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Realms of Arkania: Star Trail Low-Spoiler Walkthrough

Welcome to the walkthrough section of my Star Trail site. This is technically a non-linear game, as you can go anywhere you want to and do anything you want. However, like most non-linear games, if you don't attend to the main quest, you're going to have a very boring go of it.



Wandering around the backwoods killing random monsters for hours and hours on end isn't very thrilling, and the game designers obviously spent more time designing the quest parts of the game than others. So go ahead and explore wherever you like, but I'm going to tell you where the highlights are. The truth of the matter is you'll get a full helping of the wandering monsters and random travel events just going back and forth between quest points.

Kvirasim and the Early Game Walkthrough

There are only three useful things to do in Kvirasim: get assigned the main Salamander Stone quest, learn about Star Trail, and equip your party appropriately. You can't miss the first: as soon as you step outside the temple, two quest people will pull you aside and give you their spiels. To learn about Star Trail, you need to spend the night in an inn (any inn will do, but the one in Kvirasim is convenient). To equip your party, you can use the stores and the market in Kvirasim (the market is in town only one day a week, conveniently the day after you're done talking to the plot people; other days of the week the market stalls will look like empty tent frames and be useless).

As you leave town, if you are playing with a new party, you will get an encounter with a priest of Rondra and some orcs. Winning this battle will give you two bonus experience levels and some loot. If you imported your characters, you not only won't get the bonus, you won't get the encounter, either.

South From Kvirasim

Along this road you can meet a heavily armed warrior, who has a lot to say about Startrail (though it's largely incoherent). There's also a tinker, though he didn't have anything special to say. The roads branch out quite a bit here, but the different paths you can take are essentially a distraction from the fact that there are only three places to go from Kvirasim: west, to the cities of Tiefhusen and Tjolmar (not useful at the moment and you will have to go there later anyway); south, to Gashok and that dwarven pit you heard about in Kvirasim; and east, which will lead you to the edge of the elven territory, from which you have no choice but to turn back (though if your party is imported you may be able to defeat one of their patrols for hefty experience). So you probably want to keep heading south (it's fine to explore anywhere you like, but doing the plot in the intended order will minimize the retracing of steps and boring travel time). If you take the first road west but then loop southwards along the east side of the mountains rather than crossing them, you can meet a 7th-level NPC, Korima, who can join your party, and the path will lead you back to the main road. Actually, it doesn't matter what route you take southwards in the slightest--there are a few wilderness encounters along the way, but none of them are worth going out of your way for (they're things like "you see a deer, do you shoot it?" and "you cross a stream and get wet, one of you will get sick now.") You will also see a woman riding an unusual steed; I assume she's an injoke, but she'll be useful later. Eventually you will come to Gashok.

Gashok

As you enter this town you will always get attacked by a stranger with a crossbow; you can try to investigate this within the town if you like, though many people will hang up on you if you broach the topic and as far as I know you can't learn anything about it. In the market square you can find unusual ashes the inhabitants are equally reluctant to talk about. However, you can do something about the burned-out mill in the south of town, which turns into a very nifty side quest. Without spoiling any of it, the person you want to talk to once you've investigated the mill is the witch in the market square; she will tell you exactly where to go next, and the rest of the investigation is straightforward and satisfying. Sleep in one of the inns on the market square after talking to Artherion for another interesting interaction, and again after finishing his quest (if you try to skip staying the last night in Gashok you'll continue to be hassled by Gashokian patrols until you do).

Southeast From Gashok

Again, you can wander aimlessly around the Star Trail map for days, but the only places you can really get to from Gashok are the swamp, Lowangen, and the Finsterkamm mountains; you'll need to hit Lowangen and the swamp later in the game, so you might as well go into the mountains and get the Salamander Stone. The Finsterkamm is the mountain range southeast of Gashok; you can't miss it. The Pit is accessible from a hidden town in the mountain range, Finsterkoppen.

