Lion’s Way

3 Mirtul 1368

After the burial we come across some more equipment from the thugs that ambushed me and my father the night before.

The leather armour is similar to my studded leather. It provides less protection, but allows for more movement.

There is also a long sword on the ground.

I hand the Imoen the long sword. She says she prefers a shorter blade, and asks Xzar if she can borrow Montaron’s sword until he’s resurrected. Xzar doesn’t seem to be bothered by the request.

Gameplay Note
I’m aiming to make Imoen stealthy, and since studded leather armour has a stealth penalty I’ve opted not to give her Montaron’s armour for now.

We decide to explore the area a bit, just in case there are any more of the armoured figure’s thugs around. Near the path we come across a wolf.

Imoen starts shooting as I close in with my mace. Xzar casts Stiffen Bones.

The wolf is slowed by Xzar’s magic. The wolf tries to attack Imoen, but she still has the Oil of Speed effect and manages to get out the way long enough for me to engage it.

I tell Xzar to hang back for now. No need to lose another companion today. After taking a few blows and a couple of arrows the wolf tries to retreat.

Imoen and I give chase, but it manages to escape.

Gameplay Note
This wolf behaves a little differently to wolves in a vanilla game. It’s a tweak introduced by the Sword Coast Strategems mod by Gibberlings3. It was created by a modder who hated the idea of killing innocent wolves and dogs.

We continue to explore and encounter a bear.

It seems to be ignoring us, so we move away before it changes its mind.

We discover some cliffs and find a man standing too close to the edge.

Imoen: Hey, ya know what? Dorthon over ‘ere was just locked out of his home-town without a penny, and some monsters killed his father. If anyone here should be jumping cliffs, it’s him! And d’ya see him jumpin’? So what’s yer problem?

Dorthon: No, by all the gods do not do such a thing! There is so much to live for!

Chase: You’re right, of course. What a fool I was to think this would solve anything. It didn’t solve anything the last time I stood here and was stopped, nor the time before that. I really should develop a better method of dealing with adversity. It’s such a long walk as well. Hmm, perhaps if I had mumsey construct a cliff closer to town. Ah well, thanks for your concern. Ta.

Imoen: I’m glad you tried to talk him outta it, Dorthon, even if he was just lookin’ for attention.

Chase: Eh? Never mind! Must go! Much to do!

With that he leaves. Did he say “construct a cliff”? How would one even accomplish such a thing?

We carry on along the cliffs and Imoen damn near runs right into another bear!

We need to be careful when using speed-increasing potions!

Farther up the cliffs we find a kobold.

Imoen takes it out in one shot.

It turns out the kobold wasn’t alone. I cast Bless to give us a boost. Xzar starts to stiffen the bones of the kobolds.

Imoen tosses her Wand of Magic Missiles to Xzar, but he is hit by an arrow.

Xzar retreats and eats his gooseberries. A hobgoblin and some goblins move into view. This is a small horde!

Imoen takes out another kobold. The gooseberries don’t help Xzar so he downs Montaron’s Potion of Healing instead.

I take out a kobold and charge towards the hobgoblin.

Buzzurk! There’s a lot of them!

We decide to retreat as they pursue us.

Back to the stone circle. We will make our stand here.

They start coming in.

Xzar makes use of Imoen’s wand.

And Imoen takes out the next kobold to approach.

They one-two the next goblin to approach.

Imoen has only 13 arrows left. Only 8 charges left in the Wand. Better make them count. They keep coming and Xzar wastes a wand charge.

Damn! We need to be more careful. We wait a while longer. It seems like they’ve given up pursuit. Xzar says if he has time to memorise his spells, he could take out a lot of them with his Sleep spell. We decide to try and rest.

Xzar makes some idle conversation while we recover.

Imoen: Eh… no, just lint and crumbs. Why? You’re holding something back?

Xzar: I am not. Just the poor tools of my trade, as you have those of yours.

Imoen: Mm-hmm. A surgical knife and gloves, parchment, quills, ink, a ball of gut-string, four empty ceramic vials, and two steel vials that feel empty.

What are those stoppered with, anyway? It isn’t cork. Seems more like some kind of tar.

Xzar: You *have* been curious. They are non-reactive plugs made by specialists back at… of my acquaintance. One never knows when one might wish to preserve a… specimen.

Imoen: Specimen? Of what?

Xzar: One never knows. Why just the other day, I espied what I took for a specimen of true happiness. Alas! It fled before I could make certain of it.

Imoen: Bet that happens to you a lot.

