Notes about this guide to be aware of before reading further:
1) One of the main values of this guide is the level of detail that goes into revealing certain game mechanics and the benefits of good planning, both for items and character building. Otherwise, there are other guides that deliver much of the information you will find here in a more condensed format. This guide uses a conversational style. If this is not your preference, stop reading now - this guide won't deliver what you want. 2) An assumption is made that the reader is proficient with AD&D 3.5 rules and, by extension, NWN2 game mechanics and character design. Also, that the reader has played the Original Campaign before - otherwise a lot of what is written here may go over your head. 3) With the possible exception of the Construct Patch (explained later in this guide), it is further assumed the player is using the vanilla v1.23 of the game, without other patches or enhancements that alter game mechanics (e.g. Kaedrin's). 4) As a matter of necessity, this guide is loaded with spoilers. 5) This guide is designed for the absolute minimum lowest level of play until shortly after the beginning of ACT III or, at a minimum, until Zhjaeve is acquired in ACT II. This can mean a lot of grind and re-load for optimal results. For me, this resulted in very slow play to plan things out and record them here. It also meant re-doing most parts (sometimes more than once) as I discovered errors, incorrect assumptions, and interesting facts that sometimes changed things in ways I didn't expect. Playing this way allowed me to achieve precise customization and power for my entire party. However, this goal was only fully realized in the final act of the game. If this style is not your preference (and I'm prety sure it's not for most), or you know being extremely granular and detail oriented is not your kind of thing, save yourself the disappointment and stop reading now - little of this guide will interest you. 6) Constructing and revising this guide took over a year of gameplay and research. Constructive criticism is welcome, with emphasis on the word "constructive". If you have useful suggestions or corrections to make, I welcome these comments. If, on the other hand, you intend to troll, disparage, insult or otherwise create trouble, your comments and/or changes will be edited/erased as needed. If in doubt, remember T.H.I.N.K: Is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Interesting? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? 7) To effectively implement my goals here, I have borrowed proven ideas and plans from several sources (in some cases drawing them out further and improving on them) to assemble this guide. Where significant (and where I remember to), I will acknowledge this and provide URL's. If you think you've read a variation on something I've written here before, chances are you have. Part of my intention was to make this guide largely self-contained. Most outside information incorporated here came from three sources, in order of use: A) http://nwn2.wikia.com/ (which is why this guide should only be found here) ***It is also worth pointing out many of the notes I have in this guide were incorporated into the NWN2 wiki by me before (or as) I added them here*** B) http://www.gamebanshee.com/neverwinternights2/walkthrough/ ***this guide does not appear to have been updated in some time, but I find it highly useful*** C) http://gq-game-mods.blogspot.com/2011/05/neverwinter-nights-2-walkthrough- 11b.html ***the best Crossroad Keep money guide I've ever seen*** If you find a source you believe I haven't given credit to, please let me know. If I find it is the case, I'll make the changes here. 9) Keeping number 8 in mind, I made no money - directly or indirectly - from writing this guide; its sole purpose is to enhance game experience for those who choose to implement any of the methods I describe here. ************************************************************************************ WHY WRITE YET ANOTHER NWN2 GUIDE? AREN'T THERE ENOUGH NOW? ************************************************************************************ As indicated above, this guide isn't designed for most NWN2 players. My main reason for starting the construction of this guide was a response to the frustration of acquiring companions where automatic leveling often nerfed their potential; specifically - the selection of skills and feats. Sand, Zhjaeve and Ammon Jerro were the ones that bothered me most, but you may have your greivances here as well. If you do, at least some of this guide's strategy may be for you. By testing (and abusing) the boundaries of the experience and money mechanics of the game I sought to answer two questions, without cheating: ONE) What if I could have all of my companions shaped to my preferences, literally from their lowest possible levels - how different and more effective could they really be? (a lot, I found). TWO) What would things look like if I almost always got the best wealth results out of every outcome where loot has a stochastic component, with nearly perfect execution in planninga and without using a hacking tool or in-game console? (very little, I found). The overall goal of the method of play I documented here was to get as much gold and power and as possible, while staying within the confines of what the game can give or do by its own design (or lack thereof). No character editors are used, no custom content is brought into the game, nor are the most blatant bugs/exploits in the game that yield unlimited gold or XP utilized. The game is merely pushed to the limits of what it can deliver (and allow you to craft) and the greatest amount of flexibility with sculpting your companions to your liking, albeit at expense of time and saving/reloading the game at numerous points. Specific goals sought by this guide are: 1) Craft, find or buy the best possible items for use as early as possible. This also means getting as much gold, gems and crafting reagents as you can, as early as you can - particularly before the trial in ACT II. The two main parts of this power grab are: a) From crafting & selling, earn as much gold as you're willing to spend time on b) When there is a stochastic component to loot generation from monster spawns and opening chests (and there usually is), get the best loot you can from them that the game has to offer, without reloading for these results beyond what you can tolerate 2) Build the most powerful companions from the earliest levels possible, with best best gear you can buy and craft as indicated above. 3) Earn the highest possible influence with companions you want, with a focus on: a) Preventing Elanee from leaving the party after fighting the Circle of the Mere b) Preventing Bishop and Neeshka from turning on the party at the end of the game c) Allowing for the option of preventing Qara from defecting at the end of the game (at the expense of losing Sand, if the player decides to earn more influence with Qara than Sand). d) Allowing for the option of completing Khelgar's quest to become a Monk, if the player decides to let him do so (minimum influence of 10 needed) ************************************************************************************ The above goals are accomplished by: 1) Saving often and in discrete steps, so if a mistake is made you can go back only as far as neccessary 2) Earning as little XP as possible in ACT I and II while not: a) Breaking important plot/storylines, which may cause issues with gameplay later b) Missing opportunities to buy/sell from key merchants c) Missing valuable or crucial items wherever they may be found, unless they lead to too much XP being gained too early during ACT I. In such cases they were delayed (if possible) or skipped (if necessary). 3) Playing your PC and (usually) your companions in puppet mode to keep your PC at sufficient distance from monster kills. Being far enough away when your companions kill an opponent allows you and your companions to skip any XP that would otherwise be gained. If both you and your companions are far enough away this also usually means you can rest, because game mechanics reflect there are no enemies nearby. If non-companion actors (or companions not in your party yet) land the killing blow on opponents you won't get XP, no matter then distance of the opponent(s) from you. 4) Adding companions at their lowest possible levels to most efficiently tailor their statistics, skills, spells and feats to your preferred purposes and styles. The execution of goal 4 is summarized as follows: a) Getting Sand before level 6 so he may obtain the Empower Spell feat at level 6 and be able to Craft Magic Arms & Armor (via the feat) by level 10 b) Getting Zhjaeve before level 9 so she may get the Craft Magic Arms & Armor and Craft Wondrous Item feats by levels 9 and 12, respectively. Also to plan for acquisition of the Extend Spell and Persistent Spell feats - useful for her and the rest of the party later on c) Getting the Construct before level 8 so it can acquire the Whirlwind Attack feat by level 12. This isn't really necessary because of the work involved, but I chose to do it once so I could see how it worked out (I found it didn't make much of a differnce). d) If you can manage it (and are able to get plenty of XP in ACT III) getting Ammon Jerro before level 12 so he can acquire the feats of Shield Proficiency, Combat Expertise and Improved Combat Expertise. Theese feats allow for him to develop the highest possible AC. Getting Ammon at such a low level is not recommended for most players, but if you play a Hellfire Warlock like I did, have at it and reap the rewards of a very high Armor Class for him as a result. The more in depth reasoning behind goal four is explained below: The earliest companions can be obtained in ACT I is level three - except for Bishop, who can be recruited at level four. Generally, this means the best philosophy during ACT I & II is to view XP as a penalty to be avoided whenever possible (or demonstrably prudent to do so, given the returns). More importantly, this means recruiting Sand and Shandra at level five when they join the party at the start of ACT II. Also, to recruit Ammon Jerro before level 15, just after the PC is knighted in ACT III. Getting the PC's companions at such low levels is a very tedious undertaking, often exacting and increasingly difficult as you progress through ACT I and II. Still it is doable with proper planning (especially with the right gear). It can also be strangely satisfying to defeat opponents, complete quests and (most importantly) pick up companions at levels lower than you would have imagined possible without using an editor, and almost certainly at lower levels than the game designers intended. The noted exceptions for acquiring companions in this way are Zhjaeve and Ammon Jerro, who are recruited in the middle of ACT II and beginning of Act III, respectively. Here, the only necessity is acquiring Zhjaeve before she is level 12 to ensure she gets the feats Craft Magic Arms & Armor and Craft Wondrous Items by level 15. However if you recruit her before level 9 as I did, you can get both of these feats by level 12 and plan for acquisition of the Extend Spell and Persistent Spell feats, useful for her and the rest of the party later on. If you are willing to subject yourself to the near-zero XP model all the way through ACT II as well, then you can acquire Ammon Jerro before level 12. This allows you to level him up with the highly useful feats of Combat Expertise, Improved Combat Expertise and Shield Proficiency (in that order), which leads to his having an AC that can be up to 13 higher than foregoing all these feats. Therefore you may choose to apply the philosophy of low-to-no XP only until you acquire Zhjaeve, and possibly the Construct, in the middle of ACT II. Indeed, there are several arguments to be made only going so far with the low-to-no XP model of gameplay: a) Minimizing XP through almost half of the game is punishing enough b) The game only has 3 acts - and most of the game is done by the end of ACT II c) It has diminished value after ACT I since by then it affects only two NPCs who, because of their class types, can change their selection of available spells and don't need or benefit nearly as much from early level tailoring. This is especially the case if you get Sand before level 6, and Zhjaeve before level 9, to satisfy crafting feat requirements early on in their level progression. d) Unless you're playing a Hellfire Warlock, there are almost no opportunities to earn unlimited amounts of experience in ACT III. So if you recruit Ammon Jerro at level 11, you'll want to do a lot of leveling as quickly as possible the moment you recruit him. e) Everything will cost more in ACT II, primarily because: 1) you won't get Grobnar's inspire confidence inspiration past +4 playing this way before you leave ACT II (level 19 is needed for +6) *AND* 2) you'll probably be low enough level that you can't make use of the spell Greater Heroism These two factors have a +4 impact on the appraise skill, making the buying and selling of everything that much more expensive. More information on this is soon found below. Because I wanted to push the limits of the game's potential, especially with companions, I pressed on with the low-to-no XP route anyway - all the way until I recruited Ammon Jerro at level 11 in ACT III - to prove it could be done (you can actually get Ammon at level 10, and I will never do *that* with him again). 5) Wherever possible, find and buy the materials/components needed to craft powerful items for character use (and/or sell later, depending on the need). Sometimes this means foregoing what might otherwise be more valuable items in the short term. 6) For all of ACT I and ACT II, until you get to Port Llast, use the following strategy: when opening Chests and other objects that spawn one or more item types of varying seed-level ranges (which is most of them), continuing to do so until the player gets keys items or the top tier combination of possible yields for the kind of items it's capable of generating: a) If the object can yield gems and/or essence components, continue to re-load the game until the reasonably best outcomes for crafting or selling later are found (i.e. the top 95%). This often means a special focus on gems that are used for crafting or enchanting such as diamonds, emeralds or beljurils, rather than opting for straight gold or magic items. Diamonds also have good resale value, even if not used for enchanting. The point is adhereing to the overall goal of aiming for what has the greatest potential yield of gold, magic items, or enhancement/enhancement of items in the long run. b) To the extent that they can be randomly seeded, it's crucial to get essence components and rare crafting gems (such as blue diamonds, beljurils and king's tears), more than almost any other item in the game. Other items are usually secondary in importance and can often be bought or crafted later on. Perfected choking powder, for example, is an easy (if not tedious) money-maker that can be crafted in unlimited quantities once you get to Port Llast in ACT II - for as little as 80 gold. It can the be sold for as much as 295 gold. Since your capacity to earn gold in this way is only limited by the amount of time you want to spend on it, this makes scraping for gold by other methods very unproductive by comparison. ****OPTIONAL STEPS - ONLY PARTS "A" and "B" ABOVE ARE REALLY USEFUL**** c) If traps exist on and/or adjacent to the object, they are recovered (if possible), not disabled, so they can be sold or used later d) If the object can yield higher value trap-crafting components in addition to gems or other items, continuing to re-load the game until the best ones for crafting to sell later are found (again, the top 95% of outcomes). I eventually found the three most valuable traps to sell are, in order of decreasing value: 1) choking powder for gas traps 2) alchemist's fire for fire traps and then 3) an acid flask and tanglefoot bag for acid blob traps. This usually meant hoping for choking powder as an accompaniment to any top-value gems that could be generated, at least until magic wands become an option for generated loot. For example, while I always hoped for a combination of alexandrite and choking powder with most objects that could randomly seed them during the earlier parts of ACT I, it would also be nice to get two greenstones and a choking powder or two, or a garnet and 2 choking powders, or a garnet and choking powder and alchemists fire. e) If I knew an object could yield a high value gem and another very valuable item together, such as an emerald and magic wand (especially two wands, with one of them being a wand of arcane disjuncture, if I was very lucky) I would usually keep loading up to 100 times (this was usually my limit) until that combination of items spawned, because in it could mean having an extra 1000 gold or more - far more than good trap components coming along with an alexandrite. This allowed for the ability to buy very good gear once I reached the city of Neverwinter in ACT I. I don't think anyone else would care to go to these extremes as I did and I'll never do that again to such an extreme. In retrospect, I found it's not really necessary to pursue anything more than rare gems and the belts of agility that you can (rarely) obtain with repeated reloads. I pursued this strategy during ACT I and part of ACT II in part to demonstrate you can get by to ACT II without buying anything. I also did it (only once) until I realzied how much money you can get once unlimited crafting of high quality items becomes available in ACT II, making my extreme money making strategy a waste of time. 7) Buying and selling with the highest possible appraise skill ranking. Usually, this is best done near the end of ACT I and II, when the PC's appraise skill can be enhanced as much as possible. Buffing the appraise skill was especially important for me because I never invested skill points in it. With rare exceptions during Act I only, I traded only when Grobnar's Inspire Competence inspiration was active. Until ACT II it usually enhanced Appraise by +2. Assuming your PC has the Merchant's Friend feat, it has been my observation that every one point increase in Appraise results in approximately a 1.55% increase in gold paid for items you sell and a 1.0388% discount in prices for items you buy (for most merchants anyway). Appraise can be further enhanced up to +10 during gameplay by use of the following items and/or spells: A) Luckstone +1 B) Headband of Intellect +1 to +4 (based on INT enhancement of +2 to +8) C) Greater Heroism +4 (Bard 5, Sorcerer/Wizard 6) D) Prayer +1 (Cleric spell lvl 3) If you have a cleric of sufficient level in your party, don't forget to use this spell **AS AN ALTERNATIVE** a) Heroism If your spellcaster(s) of choice can't cast Greater Heroism yet, use this lesser version for a +2 skill increase (Bard 2, Sorcerer/Wizard 3) b) Fox's Cunning If you don't have a headband of intellect that is strong enough, use this spell for a +4 INT boost instead (Cleric/Bard/Sorcerer/Wizard 2) Of course, if you don't have Grobnar and/or Zhjaeve or some of these other money-saving effects yet, you'll have to make do with what you have. However, with rare exceptions, you should be able to avoid buying almost anything until ACT II and should only sell to the three merchants at the end of ACT I that don't carry over to ACT II. I usually won't mention containers that have only fixed rewards unless they could easily be missed or circumstances require proper handling or planning to obtain them. Having said this, I recorded the best loot outcomes I obtained from the multiple re-loads of opening containers in ACT I and a lot of ACT II so the reader could see what is (theoretically) possible to get from them. For the record, I play the game in Hardcore mode where all regular rules of the pen-and-paper game 3.5 rules are in effect. #################################################################################### ACT I #################################################################################### West Harbor (during tutorial/festival) Get Daeghun's furs and trade with Galen for the duskwood bow but skip all other aspects of the tutorial; doing so allows you to keep Daeghun's +1 bow for free and skip the extra 500XP the tutorial gives, although you lose the harvest cloak and cup in the process. Proceed to the West Harbor battles starting with 3000xp. West Harbor - under attack How you choose to level up Amie deson't really matter since she doesn't live long enough for it to make a much of a difference. Bevil is another matter. Unless you're playing a rouge or rogue-like bard, be sure to level him with open lock (along with choosing skill specialization in open-lock), disable device and sleight-of-hand. These choices will allow him to open many locks and disable/recover traps for more gold and item. It also allows him to steal an Amethyst from his mother Rita before you acquire Neeshka as a companion. Farlong house Kill the dwarf on right for his +1 club & Phenalope (easily worth dealing with the 18XP). The desk gave me an alexandrite, choking powder and acid flask. Pierson's House The locked chest contained an alexandrite, choking powder and potion of cure light wounds. The desk by the bed gave choking powder, holy water and thieves' tools +3. The basket had a garnet, choking powder and thieves' tools +3. Tarmas' House His cabinet has trap that can be disabled but not recovered (bug?), it gave an alexandrite, a potion of lore and thieves' tools +3. Burning Barn A barrel gave two greenstones, choking powder and thunderstone. Speak to Georg which starts the start recruiting process for village defense for 50xp. Speaking to Tarmas after Aime dies got me 29xp. Recruiting the 5 required soldiers earned 250xp total, for 3347xp so far. Starling home You can save Bevil's younger siblings and avoid XP by not speaking to the kids before you leave the Starling home. Fight with Bevil and your PC at diagonal opposites in the home. Have Bevil in the main room with the Duergar and the PC by the exit to the Starling home. With use of thieves' tools +3 Bevil can unlock the Armoire in which were 2 greenstones, choking powder, thieves' tools +1 & +3 and 5 bullets. The desk gave an alexandrite. The chest had a +1 dagger, potion of cure light wounds, a healer's kit +1, two greenstones, thieves' tools +3, and choking powder. If you leveled up Bevil with slight of hand, he can steal an Amethyst from his mother Rita before he leaves. Once West Harbor's attackers are defeated you get 150xp (3497 total). Swamp Ruins interior A crate in the room just south of the Lizard Chief had 2 low level scrolls and 2 choking powders. A room with a chest and a crate had the chest yielding 2 holy waters & choking powder, while the crate contained 2 potions of cure light wounds, an alexandrite and choking powder. The south end of the ruins had a crate with 2 potions of cure light wounds, an alexandrite and choking powder. The crates by the lizard chief and the first shard had 5 throwing axes, 2 choking powders and a scroll of cure minor wounds. Somewhere along the way I picked up an extra 50xp, bringing me to 3547 total. Weeping Willow Inn - get Khelgar as companion at level 3 When you first meet Khelgar outside the Inn he will not be in your party yet; simply stand back and allow him to kill the brawlers himself. Once inside, immediately save and leave the Inn. Re-enter and only save again when the Duergar have surrounded the patrons, either in corners or out of your walking path and away from the Inn owner/merchant. Like Khelgar when you first meet him, the patrons are plot characters and can be damaged but can't be killed; they can occupy the Duergar, literally, forever. Once upstairs you'll see Gera. Ignore her and send your PC to the corner next to her. Have Khelgar run around, gathering the Duergar. Once they've all cast enlarge spells he can lead them into the room where Galen and his sellswords are. It's tricky to do this because they have to be kept close enough to Khelgar so they don't run after your PC along the way, but without them killing him before they are all in the room with Galen's guards. Once they're in the room with Galen his guards (who are invincible plot characters at this point) will cheerfully slay the Duergar for you, yielding no experience in the process. Once the Duergar (and very likely Khelgar) are dead, rest and then repeat the process with the Bladelings in the room where Zachan is. Once all the enemies are gone, speak with Galen for the gold, then Gera to start her quest. Offer to save Zachan with no reward to earn +1 influence with Khelgar. Don't open any chests or rescue Zachan yet because this will prevent Neeshka from opening containere here for better loot later. Instead, leave for the path to the Swamp Cave and watch Galen's guards dispatch some lizard men. Once they're dead, antagonize the guards for +1 influence with Khelgar (2 total) and leave for Fort Locke. You can come back later once you have Neeshka and Elanee for the better loot because Neeshka can pick open all the locked chests (instead of bashing them) for better results. Path to Fort Locke - get Neeshka as companion at level 2 Kill the wolves near the start of the path first, then the ones on the way to Neeshka. Leave Galen and his turncoat guards for now. Once the opening conversation involving Neeshka is done, have the PC run away back down the path towards Galen while Khelgar leads any soldiers to Neeshka. Since she hasn't been recruited at this point, Neeshka is considered a plot character and as such can't be killed. Left to her own devices she'll eventually kill all of the corrupt soldiers - with no XP. You can speed up the process by injuring the soldiers with ranged attacks, just be sure Neeshka lands the killing blows. A note about Neeshka: now that she's in your party you might be tempted to steal from everyone you can that is available so far. But unless you're stealing to get very specific gear (e.g. the Blade of the Gladiator from Repko the Weaponsmith), you might want to wait until Grobnar is in your party and has his inspire confidence inspiration active. You'll have an easier time with it this way, although it does mean going back again. Fort Locke Just outside Fort Locke to the West is a corpse that gave me 17 arrows and an alexandrite. Speak with Marshal Cormick first, then Liza and Vallis for their quests. After speaking with Liza, Neeshka will disclose the location of the bandit camp. Suggest to go there and loot it for +1 influence. Don't speak with Tor Millows; you don't want his quest or XP. Once this is done head out on the path to Highcliff to recruit Elanee. Path to Highcliff (Maiden's Glade, first time only - get Elanee at level 3) When you meet Elanee on the path to Highcliff for the first time she will, unlike Neeshka and Khelgar, already be in your party and can be killed. However, her animal companion Naloch is still treated by the game as a plot character at this point and does not have this problem (but only for as long as he's in this introductory combat sequence). Furthermore, because he is a plot character during this intro sequence he cannot be dispelled, even if Elanee is killed - as long as any one party member remains alive. Therefore, feel free to take advantage of the opportunity to let Naloch dispose of the Bladeling and his minions for you with no XP gained. When first speaking with Elanee there are two instances where you can gain +1 influence with her: being forthright by telling her you're headed to see Uncle Duncan about the shard you possess and recognizing "Eridis" is an Illefarn name (with a successful Lore skill check, total influence now 2). Maiden's Glade If you haven't already managed to so in the first battle, as soon as you arrive here have Elanee don good armor. Lead the wolves to the south end of the map with all companions. Run only the PC close to the 3 dead wolves near the center of the map while the live wolves chase the companions near the south end of the map. Save. Re-load and heal all players, then send all the refreshed companions away from the PC to kill the wolves without XP. Once this first set of wolves are dead, state your preference to avoid bloodshed for +1 influence with Elanee (now 3 total) and your agreement to see what's wrong in the glade (+1 influence, 4 total). Note that none of these things cause a loss of influence with Khelgar or Neeshka and it leaves you with a good start of influence with Elanee. Clear the area of all animals but skip the bear to avoid the XP it gives. Then head back to the weeping willow with Neeshka to unlock all the locked containers. Weeping Willow Inn (part two) Speak to Zachan to collect 25gp (75 with successful persuasion) and 50xp. You must talk to Zachan in order to trade with Jorik the merchant later, otherwise Jorik will still speak as if the battle upstairs is ongoing and refuse to trade. It's probably best to avoid speaking to Gera unless you have room to spare for the XP, and only then near the end of ACT I. She only gives 25gp (50 with successful persuasion) for 150xp you don't want. I was at 3597xp total now. The room adjacent to where Zachan was has 2 armoires. The first gave me choking powder, a tanglefoot bag and a potion of lore. The second had two choking powders and thieves' tools +1. The room opposite Zachan has an armoire giving a healers kit +1, an acid flask and choking powder The room opposite the stairs has an armoire with choking powder, thieves' tools +1 and a potion of lore The room with a footlocker and chest each contained an alexandrite. The room that had Galen in it has a desk containing a tanglefoot bag, choking powder and a potion or lore. It also had drawers with choking powder and holy water. Before you leave the Inn talk to Jorik and ask for a reward (50 gold). Path to Swamp Cave The small single crate nearest the entrance/exit with a fire pit had an emerald. The crate next to it had an alexandrite, tanglefoot bag, acid flask and potion of cure moderate wounds. The area near the entrance with fire pit and chest contained a garnet, choking powder and an acid flask. The area closest to the cave entrance gave an alexandrite and choking powder. Swamp Cave The room with the Lizard Chief has two locked chests. With Neeshka at level 2, she needed a thieves' tools +1 kit to open it: it contained Boots of the Winterlands, an alexandrite, choking powder, tanglefoot bag and a set of thieves' tools +1. The smaller chest had a book, an alexandrite, an acid flask and a thunderstone. An area at the north end of the has a chest containing a garnet, an acid flask and a tanglefoot bag. A basket on the east side of the cave had an alexandrite. A chest on the south end of the cave had an alexandrite, thieves' tools +3 and choking powder. Note that killing the Lizard Chief earns you a Rod of Frost, very useful at low levels. Somewhere along the way I got another 48xp, perhaps from a stray lizardling or spider I forgot to avoid, bringing me to 3645xp. Path to Bandit Camp Another tight space to fight in. Defeat the enemies here by temporarily switching to open hand fighting for all companions. Have them rush the archers to force them to switch to melee combat and then lead them to the south side of the map as your PC runs north. Once your PC is out of range, re-arm your companions and kill them all. Graveyard Open area The grave in the center of the area gave me Lesser Boots of Tumbling, a potion of antidote and an emerald. The grave nearest the entrance had an alexandrite. The grave nearest the exit to the north had an alexandrite and a book titled "Fundamentals of Abjurative Enhancement". Crypt One The smaller crypt farther from the entrance has three rooms. Lead the skeletons and zombies away from the entrance to the room with the angel to kill them away from your character for zero xp. The north room has two sarcophagi. The one on the left gave an emerald, while the one on the right had an alexandrite. The south room has two sarcophagi. The one on the left yielded an alexandrite; the one on the right has the light hammer "Storm +1". The east room with the angel has a trapped sarcophagus with nothing but a scroll of animate dead. Crypt two The larger crypt closer to the entrance has several rooms with treasure. By leading the first skeletons and zombies with Neeshka into the large room to the west on the map they and rest of the undead can be dispatched without earning XP. I recovered the trap on the door leading to this room first (this took several tries). The room to the east of the entrance is the only one where traps must be disabled instead of recovered, since Neeshka remains at a level 2 and 3 during all of Act I. Therefore I'd only have enough modified skill to recover them when Grobnar was recruited and I didn't want to wait that long. The two sarcophagi here contained an alexandrite and a Ring of Insight along with a +1 falchion, respectively. The room immediately south of the entrance has one sarcophagus which gave an alexandrite. The gated room southwest of the entrance has a sarcophagus that contained an obsidian, emerald, healers kit +3, a wand of magic missiles and four +1 shuriken. The sarcophagi to the southwest of the entrance on the map each contained an alexandrite, as did the two in the room on the south side of the map. Rescuing commander Tann earned me 62 experience (at this point I had 3707 xp); I don't know why the experience award was not in an increment of 25. All other chest-like objects deliver the same loot every time you open them. Once the large west room on the map was clear I preferred to kill most enemies (especially the shadow priest) with the traps along the west corridor, since they can be triggered an unlimited number of times. Just keep your PC and most companions north of the traps, then watch as the undead drop like flies as they approach you. Rescue commander Tann and get all the loot but don't save all three of his men, you don't want the extra 75 XP. I chose to examine Garret's corpse after Tann was returned to camp for +1 influence with Neeshka (2 total), and -1 influence with Khelgar (1 total). Commander Tann confronting Lieutenant Vallis on the path to Fort Locke Have your companions stand still as your PC runs past them. Once at a safe distance, let them attack. It really doesn't matter if they all die, since Commander Tann is considered a plot character by the game until the battle is done and can't be killed; he can and will take Lieutenant Vallis and his guards singlehandedly. Rescuing the Commander nets you 75 XP that you can't avoid (3782 XP so far). Talking to Marshal Cormick at Fort Locke nets another 200 gold and 75 XP (3857 XP). If you don't speak with Marshall Cormick before you advance to Neverwinter, you won't be able to choose the City Watch as a faction (i.e. Moire and her gang or the City Watch) when you meet him there to advance the plot. Bandit Camp It's best to rescue the prisoners before dealing the Bandit Chief so at least 1 prisoner is killed (but not all of them); this allows you to collect a gold reward from Liza, but no XP. Just keep the PC corralled with the prisoners until your companions can deal with the bandits - away from you. The chest in the middle of camp contained an emerald and Elixir of Horus-Re. Be sure to thank Neeshka to gain +1 influence (3 total). Bandit Den The first room southwest of the entrance contains two chests. The first gave me drums of haunting, two choking powders, and an alexandrite. The second had an alexandrite. The room directly east of the entrance has a trunk which contained a garnet, choking powder and a tanglefoot bag. The room directly south of the entrance has a chest with 72 gold (fixed), Alchemists fire, choking powder and an acid flask. The room by the bandit chief had a chest containing an alexandrite and an armoire with an emerald, a scroll of heroism and wand of arcane disjunction. Although you can collect 500 gold and 100xp for informing Commander Tann of defeating the bandit chief, it's not really worth the XP for the gold to do so. Skipping the conversation with him won't stop the story line from progressing or break future quests, so that's probably what you should do at least until near the end of Act I, when you clean up loose ends and know if you have the XP to spare. Highcliff It's probably worth the trade of -1 influence with Elanee (3 total) to side with Khelgar prior to the fight with the sailors just by the entrance to the village (+2 influence with him, 3 total). Likewise, it's probably worth the additional -1 influence with Elanee (now 2 total) when speaking with Gera about her quest and then agreeing with Neeshka about doing it just for the money (and +1 influence with her, 4 total). More influence is required to keep Neeshka honest and prevent her from turning on you in the end than is required to keep Elanee after she confronts the corrupt druids at the Circle of the Mere in Act III. Don't speak to Mozah or Juni unless you're near the end of ACT I and know you have the XP to spare, as neither of their quests yield high rewards for the XP you get in return and they'll otherwise fill your journal with background text you can't get rid of. Par's House By leading the sailors from one room to the next and then re-loading the game with all of them all out of your line of sight you can safely recover traps and open locks in the opposite room, without being harassed. You definitely don't want to kill any sailors as they each yield a lot of XP. The table in the smaller room gave me two choking powders and a potion of cure moderate wounds. The vase in the main room contained an alexandrite. The cabinet yielded two greenstones, choking powder and an acid flask. Path to Highcliff Castle Kill Slaan for his map to the Lizardfolk cave and his loot. Kill all the wolves. If you choose, you can rescue Gera's kids for Zachan's Amulet but this also results in getting 100xp (and 100 gold more if you press for it). I found it was worth the trade since I had Bishop wear it until late in ACT II; it gives +1 HP per level and +1 Will saves. Highcliffe Castle The last room in the Northeast end of the castle has a sarcophagus that had an alexandrite and a choking powder. One chest (at the south end of the room) contained two greenstones, two choking powders and an acid flask. The other had an alexandrite and two tanglefoot bags. The chest in the room with the shadow priest gave a potion of bull's strength, a scroll of aid, a wand of paralyzation, Nasher's nimble boots (all fixed rewards) and a greenstone. Nasher's nimbleboots were useful for Neeshka and, later in the game, Grobnar. Path to LizardFolk Cave A chest on the north side of the road yielded an alexandrite. A chest by a clearing on the south side of the road had two greenstones and two choking powders. Lizardfolk cave The main challenge here is having Neeshka successfully sneak past the first groups of lizardmen while simultaneously disabling the three traps along the way. This may take several reloads to succeed, but should be a bit easier if she's wearing Nasher's Nimble Boots and only leather armor. Recovering the the traps instead (like I did) is possible but not worth the time for the money you'd get. Once the traps are disabled, have her lead the lizardmen past the four way junction eastward and attack; the lizard men will then be far enough away to have your companions engage them all without earning XP for your PC or triggering any traps. One of the lizardmen dropped a +1 spear for me, but I don't know if that was a fixed spawn or a lucky drop. The three barrels on the south end of the map have low-value treasure seeding: I recovered 15 gold from the first, 18 from the second and 16 gold in the third but, in retrospect, trying to get that much gold from them was a waste of time. When preparing to fight the lizard chief, you have two options. The first is pretty straightforward: just move your PC away from the throne room and have your companions kill the chief's minions until you can take him out, re-loading as needed. The second option is to have a long-ranged attacker (such as an archer or a warlock with eldritch spear) start an attack just within the 250ft range. If you re-load often enough, or get lucky the first time around when you attack, you will be able to damage the chief without triggering an attack response or movement from him. His shaman will still cast several spells in response, but none towards you and your party. Continue to whittle down the Chief (attacking anyone else will always trigger an attack response) and let the shaman waste his spells until the Chief is as close as possible to death without actually killing him. Be sure to save every time you think he's close to death before attacking again. Then move the PC far enough away and have Neeshka use the Rod of Frost (which you should have picked up by now from the Lizardfolk Shaman in the swamp cave). If he's close enough to death, a single hit by this will kill him before the shaman has a chance to heal him. This should be easy enough to do, since the rod is a ranged touch attack. Once the Chief is dead pick off the rest at will, with the PC safely out of range. When the lizard man shaman dies he drops a Major Circlet of Blasting. A locked and trapped chest in the chief's treasure room yielded only an alexandrite. After finishing off the lizard chief you can sail off to Neverwinter. You'll get 400xp after making the docks safe for sailing again, and an extra 100xp on top of that if you decide you want Zachan's amulet by rescuing his sons (I did, and this brought me to 4357xp total). Neverwinter Docks district Tips about Neverwinter: Some of the city watch will fight enemies you meet on the streets, if they are close enough to those enemies. Of those who will fight, some can be injured and killed but some are considered plot characters. In particular, the two guards by the city watch building in the docks district can't even be injured and the Sergeant by the docks can't be killed (but only him, not his assistants), so you can let them deal with enemies you'd prefer not to. They're not fast, but they are effective and you'll avoid XP as long as the watch guards land the killing blows. As soon as you enter the docks district upon arrival in Neverwinter, have Neeshka steal the Blade of the Gladiator longsword from Repko the Weaponsmith and the Belt of Agility +1 from Reylene - you'll want these very useful (and free) items to deal with foes for the rest of Act I. The Sunken Flagon While you're speaking to Duncan, say you intend to join Moire & her bandits (even if you don't intend to) for +1 influence with Neeshka (5 total) but -1 with Khelgar (2 total). Also, take this time to speak with Elanee about West Harbor for +1 influence (3 total) by saying "looks like you're not one to tie yourself down". Be sure to leave Elanee in the sunken flagon before meeting Bennon. Bennon Your first order of business after leaving the sunken flagon should be letting the city watch kill the bladelings skulking near their HQ in the docks district. Then head a bit north to meet Bennon. After a brief conversation where you should be supportive of Neeshka (for +1 influence, 6 total) you can simply run by the same city watch guards and let them pummel Bennon and his misguided allies for you. After Bennon's demise, tell Neeshka you'll protect her (for +2 influence, 8 total). City Watch HQ I chose to side with the city watch for two reasons: 1) I found the rewards at Crossroad Keep to be (a little) better 2) My PC followed a path of starting as a very bad actor but eventually getting redemption that fit nicely with leveling progression It is still interesting to side with the rogues; the difference in rewards (in type and where you get them from) is more a matter of the kind of PC you want to play, what companions you choose to have around and storyline preference than anything else. Once you side with the city watch, your first assignment is dealing with Hagen's shop. Bring Elanee back into your party (now that Bennon has been dealt with) before proceeding there. Hagen's shop There's no way to avoid the experience from killing the thugs here because of the size of the building, so don't - avoid them instead. Start by leading the PC to the northwest corner of the building in the extra room while your companions lead the thugs towards the entrance door. If one or more of them starts to follow the lead PC, have a companion attack them so they go after your attacking companion instead. Once the PC is at the north end and your companions are at the south end by the door along with all the thigs, save the game and re-load. You and your companions will then be far enough away that you can rest. Do so, and then have Neeshka easily unlock Hagen's box out of combat mode. For me, it yielded two greenstones, a choking powder, thieves' tools +3 and a tanglefoot bag. Be aware that taking any of the contents from the box moves you 1 towards chaotic and evil. Speak to Hagen again, who will thank you for your help even though none of the thugs have been killed. If you're feeling greedy yoy may ask him for 200 gold, but be aware of the +1 chaotic shift for this. Once that's done have PC run to the thugs and lead enough of them away from the door to escape, with zero added xp from this encounter. Caleb When you report back to Cormick he'll give you 100xp and assign you to arrest Caleb. When you take care of him (or let the city watch guards do it for you) Cormick will give you another 100xp and order you to do a review of the guard posts in the Docks District (I was now at 4557 xp). Once you leave the watch building, you are then (and only then) able to head back to the outside of the Sunken Flagon and recruit Qara. Qara, Hetha and Glina (get Qara at level 3) You can talk Hetha and Glena out of fighting Qara, but doing so misses out on any loot they drop; it also seems entirely out of character for Qara to let them get away with it. Just like previous instances similar to this one, Qara is not in your party yet. She's considered a plot character and can't be killed; she will cheerfully slaughter both of her former classmates for you. Once this is done, head back to the sunken flag and bring Qara into your party, leaving another companion behind. The first time you leave the Sunken Flagon with Qara you'll encounter Praven and more of her former classmates (and in the second wave, Ashni and Glina's father, Johcris) who are set on revenge. Lead them to the city watch guards' HQ and let them deal with both sets of students. Once that's done you're probably best off leaving Qara at the sunken flagon until she's at least level 4; she's not much use with only level one spells. Just be sure to speak with her about everything that's happened so far for a total of +12 influence before moving on: a) In the first conversation when asking her about the academy, agree that "instinct and experience are the best teacher" (+3). b) When discussing Glina and Hetha say, "just as long as you know when to unleash your power" (+3). c) When discussing Praven, support her attacks against his house saying, "Fair enough. If they were insulting you, then they need to be taught a lesson" (+3). d) When talking about Johcris say, "If he tries to fight you - and us - he'll get what he deserves" (+3). Wounded Wolf You should probably skip speaking to the wounded wolf with Elanee until just before the end of ACT I. You don't want the 250xp he gives (or the completely optional Skymirror quest that comes with it) until just before going to the Githyanki Base at the end of ACT I. Remember, it's best to leave at least 1900xp headroom to spare to avoid being level 6 by the time you acquire Sand and Shandra at the start of Act II. Reylene Before going further, be sure you've had Neeshka steal the Blade of the Gladiator from Repko and the Belt of Agility +1 from Reylene. If you steal from Reylene at this point, four of Moire's thugs will be trying to extort protection money from her. It's probably best to not try to get a bribe from them or allow them to extort gold from her. If you do, Raylene will be called as a witness to be used against you during your trial in Act II. