[IWD] Poking in the Dragon’s Eye

(Spoiler warning! If you don’t want to be spoiled about Icewind Dale’s plot you might want to skip this post!)

When we last left our heroes they finally got a literal tangible clue. Confident that they were finally in the right track they travelled to the area in the mountains called Dragon’s Eyes. This also triggered the start of chapter 2!

The start of chapter 2!

As soon as they reached the entrance to the Dragon’s Eyes they were attacked by ice trolls!

Some ice trolls are about to attack the party

At first sight I thought they were some sort of crystalline insects but only discovered they were ice trolls when I hovered the mouse over them. Fortunately these ones just stayed dead once the party killed them, no fire required, unlike certain other games (*glares in the direction of Baldur’s Gate*).

Once they were dispatched it was time to enter the cave itself. No sooner they stepped inside they were attacked by lizardmen! The game certainly wants to keep me on the edge!

A bunch of lizardmen about to attack the party

Although these are not the exact type of lizards I was expecting, they are certainly easier than the ones I thought I would have to fight. They were still tough, mind you, but mostly because of the large numbers they came in. If it was just one or two it was fine. But more often than not they came in groups of 3 or more and had a shaman with them that could cast spells to paralyze some party members. So those fights were relatively challenging.

Worse than then were some bombardier beetles. Once they reached any of the party members they would do spit some kind of green liquid that would do a lot of damage anyone close by and had a chance to paralyze them. They were pretty fast and came in big numbers so it was hard to just kill them at a range. Time to be honest here. Usually when tough fights like that happen I just reload until I can pass through them without any of my party members getting killed. This happened a lot on this area. But with these beetles things were so bad and so annoying that I decided to just own my mistakes and admit one party member died. It was Goldilocks.

So the party took her remains and gear then went all the way back to Kuldahar, went to the temple and paid the priest to ressurrect her. Goldilocks cried a little because apparently she was in a better place before the party got her ressurrected. They had to cajole and agree to increase her share of the loot by 50% before she agreed to accompany them again. Once that was solved they travelled all the way back to the Dragon’s Eyes cave.

But the annoying monsters didn’t end there! The party also found some wraith spiders which seemed immune to normal weapons. Fortunately the party had some magical weapons and special arrows to dispatch those. And like the game was trying to blow up the annoyance-o-meter there were also phase spiders! Basically they are spiders that can teleport.

A phase spider teleported near the party

I had to make Hansel run near them, grab their attention then run back to the party. This way they would try to teleport near Hansel and attack him instead of teleporting in the middle of the party and killing one of the squisher members! Fortunately there were not many of those.

After the spiders were killed they found the body of an elven adventurer.

The party finds the body of an elf

While examining the corpse they found a journal on him. Turns out he is Erevain, one of the members of Hrothgar’s expedition.

Erevain's Journal, explaining how he got there

Seems like someone, somehow survived! Well, besides the party. Now, a side note. Erevain is an elven adventurer that you can meet back in Easthaven, if you go to the inn. You can trade some words with him too, where you get to know his motivations for travelling and a bit more of the world’s lore. I didn’t mention him back then because I didn’t think he was going to be all that important and would just die in that avalanche. Well, he is still not that important but I thought it would be interesting to mention this finding. There was another flavor NPC back in Easthaven that was also going to join the expedition but if the party finds his body I will give him some words too.

Speaking of things I didn’t mention, there was something else I didn’t talk about because I didn’t know about it. I just found out today that rangers have a track ability which can give you an idea of what kind of things you will encounter in the area.

The results of tracking

It is not anything game breaking or even that useful but it is one of those nice little touches that make  this game special. 🙂

Rangers also got a charm animal ability but somehow I think that will be even less useful in this particular game. :p

Alright, back to the story. After some more exploration and dispatching of lizardmen, the party found the captive villagers. So at least that is one mystery solved!

The party talks with one of the abducted villagers

Not too far from there they found the… *ominous voice* Lizard Man King!

The Lizard Man King!

Apparently they were brought to that cave by someone called Yxunomei who also happens to be the “queen of the ssssnakesss” as the Lizard Man King would say. Since the lizardmen have been starving the Lizard Man King agreed they would do her tasks in exchange for food, in this case, the kidnapped villagers. There is only one problem though. He can’t let some pesky adventurers breaking into his caves and saving those villagers. You know how the rest goes. Fight ensues, the party kill all of them and loot the lizard men dead bodies.

In that same room they also found a giant snake statue. They just couldn’t shake the feeling that was an ominious hint of what they would soon face.