Finsterkoppen and the Dwarven Pit

Finsterkoppen is even more pointless and unpleasant to travel around than most towns in Star Trail. There is absolutely nothing useful or interesting in town except for the temple of Ingerimm (ask the priest about the holy pit three times in a row to get the key) and the entrance to the dungeon. The unmarked houses are a particular pain... you have to knock twice to see if they're occupied or not, and if they are, all you get is the option to pitch camp in that house. Either way, leaving the house will turn you in a random direction, which makes navigation difficult. There are a new set of street encounters, though, involving dwarves, and some of them are cute.

Anyway, the dwarves here won't allow elves, druids, or witches into the inner city, which is where the temple and the dungeon entrance are. You can split the party, but this is a pain in the ass you already have to go through too many times in this game; better just to deceive the dwarves by casting an invisibility or disguise spell. I'm particularly fond of "eagle, wolf" (which turns the caster into a dog) and "camouflage" (which makes the caster look like a child). The dwarves aren't very bright; they'll tell you no elves allowed, you'll back off a step, mumble a few spells, and come back with a dog and a child and they'll cluelessly show you right in. (-:

The pit itself has six levels. Once you enter, you won't be able to leave again till you find another key (there's an exception, a back exit from the lowest level, but it collapses once you've used it once, so you can absolutely doom your game if you go out there before acquiring the Salamander Stone). Be sure to bring with you a torch and tinderbox (even if you have a mage, you need the actual items), two pairs of lockpicks (you can make do with one if you have Foramen), and rope (a mage's staff will do). Sufficient food and water and all necessary tools can be found in the dungeon itself. I won't spoil the puzzles for you--they're all fairly straightforward and you can find everything you need for them in the dungeon itself-- but here are the highlights you want to be sure not to miss.

1) The dwarf priest warned you not to loot the pit, but in fact, it's only the very obvious desecrations you should refrain from (i.e. robbing graves and stealing from Ingerimm's offering bowls). Chests and things laying around on the floor are just fine. If the floor doesn't shake after you pocket something, Ingerimm doesn't care. (I don't know what Ingerimm actually DOES about it if you rob the graves or loot his altar, mind you... the dwarves of Finsterkoppen will mob you in outrage if you hang around their city too long after robbing their god, but I don't know if there are any effects beyond that. It may hose your future chances of miracles, as sacrileges tend to, but it won't affect your ability to get the Salamander Stone or escape from the dungeon.)

2) There are at least six girdles of strength down here (even Korima wound up with one in my party). Make sure you look in all the chests; girdles of strength practically eliminate annoying encumbrance issues.

3) Once you enter the big double doors to the first level, they will shut behind you and you will not be able to leave. There's a key in this dungeon that will open these doors again, and there is also a second exit on the bottom-most level of the dungeon. Don't leave the pit until you have the Salamander Stone in your possession, however; it can be a real pain getting back in once you've exited.

4) You can get from level to level via the staircases or via the chimney shaft; however, one of the levels (the watery one) isn't accessible via the chimney shaft, so you'll need to use the stairs for that one.

5) There is an altar on the first level; if you approach it while wearing the red asthenil ring, one of your characters will get a vision. I'm not sure this is actually necessary in order to get the stone, but it's pretty cool anyway. Lighting the torch by the altar will cause the hammer to sound in 12 hours, but again, I'm not sure this matters to the actual quest.

6) The irritating little gnome on the second level will give you a key if you answer his riddle correctly; however, the key is not necessary. The ruder you are to him, the more he will inconvenience you by scattering your party members all over the map when he teleports you out.

7) On the third level, there's a cart you can take a ride on. There doesn't appear to be any point in doing this, but the character who takes the ride does get about 1500 xp for the trouble--*if* he stays for the whole ride and gets knocked unconscious. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, I guess?

8) On the fourth level, there's a lava pit. A hero wearing the asthenil ring can explore this safely, but there doesn't seem to be anything there. You also have the option to throw something down there; the fire powder causes lava to surge up into the room if you use that, but this appears to be pointless as well. If anyone has any idea of what this pit is useful for, please send me email.