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but you need high ranks in appraise (12+), diplomacy (10+) and bluff (14+) to have Reylene be any sort of positive influence during the trial. If you sided with the shadow thieves and don't want her to appear during the trial, the only way to prevent her from being called is to not speak to her at all until the trial is over. Have your companions dispatch the thugs or lead them to the guards, as I did, to let them handle it. Wagon Be sure to demand a bribe from the thugs guarding the wagon for 200 gold (and +1 chaotic alignment change, so don't bother if you're looking to stay/become lawful). Then take the contents anyway and lead them to the city watch for corrective action (and no xp). Merchant District Leldon's hideout (skip this for now) This quest will come up when you visit the merchant quarter for the first time. Side with Neeshka after you defeat Tremmel for +1 influence (9 total), but if Elanee's in your party don't demand an explanation from her about why she's still with you to avoid a loss of influence with her. When you speak with Ophala, say "If he's threatening Neeshka, he's going to pay" (for +2 influence, 11 total) and you'll learn the location of his hideout. You should skip it until Grobnar is in your party; this way you can successfully recover the traps there with the aid of his Inspire Competence inspiration and Heroism spell. Temple of Tyr and Tomb of the Betrayers quest (from Judgle Oleff) When speaking to Judge Oleff, ask if anything is wrong to get the quest for the Tomb of the Betrayers. Get +1 influence with Neeshka (12 total) by promising you won't disturb the crypts and reminding her you wouldn't want anyone disturbing hers. This crucial quest can and should be completed in ACT II due in part to the unlimited gold and experience you can get from it; it's probably best to wait until then to do it. Docks District City Watch sweep If you chose to align with the City Watch the more interesting part of this sweep isn't the Watch guards, but the bandit loot you can get along the way as you clean the streets. Most groups of bandits can drop a wide range of loot that tends towards the low end. However, the spellcaster drops can be very rewarding. For example, with enough reloads one group (by the Watch HQ) dropped a robe of acid resistance, another (by the sunken flagon) dropped a robe of fire resistance, and two other groups (both by the docks at different times) dropped a wand of lesser summoning. You can get another trade of +1 influence with Neeshka (13 total) and -1 influence with Khelgar (now only 1 total) by extorting money from two bandits as they try to open a lock, but it can lead to an alignment shift of +2 evil and +1 chaotic in the process, especially if you take the money and kill them anyway (my favorite) so be aware of your choices. Two sets of guards will share their portion of their bribes money with you if you press the issue properly (with alignment moves towards evil). Once you visit all 4 city watch sergeants Moire's gang will put the Dock's District City Watch HQ to the torch; you'll have to report to Captain Brelaina for further instructions. Merchant District New City Watch Headquarters Brelaina will issue a series of assignments dealing with Moire's gang you must complete before you're given access to the Blacklake district. But first you'll receive 300xp for completing the sweep of the docks (this brought my xp to 4857). Your first task is dealing with the weapons shipment in the back alley. Docks District Back Alley On the way to the back alley you'll meet the child-rogue Wolf being confronted by a bandit. Being nice ensures he and his fellow band of roguelings are available at Crossroads Keep once you're placed in charge there. You should probably use intimidation or diplomacy to convince the first set of guards you meet let you pass without a fight. They won't drop any loot anyway and since I didn't want the XP, fighting them served no purpose. At a clearing about halfway through the back alley you'll have a chance to raise influence with several of your companions before dealing with the city watch who were bribed by Moire's gang here. I chose to increase it by +1 with Neeshka (now 14 total) by saying, "sometimes you have to do what you can to survive." I then increased it with Qara (who I had with me for this event - otherwise it was Elanee in her place) by allowing her to set the fire that distracts the city watch (+1, 13 total) and, after Qara sets the fire, tell her to "burn as much as you like" (+1, 14 total). As I worked my way northeast on the map the first barrel gave an alexandrite, choking powder, 24 bolts, holy water, a tanglefoot bag and a set of thieves' tools +6. The second barrel had an emerald, a wand of arcane disjunction and 16 arrows. A crate on the southeast side of the map before the gang leader had an alexandrite, alchemist's fire, 34 bolts, a tanglefoot bag, 17 arrows an acid flask and 6 throwing axes. A gang leader blocks your way before the weapons shipment. Regardless of your diplomacy or intimidation skills, it's best to fight him for his loot (with possible alignment shifts in the process). However, at level 3 this can be a tough proposition. To do this, run your PC away as your companions stay put to whittle down the leader. If you're killed simply re-load and heal by your PC's location, repeating as often as needed until they're eliminated. The gang leader always drops the very useful Lesser Amulet of the Master, as does one of the thugs with a +1 shortsword. The mage often drops a scroll of flame arrow. A set of crates southeast after the gang leader contained a Bowl of Commanding Water Elementals, an alexandrite, choking powder and a tanglefoot bag. A crate just before the weapons-wagon yielded an alexandrite, choking powder and holy water. Before you take on the guards and Moire's thugs at the weapons wagon you'll probably want to swap out Kehlgar for Qara again. This is because, when you finally defeat them all (using similar tactics as with the gang leader), you can agree with Neeshka saying, "If a few weapons got 'misplaced,' no one would be the wiser" for +1 influence with her (15 total) - and no loss with Khelgar. Plus you'll get the +1 rapier Namarra Neversleep for your trouble, since neither the guards or thugs will likely drop anything of value when they're killed. When you report back to Brelaina you'll receive 250xp and your next assignment: The Warehouse (I was now at 5107xp). Merchant Quarter The Warehouse Killing the bandits here is the usual matter of keeping the PC at distance from your companions as they clean up. Save often. If they die in the process (and they likely will - numerous times) save and reload - they'll be by your side again. Heal, attack, save and repeat. When you finish off Barlowe you can pick up his documents. This triggers a cut-scene with Neeshka and Khelgar. To maximize influnce allow Neeshka to loot the place saying, "Have fun. Let me know what you find" (+1 influence, 16 total). When Khelgar voices his dislike of her respond with "You're right. I'll try to keep her out of trouble from now on." (+1 influence, 2 total). When Neeshka comes back saying she found something for you, only respond with, "Thanks, I'll make good use of it". Otherwise she won't find the Nighttheif's Nimbleknife. She can make good use of this dagger until she gets the two-weapon fighting feat at level 6, much later on. Then ask, "Are you sure that's all you found?" and answer her denial by saying, "Come clean. What else did you find?". This is the only response that relies solely on your (high) influence with her and is more than enough to get the ruby she had pocketed for herself, with no loss of influence in the process. The first crate on the south-eastern end of the map gave me 16 darts, an alexandrite and choking powder. A barrel just north of it had an emerald. A crate east of where Barlowe was barricaded had a potion of barkskin, a scroll of bless weapon and a wand of arcane disjunction. A crate just north of the entrance to the warehouse at the end of a hallway contained a scroll of false life, 18 throwing axes, thieves' tools +6, two wands of magic missiles, an emerald, a potion of cat's grace and five +1 arrows. A barrel in the first room just northwest of the entrance yielded an emerald. A room just southeast of where Barlowe was has a crate that contained an alexandrite, two tanglefoot bags, 21 bolts and an alchemist's fire. When you report back to Captain Brelaina you'll receive another 300xp (5407 total) and your next assignment - rescuing Fihelis. Fihelis Estate - get Grobnar at level 3 This another challenging area. Your first task is to shepherd the bandits on the first level away from your PC to the northeast side of the map and then move your PC to the southwest side of the map before you kill any of them. This task takes as much luck as is does skill; it will probably take several rounds of shepherding to get them all to one side because some bandits either start off using HIPS or aren't spawned until you walk past certain trigger points. Once you've defeated all the bandits on the first and second level you can prepare to fight Moire. Defeating Moire at character level 3 is very difficult, especially without your PC nearby. This is mainly because, unlike ANY other boss you fight during Act I, she has the Evasion feat *and* regeneration. To prepare have Elanee, Khelgar and Qara in your party before entering the room Moire and her posse are in. Make sure Qara has a fully charged wand of magic missiles and wand of lesser summoning ready in her quickslots. Give the Rod of Frost to Elanee. Prior to leaving Neeshka at the Sunken flagon you could try setting several traps all over the long hallway you'll be using, but because Moire has Evasion it's likely few to none of them will work on her; I chose to save my traps to sell later. On the way back from the sunken flagon, stop at the Weeping Willow Inn and buy Khelgar a suit of full plate and a +1 tower shield. I found Jorik and Edario had the lowest prices of the merchants I had access to (at that time) for theses purchases. Make sure Khelgar has a few potions of cure wounds at the ready in quickslots and give him every piece of protective equipment he can use. For me this was a ring of protection +1, ring of resistance +1, bracers of Armor +2, full plate, +1 tower shield, a belt of agility +1, an amulet of vitality +2 and the silver shards of health and acid & electrical resistance. He kept wielding the Blade of the Gladiator for the weapon of choice - although he used never used it against Moire; he spent all his time running from her. If this prospect seems too difficult, you can always buy a Rod of the Ghost from Pap in the Merchant Quarter, which will make surviving Moire (and shepherding her thugs on level one) much easier, along with just about every other battle in ACT I. However, I wanted to see if I could work without it and didn't want to spend the extra 6000 gold on this - yet. In retrospect, it would've been worth it to buy it now instead of in ACT II, where I only saved 400 gold. First, take care of Moire's minions as Moire herself will at first run to the corner of the room where Fihelis is kept prisoner. She'll figure out soon enough you have no intention of fighting her right away but by the time she does, and moves to follow your team, they'll be well on their way to killing her accomplices. Lead your PC to the northeastern portion of the map by the stairs. At the same time, have your companions lead Moire's minions to the southeastern room to kill them all; Moire should follow her minions automatically. Once Moire's minions are dead and she is by you in the corner, out of sight of the doorway, save and reload - then the real work begins. I found the best way to beat Moire is for Qara to pepper her to death with a wand of magic missiles, after she exhausts her spells. Like a lot of what is done to defeat enemies when you're only level 3 this is slow, but it works. To do this, lead your companions back up the long hallway to the room where Moire is waiting. In order to get a good start to this process have Elanee cast Barkskin on herself and Khelgar just prior to fighting her. Make sure Elanee has her badger animal companion out as well. Then have Qara use the lesser wand of summoning to summon her own dire badger to assist in acting as a distraction and meatshield. As Elanee gets close to where Moire is, she will sneak attack Elanee and abort hiding in plain sight. It's important that you only continue the battle if this very painful first attack misses - otherwise it may be a one-hit kill. Timing of all your companions actions will be very important and you'll definitely need Elanee to heal Khelgar as Moire wears him down with occasional attacks of opportunity while he runs in long track patterns up and down the hallway and Qara slowly whittles her down with magic missiles. Have Elanee positioned near the left of the door by Qara to cast heal spells as Khelgar runs past, with Moire hot on his heels. If Elanee is not healing Khelgar in any given round, and you don't anticipate her doing so in the next round, have her use the Rod of Frost on Moire to help wear her down. Qara's dire badger (and Elanee's, if it's still around) will keep Moire distracted for a while. When the badgers die, Qara should only re-summon hers to give Khelgar a chance to drink a healing potion, something that may become more pressing when Elanee runs out of healing spells. Remember, any break given to Moire will allow her to regenerate more, so only summon the dire badger if you have to. Khelgar's AC should be high enough with all his buffs so that Moire only hits occasionally with her attacks-of-opportunity as he turns corners during his runs. He should never stop to fight her toe-to-toe; she'll finish him off fairly quickly if he does and the others probably won't last long once he dies. As usual, I kept all my companions in puppet mode to time their activities properly. By the time Moire was dead she had killed Khelgar, then Elanee (as she took his place as the track-runner) and Qara only had 5 hit points left. This was because I didn't have Qara stop to re-summon a dire badger and give Khelgar a chance to drink a few healing potions. Once Moire dies she drops a +3 Rapier and the Moonstone Mask, which somewhat makes up for having to spend about 2000 gold on full-plate and a +1 tower shield for Khelgar. It doesn't hurt for him to have these items for the rest of ACT I, but without the Rod of the Ghost (sold by Pap in the merchant quarter) fighting Moire with that armor was an absolute necessity. When you speak to Fihelis, you can shake him down for 2000 gold plus some gems (and a shift towards chaotic evil), which can be found later in the park in the Merchant Quarter. Thankfully, Brelaina awards no experience for rescuing him. ************************************************************************************ Once you've rescued Fihelis from Moire (and his wallet) you can pick up Grobnar at level three. Then, after outfitting him properly, head back to the Fihelis estate to loot the place. On the first level of Fihelis' estate, the northeastern room by the stairs has two armoires. The locked one had choking powder, 2 greenstones and an acid flask. The unlocked one had a sash of shimmering, choking powder, 2 greenstones and an acid flask. Just south of this room is another where you'll find a gas-trapped chest (I could never "find" the gas trap to recover it); it gave an emerald. The room on the northwest corner has a crate that gave me 2 greenstones, choking powder, an acid flask, holy water, 12 arrows and thieves' tools +3. A room directly east of it has a bookcase. It had 2 greenstones, an acid flask and a tanglefoot bag. A room just south of the one at the southwest corner has a locked and trapped chest that yielded thieves' tools +3, an alexandrite, holy water, choking powder and a tanglefoot bag. A crate in the room just north of the entrance has a crate that contained 2 greenstones, 10 darts, a healer's kit +1 and choking powder. On the second level of Fihelis estate are two rooms just east of the stairs. Both are low-yield armoires. The locked and trapped one contained a copper necklace. The unlocked one had a Phenalope and Malachite. The large central room with a locked and trapped chest contained a deadly frost trap kit, 4 aventurines and 95 gold. The room where Moire held Fihelis prisoner has a locked & trapped low-yield trunk which only gave a greenstone (sometimes it was empty). Old Owl Well - part 1 Bonegnasher Clan Approach Brelaina's next assignment for you is rescuing the Waterdeep emissary, Issani. Starting off I worked with Elanee, Neeshka and Khelgar. A locked and trapped chest at the southwest corner of the map contained 2 acid flasks, an alexandrite, 28 shurikens and choking powder. A chest on the northwest corner of the map had an alexandrite, acid flask, 10 arrows, a tanglefoot bag and 9 throwing axes. A crate by Guyven of the road contains 99 +1 arrows, bolts and bullets (fixed). It also had 2 greenstones, 2 alchemist's fires, 37 bolts, choking powder and 12 arrows. I chose to wait to speak to Guyven until just after rescuing the Waterdeep emissary due to the 250xp he gives in the hopes of recruiting Bishop at level 3. However, I found there's no significant difference between getting Bishop at level 3 or 4, so feel free to speak to Guyven as soon as you see him. Remember to be polite and let him tell you about the history of the place for the loot he can ultimately direct you to as a guest in Crossroads Keep in Act III. A chest near the entry to the Bonegnasher cave had 2 choking powders and an alexandrite. Troll Cave - northeast corner of Bonegnasher Clan Approach A vein of Ore (1 vein so far) here gives 50xp (I was now at 5457xp). There are four more veins of ore to be found in Act I, and you'll want all the others for the upgrades to your army at Crossroads Keep. I chose to wait on collecting the other four until after rescuing the Waterdeep emissary in the hopes of adding Bishop to my party at level three but that turned out to be impossible, so feel free to collect the ore as soon as you find it. Also don't forget the scabbard of blessing here. You'll want this very useful item in the inventory of Shandra, Khelgar or Casavir for the many difficult battles ahead. Bonegnasher Cave As one might expect, as I progressed through Act I enemies grew progressively more difficult. As such, my companions (who remained very low level) would often die several times fighting groups of foes. Just make the most of your gear, tactics and the ability to buff with spells. When neccessary, re-load from saves, rest and send your companions back into battle. Again, if you bought (or choose to buy) the Rod of the Ghost from Pap in the Merchant Quarter it does to its user's ability to withstand a fair amount of punishment. After defeating Yaisog he will beg for mercy, but sparing him simply means you'll have to fight him again at the Eyegouger clan lair, so it's best to kill him now and get it over with while there are less foes around. A room just east of the entrance has a trapped chest. It contained an alexandrite, tanglefoot bag, choking powder, a healer's kit +6 and thieves' tools +6. A chest in the room just south of where you meet Yaisog for the 1st time gave an emerald. A chest in a room northeast of the entrance with three beds in it contained 2 greenstones, an alchemist's fire and choking powder. A chest near the cooking room of the Orc Matron had an alexandrite, choking powder and an acid flask. A chest in the room where the Orc Shaman starts had a book titled "Fundamentals of Terrible Destruction", a wand of Arcane Disjunction, and 3 scrolls: shield other, ghostly visage and infestation of maggots. A chest in a heavily trapped room on the way to the final encounter with Cheif Yaisog of the Bonegnasher clan contained an emerald, a potion of fox's cunning, a wand of lesser summoning, and a scroll of keen edge. A chest by the sorcerer Olov contained two +1 healer's kits, choking powder, 2 greenstones and a tanglefoot bag. At the end of the cave, I chose to take Olov (the fake emissary), into my party for +1 influence with Neeshka (now 17) stating, "I'll keep an eye on him" when she said she doesn't trust him. The only downside to this is fighting Olov in an ambush where, by definition, you have no time to prepare. You will earn some extra loot in the process, but it is not easy. Old Owl Well Olov's Ambush Once you leave the Bonegnasher Cave make like you're leavaing the area - I attempted to go to the docks district. Doing so triggers an encounter where Olov reveals himself by ambushing you with a posse of orcs. You can then kill everyone for some extra loot, although winning this battle at such a low level requires an almost perfect start while fighting Olov. Before the encounter with Olov and his band of Orcs make sure Khelgar and Elanee have a few strong cure wounds potions ready. If you bought the Rod of the Ghost from Pap, this is another good place to use it. While attempting to return to the Docks district Olov announces, in classic villain-like fashion, his plot and laments on how gullible you were for bringing hinm into your party. The most difficult part of this battle is killing him immediately because if you don't, he'll quickly eliminate your companions while the orcs on the hill kill your PC, who has to run the other way and can do little while orc archers to fill him/her with arrows. Olov appears to be a sorcerer of around 8th level with a generous helping of hit points and good armor class. Have your PC run in the opposite direction while your companions immediately rush him. I had Khelgar, Elanee, and Neeshka for this task. Again, there's no time to prepare and you may have to re-load several times to be able kill him in the first two or three rounds, hoping he misses your companions with a fireball or other spells while at the same time you score several good hits (or like I did, a couple of critical ones). After Olov died, I chose to save and re-load so I wouldn't have to repeat that part of the battle. Khelgar still had around 20 hit points, while Elanee had been killed and Neeshka was on the brink. In the first round of continued fighting Elanee cast barkskin on Khelgar (this took three tries because the Orc archers kept killing her as she only had 1hp) while he drank a potion of cure serious wounds. After that he was able to kill the rest of them on his own. I got Olov's gear and a +1 chain shirt for my troubles. I also avoided any xp. Eyegouger Clan Approach - part one - get Casavir at level 3(!) As you head towards the Eyegouger Clan you'll encounter two waves of orcs. Once you dispatch the first wave and the second approaches, Casavir and his associates will appear. As with most first encounters of the PC's companions, Casavir and his associates are not in your party and cannot be killed; just stand back and allow them to do the work for you with no risk of earning XP. Afterwards Casavir will replace a party member of your choice; I chose Khelgar and then went back to the sunken flagon to transfer all of Khelgar's gear to him. For the rest of the quest to rescue Issani I used Elanee, Neeshka and Casavir - with a few exceptions for influence building. Eyegouger Clan Approach - part one A chest at the northernmost section of the map by a fireplace and tent contains Hideo's kama (fixed). It also gave me an emerald, a wand of magic missiles and a scroll of dispel magic. A crate just before the entrance to the lair contained an alexandrite, a potion of cure light wounds, 23 shuriken, wine, 12 darts and choking powder. Eyegouger Lair - level 1 As with all battles you'll be facing now for the rest of Act I, prepare: Elanee cast Barksin on Casavir and herself. Casavir used the Scabbard of Blessing to Bless the party and then cast Aid on himself. Keep in mind the A.I. in the game is usually such that after most foes kill a PC, companion or summons, they will (with rare exceptions, and this situation is not one of them) inevitably move to be in range of where their next target is for whatever attack they prefer to use. Therefore, if your companions manage to stay alive long enough, the PC's opponents will eventually move towards your surviving companions. Use this AI tendency to your advantage, because this is exactly what you want in order to establish a safe zone where enemies are not near your PC when you kill them. The lair has a tough start because of the imperative priority to lead every orc near the entryway west, away from the PC. Your PC may die in the process (mine did, eventually), but this shouldn't be problematic as long as no Orcs are near the entryway when you re-load, because you'll then have to lead them away once more, and if that happens you're probably better off starting over with the process. Just remember: have your companions survive as long as possible. I established this safe zone with two methods. The first was by having my companions move to the west end of the map one at time in relatively short succession, starting with Casavir, since he has the highest AC and hit points. This encouraged any orc stragglers to follow along. The second was to occasionally have Casavir and the others go just around the bend at the southwest end of the map to be out of the way of the archers and ranged spellcasters, but not so far as to attract the other orcs just north up the hallway; it encouraged the enemies to move closer to my companions (and away from my now dead PC). This process may take a few tries (it took me 3) but once all the orcs are close enough to the southwest room you can start killing them all off and rotate, with your companions at one end of the map and your PC at sufficient distance on the other, until the level is clear. If things are tight at the beginning (and they were for me) just save before your last companion is killed and heal to establish a safe zone. You can simply leave the lair if needed but, again, it's probably a bad sign if enemies are close enough that you have to leave and re-enter. Many enemies on this level will not spawn until you move past a certain point or from a certain direction, so be careful to clear out one group of enemies before moving on to another and clear the level completely before bringing your PC along to avoid unwanted XP for kills. A heavily trapped and locked chest in the southeastern-most room contains an emerald. There's a vein of Ore in the northeast corner but I didn't collect it (or the 50xp it yields) until after I got Bishop. A room slightly northeast of the entrance has some starved wolves. With Elanee in your party they won't attack you. Instead, when the conversation starts, say "I don't want to hurt them" for +1 influence with Elanee (4 total) and allow them to leave for +2 influence (6 total). It is possible to raise your influence with Elanee here well past 20 by simply closing the door to this room before speaking to the wolves, then speaking to them multiple times as they leave (and making the appropriate conversation choice). Personally, I found this be a too much of an exploit and therefore chose not to do so. In addition, it's not necessary to have Elanee's influence be very high to prevent her from leaving the party near the beginning of Act III - while confronting her corrupted kin in the Circle of the Mere. A makeshift throne room near the center of the map has a chest that contained a set of thieves' tools +1, 10 arrows, an alexandrite, a tanglefoot bag, 7 bullets, thieves' tools +6, holy water, 22 bolts and choking powder. A so-called torture chest in the northwest corner contained a journal, Mage's Battle Robe (both fixed) and an emerald. Just before proceeding to level 2 of the lair I let the wounded orcs die in peace for +1 influence with Elanee (now 7 total). This also resulted in a two point alignment move toward Good and +1 move towards Lawful. You can choose to build influence with Casavir here instead, but not both of them. Eyegouger Lair - level 2 This level requires establishing a safe zone just like the start of level one, but it's not as hard. The main difficulty is having Neeshka stealth around and disarm the first two traps without the orcs noticing first. A room east of the entrance has a trapped and locked chest with a Neverwinter Kukri in it. There are also three barrels in the room. The first one by the bed had an alexandrite and 9 bullets. The second one had an alexandrite and 9 arrows. The last one has 6 bullets, an alexandrite and 30 bolts. The locked and trapped chest by Chief Logram gave me an alexandrite, acid flask, thieves' tools +1, a scroll of cure minor wounds, holy water, 15 darts and healer's kit +1 Eyegouger Lair - level 3 When you encounter the lined-up bodies on level three, respond to Casavir by saying "these bodies deserve funeral rites, not to rot in a cave like this" for +2 influence with him. Then, when Elanee says she's felt this darkness before, answer with "we have a responsibility to find out what's going on here" for another +2 influence with Casavir (total 4). Finally, when Neeshka expresses her reservations about the place, support her by stating "I trust your instincts on this one - but I'd rather know what's here than have it come after us later" for +1 influence with her (18 total). Just prior to fighting the shadow priest on level three I went back to the Sunken Flagon to exchange Neeshka for Qara. Then when the shadow priest announced his intentions to take Qara I had the PC respond, "I won't let you have her" for +1 influence (now 15 total). Once the priest and his lackeys are dead, I went back to the flagon and swapped out Elanee and Qara for Grobnar and Neeshka. Using Grobnar's inspire competence skill was the only way to recover the trap on the shadow priest's chest and open the lock without using thieves' tools. In retrospect that wasn't worth the time for the gold saved - just use theives' tools. When you meet Issani let him know, "we're here to help" for another +2 influence with Casavir (6 total). At the south end of the first main room is another (third) vein of ore, which I did not collect until after I got Bishop. Again, looking back since there was no way to get Bishop at level 3, there was no need to wait. The southwestern-most room has a chest that yielded an alexandrite and choking powder. A chest in a south-easterly room had an emerald inside. A chest in the chamber just north of this gave me an alexandrite, thunderstone, choking powder, 9 arrows and an acid flask. A crate in the northern-most room contained an alexandrite, alchemist's fire, 18 arrows and 2 choking powders. Old Owl Well - part 2 Just before speaking to Callum I picked up the other three Ore deposits I had skipped earlier. The first was on the west side Bonegnahser cave, the second was on the east side of the first level of the Eyegouger cave and the third was on the third level of the Eyegouger cave about halfway through (this brought me to four veins of ore total). I also spoke to Guyven of the Road (250xp), bringing me to 5857 XP. When you meet Callum again you'll be awarded 1000 gold and the Greataxe Re's Redemption for rescuing the Waterdeep Emissary. You'll also get 500xp for bringing back Logram's Eyegouger's Banner (this brought me to 6357xp). After some experimenting, I found the only way to avoid getting "Logram's banner" is simply not kill him - it doesn't matter whether you have any of his loot, including the Orcish Medallion, when talking to Callum. Unfortunately, killing Logram is a requirement to move on with your quest and keep the plot-line moving smoothly. Keep in mind when Logram dies he does drop a Watchmen's Helm, a Luckstone (the ONLY item in the original campaign which directly boosts the appraisal skill), +2 chainmail, and the warmace Ardulia's Fall. When speaking to Callum be sure to stand up for Casavir by saying, "whatever trouble Casavir is in, know that he helped us - and you - willingly" for +1 influence and, "you'll have us to protect you as well" for another +1 (now 8 total). Before leaving to see Brelaina ask Pentin about a reward (for a final total of 300 gold) by saying, "is your life really only worth 30 gold?" Once you report to Brelaina about the rescue of the Waterdeep Emissary you'll receive another 500xp (this brought me to 6857xp) and your next assignment - the Sea Ghost. However, now that my party was level 4 I chose to level up and take care of Khelgar's Dwarven Scouts side quest before going there. Dwarven Scouts Since there's no way to get Bishop before level 4 this is a quest that, in retrospect, would've been better completed before dealing with the Bonegnasher or Eyegouger Clans because the Gauntlets of Ironfist you get here make every fight easier. I managed without them, of course, but it would've been better if I had use of them earlier. At the end of the conversation with Khulmar tell Khelgar, "We are with you" for +3 influence (5 total). A set of crates north of the Dwarven scouts yielded a greenstone. At the north end of the map is an unlocked chest that gave a Canaith Mandolin, an emerald, healers kit +3, a scroll of invisibility sphere, a wand of magic missiles, and a scroll of remove paralysis. Farther along the map are a group of bugbears debating how tasty Khayar might be. After freeing him say, "I am honored" for +1 influence with Khelgar (6 total). Along the way to the Ironfist Clanhold is weapons rack, tucked away on a ridge after Khayar with a +1 composite longbow (fixed). Ironfist Clanhold It will take some maneuvering to distance the companions from your PC once you enter and have to immediately attack the bugbears. Just use the same tactics as with the Eyegouger clan on level one to kill the first wave bugbears with no XP; it's not as hard to do here. There is another vein of Ore just up the first hallway that yields the usual 50xp (6907xp total; 5 veins of ore total). I brought Grobnar in once I reached the gears so he could figure it out and have the PC say "well done" for +1 influence with him. You have the opportunity to raise or lower your influence with Khelgar and Neeshka by 1 each here. I chose to give a neutral response to keep Khekgar's influence at 6 and Neeshka's at 18. You can increase influence with Neeshka (and lose it with Khelgar) by +1 saying, "any treasure belongs to us now" or the reverse by saying "We're not here to act as scavengers." There's a pile of gold with variable yield by Grausch that I was able to get 274 from. The chest in the room with Grausch contains the (almost indispensable) Gauntlets of Ironfist. Offer them to Khelgar for +4 influence (now 10 total). When you speak with Khulmar again he'll give you 300xp, but I chose to avoid doing this until just before I went to the Githyanki base. Merchant Quarter Leldon's Hideout Note: you can complete this quest in ACT II without impacting the storyline. I chose to do it once I had Grobnar as a companion because: A) I thought I could (a challenge is a challenge, after all) B) There's no way to get Bishop earlier than level 4 and C) it didn't prevent me from recruiting Sand or Shandra at level 5 at the start of ACT II Now that I had the Gauntlets of Ironfist and my PCs companions were level four I set out for Leldon's hideout. Leldon's hideout is best handled in two stages. The first is recovering the various noise traps without alerting his small army of thugs. Do this by bringing Grobnar, Neeshka and Khelgar for the first stage. Have Grobnar use the inspire competence inspiration and the spell Heroism while Neeshka recovers noise traps after using an invisibility potion (one should be enough to recover them all). Once all the traps are recovered and Neeshka's invisibility potion wears off, have her shepherd the thugs into the large room with Khelgar following behind to get them to the north side of the room. The second stage is to swap out Grobnar for Qara, who at level four, can now cast Fireburst; this is the key to easily defeating all the thugs. Just have Khelgar run into the room (or act as a doorstop to the thugs) while Qara casts Fireburst until she's dead. Then simply re-load, heal the party by the PC (who should be right by the southernmost entry door) and repeat until the thugs are finished off. The Armoire in the western-most room contains a scroll of resistance, a wand of magic missiles, an emerald, healer's kit +3 and wand of lesser summons. A Wardrobe next to it has a Robe of Electrical Resistance. Piles of treasure by Leldon's chest gave 299, 27, 299, 55, 58 and 55 gold. Leldon's chest yielded an emerald. The next time you return to the Sunken Flagon, Wolf will tell you how Leldon wants to meet your PC and Neeshka in the Merchant Quarter (this only happens if you don't set off any traps in Leldon's hideout, otherwise you have to fight him there). The dialogue options give the impression you can refuse the "offer", but you can't. When you meet Leldon, respond to his threat to kill Neeshka by saying "Touch her, and you die" for +1 influence (now a 19), then run to the guards by the Watch HQ and let them correct Leldon's misunderstanding about using violence to solve problems on city streets. You earn 400xp after they defeat him (7307xp total). Docks District Ahja the Azure Ahja is an easy kill. Simply lead his minions to the guards by the torched City Watch HQ and let them take care of his thugs. Then have Qara stand just inside magic missile range to kill him. Ahja drops a +2 quarterstaff, a gold necklace, a book titled "accoutrements of masterful wizardry and their construction", a potion of bless and an alexandrite. I got 300xp after reporting his defeat to Brelaina (7607xp), who then directs you to deal with some assassins. Merchant Quarter Githyanki Hideout Brelaina sends you out to stop assassins but the location is actually a Githyanki hideout. The key to defeating the Githyanki here is to fight them in small groups by leading them up the corridor to the north just outside of the room where the Blade Golem will appear. They are far too dangerous to deal with in larger numbers (at least when you're only level 4), being an effective combination of good fighters, spell casters and magic resistant. Fighting them in piecemeal fashion will allow your companions to wear them down and, if killed, appear next to the PC who remains safe just next to the entrance door. The last batch of Gith, just southwest of the room with the Blade Golem, are the largest group. They're an ideal choice for dispatching the Blade Golem once all the others are dead. Just lead it to them; it will take a few of them out (along with the companion who leads it there) before it's weakened and forced to retreat back through the gate from which it appeared. You can then finish off the rest of the Gith. A cautionary note about the numerous Githyanki here: they will appear in multiple waves, depending on where you are and what direction you're approaching from. Sometimes they will appear more than once in the same location, so be careful not to move too quickly down any corridor or you might find them being lead to the PC by accident. There is no useful treasure anywhere here. The best you'll find is a locked and trapped chest in the room where the Blade Golem appears, containing only a Wand of Sleep. Once you defeat the Gith, Brelaina will award you with another 300xp (7907 total) and finally let you seek out Aldenon the Sage in the Blacklake District. Blacklake District Neverwinter Archives When you speak to the caretaker you'll get another 250xp (8157). I swapped out Neeshka temporarily for Casavir to say "I vow to protect Neverwinter and keep its secrets safe" for +1 influence with Casavir (now a 9). After defeating the Githyanki here (not an especially difficult task with Khelgar's newfound Gauntlets of Ironfist and the Greataxe, Re's Redemption) but before solving all the riddles I collected the loot from the chests, moving counter clock-wise from 6:00pm by the entrance to the Archives and back again. Take care to examine or keep the books as they may be needed to have the correct dialogue options available to answer the questions of the books on the four pedestals correctly. They may also help during the trial in ACT II. * the first chest at 5 o'clock had two lesser wands of summoning * the second chest at 3 o'clock had a lesser wand of summoning & scroll of magic vestment * the third chest at 1 o'clock had an emerald * the fourth chest at midnight had 2 alchemist's fire, a wand of arcane disjuncture and a scroll of glyph of warding * the fifth chest at 11 o'clock had an alexandrite, potion of lore and a healer's kit +1 * the sixth chest at 9 o'clock had a scroll of protection from alignment and wand of arcane disjuncture * the seventh and final chest at 5 o'clock had two lesser wands of summoning and a scroll of remove fear Answering all of the questions correctly the first time will earn you a periapt of wisdom +2, along with a +3 influence gain with Grobnar (for a total of 4). The pedestal asking about the Luskan Threat to Neverwinter earns no additional influence with him, even if answered correctly. Also, the pedestal that asks questions referencing the book "To Counter the Assumption of a Flat Faerun" will only earn you +1 influence with Grobnar if it asks the question, "What does the author believe pulls objects towards the ground", so be sure to save only if it asks this question. After the Neverwinter trivia quiz, I swapped out Grobnar for Casavir before the final fight with the Githyanki in the archives, making it an easier battle. Reading the archives afterwards brings you to Shandra's Farm again, for a reluctant rescue. Highcliff Shandra's Farm - Part Two None of these battles are particularly difficult. It's just a matter of keeping the PC far enough away from the action to avoid XP. Once you're in Shandra's home, it involves shepherding the first three Githyanki northeast while moving the PC to the southwest room; the diagonal positioning makes it easier to establish a good distance. After the first dialogue with Shandra, run the PC away in the most expeditious way, but eventually to the southeastern room instead so you can have your companions safely fight with no risk of XP. You can't rest in Shandra's home, but there's nothing to stop you from leaving, resting and returning to wear the Githyanki down until they're defeated. With Khelgar, Casavir and Neeshka leading the charge it shouldn't take many rest-and-reloads to accomplish this. I found it helps to use the door to the room where Shandra goes as a bottle-neck to let Khelgar and Casavir take them out in controlled numbers. You'll earn 500XP when you finally rescue Shandra (which is to say, when she finally *lets* you rescue her) and she agrees to come back with you to the Sunken Flagon for her protection (This brought me to 8657xp). Ironically, Shandra is finally kidnapped by the Githyanki during the cut-scene following your arrival and you'll then have to deal with their raid of the tavern, which serves as a delaying tactic and cover for her being spirited away to their base. Docks District The Sunken Flagon - get Bishop at level 4 Like many situations before this one, the best way to deal with the enemy (Githyanki) here is to let the NPCs handle them for you. Since none of your companions are in your party in this battle (they act as plot characters) they'll kill the enemy for you earning no XP in the process. In particular, Duncan can't be injured and he'll club all the Githyanki into submission - alone if need be. Just lead them to him and watch the other-worldly bar-brawl. You'll earn 250XP for surviving the Flagon raid (this brought me to 8,907xp). Bishop will then be pressed into service with you, as Duncan calls in an old debt, to rescue Shandra for a second time. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Quest clean-ups to level 5: Now that I had Bishop in my party at level 4, I set out to do quests I had skipped earlier and also to complete quests I had done, but had not collected rewards on. The goal here was to bring my companions to just over 10,000 XP and be level 5 before setting off for the village of Ember. Being an extra level higher really helps there. Plus, I wanted the leftover gold and items I had left behind now that I knew I had the XP to spare to still acquire Sand and Shandra at level 5 at the start of ACT II. 1) Docks District The Wounded Wolf When you meet the wounded wolf ask Elanee "is there anything you can do to help?" for +1 influence (now 8 total). When Elanee speaks of the troubles in the land, be sure to mention the shards as a suspected part of the cause to prevent a loss of influence. This results in 250xp (9,157 total) and reveals Skymirror on the world map. 2) Skymirror Speaking with Naevan results in 400xp (9,557 total) and brings about eventual combat with a shadow priest who dropped a scimitar +2, light shield +1 and thieves' tools +10 after his defeat. 3) Highcliff Speak to Juni for her quest to find William and Mozah for the other half of his money. When you find William, just speaking with him will net you 75xp (9,632 total). You can extort 100 gold from him in exchange for keeping quiet about his running away, although this results in a shift by 1 towards evil. When you recover Mozah's backpay you can lie to keep the entire 500gp (with a +1 shift towards chaotic), let him keep all of it (for a +1 shift towards good), or give him half for no alignment changes. You'll get 125xp regardless of your choice (I was now at 9,757 total). Speaking to Juni again nets 150xp. If the conversation ends with her being at least reasonably happy with you, another 75xp is earned (9,982 total) and a 200 gold reward, regardless of the outcome. 4) Fort Locke Speaking with Commander Tann about the dead Bandit Chief nets another 100xp (level 5 at 10,082xp) and 500 gold. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Village of Ember I chose to fight here with Elanee, Khelger and Bishop (who remains as a required companion through the end of ACT I). To prepare, Elanee can buff herself and Khelgar with Barkskin and use the spell Flame weapon on his Greataxe, Re's Redemption. Khelgar can use the Scabbard of Blessing to bless the party. Bishop and Elanee's animal companions can distract the Githyanki for a time while all three wear down the two waves that appear. At level 5, my companions took two re-loads to take them all down. You can build influence to 5 with Bishop here with the following, earning +1 each time, with no loss of influence or alignment change: * When you enter the village for the first time, agree with Bishop the place doesn't seem right by noticing people are missing * After the above, suggest holding back and waiting to see what happens instead of rushing into combat * After dispatching the Githyanki, note that with a smaller force they'll be harder to track and move more quickly * Immediately after the above, suggest leaving Ember immediately * When Alaine appears, blame her and the village for allowing the ambush to happen To avoid a loss of influence with Bishop, when you meet Marcus, promise him riches in exchange for giving up his knife. If you say you didn't mean any harm to the village, your alignment will shift by one towards good. Giving Marcus Bishop's knife helps with the Trial in ACT II and nets you an extra magic item later (Bishop's dagger). Dwarven Scouts I returned to Khulmar to collect 300xp and ensure the plotline runs smoothly (10,382xp total). Preparing for ACT II and cashing in: In order to keep all of your hard earned loot in ACT I it must be in the inventory of your PC or companions; you can't store items or gold in any other way between Acts. Also, you should consider selling any unwanted inventory sell to the three merchants who will either not be present in ACT II or will not perform as merchants there (at a minimum, you should sell to Sand until he runs out of money with which to buy your items). Otherwise you'll have an over-abundance of items and may exhaust the ability of merchants to buy what you don't want or need when you decide to sell. Later, with proper management of Crossroads Keep, you'll likely have more gold than you'll need, but by then key merchants selling unique and/or special gear will no longer be available; timing is everything. The three merchants, and their available gold reserves with which they can buy your possessions, are as follows: A) Jorik, with 51,999 gold, is at the Weeping Willow Inn (the Inn isn't even on the map in ACT II). B) Tor Millows, with 50,600 gold, is in Fort Locke (you can't interact with him at all in ACT II). C) Sand, with 100,000 gold, is at his shop in the docks district; his Merchant Elemental will act in his stead in ACT II - with a completely new inventory and a buy/sell pricing ratio that's worse than almost any other merchant in ACT II. A note about Sand in ACT I as a merchant: he is unique in this capacity in that all of his prices are roughly doubled - both for what he sells and what he buys. It may be more than mere coincidence that this pricing strategy lines up with a quote from Sand in the cut-scene where he is introduced to the PC during the first visit to the Sunken Flagon and he states, "... but just in case, bring a great deal of gold as well". Unfortunately, Sand is like most other merchants in that his overall money pool for purchasing items is limited and, once you have exhausted it, the only way for Sand to be able to buy more from the PC is to buy something from him first - at about twice the normal price. Therefore, remember two things about Sand as a merchant in ACT I: 1) Try to sell him any items that would normally have a value of zero gold and, as such, cannot otherwise be sold 2) Buy from him any items that are hard to acquire or you know you'll want for later, even if they're twice the normal price. An example of this would be the ruby or the rare and highly useful fairy dust he sells Also remember when buying or selling to only do so with the PC's appraise skill enhanced as much as possible. Since I was only level five near the end of ACT I, I used the following enhancements, for a total of +7: * Grobnar's inspiration "Inspire Competence" (+2) * Luckstone (+1) * Heroism spell (+2) * Fox's Cunning spell (scroll or potion) (+2) It doesn't really matter who you sell to first, but I preferred to start with Sand and made a point of prioritizing the bulkiest and heaviest items over lighter and more valuable ones to simplify my inventory. Also, it's important to note that, because Sand offers about twice as much for whatever you wish to sell, you can buy about 100,000 gold worth of items from other merchants and sell them to Sand at a profit. In this way, you can earn about an extra 50,000 gold (as compared to selling your own unwanted monster drops that you paid nothing for). However if you do this and you choose to sell your unwanted gear (to other merchants), you'll only get about half as much for it, so it's arguably a wash either way. The exception being if you delay selling most of your unwanted gear until your appraise is higher, typically later in ACT II. For now, I preferred to avoid this kind of merchant manipulation and sold unwanted gear directly to Sand. When I went to trade with Jorik at the Weeping Willow Inn I finally spoke with Gera. Doing so earned 150xp (10532 total) and 25 gold. You can get an additional 25 gold (and a +1 chaotic alignment shift) with a successful Diplomacy check. Once all the selling was out of the way I put Neeshka and Grobnar in my party and had her steal from everyone I could. I couldn't steal from Jorik, presumably because of the Duergar combat going on and it wasn't worth the gold for all the XP I'd get by killing them, so I skipped stealing from him. Finally, in case you haven't done so, remember to make sure you pick up all five ore deposits available in ACT; they won't be available in ACT II: * two are with the Bonegnahser Clan - one is at the back of the Troll cave the other is in the Bonegnasher cave * two are with the Eyegouger Clan - one each on the first and third levels * one is with the Dwarven Scouts - the ore is in the (currently abandoned) Clanhold Githyanki Base Approach Remember to speak with Guyven of the Road. Be polite and hear out his story, which also provides a prelude to how King of Darkness came to be. The conversation nets you another 250xp (10,782 total). While you can skip speaking with Guyven, doing so loses out on a valuable magic item later in ACT III and an amusing token honorific (feat). Githyanki Base Level one Remember to fully buff your party before entering the base. Bishop can use the Scabbard of Blessing on the party and Grobnar can cast Heroism on Bishop and Neeshka before you go in. I also gave Bishop the Gauntlets of Ironfist and Re's Redemption for those moments when it's better to cleave the enemy than shoot them full of arrows. Finally, I had Neeshka use the bard item Doss Lute for the spell Ghostly Visage it provides (for 30 rounds at a time); her use of this item is possible once Grobnar's Heroism spell and inspire competence inspiration are active. As soon as you enter the base, you'll have a conversation with the Gith SwordStalker who killed Aime before the battle that can be as long or short as you like, for more historical background and context for why they're hunting you (and some possible entertainment as well). To fight the Gith here with no XP, rush forward to where the Succubi are to before killing. A few guards are likely to move after your PC. This is fine, but remember to have a companion go back to lure them away towards your battle action so by the time your last companion is at deaths door you can save and re-load with enough space to rest without having to leave. The succubi can be annoying if they cast Ghostly Visage. If they did, my preference was to kill the Gith first and then, if their spell is still active, have Bishop cleave them with Re's Redemption; its magic damage appears to bypass that spell. Level two When fighting the Succubi down here, leave the PC by the door and rush to the Northeast or Northwest corners to kill without risk of earning XP. When you finally speak with Mephasm and Neeshka threatens him, respond by saying "I don't trust him anymore than you do, Neeshka, but follow my lead, all right?" for +2 influence (21 total). When Mephasm speaks of the barrier ahead, respond with "So what?" for another +1 influence (22 total). When he suggests banishing him to remove the barrier, recognize with a successful spellcraft check how "...if another extradimensional object touched it, it would collapse, wouldn't it?" for +1 influence with