(Warning! This post contains spoilers about Icewind Dale. If that bothers you, skip it.)
When we last left our heroes, they had just killed the Lizard Man King and declared themselves supreme rules of all lizardmen. Or they would if that was the actual souce of the evil plaguing Kuldahar. Since it was not and they want to get to the bottom of this mistery they kept pressing forward, exploring the caves within the Dragon's Eye.
And what do you know? As soon as they get to the next area of the caves they are attacked by more lizard men!
Of course if it was just more lizardmen it would be too easy. And I guess too boring too. In this area there were more bombardier beetles (oh, how I hate them!) wraith spiders, some phasing spiders too a new type of spiders the sword spiders which just look like grayish-brown giant spider that can attack very fast and deals a good amount of damage. But the worst were definitely the trolls.
It may be hard to see in that screenshot but the party is fighting a troll in there. Now, remember how I said that in Icewind Dale you didn't need to burn the troll once it fell down to actually kill it? Yeah, turns out I was wrong. I guess ice trolls were the exception but these regular trolls do need to be burned least they keep coming back. Fortunately some of the lizardmen had thrown form of explosive that could be used to kill those trolls once and for all. Still it was quite annoying since I had to get my melee characters out of range and throw that thing fast when the trolls fell to the ground since the explosive thingy did a damage to anything close to it.
While exploring the cave, the party also found more kidnapped people. They wondered if these ones were kept separate for some reason.
And as if to answer that question the party soons find a large ritual area within the cave guarded by a few trolls and about four priests of Talona. Individually none of them were all too hard. Unfortunately no matter how I tried I couldn't get any of them separate. So I had to fight the entire group together. Took me a few tries and attempting some different strategies to finally kill them. Unfortunately it was another case of a battle of such epic proportions and tactical mastery that I forgot to take screenshots of them. It was totally not because I was worried about the outcome of the battles. Nope, no siree. I have a mind of steel for those battles.
Apparently they arrived just in time too as a woman, which they soon found out was Mother Eugenia the head priestess of the local Ilmater temple, was going to be sacrificed to Talona if the party had not intervened.
She didn't have much useful to tell the party. Mother Eugenia confirmed the story they heard in Kuldahar that she was frustrated about not being able to do anything about the abducted people and waited in the outskirts of town until the same fate happened to her. She didn't have any information about who might be behind everything but she gave them some lore about those priests of Talonia. Apparently, Talonia is a goddess of venom and pestilence and it is not unusual for them to ally themselves with reptilians. They love to attack Ilmaterians since their godess' superior, Loviatar, the Maiden of Pain, is a sworn enemy of Ilmater.
The Talonites were about to execute Mother Eugenia hoping that by doing that Talonia would grant them power. So I guess it was just Mother Eugenia that was brought here with another purpose. The other abducted people were just kept there as prisoners for the lizardmen.
Mother Eugenia was adamant about staying in the cave until the root of the evil was found and dealt with. I guess nobody told her how long the party has been working on this. In any case, that proved to be handy since the party could ask her to watch out for them while they rested. This way they could gather back their strength without worrying about a random encounter interrupting their rest.
She also provided priestly services, like healing, curing diseases and ressurrecting... for a price. Hey, Mother Eugenia, what was all that about Ilmater teaching about sacrificing yourself so others would not suffer? Also, haven't you notice in what kind of place and situation you and the party are in? Gee...
Now that they knew the priestess was safe they decided to explore the rest of the cave and found yet another passage to a lower area.
I have a hunch that is not the entrance to Disneyland. But I guess we'll find out for sure next time! Until then have a great weekend. 🙂