With the dank halls of the Starter Dungeon behind us, the party emerges back to the surface world. Before heading into the city, we take a quick detour down a forest path that leads to some tasty treasure. Liam tries his hand at disarming another trap.
Back on the main path, we follow the road along the stone wall beside us, we are shortly led to a stone path that can only be a sure sign of civilization. Moving forward, our spider-sense tingles as the narrator points out that this would be the perfect spot for... AMBUSH!
A throng of rat-men pour from the trees, looking like they haven't come to chat... We
identify them as Rattkin Bandits, and the battle quickly begins.
A tough fight, to be sure, but the rewards are quite hefty. Moving a little further down
the road, we enter an alleyway leading to the gates of the city. At the gate, we are
confronted by on the warriors of the Dark Savant; strange machine-like creatures of
great strength. He tells us that New City is under the control of the Savant, and asks
us what business we have in the city. Now, we could probably try and fight our way through
here, but these guys are tough, and it would most likely end with somebody dead. Fortunately, we found that flyer down in the dungeon that gives us a good excuse for coming to the city. We tell the guard "Palukes" is our destination, and he confirms it as valid. We are allowed entry.
Not to make liars out of ourselves, we head into the center of town and find Paluke's Armors relatively quickly. Paluke himself greets us and offers us a look at his meager selection. He isn't lying when he says he doesn't have much available, but we do manage to find a leather helmet for ZargonX, and a Feathered Cap for Tragic. Other than that, we ask Paluke a little about the city, but he doesn't have much to say. How very like a merchant.
Leaving the store, we set about exploring this large, twisting city. The streets are very maze-like, but Tragic's mapping kit helps keep us on track. We find a weapon shop, the Arms of Argus, but the rather large Umpani inside demands to know who sent us, to which we have no answer. In the center of town, a lone statue sits surrounded by a ring of water; it looks important, but attempting to swim out there now would kill most of us.
Adjacent to the fountain, we come across Thesminster Abbey. Kindly old Father Rulae welcomes us and offers healing for the body or guidance for the soul. Healing for the body gives us access to a health-restoring fountain (for a small donation, of course). Asking
for guidance, he tells us to travel to the city of Munkharama and find Brother Tshober.
"Slay not he that cannot hear" are the cryptic words we are told to repeat.
Elsewhere in the city, we find a series of Savant-controlled buildings that we decide
not to mess with. The red-marked buildings, though, are Savant Trooper barracks, and we
are strong enough to tackle those. A few battles later, and we've let the Savant forces
know that trying to have somewhere to sleep in this city will not be tolerated! We also
find a strange black wafer with the rather meaningless words "ETX:BYYR" on it. We
save that for later.
We let Liam try his hand at staging a bank heist, picking his way into the local bank. It
turns out the bank has been long abandoned, and the only loot we find is a single copper
penny. We tuck it away for later.
Near the bank, we stumble across what seems to be the only inn in town. We don't need a room for the night yet, but innkeepers are always choc full of information! Questioning
the innkeeper on several subjects reveals that war is brewing among the various races of
Guardia. We also find out that the Arms of Argus is rumored to be involved with the "black
market," so that could be some valuable info...
A little more exploration leads to an interesting encounter down a back alley...
This is probably important
Checking around the front of that building reveals it to be the Savant-controlled jail. We'll
hold off on that jailbreak for the moment...
Down the road a little further, we find a condemned area. The inside is, of course, full
of garbage-dwelling creatures that we quickly dispatch. A seeming dead-end has a faded sign that reads "Ol C y c ess." Well, since this is New City, I can deduce that "Old City"
is probably the first part of that sign, and the keyhole on the wall makes me think that
this is the area, perhaps, for "access." We have no key that fits, though, and the lock
seems unpickable. Someone out there has to have it...
Back towards the center of town, we try once again to enter the Arms of Argus. This time,
when queried about who sent us, we tell him "black market." That does the trick. He hurries us inside and gives us a look at his selection. Funds are a little tight right now, but
weapon spending is always valuable, so we get a bastard sword for ZX, and a shiny new
Rapier for Liam. (At this point, Tragic has also picked up a spear and a crossbow from
fallen enemies). There is also a shiny new katana that Ryoga could use, but we're going
to hold off on that for the moment.
On the far side of town, we enter Belcanzor's Magick Emporium. He has a variety of scrolls,
spellbooks, and potions available. We decide to pick up a Slow scroll for Styos, as that's
always handy to have around.
A stop by the local library leads us to find a book guarded by a silent, motionless Savant sentinal;we decide to leave that alone. We also find Prof. Wunderland, a nervous old Rattkin. Since there is never anyone better to ask about stuff than a professor, we question him about Old City. He also provides us with the access key, but warns us that someone else has been poking around the city...
Knowing that someone else is possibly ahead of us, we race back to the Old City access and get ready to begin the next stage of the adventure!