Grobnar (5 total). You can avoid a fight with Zaxis (a demon you'll have the olfactory pleasure of meeting again later) with a successful series of skill checks; she'll drop an Amulet of Will +3 regardless. Engaging in conversation with Zaxis reveals yet more behind the events that have unfolded, and will in the future. When the conversation with Zeeaire begins, be sure to warn her "You kidnapped Shandra against her will, and you will answer for that crime" for +1 starting influence with Shandra in ACT II. Also, it is possible to cause two of Zeeaire's minions to leave before the impending battle, with a successful diplomacy check of 15. Doing so also earns an additional +1 influence with Bishop, but be aware this means losing the valuable Adamantine Heavy Shield and Bracers of Armor +4 they would otherwise drop. I chose to fight them all for this reason. The Githyanki here are fairly easy to defeat anyway, even at level 5, provided you buff before the battle (just like with the Succubi) and run out of the chamber where Zeearie waits so you may both fight more effectively in the open and avoid Zeearie's meddling while you dispatch her minions. Once her pawns are dead, you can safely proceed with sending Zeearie to her just end by smashing the arcane posts surrounding her interdimensional sphere, thereby saving the one Mephasm gave you to sell later on. Defeating Zeearie starts a conversation where you can learn why they hunted you and a warning of what comes your way later. I chose to snap her neck (with a +1 shift towards evil) just before the end of the dialogue for +1 influence with Bishop (now 6) and 385xp (11617 total). Before leaving for ACT II remember to collect all the loot. Re-loading the game to get the best possible yields from the chests on level two of the Githyanbki base was the most time-consuming part of ACT I; it literally took days to get excellent combinations of both emeralds and magic wands from the chests that could give them. They are listed below as follows: 1st chest: at the southeast corner of the map by the entrance, it contains a robe of fire resistance, 8 throwing axes, a scroll of find traps and fox's cunning, a wand of magic missiles and arcane disjuncture and a potion of aid 2nd chest: just north of the first chest, this one contains an emerald, a a lesser wand of summoning and a wand of arcane disjuncture 3rd chest: in a northwest corner of the area before passing Mephasm, this chest contains 13 darts, 3 +1 darts, 46 bolts, a potion of barkskin, a wand of arcane disjuncture and a wand of magic missiles 4th chest: farther east of the entrance, this one contains choking powder, a scroll of improved mage armor, a wand of magic missiles and a wand of arcane disjuncture 5th chest: north of the 4th chest, it contains 23 shurikens, an emerald, healers kit +3, 4 +1 darts, a scroll of greater magic fang, a wand of lesser magic summoning and two wands of magic missiles 6th chest: slightly southwest of Zaxis, it contains an emerald 7th chest: slightly southeast of Zaxis, it contains an emerald 8th chest: in the northeast corner of the chamber just before Zeearie it contains an emerald 9th chest: just south of the 8th chest, this one has an emerald, a scroll of gust of wind and stinking cloud, 3 +1 throwing axes, a wand of magic missiles and a wand of arcane disjuncture #################################################################################### ACT II #################################################################################### A note for ACT II: As noted in the beginning of this guide I chose to minimize my gain of XP, to get Zjhaeve and the Construct before level 8. I found that if you start ACT II with your companions at level 5, the philosophy of minimal-to-no-XP allows this and, if you choose to do so, the ability acquire Ammon Jerro in ACT III at level 10 or eleven (probably not a good idea for most players unless you're playing a Hellfire Warlock). I also delayed completing some quests, especially ones that gave a lot of fixed XP, until after I got Zhjaeve and the Construct just near the end of level 7. City of Neverwinter Docks District Sunken Flagon Although the game's conversation dialogue states you receive 1500xp at the start of ACT II for rescuing Shandra (again), I only received 1050 (?) for a new total of 12,667xp. It's important to maximize your influence with Shandra to keep her loyal during the Trial later in ACT II. Fortunately, there are several opportunities to gain influence with her before you even leave the Flagon: * At the start of ACT II when speaking to Shandra after Casavir does, say "she seems capable enough to me" for +2 influence (3 total) * Later in the conversation when she says "you're not leaving me behind", answer with, "you have my word - I will teach you what I know and stand by you" for another +1 influence (4) and +1 lawful shift * After asking Shandra about her family, tell her about Duncan for +3 influence (7) * When speaking again with Shandra, choose one of the options where the PC shares some background about his/her mother for another +3 influence (10) * After observing Shandra looks "...a little lost" tell her finally "Don't worry, I have faith you'll pull through" for +1 influence (11) * In another conversation, tell Shandra "you look a little lost again" and then accept her apology for +1 influence (now 12 total) Docks District The first time you leave the Sunknen Flagon in ACT II with Neeshka, Leldon's latest fling, Tasha, will taunt Neeshka with their plan to rob the Collector in Blacklake. Side with Neeshka by answering "If you want to rob this Collector before he does, I'm with you" for +2 influence (24 total) and a +1 alignment shift towards chaotic A note about the Merchant Fibba: If you're playing a PC that acts primarily as a spellcaster, the beginning of ACT II just might be the perfect time to pick up the highly useful light crossbow "Swift Flier" from this merchant, who is only available during ACT II. Persistent haste is a magic property available on precious few items in any NWN2 module, and the Swift Flier is the ONLY item with this property in the original campaign. These are the items with persistent haste that can actually be obtained in official campaigns of the NWN2 game: Swift Flier (OC) Swift Golem legs (MOB) Heart of Rasheman (MOB) Although I played a Warlock variant, I didn't buy this item until just before the fighting the vigilante guards in Port Llast. I liked using the Swift Flier to quickly get distance from enemies to avoid experience from party companion kills, at least until I was character level 6 and could cast Flee the Scene on my own (and with an ECL of 2, that meant level 8 for the rest of my party). However, my PC didn't use it at all once I assumed control of Crossroad Keep until all my bargaining with Mephasm in ACT III was done. This was because of a misunderstanding of how his final bargain comes to be offered - a misunderstanding that was later corrected. If you choose to bargain with Mephasm (an option that only becomes available during ACT III) as I did, one of the bargain options you may choose involves getting a statistic boosting item called "infernal token of Mephasm". The Token will boost a statistic of your choosing by 3 points simply by keeping it in your inventory (and not in a storage container, such as a bag of holding). Like almost all other statistic enhancing items, its bonus will not stack with others. I wanted Mephasm's Infernal Token but, due to bugs in the game, getting this item is more specific/difficult than it lets on, and the bargain has caveats. Specifically, at the Keep, Mephasm will offer to grant this token in exchange for the PCs "most prized possession" after 3 bargains have been completed - and where each bargain uses one Infernal Focus (the "final bargain" itself does not use an infernal focus). After some experimenting, I found the most prized possession appears to be determined as follows: 1) Each time you enter the Crossroad Keeep courtyard the game will: * check your gloves if your main class is Monk * check your armor if your main class is Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard * check your main hand weapon for any other class, but if your weapon is the Silver Sword of Gith, fall back on armor However, there are severe bugs that prevent the game from checking the favorite item properly. In particular, Mephasm will take your favorite weapon instead of armor (if you're an arcane spellcaster) and will take away the Silver Sword of Gith from you, if that's your favorite weapon. 2) You must have 8 or more levels in a class for it to be considered your main class. 3) The item selected in this way must be the same the last three times you entered the courtyard. 4) The item selection is only applied/checked *after* you have bargained at least three times with Mephasm. Specifically, you must enter the courtyard (with the same qualifying item) at least three more times after you have already bargained with Mephasm at least three times. 5) The item must currently be equipped when you talk to Mephasm for the final bargain option to be available. Failing to meet all of the above criteria will result in Mephasm not making the offer. Especially, take note of qualifiers three through five: if you don't meet all of them, the trade option for the final bargain - and the infernal token that results from it - may never appear. Blacklake District As soon as you finish speaking with Tasha, head directly to Blacklake with Neeshka, Elanee and Grobnar in your party. First, steal a Magic Bag and Chime of Opening from the merchant Dayne Lynneth; buy from him later. You can now store all of your heavy, valuable and/or useful items in this bag (which provides 60% weight reduction) with Khelgar or another high strength companion until you decide to sell or use them later. Second, while you're in the area, take the opportunity to have Neeshka steal from the other merchants in the area. Collectively, they offer a lot of gold. In particular, the book merchant has a scroll of invisibility sphere, while the Tiefling merchant has a gold necklace, seven hundred and fifty (as in 750) gold rings and a diamond. Sold individually, these lesser gold rings are, in fact, worth less than a standard silver ring, but they are worth more than copper rings. 200 gold rings alone can fetch about 9980 gold with an appraise of 11. Note that because the rings are stolen, they can only be sold to merchants that act as a fence, such as Haljal Throndor or Yask in Port Llast. Also, they can only be sold to standard inventories, not Blessed of Waukeen that Haljal also has. Third, head over to assistant kennel-keeper Jenks. With a successful diplomacy check you can gain +1 influence with Elanee (now a 9) by responding with "You'd get better results with a firm voice and a kind hand" when he reveals he beats the imps he has trapped in the crates. You can then head north to speak with Kiggo, the Imp who wants to free his friends. I chose to decline his request so I could kill him and the imps later for XP and loot, but you can choose to free them if you want, earning some scrolls from Kiggo and a +10 Chaotic shift in the process. Fourth, head over to the Amphitheatre to play in a competition with Cain Lethellon for his instrument, the Golden Lute of Shazar. By using Grobnar's Heroism spell and his Inspire Confidence inspiration while wearing the Lesser Amulet of the Master and using the Beguiling Influence invocation (now you know I was playing a Warlock variant) it would've been easy to beat Cain with successful skill checks, but I didn't want the XP for doing so. Specifically, I could intimidate him after the first two tunes and use Diplomacy after the last one. Asking Grobnar to join you in playing the last tune earns +3 influence with him (and I did so, now 8 total). The songs require these strings: First: 44124754 Second: 234451122 Third: 2332233175 Fourth: 35345272725 If you fail the competition, as I chose to, you can still set Cain on fire to get his lute (and a +1 shift towards evil in the process). Since I failed, I remained at 12,667xp and moved one towards Evil (02/09). Fifth, head over to the Collector's Mansion and speak with Kyli Bruce. At the appropriate conversation points say, "Lisbet should do as she pleases. I always did." for +1 influence with Neeshka (now 25 total) and a +1 Chaotic shift (which I chose to offset with another conversation choice to stay at (02/09). Then volunteer to bring her sister Lisbet back by stating, "Don't worry, Kyli. I'll bring your sister home, safe." for +1 influence with Elanee (now 10 total) and a +1 shift towards Good (02/10). I chose to save this quest until just before the end of ACT II. Merchant Quarter Watch Headquarters Speak to Captain Brelaina to accept the quest at the Gannish Estate. Then, after accepting the invitation to be a Squire from Sir Grayson, you'll be brought to the Solace Glade. Solace Glade Shandra will meet you here once Grayson departs. When she arrives, thank her for coming by stating "I appreciate the concern, but I wouldn't want you to get into trouble if you stayed (+1 influence and +1 good, 2/11) and again before she leaves (+2 influence, for a total of 15). Also, Shandra can, with some difficulty and re-loading (since you can't rest here), kill the assassins for you with no XP by having her fight them in one corner while your PC runs in the opposite diagonal direction. Be sure Shandra's AC is as high as possible before you fight. If you really need to, drink a few light healing potions to regain the health needed to finish them off. I didn't need to do this and simply saved after every successful hit she scored without taking too much damage herself. The assassin leader can be difficult to kill if you allow him to successfully cast Ghostly Visage, but I did not, so he was easily defeated. The assassins leader here has a fixed loot drop of a +1 scimitar and scorpion venom, with his minions having bee venoms. The other portion of their drops are randomly generated upon your arrival there. I got a potion of cure serious wounds from the leader, a +1 tower shield from one of the minions and a scroll of contagion from the other. City of Neverwinter Blacklake District After accepting Lord Nasher's charge to investigate the Massacre at Ember I was awarded 1000xp bringing me to 13,667xp. I then went back to the Docks District to get Neeshka to steal an Amulet of Acid Resistance from Pepin. This must be done before you speak with him because once you buy the portrait of Shandra he disappears and does not return. I then returned Neeshka to the Sunken Flagon and set out to the Merchant Quarter. Merchant Quarter Moonstone Mask You can get +1 influence with Sand here (1 total) by asking Ophala about Torio Claven and then complimenting Sand's abilities. As with Elanee earlier in ACT I, it is possible to raise your influence with Sand here well past 20 simply by asking Ophala about Torio again multiple times (and making the appropriate conversation choices). Personally, I found this be too much like a bug exploitation and therefore chose not to do so, although it is worth pointing out it's harder to raise your influence with Sand than Qara. So if you want to keep Sand instead of Qara at the end of the game when fighting the King of Shadows (I chose Qara) and have already nearly maximized your influence with her as I did, you may choose to leverage this bug anyway. If you visit the Moonstone Mask before becoming a Squire, the Torio conversation option won't appear. City Watch Speaking with Captain Brelaina activates the City Watch undercover quest and opens the door to Gannish Estate in the Blacklake district. Before leaving the Merchant Quarter I bought the Rod of the Ghost from Pap for use during the rest of ACT II (and the upcoming battle at the Gannish Estate in particular) for 5,277 gold with an appraise of 11 and gave it to Elanee. This left me with 219,962 gold. Blacklake District Empty Estate I brought Grobnar, Bishop and Elanee for the buffs and extra companions to fight the thieves here. Successfully completing various skill checks allows you to complete the "sale" before fighting, earning 300xp (13,967 total) and 7500 gold. At level 5, it is an extraordinarily difficult task to create the right circumstances which allow any of the undercover watchmen to survive, let alone manage to kill not only Limm but his two backups and his other 4 shadow thief minions. However, it can be done: First, before battle, I did the following: 1) Elanee cast barkskin on three of the four watchmen 2) Shandra used her scabbard of blessing to cast bless on everyone, then cast aid on the three watchmen who had barkskin on them 3) Grobnar cast heroism on two of the watchmen that had barkskin on them 4) Grobnar and Elanee cast ghotly visage on themselves 5) Grobnar started his inspire courage inspiration and then swapped out his Doss Lute for the Golden Lute of Shazar 6) I placed all my companions in puppet mode and saved the game 7) While speaking with the Undercover Watch leader I moved the dialogue along quickly to prevent my buffs duration from shortening 8) Once combat began I saved the game again Once in combat I worked these strategies: 1) Elanee positioned herself to cast call lightning to affect as many enemies as possible and soften them up for the undercover watch 2) Using the Shazar Lute, Grobnar positioned himself to caste haste on as many friendly combatants as possible, especially undercover watchmen; I got all of my companions and the two watchmen closest to me who were away from most of the shadow thieves - this was absolutely crucial to survival 3) My PC and Bishop used ranged attacks on Limm and his two backups to bring down their hitpoints as quickly as possible 4) As the battle progressed, Shandra and Grobnar distracted as many Shadow theives as possible to keep the heat off the undercover watchmen while my PC and Bishop used ranged attacks on either the healthiest opponents or the ones who were closest to Undercover watchmen who could finish them off 5) Anytime an undercover watchmen killed a foe I saved the game 6) Once most opponents were near death I had Shandra and Bishop run around the combat area as Elanee healed Watchmen (that didn't work very well, but it did distract the shadow thieves so I was OK with it). 7) While I ran around, the Watchmen hit foes with attacks of opportunity (and that did work well, especially with the two hasted watchmen) 8) While number 6 and 7 were underway, Grobnar cast minor heal spells on the remaining two watchmen or got into melee with foes as needed 9) Until near the end of the battle, re-loading was not useful because it re-positioned my companions and opponents in ways that were (usually) tactically unhelpful After three re-starts of battle and very slow fighting, with a great deal of pausing and un-pausing to micro-manage my companions, I was able to emerge victorious with two surviving watchmen, who landed the killing blows on all seven enemies. I received zero experience for their deaths and only lost Elanee in the fight. Most of the drops here appear fixed. Aside from what Limm had, I got a +2 dagger, a +1 heavy shield, 2 sets of 50 +2 shurikens, two +1 daggers, a +1 kukri, 17 bolts of frostbite, 53 gold and a copper necklace. Limm's loot made the battle worthwhile: he dropped Rogue Links armor, a Greater Cloak of Protection vs Law, 50 +2 shurikens, a potion of lesser restoration, giant centipede venom and a +3 dagger. Once the battle is complete you can report to Captain Brelaina for 1,000xp, but since no direct interaction with her is needed in the future, I skipped it (at least for now). After swapping out Elanee for Khelgar, I chose to speak with Pepin Pollo and offered 500 gold for the portrait of Shandra for +2 influence with her (now a total of 17) and a +1 shift towards Good (now 2/12). It may be possible to get more influence if you're playing a male PC and to lose influence with female companions if you speak to Pepin while female companions are present. Port Llast When you arrive, thank Sand for coming along for +2 influence (now 3 total). Eventually, while investigating here and before I moved on to the Alliance Arms Inn and Ember, I fought the 4 vigilante guards by the Inn rather than use diplomacy or intimidation to get them to stand down. I did this for two reasons. First, while their loot drops are random and typically weak, they can occasionally drop good items. It's important to note that like all opponents that generate random loot, their loot drops are generated the moment they spawn (in this case, the first time you visit Port Llast) not when they die. Therefore, I didn't do anything else here until I first determined what they would drop when they were finally confronted later, just before I was ready to move on to Ember. My best run had all four drop loot bags as follows: 1) a bloodstone and 47 gold 2) a glittering necklace, distilled alcohol a topaz and a Rod of the Ghost. The Rod of the Ghost, in particular, was quite a find - since only one merchant (Pap, in the Merchant quarter) sells it and, like almost all rods, any other class can use it - even while silenced. 3) 183 gold 4) a potion of antidote The second reason I fought was to have my PC run away to avoid all further XP. If you pacify the watch guards to avoid combat, you'll not only miss out on potentially good gear but earn an unwanted 250XP in the process. ************************************************************************************ GOLD EARNING TASKS PRIOR TO CONTINUING IN ACT II ************************************************************************************ A note before reading this section further: most of what is written here is for the purpose of earning enormous amounts of gold to buy just about anything you want from any merchant currently available - and most of the merchants in ACT II are by this point. In particular, the rare items only to be found with Dayne Lynneth in Blacklake or Fibba in the Docks District of the City of Neverwinter are only available during ACT II. It's also useful to have plenty of gold for Haljal Throndor in Port Llast since he also sells special stock, although he does remain available in ACT III. If you already have (or will craft) the gear you need and don't have a need or interest in spending the time to earn the extra gold, you can safely skip this section. Now that I had finally reached Port Llast and seeded the Rod of the Ghost from the short tempered guards there, it was time to get serious about getting the best gear possible, from every merchant available, in preparation for the task of defeating progressively difficult foes in the rest of ACT II while my party remained at very low levels. This was only possible for me at level 5 now that I had access to Nya and the Greater Gloves of the Artificer she had available for me to buy. Here was my shopping list, as divided into the 4 rounds in which I bought them: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Item Cost Sold by Primarily used by ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ROUND Rod of Thunder & Lightning (1) 80,101 Nya Shandra or whomever ONE* Ring of Regeneration 73,143 Nya Whomever needs it Swift Flier - lght crossbow (7) 31,739 Fibba My PC Ring of Invisibility (6) 13,348 Nya Sand or whomever Brooch of Shielding (5) 12,689 Pap Shandra Mithral Scale Mail 3,402 Yask Bishop Ysridian's Soul 521 Dayne Lynneth Grobnar Sturdy Feet of Pim 456 Dayne Lynneth Khelgar 215,399 at appraise 11 ROUND Headsman - falchion (2) 379,471 Fibba Casavir TWO* Gutspiller - kukri (4) 66,638 Dayne Lynneth Khelgar Scabbard of Keen Edges (2) 23,516 Repko Casavir 469,625 at appraise 11 ROUND Pharaoh's Mace (3) 248,014 Haljal Throndor Casavir THREE* Boots of the Sun Soul +4 28,800 Dawnbringer Grobnar then Neeshka Gargoyle Boots 14,515 Merchant Elem Shandra then Casavir Boots of Hardiness +2 13,600 Dayne Lynneth Elanee Ysridian's Touch 9,051 Haljal Throndor Grobnar, then my PC Ring of Protection +3 8,936 Nya Sand 299,625 at appraise 12 ROUND Vengeance of Asenath 579,436 Dayne Lynneth Whomever needs it FOUR* Alrec - Battleaxe (9) 195,707 Dayne Lynneth Whomever needs it 775,143 at appraise 14 ROUND Bracers of Blinding Strike (8) 68,363 Dayne Lynneth Elanee FIVE* Graena's Bond 48,554 Dayne Lynneth My PC (eventually) Amulet of the Master 45,600 Dayne Lynneth My PC Great Wyrm Gauntlets# 42,968 Fibba Khelgar as a Monk Falling Star - longbow 38,831 Dayne Lynneth Bishop or Sand Cloak of the Bat 21,285 Dayne Lynneth Neeshka Periapt of Wisdom +4 15,329 Dawnbringer Zhjaeve Wanderer's Ring 13,989 Nya Sand Anagrys' Mindmaze 18,820 Fibba Sand or whomever Nymph Cloak +4 14,817 Dayne Lynneth Grobnar Amulet of Health 10,780 Reylene whomever needs it Amulet of Health 10,646 Dawnbringer whomever needs it Necklace of Prayer Beads 8,846 Deekin Zhjaeve, then my PC Shortbow +4 6,361 Haljal Throndor Grobnar Heart of Ilum Lura 5,571 Dayne Lynneth Bishop Ring of Might# 3,950 Judge Oleff Khelgar as a Monk Robe of Blending 3,072 Simmy Neeshka (eventually) Finch's Fine Chapeau 1,850 Deekin My PC Various crafting item purchases 83,247 Various merch Various (detailed later below) 462,879 at appraise 14 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Total cost for all 5 rounds: 2,305,918 1-9 These items are highly recommended as detailed below, in order of usefulness: 1 The Rod of Thunder & Lightning produces a 20d6 Chain Lightning Spell (1x/day, DC 19) and (at least initialy) tops everything else in its usefulness until your spellcasters are very high level later in the game. I found this to be so for these reasons: it can be used by anyone, does not have to be equipped, works while silenced and also functions in the Duskwood area, where most other magic items won't past the 1st round 2 The Headsman, when paired with the Scabbard of Keen Edges, will cause a critical hit 30% of the time. If it does, a failed reflex save (DC20) will instantly kill targets not immune to critical hits. This is an excellent weapon for Khelgar (espcially if he has greater weapon focus with a falchion) and can make short work of many battles. 3 Pharaoh's Mace requires a hefty DC22 fortitude save for each instance it strikes undead (who are fairly common once the player assumes control of Crossroad Keep), instantly slaying those who fail it. Unlike most weapons found in the Original Campaign, this one is and remains useful in any module where undead can be found, up to and including the Mask of the Betrayer. 4 In battles with human opponents (a frequent occurrence, at least through Act II) Gutspiller requires a fortitude save on every hit (DC16), instantly killing the target if it fails. It also works on more than just humans. 5 Of particular use to non-spellcasters, the Brooch of shielding is very inexpensive, considering what it does: 1) affords its user a +4 shield bonus to AC 2) does not have to be equipped 3) can be used by anyone 4) after use by its holder, can be handed off to other (N)PCs to be cast two more times before resting is required to recharge it 6 Cheap to buy, the ring of invisibility allowed my PC to easily run from and avoid combat, thereby avoiding unwanted XP. It's also very useful in assisting Neeshka with recovering traps while not catching the attention of (most) enemies 7 Swift Flier is the ONLY item in the OC that grants persistent haste, though its effectiveness is limited largely to spellcasters. 8 Aside from the +4 armor bonus to AC, the Bracers of Blinding Strike allow any (N)PC to cast haste (level 10) four times before resting is required 9 The battleaxe Alrec can be useful for turning almost any singularly strong opponent from foe to ally, under your full control, for up to 200 rounds of game time. However, its usefulness is diminished by the fact that most powerful bosses are immune to mind affecting spells - Light of Heavens is an example. # The Great Wyrm Gauntlets & Ring of Might greatly enhance the damage potential of a monk in your party (such as Khelger, if you plan to convert him into one). The Gauntlets in particular, are arguably more powerful than the Fists of Balance you can later acquire (from Rolan at the Monastery at Crossroad Keep) since they are +6, not +5, and the penalty to dexterity from wearing them is easily avoided. * Round One of buying was done as soon as I purchased the Greater Gloves of the Artificer from Nya in Port LLast. I was able to make those purchases with gold and (selling) items on hand. * Round Two of buying was done after my party leveled up to 6, just before the Trial, when Neeshka was able to craft, and then sell, Deadly Gas Traps. I also began my first round of crafting perfected choking powder here (and with every round of buying after this one), where Sand or Grobnar crafted 672 perfected choking powders. They were sold at 2,632 gold in stacks of 10 to complete my purchases. * Round Three of buying was done once I acquired Zhjaeve and the Construct * Round Four and five of buying were done before I left ACT II, in conjunction with round 4,5, and 6 of choking powder crafting, after I had almost finished with the approach to Ammon Jerro's Haven With all of the buying, selling and crafting I did, its important to take note of the various monetary aspects involved: WITH ONE EXCEPTION, ALL OF THE FACTS AND NUMBERS RELATED TO BUYING AND SELLING SHOWN HERAFTER MAKE THE ASSUMPTION THAT YOUR PC HAS A (MODIFIED) APPRAISE SKILL OF AT LEAST 11 AND ALSO HAS THE "Merchant's Friend" FEAT. Unless otherwise indicated below, if your (modified) appraise is lower than 11 and/or you lack the Merchant's Friend feat, some of the advice listed below may be less profitable - or not work at all. As I mentioned near the beginning of this guide, assuming your character has the merchant's friend feat, each point in appraise normally* results in a 1.55% increase in gold paid for items you sell, and a 1.0388% discount for items you buy. In ACT II, you can buy trap kits from the following vendors: Fibba (docks district) sells 25 trap kits Repko the Weaponsmith (docks district) sells 7 trap kits Jacoby (fort locke) sells 8 trap kits Yask (Port Llast) sells 7 trap kits Pap (merchant quarter) sells 2 trap kits Sand's Merchant Elemental sells an unlimited supply of: Belladonna, Garlic, Giant Bee/Centipede/Scorpion Venom glands, Distilled Alcohol, Leather Hides, Iron Ingots, Wooden Planks, Bone Wands, Blank Scrolls, and Magic Potion Bottles. They are the basic crafting components for many items - most notably choking powder. You absolutely should buy as many Garlic and Belladonna components as you need to craft 49 Deadly gas traps It takes 343 (7*49) Garlic & Belladonna to make the 343 choking powders needed for 49 Deadly Gas Traps. Garlic costs 4 gold, Belladonna 17 gold and finally a trap kit costs 16 gold. I already had 60 choking powders. So, [(16*49) + (283*21)] = 6727 gold spent to buy all components for 49 deadly gas traps. Pap (Merchant Quarter) also sells an unlimited number of Garlic, Belladonna, Diamond Dust, Quicksilver and Venom Glands, albeit at higher prices. Each Deadly Gas trap can be sold for a small fortune, especially compared to other traps: (Deadly) Trap Type Sell price Gas 2,688 Fire 1,450 Blob of Acid 711 Tangle 162 Holy 130 Acid Splash 130 With the sale of all 49 Deadly Gas traps, there is a profit of 2,688 for each, resulting in a profit of 131,712 for all 49. The net profit is 2,651 for each sale, or 129,899 net gold for all 49 of them (assuming you have no choking powders to start with). Merchants in the game operate on a pricing mechanism which may vary, sometimes significantly. I express this possible variation as a Gold Ratio. This Gold ratio is listed in percentages based on selling one stack of ten (10) perfected choking powders, where its maximum resale value is 2,632. If a merchant offered me this price, I rated them at 100%. To the extent they offered a lesser price, this affected not only a lower price offered for other items, but also the price paid compared to other merchants selling the same item(s) at 100%. Of course, this differing ratio was in effect for merchants found earlier in ACT I as well. I didn't bother doing this then because I sold to three of them regardless, until their supply of gold was exhausted. This included Sand (who had the best ratio in the game - about 200%) and the other two merchants, Jorik and Tor Millows, who weren't available after moving to ACT II. Also, I only bought one expensive item in ACT I (full plate mail). It's probably best to wait to sell to these three until just before leaving for the Githyanki lair, when your modified appraise is as high as it can be at the time. If you don't sell them out, the pool of merchants' gold you can access later on is diminished by around 200,000. From the below table, it's usually a good idea to sell items worth slightly more than 10,000 gold to merchants with lower gold ratios. Items worth 12,000 or more to Jacoby or Edario at Crossroad Keep are probably best sold to them there rather than having the extra wasted on merchants elsewhere. Also, it's worth noting the PC's companions can sell items to Edario and Jacoby at Crossroad Keep for more than what it costs the PC to buy them back due to a pricing strategy that's similar to Judge Oleff (if you refuse his reward for rescuing Onan). Merchant Location Gold Ratio Starting Gold Pool Branson Marlek Highcliffe 100.00 50 (as in 50,000) Simmy Old Owl Well 100.00 50 Edario Highcliffe 100.00 50 Jacoby Fort Locke 100.00 50 Werth Docks District 100.00 100 Repko Docks District 100.00 100 Fibba (5) Docks District 100.00 100/100 Deekin Merchant Quarter 100.00 50 Pap Merchant Quarter 100.00 50 Judge Oleff b4 rescue Merchant Quarter 100.00 30 Dawnbringer b4 tithe Blacklake Dist 100.00 100 Dayne Lynneth (5) Blacklake Dist 98.48 100/100 Reylene Docks District 98.48 100 Tarmas West Harbor 96.92 50 Yask (4) Post Llast 89.18 100 Haljal Throndor (5) Post Llast 89.18 100/100 Nya Post Llast 84.61 Sand's Merchant Elem Docks District 82.44 Dawnbringer (1,2) Blacklake Dist 90.53 (100.00) Jacoby (2,3) Crossroad Keep 68.92 (94.60) Edario @ Keep (1,2) Crossroad Keep 71.62 (91.88) Judge Oleff (2) Merchant Qtr 75.66 (79.11) after priest rescue 1 Dawnbringer and Edario (at Crossroad Keep) are two (of very few) merchants affected by use of Grobnar's bardsong "inspire competence" and the Cleric spell "Prayer". If you use these to boost your appraise skill, be sure to apply them at a carefully calibrated distance, sufficient to increase the PC's skill but not the merchant's; this is best achieved with Grobnar and Zhjaeve in puppet mode. 2 Edario and Jacoby (at Crosroad Keep only), along with Judge Oleff and Dawnbringer Natrisse, offer bifurcated pricing strategies that allow quick paths to wealth. The PC's companions will obtain proportionately better selling prices (but worse buying prices) as a result of this duality, and is reflected in parenthesis. Note that the split pricings of Judge Oleff and Dawnbringer Natrisse are not automatic: Dawnbrinbger will only offer hers if the PC returns the tithe box to Brother Merring, while Judge Oleff will only do so if the PC refuses his reward for rescuing the priest Onan from the Tomb of the Betrayers. 3 At appraise 18 at Crossroad Keep, Edario and Jacoby give the seller about 27.84% and 23.37% respectively more than what the dialogue box offer states (up to their purchase limit of 20K gold per item); this increased price is reflected in the dialogue history box. This may be a bug in the game similar to Oleff's (failed) pricing protection, intended to prevent the PC from selling him an item for more than its purchase price. In this way you can exhaust their supply of gold with which to buy your items while actually selling them almost nothing. I did not do this (as I consider it another unreasonable exploitation of a bug) but again, the money is there for the taking if you want it. Your companions will sell to Edario and Jacoby at Crossroad Keep at normal price offerings. 4 Yask and Haljal Throndor act as fences, but Haljal will not while you're examining his more exotic items (available with the Blessed of Waukeen feat) 5 These three merchants, who offer separate sets of special items for the PC due to the Blessed of Waukeen feat, also have completely separate pools of gold within these special sets to buy your items (although their buy/sell ratio remains the same). So you can sell out these merchants with their normal offerings, but then proceed to sell to them again in their special items category until that pool of gold is exhausted as well. It follows, then, that items sold to these merchants in their special items category will only show in those categories - if decide you want to buy them back later. Because of their ability to sell unlimited quantities of certain items at prices lower than any other merchant in ACT II, Jacoby (Fort Locke and Crossroad Keep), Edario (Crossroad Keep), Oleff (Merchant Quarter), Fibba and Sand's Merchant Elemental (both in Docks District) offer five rare opportunities to earn vast amounts of gold; the amount you can earn is limited only by the total of every (accessible) merchant's pool of gold from which they can buy what you're selling. Jacoby and Fibba, in particular, are the only two merchants in the game that can sell unlimited numbers of iron ingots, leather hides and wooden planks for prices as low as 2gp each. Remember, however, that when you buy from merchants, it also increases the pool of gold from which you may then further sell to them in return. So by using the techniques listed below (at least in ACT II), you can buy anything you need from any merchant and still have more than enough gold left over to fund every improvement project at Crossroad keep without worry. 1) A modified appraise that is high enough (13 or higher should be sufficient) will allow the player to buy individual iron ingots, leather hides and wooden planks from Jacoby (before being stationed at Crossroad Keep) or Fibba at a price of 3 gold each and sell them back in bulk at higher prices. For example, an appraise of 20 allows the player to buy 99 iron ingots individually from Fibba or Jacoby at a cost of 297 gold, but sell them all back in bulk for 366 gold. Note that Jacoby and Fibba sell unlimited quantities of these three items. This pricing variance also works with leather hides and wooden planks and begins with a quantity as low as two (if your appraise is high enough), where you can buy two iron ingots individually for 6 gold but sell them back together for 7. Three individual ingots cost 9 but can be sold back for 11, and so on... This strategy only works if you buy these items one at a time, at a price of 3 gold each. If you sell to another merchant, who does not offer unlimited quantities of these items but can still sell them individually for three gold each (e.g. Repko the Weaponsmith), a quantity will appear once they have more than one of the item available to sell. Buying more than one at a time from these merchants will result in their selling at the correct prices for multiple quantities, so be sure to only buy one at a time; you can still sell up to 99 at once - making money in the process. 2) Once Jacoby has been recruited and is stationed at Crossroad Keep, he can sell an unlimited supply of iron ingots individually at a cost as low as 2 gold (Appraise 16 required). At the Keep he and Edario buy back these ingots at profitable pricing percentages similar to number one above. However, if you haven't left ACT II, you can sell these items to other merchants at a greater profit margin. For example, 99 iron ingots cost 198 gold at the Keep with Jacoby, but can be sold to merchants elsewhere for as much as 366 gold - a net profit of 168 gold. This method of buying and selling offers the first opportunity to make a net profit (specifically, from buying and selling ingots), even without the Merchant's Friend feat, due to the profit percentage of gold you can get from every sale. However, a very high appraise skill is required to make a profit in this way without the Merchant's Friend feat (30+). 3) As mentioned later in this guide, if you refuse Judge Oleff's reward for rescuing the priest Onan from the Tomb of the Betrayers, he will reduce his buying and selling prices by about 25%, but ONLY for the PC - not his/her companions. The fact that this applies both to items bought and sold by the PC only is crucial because (if your modified appraise skill is high enough - a 19 or more is needed) this reduction breaks the normal in-game protection against a player selling an item to a merchant for more than that merchants purchase price. Specifically, anything a party member other than the PC sells to Oleff is sold at full price, without the 25% pricing reduction. The PC who refused his reward can then buy back the same item with Oleff's 25% discount in effect making a small net profit. This small profit can be significant on more expensive items. For example, Khelgar can sell the flail "Ardulia's Fall" to Oleff for 9,953 gold, but the PC can buy it back for 9,447 gold - a 5.08% profit. In this way, you can easily buy everything Oleff has, plus exhaust his supply of gold, without having to surrender a single item. Again, this method is not fast, but it is potentially available much sooner as long as your appraise skill is at least a 19 at that (presumably earlier) point in the game. In addition, because Oleff sells unlimited quantities of every potion he offers (except his single Potion of Heal), you can buy an unlimited number of these from him and re-sell them to other merchants in the game (at higher prices) to pay for any and all items you desire. This method of profit making does not require an appraise of 19 (although it is somewhat slower) and is the earliest profit making option of this kind (where you don't have to craft anything) and is available as early as ACT I in the game. 4) If Edario and Jacoby are recruited to Crossroad Keep, they offer a pricing structure very similar to Judge Oleff, except with a better ratio (possibly as thanks for their new and more rewarding posts). For example, one of the PC's companions can sell a Major Circlet of Blasting to Edario for 19,990 gold, but the PC can buy it back for 15,580 gold. Similarly, one of the PC's companions can sell the the Amulet of the Harpers to Jacoby for 19,930 gold (this, despite the offered price of 18,791), but the PC can buy it back from him for 14,520. Edario does not sell unlimited quantities of any goods but, as mentioned in method two above, Jacoby does. This is the second method of buying and selling that offers an opportunity to make a net profit without the Merchant's Friend feat and is the simplest/quickest way to do so. 5) Sand's Merchant Elemental sells unlimited quantities of Garlic (4 gold) and Belladonna (17 gold). These two reagents can be used to make choking powder, the most profitable grenade-like object you can make in the game. This method of buying and selling offers the third opportunity to make a net profit (by crafting choking powder), even without the Merchant's Friend feat, due to the profit percentage of gold you can get from every sale (around 150 gold net - with an appraise of 20), as detailed below: Item Total Total Net Purchase Avg Sale Profit Price Price (average) Standard 20(21) 26 (22) 6 (1) Improved 40(42) 78 (68) 38 (26) Greater 60(63) 118(104) 58 (41) Perfected 80(84) 295(260) 215(176) The above prices assume you sell to Fibba or Dayne Lynneth - other merchants may buy at higher or lower prices of varying margins. The prices in parenthesis are roughly what you can expect with an appraise of 11 Because the fifth method is easily possible without use of the Merchant's Friend feat or taking advantage of any in-game oversights on the part of the game designers that allow for unlimited gold with virtually no work on the players part (e.g. the unlimited gold/xp option by continually stealing and returning Arval's Journal to Lord Nasher) I consider it a fair, though very lengthy, way to earn gold. I made use of this technique soon after it was practical to do so - once I reached Port Llast. If you're willing to invest the necessary points in craft alchemy for your PC or one of his/her companions (I was not), you can begin this process as soon as you start ACT II. I chose to wait until I got to Port Llast to avoid wasting any points in Craft Alchemy and also because, with the exception of Jacoby and Edario at Crossroad Keep, Haljal and Nya represented the last of the merchants that became available with high-value items I wanted to buy or steal from; the Rod of Thunder and Lightning, in particular, was crucial to my strategy for success. I did make one exception with skill points: Neeshka. I spent 5 points to allow her to craft Deadly gas traps when she leveled up to 5. She had enough to spare that the 5 point impact to her skill set was negligible and crafting perfected choking powder is a very tedious business. The final price tag on all of the items during rounds three and four I wanted to buy was 1,074,768 gold. In addition, I wanted at least 150,000 left after buying all of the above items, so I had to find a way to pay for it all. I chose Sand's Merchant Elemental and its path of a marathon streak of crafting perfected choking powder, then selling the finished product. PCP requires 4 each of the above reagents. I raised Sand's base craft alchemy skill from a 8 to a 16 (16 is needed to make PCP) with the Greater Gloves of the Artificer At appraise 11 and 12, garlic and belladonna cost 4 and 17 each. Perfected choking powder sells for as high as 263.2 gold at appraise 11, or 179 gold net profit on each perfected choking powder sold. The 263 price assume you sell to 100% ratio merchants like Fibba - other merchants may buy at lower prices of varying margins; Sand's Merchant Elemental, for example, will buy a stack of 10 perfected choking powders at 2106 gold each - a very poor deal, so I never sold these to him. It took me about an hour using Craft Alchemy to turn 400 garlic and belladonna to 100 perfected choking powder. Assuming one stack of 10 sells for 2632, that's a maximum of 26,320 gold per hour, if you care to deal with that extremely tedious work. Put in other terms: spending an hour with this kind of crafting is roughly the (mindless) equivalent value of finding ten (10) wands of Arcane Disjuncture to sell. So once you're able to craft perfected choking powder, this is a FAR better option for earning gold than re-loading for better wands from loot spawns or trap recovery as gear to sell later. I did four rounds of crafting for my last three rounds of buying (and a lot of binge-watching of Star Trek) according to the following timetables: Round 1: Done just after I defeated Lorne. I could've done this much earlier Round 2: After I was assigned control of Crossroad Keep, this was done once I had sold to Tarmas for a better pool of gold to buy reagents with Round 3: Done after I had activated the construct, leveled the party to 8, recruited Edario to the Keep, selling him and Branson out for a better pool of gold to buy reagents with. This round of crafting took a while Also, once most of my party was level 8, I took the opportunity to craft these items (Caster must also have Craft Wondrous Item feat): ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- BELT OF AGILITY +8 Used primarily by Neeshka (but later by my PC), ------------------ provides a +8 bonus to Dextrity and Freedom of Movement as per the spell Requires: Caster Level 8 Ingredients: Leather Hide + Radiant Air Essence + Beljuril Spell: Cat's Grace ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- BELT OF CLOUD GIANT STR Used primarily by Khelgar, provides a +8 bonus ----------------------- to Strength Requires: Caster Level 8 Ingredients: Leather Hide + Radiant Fire Essence + King's Tear Spell: Bull's Strength ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- HEADBAND OF INTELLECT +8 Used primarily by my PC with merchants, provides ------------------------ +8 bonus to Intelligence Requires: Caster Level 8 Ingredients: Leather Hide + Radiant Fire Essence + Beljuril Spell: Fox's Cunning ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Round 4: Done after I almost ready to enter Ammon Jerro's Haven. I was level 9 and had crafted a helm of intellect +8, for a final appraise of 14 Round 5: Done immediately after round 4 and some more selling of unwanted gear, I used the gold from the proceeds to the most expensive item in the game, the spear Vengeance of Asenath and some other items. I left 92,904 gold left to purchase goods for my final round (6) of buying and then used those proceeds for the rest of what I wanted before moving on to ACT III. Round five of crafting, by far, took the longest - over a week, and also yielded the least amount of gold. This was because I had exhausted the buying pool of more favorable merchants and instead had to sell a substantial portion of my earnings to Yask and Haljal Throndor, who only pay 89.18% of top value. Once I was able to buy the spear Vengeance of Asenath from Dayne, this was no longer a problem. Round 6: Done before I moved on to ACT III, this final round of crafting allowed for me to buy the rest of the items on my wish list. In particular, it allowed for me to buy materials to craft valuable items for personal use or sale later for a great deal of gold, if I needed it, without having to craft again. The results/details of the crafting and selling are detailed below: Round Amt of Garlic Hours/ & Belladonna cost PCP days to Gross profit Appraise required purchased to buy craftd craft from sale at point of sale ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1 2,688 56,448 672 7/1 176,870 11 2 1,748 36,708 437 5/1 115,018 11 3 5,816 122,136 1,454 15/3 388,654 12 4 3,900 81,900 975 10/2 266,677 14 5 14,444 303,324 3,611 38/8 908,854* 14 6 6,380 133,922 1,595 16/5 432,723 14 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 34,976 734,438 8,744 91/20 2,288,796 * At appraise 14, Yask and Haljal Throndor only offer 2430 for a stack of 10 perfected choking powders, and since I sold 94 stacks of 10 to them (224,420 gold) earnings were somewhat diminished in round 5 Equally important was eliminating the need for the following tedious tasks for the rest of the game, since I front-loaded all of that work with my money-grinding over all the above collective crafting work: A) constant reloads just to get higher value items seeded out of loot generation for selling later (as opposed to gems, for example) B) crafting items of very low value (less than 1000) just to sell for gold C) recovering traps to re-sell (now I can just trigger them and regenerate) ************************************************************************************ ************************************************************************************ West Harbor & onward to other increasingly expensive merchants While fulfilling my wish list from merchants, I sold perfected choking powder and low-value gear to them as I bought to replenish my buying pool of gold, as long as their pricing ratio was 98% or higher. This kept my buying and selling efficiency reasonably high until I finally moved to the likes of Haljal and Yask at Port Llast and Sand's Merchant Elemental, leaving me with enough gold to just buy from them without having to sell my PCP at relatively poor ratios. Port Llast & other locations After defeating the short-tempered vigilante guards, I visited the Alliance Arms Inn, spoke to Malin with Bishop in the Party