(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.
While they are still trying to figure out what just happened, the party is approached by a concerned hermit.
They weren't able to extract much of any useful information from him. He claimed to live as an hermit since he hated the city life. When the avalanche happened he was sleeping in his cave when he felt the earth shake and heard a huge rumble. He also provided them some directions to Kuldahar but warned them that it was a waste of their time as there was nothing there of interest plus the path was overrun with goblins. To that the party replied "Pfft. Goblins. We eat them for breakfast! Er... I mean, not in the literal sense since we are not cannibals or anything. I meant we can kill them easily, not that we enjoy it but... uh... can we start this over?"
Ok. They didn't say anything like that. It was just a "Thank you for the directions but we can take care of ourselves. Good bye!" type of thing. I just couldn't resist putting that dialogue in though!
And just like the hermit said, it didn't take even 5 steps before the party found some of the goblins.
In fact by the end of that area they killed so many goblins that the local population of those creatures must have gotten to near extinction.
Just to say that there was nothing to fight but goblins they also found themselves killing a few giant beetles while exploring a cave.
Not everything was figthing and looting though. There were a couple of encounters that hinted about the plot at large. First off was a very smart goblin who knew even how to speak Common:
Talking with the goblin the party finds out that there was some kind of thing or voice whispering things to him. He doesn't understand any word of it but something inside him does and makes him feel compelled to do things. The party decides to leave the poor goblin alone as he doesn't seem a threat.
Not too far from there they find an ogre, inside an abandoned tower, in a very similar situation.
This ogre is suffering so much from a headache that he is considering the brilliant idea of hitting his head through a wall to make it stop. The party ponders about this. If they encourage him to do it, he would be angry and probably attack blame them for making his headache worse. It would also probably make him weaker though so they could have this advantage in battle. On the other hand, they remembered all the trouble the epic battle they had the last time they fought against an ogre and decided that it would be better to convince him to not hit his head against a wall. I mean, an epic battle like that could make the whole tower collapse on them!
Besides that, the only thing they could find out is that Ghereg, the ogre, was in his cave when he felt some sort of call that brought him. But now he couldn't answer such call and was suffering from a mighty headache.
Hmm... Those cases seems to be indicating some sort of mind-controlling evil. Maybe the party can find more about it in Kuldahar. But we'll get to that town in the next post. 🙂