Travel: Candlemere Tower
For this section of walkthrough to be relevant, you have to have completed Hour of Rage, first. Events are different depending on which quest you give priority to. You also hopefully completed the quest Curse of Candlemere earlier in the game, in which case you'll know how to get around the Candlemere Tower area, much less reach it. If that's not the case, however, follow these directions from your capital to reach Candlemere Tower:
- Southwest to landmark: A Ford Across the Skunk River
- South (across Skunk River)
- East (path will veer south, then west, running along lake Tuskwater and lake Candlemere)
- Southeast (across lake Candlemere)
To the Summit
From where you appear on the southern end of the island, make your way east to find a hidden [Perception 28] crate. Inside waits a Robe of Earth, which has no defensive properties, but gives the wearer's acidic spells a +2 bonus to their DCs. Kind of niche, but it can't hurt!
Now make your way north, then east, following the vine-vandalized trail. Don't worry, there aren't anymore Wisps on this island, having been replaced by your more typical Bloom creatures, like Owlbears and Dweomercats. Speaking of which, you'll find two of the latter and one of the former barring your path. Owlbears have a somewhat higher Attack Bonus and lower Armor Class than Dweomercats, but with a few staple spellbuffs like Haste, Prayer, Bull's Strength and Stoneskin, they shouldn't be anything your party can't cut through easily enough.
Kill them and follow the trail until it bends northwest. As you navigate the bend, be wary of a Quickwood monster just off the road. It should leave you alone if you don't go too near it, and you'll want to avoid it for a moment to exterminate another pair of Owlbears that prowl to the northwest, just to ensure they don't join the fray.
Note: If you're here before completing Hour of Fury a pack of five Dweomercats may come charging downhill at you near this bend in the road. Be prepared to meet and repel them, a task that'll be easier if you wait and don't drag any Owlbears or the Quickwood into the fray.
Put the bird-bear aberrations down, then turn your attention to the Quickwood, which unsurprisingly fights like the Scythe Tree from way back when. It has many attacks per round, but its Attack Bonus isn't terribly high, neither is its damage. It's also not well protected by Armor Class or Damage Reduction, two things that are basically staples for most serious enemies. Pummel the poor, out-classed monster, then continue venturing uphill to the northwest.
You'll find your first path to the tower just off the road to the north as you make your way northwest along the path. Dispatch a group of five Dweomercats so they don't pester you, then navigate the thicket [Lore (Nature) 25] and climb to the tower. If you've already been here, you won't have to make the check again.
Alternatively, if you wish to milk every bit of experience out of this place you can continue following the trail northwest, then north to find a trio of Dweomercats hanging out with a Shambling Mound. In this case, the Shambling Mound is the weaker of your opponents, having a laughable Attack Bonus and an Armor Class that's barely sufficient to test your warriors. Cut them all down, then search a nearby corpse to find Chaos Shard, a Dagger +2 that can Confuse enemies when it hits.
That's the last bit of loot and enemies in the lower part of this area, you now need only climb at the spot to the north, or backtrack to the alternative route through the thick brush.
Once you're up near the tower, make your way to the eastern end of the tower to find a Giant Flytrap, a foe that was once a serious threat, now reduced to easy experience. Vanquish this uppity plant, then continue east to find a chest, inside of which you'll find an Ancestral Dwarven Shield, a Heavy Shield +2 that grants its wielder DR 2/-. Could have worse thing strapped to your arm.
Traitor in the Tower
Now that you've explored Candlemere Tower again and removed the Bloom-related threats, make your way to the center of the tower to find a portal - and your runaway traitor. Like Hour of Rage, this quest varies depending on whether you complete it first, or Hour of Rage. In this case, the difference is much less stark. If you explored this area first, you'll find the traitor standing in the tower. Talk to him, and he'll be repentant, apologetic, even... but resigned to being a tool of the being that enslaved him. No points for guessing who that is. None of the dialogue options change the outcome here, with the traitor fleeing, leaving you to clean up what comes through the portal.
In this case, it's waves of Bloom enemies. First will be two Dweomercats, then a Dweomercat and an Owlbear, followed by two Dweomercats and an Owlbear, and finally a Giant Flytrap. Odd thing, saving the weakest foe for last.
Defeat the monsters and the Bloom portal will close, securing the southern end of your realm... for now. If the traitor was here, he'll have mentioned the location where you met, and where you must now go: the Temple of the Elk. If not, you'll see an image through the portal that points you to the same location. Continue the chase on the page Betrayer's Flight - Temple of the Elk.