and, at the first conversation option, said "If you have a problem with Bishop, I suggest you forget it while I'm here" for +1 influence. Later in the dialogue, add "It's a good thing I have you instead of her" for another +1 influence (now an 8 total). The barkeep and Malin offer the other two clues to corner Elgun in his fibs. If you chose to expose his lies you earn 500xp (which I avoided for that reason and another - see below). Calindra offers a quest to find her Partner Bradbury in Duskwood. You must (eventually) find Bradbury if you wish to recruit Calindra to Crossroad Keep later when you're assigned control by Lord Nasher. I chose to do this, along with several other tasks, only after I recruited Zhjaeve and the Construct at level 7. There's no need whatsoever to confront Elgun, and not doing so can lead to much more interesting dialogue during the Trial *if* you have the skills to back it up and you've spoken to Marcus or Alaine before the trial. Specifically, if you have the skill ranks in diplomacy (8), intimidate (7) and bluff (10) and Elgun is called as a witness by Torio, it can actually help your case much more than if he is not. While completing round one of buying I also did the following: 1) accepted Nya's wyrmsage quest 2) gave the Swift Flier to my PC (for now) 3) had Neeshka steal from the above merchants to gain several thousand extra gold and these items: a) Thieve's hood (from Yask - gave to Neeshka) b) Bleederkin rapier (from Haljal - gave to Neeshka) c) Ring of Hiding (from Nya - gave to Neeshka, for now) 4) have Grobnar forge my first suit of Mithral Full Plate for Elanee. I raised his base craft armor skill from a 6 to a 18 (18 is needed to craft Mithral Full Plate) with the following enhancements: +6 Greater Gloves of the Artificer +2 Heroism +2 Inspire Confidence inspiration +1 Helm of Intellect +2 +1 Grobnar's base INT enhancement I put the Mithral Plate on Elanee along with other gear for an AC as high as 38, absent enhancements by spells. I also gave her the Rod of the Ghost I looted from the Port Llast guards. The complete package of defensive gear, coupled with a ring of regeneration, made her nearly invulnerable at lower levels to physical attacks and far easier for her to cast Call Lightning without interruption. It also helped take some of the heat off Shandra or Casavir while they tanked opponents. Also, from the Garrison, Neeshka can steal gold from Alaine (after unlocking the door to her room), a healer's kit +10 from Haeromos and an obsidian from one of the guards. Duskwood - visit one If you have Elanee with you the first time you enter Duskwood as I did, you can respond to her first concerns about poison in the area by answering, "Maybe we can get to the source of this poison and try to heal this place" for +3 influence (now 13 total). Sand will also caution of a magic dampening effect from the trees in Duskwood. When he does, thank him for the warning for +2 influence (now 5 total). Ember - visit one While in Ember you can pick up several clues for the trial but I waited until just before the trial to do so. Instead I explored the Glowstone Caverns and Duskwood first. Going down the well will allow you to meet Marcus again for additional clues about the massacre and have him return Bishop's Dagger. You'll receive 750xp for the information (14,717xp). He'll also appear at the trial in your defense. There is a vein of Ore(#6) just by the bucket that I skipped until after I got control of Crossroad Keep, recruited Zhjaeve and activated the Construct. Just after speaking with Marcus in the well I spoke with Bishop and agreed that it's better to "stand up and fight" for +1 influence (9 total). Then, ask him "Any thoughts on the trial?" and pass a diplomacy check when you say "If I obeyed everything I heard, then I wouldn't have any respect for myself" for +1 influence (10 total). Continuing the conversation, when Bishop suggests you kill Ambassador Torio, agree by answering "That might be the best thing to do - and nicely ironic, considering the accusation" for +1 influence (11 total) and a +1 shift towards evil (now 2/14). Finally (for female PCs only), when Bishop suggests running away for a year or two to avoid the trial, agree with the idea for another +1 influence (now 12) and when he responds that Casavir wouldn't like it, reply stating, "His faith can keep him warm... or judging by his actions, keep him cold" for another +1 influence (now a 13 total). Glowstone Caverns Before fully exploring the Glowstone caverns I eliminated Glek and his minions to avoid any xp, although if you bargain with him you get an interesting story (regretfully, about how they are a peaceful band) and an opportunity to avoid fighting them. None of these battles were particularly difficult now that I had two Rods of the Ghost and the Rod of Thunder & Lightning to soften up opponents. Don't forget the crossbow Glorious Revolution on the corpse near the vein of Ore (7 total so far) before the exit to Duskwood. I skipped the ore, along with Kistrel, until after getting Zhjaeve and the Construct. At this point I still had 14,717xp. Duskwood - visit two On my second visit here I chose to fight Lyssa and her forest friends. I did that without Elanee in order to get the Dire Bear Claw from Lyssa's summoned bear and the Dire Boar Tusk from one of her forest friends. If Elanee is present she will prevent Lyssa from summoning the dire bear or rallying her two animal companions to aid her. While this is amusing to watch, it results in the loss of those two valuable reagents. The Lesser Magic Bag and Alteration Powder Lyssa has are fixed, while the last item she drops appears to be randomly generated at some point (I got a potion of Owl's Wisdom). Be careful to pick up any loot here (or anywhere else you may have left some behind) before the trial. If you don't, you'll see the dim glow on the ground where they used to be, presumably signifying items that can no longer be picked up. Before speaking with Mirri and Jilla, I made sure I had Grobnar in my party and suggested he stay while speaking to them for +1 influence (now a 9). While I fought most of the wolves in the cave for the Dire Wolf tooth one of them drops, I chose to delay fighting Mirri and Jilla as werewolves there to avoid the 900+ experience I'd get for doing so until I recruited Zhjaeve and the Construct at level seven. The same went for finding Bradbury. Ember - visit two Sand will remark on a discolored corpse if you get near it, where you can say "Good eyes. What does it mean, though?" for +1 influence (now 5) and 400xp (now 15,117 total and enough for level 6). The Quartermaster's log offers another point in your defense at the trial and yields another 400xp, should you choose to examine it. I did not, since you can safely skip one piece of trial evidence and still have complete success. The slaughtered village of Ember is the last place you can encounter Guyven of the road. There appears to be a bug in the game where Guyven will only appear at Crossroad keep if you say "You will always have a place at my fire" and not "You are welcome to stay at my home". The correct conversation option might only appear if you ask him, "Why is this our last meeting?" during his introduction. You'll also get 250xp for the final conversation with him (in Act II anyway). I chose to delay speaking with him until after I activated the construct at Crossroad Keep and remained at 15,117xp. Using the bag of wyrmsage on all 10 corpses yields another 750xp and the Amulet of the Doomguide, once you speak with Nya about it (now 15,867 total). When Bishop comments, "Beware a woman bearing gifts... taking one is like wearing a brand" respond with "I wonder how much it's worth" for +2 influence (now a 15). Be careful not to say this with Elanee or Casavir around to avoid a loss of influence with them. Port Llast When seeking to question Alaine you'll get 500xp from passing a skill check with Haeromos to allow it and another 500xp if you choose to take a conversation option with her that passes a diplomacy check of 15, which gives her cause to doubt the PC was the Murderer at Ember. However, you can still speak with Alaine even if you fail a skill check with Haeromos (purposefully or not). Just have Neeshka unlock the door to the North room where she's cloistered away, walk right in and, in addition to Neeshka stealing some gold from her, skip the 500xp otherwise associated with Haeromos allowing the conversation. If you tell Alaine "We're here to help you, not hurt you" you'll gain +1 influence with Shandra and move 1 point towards good. If you then refuse Sand's request to use her at the Trial you'll trade a -1 influence with him (now a 5) for a +1 influence with Shandra (19 total) and another +1 shift towards Good (2/14). If you choose to speak with Alaine (regardless of how you get to her), be sure to ask her as many questions as possible about the massacre at Ember before ending the conversation. Note that it's completely unnecessary to: A) pass a diplomacy check with Alaine B) take Sand up on his suggestion to compel her to testify or C) speak with her at all This is because, as long as you speak with Marcus first, you'll still be able to bring up every subject again during the trial to your advantage. The only reason I spoke with her at all was for extra influence with Shandra (with Neeshka's help) and I avoided any XP from doing so. Various locations Once I was finished with Ember and the rest of my evidence gathering for the trial I leveled my party to 6 and did my first round of buying components for and the crafting of perfected choking powder. Neeshka crafted deadly gas traps and Sand also crafted one suit of Adamantine Full Plate (usually worn by Khelgar, until another was made later). I then did round two of buying, spending almost 500,000 gold on just two weapons. The Trial was next. City of Neverwinter Blacklake District Castle Never The trial can be a lot of fun if you choose to go all the way through it with all its possible conversation options. To this end, I wanted not just to win the trial and not merely obtain the "Master Orator" history feat but win the trial by the largest margin of victory possible and drag out all of the possible ways to toy with Torio (and expose all her falsehoods in the process) for as long as possible. In order to do this, I had to accumulate enough of what have been described as "trial points". You lose the trial if you don't have enough, win the trial if you do, and get the Master Orator feat if you sufficiently finesse your way through to earn enough of a surplus. Basically, every time Torio sways the court audience in her favor you'll lose trial points. Examples of ways this can happen are when she: * sows doubt about your innocence * catches you making a mistake during the trial (this includes mistakes of omission as well as commission) * catches you "pushing your luck" too far with unsubstantiated arguments, or failed skill checks * shows your use of poor debating skills * otherwise exposes your PC's immoral nature (if you were playing your PC that way, such as poor treatment of Shandra, Alaine, or Nya) Every time the PC sways the court audience in your favor, demonstrates good morality, substantially exposes the plot to frame your PC for the Luskan massacre of Ember, catches Torio making a mistake or otherwise exposes her lies or duplicitous nature, you win trial points. In most cases, you can readily observe any instance where you or Torio gain or lose points as a consequence of a statement or exchange (or, sometimes, a series of statements or exchanges) because the audience will give clear verbal and non-verbal cues showing their assessment of what transpired. Here are thirteen pointers to win the trial and guarantee your earning the Master Orator feat: 1) Examine/acquire items that can serve to expose the Luskan plot. They are: a) the quartermaster's log in Ember b) the poisoned corpse in Ember c) the signet ring from Glek in the Glowstone Caverns d) the Alteration Powder from Lyssa in Duskwood. Also, killing Lyssa for the powder as I did, instead of her handing it over, results slightly less influence during the evidence portion of the trial. 2) Have high ranks (15+) in Diplomacy, Bluff and Intimidate. Of these three, Diplomacy is the most useful. There are several ways to get these skills fairly high without investing any points in them: a) If you are playing a Bard, or have enough points in the use magic device skill, wear Ysridian's Gloves (+3 diplomacy, -3 bluff). I didn't wear these during the trial because of the bluff penalty b) If you are playing a Shadow Thief, or have enough points in the use magic device skill, wear the Shadow Theif Leather armor (+6 bluff and intimidate) c) If you are playing a Warlock, use the invocation "Beguiling Influence" (+6 to bluff, diplomacy and intimidate) before speaking with Sir Nevalle to start the Trial d) Wear the "Amulet of the Master" (+6 diplomacy) or, if you can't afford it, the "Lesser Amulet of the Master" (+2 diplomacy). e) Have Grobnar in your party with his Inspire Confidence inspiration active before speaking with Sir Nevalle to start the Trial (bonus varies from +2 to +6) f) Have your PC, or one of your companions, cast Heroism or Greater Heroism just before speaking with Sir Nevalle to start the Trial (+2 or +4) g) Wear a Nymph Cloak +4 (or greater). Alternatively, have Sand cast Eagle's Splendor (with the Extend Spell feat, if he has it) just before speaking with Sir Nevalle to start the Trial (+2 by either method) 3) Refuse Sand's suggestion to compel Alaine to testify while speaking with her in Port Llast. You'll get a chance to use her testimony on your behalf anyway during cross-examination, after Torio is through with her, usually with better results 4) Accept and complete Nya's task to use the Wyrmsage on all the bodies in Ember and then have her to testify on your behalf during the trial 5) If you gave Marcus Bishop's dagger during your encounter with him in Ember in ACT I, talk with him in the well beneath Ember during ACT II, so he can appear as a witness during the trial 6) Have Callum testify during the trial & pass a diplomacy/intimidate/bluff check (13) with him when a certain secret is exposed 7) Have the highest possible influence with Shandra *and* pass a diplomacy check with her so she agrees to testify on your behalf near the end of the Trial 8) Expose Elgun's fairytale stories of glory in Port Llast to prevent him from being called as a witness at the trial. Even better - don't. Instead, let him be called as witness to expose all the holes and inconsistencies in his story. The second option is also far more entertaining and effective. 9) If your modified appraise (12+), diplomacy (10+) and bluff (14+) skills are high enough at the point of the trial, you can arrange for Torio to call Reylene as a witness. However this must be done much earlier, in ACT, I by allowing the thugs to shake her down for protection money (if you sided with the Watch) or simply speaking to her (if you sided with the Shadow Thieves) 10) Have a high enough Intelligence (15), or have it buffed by item or spell. Note that open weapons and the wearing of hats/headgear is not permitted in the courtroom, so you won't be able to make use of a Headband of Intellect or Finch's Fine Chapeau 11) Follow Sand's advice about how to conduct yourself during the trial (assuming you even asked him in the first place). Do not allow yourself to be baited by Torio and her multiple attempts to entrap you, thereby risking loss of the trial by default. If you choose to make use of bluff and intimidation with Torio or her witnesses, be sure it will work first. 12) Question every witness thoroughly to expose flaws and weaknesses in the plot to frame the PC. Just be sure to be respectful and polite while doing so (or have very good intimidate/bluff ranks). Therefore, be mindful of dialogue options that end conversations or lines of questioning prematurely 13) Practice makes perfect. Pay attention to your choices and the results of them. If you don't get the Master Orator's feat on the first attempt (I didn't, so I made the step-by-step guide found below), try again Note that if you joined Axle and Moire instead of the Watch you can, and should, call Venton Orley to speak on your behalf. ==================================================================================== Assuming the PC has a modified rank of 15 in Bluff, Diplomacy and Intimidate, what follows is a path to complete victory while being as antagonistic as possible towards Torio and Elgun (both serial liars) and dragging the trial out as long as possible - literally by the numbers Note: skill checks, where applicable, are indicated in parenthesis ***Introduction sequence*** 2 I think the Ambassador speaks out of turn. No guilty verdict has been issued. ***Conversation with Sand immediately after introduction*** 2 Do you have any advice? 1 What strategy would you suggest? 2 But? you don't sound convinced 2 I'll heed your advice 1 Thanks for representing me (+1 influence, now 6 total) ***Torio is dismissive of evidence*** 2 (Intimidate) Why do you want to distract us from the evidence? Scared... Luskan? ***Torio calls Elgun as a witness*** 4 If he's a witness, then his testimony can only help me 3 Have the witness continue his story 3 I was actually thinking about just cutting his throat 1 Yes, we have some questions concerning his story 4 You said there was more than one attacker. How many? 8 I spoke with a survivor. I heard there were only about a dozen... and no demons 1 And what did these demons look like? 1 Well, you saw the demons - describe them 1 That was it? That's pretty vague for someone who saw a demon 6 How could you fight so many? Your own townspeople say you're terrible with a blade 4 What were you doing in the area? 1 You were hunting deer in Duskwood? Malin says there's no deer to be found there.. 1 Were there "dozens?" Just like the numbers of "attackers?" 1 (Diplomacy) Any chance from being struck so hard, some things might be unclear? 1 Is it? How did Elgun get away safely? Why wasn't he killed with the rest? 1 And perhaps you were in too much of a hurry... where are the scars? 1 (Diplomacy) I'm glad you made it...your story certainly doesn't have the same legs 7 (Spot) You fought them? Where are the scars? 1 Where was the wound? 1 But you said you were hit from behind 1 (Intimidate) I think you're a fool that's told too many stories 1 (Intimidate) Who says it's just me you have to fear? My friends are still free... 2 So you didn't see everything? 1 Now the story isn't going in your favor, you no longer wish your witness to speak? 1 (Bluff) Do you know what the penalty for lying before the god Tyr is, Elgun? 1 I mean, this is just a trial, but divine retribution... I wouldn't want to be near 3 With the gods, there is very little room for such explanations 1 I have no more questions, Reverand Judge. It seems the winess has retracted story ***Torio calls Alaine as a witness*** 1 The Luskans must have gotten to Alaine 1 (Influence) Shandra, can you say anything? 6 Let her speak, we'll ask her questions after Torio's had her show 1 I have some questions for her first 4 Tell me more about the attack, if you can 1 (Intelligence) Did "I" cut off his head in one stroke? (STR 15 or less required) 1 I am not known for my exceptional strength - was this quartermaster think in neck? 1 It would probably be as easy to do that as magically impersonate someone 2 How did you survive Ember without a scratch? 3 (Intelligence) Wait.. what were you doing outside Ember in the first place? 1 Why was trade season light? 1 Where were these shipments supposed to come from? 1 Why didn't Luskan send any shipments? That seems strange. 1 Almost as if they knew the village would be destroyed? 2 What did you see when you came upon Ember exactly? 2 Alaine, do you know this woman here, Shandra? 1 Can you speak to her character? Is she a good person? A friend? 1 And do you know she has been traveling with me for some time? 1 Shandra was traveling with me when Ember attacked. Why would your friend do that? 2 It seems she just retracted her certainty of what happened. Could've been... ***Torio calls Shandra as a witness*** 3 Shandra, feel free to speak to Torio, if you want ***Torio calls PC as a witness*** 1 Are you finally finished? 4 Very well, about time. 5 (Intimidate) I have put up with enough of your lies 5 (Diplomacy) Ambassador, you presume guilt when no verdict has been reached 2 (Diplomacy) That does not make me a murderer, only a witness to what was left 1 (Diplomacy) Ambassador, as I've said, I am innocent. I mourn the loss of... 1 (Diplomacy) But I can't. It has no military value. It is not even a viable target 1 (Diplomacy) But again, it makes no sense - if one wished to kill Luskan people 1 (Diplomacy) I do not know, Ambassador. But in this case, I think it was actually 1 (Lore) It is well known there is animosity between Luskan and Neverwinter 1 (Lore) History is important to this case, as are borders and treaties.. by history 1 (Lore) We are all familiar with the Luskan War, and the atrocities committed... 1 (Lore) The burning of much of Neverwinter, the slaughter... it is well documented 1 (Lore) And furthermore, many of the atrocities bear striking resemblance to Ember 1 (Lore) I believe "Lord's Alliance account of the Luskan War" contains examples ***Conversation with Sand about witnesses*** 1 As long as you are sure to consult me before any witness is brought into court ***Sand asks to call Callum as a witness*** 2 Call Callum forward 1 (Diplomacy) History of Sand no bearing on this case. It is Ember that concerns us ***Sand asks to call Nya as a witness*** 1 Call Nya 1 Well met again, Nya 2 It was the least I could do, considering how much you were doing 1 (Diplomacy) It pains me to hear you make light of such an important task ***Sand calls Marcus as a witness - without your permission*** 2 (Diplomacy) Do you have a question for Marcus or not, Ambassador? ***Sand calls Shandra as a witness - without your permission*** 4 (Diplomacy) This is for Ember, not me ***Torio, infuriated, demands trial by combat*** 3 Is this true? ==================================================================================== Should you earn the Master Orator's feat you'll receive 1000xp (this brought me to 16,867) and an Amulet of Truth as a symbolic gift from Lord Nasher both for ridding him of Torio in such a delightful way and giving him an excuse to remove the Luskan presence in the city - both accomplished (at least most of the time) by using the truth to expose their lies. The amulet, if earned, is received at the Sunken Flagon in a second chest after the battle with Lorne. Somewhere along the way in the trial I said something to move me another point towards good (now 2/15). Merchant Quarter Temple of Tyr - Battle with Lorne Due to a bug in the script of the game, if you have to reload the game to defeat Lorne, you must do so either: A) from a point before entering the Temple of Tyr for the first time OR B) from a point after the battle actually begins If you attempt to do this from a save after entering the temple but before the fighting starts the sequence before the battle will never load properly and you (or your champion) will simply stand in the arena waiting for a battle that will never commence. Depending on the influence you have with your companions, they may offer to fight for you. Khelgar will always offer, but in my case Qara also did. Declining Khelgar's offer causes no issues. However, even a polite refusal of Qara's offer (e.g. stating "This isn't about killing him - I just want justice and I need to do it myself") will still cause a -1 influence with her, while accepting it gains +1 influence. Because I wanted the additional +1 influence (now a 16) with Qara, and had enough XP to spare, I accepted Qara's offer to to fight Lorne. High influence with Bishop caused him to offer advice. My answer of "Anything you can do to tip the odds is fine by me" moved me another 1 point towards lawful (3/15) and earned +1 influence with him (now a 16). Killing Lorne was easy for Qara as I loaded her up with useful magic gear: * Swift Flier crossbow (for spellcasters on the battlefield with Lorne, haste is essential) * Rod of Thunder & Lightning (a missed save by Lorne on a 20d6 Chain Lightning bolt makes him a dead man walking) * Rod of the Ghost * Brooch of Shielding * Ring of Regeneration * Silver Shard - Health Bonus Immediately after starting combat I had Qara use the Rod of Thunder and Lightning, only accepting the results of a failed save by Lorne (this happened on the first try, since it has a DC of 19). She then cast mirror image, used the brooch of shielding and then the rod of the ghost to stay safe. Several magic missiles later he went into his deathless frenzy and a final sound burst from the Rod finished him once it ended. Defeating Lorne results in 2,500xp (now 19,367) Be aware that if you have a companion fight for you as I did - they'll kill him, not just defeat him, and you'll earn additional XP based on you level (420 for me at ECL 6, for a total of 19,787). If your PC fights and your influence with Grobnar is high enough (9 should be), he will use a one-time inspiration that grants the equivalent of a lesser, more time-limited version the spell Ghostly Visage (and its damage reduction of "5/magic") during the battle. Fighting Lorne with the PC also allows for interesting dialogue just before combat, where you can usually succeed in taunting Lorne as per the skill (even if you have no ranks in it) and at the end, where there are possible shifts in alignment of up to 10 towards good/evil or lawful/chaotic, depending on whether you kill Lorne and what you choose to say. Path out of Neverwinter Encounter with Zinn On the first occasion you leave the City of Neverwinter after the Trial you'll encounter Zinn and his friends, intent on collecting a bounty offered by Luskan on you after their falling out from losing the trial. Zinn is a polite fellow, who will tell you all about it and introduce his friends by name if you ask who they are, right until he makes the mistake of trying to collect. Somewhat ironically, it is he and his posse that will drop a good amount of useful, fixed gear for *your* use after *their* defeat. I left Neverwinter immediately after the trial to get this gear and then moved on to Aldenon's mansion with Elanee, Khelgar and Casavir. Blacklake District Aldenon's Mansion - outside Before you enter the mansion you'll encounter Marshall Cormick near death because of Scab's robbers, who gave Aldenon to kidnappers inside his mansion earlier. You can save Cormick with the right conversation options and social skills checks, earning 500xp in the process. However, I wanted to skip the XP and get the (fixed) loot from the bandits, so I deliberately chose ones that resulted in his death. You'll never see Cormick again, regardless of the outcome. Aldenon's Mansion - first floor Once inside the mansion there are plenty of traps, so it's probably a good choice to bring Neeshka to recover or disable them all. The robbers are easy enough to kill, even at level 6, with or without the XP for dispatching them. One of them had a wand of stinking cloud and another a +1 handaxe. On the first floor in the center area are two bookcases. The first contained a book titled "On The Crafting of Mystical Garb For All Climes", and can give a wand of arcane disjuncture and possibly a scroll. The second can also give a wand of arcane disjuncture. Since I already had all the gold I needed, I no longer bothered with trying to seed the best items and took what I saw the first time. Higher value gems were the exception to this change. The northern room on the first floor has the butler surrounded by three thugs on the verge of killing him. If you manage to save him you can earn 500xp. I found the easiest way to do this was to have my entire party hasted before battle and have a companion use the Rod of Thunder & Lightning on the thugs once my PC was far enough away to avoid experience. If you're level 7 or higher you can include Elanee in your party to rush them and cast stoneskin on the butler. Another option that helps, especially if you're lower than level 7, is have someone cast invisibility on him. Note you will only get the 500xp if you speak with him, so I skipped that part. One of the thugs here dropped a +1 dagger. A shelf just west of the room where the butler was can yield a wand of arcane disjuncture. The western room had several robbers, one of which had a fixed drop of a kukri named "Ladymist Talon". A shelf in the room can yield up to two wands or some scrolls. Aldenon's Mansion - second floor The second floor also had its fair share of traps. Thugs on the way to the final encounter with Scab dropped a +2 dagger and +3 spear. When you finally get close enough to Scab he will discover your presence (even if you're in stealth mode or invisible) and set his companions to kill the hostages. The way around this problem is to direct any companion (I choose Neeshka) to the area in puppet & stealth mode and then immediately switch control to another companion or the PC as (s)he walks past the point that activates the change which would normally turns Scab and the rest of his posse into enemy combatants. As long as you are not in control of the companion as they walk past this activation point (located shortly before the trap I had Neeshka recover), Scab and his companions will remain neutral. While this means they can't be attacked, it also means you can have Neeshka disarm all of the traps there, including the one by the locked door which leads to the first floor. In this way, you can have all of your companions attack Scab and his minions at close range, greatly increasing the odds of saving all of Aldenon's servants - if that's your wish. You may also choose to buff Aldenon's servants with stoneskin or invisibility before fighting, virtually guaranteeing their survival. If you manage to save the hostages (and I chose not to, avoiding the XP) you'll get 250xp for rescuing Harcourt, 100xp for the cook and 50 for saving the maid. Even if Scab or his minions kill all three of Aldenon's servants, Harcourt will still speak to you on the brink of death to give you glimpses of what has transpired and why. He won't actually die of his seemingly mortal wounds because he appears later on when your PC is awarded control of Crossroad Keep. If you heal him afterwards (I did) and then speak with him again (I didn't), you'll get his full story on what is going on and the 250xp for saving him anyway, although it's not necessary to do this to advance the storyline. There are two locked chests by Scab. Aside from the the fixed loot of the Falchion Decision and a Canary Diamond, I eventually got a diamond and other minor gear from the first, while the second eventually yielded a King's Tear and a scroll. It is possible to get more valuable gear with enough re-loads (most notably a Wand of Arcane Disjuncture), but now that I could craft unlimited quantities of Perfected Choking Powder in much less time, I no longer bothered with this more tedious task of money making. Most of the loot Scab and his companions drop appears fixed, such as Naylie dropping a sapphire. Once you've dealt with Scab and his posse, left Aldenon's mansion and spoken with Sergeant Brockenburn, you won't be able to go back inside. So make sure you've taken everything you wanted before you speak with him. Castle Never When you report what's happened to Lord Nasher you'll earn 2000xp (I was now level 7 at 21,617) and be ordered to Lord Tavorick's estate. You can also speak with Sir Nevalle for the Temar Estate quest. If you have Casavir with you when you accept Nevalle's quest and say, "It is my duty. I will attend to it at once, Sir Nevalle" your alignment will move by one towards lawful (now a 4/14) and your influence with Casavir will also increase by one (now a 10). I chose to delay this quest until after I recruited Zhjaeve and activated the Construct. Tavorick Estate - first floor Before speaking Lord Tavorick you can, and should, inspect the rooms. In particular, the southwest room contains two crates of blastglobes. Telling Grobnar you intend to use them to defend the estate earns +1 influence (10). If you go along with his idea to "take a peek" at the contents, you'll earn another +2 influence with him (now 12 total) and a warm experience as a result. Even if the barrels are destroyed, if you instruct Captain Ballard to use them in the Estate defenses they will still be available during the battle. When you speak with Captain Ballard you'll have a chance to instruct him on how you'd like to defend the Estate. I found it useful to have all the doors barricaded to prevent enemies coming at me from multiple directions and have the crates of blastglobes positioned near the entrance to deal with Qaggoth Yeg. You'll face Qaggoth here on the first floor on your way out if Lord Tavorick dies before proceeding to the basement (as he did, by choice, with me). Even so, the choices don't make a huge difference in the end and are more a reflection of your goals and fighting styles than anything else. If you choose to, you'll receive 1,000xp for saving Tavorick from the demons and 100xp for each Watch soldier who survives. This is not at all difficult to do if you have Grobnar in your party as I did; I just didn't want the XP. Once you instruct Captain Ballard to secure the area and head to the second floor you can choose how to station Comely Finn and Deorwin Greylocks. I chose to have them both stay and guard Tavorick; this allowed them both to deal with the fire imps that eventually showed up here. The first two rounds of battles that proceed on the first floor go best, as always, with some planning. I chose to have Elanee (essential for her high AC here), Grobnar, and Casavir along. You could have Elanee use barkskin and stoneskin on your melee fighters but with all my high cost purchases from merchants their AC was high enough so this wasn't necessary. I did have Grobnar and Shandra (with her Scabbard of Blessing) cast Heroism, Bless and Aid on Captain Ballard to speed things up a bit once the fighting got started. During the first two waves of attacks Captain Ballard is a plot character and cannot be killed, so I just stood back and let him do the work while my PC ran towards the door that leads to the crypt and my companions (in puppet mode for the duration) moved to the east of entrance doors to watch the show. A few enemies might attack them, but they usually moved on to Captain Ballard when I didn't fight back and had Grobnar use his inspire regeneration hymn to heal any incidental damage. You can instruct Wetherly and Guff to head to the stairs and tend to their wounds when they warn you of the invaders (with a +1 shift towards good if you do), but I found they won't. Instead they simply stand still and, as non-combatants, are ignored by the enemy during the first two waves of battle. You may choose to heal them while the battle unfolds, but I did none of these things since I didn't want them to survive the initial onslaught. Instead, I let them fight and die in the process. Tavorick Estate - second floor Once you go upstairs, Finn and Graylocks can kill the imps while Grobnar's regeneration hymn keeps them, and Lord Tavorick, alive. For extra buffs, use the scabbard of blessing and Grobnar's heroism on them while they fight off the imps. You can then rest, heal everyone (if that's your choice) and buff again before going back downstairs for the dash to the crypt. One of the imps here dropped an obsidian for me; it appears to be a fixed drop. Tavorick Estate - first floor I chose to let the invaders kill everyone (to avoid XP) before eliminating them myself and heading downstairs to the Crypt, although it wouldn't be hard to save them all if that's your goal. Tavorick Estate - Crypt As with the battle on the first floor, I had my companions rush the enemy and move towards the opposite end of the chamber before killing them to avoid XP. After Tavorick was mortally wounded on the first floor, he can follow you to the Crypt in a temporary plot-character state if you don't speak to him first. When I did speak with him, he revealed how everything here was a ruse to distract the enemy and prevent the shard from falling into enemy hands, urging me to warn Melia at the Moonstone Mask before he dropped dead (this will happen even if heal him to full health). Tavorick Estate - first floor If Tavorick is mortally wounded before you enter the Crypt as he was with me, Qaggoth-Yeg and his minions will be waiting by the entrance door of the Estate, blocking your exit. If Tavorick is still alive before you enter the Crypt, you'll instead face him in the Crypt. Because of the powerful gear I had purchased, defeating Qaggoth was easy: Casavir was ready with his new weapon of choice, the falchion "Headsman", enchanted with the spell Keen Edge. The first hit was a critical hit, where Qaggoth-Yeg failed his fotitiude save (DC 20) and died instantly. It was a very satisfying feeling to have the otherwise very formidable Qaggoth-Yeg be killed on the very first hit from a level 7 melee fighter. Without this gear at such a low level the battle would have been a two-step process of divide and conquer. After buffing, I'd give Grobnar the highly useful Swift Flier to lead Qaggoth in circles in a state of perpetual haste while the rest of my team took out the others. It would have been effective for him to run back and forth by the table along the west wall while Qaggoth ran up and down on the opposite side of the table, unable to touch him as my companions took out his accomplices, one by one. For level 7 PCs without high powered gear, Qaggoth can be tough. In addition to a full lightning resistance and a healthy dollop of hit points, Qaggoth has damage reduction, magic resistance and a nauseating aura that can weaken and slow opponents in melee range. He can also cast Finger of Death and Power Word Blind. Be aware if Qaggoth takes out any low level PC early enough, it can mean the end for the party, especially if none of the Watch are around to assist you. Fortunately, Qaggoth does not regenerate and if your melee companions are adequately protected, he can eventually be worn down to defeat. This is especially the case if the rapier Bleederkin is used on him and he fails his fortitude save (a certainty, sooner or later). To ease this task you could have Grobnar and another melee fighter each use a Rod of the Ghost. To block Qaggoth's Finger of Death spell, you could have Grobnar wear the Amulet of the Doomguide (given by Nya after completing her Wyrmsage quest in Ember). Finally, if things get too rough, you can always keep one companion near the staircase to Tavorick's quarters and run up to rest - before someone dies. Despite the small army of foes in the Estate, none of them (not even Qaggoth) dropped any valuable gear for me. The best I got was a gold ring, a single alexandrite, garnet and topaz. Leaving the Tavorick Estate, I still had 21,787xp. Merchant District Moonstone Mask After leaving Tavorick's Estate I swapped out Grobnar for Khelgar and went to the Moonstone Mask to meet Ammon Jerro and his infernal minions, who had already killed Melia and several Mask Patrons before my arrival. To avoid experience, have your companions lead your opponents to the Northeast corner of the map and move your PC to the Southwest corner of the room just north of the stairwell. This is much easier to do if your PC uses the ring of invibility to remain unobtrusive. Once positioned there, your companions can take out the Succubi, Erinyes and Fire Mephits without XP. You can't rest on the second level of the Inn, so just go to the first floor to do this before fighting Ammon Jerro's Nessian War Hounds. After the introductory cut-scene, have the PC run to the southeast room before your companions land any killing blows. The treasure drops for the Succubi, Erinyes and Fire Mephits are fixed: I got a sapphire and 9GP from the lot. However, the loot from the Nessian War hounds is randomly generated during the cut-scene when Ammon Jerro summons them. I managed to get a gold ring from one of them. Blacklake Castle Never You'll receive 1500xp after informing Lord Nasher of Lord Tavorick's stolen shard and Melia's assassination (I was now at 23,287xp). While speaking with Lord Nasher about Melia, Sydney Natale will appear. Her arrival starts a long dialogue, during which Sydney's arrogance and deception can show in not-so-subtle ways. If you accuse her of lying and refuse to accept her denial of Luskan involvement in the massacre at Ember you'll shift 1 towards lawful (I was now 5/15) and gain 4 influence with Shandra (now a 23). I I also asked Shandra "Were you really worried about me in the fight with Lorne?" and then responded with "Thanks for caring - I appreciate you looking out for me" for +1 influence (now a 24). Crossroad Keep Abandoned Farm area For the first part of the battle to liberate Crossroad Keep I chose to retain Elanee, Bishop and Neeska. When you arrive you'll encounter a corpse on the road that starts a dialogue between Bishop and Shandra. I chose to side with Bishop, stating "It's just another corpse, we're not going to waste any tears or prayers on it" for a trade of +2 influence with Bishop and -2 with Shandra (now an 18 and 22, respectively). When you meet Vale you'll earn 750xp (now 24,037 total), just for watching the assault begin. It's useful to know that Vale, Nathe, Sevann and the rest of his lackeys are all plot characters for every battle to retake Crossroads Keep, except the following: 1) the final battle to stop Garius 2) the escape tunnel (where they aren't around) and 3) the first battle inside the keep before the two Arcane Brotherhood mages are killed (they appear *after* the two mages defending the door are killed and the cut-scene following it concludes) Outside of the above, you never have to lift a finger against anyone. Therefore, I let them do all the work. The guards by the farm yield random loot, while the ones inside the gate have fixed drops. The best random drop items I managed to get from the guards by the farm was +1 scale mail. The Luskan War Priest has a fixed drop of a Cape of the Firebath, while the Luskan Captain drops a bastard sword named Decision. The defeat of the Guards by Vale's troop got me another 750xp, just for watching (I now had 24,787xp total). Since Vale misjudged the preparedness of the Luskans to secure the Keep, and his lackeys can't open the main doors while the Arcane Brotherhood mages guard it from the inside, he instructs you to navigate/explore the secret tunnel (which leads to the library) and then kill the mages preventing his entry. Secret Escape Tunnel The tunnel is loaded with traps and large insect critters that prefer to be left alone; this is where Neeshka was helpful. With the right gear (cloak and boots of elvenkind, the chainmail Rogue Links, a Watchmen's Helm and the Amulet of the Master) she can sneak past every opponent and, after dozens of re-loads, recover every trap. Once that's done it's easy to lead the critters away from my PC, who stayed by the entrance, and kill them with no XP. There is a vein of Ore a little less than halfway through the tunnel that gives the usual 50xp (putting me at 24,837 xp total; 8 veins of ore total). It's important to get that ore, and the rest of loot here, before Crossroad Keep passes to your control because once it does the escape tunnel and secret entrance in the library will no longer be accessible. Shortly before the entrance to the library is a room with two sets of crates and a table from which I was eventually able to get a diamond from each, along with minor gear. Again, it is possible to get more valuable gear with enough re-loads (most notably a Wand of Arcane Disjuncture), but now that I could craft unlimited quantities of Perfected Choking Powder in much less time, I no longer bothered with this more tedious task of money making. I chose to aim for diamonds as randomly generated loot now because it's easier to craft non-essential items using low power essences with them. Crossroad Keep Interior When you meet Aldenon in the Library you'll receive 750xp for rescuing him once the conversation ends (this brought me to 25,587). For the battles inside the keep I kept Neeshka, Bishop and Grobnar. The bookcase by Aldenon has fixed loot of scrolls and a book titled "The Ancient Art of Golemcraft", the second of three items which can be used to help Grobnar re-activate the Blade Golem you'll be fighting soon enough. There are two crates in the chamber just before your first conflict in the Keep. I was able to get a diamond, a wand of lesser summons, a wand of missiles and a scroll of invisibility from the first crate. The second contained a scroll of minor globe of invulnerability and energy drain, a potion of cure serious wounds and a wand of arcane disjuncture. The main objective is to defeat the two arcane brotherhood mages preventing entry to the keep. As your companions rush to swiftly take them out, have your PC stay in the southeast corner of the library to avoid any XP. Once the mages are killed, Vale and his troop will burst in and start a cut-scene conversation. When Vale expresses doubts about being able to stop Garius, respond by saying "If you're not going to help me destroy him, then get out of my way" for +1 influence with Bishop (now a 19). Then simply stand back and let Vale kill all the remaining Luskans for you, free of any unwanted XP. Your next encounter is with some Shadow priests. Instruct your companions to stand back a bit, but not too far from the entrance to the room where they stand. When the conversation is over, run the PC back near the entrance to the tunnel, then send your companions to finish them off (if Vale and his troop haven't done so first). Just like the battle with the Blade Golem downstairs, I chose to Keep vale and his posse away from this battle because they had the annoying habit of blowing up the crates in this room with fireballs and other AOE spells, which would've interfered with proper loot seeding of the crates there (and the other storage containers downstairs). There are three crates in the room with the Shadow Priests. Repeated reloads got me the following gear: Crate one: thieves' tools +1 & +3, a belt of agility +1, 24 shurikens, a healers kit +1, a potion of cure light wounds and 32 bullets Crate two: a beljuril Crate three: a diamond, a scroll of cure serious wounds, 3 +1 bullets, 16 darts and a wand of lesser summoning Crossroad Keep Basement Keep you PC by the stairs while your companions take out the Blade Golem for the last time. There are two shelves and crates that give random loot in the area with the Blade Golem just before Garius. I was eventually able to get the following from them: Shelf one: a King's Tear, choking powder, a scroll of least spell mantle and a wand of lesser summoning Shelf two: a Beljuril, a scroll of greater spell breach, bigby's interposing hand and chain lightning and a potion of cure serious wounds Crates: 3 malachites, 2 healer's kits +1, a belt of agility +1, an amulet of will +1, thieves' tools +1 & +3, 16 shurikens and a cloak of protection +1 Crossroad Keep Basement - Ritual Chamber Remember to buff everyone first with the best gear you have before moving on to fight Garius. Since Vale and his lieutenants follow the PC wherever (s)he goes, I kept them out of this battle by positioning my PC next to the stairway to the first floor of the Keep before the battle began. Once one of your companions enters the chamber where the ritual is performed, the PC is snapped to the area for the conversation and has to run back to the stairs once combat starts - Vale and his two lieutenants don't get very far on the way back. Keeping Vale out of the fight was a precaution because he and his buddies can be killed in this battle. Should Vale be killed in the conflict (and he usually was for me, if he fought), he is usually restored (at "near death" health) immediately after the battle is won. Be aware if he dies *after* the battle by some fashion (such as a summons in the party that turns hostile) you will have to restore from a save prior to his demise, because speaking with Vale is the only way to leave the Keep once the final battle is concluded. Defeating Garius results in another 750xp (26,337xp total) allowing me to acquire Zhjaeve as a companion at level 7. As with the escape tunnel, be sure to collect all the loot here before you speak with Vale to leave - anything left behind will be gone by the time you return with the Keep under your command. Notes about Crossroad Keep: Once the player is awarded control of it, Crossroad Keep can occupy a major portion of the game. Crossroad Keep management can be as intricate and involved as you like (or not). One of the main benefits of careful management of the Keep is obtaining gold - vast sums of it. Unfortunately, by the time you get to make use of most of this wealth, the game is almost over. There are some token gifts and/or honorifics you can also get with very good (or deliberately evil) management of the Keep and these fit nicely with one of my stated goals of this guide: to milk every bit of power and awards that I could from the Original Campaign. Crossroad keep was a significant part of this. Disclaimer and credits: Nearly all of the specific advice I give on management and progression with Crossroad Keep is based on the walkthrough from blogspot: http://gq-game-mods.blogspot.com/2011/05/neverwinter-nights-2-walkthrough-11b.html and a trove of facts and bugs from the NWN2 wiki: http://nwn2.wikia.com/wiki/Crossroad_Keep I had several goals with the management of Crossroads Keep. They were: A) Earn as much gold as possible while not significantly impacting the gear I could craft, buy or use for my PC or its companions B) Bargaining with Mephasm for a token that increases your statistic of choice by +3. While the modifier is relatively modest it is nevertheless helpful because it is applied just by having it in your inventory (and not in a bag) and is one of very few items the Construct can use (+3 STR is best for it) C) Earn the "Warden of the Keep" feat, an honorific that also yields these 2 items: 1) The Charm of Joy: just keeping this item in your inventory will passively increase your Charisma by 3 and provide a +3 AC (dodge based) bonus vs. Evil opponents. 2) Champion's Fist: given by Light of Heavens is a +3 mace which, if used vs evil opponents, also has a +5 enhancement & +2d6 damage bonus To earn this feat, Greycloak civility must be high, the Church of Tyr must be built, Joy & Light of Heavens must have been recruited, and Uncus & Caelryna must not be in the keep. Refusing Uncus requires the PC to have sided with the City Watch in ACT I, as joining the thieves prevents you from refusing him. Once this feat is earned, Caelryna may be safely recruited. D) Gift from the Greycloaks: available in ACT III, this event only occurs if all four keep sergeants have been recruited and the following five greycloak qualifiers are met: (1) training is best (2) best weapons and armor (3) quality is elite (4) morale is high (5) the Captain's Company is formed. E) In tandem with the above, recruit as many optional actors/lieutenants to the keep as possible. The optional recruits are listed, in alphabetical order, as follows (from the NWN2 wiki): 1) Bevil Starling - One of the sergeants. He joins the Keep in Act III as a sergeant if the PC talks to him in Act II before proceeding to Arvahn, whereupon all of West Harbor's residents are killed. 