After we finally get through the spider infested part of Cloakwood, we move on to search for the mysterious Iron Throne base, rumored to be in the northwestern part of the enormous forest.
We come across a cave. Inside we find two hostile baby wyverns and... a neutral guy standing in front of them? I take advantage of hyperactive politeness, and inability to disturb other people talking, which seems inherent to all living creatures in Faerun and strike up a conversation. He introduces himself as Peter of The North (well, he doesn't really introduce himself but that's what the game titles him as) and starts nervously explaining how he's just a humble woodsman doing a little spelunking to find subterranean trees, which are best for "wood and wood-related activities". I inquire further and, amazingly enough, discover that he's lying through his teeth. He's trying to train the wyverns to be guardians of some mine, but now that we've disturbed them and the cat is out of the bag, he tries to cut his losses and "placate them with meat. YOUR meat!". We fight.
The wyverns have, aside from great attack speed and damage, an absurdly powerful poison effect, which consistently knocks me on my ass (seriously, never make the Player Character the main tank!) and their master saves versus my party's assortment of charm spells, but, after I use my gift of
|Druids have a strange way of showing respect.|
|Talk about hiding in plain sight.|
|We can sleep in a cave full of fresh monster corpses, but I'll bet you anything we can't rest here.|
Anyway, Amarande repeatedly tries to get a cast out but gets pummeled by the party. He drops a unique club "Root of the problem", which looks like a tree branch and grants a +3 modifier against "unnatural creatures". No one in my party specializes in clubs, but it should net a considerable sum at the nearest pawnshop.
The area is starting to run out of unexplored space, so we move south where we find...
more crazed "Shadow Druids"! We fight him, if your definition of "fight" translates to "curbstomp utterly". All those treehuggers are making my snipers run out of arrows.
Further south, in a stone circle, we finally find Faldorn, a less bloodthirsty druid who offers us to join her in her fight against the Iron Trone, whose fort is located to the east. I don't have much faith left for druids giving me directions, but there is nowhere else to go, so I agree. And then I have to disagree because she tries to join the party, but that's unimportant since we're going to raid the fort anyway. We go east.
|You can't be serious! Look at this shit! What is this?!|
A rendered cinematic tells us that we're entering the forest proper:
|On the upside, the cow gets to see a beautiful aerial view.|
After some more aimless walking we find a peculiar stone bridge, guarded by 3 armed men and two spiders (no, I don't know how that works). On the island across the bridge we follow a footpath and find another cave, with a trail of blood and a cloud of flies marking the entrance. I try to resist, but foul caves are my specialty and so we dive in.
|The interior feels incomplete without a treasure chest.|
Before we head out, I decide to further demonstrate the game's strange idea of a proper campground by trying to rest in the smelly, corpse-smeared, fly-infested monster cave and, wouldn't you know it, find it to be a valid place. Unfortunately we get a "random encounter" and another wyvern materialises in a corner of the cave before we can rest. Since my character still has potions effects on him I decide to try and take it down, succeed and gain 1400 xp which brings me to level 5.
We travel to Beregost, circumvent the annoying random encounters, ressurect Dynaheir and try to get the bounty for 3 wyvern heads, but noone in the temple seems interested, offering us a scoop on "a madman named Bazillus" instead, so I have to add the wyvern heads to my lovely collection of trophies, right next to all the bandit scalps. Ah well, we've managed to amass 12000 gold so far, so we should be okay for a while.
After the mandatory resting/shopping/spell restocking we make our way back to the forest and, finally, locate the mines we've been looking for. The small footpaths leading to them are teeming with Iron Throne guards, who show heavy resistance, with wardogs and snipers all over. We give them a what for, even scare off one of the lookouts by (technically not untrue) tales of wyverns about, and keep moving east until we see the wall of the mining camp.
Being of the devious sort, I start looking for a rear entrance but the whole camp is secluded by a wall and a moat, so we have to take the main path, defeat some heavily armored guards watching it and get engaged in conversation by a miniboss.