9) The fifth level has stairs leading up to a sixth, watery level you can't reach from the chimney elevator, and on that water level is the magic waterskin. If you haven't already cheated to give yourself this item, you want it now; it frees up inventory slots (though this was more important in Blade of Destiny) and releases you from the annoying micromanagement of finding fresh water, which wasn't that fun to begin with. However, to find this item you must NOT TURN THE WATER-DRAINING WHEEL ON THE FIFTH LEVEL until you've already explored the water level and secured the bag. If you turn the wheel first, the bag will disappear with the water.

10) The seventh level is accessible only from a trapdoor in the sixth, watery level (not from the chimney shaft or the stairs). In the puzzle that involves dressing your characters up in special garb, you can save yourself some hassle by just dressing ONE character up and sending him to do that bit alone. Otherwise you'll need to make room for 18 extra items in your inventory (21 if you have an NPC with you). Make sure the character you pick brings a torch, tinderbox, and all the quest items with him if you do this, though! If you loot the treasure chest in Ingerimm's forge, by the way, the ground will not merely shake threateningly: your character will be sealed in the forge forever. Be careful about saving in here--if you find that the way back is blocked by a strange wall that tells you it appears to have no opening mechanism, you have screwed up and need a reload. If you can't find the stairs up, you've probably just forgotten to return Ingerimm's pants. He's fussy that way. Go put them back and the stairs will reappear.

You really do have to give up the sword you forge here, by the way. You can cheat to keep it if you really can't cope with that, but it's really not that special a sword anyway, just cool-looking.

12) You can either exit the dungeon from the hole in the lowest level (accessible only from the chimney shaft) or, if you found the rich silver key, through the front door. Once you enter the dwarven pit, all of Finsterkoppen will inexplicably be deserted (except for the temple, where you will have the option to return the priest's key before he disappears.) I have no idea why the town empties out like this. I had some weird flashback memories of trying to quickly navigate my way through the mazelike inner city before angry dwarves converged on my party and killed them, and after many wasted hours trying to determine whether my brain was making that part up, I -think- I've finally determined that this happens if you piss off Ingerimm in the dungeon, then dawdle too long in the dwarven city. However, the city still seems to be deserted even if you behaved with complete decorum in the pit. I guess that's just a bug.

Lowangen

You now have the Salamander Stone, which everyone wants you to take to Lowangen. Lowangen is besieged, which is interesting plotwise but logistically annoying. Entering the city, you will lose all your possessions except, by a silly contrivance, your magic items. You can either split the party and leave somebody behind to hold your stuff, create 'mule' characters to leave behind holding some of your equipment, or just write it off as a loss. It seems like there should be a way to enter the city secretly from the content of one of the parchments you find, but it is impossible to access that entrance yet; the only way in is to surrender to the orc patrol.

Also, you should be able to figure this out, but it's normal and unavoidable for the Salamander Stone to be stolen now. It doesn't matter whether you bring Antharon with you or not (though the plot makes a bit more sense if you do, and none of your other NPCs will accompany you into the besieged area anyway). This plot is timed, though you're never warned of this: you have ten game days to recapture the Salamander Stone, or the Nameless God worshippers abscond with it and you lose the game.

Lowangen itself is extremely frustrating to navigate; most of the plots in town revolve around finding somebody in an unmarked house, and most unmarked houses are useless, snarky, and badly translated "prem flounder nose" places which rotate you 180 degrees every time you try to knock on one. The automap doesn't work well because you can't use it to cross from one side of town to the other, which you nearly always need to. There are a handful of conversable people out of whom you can get clues which are interesting and may actually help you figure out what's going on, but you have to somehow guess the right topic out of a sea of conversational choices and you only get two or three choices before each NPC gets impatient, insults you, and ends the conversation for no real reason. And then there are the Salamander Stones. Two of them. One is evidently fake, though the plot never exactly gets around to explaining this; the only way you'll learn what's going on is if you let ten game days pass without acquiring the 'real' one, at which point Elsurion will yell at you for losing the game by wasting your time with an imitation stone. There's absolutely no way for your characters to know or suspect that whichever stone they find first isn't the right one, but if you search every section of the city like any competent gamer would you'll find both stones anyway and be left merely scratching your head in puzzlement, rather than cursing and restoring an old savegame as the game designers must have intended.