2) Caelryna Seerar - serves as a merchant. Can be recruited once she is rescued on Mount Galardrym. Caelryna acts as a fence. 3) Calindra - serves as a miner and gives the PC gold for each ore deposit discovered. She can be recruited by the PC in Port Llast after (and if) the PC helps her find Bradbury's corpse in Duskwood. 4) Deekin Scalesinger - serves as a merchant. Can be recruited in Neverwinter's Merchant Quarter after the Merchant's Shop is built. 5) Edario - an essential merchant who also serves as an armorer for the Greycloaks at the Keep. He can be recruited at Highcliff. 6) Guyven of the Road - serves as a scout. Can be recruited if the PC finds him in the following spots and is kind to him at each of the three encounters: A) at the Bonegnasher Approach in Act I B) at the Githyanki Approach near the end of Act I C) at the slaughtered village of Ember in Act II 7) Ivarr the Blessed - serves as a priest at the church of Tyr. Joins only if the PC decides to build the Church of Tyr. 8) Jacoby - serves as a weaponsmith for the Greycloaks. Jacoby can be recruited at Fort Locke only after the smithy is built. 9) Jalboun of the Two Blades - one of the sergeants, joins only if the PC bribes him and manages to keep him alive during the battle with Sydney Natale. 10) Joy - dances at the Phoenix Tail Inn and improves keep morale. She can be recruited by the PC in the Neverwinter Merchant Quarter near Blacklake Gate during Act III. If the PC is evil, recruiting Joy requires a skill check. Joy increases Keep income by 10% 11) Katriona - serves as a sergeant. She be recruited at Old Owl Well. 12) Khulmar - acts as a liaison for the Ironfist clan. He joins the keep only if an alliance is forged between Neverwinter and the Ironfist Dwarves. 13) Kistrel - knits the PC a cloak. It joins only if it is befriended by the PC in the Glowstone Cave. 14) Lasshiva - acts as a liaison for Batha's lizardfolk tribe. Joins only if an alliance is forged between Neverwinter the Lizardfolk. 15) Light of Heavens - serves as a sergeant. She can only be recruited if the PC defeats her 3 times in progressively more difficult duels. 16) Mephasm - offers to enchant the PC's items for a price (the PC must give him his/her favorite weapon or armor at end of 3 transactions). Mephasm can be summoned in Act III if the PC bargains with him. There are severe bugs that prevent the game from checking the favorite item properly. In particular, Mephasm may take the favorite weapon instead of favorite armor from arcane spellcasters and will take away the Silver Sword of Gith from you, if that's your favorite weapon. Be prepared for the possibility of losing something you really like if you haven't planned for what your favorite weapon will be beforehand. 17) Orlen - helps to look after the Keep's farmland and manage the peasants. Orlen can be recruited if the PC talks to him in Act II before proceeding to Arvahn, whereupon all of West Harbor's residents are killed. 18) Pentin - serves as a miner that gives the PC ingots for each ore deposit discovered. Pentin can be recruited at Old Owl Well only if he was previously saved from the orcs in the Bonegnasher Lair. 19) Rolan - passes on his secret teachings to the PC if he/she is a monk. Rolan joins only if the Sun Soul Monastery is built instead of the Church of Tyr. 20) Startear - takes residence in the keep only if the Wizard's Tower is built. 21) Torio Claven - provides information for potential recruits. Torio joins only if the PC saves her from execution and requests that she be transferred to the keep. Torio's advice isn't really needed, but can make for some interesting conversation and adds some history and background to certain events/recruits. 22) Wolf - provides quick travel around the keep. You must have a good reputation with the beggar children of Neverwinter (obtained by siding with them during any event in the city). Effective management of Crossroad Keep is complicated by the fact that game mechanics driving several aspects of it are loaded with bugs. Rather than list all them here, I have oriented this guide towards getting around them while still getting the most out of what Keep management experience can give. From my perspective, there are no big rewards to be gained by exploiting any bugs here (aside from the gold), though a few make it easier to deal with. Crossroad Keep Once you return to Crossroad Keep there's a long conversation with Zhjaeve that will result in no influence changes regardless of your choices, but can provide a some interesting background on your current situation, the King of Shadows, Githyanki, Githzerai and the lost Illfarn Empire. When I traveled to Crossroad Keep for the first time I brought Bishop and Casavir for conversations to increase influence with them. When speaking with Casavir, ask "You look troubled. Are you all right?" and when he responds with concern about Bishop, say "I appreciate your concern. Its good to know you're looking out for me." for +1 influence (11). Next ask "What is your concern with Neverwinter?", followed by "Can you tell me more about this?" and "But why did you leave?". Finally, say something supportive like, "It was a good chance to help others, and for that I am grateful." for another +1 influence with him (now an 12 total) and +1 towards good (5/16). When speaking with Bishop at Crossroad keep for the first time here he'll get prickly. Respond by saying "Actually, pulling your own weight with a little less backtalk would be good" and when he gives his reply, answer with "Do you really think I care about the nobility beyond getting more coin?" for +1 influence (now a 20) and +1 shift towards chaotic (4/16). I then swapped out Bishop for Grobnar, who asked about the Tome of Iltkazar. When he mentions it, say "So?" and when he asks about retrieving it so he can upgrade the golem (construct), answer with "Sounds good. If we can restore him fully, he'll be an asset" for +1 influence (now 13 total). You are awarded 500xp at the same time you are assigned control on Crossroad Keep; this brought me to 26,837xp. West Harbor While you're here, it's worth your time to speak with Georg while Elanee or Sand is along for an amusing conversation. While visiting West Harbor for the last time I recruited Orlen as a lieutenant at Crossroad Keep before heading on to the Ruins of Arvahn. This must be done first because if you visit Arvahn before recruiting Orlen, he is killed during the destruction of West Harbor wrought by Ammon Jerro (or the King of Shadows; the game never clearly states which is responsible). For the same reasons, I sold un-needed gear to and some perfected choking powder I crafted to Tarmas until he was out of gold. I brought Grobnar and Zhjaeve to boost my appraise skill to 12 (all I could get to at level 7) before selling. Tarmas has a pool of gold of about 50,000 with which to buy your items, unless you fund(ed) him further by making one or more purchases. You can speak to Retta Starling about Lorne for 500xp and deliver the Tithe Box to Brother Merring from Dawnbringer Natrisse for another 1500xp, but I chose to skip them both since XP was something I still wanted to avoid until after I had both Zhjaeve and the Construct while still level 7 - and I was now very close to this goal. Path to Arvahn (part one) On your first trip to Arvahn you'll encounter some Malarites on what they consider to be a sacred hunt: in this case, a hapless un-armed peasant. You can stand aside and let them finish him off to avoid a conflict, but I chose to fight by stating "I'm not going to allow you to harm this man" for a +3 shift towards good (now 4/19) and some loot. Unlike most foes, the Malarite's (mostly) random gear drops can be quite good. So after various loot seeding attempts I was (eventually) able to get some valuable gear: the Huntmaster dropped a scimitar of speed (as long as I didn't let him shape change into a dire bear, which would destroy it) a dire bear claw/tusk/tooth and a +3 Kama. The rest of his hunting posse dropped 156 gold, 222 gold, a +2 longsword, a scroll of neutralize poison, and 6 asp's nest darts. Feeling contrarian, I decided to announce to the peasant "Don't be so grateful - I'm killing you next" for a +1 shift towards evil (4/18). Whomever deals the coup-de-grace will shift by 5 towards evil. Oddly enough, this will affect any of your companions, should they land the killing blow. Since my PC killed him, I got 7 xp (now 26,844) and moved to 4/13. The peasant drops no loot. Note that unlike many battles, you can run from the Malarites towards the navigation beacon and flee (presumably leaving the peasant to his fate) without having to defeat your opponents first. If you do, you won't be able to return to this encounter again, missing out on what could be very good loot, and will encounter the pixies on your second attempt to travel to Arvahn (part two). Path to Arvahn (part two) On your second trip to Arvahn you'll encounter some Pixies. If you're evil, they'll fight you unless your diplomacy, bluff or intimidate skills are high enough to convince them to leave you alone. If you're neutral or good, you can go along with their prank to obtain a ring of invisibility. Fighting them earned me a pixie lance and fairy dust. Since I had already purchased a ring of invisibility earlier from Nya (and was still evil anyway), I chose to fight for the pixie lance and fairy dust. Ruins or Arvahn (first visit) Uthanck Camp For my first visit here I brought Sand. When I first spoke with Uthanck I passed an intimidation check, saying Logram lost Old Owl Well because he was weak for +1 influence with Sand (now 7). Note you can only obtain Ilrah's Rib by agreeing to kill Ghellu for Uthanck and then being friendly with his shaman Ilrah. Ilrah's Rib is very useful for the Blind Fight and Toughness feat it provides just by carrying it in your inventory, so you should agree to kill Ghellu even if that isn't actually your plan. Therefore I (lied and) agreed to kill Ghellu and, after eliminating the Goblins and Orc berserkers along the countryside, proceeded immediately to the Gem mines. I had my PC proceed while invisible to the cauldron at the northwest corner of the map to retrieve the Rune Inscribed Iron Piece, the last component needed to reactivate the Construct at level 7. I then set about recruiting two Keep assistants for the Keep before continuing on. I was still at 26,844 XP. It's worth noting that during your first visit to the Ruins, one of the Orcs in Uthank's camp will generate a random number of Mild Poison Arrows. It will drop them later on should you choose to fight Uthank and the rest of his clan. While the effect of these arrows on targets is not particularly impressive (CON drain of 1 to 2) the DC of 40 (!) is, making them, by far, the most powerful arrows in the Original Campaign. Save them for worthwhile battles. Old Owl Well I recruited only Katriona (one of the 4 Sergeants available) and Pentin because, at this point, they were the only two where doing so involved no additional XP. Crossroad Keep Courtyard Upon speaking with Master Veedle, the PC starts with 70,000 gold from Nasher for improvements. The first project I commissioned was the smithy at a cost of 10,000 gold (60,000 Keep funds remaining). Keep interior On my first visit to the keep interior I first spoke with Kana and did the following: 1. Set Merchant Tithes to 0 and institute secret Merchant Tax with appraise (minimum 12 required) 2. Set Farmer Tithes to 0 3. Set Greycloak quality to Best 4. Set Greycloaks to Training 5. Set Katriona to Training (this may not do anything, but it can't hurt) I then sent Uncus away and set about activating the Construct. When I first with Grobnar he asked about the Tome of Iltkazar. When he mentioned it, I said "So?" and when he asked about retrieving it so he can upgrade the golem (construct), I answered with "Sounds good. If we can restore him fully, he'll be an asset" for +1 influence (now 13 total). After activating the construct, I replied to Grobnar saying "I'm impressed you got it working again, good job" for +2 influence (now 15 total). I also got 1,000xp for activating the Construct (at level 7!) and now had 27,844xp. Upgrading the Construct requires passing three skill checks: craft Armor, Weapon and Alchemy. It's probably best to have the PC fail at the craft Alchemy test so that Sand will offer to make this upgrade himself (earning +1 influence in the process, now an 8). This is another situation where you can raise your influence with Sand an unlimited number of times: as long as you continue to fail the Craft Alchemy check with the Construct any time you examine it and choose to upgrade it, Sand will continue to offer to perform the Alchemy upgrade for you, earning another +1 each time you "let" him. I had him do this just once, but if you want Sand to fight with you instead of Qara in the final battle with the King of Shadows, you may choose to boost influence with him at any time prior to the final battle by failing this check repeatedly and allowing Sand to assist every time. This will continue to work as long as A) the PC hasn't successfully passed the craft Alchemy check on its own and B) the Construct upgrade patch has not been applied. Specifically, from the NWN2 wiki that I edited frequently: "As a pure fighter acquired in the second chapter, the Construct isn't very customizable, aside from its skills and feats, but it is well prepared for its intended role as a tank and high damage-per-round dealing companion. The player can also apply several enhancements through the use of Craft Alchemy, Craft Weapon, and Craft Armor, but due to programming missteps this section of the Construct's dialogue is bugged so that succeeding will provide the wrong feats: five (5) point Warlock resistances to fire, cold, and electricity. These resistances upgrade to 10 points when the Construct reaches level 20. To fix this, download the mod and copy the "gl_construct.DLG" file into the "...\Campaigns\Neverwinter Nights 2 Campaign" path where the game was installed, overwriting the original. Alternatively, the file can be placed in the Override folder. Doing so will make sure all the correct feats are applied (as detailed below) and Sand's intervention will always succeed. However this must be done prior to doing any upgrades, as this patch will not work retroactively." At level 7, the unimproved Construct Starts with an AC of 26, 112 HP and a 23 STR. However, "if the mod patch is installed, these upgrades give the Construct a +3 AC boost from the armor improvement, a +6 Strength from the weapon boost and +15 hit points from the alchemy upgrade. After killing the Shadow Reaver who carries the Tome of Iltkazar, you can use it to upgrade the Construct further: Have the tome in your inventory, and both Grobnar and the Construct outside of your active party. Talk to Grobnar and ask him to use the tome to upgrade the Construct - it will gain +2 to Strength, Dexterity & Constitution. Note that the above upgrades are considered base statistical enhancements; spells and passive items may boost its statistics further without overlapping each other. Consider the following examples: * Bull's Strength will still increase its strength by 4 * Mephasm's infernal token (strength based) will further boost the Construct's strength by 3 (this will not stack with statistic enhancing spells such as Bull's Strength shown above). At level 20, this can leave the Construct with a Strength as high as 38. * Ilrah's Rib will grant the feats Blind Fight and Toughness * If the Construct has enough rank in Use Magic Device, the Charm of * Joy will boost its Charisma by three and provide a +3 (dodge) bonus to its AC vs. evil aligned opponents" Note that if you choose to apply the available patch for the Construct and then have Sand apply the Alchemy Upgrade on it, Sand will do this properly the first time. Therefore, you will only get one +1 influence increase with him. Ember Now that I had successfully activated the Construct at level 7 and upgraded it as much as I could before obtaining the tome of Iltkazar, I went back to Ember to speak with Guyven and recruit him to Crossroad Keep. I earned 250xp in the process, bringing me to 28,094xp and level 08. Various Locations Once my party leveled to 8, I set about the third round of perfected choking powder buying, crafting and selling to get to my third round of buying (most notably the Pharaoh's mace and other choice items) before continuing on to the Ruins of Arvahn again. Ruins of Arvahn - revisited Riverguard Keep Level One I had Neeshka disable all the traps and unlock all the doors before clearing the level of opponents (an easy task at ECL 17). A conversation with Ralidor earns the chance to avoid combat if you agree to bring him Ghellu's head when you leave the keep. However, I chose to immediately leave the keep and face his posse for the larger cache of loot they drop by fighting outside the keep rather than immediately upon encountering him inside. Most of the loot drops with Ralidor outside the keep are fixed. The chests inside the Riverguard Keep can yield better loot. By the time I moved on to level two, I remained at 28,094xp. Level Two I chose to wait on meeting Ribsmasher until I was almost finished with Riverguard Keep. Level Three Being polite while speaking with Ghellu allows the option of accepting his offer to kill Uthanck in exchange for gold and access to the Statue of Purification he guards. If you're careful and shrewd in the manner of your bargaining with Ghellu, you can agree to killing Uthanck in a way that doesn't move you towards evil by one (if this happens to be a goal of yours) For example, asking "Will you allow me to use it if I can get to it?", answering him with "You can't get to the statue, but you're promising me I can use it?" and finally saying, "the fact that your bargaining with me means I could take it by force" will allow this option. In any event, agreeing to Ghellu's bargain by whatever method will gain +1 influence with Bishop (now 21). Uthanck Camp - revisited Speaking with Uthanck after accepting Ghellu's deal starts a conflict with his tribe the second time you speak with Uthank, resulting in mostly fixed loot drops. At level 8, this is not an easy battle, so take time to prepare. Curiously, the +3 axe Ice Reaver that is dropped from the battle is not worth nearly as much gold as the mild poison arrows you also get (about 255 gold/arrow), probably due to the DC40 for the 1d2 CON damage on a failed poison save for each arrow hit. Again, the number of arrows you get is randomly determined the first time you visit Arvahn - I got 77. Riverguard Keep - revisited Level Three After defeating Uthanck I informed Ghellu of the deed. He offered his reward but I chose to rout him and his minions for their substantial loot. Most of the loot from every monster drop is fixed (but not from the objects found on this level), including a bone ring, ring of protection +3 and The Nomad's Ring. Regardless of how you deal with Ghellu, you'll earn 1,500xp for gaining access to the statue (now 29,594xp total). Once Ghellu and his posse were defeated I set about collecting treasure in the Keep. Of note: * A chest in the southernmost room on level one can yield a belt of agility +1 and I kept reloading until it did. * Many chests and other storage objects can yield wands of arcane disjuncture, but these were no longer worth my time now that I could craft unlimited quantities of perfected choking powder * An open crate in the eastern room on level three can yield a high-quality gem. I chose to re-load until it gave a blue diamond. * If you choose to fight Ribsmasher he'll drop Gloves of the Long Death +3 upon his defeat. You may choose to do so because they're worth about 3,200 gold. However if you chose to let him loose as I did, he can smash open the door to the room with the second statue of purification. He'll die in the process of doing this and egging him on to do so open earns +1 influence with Bishop (now 22), -1 influence with Shandra (now 21) and a 3 point shift towards evil (now 4/10). If you chose this route, it's advisable to wait until you're done loot collecting because he'll also smash every door and chest he finds along the way, and if you don't first seed the chests and other storage objects with the desired items you want generated in them beforehand, you'll likely end up with low grade gear and some broken items as well. Ribsmasher is a tough candidate at ECL 8 and is worth 560xp at this level, should you chose to fight him. Freeing Ribsmasher as I did results in 100xp (bringing me to 29,694). Once all the treasure collecting was done I touched the first statue of purification by the entrance to the Ruins of Arvahn and then proceeded to the second one at level 3 of the keep. Neither statue grants XP. When you are at the second statue of purification you'll have another opportunity to gain unlimited influence, this time with Zhjaeve. After the door to the chamber with the second statue is opened, you can select the (open) doors to bash as much as you like. Every time this is done, conversation options can lead to an additional +2 influence with Zhjaeve. Because I consider this a hack, and since improved influence with her appears to have no impact whatsoever on gameplay, I didn't do it and instead chose to let Ribsmasher take care of the door for me, increasing my influence with Bishop as described above. Note that if you, or any combination of members in your party, possess the complete set of the Master's Shield, Sword and Scepter, the doors guarding the statue of purification will recognize you as the long awaited Master of the Keep and open automatically. Dropping any of these three items on the floor will prevent this from happening. Should you choose to bash the door open yourself, be prepared for the 50+ points of magical damage you'll incur in the process. Gem Mines - revisited Vanquishing the hordes of undead here, and the Baelnorn in particular, was made far easier at level 8 by Bishop smiting them with the Pharaoh's Mace. While hasted, Bishop always went directly for the Baelnorn first, since they can cast a variety of spells that can kill the entire party in one fell swoop if they're all unlucky enough to fail their saves at once. Similarly, the Umber Hulk was taken out while protection from evil spells were active and prevented its confusion ability from affecting anyone until Bishop managed to fell it with a critical hit from The Headsman. When you meet the elven spirit historian Balaur, asking him "Are there any books you could share with me?" in the conversation will result in him giving you the three volume set of books on Illfarn history and The Guardian which, if you care to hear his recitation on the history of Illfarn and the King of Shadows, can nicely supplant what he tells you. The books have no impact on gameplay but, along with Balaur's re-caption, enhance the story. When you meet the first elven spirit, responding to his introductory statement about The Guardian with "Patriotism. A foolish notion" or "No nation is worth such a sacrifice" earns +2 influence with Bishop (now a 24). After clearing out the undead I set about gathering the sprits. Collectively, they provide details in the interesting and ironic tale of how The Guardian came to be, was corrupted and ultimately lead to the downfall of the society he was created (and surrendered his very soul) to protect. Aside from the fairly useful fixed drops in the gem mines (such the Hammer of the Lost Empire and Broewende Family Armor), I was able to get the following randomized gems after about a dozen reloads: * A footlocker in a room on the west side of the map contained some scrolls and a wand of lesser summons (you can do better if you reload enough) * A small chest in the same room can yield a high value gem (Blue Diamond) * A skull pile by one of the Dwarven spirits had a diamond * A large chest on the south end of the map contained a diamond, a wand of arcane disjuncture, thieves' tools +6, 3 darts and a potion of eagle's splendor * A room on the southeast end of the map has two small chests and a footlocker. One of the small chests can yield magic wands (I got none), while the footlocker gave me a diamond. The other small chest has fixed loot that is worth mentioning because of its contents: a ring of improved evasion, 25 adamantine ingots and potion of cure disease. * Three sections of archives near the entrance contain scrolls of randomly varying quality/power, and can also yield low to mid level power wands. Of note, I was able to get a scroll of Mordenkainen's Disjuncture from one and Implosion from another. It is difficult to overstate the potential usefulness of the Broewende Family Armor. Although it only has a base armor class of 4, it has a maximum dexterity bonus of 4 and a +1 armor bonus, so it offers the same defense as base full plate in protection. More importantly, it has three very useful properties, listed in increasing order below: 1) it has acid/fire resistance of 5 2) as light armor, it can be worn by almost every class except wizards and sorcerers and - finally: 3) it confers immunity to mind-affecting spells - as an item property. This is important because spells such as Protection from Alignment that confer this immunity can be (and are) dispelled by opponents, whereas immunities conferred by item properties cannot. Specifically, from the NWN2 wiki, Mind-Affecting Spells have: "A (usually) hindering effect that is directed to the mind of the target. Feeblemind and Fear are two examples of a mind-affecting attack/state. Constructs, undead, and vermin are immune to mind-affecting spells. To determine the results of these effects, Will saving throws are usually used. Immunity to mind-affecting spells makes a character immune to fear, stun, dominate, charm, daze, and sleep effects, even if not caused by a spell." In addition, any spell or spell-like effect that is mind-affecting in nature (e.g. Feeblemind, Hold Monster) usually won't work on those immune to mind-affecting spells, regardless of the source. Once I acquired this highly useful armor, any companion (but particularly those with low will saves) who needed to fight unimpeded would usually wear it (along with an amulet of health) to deal with opponents who might otherwise defeat the entire party with charm/stun/hold/death effects. Specifically, this armor allowed tank-types like Khelgar who are (usually by this point in the game) fully armed with weapons that can dramatically change the tide of most battles (e.g. the Headsman, Pharaoh's Mace or Gutspiller) to do their work without being neutralized mid-stream, thereby endangering the rest of the party. There are, of course (along with spells), several items in the Original Campaign that confer immunity to mind-affecting spells (mostly weapons), but few are available this early and able to be used by as many class types as this one without a (modified) rank of 11 or higher in use magic device. Take the Broewende Family Armor everywhere. Use it often. Completing the Communion Tree earns another 1,500xp (31,194 total) and access to another statue. Temple of Seasons Although you can skip the four trials and go straight to the fourth statue by unlocking the door to the chamber containing it, I chose to complete them for the items. Enough reloads before the first and fourth trials earned some reasonable loot; mostly mid-value gems. In order to avoid experience here I had Neeshka unlock doors to each room once fighting began (they'll lock automatically once combat begins) and then moved my PC move to a safe distance before engaging my opponents. The fourth room with the Trial of Spring presented a challenge because, as the battle progressed, a lightning blaze would periodically damage the entire party, regardless of their distance from the battle. At level 8 this was problematic, so I gave my PC the shard that grants Acid and Electrical resistance and the ring of regeneration I had. You could also have Zhjaeve cast Endure Elements, though I didn't find that necessary to last long enough to get enough distance to avoid XP from other party members killing the pixies - before my PC was killed anyway (that happened on the second lightning blast). Completing the 4th statue earned another 1,500xp (32,694 total). West Harbor When you arrive at West Harbor after going through the Illfarn Song Portal you'll have up to four chances to increase your influence with Shandra by a total of +5. The first is after the opening dialogue is completed and if you cross the bridge to the other side, closer to Deaghun's home. This starts another exchange with Shandra. Answer her with, "I wish I'd been here to defend it" and "Well, it's the truth. I thought leaving here would have kept it safe, but I was wrong" (+3). Then respond with, "Growing up here was probably a lot like growing up on a farm - you yourself might be bound for greatness one day (+1 influence and, tragically, she is). The third opportunity can occur if you speak with her immediately again, where she will say, "I'm still sorry about West Harbor. Are you alright? I know we talked a little, but...." eventually you'll have the chance to respond with, "They might have been, if no one had stopped the lizardfolk" and "It's better to think of how much we're preventing" (+1 influence). I forgot to do the last one until just before I entered Ammon Jerro's haven, so my total influence with her was now 26. Illfarn Temple Because the room is too small there is no way to avoid experience from killing the Shadow Reaver and his minions: two each of shadow priests, greater shadows and dread wraiths. Bishop used the Pharaoh's mace to easily dispatch undead, starting with the Shadow Reaver to avoid his potentially problematic spells. Shandra took out the priests with Gutspiller. Along with other buffs, I also had Zhjaeve cast Protection from Evil and Death Ward on everyone prior to entering the structure, just in case Bishop wasn't quick enough in killing the Reaver (he was). I received 2,075xp for defeating the Shadow Reaver and his posse and another 4,000 for surviving the encounter, bringing me to 38,769 and level 9. Blacklake District Road to Crossroad Keep On the way back to Crossroad Keep I encountered the Qara Animus for the first time. This appears to happen if you travel from Blacklake to Crossroad Keep with Qara in your party. Defeating it earns no XP, but does result in interesting conversation with your companions. If you return to the Blacklake District and then immediately set out again for Crossroad Keep (I did), you'll encounter the Animus a second time. This leads to a considerable amount of amusing whining on the part of your companions, but still no XP. On a curious note: it appears casting Shadow Simulacrum on the Animus (at least at this point) has no effect. Duskwood Werewolf Cave After leveling up and redistributing my equipment from the Ruins of Arvahn, it was time to take care of housekeeping in preparation for a return trip to Crossroad Keep. First on the list was additional recruiting. I went to the cave by Mirri and Jilla to finish them off, keeping my PC at sufficient distance to avoid unwanted XP. However, I was still awarded 900xp for finding Bradbury's remains (now 39,669xp). After looting their insect collection, I went back to the glowstone caverns near Ember to visit Kistrel. Along the way I collected two ore deposits #7 & 8 (50xp each, now 39,769 total). After feeding Kistrel I asked him to join us, stating "Allies from Nature are welcome - I hope we can gather more", for +1 influence with Elanee and 1,100xp (14 and 40,869 total, respectively). Post Llast Alliance Arms Inn Having found Bradbury's remains, I reported his demise to Calindra for 1,000xp (41,869 total) and recruited her to the Keep. Fort Locke I recruited Jacoby to Crossroad Keep. Note that even after you recruit Jacoby, he will remain available to buy and sell equipment at both locations. Crossroad Keep Farm area and Courtyard I entered the courtyard first but didn't speak to anyone, then went back to the farms area to speak with Calindra for 2,000 gold and to report my findings of the 8 ore deposits (so far) in the game. I then went back to the courtyard and again to the farm area to collect from her another reward of 2 each of Iron Ingots, Cold Iron Ingots, Alchemical Silver Ingots and Mithral Ingots. This also registered the ore I collected for armor and weapons upgrades for the greycloaks there. Returning again to the courtyard, I commissioned good armor and best weapons, doing area transitions to and from the farm and courtyard, but not into the Keep. Also, remember to avoid speaking with Veedle about building anything until later to prevent progression of time for the Keep. Armor Weapons Basic/Leather 3500 "Real" 5000 Decent/Studded Leather 15000 "Good" 15000 Good/Scale Mail 30000 Mastercraft 35000 After the armor and weapons upgrades, I had 28,451 gold remaining. Keep interior After speaking with Aldenon for the secret location of Ammon Jerro's haven, I went to the Keep basement to speak with Kistril, stating "You're welcome to stay. There's plenty of room for anyone who's a friend" for a +1 shift towards good (now 4/11) and to start the timer for his cloak spinning - a gift given to the PC later on. After redistributing equipment gained from Arvahn and my first encounter with a Shadow Reaver, I went to Ammon Jerro's Haven. Ammon Jerro's Haven (1st visit) Haven Approach Open Area Upon arriving here my companions first took out all of the shadow opponents and Gargoyles, avoiding XP while doing so. I then proceeded to the Jerro Guardian. You'll earn 100xp for meeting it if Guyven has already been recruited to Crossroad Keep (41,969xp). Path of Determination The Path of Determination is very easy to complete. Simply run along the very edge of the Geyser path and you will avoid all but one of the random, scalding steams coming from the ground. Even if you fail a dexterity/tumble check at the Geyser (16 seems to be enough) you'll still fill the vial. Passing a skill check avoids damage entirely and earns +2 influence with Neeshka (now a 27). The 500xp awarded here brought me to 42,469xp. Path of Sight Lighting all the braziers for this task can be a bit tricky as one grouping of fire elementals often have a habit of being out of the PCs line-of-sight on a hill north of the last brazier. They're easily seen from the top of the hill by the Shaman's vantage point. Path of Righteousness I waited to speak to the Jerro Guardian about The Path of Righteousness until last, because it is only when you ask about this task that the Shaman is spawned. Once spawned, he comes with two fixed items and one or more random drops, which can be very valuable. Eventually, I was able to get a +2 sickle and a Greater Archer's Belt. You will only get this gear if you choose to fight the Shaman. Otherwise you'll face the 5 barbarian spirits he summons. Upon meeting the Shaman, after his introduction, I choose to ask, "The Golem said you were a threat. Is this true?" then answer his reply with, "You've done nothing wrong - I'm not going to kill you" for +2 influence with Casavir and Shandra (now 14 and 27 respectively) and +1 towards good (now 4/12). After his warning I stated, "Then I have no choice but to kill you." Like all other opponents here, I ran to a safe distance before permitting my companions to defeat him, receiving only the 500xp that is given for completing this path (now 42,969xp). With the tasks for all three paths complete I spoke with the Jerro Guardian for a second time about the Paths of Sight (500xp) and Determination (1,000xp) and now had 44,469 xp total. I waited to claim credit for having finished the Path of Righteousness because it's possible that acknowledging the completion of all three paths with the Jerro Guardian may prevent you from being able to leave the Haven Approach area - essentially forcing entry to Ammon Jerro's Haven and finishing ACT II; this happened to me once. Also, if you acknowledge all three paths with the guardian and then ask Shandra to hold off on offering a drop of blood while you take care of unfinished business, you will miss out on +1 influence with her when you're finally ready to enter. And there was still a lot to do. Various locations Various merchants After finishing my fourth and fifth rounds of perfected choking powder crafting I set about selling to enough merchants to get enough gold to purchase the spear Vengeance of Asenath from Dayne Lynneth. At appraise 14 it cost 579,436 gold. Since I had already exhausted the gold supply of most merchants who would buy perfected choking powder at the best ratios, I had to make do with the best of what was left. Starting with 29 gold I sold to the following merchants: Merchant Location Gold ratio PCPx10 sold Gold earned Reylene Docks District 98.48% 36.8 99,838 Dayne - spec Blacklake 98.48% 3.3 8,953 Dayne - norm Blacklake 98.48% 41.8 113,403 Dawnbringer Blacklake 100.00% 46.7 128,611 Yask Port Llast 89.18% 42.5 103,275 Haljal - spec Port Llast 89.18% 51.5 125,145 Blacklake Dayne Lynneth Once I had sold enough powder to Haljal get to get to excatly 579,436 gold I went back to Dayne and bought the spear Vengeance of Asenath. Now that I had bought the most expensive item in the Original Campaign, Dayne was once again able to buy a lot more powder from me. After selling the remainder of my perfected choking powder from round 5 of crafting I had 329,629 gold. I then purchased the battleaxe Alrec from him (for its level 17 Dominate Monster ability) and used the remaining gold to do my 6th and final round of perfected choking powder crafting. At this point I had exhausted the gold supply of the following merchants: Merchant Location Gold Ratio Starting Gold Pool Branson Marlek Highcliffe 100.00 50 Simmy Old Owl Well 100.00 50 Edario Highcliffe 100.00 50 Jacoby Fort Locke 100.00 50 Werth Docks District 100.00 100 Repko Docks District 100.00 100 Fibba Docks District 100.00 100/100 Deekin Merchant Quarter 100.00 50 Pap Merchant Quarter 100.00 50 Judge Oleff b4 rescue Merchant Quarter 100.00 30 Dawnbringer b4 tithe Blacklake Dist 100.00 100 Dayne Lynneth Blacklake Dist 98.48 100/100 Reylene Docks District 98.48 100 Tarmas West Harbor 96.92 50 Yask Post Llast 89.18 100 Various locations Various merchants I then set about round five of buying and, in the process of doing so, purchased the following items for crafting at some point, either for party use or re-selling for a profit: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Crafting item(s) Qty Cost Sold by Total Cost/Merchant ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Half Plate Mold 225 Jacoby Darksteel Ingot 197 Jacoby Mithral Ingot 118 Jacoby Duskwood Plank 79 Jacoby Longbow Mold 51 Jacoby Heavy Crossbow Mold 31 Jacoby Light Crossbow Mold 19 Jacoby Warmace Mold 15 Jacoby Shortbow Mold 15 Jacoby Heavy Shield Mold 11 Jacoby Rapier Mold 11 Jacoby 772 Umber Hulk Hide x2 504 Simmy Zalantar Plank x3 252 Simmy Longbow Mold 54 Simmy Heavy Crossbow Mold 33 Simmy Light Crossbow Mold 21 Simmy Warmace Mold 16 Simmy Shortbow Mold 16 Simmy Heavy Shield Mold 11 Simmy Rapier Mold 11 Simmy 918 Blue Diamond 4,680 Pap Jacinth 1,820 Pap Diamond 1,040 Pap Adamantine Ingot x2 1,050 Pap Fire Opal 780 Pap Ruby 702 Pap Darksteel Ingot x2 520 Pap Shederran Plank x2 312 Pap Mithral Ingot x2 312 Pap Zalantar Plank x2 208 Pap Duskwood Plank x2 208 Pap Trap Kit Mold x2 42 Pap Obsidian x2 30 Pap 11,704 Faint Earth Essence 118 Deekin Fairy Dust x2 4 Deekin 122 Darksteel Ingot 197 Repko Duskwood Plank x2 158 Repko Longbow Mold 51 Repko Heavy Crossbow Mold 31 Repko Light Crossbow Mold 19 Repko Shortbow Mold 15 Repko Warmace Mold 15 Repko Heavy Shield Mold 11 Repko Rapier Mold 11 Repko 508 Duskwood Plank x6 594 Werth 594 Glowing Earth Essence 711 Dawnbringer Dragon Blood 632 Dawnbringer Umber Hulk Mandible 355 Dawnbringer 1,698 Full Plate Mold x25 14,700 Fibba Half Plate Mold x25 5,700 Fibba Longbow Mold x25 1,283 Fibba Heavy Crossbow Mold x25 790 Fibba Light Crossbow Mold x25 493 Fibba Shortbow Mold x25 395 Fibba Warmace Mold x25 395 Fibba Darksteel Ingot x2 394 Fibba Shederran Plank x3 354 Fibba Rapier Mold x25 296 Fibba Heavy Shield Mold x25 296 Fibba Breast Plate Mold x4 268 Fibba Umber Hulk Hide 237 Fibba Zalanter Plank x3 237 Fibba Falchion Mold x4 205 Fibba Chain Shirt Mold x4 126 Fibba Short Sword Mold x25 98 Fibba Greatsword Mold x3 94 Fibba Katana Mold x4 79 Fibba Light Shield Mold x25 19 Fibba Studded Leather Mold x4 3 Fibba Kama Mold x4 3 Fibba Club Mold x4 3 Fibba Dagger Mold x3 2 Fibba Leather Armor Mold x3 2 Fibba 26,472 Frost Giant Head 672 Dayne Lynneth Phase Spider Mandible 504 Dayne Lynneth Ghost Residue 336 Dayne Lynneth 1,512 Blue Diamond 3,825 Merchant Elemen Beljuril 2,592 Merchant Elemen Canary Diamond 2,550 Merchant Elemen Jacinth 1,487 Merchant Elemen Diamond 850 Merchant Elemen Sapphire 765 Merchant Elemen Ruby 573 Merchant Elemen Rapier Mold x25 318 Merchant Elemen 12,960 Half Plate Mold 236 Yask Heavy Shield Mold 12 Yask 248 Adamantine Ingot 415 Haljal Throndor Darksteel Ingot 207 Haljal Throndor Mithral Ingot 124 Haljal Throndor Longbow Mold 53 Haljal Throndor Light Crossbow Mold 20 Haljal Throndor Warmace Mold 16 Haljal Throndor Shortbow Mold 16 Haljal Throndor Rapier Mold 12 Haljal Throndor 863 Vampire Tooth 504 Nya Ghost Residue 336 Nya Ice Mephit Hide 168 Nya 1,008 Full Plate Mold 426 Edario at CK Salamander Hide x2 290 Edario at CK Half Plate Mold 165 Edario at CK Heavy Shield Mold 8 Edario at CK 889 Adamantine Ingot x25 7,249 Jacoby at CK Shderran Plank x50 4,350 Jacoby at CK Darksteel Ingot x25 3,624 Jacoby at CK Duskwood Plank x50 2,900 Jacoby at CK Mithral Ingot x25 2,175 Jacoby at CK Longbow Mold x25 942 Jacoby at CK Heavy Crossbow Mold x25 580 Jacoby at CK Light Crossbow Mold x25 362 Jacoby at CK Shortbow Mold x25 290 Jacoby at CK Warmace Mold x25 290 Jacoby at CK Rapier Mold x25 217 Jacoby at CK 22,979 -------------------------------------------------------------- 83,247 City of Neverwinter Blacklake District Be aware that once you enter ACT III Fort Locke, the Blacklake and Dock Districts are no longer accessible. So if you have any quests there you'd like to complete, as I did, they will have to be done before you enter Ammon Jerro's Haven. In addition, Deekin is the only merchant from ACT II who remains in the Merchant Quarter in ACT III, albeit with substantially different gear for sale. With this in mind, I set about completing several side quests, starting in the Blacklake District. Before moving on, I crafted a Belt of Cloud Giant Strength for Khelgar, a Nymph Cloak +8 for my Warlock PC, a Mithral Shield for Grobnar, and another suit of Adamantine Full plate which Khelgar used for the time being. Temar Estate Due to space constraints, it is not possible to avoid experience from disposing of Lord Temar, Larim, Arren or the rest of their posse, and they each gave the following experience: Arren: 54 Temar: 595 Larim: 220 Private Guard: 500 (100 each) In addition to the fixed loot from Temar and his minions (most notably the ring of regeneration from Larim) there were 2 alexandrite gems. With the 1,369 xp from this event I was now at 45,838xp and level 10. Collector's Mansion, level 1 For this quest I brought Neeshka, Grobnar, and Khelgar. The guards here are easy enough to kill at level 10, especially with the gear I had. To prepare, Grobnar cast invisibility sphere on the party and buffed Kehlgar with heroism. Shandra used the Scabbard of Blessing to bless the party and cast aid on Khelgar. Khelgar used the Rod of the Ghost for damage reduction. Everyone stayed near the entrance door by the northwest corner of the map except Khelgar, who ran southeast near Vania and, wielding the Headsman, took out all the guards without any XP. You'll need to find the empty bottle in the servant's room and fill it by placing it in the vase of water. Doing so allows you to douse the fire at the fireplace on the second floor to retrieve the key there. The fireplace key, along with the collector's key and vault combination, will allow you to open the vault and face Leldon for the last time. Collector's Mansion, level 2 I chose to use diplomacy with Vania to meet the collector, but not before stealing her Saintsblood Pearl. After confronting him, I chose to fight for a 3 point shift towards evil (now 4/9) and 100xp (45,938 total) in exchange for his valuable fixed loot drop: the longsword "Angurvadal", the mace "Kiss of Sune", a potion of Cure Serious Wounds, 15 gold (unless you steal the gold from him first) and Gloves of the Balanced Hand. Note these gloves are bugged; they only add +2 to the Parry skill and do not grant the Two-Weapon Fighting Feat as described. I focused on getting a Beljuril from the Collector's armoire. It also gave a scroll of Etherealness. A note: If you kill the collector, his 4 servants will be flagged as hostile - if they weren't already. They won't attack you if they weren't hostile in the first place (only if you told them "you're dead"), but this will allow your companions to attack and kill them, earning a small amount of XP with no shift towards evil - as long as your PC doesn't land the killing blows; I chose to spare them at least for the time being. When I approached the collectors vault I chose to enter the code (513) correctly to avoid xp from guards that would otherwise appear. However, you may choose to deliberately get the code wrong to get extra xp and gear from killing those that appear. A total of eight guards (2 in the first round and 3 in the second and third rounds) can spawn with random treasure drops. I found I could get up to sapphire gems (for gems) or an amulet of will +3 (for items) in top value. Be aware there is a bug in the game while inside the Collector's Vault which allows for unlimited gold: there is a short delay between when you click on a particular pile of gold and it starts to fade away. However if you pause the game, you can click on any pile an unlimited number of times, without causing it to vanish. I did not do this as I consider it an unfair exploitation of a loophole. However if you're so inclined it is, literally, there for the taking. Note one of the smaller piles on a table on the North side of the vault yields 420 gold. While I did loot the collector's vault I chose delay killing Leldon because of the 1,500xp that would be earned from finishing Neeshka's quest (which gives no other rewards) along with the 277xp from defeating him at level 10. Now that I had finished almost all of the collector's mansion I gathered the loot on the first floor. I kept re-loading (not for very long) to get diamonds from Vania's armoire and the chests in the guard's room. It is possible to get a wand of arcane disjuncture from the armoire of the Collector, Vania and one of the guard's chests but, due to the time required, it's much more efficient to simply craft perfected choking powder instead for the gold (if you need it). Bryce Crypt For the first part of my visit here I brought Khelgar, Bishop, and Neeshka (to deal with locked and trapped containers). While in this Crypt there are several opportunities to affect your alignment. In particular, there is a bug in the game that allows for unlimited experience and alignment shifting towards good or evil, based on your conversation choices with Savanna. Should you manage to convince Savanna not to fight your party with a successful diplomacy check you'll earn another 500xp (I was now at 46,438 total. Then, if you speak with her after the battle with her (sort-of) shadow-initiate friends, in addition to the 400xp you may earn, you may also move one step towards good or up to three towards evil, based on choices in your conversation. This is assuming she didn't get killed in battle first (and it's not hard to save her, if you choose to). Once you finish your conversation, she will start to walk towards the exit and will disappear once she passes the doorway where her (former) friends were. However you can speak with her immediately after your first conversation ends, with the same conversation choices and results being available. You may repeat this process as often as you like, as long she remains. You can prevent her from disappearing by simply closing the door to the room. Be aware that if you (accidentally) walk into her once she is stopped at the door, she will disappear anyway. Like most other exploits, I chose to avoid this one. However, if you're looking for a rapid and/or radical alignment change towards good or evil and/or want any extra experience, this is a perfect opportunity to do so. I chose to leave Savanna where she was and moved on to confront Arval. Prior to fighting Arval I buffed the party with Bless, Aid, Haste and Barkskin. Fighting Arval wasn't hard, but surviving long enough to get adequate distance between my PC and Arval's alcolytes (to avoid XP) took two tries. Once Arval was defeated, I waited on speaking with Lisbet until after Neeshka disarmed and unlocked Arval's chest (and I had exchanged her for Elanee). With Elanee in the party I protected Savanna with Barkskin and Stoneskin. Before speaking with Lisbet I moved Elanee, Bishop and Shandra near Savanna to distract the shadows that would appear next to her afterwards. When the shadows appeared, Khelgar fought the ones near him and Lisbet with the Pharaoh's Mace, while my others companions defended Savanna until my PC was far enough away to defeat them all without any xp. Once the shadows near Savanna were defeated she ran to where Lisbet was to continue fighting, but before she arrived Khelgar had destroyed the shadows near him. If you choose to defeat all the shadows before speaking with Savanna, be aware that as she is in a different room, she may disappear before she approaches the door out of the chamber where Arval and his novitiate acolytes were. This only matters if you want to take advantage of the experience or alignment shifting she offers. You may increase the chances of her staying around by keeping out of her way until she stops by the closed door of the room where her former friends were. Also, you can always pause the game to greatly slow her movement between conversations, but you won't be able to keep it up forever here. So if you want to guarantee easy xp from her, it's probably best to do it while she's still in the room where her former friends were, before speaking with Lisbet. Once the shadows are defeated a dialogue between Lisbet and the PC starts. I chose to respond with "No, it worked fine. Or did you miss the shadows and the fighting and the killing?", then "Are you insane? Do you know what could have happened?" and "Stupid girl. You'd have traded your soul for a kiss and some pretty words" for a +1 shift towards evil (now 3/8) and +1 influence with Bishop (now 25). I escorted Lisbet out of the Crypt but avoided speaking with Kyli Bryce for the moment because of the 2,000xp I would get from doing so. The same went for Savanna and the 400xp I would eventually receive from conversing with her. Again, if Savanna survives and you decide to speak with her again, your alignment can shift by up to one towards good or up to three evil. If you choose conversation options three or four from the start, your alignment will shift by three towards evil and you won't get the 400xp otherwise awarded for saving her from the shadows. Choosing option four will, in addition to a three point shift towards chaotic, cause Savanna to attack you in a rage. If killed, she drops a +2 Kukri and yields 220xp (at level 10). (Castle Never) I delayed handing in Arval's Journal to Lord Nasher to avoid the XP. If you choose to deliver it (as I eventually did), it will complete the Bryce Crypt quest and also offer an opportunity to take advantage of what I believe is (another) one of the biggest loopholes in the final version (v1.23) of the game: when you hand over Arval's Journal you get 500xp and 200 gold. However, Neeshka (or any sufficiently capable PC/companion with enough skill in slight-of-hand) can steal the Journal back from Lord Nasher without consequence, even if an attempt is detected. Speaking with him again yields the same conversation with the same rewards. This can be done an unlimited number of times but, again, since I consider this a form of hacking, I only spoke with him once, later on. Merchant Quarter Tomb of Betrayers Now that almost all leftover quests were finished (minus the XP involved) I went to the Tomb of Betrayers. This location is one of the few places in the game that offers unlimited experience to level up via the endless supply of Tomb Guardians you can kill there. Notably, it is available in ACT I, so for many this can make it an attractive option. I, of course, was the exception to this rule so I waited until I was almost finished with ACT II to finish this side quest. While in the Tomb I brought Elanee, Neeshka and Khelgar. This combination, along with Shandra, allowed for easy dispositioning of the undead and traps therein. I managed to collect two wands and two diamonds before I left, along with some minor fixed loot. If you choose to rescue Onan (I eventually did) your dialogue choices can allow for a alignment shift by one (1) towards good/evil and one towards lawful/chaotic. You'll also get 300xp if/when you report Onan's rescue to Judge Oleff. You don't have to actually rescue Onan to leave the Tomb: just throw the switch in the room with Fenthick. By delaying the rescue of Onan, I left with the same 46,438xp I started with when I entered. If you decide to take advantage of the unlimited experience the Tomb Guardians offer, xp is awarded based on your effective character level (ECL), in a manner that may approximate what is shown below: 10) 33xp per kill 11) 24xp per kill 12) 19xp per kill 13) 12xp per kill 14+) 04xp per kill The precipitous drop in XP at level 14 makes using them past that point a a fairly slow process. You can grind onward for more xp as long as you: A) avoid opening & going down the gated hallway with the Tomb Guardians AND B) don't rescue Onan and leave the crypt (once you leave the doors lock behind you). ************************************************************************************ A CHANGE IN STRATEGY ************************************************************************************ My initial goal was to enter ACT III with as little experience as possible to get Ammon Jerro at level 10. However, after doing so, I discovered this was an unwise path of character progression for my PC and her companions for the rest of the game. Here's why: Although the earliest you can acquire Ammon Jerro is level 10 (a nearly impossible task), doing so requires skipping the completion of several non-essential plot stories. More to the point, I found out the hard way this severely hampers your ability to advance in level in ACT III where, as it turns out, opportunities to earn experience are scarce in comparison to ACT I and II. Somewhat more realistically, I found, he can be recruited at level 11 and there's little point in getting him earlier - just a minor savings in skill point allocation. Therefore, should you choose to recruit Ammon Jerro before level 12 as I did, the only opportunities to obtain unlimited experience and still have all party members at level 20 (or any other reasonable level for that matter) in ACT III are as follows: A) Grinding for experience while you are in Merdelain, which is almost the end of the game anyway. B) if you are playing a Hellfire Warlock, you may grind for unlimited experience at any point once (s)he is able to make use of the use the Summon Baatezu feat. In my case this was ECL 14 (since my Yuan-ti pureblood Warlock is ECL +2) C) Use a character editor or the in-game console to hack your XP. However this makes little sense because, if this is your playing style, you are likely better off gaining experience normally throughout the game, manually reducing your companions to level 1 and re-leveling them as you see fit as soon as you get them. If this is your preferred style of play, you probably wouldn't be reading this guide - most of it wouldn't apply to you. To this end, I went back to this point, just after I had finished collecting loot from the Tomb of Betrayers, with four goals: 1) Aiming for experience to get Ammon Jerro as close as possible to level 12 (66,000xp) without actually being there. Since I had previously acquired Ammon at level 10 with 52,953xp, that meant I had roughly an extra 13,046 to fill in. Fortunately, there were plenty of unfinished quests to do this with. 2) Sell my un-needed equipment at level 11, instead of level 10. This put my maximum appraise at 14 instead of 18. 