The first task you should see to is enroute to Tuskdale. On your way back, stop over at the Lone House area and pay Bartholomew (who is still in his laboratory) a visit. You’ll find him packing, as it seems the troll menace has grown too great for him to risk. He’s fine with a few stragglers, or a helpless prisoner, but groups of organized trolls who can fight back? Not so much.
Despite Bartholomew’s moral failings, he’s still a talented mage and could serve you well at your court. If you wish to keep him around, all you need to do is pick "Packing? Are you leaving us soon?" followed either by "Could I persuade you to stay? I could use someone familiar with magic." or "I’ve an offer for you: stay as one of my councilors. There are so few people who see things in such a critical and rational way.". In the former case, he’ll stick around the Lone House area, ready for your visits when you need him, otherwise you can peruse his services in Tuskdale, where he can be appointed as a Treasurer.
This will work well enough if you let him keep his troll earlier, but if not Bartholomew will have decided he’s seen more than enough of your heavy-handed rule. In this case, only if your protagonist is [Neutral] can you convince him to stay by picking the dialogue option "I regret what I’ve done. I shouldn’t have meddled in your affairs. If you agree to stay, I promise to never do so again."
If you can retain Bartholomew’s services, so much the better. If not, there are other options out there.
Events and Quests After Troll Trouble
After dealing with Bartholomew, return to Tuskdale and deal with whatever events require your attention in your throne room. If you have new leader-related events or projects now is a good time to see to those, especially the time-consuming "Support [Leader]'s Endeavors" projects. Not only do these permanently improve your BP accumulation and upgrade the related kingdom stat’s rank, but it also is a fine way to flip the calendar should you lack anything better to do.
Speaking of "something better to do", the event "Visitor Waits in the Castle" should have started the quest Lost Child, which has thus far been avoided in favor of dealing with Troll Trouble and general exploration. Now is as good a time as any to see to that quest, as well as another quest in the same general area. If you recall your encounter with Dalton - the merchant who was attacked by trolls shortly after resolving the "Troll Invasion" event card - he mentioned a Hodag that has a lair in the Narlmarches. Not only is this a beast any worthy baron would exterminate, but it’s a chance for Amiri to prove her prowess.
These quests will be covered in the pages Lost Child and Hodag Lair, respectively, for you to peruse as you find the time and inclination. The rest of this section will be devoted to covering the new event cards, projects and claims that pop up in the upcoming months. The next main quest event card is "Letter from Maegar Varn", so take care of other events, complete side quests and catch up on any exploration you weren’t able to do previously until that event pops up, at which time head back to Tuskdale to deal with it.
Story of the Singing Anvil
If you found the Soot-Blackened Apron, the Soot-Blackened Brand, the Soot-Blackened Gloves and the Soot-Blackened Hammer in Trobold, talk to the Storyteller in your throne room and he’ll reward you magnificently for the complete set, then offer to tell you the "story of the singing anvil". This is a significant amount of gold and a nice head start towards level nine, so it’s well worth your time to turn these in.
|Reward: For hearing the Story of the Singing Anvil|
|2,000 XP / 10,000 GP|
Claim South Narlmarches
Note: This event card appeared roughly three days after dealing with the troll menace.
After securing the safety of the Southern Narlmarches and clearing out a good deal of the monsters therein (at least, if you’ve following this guide), it should be no surprise that you’ll shortly be given the opportunity to claim these lands for yourself. This works similarly to when you claimed the Outskirts in that you’ll get to found a new settlement in the area, which you’ll be able to build up when you have sufficient funds.
Speaking of which, to proceed with this claim you’ll need to gather a whopping 400 BP, which could take quite a while to accumulate. Still, you’ve got quite a bit of free time ahead of you, so providing you don’t go spending all your BP, you should save enough up to set this claim in motion eventually. Keep in mind that seeing to the "Support the [Leader]'s Endeavors" projects will not only advance time, but it’ll earn you a permanent boost to your BP accumulation per week.
This is a long-term goal you should keep in mind and work towards as you explore, complete quests and deal with events and projects.
Jaethal in a Fury
Note: This event card appeared roughly six days after dealing with the troll menace.
When you spot this event card in your events tab, know that you’re in for a bit of trouble when you return to the throne room. Jaethal will have apprehended a merchant - Enno - who had been doing business in Tuskdale for a quite some time up until now. Unfortunately he made the mistake of selling Jaethal’s dagger, a relic from back when she was living, which naturally leads to her concluding that the merchant knows how she died.
Indulge her by saying "Let him speak, Jaethal. Anger will not help to learn the truth.", after which you’ll be able to question him more thoroughly. The merchant claims he found the weapon in the carcass of a boar, which he found near the Old Sycamore, between the ancient tree and Thorn River to the west. Been a while since you’ve been up that way, eh? Exhaust his dialogue options to start the quest Investigate My Death, another task you can get around to during this bit of post-troll calm.
Visitor Waits in the Castle
Note: This event card appeared roughly twenty-six days after dealing with the troll menace.