Things you can find in Lowangen, besides the stones:

1) The temple of Hesinde actually has a map of the city that you can look at, if you ask about "Lowangen." It may help orient you somewhat.

2) You can find Gavron, Vindaria, and Ailian all on your own just by mounting a house-to-house search, but it's less frustrating to find Dragan the information merchant first. He lives in the far west area of town just beside a fountain, and he will answer three questions for you in exchange for doing three little quests for him. Pick your questions carefully--you won't get do-overs. In particular, if you don't ask Dragan how to escape from the city, you'll have to reload an earlier game; there's no other way to learn that information. I recommend asking about the Salamanderstone and Gavron for the other two, since you really don't need to know about food, weapons, or inns that badly (there are food and weapons stashed away in the villains' houses, and you can just sleep on the street). After you ask about Gavron you can ask about Ailian for free, too, though you won't learn anything about him other than the oblique suggestion that he might be gay.

The quests themselves are straightforward; make sure you have a charismatic character in the lead when you talk to the Vinsalter (if he slams the door on you, wait a day and try it again), and make sure you have a character with decent stealth in the lead before attempting the B&E job. I don't know what the hell the third quest was supposed to be about, frankly. Whoever translated this thing wasn't exactly up to the Vinsalter's standards.

3) Dragan tells you which bar to find Gavron in--sit down at a table and hang around for a while and he'll stick his nose in eventually. You won't get the chance to kill him, and in fact confronting him is totally useless (all he does is implicate Vindaria, who you were already tracking down anyway), but due to a glitch in the game, you must have encountered Gavron for the plot to progress past a future point, so make sure you find him.

4) You can find Vindaria and Ailian's houses just by opening random houses in the appropriate neighborhoods, or you can ask around after them. Vindaria lives in Eydal and some of her neighbors--Kysira the healer, the innkeeper of Eydal House, and the bartender of At The Canal--can give you directions. Ailian lives in Colorful Flight and you won't be able to ask about him until Dragan tells you who he is. Once you can, some of his neighbors--the proprieters at Svellte Palace and the Salamander Stone Inn--can give you directions. Farmion the herbalist, Jhaell the healer, and the priest of Rahja know Ailian as well--ask all three of them about him twice in a row, ask Jhaell about the Salamander Stone, and ask Farmion about "Ingramosch" for the oddest bit of all. Desdira the merchant also has a tidbit of gossip about Ailian, and the bartender at Last Hour has some comments if you ask about "Ingramosch" twice and then Ailian once.

This is all very interesting (and bewildering in some ways), but the truth is even if you've neglected to learn about Ailian from Dragan, you will still be able to trail Gavron to his house if you just follow him stealthily from the bar he frequents. The subplot about Ingramosch and Ailian being in cahoots somehow is never followed up on, and appears to have no bearing on the actual plot.

5) At the town hall, you can donate any extra food or weapons you may have found after defeating a villain. If you donate enough, you will be rewarded with a cutscene in which you are given the key to the city. This is a nice heroic thing to do and also gets rid of extra food (which otherwise attracts the attention of starving gangs). Whatever you do, though, don't tell the magistrate you have something important to tell her if you don't have extra food or non-magical weapons to donate, because you'll get thrown in jail. The "adventurers in jail" picture is cute, but some of your magic items will be confiscated, and you lose more than enough of your hard-earned loot in this game as it is.

6) Everything is insanely expensive within this besieged city, so if you need gold for some reason (though you really shouldn't at this point in the game), you can make a real killing by smuggling items into the city and selling them, once the tunnel is open.