Xzar: All things come to those who aspire… and wait. Wait for someone to finish the drudge-work, damn their idle bones! Why *can’t* they do their work, and let me get on with mine?

Imoen: Maybe you haven’t waited long enough yet.

Xzar: *sigh* Probably not. Would you like a jelly drop, Imoen?

Imoen: Uh… do you have any?

Xzar: I had some once-upon-a-time, and I should like another. Please keep that in mind, should you run across any, hmmm?

I’m not sure if he’s actually mad or he’s just pretending. It’s a good way of distracting people from whatever he’s into.

We’re well rested now, so it’s time to take out that horde. We take out a lone kobold.

It seems they have spread out while we rested. We realise there is a lot of equipment scattered around.

Some short swords and short bows, but more importantly there are nearly 100 arrows in quivers. Imoen takes them all.

We find a pair of archers from the horde. Imoen gets to work on the hobgoblin.

Xzar also hits it with a Magic Missile.

The hobgoblin falls to an arrow and I hurt the kobold.

I chase the kobold down and kill it, but the rest of the horde starts to find us.

Xzar tries to move away. I charge toward the hobgoblin to distract it. A goblin also approaches but it has second thoughts when Imoen hits it.

They get taken down, but even more keep coming.

A goblin tries to sneak attack Xzar.

I get wounded. Xzar attempts to flee the goblin. Imoen provides him with covering fire.

But it isn’t enough. The goblin’s arrow takes Xzar down. So much for that Sleep spell.

We take care of the remaining goblins, but even more of the horde approaches.

I heal myself and rush the kobolds before they can get to Imoen.

We start picking them off one-by-one.

We survey the carnage. It looks like the entire horde has been taken down, but at the cost of our new mage friend. We go around gathering equipment. Among the loot we find an arrow we can’t identify.

If only Xzar was still here. I’ve been at this less than a day and already three of my party have died. I need to get better at this.

Gameplay Note
This area is giving me a run for my money already. Two character deaths and I haven’t even made it to the Friendly Arm Inn yet.

After gathering all the leftover equipment, our backpacks are looking a bit full.

We keep moving and it turns out we still haven’t killed them all. Another kobold survived.

I get in close while Imoen supports. Another goblin manages to sneak up on her and stab her in the back.

No! I can’t lose another companion today! Imoen manages to take out the kobold, but as I rush to help another goblin appears out of nowhere!

Imoen retreats and swings around with her bow. Both goblins are now focused on me and I take a hit.

I heal myself and Imoen prepares the Wand of Magic Missiles.

Gameplay Note
I don’t think I’ve ever used this wand in any run of the game before. This is the first time I’m glad Imoen brought it with her!

It hits but only wounds the goblin.

She finishes it off with a couple more arrows. Meanwhile the goblin I am fighting seems to be getting the upper hand.

Imoen manages to take it down with an arrow before it kills me.

Gameplay Note
I wasn’t expecting Imoen to be such a killing machine.

After the fight I drink my last Potion of Healing.

Imoen still has 2 left, so she gives me one to hold onto. We keep moving through the wilderness and get attacked by a diseased gibberling.

Imoen takes care of it easily.

A second diseased gibberling tries its luck.

Imoen introduces it to another arrow.

On the way back to the road is another wolf. We get attacked again.

I keep it busy while Imoen turns it into a pincushion.

Back on the road we find a travelling messenger.

Imoen: Another caravan raided?! Wow, that’s no good! Remember those Flamin’ Fists passin’ by Candlekeeplast week? They said there was at least two missing! I think we should keep our eyes peeled, or we’ll be killed by the bandits fer nothin’!

Excitin’ though… Caravans, bandits, road… like an adventure from a book!

Binkos: Just keep your heads down and your weapons handy.

Mysterious thugs in the night, kobolds, goblins, hobgoblins. And now we have to watch out for bandits. The road to the Friendly Arm Inn isn’t going to be easy. Still, Imoen can aim true, and I can take a beating. We shall press on and find my father’s friends. Perhaps they will shed some light on the people who killed him.

Gameplay Note
It seems Imoen is a killing machine right now. I wanted to see how true this is so I checked out Imoen’s statistics.

She has 80% of kills in this chapter! By comparison Dorthon has only 4 kills if you exclude the assassins and rats from Candlekeep.

Xzar and Montaron have only 3 kills between them. They seem to be better at dying.
Anyway, that’s it for this chapter. Next time we’ll try and get to the Friendly Arm so we can resurrect our fallen comrades.

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