There’s not much to this event aside from establishing relations with neighboring powers. A Pitaxian noble by the name of Stefano Moskoni will show up and waste little time demeaning your barony. It seems that Tartuccio was, unfortunately, fairly representative of your average Pitaxian. There’s not much for you to do to change the tone of this conversation aside from make a few moral choices. Pick whatever you want the first two chances you get to respond (the second of which will be a moral choice) after which things get a bit interesting.
While most responses end with Stefano finishing his petty, rehearsed insults, if for the third response you pick the [Chaotic Neutral] dialogue option "Sir Stefano, please be frank with me - have you ever had the pleasure of being acquainted with the hooves of a jackass? Other than your own feet, I mean." you’ll undoubtedly win the little sparring contest. You can continue to press your advantage by extorting - then threatening him with the dialogue options "Now, allow me to - personally - tax your cortege, so as to help improve my economy. And as taxes are especially high this year, I do hope you’ll be able to pay - the punishment for failure to pay is imprisonment." and "Ah, yes - King Irovetti. Worry not - I’ll be sure I send him a melancholic missive relaying news of your tragic fate.", finishing with "Yes, the tragic fate you met after you attempted to escape your chains. Now, if there’s nothing more, I’d suggest you go replaster your face with whatever makeup you’ve been using - your cheeks are so bright, the red glow must be visible from Absalom.".
Is this petty exchange unbecoming a baron? Perhaps, but man, does it feel good watching him wordlessly stomp out of your throne room. Stefano may be right when he points out your barony doesn’t have much bite, but at least the baron can make up for it somewhat with bark!
Letter from Maegar Varn
Note: This event card appeared roughly fifty-six days after dealing with the troll menace.
This event card - being one that might prompt you back out into the wilderness - takes place roughly fifty-six days (eight weeks!) after dealing with the trolls threatening your barony. This should give you plenty of time to spend appeasing your leaders and upgrading the ranks of some kingdom stats, as well as completing a few quests and getting in the odd bit of exploration.
Return to Tuskdale when this shows up and your emissary will give you Maegar Varn’s Letter. If you recall, you met Maegar Varn during your baronation ceremony, and like you he’s an opportunist who seized his province at the invitation of the Aldori. Seems he’s got an alliance in mind and invites you to his capital city, Varnhold. This is a fine excuse to get back to exploring, this time setting your sights on the Kamelands to the east. This also will add the project "Trade Agreement with Maegar Varn", which costs 75 BP and will take two weeks of time.
Note: While this endeavor is ultimately rather inconsequential, it’s nonetheless suggested that you start exploring the Kamelands, specifically the areas listed in the "Chapter 2 - Journey to Varnhold" section of the guide. Assuming you’ve completed everything previously mentioned in the guide, this should give you roughly three months of time before the next major quest to leisurely explore out east, clear areas, deal with the odd minor event card and project that may pop up and ultimately make your way to Varnhold.
If you’ve got a mind to set out for Varnhold, you might as well take care of this project first. Fortunately it doesn’t require your continuous attention, so you can start it up, then immediately hit the road. New areas explored as part of this trek will be covered in the section "Chapter 2 - En Route to Varnhold" below.
Deal with the quests Lost Child and Investigate My Death and explore the Hodag Lair (the sections for which can be found below), then, should you find the time and inclination, consider exploring the areas listed in the section "Chapter 2 - En Route to Varnhold". Event cards (and the quests they lead to) after that will be covered in yet another following section "Chapter 2 - Monster Invasion".
Tip (4th-Level Spells): During the exploration of the Narlmarches or while dealing with Troll Trouble, you probably ascended to 7th level, which for a single-class Cleric or Wizard should gain them access to 4th-level spells. A divine caster can, with few exceptions, prepare anything they wish, having access to the entire catalog of spells, but an arcane caster has to be more picky. Can’t always count on finding or buying spell scrolls, after all. They, then, will remain the focus of this note.
Generally speaking, you should tone down your expectations somewhat after 3rd-level. It’s hard to compete with just how game-changing spells like Haste are, and while you probably won’t see any power shifts like that again, you will continue to add useful tools to your spell arsenal.
The clear winner of 4th-level spells is Stoneskin, as it’s a long-lasting powerful defensive spell that will become nearly as much of a staple as Haste has. Shaving off 10 damage from nearly every attack is so beneficial, it’d probably be insulting to belabor the point.
Phantasmal Killer is also an interesting spell, as it can instantly kill a foe that fails a Will Save and a Fortitude Save. This is quite a limitation, as it’s fairly unlikely anything worth casting this on will fail both saves, not to mention it’s presumably limited to only sentient creatures who are susceptible to necromancy (hence excluding undead and constructs), but it’s still a decent "Hail Mary" spell for when the need is great.
Obsidian Flow is essentially an improved Web spell with some direct damage on the front-end; almost a good mix of Fireball and Web, honestly. In some situations, it may just be a good first strike spell that can be used in lieu of either of the other, lesser, aforementioned spells.
Greater Invisibility works like normal invisibility, save with an important feature: it isn’t dispelled when you attack. This allows you to keep those great bonuses from being invisible (50% concealment, immunity to sneak attack damage, +2 Attack, ignores opponent’s Dexterity bonus to Armor Class), making it an incredibly powerful spell buff. You can buy this from the Old Beldame in the Swamp Forest.