7) You will get some odd responses when you ask about "Star Trail" and "Salamander Stone" around town... that's because there's an elven healer in Colorful Flight named Jhaell Startrail and a bar named Salamander Stone. Ha, ha. :P

8) If you ask Roglima the smith about "smithery" and then about "master smith," she'll tell you part of the Star Trail legend, if you're following that subplot-- including the backstory of the golem you met in Finsterkoppen Pit. She can also tell you where Ingramosch has gone (as can the priest of Ingerimm). If you ask the priestess of Phex about Star Trail twice in a row, you can get some useful information. At the Trenchbog Inn, if you ask about "Lowangen" and then "Orc Death," you'll get a little background on that establishment. If you ask at the Temple of Tsa about "orcs" and then "walls" and/or at Farmion the Herbalist's about "travel," you can learn about the escape tunnel. If you ask Duridanya the weapon merchant about the Svellt Swamps, you can learn an important fact about swamp rantzies; she knows a bit about Ingramosch, too. If you ask the innkeeper at the Little Prince about the swamp, she will tell you a bit about Ansvell (and put it on your conversational list so that you can ask others about it, if you like.) If you ask the priestess of Hesinde about "lodging" and then "refugees" you can learn a bit about Tiefhusen; if you ask her about Ansvell you can learn a bit about the Lizardmen.

9) At one of the bridge crossings, you have the option to put an amount of your choosing into an offertory bowl. I've noticed no effects whatsoever from this exercise, but it's possible that it increases your general standing with the gods.

10) There's nothing in any of the rivers at all; don't waste your time swimming around in them.

11) In the financial quarter of town, there is a market square filled with beggars (who may initiate a fight with you, but they quit easily), and also a warehouse where you can stash goods (though why you'd want to in Lowangen is beyond me).

12) In the northwest corner of town you can pick a fight with town guards, though you'll only get tossed in jail if you do. If you want some pointless combat, you can wander out the front gate and kill a band of orcs as many times as you like. There will never be fewer of them as a result, though.

13) There's a fellow in the Old Quarter named Brin Vaskendantz--you can talk to him, but he won't help you unless you've asked Dragan about lodging already (and even then, he'll sometimes be full--it may help to have a character with a high charisma in the lead, but it's a pointless digression, since you can just as well sleep in the street.) Similarly, Raisha Rotenegger in the far southeast corner will be of no use to you unless you've already asked Dragan about buying food, and Falkert Duberwin in the northeast part of the Old Quarter won't even answer the door unless you've already asked Dragan about buying weapons. The merchants will disappear once you've bought from them once, so make sure you've gotten everything you want if you go that route (though there's really nothing special at either, and the prices aren't wonderful.)

14) Pagon Droler in the Eydal district knows nothing useful and is very annoying, but you can pay him to sleep in his barn if you really want to.

15) Once you've learned about "travel" from Dragan, you'll be able to leave the city (if you don't get this information from Dragan there is no other way to learn it, so if you used up all your questions on other things you'll have to reload.) Unfortunately, you'll have to leave two characters behind and do a quest in the swamp to get them back. Make sure you bring a net with you (you can buy them at Vistella's or Ugo's)--there's one in the swamp, but a bug may prevent you from getting it. It's best to leave the Salamander Stone behind for now, as it will be stolen again soon after you leave town with it and you'll once again face an annoying time limit to retrieve it; best not to start the clock till you're done with the swamp. (If you bring the fake stone with you, the thieves will somehow notice it's fake right away.)

Swamp

This can be a frustrating area to clear because of your plot-induced need to leave two characters behind in Lowangen. It's OK to sleep every time you do battle--there's no time limit on this quest. If you created 'mule' characters to hold your stuff while you went to Lowangen, you can now use them to carry your extra equipment for you. (Their backpacks still work even if they die, though I personally feel rather guilty about dragging corpses around a dungeon just to cheat the game system into letting me access two more inventories.) Before you enter the swamp, you have the opportunity to make offerings to your characters' patron gods. As with most god-related activities in this game, it's not at all clear what the practical effects of this are, if any.