3) Do another round of perfected choking powder crafting to buy better gear in ACT III as soon as it becomes available. 4) Craft some magical items I bad been needlessly holding out on that would make gameplay easier. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Step one of five was to finish seven uncompleted quests: City of Neverwinter Blacklake District Bryce Crypt 1) I picked up Arvan's Journal and spoke with Savanna, saying, "You did the right thing, Savanna. We'll keep you safe." After her reply about Raven I said, "Don't look. Can you make it back to your parent's house?" which finished this quest with a +1 shift towards good (3/9) and 400xp (46,838). 2) Speaking with Kyli outside earned another 2,000xp and 300 gold. I now had 48,838xp. Collector's Mansion 3) Finishing off Leldon earned 277xp (at level 10) and 1,500 more for completing Neeshka's quest to be Neverwinter's Greatest thief (now 50,615). Before I left I went to the servant's quarters and opened the door. The now hostile servants could be attacked and I helped dispose of two of them. If your PC lands the killing blow on any of them it results in a five point shift for each one you dispatch. Since I wanted to stay evil until I was finished leveling as a Blackguard in ACT III and my Crossorad Keep management style would have otherwise resulted in my changing alingment prematurely, I killed two servants for a +10 shift to evil. Two servants gave 5 xp each, the other two 16 each. I was now 3/0 with 50,657xp. On the way to Castle Never I spoke with Kiggo and declined to help him take revenge on his captors. Castle Never 4) A conversation with Sir Nevalle about Larim and Lord Temar earned 1,500xp (52,157). 5) A conversation with Lord Nasher where I handed in Arval's journal earned 500xp (52,657) and 200 gold. 6) After meeting Kiggo again and declining to help him take revenge I eventually fought him (71xp) and the five imps he freed for 33xp each (52,893 total). They dropped minor random loot. Merchant Quarter City Watch Headquarters 7) Speaking with Captain Brelaina about the City Watch undercover quest finally yielded me 1,000xp (53,893 total xp). ____________________________________________________________________________________ Step two of five was to advance to level 11: Tomb of the Betrayers I killed 34 Tomb Guardians at 33xp each to advance to level 11, with 55,015xp. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Step three of five was getting more gold for some expensive gear in ACT III: Blacklake District Dayne Lynneth Having leveled to 11 and re-distributed some equipment, I sold unwanted gear worth 10,000 gold or less to Dayne Lynneth and then set about taking all of the proceeds to do another round of perfected choking powder buying and crafting. At appraise 18, a stack of 10 perfected choking powders sells for 2875 gold to Dayne and 2916 to Fibba. Details are below: Amt of Garlic Hours/ & Belladonna cost PCP days to Gross profit Appraise required Round purchased to buy craftd craft from sale at point of sale ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 7 7,016 140,320 1,764 18/4 special* 18 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ *Dayne was only able to buy back 248,438 of gold before he ran out of funds. The rest of my perfected choking powder was saved to buy the most expensive items in ACT III. In the meantime I did buy these items from Fibba: 5 Arrows of petrification 3,130 Water's Edge 44,921 ____________________________________________________________________________________ Step four of five was selling gear I decided I didn't need later and a bit of extra crafting: City of Neverwinter - various merchants/locations Before saying goodbye to Shandra and moving on to Ammon Jerro's Haven I sold most of my unneeded gear worth 10,000 gold or less to Dayne in Blacklake. I also fashioned Mithral Platemail and shields for use later on (along with two medallions of thought) and redistributed/reorganized equipment in my party. Finally, I bought 99 leather hides and five arrows of petrification from Fibba as insta-kill arrows for possible use later on. Merchant Quarter (optional) Temple of Tyr A final note before leaving ACT II: all three of Khelgar's vision quests can be completed by speaking with Hlam for 250xp each, although your influence with Khelgar must be a 10 or higher for him to decide to switch classes. With less influence, even if Khelgar completes the Vision Quest Trials of Tyr he will say, "need to think about it - I still have some things I need to work out in my head, get straight." If you choose to allow Khelgar to become a monk you will get a chance to "re-level" him from level 1 back to the current level your main PC's experience total affords. Any or all these can be delayed or skipped. Note that if you delay one or more of these until ACT III, Hlam will be instead be found outside the Temple of Tyr - he will still allow Khelgar to complete his vison quests to become a Monk. I did want to have Khelgar make the switch, but it was impractical to do so at this time because of my desire to delay the XP and my need for his fighter skills - until my party killed Tholapsyx in ACT III. Therefore, I waited on his switch until later. Haven Approach Entering Ammon Jerro's haven required acknowledging completion of the path of Righteousness (earning 500xp, now at 55,515) and saying goodbye to Shandra, who always seemed to get the raw end of every situation in the game. Before entering, I spoke with Shandra to build influence by one with a conversation I had forgotten earlier. She started by saying, "I'm still sorry about West Harbor. Are you all right? I know we talked a little, but...." Eventually I had the chance to respond with, "They might have been, if no one had stopped the lizardfolk" and "It's better to think of how much we're preventing" (+1 influence, now 28). Speaking with the Jerro Guardian and Shandra for the last time I said, "Only do this if you want to, Shandra" for +1 influence (a final 29, before she disappeared into the Haven). I brought Khelgar, Grobnar and especially Neeshka for the humorous dialogue that results from her tagging along and easily opening trapped/locked items. Again, be aware that once you enter the haven, you cannot exchange any companions until after after your solo battle at Castle Never (and Neverneath below it), so make sure you have all the gear you and your party may need for these events. Any gear Shandra was wearing/wielding or had in her inventory at her departure will be in Ammon Jerro's inventory once he is added to your party. ____________________________________________________________________________________ Step five of five was making sure I acquired Ammon Jerro as close as possible to level 12 (66,000xp) without being there. Details are below: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Event XP Total Notes ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ***Experience from Ammon Jerro's Haven*** Erinyes x3 (x5) 78 each 000 I skipped the xp from these three (2 more appear if you make Hezebel angry - and I did - for the extra loot) Ice Mephit x4 111 each 444 Fire Mephit x4 111 each 444 Elder Air Elemental 241 each 241 Hezrou x3 50 each 000 I skipped the xp from these three Iron Golem 429 each 429 Hell Hound x6 111 each 666 Succubus, greater x5 429 each 2145 (this included killing one w/hounds) Succubus, minor x2 (x4) 241 each 482 (2 more appear if you try to leave before agreeing to help Blooden - and I did - for the extra loot, but skipped the XP involved) Nessian Hell Hounds x2 302 each 302 (I skipped the xp from one of these) Blooden opens portal 1000 1000 Baalbisan opens portal 1000 1000 Zaxis opens portal No xp I had 62,668xp when I left Ammon Jerro's Haven ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ***Experience from Castle Never*** Royal Guard 45 each 45 A ShadowReaver earns you this when it kills a guard during the intro sequence; it cannot be avoided Elite Vampire x4 472 each 000 I skipped the xp from these Wraith (number varies) 396 each 000 I skipped the xp from these Survive the Ambush 500 Discover Neverneath 250 Shadow priests 472 each 472 I had 63,935xp when I entered Neverneath ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ***Experience from Neverneath*** Tomb questions answered 200 each 800 I chose to answer 4 of 6 correctly deliverately missing two for some much needed high powered crafting reagents Ice Mephits x20 16 each 256 leave 4 behind by entrance (kill 16) Fire Mephits x6 22 each 132 Swords of Halueth x8 16 each 128 Guardians, greater x2 220 each 000 leave these two behind Guardians, lesser x2 71 each 142 Take notes for Guyven 100 100 Survive Neverneath 500 500 This brought me to 65,993xp before recruiting Ammon Jerro ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Ammon Jerro's Haven I increased influence with Neeshka by five here (from a 27 to 32) as follows: 1) When I met Baalbisan, Neeshka taunted him by saying he was foolish to be lured with false promises of blood and sacrifices. I showed my support saying, "I think a few more taunts may suffice. What can this demon do to us, after all?" (+2 influence). 2) When I encountered Zaxis (again) and she continued to refer to herself in the third person, Neeshka chastised her finishing with, "Referring to yourself when you speak... it's a sign you're really losing it." I went along stating, "Might want to listen to her, Zaxis. She's got a point" (+2 influence). 3) After learning Zaxis' true name from Blooden she asked "How may Zaxis serve you... Master?" I answered with, "I command you to stop referring to yourself in the third person" (+1 influence). Mephasm aside, you can enlist the aid of up four of the five demons and devils trapped here, but only three (plus Mehpasm makes four) are needed to open the portal to confront Ammon; I chose Baalbisan, Blooden and Zaxis. In my case only Blooden (1000), and Baalbisan (1000) gave experience. If you want 1000 more, you can free Koraboros' imp and then speak with him after. The ancient book by the imp has pages that can be torn out for unlimited use, but only while inside the Haven; they have the opposite/detrimental effect on you and/or your party. Successfully passing Lore and Spellcraft checks earns 500xp each in addition to revealing the nature of the book and its effects (by now I had passed by Baalbisan, Hezebel and Zaxis). If you wish to skip the XP from deciphering the book and still free the imp in Koraboros' service, reading the third phrase "Tilo ut lon" will accomplish this goal. Humoring Blooden with her battles earns 1000xp (61,668 total) and the second way to learn the true name of Zaxis. You can also learn it by successfully taunting Baalbisan; doing so in this way appears to have no effect on Zaxis directly, though it does satisfy Hezebel's requirement to assist in opening the portal. You can earn another 1000xp (now at 62,668) either by sharing Zaxis' true name with Hezebel (however you discover it) or lie and, after the ensuing battle, speak with Baalbisan for the same results. I chose to side with Baalbisan for the extra loot from Hezebel's minions. When speaking with Blooden, asking "Who are you?" starts a conversation that can hint at secrets of several joinable NPCs. Combatting foes with the gear I used was (usually) fairly effortless, especially with adequate preparation. It's probably a good idea to fight as often as possible - to earn additional loot and monster parts that can be reduced to essences. I was able to get loot as detailed below: * The first bookcase in the room next to Baalbisan had a wand of arcane disjuncture and scrolls of planar ally and crushing despair. The second one yielded a book titled, "The Tome of Alchemy" a wand of arcane disjuncture and a scroll of lesser invulnerability. * I was (eventually) able to get a blue diamond from the footlocker in the room with the imprisoned imp. The armoire was capable of giving a belt of agility +2 so I kept re-loading until it did - along with a +2 longsword, +2 greataxe, a wand of missles and a potion of bless. * Various monster drops yielded lesser items of value and some fixed loot, but I did manage to acquire a 6 alexandrites, 4 sapphires, 37 ice arrows, 26 bolts of lightning, a copper necklace and a silver necklace. When you finally enter Ammon's chamber you can, and should, destroy the spikes there prior to combat using ranged weapons to prevent them from hitting you with energy beams during the ensuing battle. Having the ability see invisible enemies is also helpful due to Ammon's immediate use of the Warlock invocation Retributive Invisibility once fighting begins. Again, it's important to note that once you defeat Ammon Jerro and leave his inner chamber, you won't have access to any of your companion's gear until later in ACT III (after your solo battle in at Castle Never and Neverneath below it), so take care to keep any items you will want to make use of during the upcoming solo battles that takes place in Castle Never prior to leaving this area. Crossroad Keep Phoenix Tail Inn During the cut-scene that follows your departure from Ammon Jerro's Haven, conversation dialogue allows you to shift three points towards good/evil or lawful/chaotic (mine shifted by 3 chaotic to 0/0). Before speaking with Ammon, have a conversation with Zhjaeve to discover why the Githzerai can't enter the conflict with the King of Shadows. I've tried various approaches at conversation with Zhjaeve just after arriving at the Phoenix Tail Inn to raise influence with her, but found none accomplished that goal at this point in the game. Your first conversation with Ammon Jerro after the cut-scene arriving at the Inn allows several opportunities to increase/decrease your influence with him (by up to eight) depending on the wisdom of your choices. To aid in this, before you begin, be sure to lift your diplomacy as high as possible - a minimum of 25 is needed to get past Ammon's stubborn righteousness to see how his extreme reclusiveness and secrecy only made recent events worse. Some conversation pointers are as follows: 1) Ask him "Why do you want to stop the King of Shadows?" and eventually pass a bluff check (20+) answering his accusations of your motives with, "I only wish to protect Neverwinter, and all its people" (+1) and agree with his reasoning by (for example) saying, "I need all the help and allies I can get, so I accept that - for now" (+1). 2) Ask, "Why do you have so much disdain for Zhjaeve?" and when he replies, answer with, "She has her uses, as do you" (+1 influence, +1 evil), along with "I know why Zhjaeve's people cannot enter the conflict... the Githyanki would fight them instead of the King of Shadows" (+1 influence). Finally, when he states he wished he had paid more attention to the politics of the Githyanki and Githerzerai in the conflict, ask the (rhetorical) question: "Is there wisdom in being tied to politics and laws when so much is at stake (+1 influence, +1 chaotic). 3) Lastly, tell Ammon, "I'd like to know more about your past", and when he's done with his rant, pass a diplomacy check (25+ required) while stating, "If you hadn't shut yourself off from the people you were trying to protect, we wouldn't have had the troubles we had" (+3 influence). Of all the conversation dialogues in the game, the ones above with Ammon cover an awful lot of ground and are one best suited to taking your time with for full enjoyment and appreciation of the game's plot - if you've never done so before. If you take the time to investigate all the options, you can learn a great deal about Ammon's extensive history and orchestration of various events that brought everyone together (rather tragically, as it turns out) to this point. In my opinion, full exploration of all the conversation options shows the masterful skill with which Obsidian's writers tackle a variety of ethical and moral dilemmas. Right or wrong and Good & Evil can take on contextual, subjective, relativistic and particularly Machiavellian tones (often dangerously so). Be aware that as soon as you approach Sir Nevalle, a series of conversations and cut-scenes will land you in Castle Never for numerous solo battles, so don't go near him until you're finished with Ammon Jerro and Zhjaeve. #################################################################################### ACT III #################################################################################### City of Neverwinter Castle Never - level one ACT III begins as soon as your conversation with Sir Nevalle at the Phoenix Tail Inn is concluded. You're sent to Castle Never to accept your appointment to Knighthood, but a Shadow Reaver and his crew of undead minions ambush you. Anyone slain in the ambush becomes another wraith to be defeated. Clerics and Paladins of high enough level may have some measure of success saving Neverwinter's citizens by turning undead and using AoE spells. Also, if you wield the Pharaoh's mace, you may manage to save more than a few. However, because Ammon Jerro was still not in my party I chose to avoid XP and use my Ring of Invisibility while Sir Nevalle, immortal as a plot-character, killed everyone on his own in the conflict. Occasionally, one of the Neverwinter citizens may be lucky enough to escape attention and survive the battle, though none did for me. During the cut-scene of accepting gear from Sir Nevalle and meeting Lord Nasher it is, oddly enough, your PC that will get the experience when one of the Shadow Reavers kills a royal guard (45xp in my case at level 11, now 62,713xp total) Surviving the initial assault earned me 500xp, even though I didn't lift a finger (now 63,213). In the guard room, your alignment can shift by one towards good/evil or lawful/chaotic based on your response to Nevalle's entreaty. I answered with "You have to be joking. There's no way I'm leaving here" for a +1 shift towards chaotic (remaining at 0/0). Most opponents carry cheap or pre-set loot here, but three shadow priests near the tapestry to the lower level of Neverneath are notable exceptions; they spawn with random gear as you approach the area. From these misguided souls I was eventually able to get Gloves of the Rogue. More interesting than the gear they dropped was the way they died: I lead enemies to Sir Nevalle, thereby luring him out of the guard room and, eventually, to the room where the shadow priests spawned so he could kill them. I did defeat one of them myself (for 472xp) while he dispatched other enemies along the way. Finding the secret entrance to the lower level earns 250xp (63,935 total). Castle Never - level two - Neverneath At first glance it may seem like a good idea to answer the questions posed by the six statues here about Neverwinter correctly and there is some logic to this, since each time you do 200xp is earned and a gate opens allowing you to skip a combat encounter with two or more Guardians of Neverneath. In addition, if you get all six questions right you earn the longsword Blessing of the Daystar when you finally reach Halueth's final resting place. However, you can earn up to two high quality gems if you answer the third statue incorrectly and another (along with reasonable loot) by doing the same with the sixth. Each time a wrong answer is given, a door to an alternate pathway is revealed, forcing a conflict with one or more Guardians of Neverneath. The alternate pathways by the third and sixth quizzing statues are the only ones with rooms hidden behind tapestries. You may enter these rooms after dispatching the Guardians (who are easy enough to defeat) in each of these otherwise inaccessible areas. Questions and answers are listed below: Q1: How many fingers have I? (Nine) Q2: What name has the lake beside Neverwinter? (Black Lake) Q3: Enemy of Neverwinter is buried where? (The Tomb of the Betrayers) Q4: The more common name for the Artery of Neverwinter? (Neverwinter River) Q5: Where might an enemy of Neverwinter find map of our city? (Say Nothing) Q6: How many gates must one pass through? (Three) As I got 4 questions correct, that was 800xp I lured 4 Ice Mephits and two larger Guardians to the stairway entrance of Neverneath instead of killing them. I then ran away after turning invisible and closing the doors behind me to keep them blissfully unaware of my activities and remaining where they were. This positioned me to leave Neverneath with 65,993xp, just 7 shy of level 12. Swearing loyalty to Neverwinter, truthfully or not, will have the eight floating swords by Halueth start neutral towards you, otherwise they will attack you on sight. If you approach Halueth's coffin from the north by the missing 9th sword, you can skip a fight with the other eight and get an extra 1000xp. I chose to not take the oath. If and when defeated, each floating sword drops lifeless to the ground as a +1 longsword. Once all enemies were defeated or hidden away, I gained the following items: 1st secret room: The first (trapped) chest contained a bolt of piercing, a king's tear and 19 bolts +1. The second contained a broken item, a blue diamond, 7 shurikens +1 and 4 bolts of lightning. 2nd secret room: There were three chests in this room, two of which were trapped. The first chest on the right contained 25 adamantine ingots and a blue diamond. The first of two locked chests (which I had to destroy to get their contents) contained a broken item, a book titled "Advanced Abjuratives" a wand of sleep and a scroll of phantasmal killer. The second was capable of yielding a belt of agility +2, so I kept reloading until it did, along with a spear +2, 706 gold and a broken item. I obtained these items from the 6 locked chests in Halueth's chamber (in counter clockwise fashion from 11 o'clock to 1 o'clock) before moving on to the surface with the Rod of Never: 1) a broken item, 4 fire agate gems and (eventually) a belt of agility +1 2) a broken item, a scroll of confusion and a wand of summoning 4) a broken item, a scroll of mass cure serious wounds and a wand of arcane disjuncture 5) The Wizard's Ally (dagger) 6) a broken item and a blue diamond Note that if you managed to recruit Guyven of the road to crossroad keep by this point you will earn another 100xp as you pass the threshold of Halueth's chamber back to the surface with the message "Guyven will be interested in hearing about this place." You get another 500xp for surviving Neverneath and resurfacing next to the throne room (65,993 total). Castle Never - level one - Throne Room After defeating the ShadowReaver a long cut-scene takes place. Be sure to mention recruiting the Lizard Folk with Nasher before moving on. Most other conversation choices merely determine what you discuss first. Once your dialogue with Nasher is finished, you're returned to Crossroad Keep. Crossroad Keep Upon arrival another cut-scene begins where plans and goals are discussed. I particularly enjoyed Grobnar's suggestion about the Wendersnaven and Sand's reaction. At this point I was finally able to add Ammon Jerro as the last companion to my party at level 11, with 59,993 experience (6 to spare), an extremely difficult and tedious task nevertheless accomplished. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ This completed the low-to-no experience portion of game play. With this herculean task behind me, I switched gears to what most consider the normal method of play: maximizing experience with each event and encounter, particularly Crossroad Keep. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ As a reminder, I wanted to recruit all available sergeants and other Keep associates. Those yet to be recruited are listed first, are IN CAPS and have descriptions of how to be obtained after their name. The four possible sergeants, in particular, have an asterisk before their number: *01) BEVIL STARLING - appears automatically at the Keep and can be recruited just by speaking with him there *02) JALBOUN OF THE TWO BLADES - Joins only if the PC bribes him and manages to keep him alive during the battle with Sydney Natale *03) LIGHT OF HEAVENS - Can only be recruited if the PC defeats her 3 times in progressively more difficult duels 04) JOY - dances at the Phoenix Tail Inn and improves keep morale. Joy can be recruited by the PC in the Neverwinter Merchant Quarter near Blacklake Gate during Act III (100xp) 05) IVARR THE BLESSED - serves as a priest at the church of Tyr. Joins only if the PC decides to build the Church of Tyr. 06) ROLAN - passes on his secret teachings to the PC if he/she is a monk. Rolan joins only if the Sun Soul Monastery is built instead of the Church of Tyr. 07) STARTEAR - takes residence in Keep only if the Wizard's Tower is built 08) DEEKIN SCALESINGER - serves as a merchant. Can be recruited in Neverwinter's Merchant Quarter after the Merhant's shop is built 09) CAELRYNA SEERAR - serves as a merchant. Can be recruited once she is rescued on Mount Galardrym. Caelryna acts as a fence. 10) KHULMAR - acts as a liaison for the Ironfist clan. He joins the keep only if an alliance is forged between Neverwinter and the Ironfist Dwarves 11) LASSHIVA - acts as a liaison for Batha's lizardfolk tribe. Joins only if an alliance is forged between Neverwinter the Lizardfolk 12) MEPHASM - can be recruited/summoned in ACT III if the PC fashions a Gold Filigree Charm. Each bargain with Mephasm requires an infernal focus, where he will offer to give the PC an item for a price (the PC must give him his/her favorite weapon or armor at end of 3 transactions for the final bargain) 13) TORIO CLAVEN - provides information for potential recruits. Torio joins only if the PC saves her from execution and requests she be transferred to the Keep. Torio's advice isn't really needed, but can make for interesting conversation by adding some history and background to certain events/recruits *14) Katriona 15) Kistrel 16) Edario 17) Jacoby 18) Orlen 19) Calindra 20) Pentin 21) Guyven of the Road 22) Wolf City of Neverwinter Merchant Quarter My first order of business after recruiting Ammon Jerro was recruiting Light of Heavens, but before this I wanted to be level 12. So I first went to the Merchant Quarter and then headed back to Crossroad Keep. On the way back, there was an encounter with greycloaks fighting some trolls. Now that I had recruited every NPC (Ammon Jerro especially) I chose to fight alongside them for the experience. At CLVL 11, the troll hunter was worth 525xp (bringing me 66,518 and CLVL 12). The 2 other trolls (at CLVL 12) were worth 50 each (66,618), along with some fixed minor gear. After leveling my party I went back to the Merchant Quarter to engage in the first of three progressively more difficult battles to earn her loyalty: Here, then in Port Llast and (finally) at Crossroad Keep. However, it's worth pointing out it's not at all difficult to beat LoH if you play a hasted PC, attack her at range and have sufficient renegeration (I fought her while wearing a ring of regeneration and the Neverwinter Knight's Cloak). From the NWN2 wiki article (which I contributed to): "True to her calling, Light of Heavens will not knowingly serve anyone of malicious intent. If the PC is evil aligned and answers her initial query to the nature of his or her character with "That is none of your concern" or "'Dark Could that hastens the night?' I like the sound of that", LoH will take notice and ask if the PC is evil. Should the PC then admit their dark nature she will reluctantly attack but if defeated will, rather than yield and offer her service, be killed and drop some of her gear as loot instead. Evil aligned PCs who answer in any other way may still enlist her service, just as they may with her twin sister, Joy." Note that you gain no XP from recruiting Light of Heavens. Crossroad Keep Courtyard After recruiting Light of Heavens I spoke with Bevil several times to essentially do the same with him. The principal goal in these conversations was to ensure he was effectively assigned to patrol the neighboring roads, but there were other effects as well. One of them was alignment drift of 3 towards good where, in answer to Bevil's question, "I don't know if I should follow Kana's example or try to get them to be proficient both with manners and words, too" I replied, "We all have to be good people first, and warriors second", (now 0/3). The right questions eventually lead to Bevil admitting he was kidnapped by the Githyanki who tortured him into revealing the "Kalach-Cha" had some of the silver shards. I chose to forgive him, saying "Everyone breaks under torture - everyone", though this had no effect on alignment. Phoenix tail Inn A conversation with Bishop about the Wendersnaven led to him asking why. When I said Grobnar mentioned them, he replied "Well, then that's a guarantee they don't exist" and I answered with "you're probably right" for +1 influence with Bishop (now 26) and -1 influence with Grobnar (now 14). To repair this loss with Grobnar I next spoke with him and empathized with the loss of Shandra by stating, "I am sad that we lost her... but there's nothing to do but carry on", for +2 influence (now 16). I then asked about the Wendersnaven, which lead to an amusing exchange between him, Khelgar and Neeshka. I humored him, but eventually expressed doubt saying, "This is kind of hard to follow, Grobnar". When posited with his statement of, "Well, yes. But you see, there's so many fantastical things in the realms, does it really seem like it's that improbable after all?" I responded "Yes. Yes it does", which lead to a surprisingly cogent argument on his part. I replied saying, "I... concede you may have a point, Grobnar" for another +1 influence (now 17). City of Neverwinter Merchant Quarter Now that I had recruited Light of Heavens it was time to get her twin sister, Joy, as well. She is located near the gates leading to Blacklake. From the NWN2 wiki article I made several contributions to: "If the PC is evil aligned, recruiting Joy will require a successful bluff or diplomacy check, skills easily enhanced by items and/or spells. If the attempt fails you may always try again later. Joy increases Keep income by 10%. Joy may give you the 'Charm of Joy', a miscellaneous item that looks like an amulet. Earning this amulet has the following qualifiers (which are the same as obtaining the Warden of the Keep epithet): * In addition to Joy, also recruit her sister - Light of Heavens * Build the Church of Tyr * Greycloak Civility at Crossroad Keep must be "High". This requires the PC to turn Uncus away at Crossroad Keep, which in turn has the prerequisite of siding with the City Watch in ACT I. * Along with Uncus, Caelryna also must not be in the keep (she can always be invited after the charm is obtained). You receive 100xp for successfully recruiting Joy, regardless of the method." As long as you are good aligned (or have high enough rank in the Use Magic Device skill), just keeping Joy's charm in your inventory will passively increase your Charisma by 3 and provide a +3 AC (dodge based) bonus vs. Evil opponents. This brought me to 66,718xp Port Llast After an amusing verbal exchange, you're awarded 250xp when the Gnome Wendersnaven Sages let you see their map, which allows you to proceed to the Strange Clearing to meet the Wendersnaven. (Sort of. Now 66,968xp total). Strange Clearing If you've recruited Guyven to Crossroad Keep you'll receive 100xp by discovering this area and being able to report it to him (now 67,068). There is a vein of ore here that gives another 50xp (67,118). Once you recover the remains of the relentless poet, you can increase your influence with Grobnar by three answering with, "We'll find the Wendersnaven someday. I want to believe" (now a 20). You receive 750xp for recovering the Wenderkazoo (67,868 total). The Wenderkazoo is of little use to most anyone, except Bards like Grobnar. However, if you have any companion keep it in their inventory (and they have the required rank in Use Magic Device to use it), it will boost their Charisma by three. The Orcs which appear here immediately afterwards can be a bit of a challenge if you don't prepare properly beforehand. As usual when facing a combination of melee and spellcasting opponents, the most important thing is to render your tanks immune to mind-affecting spells. Spells like barkskin, stoneskin, bless, aid, shield, tortoise shell and greater heroism can help speed up the pace. Khelgar (using the Headsman) made short work of Shamans, Elanee and her fully buffed dinosaur companion helped dispatch the others and Sand provided backup with Isaac's Greater Missile Storm and Fireball. Enemy Orcs awarded XP as follows at CLVL 12: Orc Berzerker x4 111 each Orc Shaman x2 409 each Orc Scout x4 111 each The Orcs here drop random gear, of which most is typically useless, but after many reloads I was able to get a Cloak of Protection +4, a wand of missiles and a Katana +1. I now had 69,574xp. Road to Highcliffe While journeying to Highcliffe you encounter Gera and Zachan aagin, whose sole purpose in life appears to be getting into trouble so you can rescue them. This time, it's with LizardFolk. You can make skill checks to taunt, bluff or intimidate them (I tried taunting but failed) for 50xp. I earned 300xp for dispatching the Shaman and 241 each for the 7 Warriors. Once the battle was done I got another 1,000xp. Conversation choices afterwards can lead to more alignment shifts (1 towards good in my case, now 0/3) and/or gold. There is another vein of ore here as well, worth the usual 50 more xp (72,611 total). Highcliffe Speaking with Elder Mayne again offers chances to shift your alignment by and increase influence with Casavir, both by up to two. First by offering to reason with the Lizardlings (+1) and then by promising not to leave until the villagers are safe (now alignment 0/4 and influence of 1). When you approach the Lizardfolk captive you can increase your influence with Elanee and Casavir further by 1 each if you agree to heal him (now a 15 and 17, respectively). This also moves your alignment by one towards good (now 0/5). If you did not kill Slaan in ACT I you will find him here, otherwise this lizardfolk will be named Vlssk. You will earn 50xp if you successfully use diplomacy, bluff or intimidate with the Lizardling and another 250 for getting information from him (this brought me to 72,911 xp). When you confront Batha you'll get 600xp at level 12 for defeating him the first time. After defeating him the second time his four personal guards will join in (worth 111xp each). It is not possible to kill Batha instantly with a critical hit from the Headsman; I believe a script in the game prevents it and in any event I had to beat him the regular way both times. It's probably best to convince him to ally with you. If you elect to kill him instead you won't get the useful fixed gear he otherwise gives you, or the experience. If you pass a diplomacy check and persuade him to listen to you after the battle, 50xp is earned - along with an additional 1,000 for successfully enlisting the aid of his tribes at the Keep (now 75,005) and a one point shift towards good (now 0/6). Batha and his personal guards all drop fixed loot. Note that if Batha suffers more than one killing blow (i.e. damage from a weapon or spell that brings him to zero hit points or lower) you will earn 600xp for every blow that is landed. For example, if Batha is near death with 3 hit points and then Sand hits him with 6 magic missiles, he (you) will earn 1,800xp instead of 600. I considered this a bug and avoided it - with some difficulty. Before leaving Highcliff, don't forget to get loot from the chests by the docks. I had to swap out Sand for Neeshka to unlock several of these chests. Aside from the fixed loot that is offered, I was eventually able to get a King's Tear, three wands and a diamond. Crossroad Keep and Merchant Quarter Prior to advancing the clock at the Keep I did four things: 1) Registered the two newly discovered veins of ore with Calindra and spoke with Edario, both to obtain the Armor of Comfort he gives (as thanks for building his shop) and to upgrade the Keep Greycloak's armor to Chainmail - at a cost of 50,000 gold. 2) Bought & sold from Nya, Haljal Throndor and Randolph (new to the Merchant Quarter in ACT III) using the list below (assumes appraise of 18): ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Item Cost Sold by Primarily used by ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Potion of Heal x150 89,700 Nya whomever needs it Boos of the Sun Soul +5 49,898 Randolph Khelgar or Ammon Robes of the Shining Hand +5 18,448 Randolph Khelgar as Monk Bracers of Armor +4 11,712 Randolph Casavir Ring of Resistance +2 7,412 Randolph Whomever needs it Star Sapphire x2 5,544 Randolph for crafting Blue Diamond 3,465 Randolph for crafting King's Tear 3,080 Randolph for crafting Boots of the Sun Soul +2 2,780 Randolph Casavir Beljuril 2,348 Randolph for crafting Canary Diamond 2,310 Randolph for crafting Adamantine Ingot x5 1,925 Randolph for crafting Lich Dust x2 1,848 Randolph for crafting Jacinth 1,347 Randolph for crafting Umber Hulk Hide x3 693 Randolph for crafting Frost Giant Head 616 Randolph for crafting Vampire Tooth 462 Randolph for crafting Salamander Hide x2 384 Randolph for crafting Wyvern Scales 192 Randolph for crafting Bat Tooth x2 154 Randolph for crafting Belladonna x6 90 Randolph for crafting Bladeling Spike 77 Randolph for crafting Zalantar Plank 77 Randolph for crafting Imp Stinger 77 Randolph for crafting Garlic x6 18 Randolph for crafting Trap Kit Mold x1 15 Randolph for crafting Fairy Dust 2 Randolph for crafting Full Plate Mold 565 Bill Logan for crafting Sherran Plank 460 Bill Logan for crafting Red Dragon Hide 385 Bill Logan for crafting Mithral Ingot x3 345 Bill Logan for crafting Half Plate Mold 219 Bill Logan for crafting Darksteel Ingot 192 Bill Logan for crafting Trap Kit Mold x7 105 Bill Logan for crafting Duskwood Plank 77 Bill Logan for crafting Zalantar Mold 77 Bill Logan for crafting Longbow Mold 50 Bill Logan for crafting Shortbow Mold 15 Bill Logan for crafting Warmace Mold 15 Bill Logan for crafting Heavy Shield Mold 11 Bill Logan for crafting Rapier Mold 11 Bill Logan for crafting ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Total Cost 207,201 I funded the above purchases with leftover Perfected Choking Powder and the sale of un-needed items worth no more than 15,000 gold, since this was the limit Bill Ogan and Randolph would pay. A stack of 10 perfected choking powder sells to them for 2,916 (at appraise 18). Randolph sold out at 348,825. Bill Ogan still had room to buy at 488,501 when I ran out of perfected choking powder. 3) Sold most of the rest of my unwanted gear to Edario and Jacoby. 4) Reorganized my gear - again. For better and worse, inventory management is frequent in this game. With the above tasks complete I started to advance the Keep timer. Here is my modified guide from the below website, by the numbers: http://gq-game-mods.blogspot.com/2011/05/neverwinter-nights-2-walkthrough-11b.html #################################################################################### Start Crossroad Keep Time Management #################################################################################### 01) Time 2% A. Speak with Master Veedle to widen the roads (cost: 10,000 gold). B. Once you approach the Keep main doors there is a conversation between Khralver and Sand. Once completed, there is a scripted entry into the Keep's Library with Aldenon (which is rebuilt automatically - for free if you hadn't done so earlier). A bookcase in the library has a scroll of cloudkill. Be aware when you speak with Kana for the first time you must choose Bevil's assignment, which can yield the following results: * Recruiting Greycloaks : +20% recruitment rate * Collecting Tithes : tithe up 10% * Patrolling Roads : merchant growth +1/time unit * Patrolling Surrounding Areas : peasant growth +2/time unit * Special Assignments : +1 to outcome Unlike other sergeants, Bevil cannot be re-deployed later on. Choose carefully. While speaking with Kana, assign Light of Heavens to Training and Bevil to patrol the High Road. From the blogspot guide: "1. Whether you put any sergeant on Recruitment or Training makes no apparent difference at this stage. If we put Katriona or Light of Heavens on Patrol, they will probably trigger the Leeves event too early to get the best result. 2. It also appears impossible to get the best result from the Leeves mission if Light of Heavens is on Patrol too soon." C. Speak with Kana again and offer to pay Nasher's war levy of 6,000 gold, sparing the Keep's farmers and merchants from it. This shifts your alignment by three towards good (mine was now 0/9) while also possibly increasing Keep income and/or morale. D. A final conversation with Kana has her reporting the Greycloaks have slightly improved their training; the additional conversations with Kana about the Keep's status are not necessary and do not in and of themselves advance Keep time, but can provide an overview of Keep progress. E. If you haven't already done so at least once since visiting the Keep's basement after Kistrel's arrival there, do so now; if you don't he won't start his timer for weaving a cloak for you and may never finish it. The cloak takes at least 20% additional Keep time to complete. In my case, even speaking with him here at 2%, he finished at Keep time 30%. F. Speak with Guyven about the three places you have seen so far. It will require at least three conversations to do this. Once you discuss two of these locations (it doesn't matter which) your PC will earn the Pathstalker epithet (feat). He will also reveal the location of a dirt mound along the outside of the south wall of the courtyard. Buried in the dirt is a single gold piece and the Crossbow of the Unicorn. The Crossbow is a strong weapon, but is likely of little value at this point if you've crafted your own custom gear as I had. G. In the basement, approach the center of the summoning circle. When Ammon cautions the PC saying "Be careful with that - it is a summoning circle, inscribed by Garius and his allies", respond by saying "With you around, I think I'll be in little danger" for +1 influence (now 9). Regardless of your response, you are then able to convince Ammon to share the Gold Filagree Charm recipe. This recipe is best used immediately to start bargaining with Mephasm and make progress towards the ability to make the final bargain with him. 1. Make use of Ammon's recipe to craft a Gold Filigree Charm - used for summoning Mephasm in Crossroad Keep: Requires: Caster Level 1 + Mephasm Quest + Craft Wondrous Item feat Ingredients: 1 each of Faint Power & Glowing Fire Essences + Star Sapphire + Gold Necklace Spell: Darkness 2. Craft three (3) infernal focii - used for bargaining with Mephasm in Crossroad Keep. I used the following recipe, since it had the least impact on my resources for crafting other items later on: Requires: Caster Level 1 + Mephasm Quest + Craft Wondrous Item feat Ingredients: Glowing Fire Essence + Sapphire + Mithral Ingot Spell: Darkness H. Summon Mephasm. A Dialogue ensues between you, him and Ammon Jerro. You can pick up hints about Ammon's past but none of the choices from this first conversation impact the game or influence with Ammon. Mephasm and Ammon will caution you several times against bargaining and warn of potentially dire consequences, but the only result (aside from trading an infernal focus for an item or gold) is a +1 shift towards chaotic every time you do so. Trading results are as follows: 1. Weapon: The Angry Soul: +3 Club with 1d6 lightning & DC14 save vs Fear for 2 rounds/hit 2. Armor: Mask of Death: Death Armor (3), Finger of Death (13) and Vampiric Touch (5). Each has spell/effect has one use/day. 3. Something else: Boots of the Shifting Sands: Dex -1, Earthquake (20) 1 use/day and Haste (10) 4 uses/day 4. Gold: 5,000 gold: This trade can be done as often as you have an infernal focus to bargain with. Since I could easily earn gold on my own in more effective ways, I never used this trade. I traded for the first three items, as this is a prerequisite for starting the timer for the final bargain. As mentioned earlier in this guide, the final bargain entails trading an item of value the PC uses often for a Token. The "infernal token of Mephasm" will boost a statistic of your choosing by 3 points simply by keeping it in your inventory (and not storage container, such as a bag of holding). Like almost all other statistic enhancing items, its bonus will not stack with others. Again, I wanted Mephasm's Infernal Token but, due to bugs in the game, getting this item is more specific/difficult than it lets on, and the bargain has caveats. Specifically, at the Keep, Mephasm will offer to grant this token in exchange for the PCs "most prized possession" after: 1. After bargaining for the 3 items he offers has been completed AND 2. The PC enters the Keep courtyard on the next three consecutive occasions with an item that qualifies as his/her "most prized possession." This item, the PC's "most prized possession", is determined as follows: Each time you enter the Crossroad Keep courtyard the game will: * check your gloves if your main class is Monk * check your armor if your main class is Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard * check your main hand weapon for any other class, but if your weapon is the Silver Sword of Gith, fall back on armor However, there are severe bugs that prevent the game from checking the favorite item properly. Specifically: 1. Mephasm will take your favorite weapon instead of armor if you're an arcane spellcaster AND 2. If a weapon is selected by Mephasm then neither its type, value or power will matter: whether it's a plain un-enchanted dagger, a Holy Avenger or the Silver Sword of Gith (if that happens to be the qualifying weapon your PC has been wielding), that is what Mephasm will take from you; it simply has to be what the game mechanics sees as your PC's favorite weapon. 3. You must have 8 or more levels in a class for it to be considered your main class. 