Now that you’ve got a handle on some early kingdom management, it’s time to turn your gaze outside of the capital - specifically it’s time to contemplate how, exactly, you’re going to reach the Verdant Chambers.
Despite the fact that the Guardian of the Bloom requested that you travel alone, your first expedition should be more concerned with finding a route there and clearing other map areas along the way. That being the case, hit the area transition along the southern end of your city and assemble your team. On this first expedition we’ll be covering the following areas:
|A Ford Across the Skunk River||Ring of Protection +1|
|Lone House||Amulet of Agile Fists, Giantslayer’s Clasp, Bastard Sword +1, Belt of Mighty Constitution +2, Protector of the Unjust, Amulet of Natural Armor +2|
|Overgrown Pool||Greataxe +1,|
|Three-Pine Islet||Longspear +1|
|Ruined Watchtower||Amulet of Natural Armor +1, Breastplate +2, Trollreaper, Cloak of Resistance +1, Heavy Crossbow +1, Handaxe +1, Studded Leather +2, Full Plate Mail +1, Belt of Physical Perfection +2, Two-Bladed Sword +1|
|Bandit Camp||Bastard Sword +1, Scalemail +2, Light Shield +2, Shortbow +1, Shortsword +1, Heavy Mace +1|
You’ll return to some of these locations for a quest later on, but the whole purpose of exploring now is to scout out the Verdant Chambers… plus clearing these areas now will simplify matters later, when time is more of a concern. We suggest you skip to the pages for these areas in the order they were listed, above, after which return to the capital, rest up, then return to the Verdant Chambers with your protagonist - alone.
Before that, however, some pertinent notes about the general flow of this chapter:
Downtime and Exploration
There’s often a good deal of down-time between important, kingdom-related activities, and you’ll frequently find yourself waiting for new quests to start, for events to appear and to be resolved by your leaders, and for buildings to finish being constructed. Instead of skipping this time, you should consider exploring so as to earn experience, gold and items. This was mentioned earlier, but it’s worth repeating, as taking advantage of lapses in kingdom business and filling this free time with opportunistic adventuring during free time will be a key aspect of the game from now on. This isn’t an immediate concern, but once you’re done with the Verdant Chambers] (or enough time passes, if you dawdle), it’ll become more of an issue.
The exact time you’ll have (and hence the areas you can explore) will vary depending on how efficient you are, and the difficulty level you’re playing at, your party make-up, and even something as unpredictable as dice rolls can skew time-tables between various playthroughs. Since a bad critical hit could force one party to rest while the absence of such a setback might allow you to continue without resting, this isn’t going to be an exact science. That being the case, you may not be able to accomplish everything listed during a particular exploration section, and you shouldn’t fret over it much. Alternative opportunities to explore will be pointed out to you as they arise.
3rd-Level Arcane Spells
After defeating the Stag Lord and claiming the lovely experience rewards at the end of Chapter 1, there’s a good chance your party will ascend to level five. If so, and you have a Wizard protagonist or mercenary, they’ll have access to third level spells, although Octavia will take a bit longer. Still, now is a fine time to discuss third level arcane spells so you know what to pick.
Third level spells are where arcane magics start to get really interesting, although you’ve doubtlessly noticed how much better things go when you employ spells like Web and Blur wisely. Haste and Slow are fantastic party buffs and debuffs: the former will drastically increase your party’s offensive output and the latter will significantly hinder enemy combatants. Fireball is a tempting damage-dealer, but you’ll likely find the former two spells to be far superior. Dispel Magic is always useful, but you can delegate that responsibility to your Clerics, whose third level spells aren’t quite as good.
Since you can simply buy or find scrolls of Fireball and Haste, you need not use your level-up picks on them. In that case, pick Slow and Displacement, instead. Sorcerers should pick Haste and Slow. These suggestions, of course, assume Transmutation isn’t one of your prohibited schools, in which case, ouch; pick Displacement and either Deep Slumber (like Sleep, but 10 HD instead) or Stinking Cloud, instead.