Note: This is a stand-alone page covering the quest The Nature of the Beast. This quest is also covered in the main walkthrough here.
A component quest related to the larger Troll Trouble questline, this won’t appear in your journal until you stumble upon it, or until the New Troll Sightings event occurs, at which point you’ll be advised to seek out one Bartholomew Delgado. Assuming you’re here after checking out the Troll Trouble - Events Overview page, you’ll know this pops up after the Troll Invasion event appears, roughly two weeks before An Ancient Curse expires. For reference, if you’re following the walkthrough chronologically, we’ll be dealing with this shortly after An Ancient Curse - Part 2 starts as part of our journey south through previously-explored areas leading up to the Swamp Witch’s Hut Expedition.
This quest will take you (back?) to the Lone House area, and since this quest starts along with numerous other quests related to Troll Trouble, you might want to stop by the A Ford Across the Skunk River area, as you can complete the quest Renowned Explorer along the way. Follow the links as your interests demand, the following will be dedicated to the quest at hand.
To reach the Lone House area from the capital, follow these directions:
- Southwest to reach landmark: A Ford Across the Skunk River
- South (cross Skunk River)
Bartholomew’s Brand Observation
When you arrive at the Lone House area, make your way to Bartholomew’s house, which is in the northeastern corner of the area. If this is your first visit, consult the page Lone House for information about the area, including encounters, traps, treasure… all that good stuff.
Talk to Bartholomew (assuming you’re done doing everything else in this area) and ask him “Do you know anything about the local trolls who are resistant to fire?”, to which he’ll seem surprised before immediately mentioning that just such a troll was caught in one of its fire traps. Perhaps studying its corpse will give Bartholomew some insights? The only problem is, you’ll need to make it a corpse, first, as the mage’s traps are clearly not suited for the task. Assuming you’re ready, pick the option [Accompany Bartholomew] “Lead the way.”, then kill the Branded Troll when you arrive.
After this easy fight, Bartholomew will use his magic to locate a “hammer-encircled-by-thorned-vines” brand on the beast’s chest. Too bad you can’t get one of those, eh? A brand seems a small price to pay for fire immunity. Bartholomew will excise the brand, then hand you a key to his laboratory, instructing you to go there while he does… whatever he’s going to do. Loot the Branded Troll when Bartholomew leaves, then head north to reach the mage’s laboratory, the entrance to which is disguised as a humble barn.
Enter the laboratory, head down a ramp and note a secret door [Perception 15] along the wall to the northeast. Open the door (provided you find it, of course) to find a trapped [Perception 22] chest inside, which you should carefully disarm [Trickery 22], unlock [Trickery 20] then loot. Your prizes include a Cloak of Resistance +1, Bracers of Archery, two Scrolls of Fireball and 371 GP, among other, less interesting treasures.
Leave the room, pass through a gate to the southeast, then turn northeast to reach a proper dungeon. This Bartholomew character might be a little more morally dubious than he originally let on. Continue northeast and you’ll be pestered by a troll named “Dimwit”, who croaks variants of “Bor-ba” at you from behind the bars of its cage. Why did Bartholomew send you here, knowing you’d find evidence of his cruel experiments? You’ll get a chance to question him soon enough, as he’ll arrive and tell you what he discovered about the branded troll.
|Reward: For learning about the troll's fire immunity|
Apparently these fire-resistant trolls are being mass-produced by some artifact. What artifact, and who is using it? Questions Bartholomew can’t answer, unfortunately, but some answers are better than none, and if you can cut the head off this particular serpent, perhaps the body will wither? In any event, Bartholomew rewards you with a Wand of Acid Arrow, just in case you don’t have enough ways to rid yourself of trolls yet, after which you’ll get the chance to confront him about his dungeon.
The crux of the… misunderstanding seems to be that Bartholomew doesn’t view trolls as sentient beings. Your character’s view on the matter (and perhaps the issue of slavery) can serve as a fine guide for your actions here, or failing that, just following the alignment values and the whims of your companions. Picking the [Chaotic Good] or [Chaotic Neutral] responses will force Bartholomew to release or kill the troll, respectively, but it’ll also anger him. On the other hand, the [Lawful Neutral], [Neutral] and [Lawful Evil] responses will allow Bartholomew to keep his subject.
If you have Octavia in your party, she’ll object at any outcome that keeps the troll alive and behind bars, forcing you to pick a [Neutral Evil] action to keep Bartholomew appeased, otherwise leaving [Chaotic Good] or [Neutral] options that side with Octavia and anger Bartholomew. If you side with Bartholomew, Octavia will not hold a lingering grudge against you, but Bartholomew is another matter entirely… Aside from leaving Octavia behind before exploring Bartholomew’s laboratory, there’s no way to avoid this conflict and keep both sides happy.
Whatever decision you make, continue northeast and loot a chest on a shelf to score a Token of the Dryad, then pick two books off some bookshelves, including “Temple of the Roses” by Elestin of Sinaria and Bartholomew’s Diary.