4. As stated above, the item selection is only applied/checked AFTER you have bargained three times with Mephasm. Specifically, you must enter the courtyard (with the same qualifying item) at least three more times after you have already completed three bargains with him. 5. The item must currently be equipped when you talk to Mephasm for the final bargain option to be available. Failing to meet all of the above criteria will result in Mephasm not making the offer for the Token. Especially, take note of qualifiers three through five; if you don't meet all of them, the trade option for the final bargain - and the infernal token that results from it - may never appear. Therefore I did my first three trades now, with the goal of getting the Token as early as possible - at Keep time 10%. You will receive 500xp for summoning Mephasm the first time, whether you bargain with him or not - this brought me to 75,505xp. I. Talk with Daeghun outside. While speaking with him there will be three opportunities to increase your influence with Elanee by one (up to 18 total). They are as follows: 1. When he mentions knowing Elanee is part of The Circle of the Mere, respond with, "I won't have you sending her on dangerous missions like you did with Bevil and I." 2. When Elanee chimes in with her suggestion about finding them, affirm it by stating "They may be in danger. We should go to them immediately." 3. When Daeghun departs, answer Elanee's observations of him as a father in a supportive way. Depending on your answer, your alignment will shift by one towards good or lawful. I chose to say "He has a duty and he takes it seriously - even when it came to me. Such devotion is something to be respected." This option moved me towards lawful by one (I was now 1/9). J. Re-assemble the Party of your choice (since it now consists of only the PC and Elanee) and pick up the stash just outside the Keep's walls. K. Come back to the courtyard -- Talk to StarTear, who now appears outside the Tower. Doing this allows you the option of building the Wizard's Tower. Zhjaeve and Sand have different opinions of Startear. As you might expect, the choice of building the Wizard's or Guard's Tower is mostly a matter of preference and playing style. Fighter types will likely opt for the Guard's Tower with its handsome selection of weapons, armor and rare metal ingots, while spellcasters may opt for the Wizard's Tower and the resulting availability of another Wizard's Ally dagger to purchase. Since my style of low-level gameplay was specifically designed to allow me the option of crafting my own high-quality arms and armor (or buy them elsewhere), I eventually opted for the Wizard's Tower - and the Wizard's Ally dagger in particular. The NWN2 wiki states building the Guard's Tower "Offers a chance for the PC to spar with Nevalle and gain +1 BAB boost" and if you do, an in-game message will state, "Sparring with Nevalle has given you a slight bonus to attack." However, I found this assertion did not bear out in subsequent gameplay. In particular: it did not result in a relevant feat being listed on my PC's data sheet, nor did it reflect in the combat log where one would've expeteced I'd hit an opponent where I otherwise would have just barely missed. 02) Time 5% - Income 2,665. Speak with Master Veedle to Build Road (Cobble) 35,000. 03) Time 7% - Income 2,962. A. Veedle - Build Road (Renovate) 50,000. B. Kana 1. Daerred's visit (1 of 3); ask what they can help with. If you give them legitimate work, they will survive their assignments and (eventually) give you a gift. If you lie, or send them to investigate the Guardian directly, they end up dead in the King of Shadows' lair. 2. Torio - whether or not you send for Torio has no effect whatsoever on gameplay or Keep management. Because I found the resulting conversations amusing, in line with the game's clear goal of storytelling and in general liked the idea of having the Keep filled with aides, I sent for her anyway. 04) Time 10% - Income 3,460. A. Veedle - Build Fortifications (Repair) at a cost of 25,000. B. Speak with Kana. This triggers the Sheriff from Leeves event. Send half the men (alignment shift by 1 to good, now 1/10). Kana will express concern about your choice, but she can be safely ignored. C. Set Katriona to Special Assignment. D. Set Light of Heavens to Patrols. This will offset sending half the Greycloaks to Leeves. E. Ask Kana about special missions. This starts the one for Old Man Morris of which Katriona is now a part. F. Summon Mephasm for the final bargain. Since I had been carrying a Darksteel Dagger for my last three trips into the Courtyard and was wielding it now, this was my "most prized possession" that Mephasm took in exchange for his token. When Ammon advised against this bargain I responded with, "Thanks for your advice, but I need this power to defeat the King of Shadows" for +1 influence and +1 chaotic (now 0/10). I chose to trade for a +3 strength boosting token because it is the only item in the original campaign that will passively boost the Construct's strength by three, just by having it in its inventory. At CLVL this 12 this brought the Construct's strength to 34. It is worth noting now that my influence with Ammon was past 10 (now 11), he was willing to share secrets he'd withheld in prior conversations. 05) Time 12% - Income 3,804 A. Veedle - Build Fortifications (Reinforce) 50,000 B. Kana - the Special Mission for Old Man Morris is total success. C. Now that Greycloaks training is "Best", set them to split patrol of Surroundings. Specifically, move the Greycloaks from 'Training' to 'patrol the road and land.' Also, From the blogsopt guide: "Focusing on Patrol Surroundings ultimately causes a situation where income cannot sustain Greycloak recruitment even if you start taxing Peasants. You can lose all income and your treasury won't grow, but that is probably an oversight on the coding where it doesn't draw keep funds to sustain the military." D. Further, from the blogsopt guide: "Kana dissuades you against split patrols, but in the long run you get income plus recruitment and is the best option. Your Greycloak count is slowed initially, but you don't stall later on." E. The above events might reset the special merchant tithes; set them again before you leave. 06) Time 15% - Income 4,148 A. Veedle - Build Fortifications (Towers) 75,000 B. Kana 1. Daerred letter 1/3 2. Leeves Mission - Best Success. From the blogspot guide: a)"This is the only time we were able to achieve best success with this early Act III timeline. Triggering this event earlier appeared not to work. Triggering this event later seemed to cause it to conflict with the Neverwinter Evacuation and also make best success impossible. b) In any case, the two success results ('bandits slaughtered' and 'bloody fight') yield the same bonuses because the morale bonus for the best result is not implemented." My results were 'bandits slaughtered'. 3. Neverwinter Evacuation - Send 20% (alignment shift by three towards good and lawful, now 3/13). 4. Katriona to Patrol C. Before moving to 17% Keep time I wanted enough gold available to cover upcoming Keep improvements and expensive purchases. This involved the following steps: 1. Crafting monster components into essences. I had been saving these since the start of the game and had collected the following: MONSTER ITEM QTY MONSTER ITEM QTY Demon Blood 7 Blade Spider Legs 2 Devil Blood 2 Skeleton Ribs 5 Dragon Blood 2 Dire Bear Claws 2 Troll Blood 2 Iron Golem Fragments 3 Frost Giant Head 1 Dire Boar Tusks 3 Ogre Mage Skull 1 Phase Spider Mandible 1 Shadow Residue 1 Bat Tooth 3 Wraith Residue 8 Dire Wolf Tooth 9 Ghost Residue 2 Bugbear Tusks 5 Wyvern Scales 1 Hellhound Tooth 3 Ice Mphit Hides 3 Gargoyle Horn 2 Fire Mephit Hides 6 Imp Stinger 4 Ghast Claws 2 Stag Beetle Horn 2 Ghoul Claws 1 Lich Dust 3 Fairy Dust 6 ------------------------------------------------------ I also had the following essences: 1 Radiant Air, 2 Glowing Earth, 3 Weak Air, 1 Weak Power, 1 Faint Earth and 1 Faint Fire After crafting, I had the following essences remaining: RADIANT GLOWING WEAK FAINT 3 Earth 06 Earth 04 Earth 10 Earth 5 Air 04 Air 13 Air 03 Air 0 Fire 05 Fire 08 Fire 14 Fire 1 Water 06 Water 11 Water 09 Water 5 Power 13 Power 13 Power 04 Power 2. Craft 8 Deadly Gas Trap Kits. Since Bill Ogan sold 7 more of these with the one I already had, I also purchased the other components to make the additional traps, worth at least 3,175 gold each (assumes appraise 18). 3. Craft profitable Arms & Armor to use or sell - mostly to sell. I already had enough items worth 20,000 gold each saved for resale to get over 500,000 gold, but wanted more as a safeguard, so I crafted the following items: QTY DESCRIPTION SALE PRICE (EACH) USED BY 3 Brooches of Shielding 8,825 Whomever needs them 2 Cloaks of Resistance +4 15,000 Whomever needs them 10 Mithral heavy shields (keep 3) 9,892 Ammon, Qara, Sand 15 Adamantine heavy shields 7,225 45 Adamantine warmaces 1,138 10 Darksteel warmaces 432 26 Darksteel rapiers 425 31 Duskwood longbows 4,269 24 Shederran longbows 1,476 5 Shederran shortbows 1,411 5 Zalantar light shields (keep 3) 15,000 Arcane spellcasters 1 Salamander Hide studded leather 5,865 It is worth pointing out Randolph sells unlimited quantities of garlic and belladonna - at prices similar to Sand's Merchant Elemental in ACT II - but the above items are worth more (and take less time to craft) than perfected choking powder. So I started with these first, knowing I could move to perfected choking powder later if I needed. 4. Buy and sell in the Merchant Quarter. I sold out Bill Logan at 177,736 after buying an Adamantine Greatsword (1,255) Longsword +4 (23,466) and Shortsword +3 (12,966). Next was Deekin with his slightly updated supply of gear in the Merchant Quarter in ACT III. I bought a Shortsword +4 for 23,438 gold, and sold him out at 327,630. 5. Buy and sell in Port Llast. I bought Boots of the Sun Soul +3 from Nya for 6,897 gold. I sold every item I wanted worth 10,000 gold or less to her. Because I had bought several costly items from her earlier, she still had room to buy when I was finished selling at 551,790 gold. D. Visit the Ironfist stronghold to buy and sell from Revorax & collect the quest from Keros for the Belt of Ironfist from Mount Galardrym. ITEM COST Rift Hammer (+6, very rare in the OC) - 109,978 Greater Storm Armor of the Earth's Children - 107,462 Black Flame Armor - 91,502 Shield of the Void - 75,473 Mithral Ingot x5 - 585 Adamantine Ingot x3 - 1,155 Full Plate Mold - 565 Half Plate Mold - 219 Longbow Mold - 50 Heavy Crossbow Mold - 30 Light Crossbow Mold - 19 Warmace Mold - 15 Shortbow Mold - 15 Heavy Shield Mold - 11 Rapier Mold - 11 Shortsword Mold - 4 ----------------------------------------------------- Total Cost - 387,094 By the time I had finished buying and selling with Revorax, I had 176,830 gold remaining, although I still had not sold any of my gear worth 20,000 or more. Upon first entering the Ironfist Stronghold, call the great halls "impressive" for +1 influence with Khelgar (now 11). Later, when speaking with Khulmar about recovering the belt of Ironfist, support Khelgar's desire to go after it immediately by saying, "We'll need all the allies we can get. Let's go." for +1 influence (12). E. Buy and sell to Edario and Jacoby until they're out of gold. With over 36 items worth 20,000 each, this didn't take long. Remember from earlier in this guide, both of these merchants buy items (from the PC only) at about 27 and 23% more respectively than the dialogue box offer states, yet the PC can buy them back for the offered price. Because of this you can, if you so choose, buy anything you like from them essentially for free while still emptying their coffers and re-selling what you don't need to other merchants. I didn't do this, as I consider it an unfair bug exploitation and had plenty of gold from selling un-needed items anyway. By the time I had sold out Edario and Jacoby I had 791,323 gold and had purchased these items: ITEM MERCHANT COST USED BY Lichskull Edario 26,354 Ammon Jerro Chain Shirt +5 Edario 13,501 Bishop Iron Ingot Edario 2 Composite Longbow +3 Jacoby 8,676 Bishop Iron Ingot Jacoby 3 Favor of Ilum Lura Haljal Throndor 14,288 Sand Anagrys' ShackleBreaker Haljal Throndor 73,908 Grobnar Nasher's Ring of Strength Nya 10,171 Zhjaeve F. Re-organize equipment after all the above buying and selling 07) Time 17% - Income 4,578 A. Veedle - Build Tower (for Startear, although either Tower option is supposed to improve Land Security) - 100,000 B. Kana - You will have to go in and out of the basement several times for the cutscene events. During these tips to the basement I crafted another Umber Hulk Hide heavy shield, Brooch of Shielding and Medallion of Thought. 1. Ziffer Village Charter - Sign charter, but only after successful use of appraise and diplomacy: appraise first to account for the Miller's Wheel and, after use of appraise again, diplomacy for the increased frequency of regular taxes "to protect the new land." 2. Ziffer Volunteers - diplomacy to avoid reducing Elite quality. 3. Daerred visit 2/3. As always, if you lie to Daerred and his troop, they end up dead later on. C. If you're a spellcaster and built the Wizard's Tower, see Startear for scrolls and Wizard's Ally dagger. Otherwise, go to the Neverwinter Nine Guard Tower for Arms, Armor and exotic metal ingots. As I had built the tower, I went there. Note there is a bug in the game where the appraise level of the PC here appears to be somewhat randomly determined when you first enter the courtyard just prior to entering the Tower. Therefore, to get the lowest prices for your level, be sure to raise your appraise to the highest possible level just before you leave the castle and re-enter the courtyard. You may have to try this several times to get the lowest possible prices. Several items were worth buying in the tower. Here was my list: ITEM COST USED BY The Wizard's Ally 97,119 Ammon Jerro Ring of Wizardry (5) 14,681 Sand, then Grobnar Greater Mantle of Spell Resistance 11,229 Grobnar (for now) Dragon Blood 463 Vampire Tooth 348 Wyvern Hide x2 290 Winter Wolf Pelt 231 Umber Hulk Hide 174 Wyvern Scales 145 Bat Tooth x2 114 Bladeling Spike 57 Imp Stinger 57 ------------------------------------------- Total cost 124,908 D. Equipment re-organization after buying the above items E. Circle of the Mere Now fully outfitted, I went to the Circle with Elanee, Qara, Khelgar, and Casavir. Bishop joined upon arrival. A long conversation begins where Vashne and rest of the corrupted circle criticize Elanee for watching the PC all this time instead of protecting the Mere. A fight eventually ensues, but the PC is offered another two chances to build influence with her before it begins. First defend Elanee when Vashnee accuses her of being "...too distracted with the trappings of civilization or its people". I responded with, "I am certain Elanee meant no harm to the Circle" (+1). Later, when Elanee questions Vashne's perspective by asking him: "Do you truly believe what is coming is for the best?" I interrupted saying, "Listen to me. Vashne's right about one thing - the Mere's time has passed". She answered with, "What do you mean?" I replied "You're more in touch with the land than they are - you hear its pain, they're dead to it", along with: "They are the Circle, not the Mere. And you have seen what the King of Shadows can do with even the strongest of people." for another +1 influence (now 20). Even though Vashne was a level 18 druid, defeating him - and the rest of his corrupted companions - was easy. They all dropped fixed gear and yielded experience as follows: * Mere druid 300 * Mere druid female 409 * Dire boar 13 * Dire bear 37 * Mere druid x2 482 * Mere druid 111 * Mere druid female 111 * Dire rat x5 20 * Vashne 482 * Dire wolf x2 8 --------------------------- Total XP 1,973 Vashne the rest of his corrupted druidic posse aren't very discriminating about how they throw their spells around so they may, somewhat ironically, kill some of their animal friends in the process, thereby lowering your experience a bit. You also earn another 1,000 xp for defeating the Circle and supporting Elanee. This brought my total xp to 78,478xp and my party to level 13. Now that my PC was level 11 (ECL+2) and a level 2 Hellfire Warlock, I was ready to make up for lost time being at artificially low levels and experience. ************************************************************************************ Before continuing it's worth providing a primer on how experience is earned (or not) in the game: The NWN2 engine scales experience based on the challenge rating (CR) of the opponent(s) faced and the average of the *actual* playing level of all characters in the party, not the average of *Effective* Character Levels (ECL), for any given encounter. This is important because high ECL races will cause the party to earn accelerated experience points during play, since they bring the party's Average Character Level (ACL) down. Put another way, the higher the party's ACL vs the CR of the opponent(s), the less experience the party will receive. Conversely, if your party has a very low ACL and you go off fighting enemies at a lower level than the game designers aimed for, you may find yourself quickly recovering lost ground as you gain significantly more experience than normal for opponents you kill. Quest based experience is an exception - awarded at a flat rate regardless of the party's ACL. Technically, it is the experience total driving every party member's contribution to ACL, not the actual ACL. What this means is if, for example, you have enough experience to be level 6, you'll gain experience based on your character(s) being treated as level 6 for the purposes of driving the party's ACL, even if you don't "level-up". Experience is awarded in any encounter regardless of the state of the PC (i.e. dead or alive) unless the PC is too far away from the action or an NPC lands the killing blow. When I say "NPC" I mean characters/monsters that are not in your party roster or haven't actually joined your party yet. Almost always, this means if the PC would be far enough away to rest before an opponent is killed, no experience will be gained. Companions (including their familiars and animal companions), NPCs and summons usually do not affect earned XP, but temporary NPCs that appear in the party roster (such as Commander Tann in the crypts during the Fort Locke quest and Onan in the Tomb of the Betrayers) do - usually by lowering the party's ACL in any given encounter. When you earn experience it is awarded instantaneously to you and companions in your party. Companions who have joined the party but are not in your roster have experience your PC earns placed in a queue, which is added to their total once reinstated to your active party roster. Newly added companions have their starting experience (and appropriate level) commence based on your PC's XP total at the time they are recruited. For the most part, the original campaign in NWN2 has a limited number of fixed events, quests and enemies by which experience can be awarded, gold can be obtained, and items earned/acquired. Therefore, once you're at a point in the game where you do want to earn experience, it can be more difficult to get to character level 20 if you're playing a race with a significantly higher ECL and/or have multi-classed in such a way that your PC has an experience penalty. However, there are bugs (or loopholes if you prefer to call them that) that still exist in the v1.23 of the game which allow for unlimited shifts in alignment (both on the law/chaos and good/evil spectrum) and gains in experience and/or gold - should you choose to make use of them. I will point them out as I go but chose not to use them, as doing so would brake my stated parameters of play. I did observe three methods to generate unlimited numbers of foes by which one can (eventually) advance all the way to level 20 with methods I consider fair/legitimate: The first method only works for Hellfire Warlocks and involves exploiting their ability to Summon Baatezu. From the NWN2 article to which I contributed: "Once per day, the Hellfire Warlock can randomly summon a Baatezu from the Nine Hells to fight for the party. Control of the Baatezu lasts for a number of rounds equal to 1 round per hellfire warlock level + 1d8 + their Charisma bonus. When the ability expires, the caster loses dominance over the Baatezu - which can be problematic for the caster, as devils typically despise being bothered by lesser beings. The summoner is advised not to leave this up to chance, and dispel this summons before this time is up, sending the Baatezu back to the Nine Hells - though the devil might not attack, dispelling it is the only way to be sure of avoiding a violent confrontation with the creature. Generally, only certain Baatezu summoned in this way will turn on the party, and only then in specific settings. Mephasm is an example of a sympathetic devil who never turns on the party, while Hezebel, Nrungnorog, and Korarobos will always do so, if they are in certain areas. The PC controlled path to Crossroad Keep and Port Llast are consistent defection zones, while the Ruins of Arvahn and the Sunken Flagon never result in apostate summons. If the devil turns on the party, NPCs will react accordingly (e.g. 'active' town guards will attack it) and if defeated, (s)he will give XP upon its death. Repeatedly dispatching Baatezu in this manner allows a path for players to grind their way up to their maximum level, albeit very slowly, especially at higher character levels. Turncoat devils yield experience based on their challenge rating, with Koraboros providing the most experience." Provided you're playing a Hellfire Warlock of at least second level to Summon Baatezu in the first place, this option can be undertaken at any point in any module, not just the Original Campaign. The second method works for any class, but only under tight parameters in the Tomb of The Betrayers quest assigned by Judge Oleff. This quest can be undertaken at any point in the game through ACT I or ACT II as long as the PC has access to the Merchant Quarter in the City of Neverwinter. There is a room on the northeast side of the map in the Tomb. In the area just before the gate, there are visible (and invisible) pressure plates. If you activate the invisible plates while the east gate to the hallway beyond is closed, a wave of two Tomb Guardians will appear (presumably to defend the tomb). The invisible plates are to the left and right of the (closed) gate. If you walk straight up to the gate, no guardians will appear. If you choose to trigger the invisible plates, Tomb Guardians will continue to appear, one wave after the next, until you open and pass beyond the (east) gate which leads to the treasure chest at the end of the hall; note that the gate will only open and remain so while someone is standing on one of three the visible pressure plates. It is also possible (though not guaranteed) the Tomb Guardians will stop appearing if you leave the Tomb of the Betrayers and then return before rescuing Onan, though I haven't been able to pinpoint exactly when or why. To guarantee an endless supply, it's best to simply stay in the room and not step on the visible pressure plates (after having stepped on them the first time as you entered the room) again until you are done earning experience there. The third method is one most who have completed the original campaign already know about: attempting to rest in the Vale of Merdelain, which usually results in a somewhat randomly generated assortment of undead foes accosting the party. Since this third method is near the end of the game, it's of limited value - unless you want to level the party prior to the final battle with Garius and his minions. All of these methods yield substantially less experience as you level up, and since the experience gained requires real work (and is awarded in a manner consistent with the normal leveling process) I consider them a legitimate path to obtain it. ************************************************************************************ F. Using my PC's Summon Baatezu ability, I chose to summon the Baatezu at the outer grounds of Crossroad keep for safety and accessibility reasons and took care to do so away from Calindra, Pentin, Orlen, the outer wall Greycloak guards or Wolf's assistant, since they can be killed by a turned summons. With the exception of the guards, their deaths could impair the ability to navigate and/or improve Crossroads Keep. You can randomly summon one of six devils with the Summon Baatezu feat. However, since Neeshka (who rarely appears) and Mephasm (who, by contrast, is merely uncommon in frequency) never turn on the Party (and therefore grant no xp after being killed), I didn't include them in the below list: Level Name Difficulty Frequency XP earned 13 Hezebel (H) Easy common 294 13 Nrungrong (N) Medium common 294 14 Hezebel (H) Easy common 255 14 Nrungrong (N) Medium common 255 13,14 Koraboros (K) Hard rare 482 13,14 Avernus FC (A) Hard very rare 482 15 H & N / K & A 195/482 16 H & N / K & A 117/420 17 H & N / K & A 90/420 18 H & N / K & A 63/403 19 H & N / K & A 65/351 20 H & N / K & A 46/247 21 H & N / K & A 41/223 While Mephasm and Neeshka never turn on the party - Hezebel, Nrungrong, Koraboros and Avernus Fried Chicken will (in most settings) - after control of them expires. The length of dominance of these four recalcitrant devils is: 1 round/hellfire-warlock level + 1d8 rounds + 1 round for each Charisma bonus integer of the caster (e.g a charisma of 18 = 4 extra rounds of control). Mephasm is a level 6 outsider and level 8 cleric. Neeshka is a level 8 outsider and level 12 rogue. Neeshka appears less often than Koraboros (who is rare to begin with) but more often than Avernus, who has roughly 1 in 100 chance of showing up. Nrungrong is a level 14 outsider with damage reduction, spell resistance (25) and regeneration. Koraboros, a level 18 outsider, is the most powerful normal summons with an AC of 42, damage reduction, spell resistance (32) and ability to create undead as per the Blackguard ability. He has a 1 in 10 chance of appearing. Avernus Fried Chicken is an Easter Egg and a bit of a joke, but he's the best of the bunch, with stats very close to (though slightly better than that of) Koraboros; the only significant difference is his AC of 45. I chose to stop leveling my party at 16 (for a while) because this was the minimum level required to use the Craft Magic Arms & Armor and Craft Wondrous Items feats to fashion the rest of the high powered gear I had been saving reagents and patiently waiting for. That wait was now almost over. 08) Time 20% - Income 5,867 A. Veedle - Build Roads (Bridges and Towers) 100,000 B. Kana 1. Greycloak and Volunteer count suddenly jumped, even after not having done any recruiting. Probably because of Ziffer and the village charter. 2. Katriona to Special Missions. 3. Special Mission: Doman the Ogre - Start C. In anticipation of the coming battle with Tholapsyx, craft some of the key high powered arms, armor and magic items I had been saving for. Unless otherwise stated, all of items listed later below require the Craft Magic Arms & Armor feat (for weapons, armor & shields), or the Craft Wondrous Items feat for everything else. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- With crafting/enchanting, keep in mind the following facts: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. The caster/crafter must possess every feat and spell needed to create/enhance/craft the item. Contrary to in-game descriptions, merely having a companion with the needed feats/skills in close vicinity while you perform the missing actions will not work. 2. Weapons and Armor can be enchanted with multiple effects that will act in parallel fashion. For Example: You can use an 'Adamantine Longsword +5' in the +5 Vampiric recipe and will end up with an 'Vampiric Adamantine Longsword +5'. 3. On the other hand, multiple enhancement bonuses on the same object (in the case of armor and weapons), creature (in the case of natural armor), or ability score do not stack - only the highest enhancement bonus applies. This can be problematic in the case of weapons with an "attack bonus", because if you enchant them with an "enhancement bonus" it will count as a separate item property and the bonuses still will not stack. Consider, then, the attack bonus of a Composite Longbow +3, which would read in-game as follows: Composite Longbow +3 Attack bonus +3 Mighty +5 If this weapon is enchanted with an enhancement bonus of +5 it will, after enchantment, display as: Composite Longbow +3 Attack bonus +3 Enhancement bonus +5 Mighty +5 The higher enhancement bonus will not stack with the attack bonus for the purposes of its "to-hit" quality, and will instead overlap. Therefore, after the +5 enhancement bonus is applied, the +3 attack bonus is effectively wasted as an enchantment slot. Further, if the PC using this composite longbow has a strength higher than 20, the character's info tab will show their current strength damage bonus, but only +5 of the strength damage bonus will be applied in combat. Another, simpler example: if you use a 'Longsword +2' in the basic +3 recipe, you will end up with a 'Longsword +3', not a 'Longsword +5'. 4. All Weapons and Armor have a maximum of 3 Magical Properties (including Base Bonus) although epic characters may craft items with 4 properties. This includes ranged weapons such as Arrows/Darts/Bolts/etc, as well as Shields and Clothes. Be careful when enchanting items crafted from special materials, as some of them have inherent abilities that will take up an enchantment slot. Examples: Adamantine's +2 Magic Damage or a Mithral Weapons' Weight Reduction. 5. Weight reductions and reduced Arcane Spell Failure on *armor* do not count as enchantment properties, but they do on Shields. Therefore, Mithral Armor special properties do not take up slots, making it perfect for enchanting. 6. Filling all the enchantment slots will prevent you from upgrading any earlier existing enchantments, so you should upgrade existing enchantments before adding new ones. As an example, the spear "Vengeance of Asenath" cannot be upgraded, even by epic characters, (level 21+) because it already has 4 magic properties: a) Enhancement Bonus [+ 2] b) Keen c) On Hit: Mordenkainen's Disjunction [DC=20] [Type: Piercing] d) Use Limitation: Class: Sorcerer 7. Depending on the class your PC is playing, the level of your party - and those you typically keep in it - Greater Magic Weapon, Keen Edge and Magic Vestment may be able to effectively substitute for using valuable enchantment slots for "+5" (or other) weapon/armor enchantments. 8. You can use text formatting tags when naming your items: Text in here is bold. Text in here is italicized. <c=red>Text in here is red</c> You can look up the color constants in Colors.2da (?) or you can enter colors as hexadecimal values: http://www.december.com/html/spec/color.html ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- SHADOW LINKS Used by my PC, this armor requires 2 mithral ------------ ingots, a chain shirt mold and a rank of 14 or higher in Craft Armor to make the base item. It was enchanted with the following 3 properties: 1. Fortified Armor Immunity to Critical Hits/Sneak Attack Requires: Caster Level 13 Ingredients: Glowing Power Essence + Radiant Earth Essence + Blue Diamond Spell: Banishment (Zhjaeve) 2. Silent Armor (greater) +15 competence bonus on Move Silently checks Requires: Caster Level 15 Ingredients: Glowing Water Essence+ Blue Diamond Spell: Silence (Zhjaeve) 3. Shadowy Armor (greater) +15 competence bonus on Hide checks Requires: Caster Level 15 Ingredients: Glowing Water Essence+ Blue Diamond Spell: Invisibility (Sand) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- PENUMBRAL DISC Used by my PC, a standard light shield enchanted -------------- with the following three properties: 1. Armor Enhancement +5 Armor gains a +5 Enhancement bonus (shield) Requires: Caster Level 15 Ingredients: Glowing Power & Earth Essences + Blue Diamond Spell: Light (Zhjaeve) 2. Silent Armor (greater) +15 competence bonus on Move Silently checks Requires: Caster Level 15 Ingredients: Glowing Water Essence+ Blue Diamond Spell: Silence (Zhjaeve) 3. Shadowy Armor (greater) +15 competence bonus on Hide checks Requires: Caster Level 15 Ingredients: Glowing Water Essence+ Blue Diamond Spell: Invisibility (Sand) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- DEFENDER'S BLADE Used by my PC (or any spellcaster that may need ---------------- it) this weapon requires one adamantine ingot, a dagger mold and a rank of 17 or higher in craft weapon. It has the following two properties: 1. Weapon Enhancement +5 Weapon gains a +5 Enhancement Bonus Requires: Caster Level 15 Ingredients: Glowing Power & Air Essences + Blue Diamond Spell: Light 2. Defending (Greater) Adds +3 Deflection AC Bonus Requires: Caster Level 5 Ingredients: Radiant Earth Essence + Blue Diamond Spell: Mage Armor or Shield of Faith ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- SEVERANCE PAY Used by Khelgar or Casavir, this item uses the ------------- Falchion Headsman's Vorpal quality (DC20) as its base property and is renamed in the process of adding the following two enchantments: 1. Weapon Enhancement +5 Weapon gains a +5 Enhancement Bonus Requires: Caster Level 15 Ingredients: Glowing Power & Air Essences + Blue Diamond Spell: Light 2. Holy Weapon +2d6 Damage against Evil creatures Requires: Caster Level 7 Ingredients: Faint Power & Water Essences + Diamond Spell: Cure Critical Wounds ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- AASTERINIAN'S TOOTH (x2) Used by Neeshka these items each require one ------------------------ adamantine ingot, a shortsword mold and a rank of 20 or higher in craft weapon to make the base weapons. They have the following two properties: 1. Acid Weapon +1d6 Acid Damage Requires: Caster Level 10 Ingredients: Weak Earth Essence + Emerald Spell: Melf's Acid Arrow 2. Holy Weapon +2d6 Damage against Evil creatures Requires: Caster Level 7 Ingredients: Faint Power & Water Essences + Diamond Spell: Cure Critical Wounds ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- FRECRAID Used by Khelgar or Casavir, this item requires -------- two adamantine ingots, a Falchion mold and a rank of 23 or higher in craft weapon to make the base weapon. It has the has the following two enchantments: 1. Axiomatic Weapon +2d6 Damage against Chaotic creatures Requires: Caster Level 7 Ingredients: Faint Power & Earth Essences + Jacinth Spell: Inflict Critical Wounds 2. Holy Weapon +2d6 Damage against Evil creatures Requires: Caster Level 7 Ingredients: Faint Power & Water Essences + Diamond Spell: Cure Critical Wounds ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- BRACERS OF ARMOR +8 (x2) Used by Ammon Jerro and my PC, these bracers ------------------------ provide a +8 Armor bonus to AC Requires: Caster Level 16 Ingredients: 2 Iron Ingots + Radiant Earth Essence + King's Tear Spell: Mage Armor ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- AMULET OF NATURAL ARMOR +5 Used by Ammon Jerro, it provides a +5 Natural -------------------------- Armor bonus to AC Requires: Caster Level 15 Ingredients: Weak Power & Radiant Earth Essences + Beljuril + Iron Ingot Spell: Barkskin ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- D. Level the rest of my party to 16 and redistribute equipment based on the above newly crafted items in preparation to fight Tholapsyx. 09) Time 22% - Income 5,671 A. Veedle - Build Temple of Tyr (50,000) You may choose to build the Monastary instead (if you have a Monk) for the Fists of Balance Rolan will offer should your PC successfully complete the Sun Soul Trial. The Sun Soul Trial will only be offered under the following circumstances: 1. The Monstary must be built (instead of the Church of Tyr) 2. Your PC must be a level 10 Monk or greater 3. There must be six or more students in the monestary, not including the shopkeeper or Rolan. If there are not at least six students present, the passage of time will bring more. Completing the Sun Soul Trial requires your monk PC defeat the elemental Lords of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. After defeating each element your PC must refuse their rewards and then, when Rolan asks you why, reply with "My answer is my own." The Fists of Balance he ultimately gives you are very good for Monk Gloves. However, the Great Wyrm Gauntlets Fibba sells much earlier in ACT II may be preferable. Consider their respective properties: FISTS OF BALANCE GREAT WYRM GAUNTLETS Attack Bonus [+ 5] Attack Bonus [+6] Damage Bonus: Cold [1d6] Damage Bonus: Fire [2d6] Damage Bonus: Fire [1d6] Decreased Ability Score: Dexterity [-4] Damage Resistance: Cold [15/-] Damage Resistance: Fire [15/-] Cast Spell: Flame Arrow (12) [1 Use/Day] Cast Spell: Ice Storm (9) [1 Use/Day] Use Limitation: Class: Monk If you are playing a Monk and also choose to have Khelgar become one, it may be advantageous to Build the Monastary for the Fists of Balance. However, I prefer the Great Wyrm Gauntlets because: 1) A +6 bonus is better than +5, especially since Gauntlets cannot be further enchanted by recipes using the Craft Magic Arms & Armor feat. 2) The dexterity penalty is easily avoided by spell or magic item 3) The resistances and spells offered by the Fists are relatively minor, particularly when one remembers the Great Wyrm Gauntlets are available as soon as you begin ACT II, while the Fists of Balance are only available much later in ACT III. B. Speak with Kana for the Merchant Costers event. From the NWN2Wiki: "Note that the Merchant Caravan triggers if there are 50 or more merchants at the keep. The PC gets to choose one of the 3 Merchant Caravans to set shop at the keep, or none of them. If the PC's Appraise skill is high enough to know about each Caravan, you may choose that dialogue option but be subject to major alignment shifts (+10 for Circle of Friends or Fated Winds). If that dialogue option is not available or you choose not to use it, you are more or less choosing blindly, so the shifts are minor (+1)." 1. Circle of Friends: Civility +1; +1 Lawful or +10 Lawful with appraise 2. Forgotten Lords: Civility +1, Tithe +10%; +1 Chaotic with or without appraise 3. Fated Winds: Civility -2, Tithe +25%; +1 Chaotic or +10 Chaotic and +10 Evil with appraise 4. None (merchant number cap lowered from 100 to 50). Because I wanted High Greycloak civility as soon as possible yet still wanted some increased profit, I chose the Forgotten Lords (alignment now 2/13). If you are playing an Evil aligned PC, and want the Dreadlord of the Keep feat, Fated Winds are probably the better choice. The Merchant event might reset tithes; set them again before you leave. 10) Time 25% - Income 6,915 A. Veedle - Build Merchant's Shop (10,000) B. Kana 1. Captain's Company - Protect the land and its people (+1 shift to good, now 2/14). Forming the Captains company gives the +20% Greycloak Morale necessary for the Warden of the Keep epithet as well as the Charm of Joy when the PC next visits the Church of Tyr. Earning this Charm has the following qualifiers (which are the same as obtaining the Warden of the Keep epithet, finally fulfilled by formation of the Captain's Company above): a) In addition to Joy, also recruit her sister - Light of Heavens b) Build the Church of Tyr c) Greycloak Civility and Morale at Crossroad Keep must be "High". This requires the PC to turn Uncus away at Crossroad Keep, which in turn has the prerequisite of siding with the City Watch in ACT I. d) Along with Uncus, Caelryna also must not be in the keep (she can always be invited after the Charm is obtained). As long as you are good aligned (or have high enough rank in the Use Magic Device skill), just keeping the Charm of Joy in your inventory will increase your Charisma by 3 and provide a +3 AC (dodge based) bonus vs. Evil opponents. 2. Daerred letter 2/3. 3. Special Mission: Doman the Ogre - Total Success. Receive the Club +1 "Will of the Lost" as a reward (useless except for its resale value). 4. Katriona to Patrols. 5. Greycloaks to split Land/Road Patrol. Note that you MUST do either Road Patrol or Land/Road Patrol if you want to get the maximum amount of gold from the dragon's horde later. 6. Daerred visit 3/3. He appears now, at the same time as the second letter, because he is scripted to appear at the start of Act III, but obviously cannot do so before the earlier two appearances. C. Ivarr 1. Warden of the Keep epithet and gifts from Light of Heavens & Joy 2. Path of the Holy quest (if Good Cleric or Paladin) 3. Redemption Quest (if Evil aligned and seeking to become Good, as I did) 4. Now that you have the epithet, you can recruit Jalboun and Caelryna and still retain that epithet 5. I bought sveral items from the shop keeper. By the time I was done I only had 699 gold remaining, but this didn't matter since almost all my expenses were done with and I still had plenty left to sell and craft, if needed. As stated earlier above, there is a bug in the game where the appraise level of the PC for trading here is appears to be somewhat randomly determined when you first enter the courtyard immediately prior to speaking with the merchant. Be prepared for the possibility of reloading several times if you want to get the best pricing. Also, the Shop Keeper here is another merchant who, if your appraise is high enough, will buy items for a higher price than she sells them for. It It probably won't mean much at this late point in the game, but she is another merchant who has this bug and offers another opprtunity to buy whatever you need without having to spend anything in the end. The items I bought were: a) Shield of Prator 216,027 b) Greater Amulet of Health 16,686 c) Periapt of Wisdom +5 16,372 d) Girdle of Holy Might 14,884 e) Scarab of Protection +4 14,117 D. Neverwinter Merchant Quarter - Recruit Deekin. After recruitment, I bought the below items from him in his new shop: 1. Cloak of Fortification +3 18,733 2. Boots of Hardiness +3 16,105 3. Ring of Resistance +3 8,910 4. Greater Magic Bag 4,193 5. Greater Cloak of Protection vs Evil 2,641 Again, be sure to raise your appraise to the highest possible point just before you re-enter the courtyard to speak with Deekin (not just before you enter his shop) and be prepared for several reloads if you want the best prices. At Crossroad Keep, Deekin is another merchant who may buy items from the PC's companions at higher prices than he would re-sell to the PC, allowing for easy profits. For example, at appraise 18, Deekin may buy Bracers of Armor +3 from Khelgar for 4,974 gold, but will sell them to the PC for as low as 3,700 gold. As usual, I did not take advantage of this. E. Crossroad Keep Inn - See Sal and get a Ring of the Ram. F. Because I wanted to change my PC's alignment to good. I spoke to Ivarr at the church to open the Path of Redemption quest before proceeding to Mount Galardrym. G. Mount Galardrym and Tholapsyx. Immediately prior to leaving for this quest you can take advantage of a bug in the game. It works like this: Once you recover the Belt of Ironfist you are able to proceed to the Ironfist stronghold and have Khelgar use it, along with the Gauntlets, to lift the Hammer of Ironfist from its mantle and claim his rightful place as King of the Dwarves - in a manner not entirely unlike King Arthur. When Khelgar attempts to lift the Hammer of Ironfist, the game will check to see if he is currently wearing the Belt and Gauntlets. If he is not, it will automatically remove them from the equipment and/or inventory of whomever has them (whether they are in the active party roster or not) and have Khelgar equip them instead. This is because the game is scripted as such so that only Khelgar can use the Hammer of Ironfist (under any circumstances) and only then if he is also wearing the Belt and Gauntlets of the same name. This is true even if the PC or one of his/her companions has a rank of 23 or more in use magic device. Therefore, if you leave the Gauntlets of Ironfist on the ground by the lamp post by the path to Crossroad Keep, they will not be equipped or in the inventory of the PC (or any companions) and the game will equip Khelgar with a second copy of them when he uses the Belt to lift the Hammer. Since the Gauntlets are useful to enhance Bishop's damage potential with his longbow of choice, I "forgot" to bring the Gauntlets along and left them by the lamp post before I left for Mount Galardrym. I brought Khelgar, Neeshka, Zhjaeve and the Construct for this expedition. When first arriving at the area say, "We'll make the fire giants sorry they stayed" for +1 influence with Khelgar (now a 13). Along the way to Tholapsyx, you'll meet a dozen or so fire giants and hell hounds that, at CLVL 18, can be dispatched with great ease. There's minor loot and some lesser, fixed magic items to be found along the way. XP was given as follows: ---------------------------- --------- Foe QTY XP ---------------------------- --------- Hell Hounds (17) 04xp each Lesser Fire Giants (27) 27xp each Greater Fire Giants (02) 55xp each Prior to meeting Tholapsyx you can push over some rocks to kill a few giants in the canyon below for 50 XP, but then you miss out on a little more from killing the three fire giants you'd otherwise get later on. Of course, you can come back later to do this, but I didn't bother. Tholapsyx is one of the most challenging foes in the game, mainly because of her capacity to exploit the normal weaknesses found in almost any party. Once those weaknesses are properly addressed it's easy to take her down - I did it in just 3 rounds. I got ready using the following seven methods: ----------------------------- -------------------------- ADVANTAGE/PREPARATION APPLIED REASON USED WITH THOLAPSYX ----------------------------- -------------------------- 1 Zhjaeve cast energy immunity Breath weapon. Enough said. (fire) on the entire party. 2 The party was rendered immune to Aura of fear and her many mind- mind-affecting spells (by items affecting spells. Plus, if she can only, since others can be dispelled) be immune to them, so can we. 3 Khelgar used the Sturdy Feet of Pim Although red dragons are not listed and Neeshka the Thieves' Hood to as having this ability, she does - confer immunity to Knockdown. and uses it frequently. 4 Khelgar and Neeshka used adamantine Her damage resistance is 15 and she weapons (with extra damage vs evil) has plenty of healing spells, so and belts of storm giant strength. hitting hard & often is both ideal Khelgar's falchion Frecraid also and required. Also, even though red does extra 2d6 damage vs. chaotic dragons are not listed as having the creatures. ability, she regenerates and can cast greater stoneskin. 5 Combat buff spells, both offensive Same as above - hit hard and often. and defensive in nature, were cast: Having a higher AC (like she does) Greater Magic Weapon, Greater doesn't hurt either. Resistance, Bless, Mass Aid, Prayer, Recitation, Bull's Strength, Regeneration, Haste and Shield. 6 Zhjaeve memorized three Earthquake With a spell resistance of at least spells. 20, Earthquake is one of very few spells that bypasses it. 7 Everyone in the party had 10 potions She can easily deal over 100 HP of of heal in their taskbar. damage in a single round. Therefore, once any party member fell below 100 HP, it was time for a drink. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- You receive 600xp for defeating Tholapsyx, and 1,000xp more if you selected the redemption quest before doing so. Also, it's safer to fight her and the fire giants separately. This is because neither side can be trusted to hold up their end of the bargain - they will turn on you the moment you defeat your mutual foe, and you'll have no chance to rest beforehand. Keep in mind you will only earn the Dragonslayer epithet if your PC lands the killing blow. There's a great deal of treasure to be had once Tholapsyx has been dealt with, the most valuable of which are the (up to 3) top notch gems that can be generated from the chests there, many of which were trapped and/or locked; Neeshka took care of them with a few reloads. In addition, Tholapsyx has a chest that always yields a blue diamond, king's tear, star sapphire, 2 rogue stones, 2 diamonds and 2 rubys, along with a small set of other random, lesser items. There are other fixed items as well, but none approached the power or usefulness of anything I had purchased or crafted by now. When you meet the Fire Giant King you'll be given another two chances to increase your influence with Khelgar by one. First, when the king prattles on about dwarves "falling down the mountains like pebbles" I responded with, "Enough of this. Deal with me or fight me. Nothing in between." (now 14). Finally, when the King refused to honor his word and hand over the Belt even with the red dragon defeated, I affirmed Khelgar's threats saying, "I'm with you Khelgar. Let's see this through" (now 15). With my party fully buffed just like before Tholapsyx, taking out the King and his (remaining) subjects was almost effortless. In particular, the king has very poor will saves for a level 20 opponent (a mere +11, meaning he fails these saves fully half the time) so I used Alrec's Dominate Monster ability once the battle started and had him fight alongside while my party slaughtered what was left of his clan in just 3 rounds. Two of the King's henchmen were worth 86xp each, while the King (who would normally give 420xp at CLVL 18) yielded none, since he was dominated and dropped dead once all the others had been killed. Along with the Belt of Ironfist and other fixed loot, I was able to get one of the chests in their treasure hoard to yield a high value gem (I chose another blue diamond). I now had 122,9255xp. Also, now that I had obtained the Warden of the Keep epithet (and the gifts from Joy and Light of Heavens), it was safe to recruit Caelryna to the Keep (and I did). Once you leave the Fire Giant King's canyon with the Belt of Ironfist you will have another chance to increase your influence. When Khelgar expresses doubts about the stories of Loudram and the Belt of Ironfist after hearing the Fire Giant King's unwelcome assertions about him, Khelgar begins to realize Loudram was not what he and the rest of his clan Clan thought he was. I expressed my support by eventually saying, "Searching for glory may be a mistake, but you are not Loudram, Khelgar." (+1, now 16). H. Ironfist stronghold / Recover the Hammer of Ironfist. Just before Khelgar retrieved the hammer I said "If anyone deserves to lift that hammer, Khelgar, it's you" for +1 influence (17). You receive 1,000xp for earning the alliance of the Ironfist Clan (now 124,925 xp). I. Crossroad Keep farms. Since my PC has an ECL of +2, I used her Summon Baatezu ability to bring her to level 15 (a level 3 Blackguard) and the rest of the party to 17. J. Ivarr / Fulfill path of redemption. Having finished this round of leveling, I directed my PC to Ivarr and accepted his offer of redemption. Just for kicks, I had Mephasm with me when I did this. It was amusing, in an ironic sort of way, to see my PC - who had just become a level 3 Blackguard - now become Chaotic Good (2/85) with Mephasm standing as witness while I received absolution. Unlike Paladins, if a Blackguard changes alignment they do not lose any of their class abilities, only the ability to progress in that class. And since I had finished advancing as a Blackguard, that no longer mattered. My PC received 1,000xp "for being absolved of your sins by Ivarr" (137,001 total). K. Crossroad Keep farms. With the above tasks behind me I took the gloves off, so to speak, as far as getting experience goes: in preparation for the battle the rest of the game (and the upcoming battle with Sydney Natale in particular) I leveled my party to 20 with further use of my PC's Summon Baatezu ability. Since my Yuan-ti pureblood PC had an ECL of +2, this took a few days. Once my PC had reached level 20 (22 for the rest of the party), I moved on. L. Sydney Natale / True Names meeting. Recruit Jalboun. Loot from this event is fixed. You can gain +1 influence with Qara before the battle by asking Sydney "Who is your companion?" and, when Jalboun introduces himself, say "Sydney, send your thug away before I let Qara use him for target practice" (now 17). You can eventually recruit Jalboun by first offering to double his wages and then, if he survives the coming battle, offering to have him serve as a sergeant at the Keep. Typically, Jalboun is useless because he does more harm than good on most assignments. However, he does increase the outcome of most special missions by +3, so it's worth recruiting him for this reason alone. Also, you cannot get the Gift from the Greycloaks event without him. At CLVL 22, The Animus Elemental is worth 89xp. The 4 Luskan assassins are worth 26xp each and Sydney is worth 141. Note that like Lorne, the game is scripted as such that Sydney cannot be charmed, dominated or duplicated (via the Shadow Simulacrum spell) so she has to be beaten the old fashioned way. You get an additional 500 xp for learning the names of the Shadow Reavers. Once you return to Crossroad Keep, you can gain an additional +1 influence with Ammon Jerro. When Zhjaeve says she alone has been entrusted with the true names of the Shadow Reavers respond by saying, "Enough. We need to trust each other if we are to survive" (total influence now 12). There is another vein of ore here which, even though not needed, is worth 50xp and will yield additional special ingots as a reward from Pentin or Calindra. I now had 232,018xp. 11) Time 27% - Income 7,531 A. Sir Nevalle - talk about allainces and true names from Sydney Natale B. Veedle - Build Keep (West Wing) C. Kana: 1. Shadow Reaver camp found. 