(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.
As is tradition to the party, the first place they went out to check after speaking with Arundel was the tavern. Alas, there was no bug infested cellar to be cleared for a handful of coins this time. Most of what they were able to gather from the people there wasn't all that different from what Arundel told them earlier either. But they did get to hear some interesting things.
Amelia, one of the tavern's wenches tell them something very peculiar about how the new innkeeper, a hafling came to own it. Apparently, the previous innkeeper a man called Eidan, just disappeared. That isn't so strange considering the current events in Kuldahar. The thing is, the halfling, called Aldwin, seemed to be the first one to notice it. Not only that he also just happened to have a claim, written by Eidan himself in case of his death, about the ownership of the inn. But according to Amelia, who claimed to knew Eidan, had the palsy so bad that he barely could write his own name, much less a claim. And that if he even knew to write which he didn't. The party decides that might require some investigation later.
The other wench, a woman called Lysan also didn't give much in terms of new information. She however said something very peculiar about the tree.
Apparently Lysan isn't too fond of the giant tree that keeps Kuldahar warm. Upon further inquiring she just tries to dismiss it by saying she is just awed by the tree, not something to make a big deal of it, just ask her another question. The party decideds to drop the subject, give her their farewells and go talk to the tavern's owner instead, a man named Whittcomb. He is a nice enough fellow but didn't really say anything worthnote to write about.
Next they went to some random townsfolk houses. Just because barging into other people's home and asking them questions is something perfectly normal in a CRPG. In one of them they found out that there is a local temple to Ilmater, the god of suffering, charity and I guess justice, in town. It just so happens that is the same deity Hansel worships! Of course, being the good paladin he is there was preaching to be done!
The townsperson was convinced, promised to visit the temple more regularly and the party gained some small amount of XP. Roleplaying FTW!
In another house a townsperson mentioned that in the Valley of Shadows is the tomb of Kresselack the Black Wolf. Apparently that was some warlord that terrorized the region a long time ago with the aid of his army. He wielded a large sword that was said to protect him from the cold. Upon hearing that the party was going to investigate the Valley of Shadows the towns person gave them a jewel so they could buy steel just as good as Kresselack. Goldilocks, always the.. entrerpreneur wondered if she could go throughout the entire region telling them they would investigate the Valley of Shadows and asking for donations. The party vetoed it as it would take too much time and reminded her of their agreement of never asking for any reward! She complied but under protest.
In the next house they found yet another person who seems to be waiting for them.
The man is called Hjollder, he is a shaman from one of the tribes that exist in the Icewind Dale region. He came to Kuldahar because he had a vision about heroes that could help him out. What is the problem he is having? Well, seems like a great warrior, called Wylfdene, was slain not too long ago. Then he returned from the dead, claiming to have become the vessel of Jerrod that came to lead the tribes in a vengeance against the townsfolks. He is amassing an army but Hjollder fears that this is no the will of Tempos, that the god will not favor either side and all it will result is in countless, honorless deaths for both sides.
Upon inquiry, Hjollder confirmed that it is the same Jerrold whose body is encased under the temple in Easthaven. Apparently his spirit is free now and none too happy. While searching for a solution to the problem Hjollder had a vision about brave heroes that would come to save the day. His hope was to meet those heroes, get them to go back to the tribes and convince their elders to give up on the idea of war.
Of course the party was more than eager to help out with such a task. But Hjollder said that they were still a bunch of weaklings and that they should come back when they grew a beard or something. Ok, not with those words but he did say they were not ready yet for the task at hand. They needed to become a bit stronger before the tribe's elders would take them seriously.
Next stop was the Temple of Ilmater. Hansel's vow required him to visit any Temple of Ilmater on his travels under the punishment of not getting any dessert. Unfortunately even the temple had troubles of their own.
Apparently, the Reverend Mother got frustrated with the case of the missing people and decided to hold a vigil in the outerskists of town. Her hope is that she could be kidnapped too, thus sharing the townies suffering. Yeah, it is a weird religion. Anyway, that was the last they've seem of her and they have no idea of her fate. Sister Calliana has been acting as acting head of the temple in the mean time. She did mention there a Reverend Brother Poquelin, apparently he was travelling throughouth the region, visiting their temples and upon hearing of Kuldahar's problems promised to send help as soon as he reached the next town. However Sister Calliana could not say if his trip was a safe one considering all the dangers lately.
The party made a note of those facts, just in case they met either of them in their travels.
Last stop of note was in an old tower in the border of town. In there, they met a wizard who was more than happy to sell them any spell scrolls or magical services they may need.
His name was Orrick the Grey and much to the shock of the party he was completely oblivious to the troubles plaguing Kuldahar. His explanation is that he was just too busy with his research, so much so that he barely left his tower. Hansel tried to argue that Orrick should try to make a bigger effort to participate in the community, maybe even use his magical powers and vast knowledge to help with their current woes. Orrick however just disregarded it all, for him Kuldahar was just another town he lived in for a while, just another of many he lived in during his lifetime and that he would eventually leave. So, in short, it wasn't his problem.
Well, if Orrick couldn't care less about Kuldahar, what was he doing there? His answer was that he was looking for the knowledge of some ancient, powerful, elven enchantment called mythal. In one of his discoveries he found a mention about an outpost that was located somewher within the Spine of the World Mountains. Obviously vague references were not going to deter him so he came to Kuldahar in search of it.
The party also made a note of that just in case they find such a place. Then they could come back here later to say to Orrick how telling him the exact location of the outpost is not their problem and good luck to him finding it. Oh, alright, they will probably just tell him the location because they are nice like that. And because they would hope some form of compensation. Not that they would make it overly explicit, I mean, they agreed to not ask for any rewards but didn't say anything about hinting at it. *coughs*
After all this walking around town they needed some rest. They also needed to check some facts with a certain halfling. But that will be in the next post of this series.
Before I finish this post, I will just mention a few things I didn't include due to the lenght of the post:
- There is a gnome living in a crashed airship in the outskirts of the city. He sells some potions and other alchemical products.
- They met a potter who was scared to hell about all the troubles plaguing Kuldahar and didn't seem to want to leave his house
- They met the blacksmith whose son disappeared and he was really frustrated and angry that he had no clue about what happened. That was the only reason he hadn't left yet in search of the boy.
Ok. That is all for now. See you next time!