While I work on a little screenshot problem with Fate, I figured to fill in the time with the latest episode of NWN, which resumed last Sunday.

In some miraculous way, we picked up a player to fill in for the lost Nel. However, he was new to NWN online, and it took him awhile to log in. So first we shared out the gold from our last foray, and then went shopping.

Alas for Stony, the store had nothing he could use, beyond some extra healing supplies. Kira did better, picking up a suit of armor that boosted her protection by a good margin.

Stony noticed she wasn’t wearing a cloak of protection, and offered to buy it for her, to be repaid in the future. Ever practical, the Dwarf was interested in keeping the main healer on her feet ;).

With buying and selling done, the party discussed what to do next. Naturally, that meant how to find/rescue Nel. Stony went over to Bolger, the barkeep, and asked him about cities.

Bolger mentioned two places, Waterdeep to the north, and Candlekeep to the south. Stony had a vague memory that Candlekeep was a library, and that was confirmed by others in the party.

Meanwhile, Alondar, a half-Elven fighter/rogue, made his appearance and began chatting with the party, especially Grace. Apparently it didn’t take much more than a good-looking man to get her mind off Nel. Heh.

Stony rejoined the group, and said he thought Candlekeep would be the best place for information. Just about then, a woman can bursting into the tavern and ran up to Aron, the sheriff. She handed him a note.

Stony didn’t like the look of that. Obviously, trouble was out there somewhere, and he wanted no part of it. Nel came first in his book.

Sevia – about whose mental stability Stony is in severe doubt – opined that maybe a rogue sorcerer was on the loose. She went on like that for awhile, annoying Kit and Stony with her obsession.

It turned out that the note was an extortion demand from some hobgoblins. They demanded supplies, or they’d attack the village of Greenford. While Aron mulled over the situation, Stony and Kit urged the party to leave and head for Candlekeep.

This segment provided a nice counterpoint to my post on Why Should I Care?. Neither Stony nor Kit cared at all about Greenford’s problem. They wanted to get on with saving Nel. He was far more important than some ragtag hobgoblins.

Kira was torn. She wanted to save Nel, too. But as a cleric, she also felt an obligation to help those in need.

Alondar and Sevia, being the newest additions – and Al not knowing Nel at all – were ready to ride to the rescue. Grace, like Kira, was feeling ambivalent about the situation.

Stony and Kit were forcing the issue, and ready to move on south to Candlekeep. Naturally, as players, we knew that wasn’t going to happen. But sometimes, ya just have to make the DM work a little ;) (and, of course, they really do want to rescue Nel from the shadow plane).

The woman, Olindy, mentioned she sneaked past a hobgoblin guard because they were arguing over the gear of some wizard they’d killed. That caught the attention of Sevia, Kit, and Grace.

Then Olindy went on to say the wizard (whom the gobbies ate) had been full of ale. Now she had everyone’s attention. Could that have been Matreus? He was well-known to be a souse.

So we were stuck. We had to find out if that had been him or not. So, reluctantly (on the part of some), we agreed to clean up the hobgoblin problem.

At this point, the game turned into the comedy of errors. No sooner had we trooped out the door, than Aron called us back, to hand out some extra healing supplies.

Then we left again, through the east gate, when he called us back a second time, though only half the party returned. Stony went and got the rest. Now Aron wanted to give us directions to the village.

He said “it’s to the north of town, then east”. Well, there wasn’t any north gate. So we went out the east gate, and a few steps down the road, Al and Kit turned north and went up a small hill. A small hill with traps all over.

That didn’t seem to be the way, so back we went to town, looking for a north exit. There just wasn’t one. Stony was fed up. He stomped back to the tavern and asked Aron again. It turned out the “north” just meant north of the tavern, then through the east gate. It’s a miracle Stony didn’t clobber him right there.

So at last we were en route to Greenford. Partway along the road, we could hear the hobgoblins, still arguing. Kit was out in front, scouting, and was noticed. As they came after her, the rest of the group came up to attack.

These were wimps. Stony put down three of them, and Kit took out the fourth with a fabulous backstab (great moment for a crit to come through; double 20s!).

A search of the bodies turned up a huge (5500) amount of gold, plus some wizard stuff: boots, wands and a couple of things I didn’t catch. It turned out the area was heavily trapped, and several, including Stony, took some damage.

Kit and Alondar did some scouting around, but came up with not much more than a piece of healing plant. We went on to Greenford, and talked with a villager.

He told us where the hobgoblins were camped. After further conversation, but no more information, we continued east to the Tanner’s Ridge area. Kit and Alondar went ahead scouting. Others were starting to move around and Stony called them to stay together.

After awhile, Alondar came back to lead us to where the hobgoblins had put up a defensive position. This is where things turned nasty.

First, it was nighttime, and I hate fighting in the dark. This is one of my quarrels with NWN: the dark vision implementation sucks swampwater. Stony couldn’t see a thing, and he’s supposed to be able to see in the dark.

There were a bunch of hobgobbies on a hill, some ground forces, some archers, one mage, and a ballista with acid attacks. That ballista never missed, either.

The fighting was incredibly fierce. Stony wasn’t having much trouble in the melee combat, but the occasional hit, along with that (unmentionable) ballista was taking its toll, and he needed some healing to keep going.

The others were being pummeled, too. This, in some ways, was worse than the army of shadow animals we faced back in Kinnisfrae.

Stony had a real bad moment when he took a couple of hits in combat, followed by a nasty fire arrow, a ballista hit, and then the mage opened up with a couple of spells. I had to retreat downhill (foo!) and use four healing potions to keep Stony on his feet.

Meanwhile, the rest brought down the remaining gobbies, though it looked bad for Alondar, who went down, heavily wounded. Fortunately, he survived.

Down the other side of the hill were some boars. Kit, Alondar, and Grace easily picked them off with missile weapons, and we finally had the chance to catch our breaths.

Kit and Alondar went off on another scouting jaunt, and found a hut on the opposite side of the area. We gathered there, and as time was just about up, we decided to leave the finale for next time.

That was a rugged encounter, and who knows what waits inside that hut? Probably even worse. Who’d have thought mere hobgoblins could be so difficult? And we didn’t even find out if the eaten mage was Matreus. Foo!