2. Report last location of interest (Mt. Glardrym) to Guyven and ask him about the Shadow Reaver camp. 3. Summon Mephasm. Talk to him about the Shadow Reaver camp. 4. Gift from the Greycloaks event. 5. Dragon's Horde recovered - 200,000 gold (maximum possible). 6. Jalboun to Special Assignments. Remember, Jalboun gives +3 to most special missions outcomes. 7. Special Mission: Tax Collection a) Maximum tax (requires Good alignment and Charisma 15+) b) Diplomacy adjustment c) Appraise adjustment d) Assume Peasants to be truthful (results in +10 towards good). You will get less gold this way but, if you've followed any part of this guide, you should have already: 1. earned plenty of gold (or know how to get it) 2. built most or all of the keep's exterior improvements (especially the more expensive ones) 3. bought and/or crafted nearly all of the gear you need Also, assuming the peasants to be truthful gives no penalties and results in net peasant growth greater than not collecting any taxes. e) Send only Jalboun. Sending Light of Heavens along with him results in no extra gold, and slightly less population growth. D. I enchanted items as detailed below. The first four require the Craft Magic Arms & Armor feat. The last two require the Craft Wondrous Item feat: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- MITHRAL HVY SHIELD +5 (x2) For Ammon Jerro and Qara, their existing mithral -------------------------- heavy shields were enchanted with a +5 Armor (shield) bonus +5 Shield enchantment Shield gains a +5 Shield bonus to Armor Class Requires: Caster Level 15 Ingredients: Glowing Power & Earth Essence + Blue Diamond Spell: Light (Zhjaeve) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- UMBER HULK HIDE For Zhjaeve. Her existing Umber Hulk Hide Heavy HEAVY SHIELD +5 Shield was further enchanted as above ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ARC OF WINTER A standard longbow (used by Bishop) enchanted ------------- with the following properties: 1. Weapon Enhancement +5 Weapon gains a +5 Enhancement Bonus Requires: Caster Level 15 Ingredients: Glowing Power & Air Essences + Blue Diamond Spell: Light 2. Holy Weapon +2d6 Damage against Evil creatures Requires: Caster Level 7 Ingredients: Faint Power & Water Essences + Diamond Spell: Cure Critical Wounds 3. Frost Weapon +1d6 Cold Damage Requires: Caster Level 10 Ingredients: Weak Water Essence + Star Sapphire Spell: Ice Storm ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- KIARANSALEE'S The +5 Shortsword (Gift from the Greycloaks) is UNEXPTECTED BLESSING further enchanted with the following two -------------------- additional properties: 1. Holy Weapon +2d6 Damage against Evil creatures Requires: Caster Level 7 Ingredients: Faint Power & Water Essences + Diamond Spell: Cure Critical Wounds 2. Weapon of Life Stealing Vampiric Regeneration 5 (Greater) Requires: Caster Level 15 Ingredients: Radiant Power & Fire Essence + Beljuril Spell: Enervation ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- THE HELPING HAND Used by Qara, this weapon requires one ---------------- adamantine ingot, a dagger mold and a rank of 17 or higher in craft weapon. It has the following two properties: 1. Weapon Enhancement +5 Weapon gains a +5 Enhancement Bonus Requires: Caster Level 15 Ingredients: Glowing Power & Air Essences + Blue Diamond Spell: Light 2. Holy Weapon +2d6 Damage against Evil creatures Requires: Caster Level 7 Ingredients: Faint Power & Water Essences + Diamond Spell: Cure Critical Wounds ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ROBE OF THE ARCHMAGI Armor Bonus +5, Spell Penetration feat, Bonus -------------------- Level 5, 6, & 7 Wizard/Sorcerer Spells, Spell Resistance 20, +3 Universal Saves, Only Usable by Wizard or Sorcerer (used by Qara) Requires: Caster Level 14 Ingredients: Glowing Power Essence + Radiant Air, Earth, Fire & Water Essence + King's Tear + Iron Ingot + Leather Hide Spell: Mage Armor (Zhjaeve) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- BRACERS OF ARMOR +8 Used by Zhjaeve, provides a +8 Armor Bonus to AC ------------------- Requires: Caster Level 16 Ingredients: 2 Iron Ingots + Radiant Earth Essence + King's Tear Spell: Mage Armor ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- E. Speak to Hlam in the Merchant District to move Khelgar to a level 20 monk. Many players will prefer to keep Khelgar as a fighter, and there's good reason to do so: he hits often and deals high damage as a fighter, especially with a highly enchanted weapon. He's also a lot of fun and very effective wielding the vorpal falchion "Headsman", and even more so in its upgraded form as "Severance Pay". Nevertheless, there is a strong argument to be made for playing Khelgar as a Monk, especially at higher levels. This is arguably true from both an insta-kill perspective (via the Quivering Palm feat, which has similarities to the Vorpal quality of the Headsman) and a purely damage-dealing angle, where the Monk clearly wins. For the purposes of comparison, we will assume Khelgar is level 20 and fully buffed with the best possible equipment, feats and skills, and has the same final base statistics of STR 22, DEX 13, CON 18, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 7. His equipment will be as follows: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- MONK FIGHTER ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Belt of Cloud Giant Strength Belt of Cloud Giant Strength Thieves' Hood Thieves' Hood Boots of the Sun Soul +5 Boots of the Sun Soul +5 Ring of Power Ring of Regeneration (+4) Ring of Might Ring of Freedom of Movement Cloak of Protection +4 Cloak of Protection +4 Great Wyrm Gauntlets (+6) Falchion "Severance Pay" (+5) Robes of the Shining Hand +5 Greater Storm Armor Earth's Children Amulet of Greater Health Medallion of Thought (no equivalent item) Gauntlets of Ironfist (no equivalent item) Heavy Shield +4 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- BASE ATTACK BONUS +15 BASE ATTACK BONUS +20 BASE ATTACK PRPGRESSION (6 attacks) BASE ATTACK PROGRESSION (4 attacks) 32, 32, 32, 27, 22, 32 - comprised of: 37, 32, 27, 22 - comprised of: 15 Base 20 Base 10 Strength Bonus 10 Strength Bonus 01 Weapon Focus (from ring) 02 Greater Weapon Focus 06 Great Wyrn Gloves 05 Falchion "Severance Pay" TOTAL ATTACK BONUS: 177 TOTAL ATTACK BONUS: 118 AVERAGE ATTACK BONUS: 29.5 AVERAGE ATTACK BONUS: 29.5 TOTAL BASE DAMAGE: 30, detailed by TOTAL BASE DAMAGE: 33.5, detailed by 2d10 Unarmed damage (avg 11) 2d4 Falchion (avg 5) +10 Strength +10 Strength +00 gloves (attack bonus only) +05 weapon +02 weapon specialization (from ring) +04 greater weapon specialization +2d6 fire from gauntlets (7 average) +2d6 vs evil (almost all opponents) (potential quivering palm property) +1d4 from gauntlets (2.5 average) Vorpal Property (hard to measure directly but very valuable) AVG DMG=180 (if all attacks hit) AVG DMG=134 (if all attacks hit) ARMOR CLASS 36 - comprised of: ARMOR CLASS 42 - comprised of: 0 Armor 8 Armor (+7 armor bonus) 4 Cloak of Protection +4 4 Cloak of Protection +4 2 Tumble 1 Tumble 3 Dex Bonus (boots add +3 to dex) 1 Dex Bonus 5 Boots of the Sun Soul +4 5 Boots of the Sun Soul +5 4 Robes of the Shining Hand +5 2 Heavy Shield (+4 shield bonus) 4 Amulet of Natural Armor +4 4 Monk Bonus ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Offensively, the Monk hits more often and does more damage as a result, but it has less hit points & does not have the Vorpal quality with its attacks. It does have the quivering palm ability, but this is arguably of much lesser value, since it can only be used once/day, whereas the Vorpal quality of "Severance Pay" requires a reflex save on every critical hit - which Khelgar gets roughly 30% of the time. Defensively, the Monk's AC is 7 lower, but this is more than offset by its Empty Body feat, which grants 50% concealment for 20 rounds twice per day. In addition, this monk configuration is immune to energy/ability drain. In conclusion, at levels 14 and lower I find Khelgar better as a Fighter. At higher levels (especially 19 and 20) he is more effective as a Monk. F. Redistribute equipment after the above activities & level Khelgar to 20 as a Monk. G. Sell all un-needed equipment. H. Don't go to the Shadow Reaver Camp yet. Here, the blogspot NWN2 Crossroad Keep walkthrough authors observed some sort of bug where, if they went to the Shadow Reaver Camp (even without instructing Veedle to build anything), Keep time jumped to 32% and the Tax Collection Mission did not complete. 12) Time 30% - Income 23,777 - 84 merchants/94 peasants A. Veedle - Build Keep (Personal Quarters). Crossroad Keep now fully upgraded. B. Kana & Keep interior 1. Special Mission: Tax Collection - done. 2. Greycloaks to Land/Road Patrol. 3. Get Key from West Wing to unlock the drawer in the Personal Quarters for the best storage object in the game: a Bag of Holding. 4. Collect Kistrel's completed cloak (this is the earliest it is available, assuming you spoke with him as at Keep timer 2% or earlier to start progress on it). Kistrel takes at least +25% Keep Time to finish it. C. Shadow Reaver Camp. At Character Level 22, with all of my custom gear, all battles were easy. The only challenge (not much of one) was to keep Zhjaeve un-accosted during the battle so she could use the True Name Scroll to remove the Shadow Reaver's immortality. Otherwise its health never drops below 50% and can never be defeated. Successful use of a true name scroll takes about four rounds, and if Zhjaeve or Ammon Jerro take any damage in the process (and fail a subsequent Concentration check), they have to start over. The two blade golems and greater shadow here are worth 5xp each at CLVL22. The Shadow Reaver is worth 89xp along with another 1,000xp bonus for its defeat. Use of the spell Control Undead on the shadow reaver will not work unless Zhjaeve or Ammon have completed their recitation. Then, if the Reaver fails its save, it is killed almost immediately. Shadow Simulacrum does work. When the Shadow Reaver is defeated you can recover the last of the Silver Shards needed to rebuild the Silver Sword of Gith. Once you return to Crossroad Keep an exchange takes place between the PC, Zhjaeve and Ammon Jerro. You can build or lose influence with either of them by up to three, depending on your responses. Since influence with Zhjaeve does not impact gameplay in any discernable way, I chose to continue my focus on building influence with Ammon. The three opportunities are: 1. When Zhjaeve states she was not present when the blade was shattered eventually ask, "Ammon, can you offer any insight?" 2. When Ammon reveals the existence of Nolaloth, eventually respond with, "Then let's make use of this fellow enemy of the King of Shadows." 3. When Zhjaeve expresses suspicion with the timing of Ammon revelations about Nolaloth answer with, "I think both of you need to be more forthcoming with information." This also causes a loss of influence with Zhjaeve by one, bringing influence with Ammon Jerro and Zhjaeve to 15 and -1, respectively. D. Nolaloth's Valley. Ores #15-#16 (last ores). The last two ores (15 and 16) of the game are found here. One is by the entrance to the winding passage of the valley. The other is on the walls of the open area by the dragon heart. At level 22, the Elder Elementals here are merely distractions and yield 76xp each. The conversation with Nolalothcaragasint offers another, more direct, perspective on the King of Shadows. The imprisoned crystal dragon eventually relates the story of his failed battle with the Guardian and his two views that the Illfarn empire: 1. lacked perspective as mortals and were therefore "incapable of planning beyond a few thousand years" AND 2. predictably demonstrated hubris and folly by attempting to fashion anything so powerful with the notion it could be guaranteed to faithfully and always serve the interests of its creators ("What could possibly go wrong?") You receive 1000xp for finding out from Nolaloth where to reform the silver Swords and another 2000 for freeing him so he may finally die. The two black dragons here are worth 273xp each. You can destroy Nolaloth's crystal heart to defeat the dragons without having to fight them directly. Although you miss out on experience this way, it is faster. E. West Harbour and reform the Sword of Gith. Similar to the Gauntlets of Ironfist, remember to cache all your Silver Shards somewhere if you want to keep them even after reforming the Sword. Unlike the gauntlets, which could simply be placed on the ground, the shards have to be placed inside an object that is not being carried on your PC or his/her companions - a corpse or other storage object fixed on the ground is needed. For example, if you place the silver shards in a bag of holding and then place the bag on the ground, the shards will be immediately returned to your inventory, though the bag will remain where you set it. Furthermore, they must be in a different area/location than West Harbor or they will still be lost in reforming the sword. One solution is to place the shards in the mound that held the hidden cache Guyven revealed just outside Crosroad Keep, as I did, or on the remains of one of the black dragons in Nolaloth's Valley. It's advisable to have the party immune to energy/ability drain before entering what's left of West Harbor (e.g. Death Ward). While in the ruins of the village, you can earn 250xp by passing an intelligence check to see through the ruse the corrupted Webb Mossfeld tries to play. Another 50xp is possible if you use the four logs in the area to build a makeshift bridge to the other side (skill 15+ required). Also, the spirit of Danan Starling remains in the area. If you are kind to him you will, after confronting a few additional shadows, meet a Greater Shadow posing as his mother Retta. After you defeat it (for 51xp at level 22) you can release Danan's spirit for 250xp and also use the root he was carrying to restore your diminished statistics from entering the area (if you didn't protect yourself from this first as I did). The Greater Shadow impersonating Retta drops 5 shadow residues. You earn 1500xp for reforming the silver sword. F. Callum and the Shadow Reaver. The four Golems here are enhanced by the Shadow Reaver and his use of the Tome of Iltkazar, but at level 22, they are only a distraction and are worth 76xp each. The Shadow Reaver yields a Greatsword "The Golem's Blade", a Ring of Power, the Tome and 89xp upon its death. 13) Time 32% - Income 27,257. 98 merchants/102 peasants A. Kana 1. Daerred Letter 3/3 and Ring of Positive Thinking. 2. Set Greycloaks to Patrol Surroundings. 3. Kana will inform you the Keep's populace is upset about the high taxes (put into place at 25% Keep time). However, as long as the player was successful with the 4 requisites to have these high taxes started without ill effect, keeping them at maximum for the rest of the game does not appear to slow growth of the merchant or peasant population. B. Talk to Aldanon about the Tome of Iltkazar. Ammon Jerro and Zhjaeve must be in your party for this or dialogue will break after Qara. C. While near the Construct in the Keep basement, speak with Grobnar to upgrade it with the Tome of Iltkazar. Assuming the player has installed the Construct patch, the Tome grants +2 to Strength, Dexterity and Constitution. 14) Time 35% - Income 31,620. 112 merchants/119 peasants A. Kana: Dobson (City Watch only) - After successful use of appraise, I chose to pardon Dobson for a +1 Chaotic shift, morale +1 and merchant growth +0.5% 15) Time 37% - Income 35,563. 127 merchants/143 peasants A. Kana 1. Katriona to Special Missions. 2. Special Mission: Bugbears - Start. Although Jalboun is on Special Missions, Katriona or Bevil are also required to have best success here. 16) Time 40% (uneventful) - Income 39,440. 141 merchants/165 peasants 17) Time 42% - Income 43,083. 154 merchants/187 peasants A. Kana 1. Special Mission: Bugbears - Total success. Receive Nasher's Ring of STR 2. Reset Greycloaks to Patrol Surroundings. 3. Katriona to Patrols. 18) Time 45 to 50% (uneventful) - Income 64,237. 254 merchants, 244 peasants 19) Time 52% - Income 78,401. 307 merchants/261 peasants A. Kana: 1. Raven's Allies - I allowed Kana to decide; she refused them. 2. Katriona to Special Missions. 3. Special Mission: Mere of Dead Men - Start. 20) Time 55% - Income 96,169. 356 merchants/277 peasants A. Kana: 1. Special Mission: Mere of Dead Men-Total Success, receive Watchman's Helm. 2. Reset Greycloaks to Patrol Surroundings. 21) Time 57% - Income 112,619. 400 merchants/306 peasants A. Kana: Katriona to Patrols. 22) Time 60% to 77% (uneventful) - Income 167,456. 639 merchants/1,069 peasants 23) Time 80% - Income 165,420. 658 merchants/1251 peasants A. Kana: Conscription - No conscription. Kana and Katriona have differing viewpoints on this subject. When Kana asks "Why don't you want to conscript men?", I answered with, "I fight to protect my people - not to throw them to the enemy out of expediency." This response shifted my alignment 3 towards good (now 0/98) and resulted in the only instance where Kana backed away from an opinion. 24) Time 82% to 85% (uneventful) - Income 155,076. 693 merchants/1,699 peasants 25) Time 87% to 97% (uneventful) - Income 87,180. 758 merchants/3,455 peasants A. Before moving on to Keep time 100% I finished a forgotten task: I spoke with Calindra to register the last of the ores I had found and collect her Adamantine samples. Unlike Calindra, Pentin is a bit of a cranky and impatient opportunist. So after your first conversation with Pentin, he will state his intention to leave if you speak with him at any point in the future without having ore deposits to report. One way to deal with this is, if your PC is Evil aligned, to threaten Pentin and pass an intimidate check to "persuade" him to stay, for +1 influence with Bishop (and if Casavir is in your party roster, probably a -1 influence with him as well, though I didn't verify this). Good aligned PCs may also attempt to intimidate Pentin, but will always fail the skill check no matter how high their rank. Alternatively, when Pentin threatens to leave, you may kill him as I did for +2 influence with Bishop (now 28) a +10 shift toward chaotic and total +4 shift towards Evil (now 0/95). Although Pentin screams for help, no guards come to his aid and there are no negative consequences for the player slaughtering him (unless Casavir is in the party, in which case there's a loss of 2 influence with him). Pentin drops a potion of Cure Serious Wounds after his summary execution and yields 5xp. B. OPTIONAL: Recruiting At this point, the Blogspot authors of the Keep Optimization Guide found if they switched Greycloaks, Katriona, and Light of Heavens to recruiting, income plummeted to 18,447 at Keep Time 95% and stayed there. The treasury stopped growing as well. They believe this is a scripting oversight where you don't have enough income (presumably due to the cost of an increasing Greycloak population), yet it will not draw from the treasury or cause a loss of population in any category. They did find that at 100% Keep time this change in focus resulted in 1481 Merchants, 1486 Peasants and 12,767 Greycloaks (8311 of which were from recruitment). I am of the opinion that, strictly speaking, the population in any category beyond a certain number (what that is I have no idea) has little-to-no bearing on gameplay. Specifically, only the ratings indicated in the Crossroad Keep report given by Kana have any tangible impact. These ratings are: * Peasant Civility * Greycloak Civility * Morale * Training * Unit Strength * Weapons * Armor * Sergeants present (and where they are assigned, especially Jalboun) * Keep buildings constructed, which further impact Security categories of: - Fortifications - Land Security - Road Security - Road Condition Not mentioned in Kana's pop-up report, but still very important for key Keep metrics, are: * Income modifiers (e.g., whether Joy is present and the player's choice at the Merchants Costers event) * Security and Unit Strength modifiers (e.g. where and when the Greycloaks and applicable Sergeants are deployed). If you've done a reasonably good job of following the Blogspot authors advice, you've already managed to max out all these categories, as I did. Therefore, I chose to remain focused income and the security of Surrounding Lands and kept taxes at maximum. For me, income reached its apex around 60 to 77% and slowly went down from there. Again I presume this is due, at least in part, to the increasingly disparate ratio between the merchant to greycloak population (the peasant population may have played a role as well, but I have no data to back this up either). By most measures, I managed to more than double the results of the Blogspot Authors Team, as shown at 100% Keep time below: 26) Time 100% - Lockout. *******My results******** **Blogspot team results** Keep Funds 3,256,602 Keep Funds 1,433,765 Income 64,445 Income 113,163 # of recruits 0 # of recruits 0 Merchants 767 Merchants 1,744 Peasants 3,945 Peasants 1,750 Greycloaks 11,833 Greycloaks 5,248 Volunteers 11,783 Volunteers 5,198 ************************* ************************* #################################################################################### This concluded the Crossroad Keep management portion of the game #################################################################################### CrossRoad Keep Courtyard Once you are at 100% Keep time you can speak with Sir Nevalle and inform him "Crossroad Keep is Ready." A non-animated cut-scene begins afterwards where Nasher's army quickly falls to the undead hordes. Once the cutscene is done the PC is left standing near Veedle. When you next enter the Keep and approach Aldenon in the library, he tells you he is looking for Ammon Jerro but can't find him. If Ammon was in your active party roster, he will vanish as soon as you enter. Bishop tells you he left unexpectedly and will offer to track him down if you express an interest in why he left or where he went to. You can decline his offer and wait until Ammon returns, skipping the encounter entirely, but doing so misses out on valuble gear and a key late game episode central to the game's story. Shandra's Farm (optional) Even though Bishop offers to take you to Ammon Jerro, you don't have to have him in your party when you leave and, unlike the Circle of the Mere episode, he won't be with you when you arrive unless you also selected him for the mission. You'll have a chance to buff your party when you arrive before moving to face Koraboros, who will taunt Ammon for his mistakenly tragic killing of his granddaughter and (prematurely) gloat over his perceived fortune at the chance slay everyone present in return. Ammon joins your active roster just as the battle begins, so be sure he was properly outfitted before you entered Crossroad Keep. At CLVL 22 and with up to 4 other companions on your side, it's easy to dispatch Koraboros and his minions back to the hells; so easy, in fact, that I went alone. I also went alone with the idea that the revealing conversation that would begin after the battle's conclusion would be more plausible if it happened only between Ammon Jerro and my PC with no other companions around and (considering the location and circumstances) he would have little holding him back from speaking freely and confronting his past. Of note, this otherwise short battle presents another opportunity to get a little more experience: Koraboros summons two Cornugons before the battle begins. He and his minions (if given enough time) summon more Cornugons, Erinyes and Imps to aid him in his ill-fated attempt to exact revenge on Ammon Jerro and the rest of the party. They will eventually stop calling allies (after around 20 summons or so) but it can be somewhat amusing to have the entirety of Koraboros' infernal army easily defeated by just Ammon Jerro and my PC. In addition, just before thigs got started, I kept reloading until my Summon Baatezu feat brought forth another Koraboros, just for the ironic humor of seeing him fight himself (complete with screenshots). At CLVL 22 Horned Devils are worth 51xp, while Erinyes and Imps are worth 5xp each. Once the battle ends, a long conversation ensues where you can build up to 11 additional influence with Ammon Jerro. This was the script I followed: Jerro: I don't recall asking you to come with me. I won't bother asking how you knew I was here, you always seem to be underfoot, interfering with everything. PC: I can't afford to lose you and the part of the Ritual you possess. (+1 influence) Jerro: True. I had not thought to be ambushed here, but it is the nature of the Lower Planes to harbor grudges once humiliated. Jerro: In any event, to waste time trading words with you is not why I came here. PC: Did you come to pay your respects to Shandra? Jerro You're mistaken, of course. No, there is something I placed here long ago that may be of use in our war now. PC: Is that all this place means to you? Jerro: Is it all it means to me? Yes. Jerro: I never knew this place, never knew my niece until you brought her to me. So should I feel something as I look at this place? I think not. Jerro: It is a burnt ruin, and I have seen many of these strewn with corpses - some caused by me, but many more caused by the King of Shadows, so it affects me little. Jerro: That is because I know there will be hundreds, thousands, countless more unless the King of Shadows is stopped - and he must be stopped if people are to live. PC: Don't you think you should pay your respects anyway? Jerro: Ah, and so you pass judgement on me yet again. Do you realize how you sound or are you deaf to it? Jerro: As you condemn my actions, perhaps you should ask how well you knew her - *really* knew her. PC: She was my friend, she was part of our family. Jerro: Indeed. Because from all that I have heard, you were constantly placing her in danger, and you knew very little about her at all. Jerro: So your preaching is not only irritating me, it is a hypocrisy I commonly observe in the Neverwinter nobility... Captain. PC: I can tell you everything I knew about her, then you can decide. [An influence check with *Shandra* is made with this conversation choice. If successful, influence with Ammon Jerro is increased by 10 and the conversation continues as shown below] Jerro: Very well, I am listening. Jerro: That.. that was a great deal more than I thought. Jerro: She could have remained here and been safe, but yet she followed you... why? PC: If you ask yourself why you fought the King of Shadows, you'll probably have the same answer. Jerro: Still... despite what you have said... she is the reason why I have to fight this war, because no one else has the strength to do it - or is willing to make the choices that I can. PC: Keep telling yourself that, and you'll soon become what you're fighting. Jerro: I did what I had to do, always. They were hard decisions, but they had to be made by someone - and if no one would do it, I would. Jerro: And before you judge me for my crimes, perhaps you should look back - the trail of dead behind you is long, indeed, "hero" of Neverwinter. Jerro: Ask yourself truly if everything you have done has been done because you believe it was right - and then ask yourself if because of it, the innocent have suffered. PC: [Truth] Don't think that I am unaware of my deeds. Jerro: Yet your actions? Would you change them, if you had to do them over? Jerro: I did what I had to do, always. *Always*. The King of Shadows must be stopped, there is no middle ground in this. PC: Yes, but ask yourself *why* were you fighting the King of Shadows in the first place? Jerro: To save Neverwinter of course. Jerro: They didn't move fast enough, see the threat for what it was, so I acted. PC: By acting without thinking - isn't that how Shandra died? Jerro: [as if struck by the words, says nothing for a moment] Jerro: You're right. I won't argue it with you anymore. Jerro: I will not condemn all I have done, but there are times I have acted rashly - and innocents have paid the price. It is pride, and it is arrogance. Jerro: And I do wish I had known Shandra, even for a short while. I had thought her lost in the war, you know - and in the end, she was. Jerro: I am sorry, Shandra. Wherever you walk now, forgive me. [A glimmer of light from Shandra's Pendant shines briefly in the distance, catching Jerro's eye] Jerro: It seems the land has answered me. This... looks to be a pendant of some sort PC: I'm glad. Is there anything else you need here? Jerro: [who appears to have changed his mind about his original intentions] No, I have found what I was looking for. The above exchange brought my influence with Ammon Jerro to 26. I also earned 1,000xp for convincing him to be remorseful for (at least some of) his actions. In addition to recovering Shandra's pendant, Koraboros drops one of the most valuable non-crafted objects in the game: a Staff of the Magi. Also, By opening the crate next to Shandra's home, you will also recover Balafour's Gnashing Rod - a fitting weapon for Ammon Jerro, were he not using the +5 heavy mithral shield I had previously outfitted him with. Finally, if you examine the Scarecrow here you may pass an Intelligence check (16+). If you fail this, you may examine the ground with a Spot/Search check. If you pass any of these (16+) you find a hidden cache of two chests with more fixed, valuable gear: another copy of a Ring of Regeneration and The Sly Blade, along with the medium armor Spellchain, and a Scarab of Greater Protection. Crossroad Keep Courtyard Before moving further, keep in mind this is the last chance you will have to access the Crossroad Keep's basement, courtyard, outer grounds or any of its merchants. As such, it also represents your last opportunity to: * withdraw any funds from the Keep's treasury * craft/enchant items * buy or sell (anything) * freely redistribute equipment amongst all your companions Also, because you're restricted to two companions for most of the rest of the game and almost all your enemies are undead, it makes sense to prepare your PC and his/her chosen companions appropriately. Casavir was always my first choice because of the Pharoah's Mace he was best suited to use; I gave him the best gear available, except for defensive items - those stayed with Ammon. My next overall choice was either Khelgar (due to his speed and damage-dealing ability) or Zhjaeve (with her persistent spells). Before moving on I crafted these items: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- PERIAPT OF WISDOM +6 Wisom +6 (for Elanee) -------------------- Requires: Caster Level 8 Ingredients: Glowing Power Essence + Radiant Air, Earth, Fire & Water Essence + King's Tear + Iron Ingot + Leather Hide Spell: Owl's Wisdom (Zhjaeve) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- BRACERS OF ARMOR +8 Used by Elanee, provides a +8 Armor Bonus to AC ------------------- Requires: Caster Level 16 Ingredients: 2 Iron Ingots + Radiant Earth Essence + King's Tear Spell: Mage Armor ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- BELT OF AGILITY +6 (x2) Used by Bishop and Qara, provides a +6 bonus to ----------------------- Dextrity and Freedom of Movement per the spell Requires: Caster Level 8 Ingredients: Leather Hide + Glowing Air Essence + Rogue Stone Spell: Cat's Grace ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- I also unloaded all of my unwanted gear to the Shop Keeper in Ivarr's Temple, and Caelryna, in Deekin's Shop. Note that at appraise of 20, both merchants will buy items from the PC for more then they sell them for, with obvious potential consequences. As a reminder, Caelryna acts as a fence. This can be useful if the PC sent Uncus away after assuming control of the Keep, especially if you're looking to unload stolen gear this late in the game. By the time I had finished selling all my unwanted gear, I had 608,397 gold. Things progress quickly after the PC speaks with Sir Nevalle and says "The Keep is ready to stand against the Shadow Army." If you haven't already had Bishop lead you to Ammon Jerro at Shandra's farm, you may want to do that first, as this event precludes doing so later. You'll be brought the conference room in the Keep to speak with Kana, Nevalle and Nasher about plans to defend the Keep from the upcoming assault: you are to slow the progress of the approaching undead army by destroying the two nearby bridges that lead to Crossroad Keep. You must choose two of your companions and a set of three greycloak archers or melee fighters to assist you in this task. Choosing a companion may raise influence with them by one (if you say something supportive or encouraging) with the following exceptions: * You gain no influence choosing Sand or Elanee. * You can gain up to two influence with Casavir by choosing him. Further, if you also select Bishop (order does not matter), you can gain an additional +1 influence with Casavir by saying you want him to keep an eye on Bishop. Curiously, this causes no loss of influence with Bishop. * If Sand and Qara are chosen and you choose Sand first, you will automatically have -1 influence with Sand by choosing Qara, and an additional -1 if you support her when Sand chides her. Similarly, if you choose Qara first, you may loose the influence you gained with her by defending Sand when she insults him. * If both Ammon Jerro and Zhjaeve are chosen, you will lose influence (1) with Ammon if you choose Zhjaeve first. In any case, you may lose (more) influence (1 or 2) with your second choice by saying something insensitive in reference to your second choice. * The Construct cannot be chosen for this mission (likely a programming oversight). I selected Bishop, then Casavir, for this mission (influence now 20 and 29, respectively). Road to Rrossroad Keep Your alignment may shift by one towards good/evil or lawful/chaotic, depending on your instructions to the greycloaks as you arrive, but your instructions from the cutscene will otherwise have no effect on their fighting style. If you bring Ammon Jerro along on this mission, Daeghun will be indignant at his presence and question why he is with you. This has no impact on gameplay, but it can be interesting to see their exchange. If Ammon is not with you, Daeghun will chastise you if you respond to his greeting with anything other than, "Just tell me what you've seen, and go back to the Keep." The first group of Ghasts you meet here will be fighting three Greycloak footsoldiers, who will be immune to damage as plot characters until that battle is done. You can let them kill all the skeletons if you want, though you'll miss the XP by doing so. Once the skeletons are defeated the Greycloaks will join your party and can be injured. When they join, they'll ask who they should follow and an in-game dialogue box will state their bonuses (or penalties) in combat will be dependent on your influence with the companion they follow. I don't know if this is true or not, but I had an influence of 29 with Bishop by now and saw no noticable difference in how they fought as a result. Unlike your companions, the fighters and/or archers you bring along will stay dead if they're killed along the way. This won't matter much in the end, since they won't last long against the giant skeltons when you confront Garius by the bridges, but it may slow things down a bit not having them around. As always, you can buff them before combat and rest between battles to extend their lifespan. Along the way you can earn an additional 500xp by finding a supply area past the first bridge along with the additional xp from defeating the Shadow Priests (and their undead minions) guarding it. There's random gear to be found in the barrels (up to level 9 scrolls) and possibly one or two +2 weapons in the chest (or up to a belt of agility +2, if you reload enough) but, if you've been playing like I did, likely none of it holds a candle to what you're using now. Also, there are nine vampire coffins here; you'll get 200xp for each one that receives sunlight purification. At this point I maxxed out my PC's experience at 253,000, so I had to rely on the Gamebanshee website to report on possible experience hereafter. Crossroad Keep Although there are hints of it with Bishop, the only romance options in the game are with Casavir (for female PCs) or Elanee (for males). Once the bridge mission is complete the PC may choose to culminate any brewing relationship with them (provided there's high enough influence to make this happen). Afterwards, the player will be awakened up in their Keep quarters (with Casavir or Elanee standing by their side, if you had the PC accept their advances) to news of an impending assault. As with the bridge mission, the PC will choose two companions to assist them, this time on the walls of the Keep, as seige towers lead the assault against them. As before, who the PC selects (and how they explain the rationale of their decisions) may raise or lower influence with their respective companions. Some notes on possile results of your choices: * You gain no influence choosing Ammon, Sand or Elanee. * If Bishop and Casavir are chosen and you choose Bishop first, you may lose 1 or more influence with either depending on how you explain your choices, though it is possible to still come out ahead by +1 influence with both. * If Sand and Qara are chosen you may loose the any influence gained with Qara by telling her to follow Sand's lead. * If both Ammon Jerro and Zhjaeve are chosen, you will lose influence (1) with Ammon if you choose Zhjaeve first. In any case, you may lose (more) influence (1 or 2) with your second choice by saying something insensitive in reference to your second choice. * As before, the Construct cannot be chosen on this mission. I selected Khelgar, then Casavir (and the Pharaoh's mace he'd equipped) for this mission, with an influence now of 18 and 21, respectively. During the assault, siege towers will approach the Keep with their undead payload. The PC and his/her chosen companions will be subject to random archer fire. If you pay attention, you'll be able to see these towers in the backround as they approach the Keep. Once close enough in their approach you may attack them with ranged spells and weapons to both shorten their lifespan when they arrive and limit the flow of their undead payload. However, if you're in need of more XP, you can let them keep coming out until none are left. By now you're probably high enough level and with strong enough gear that success here is easy. Once the seige tower assault is done a cut-scene occurs during which the PC again chooses two companions to defend the Keep's courtyard. Tellingly, Bishop is not one of the available choices (though the Construct is) and he betrays the party for reasons that may become clear later, if the PC's influence with him is high enough. It's illustrative here to remember Bishop's quote from earlier in ACT I where he says, "I doubt you'll survive, but I will -- and I'm never on the losing side." For the Courtyard battle I kept Khelgar and Casavir since they were the most efficient at dispatching the constant stream of undead that appeared. Eventually (once the PC's companions destroy enough of them) Black Garius arrives and summons a Nightwalker, which he proudly annouces is an avatar of The King of Shadows. However, this Nightwalker is surpisingly easy to defeat and once it is, the player then chooses Ammon or Zhjaeve (or neither) to use their copy of the True Name Scroll to perform a recitation, banish Garius back to Merdelain and finally claim victory in defending Crossroad Keep. The NPC not chosen to perform the recitation is struck down by Garius and, when (s)he appears with the party again in Meredelain, has only about half of their hit points remaing from his knockdown blow. I experienced what appears to be a bug in the game where Garius fails to summon the Nightwalker more than 75% of the time. If he fails, the battle will never end and you will have to re-load to an earlier save to continue. After learning of this the hard way, I created a save point just prior to Garius' arrival to minimize any potential delay. After a cut-scene the player is able to speak with Aldenon again, who then offers to use the Tome of Iltkazar to teleport to the party to Merdelain, where (s)he and the party will soon confront the King of Shadows in the final portion of the game. You don't have to leave for Merdelain immediately, but since there's almost nothing else you can do in the meantime, I did. Vale of Merdelain As soon as you arrive there's an opportunity to lose influence with Sand. A conversation ensues between him and Qara, who responds to his explanation about the Tome of Iltkazar by saying it was "useless", since the party did not get taken directly to the King of Shadows. Sand becomes indignant with her impatience and insults her. If you respond with, "I think I'd rather have taken my chances in going through the Mere than teleporting here", there will be a loss of 3 influence with Sand, who will continue to live up to his name by insulting the PC as well. Another opportunity to affect influence is with Casavir, who comments on Bishop's betrayal. If the PC defends Bishop by saying "I'm still not convinced Bishop turned on us on purpose" you'll lose 1 influence with him. Conversely, if you answer saying, "We'll find Bishop, Casavir, and he will answer for his betrayal" you will earn +1 influnce. However, there appears to be a bug in the dialogue because, regardless of your answer and influence (or lack thereof), Casavir will reply with: "This journey... traveling with you has been an ordeal, and it is not one I can bear much longer. Let us find the King of Shadows and end this so we may part ways at last." Neeshka is whisked away as these conversations conclude. You can choose up to two additional companions along with Ammon Jerro and Zhjaeve as you progress to the game's finale. I chose Casavir and Khelgar for the same reason as the Crossroad Keep courtyard battle: they're the most efficient at dispatching the large quantities of undead you face, and Casavir's use of the Pharoah's mace is often a one-hit kill with its DC 22 fortitude against them. There was an added benefit to choosing Khelgar and Casavir for this final leg of the game: as fighter types they don't need to rest to maintain their offensive potential, which is a bad idea in this area anyway (unless you're looking for more experience from the undead foes that are usually generated when you try to do so). In fact, with my party, only Zhjaeve would get any real benefit from any resting and, with her persistent spell selection, I didn't rest at all until just before the final battle. Prior to moving on, I had Zhjaeve cast Death Ward on everyone except my PC (who wore an amulet of health) and the following persistent spells: SPELL TAGRET * Lesser Visage of the Deity Zhjaeve * Light Zhjaeve * Divine Favor Zhjaeve * Aid (x5) All party members, one at a time * Mass Lesser Vigor AoE (party) * Bless AoE (party) Once you move past the arrival area of Merdelain a small army of Bone Spiders is generated; I sent Khelgar and Casavir to dispatch them. Once they were defeated Khelgar bashed the door at the end of the causeway. With the exception of five golems, a Nightwalker and two shadow priests, I usually sent Casavir alone to defeat enemies we encountered, since the rest of them were undead and easy targets of the Pharoah's mace he wielded. Against others (like the Shadow priests) he used the falchion Severance Pay and had Khelgar lend a hand (no pun inteneded). I avoided resting until my party arrived at the point just before the Inner Sanctum to fight the three Shadow Reavers there. To aid in the goal of avoiding rest, Casavir wore the first two rings of regeneration my party had, along with a greater amulet of health; Khelgar wore the third ring. As you move through Merdelain you will have to walk though three black mist clouds to continue. They act as one-way teleporters and will bring your entire party to a different section once someone walks through them, so be sure you haven't left anything behind as you move to the next area. These clouds have no discernable center points to click on, so just move a companion or the PC into the middle of the cloud to be transported. While the three Shadow reavers don't require preparation to be defeated, it pays to rest and prepare with (persistent) spells first if you intend to destroy them without anyone dying in the process. Even thougn Zhjaeve and Ammon Jerro can use their true name scrolls at the same time to take out the shadow reavers more quickly, I found their use of the scrolls could be interrupted for no apparent reason, so be prepared for the likely need to make more than one attempt to rid yourself of each Reaver's dark immortality before taking them out. Also, the spell Control Undead and similar countermeasures will not work on the Reavers until the recitation of their true names is completed. There is no shortcut to defeating them and it's best to keep them occupied by others until this is done. Antechamber The antechamber is the last place your party can rest unaccosted and prepare for your final battles in the Inner Sanctum. Since I chose to build higher influence with Qara than Sand, I knew he would turn on the party during the cutscenes with Garius. Therefore, I had him memorize and cast only spells to buff the party before entering (e.g. greater heroism on everyone). I left him with only low-level, benign spells and swapped out his existing quality gear for junk to keep his irritation to a minimum when I took him down later on. Spell prepartion was similar to what I did earlier in Meredelain, with Zhjaeve's persistent spells and an added focus on Elanee's dinosaur pet. Inner Sanctum - cutscenes Before you fight, Garius will attempt to sway Ammon Jerro, Neeshka, Sand, Qara, Bishop and perhaps Grobnar to his side - though he does not always try with Grobnar. His attempt to lure Ammon never succeeds; a failed influence check will only change how Ammon speaks of the PC, not his allegiance. Neeshka requires a simple influence check to retain her services. For an extra nudge towards your side, say "I need you Neeshka", for +3 influnce before the actual check is made (at 32 beforehand, mine was high enough that this was not neccessary). Other conversation options will cause a loss of influence. If you are so inclined, you may choose to brand her a traitor, forcing her to Garius' side. It is no secret that Qara and Sand do not get along, and the one you have lower influence with will leave to side with Garius. Qara will defect if your influence with Sand is equal to or higher than hers, complaining of how "...I'm tired of him and all the rest telling me what to do and how...", even if the PC is female. Otherwise Sand will defect, warning Qara's uncontrolled power is too dangerous and must be stopped at all costs: "...the lesser of two evils," as he describes it. Bishop's allegiances remain as they always have been in the game until now: conflicted and complicated. You can't get him to join your side (at least, not in the first battle). However, although gameplay may lead one to believe otherwise, you can shape the conversation to make Bishop walk away and not fight you, no matter your influence. If influence with Bishop is low, preventing his defection could follow these conversation lines: Bishop: My debt to you is over, "Knight-Captain." Bishop: Don't think I didn't see you and the Paladin here, right before the siege. And to think, before that, I was willing to fight for you - I would have died for you. PC: That's not what happaned Bishop. Bishop: Of course not. Don't play me for a fool like you've done with the paladin there. You're both going to be in a grave soon enough. Bishop: It could have worked out differently, you know. But you're too much like your Uncle for my tastes. Bishop: And you make the same bad choices, just like Duncan did - and that's why I'm on this side, not yours. PC: I have no idea what you're talking about. Bishop: [Failure] Nice try, but I'm done listening to you - and your Uncle. Garius: I think we've heard enough from this knight of Neverwinter... and from you, ranger. Now be silent. Bishop: Is that so? Well, in that case, you can handle the Shard-Bearer on your own. Bishop: After all, you really don't need me, do you? I think it might be best if you stopped having people stand between you and the Knight-Captain here - Torio, Lorne, your reaver friends... I'm not going to fight your battles. Garius: You will die here if you leave, Bishop. I will come for you when I am done here. Bishop: [Laughing] Garius, you're going to die if you stay. The key to preventing Bishop's betrayal is showing sympathy for his position, but not implying weakness by "feeling sorry" for him. Apologizing, saying you're sorry (aside from the very beginning) or you don't care will always cause him to turn on you. However, if you get him to (or allow him to) state his case without belittling his position, Garius may eventualy tell Bishop to be quiet. And if there's one thing Bishop hates more than anything else, it's being told what to do; a command by Garius for Bishop to be silent will make him walk.
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