasn't all that surprised about the news, after all she was part of the great elven race. It was just natural for the lesser races to be jealous of them and try to pull silly things like that. She however agreed to the hunter's plan and fled, looking for a place to hide until she could figure out what to do.
Eventually she was able to find refuge with some dwarves not too far from there. Unfortunately for Snow White they lived up to every steryotype about dwarves: they were loud, rude, constantly drunk and would fight for the silliest of reasons. Not even her elven patience was enough to deal with that so she left again.
During her wanderings, Snow White met with the party of Hanzel, Gretel and Red Hood. She decided to tag along with them for a while until she found what fate the gods had planned for her.
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
In some distant region, Goldilocks was the greatest thief of all. There were no traps, no locks or treasure she could not get. She would bring fear and confusion to all those who were greedy, corrupt and rich with her daring heists! Or at least that is what she would tell to anyone who would bother listening to her. In truth Goldilocks was but a novice of the trade, her first actual burglary being that what looked like simple humble druids.
The job was very simple. Just get some thingamajic from some family of druids that lived not far from town, bring it back and get paid. It was so easy that even a newbie like Goldilocks could pull it. Turns out that the druids, however, that their house was actually quite fancy. Fancier than what you would expect from druids. The job was simple however. They practically didn't bother to put anything to protect the thingamajig and Goldilocks soon had it in her hands.
Goldilock's mistake was that she never saw a house like that so the thief decided to experiment what she thought to be the life of the rich people. Besides the druids wouldn't be back for hours, according to her contact. Surely Goldilocks could have some much deserved fun around the house. So she sat in all of their dinner chairs, ate their food and even sought to take a nap in their beds!
Soon enough she was rudely awoken by some angry bears. Talking bears at that. The druids! Her lucky was that they wanted some explanation about what was going on before they decided on what action to take. Being too nervous to come up with some good excuse for her actions, Goldilocks did the next best thing she could think of to get away: Goldilocks threw the thingamajig to the other side of the room and while the druids were desperetaly trying to stop it from falling and breaking, she fled.
Even after she was safe back in town, Goldilocks decided that it was best to lay low for a while. Lay low in some very far distant place. Some place like Icewind Dale....
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Aladdin was a poor peasant in some distant lands. As if life wasn't hard enough like that he also found himself in love with a local princess. Knowing such kind of loves tales were impossible he resigned to live his life the way it had been until then.
One day he got a lucky break. While wandering about he fell in a hole wherein he found a magical lamp. Not beliveing his luck he quickly rubbed the lamp and when the genie appeared, Alladin had no doubts about what he wished: he asked the genie to be rich and powerful so he could marry the princess. The genie then snapped his fingers, Alladin's vision blurred for a moment as the world around him changed. When Aladdin's vision came back to normal he was in some cold lands, wearing robes and his head swirled with the knowledge of spells and other arcane lore.
Confused, Aladdin thought hard about how he phrased his wish, trying to seek in that an answer for his current predicment. It was then that he realized: he was in a AD&D campaign! So, of course he would be powerful. If he could could get to be a wizard level 20. Of couse he would be rich. If he survived lots of gruesome battles and some terrible storytelling by a GM who thought he was the new Shakeaspeare of the fantasy genre.
Aladdin decided to not let that make him falter. If he was going to be a character in some RPG campaign then by the gods he would earn every XP and treasure he had the rigths to! And to begin with he went to the tavern to meet the rest of the party. After all that is how all these campaigns start.
P.S.: I am aware my party setup is hardly perfect. But I chose classes that I thought would fit for my party ideas and hopefully they will allow me to get to the end of the game.