A giant snake statue

It also contained some loot which helped them relax a bit.

As they were heading to explore the next section of the caves, a kid thanked the party just before going back home together with the other captives.

A girl thanks the party for saving the villagers

Now before the party heads to the next area, I will need to prepare myself mentally. I don’t know if the next area will be the one I am scared of or not but better to stay on the safe side!

6 thoughts on “[IWD] Poking in the Dragon’s Eye”

  1. There’s another interesting thing about that elf, Erevain. If you recall in his note, he ends by saying something about how he is beginning to sound like cousin Xan. I don’t know if you remember, but in Baldur’s Gate, there is an elf that you find at some point (in another cave, I think) who will join your party if invited. He is a very morose and pessimistic elf, so most of his comments tend to be on the, “We’re all going to die” glass-empty side of things. Another special thing about Xan is that he carries a magic sword that is his trademark weapon, and which was very unusual for a pure mage in 2nd edition AD&D. Yes, I had him in my party in Baldur’s Gate as he seemed pretty interesting to me. Coincidentally, he *did* die quite a bit so maybe his pessimism was somewhat warranted…or his pessimism simply attracted bad things to happen to him.

    I think reloading a lot in games like Icewind Dale is very normal. After all, that’s what the quick load key is for. 🙂

    Poor Goldilocks!

    • I never found  that elf in Baldur’s Gate, I doubt I got that far for it. I guess I will add that to my list of “Reasons to play Baldur’s Gate”. 🙂

      Erevain also has a magical sword that if you examine it, the description says is very unusual for an elf since it is a two-handed sword and elves usually prefer something lighter to fight with.

      True, true. But I think some hardcore people just prefer to keep going, dead party members and all, sort of a way to “own” their mistakes and challenge themselves. For me things are already pretty challenging as it is and I am more concerned in finishing the game both so I can see everything again and for this series.

      And yes, poor Goldilocks. They should have thought about her feelings in the after-life. Nobody does that when they ressurrect their fellow party members!

      • At least you have that option for fallen members. Playing through Darklands, once someone dies they’re pretty much erased. No coming back without a load game! 😛

        • True, true. Darklands is from an era where games were even more hardcore. Although doesn’t it allow you to replace the fallen party member with a new one? Not that it might be much better as I assume the new one would have to start  from scratch, I guess.

  2. I think when it comes to Infinity engine games, the people who considered themselves hardcore were more interested in whether they could solo through the game with one character rather than defining hardcore by being able to play without any deaths or refusing to use the reload option. The designers seemed to balance the difficulty of the game with the expectation that players would be reloading, and reloading frequently to the point where if a player didn’t have to reload 20 times during certain fights, and without using certain combinations of characters and skills, then the fight wasn’t difficult enough. Icewind Dale is chock full of difficult fights, so there’s really no point in feeling guilty if you reload rather than resurrect characters over and over. Plus, in 2nd edition AD&D, characters can permanently lose constitution with each resurrection, so you could potentially weaken your characters too much to be useful the game uses that feature of AD&D. (I can’t remember if Icewind Dale does or not.)

    So while there’s nothing wrong at all with playing hardcore, or trying it out, there is nothing to be guilty over using the reload option when many single player RPG games of that era were balanced with it in mind.

    Darklands is somewhat in a world of its own as the hardcore idea is one of its primary features rather than something some players do for fun and additional challenge once they have already played the game 100 times. It wasn’t really representative of a typical cRPG of its time.

    • Oh, don’t worry. I am not feeling guilty at all about all the reloading. Annoyed, yes. Guilty, nah. 🙂

      I play my way and let other people play their way. And if my way bothers than and makes them think it isn’t “valid” or something like that then so be it. I am at least being honest about my way of playing and let them decide by themselves.

      And yeah, I remember that rule about losing constituion in AD&D 2nd Edition. That is why I decided that if I had to ressurrect one character to pass through those stupid bugs it would be Goldilocks. If she lost constitution it wouldn’t be too  big of a hit since she is often at range shooting with a bow. I just don’t know if she did lose it or not. I forgot to compare a before and after of her character sheet.

      Agreed about Darklands. Although when I read about games of that era (Darklands era, not Icewind Dale’s era) I do think they all tended to be that kind of hardcore. That is the impression I get anyway and I never felt compelled to go that back in my gaming experience so I will have to “experience” those games through other people’s writings (which Joseph Skyrim is doing in his blog, by the way, if anyone is interested in Darklands). 🙂

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