Sunday, March 10, 2013

Icewind Dale 2 - Revisited (Part 3 - Temple of Gimmicks)

When you are travelling in an RPG, I feel that there is some sort of gauge that can tell you if something is going to happen or not. Like the more foreign the technology your characters are travelling on, the higher chances of accidents happen. So the party crash landed into some random mountain because some Auril guys thought it was a good idea to bring the airship down. My metagaming instincts tells me to prepare for constructs because, well, Auril is some angry snow goddess and this means frost the possibility of frost golems (at the worst case).

So here we are, out to complete an annoying errand for a crazy gnome. The crash site was pretty unspectacular as my party waded through a bunch of yetis, beetles and spiders. I ran into this Illium guy who is apparently related to the guys who took down my airship. He's this ranger guy that screams "YOU SHALL NOT PASS" so I took my diplomat to talk to him. Luckily my intimidate is good enough to scare him into opening the gates (thanks to our amazing and ridiculous feat of wiping an entire horde), but the half-dragon Sherincal swoops down, scolds Illium, kills his pet cougar and knocked my diplomat off the cliff. Poor Illium.

It so happened that it was night time and I fell into a bunch of what seems to be werewolves. Huh. My party met up with my diplomat and kills them. That's when I ran into Beodaewyn, who seems to be this suspicious merchant in the front of a wolves' den. It is pretty obvious to me who he really is so I attacked him and killed him since I'm feeling selfish and I don't like werewolves in general. I returned to Illium and surprisingly he didn't stop me after what I did to his poor pet. That's nice, I did not feel like killing an army of villagers who simply want nothing more than peace of quiet from slaughters like my guys.


Somehow, I'm in the exterior of some Ice Temple. I don't really know why do I need to be here other than that there is nowhere else to proceed and I really need to find diamonds and some extract from some creature.  Evil temple means two things, clerics and weird shit, and where there's clerics, there should be diamonds (normally Resurrection spell costs diamonds). 

The Ice Temple content seems pretty okay that this point. Here I encountered Ice Golems as expected and there was this weird creature (Remorhaz) which I didn't trust to the point that I fully buff my tank character to a whooping 33+ AC with my sorcerer's newly acquired Ghost Armor spell. With this spell, really nothing can hit my tank, especially when he has Mirror Image up.  The fights were annoying at best, except for Sherincal's.

Sherincal's fight is really annoying. She stands at the top of some flight of 'flat' stairs, calls limited number of annoying creatures (including a Ice Golem, god why is that piece of junk immune to most of my spells), foolishly casts Chromatic Orbs at my Mirror Imaged tank and randomly shoots Lightning Bolt hoping to catch more than one character. The flat stairs 'pushes' my characters to the bottom every time I tried to get up, so getting to her caused me some trouble. Supposedly I need to exert enough force at the levers on top of the stairs to activate the stairs back to normal, meaning I supposedly need ranged attacks. However, it seems that Fireball does the trick just as well. 

After ridding of all the clerics, necromancers, Golems and maybe some other stuff, all there's left is the half dragon herself. She has lots of difficulty hitting my tank even without mirror image but boy does she hurt when she hits. I was nearly out of healing resources and my frontliners aren't exactly in good condition (after getting hit by random Unholy Blights, Lightning Bolts, lucky hits), I just threw everything my sorcerer has left at her (my Magic Missiles were 4d4+4), which took her down pretty fast. Huh, I really should've Magic Missiled her to death from the start I think. She does not seem to resist them that much. Oh right, being half dragon, she has a fear aura I think, which caused my Stormlord cleric to flee every now and then. Thank goodness for the item that prevents my tank from being panicked or feared. 

Before I entered the temple, I realized that I already have all the required ingredients for Oswald's repairs, so I headed back, though it feels strange since I have not entered the Ice Temple. Oswald was happy to see the ingredients and casted the incantation...and...nothing happened. Oswald started saying that it's gonna take a long time and asked my party to 'go ahead and find another way, I'll catch up'. What. So I got all the ingredients for nothing? Gah, stupid gnome wasted my time and money.

Off to the Ice Temple, then.


Finally, a dungeon. Honestly though, the Ice Temple felt more like a playground of gimmicks more than an actual temple. There are some weird contraptions around the room like the Mirror of Life Tapping, an Arena game which somehow combined with tic-tac-toe mechanics (with its level of difficulty decided by levers), some machine that shoots lightning that open doors...they all just don't seem to fit that much.

Fighting clerics is rather relaxing since you simply have to be more buffed up than they are, which my team obviously is. I don't have to worry about annoying to heartbreaking spells like Fireball or lucky Chromatic Orbs throughout the 2 levels of the temple.

Notable encounters are the NPCs themselves. The rooms and strange devices are weird and all but they seem to be more gimmicky than interesting, like the whole temple could do without those stuff. My party ran into the 3 sisters: Lysara, Cathin and Oria. They weren't particularly hard fights since they are...well...clerics. I do like the scripts given to them and their voice acting though. Oria pulled an interesting stunt where she broke her staff of power that does maybe 1 damage, died and reappeared as a ghost to kill us, in which my party have to pull some lever in the Arena room that switches the whole damn level between Material and Ethereal Plane. Incredibly gimmicky.

The other thing I found interesting was Caged Fury, some spirit of a tempest which is pretending to be Auril. At this point, I don't really understand the relationship between Caged Fury, the 3 sisters and the temple. It seemed that Caged Fury is behind all the ice wall that is obstructing my path towards Neverwinter. How he got there...I'm not sure, I hope one of the sister's diary state why. I'm assuming someone summoned it to erect the ice wall. How nice, I spent a paragraph ranting about something I'm not even sure about.

Then we met Nickademus, the idiot behind all the contraption. I don't think it's fair to create all these content that has nothing to do with an 'Ice Temple' and slap a very experienced wizard who doesn't care about his lover's death into the whole scene. Feels like a really bad excuse to me.

I might as well talk a bit about the arena. It basically works like this: choose a character, and he will solo monsters that will come out of one of the square of a 3x3 grid he choose. Picking a square will spawn a monster. Winning will net you a cross on the square, losing will net a 'shield' or in tic-tac-toe terms, a circle. Match 3 crosses diagonally, vertically or horizontally to win, vice versa to lose.

I didn't get very far unfortunately because there is a time limit involved in each fight. Most of the harder enemies' Damage Reduction so retarded I don't know how is it possible to even deal damage with the weapons I have so far AND STILL survive their hits.  Maybe I can return later?

With the ice path out of the way, I wonder what's next?


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