The swamp itself is set up more or less like a dungeon, only a simple and rather boring one. There are objects that look like a buried chest in the mud and a submerged skeleton in the water, but there seems to be no way to access them. This is a bug. The best solution is simply going into the options page and turning off "stepwise" motion. Since 3D motion is so lousy in this game (and tends to make the automap crash), you probably don't want to keep it off for long, but shutting it off long enough to access the chest is a good idea if it works. (You may not be able to get into it anyway, but don't despair; there's nothing you truly need in them, as long as you have your own net.) To get at the submerged skeleton, you have to turn stepwise motion off, creep as close to it as possible, then look down by using the "end" key. You won't find anything there, but if you have a necrophobic character, there'll be a creepy little bit of ambience. The cabin near the buried chest is afflicted by the same bug, but there's nothing in there except for endless, mindless fights with zombies, which you probably don't want to waste your strength on right now. A second pitfall is the lizardman encampment--if you approach it from the wrong side, you'll be wandering around it fruitlessly for some time before happening to step in the square that makes the lizardmen notice you. Head to the west of the swamp, south of the pointless green cave, then turn north for the best entry to lizard territory. And immediately tell the lizardmen you need their help; if you thank them for their hospitality and promise to respect their wishes first, you won't be able to locate them a second time. :P

Other things of interest in the swamp include:

1) You'll notice an unopenable tower right away; this one is not a bug, and will always open normally once you have gotten the quest asking you to enter it.

2) Snakes periodically slither by and try to bite you. Cure poison immediately if one succeeds, obviously.

3) To the far southwest of the map, you'll run across the house of a witch. She gives you a quest which is only difficult due to translation problems--you're supposed to pick words that are the opposite of those chosen by the evil mage, but the German-to-English translation has utterly obliterated that distinction. The opposite of "death" is easy enough, but the others are tougher: when the mage says "destroy" you can say "mercy" or "love," for example, but not "peace" or "kindness." Her reaction when you return seems completely uncorrelated to actions you have taken in the game either, and you will not learn anything or acquire anything from her. Just a quirk of the game. Annoyingly enough, casting "witch's eye" has no effect here, even though this is the only witch you'll encounter in the game (except for Gerlanje in Gashok, and you can't cast it at her, either.)

4) The big green-walled cave in the eastern part of the swamp will be empty until you are assigned the lizardmen quest, at which point there will be a special monster waiting for you there.

5) When you talk to the lizardman chief, it is a singularly useless conversation (he will only tell you to find the witch in the southwest, who you could have found anyway). He does know a legend about Star Trail, though, if you ask him.

6) There are a couple of points at which you can hack through the green undergrowth to get from one area of the map to another without having to go through the long backtracking and path-winding. Transversalis works best of all, of course.

7) To the best of my knowledge there is no clue in this game as to which of the 20 heather plants you need to use, but if you bring the rantzy with you to examine them, it will have a strange reaction to one of them; that's the one you want.

8) Once you've found Agdan, cast "Sensible" on him if you can; it's really funny. (-:

9) You can retrieve your missing friends regardless of whether or not Agdan survives the journey, but it's nicer to bring him back alive; attend to his illness ASAP if you intend to do this.

When you're all finished with the swamps and have collected your missing friends, your next port of call is the Blood Peaks (you're supposed to have learned this in Lowangen, by talking to Roglima and/or the priest of Ingerimm). First you'll get mugged by a group of mages who steal the Salamander Stone. Do not resist this, because if you win the (very tough) fight with the mages, your game will be permanently hosed--the writers didn't provide for that eventuality. :P Neither did the writers consider the move that is most obvious to a seasoned gamer, i.e., trying to give the muggers the otherwise pointless fake Salamander Stone instead of the real one. They take both, which at least saves you an inventory slot. Follow them to the Blood Peaks.

Blood Peaks

You can arrive in the Blood Peaks dungeon by traveling to the far southwest corner of the map (or a couple of spots in the forest west of Tiefhusen) and getting yourself captured by the orcish patrols there, if you like. I'm a fan of these iron-man dungeons you have to fight your way out of starting with nothing but your fists and some spell points; unfortunately, you will lose all your equipment forever if you take that route. You can also enter the Blood Peaks just by locating the cave in the western forest, which is conceptually less inspired but saves your hard-earned stuff. This programming team doesn't seem to understand how annoying it is for gamers to repeatedly lose equipment they spent a game and a half gathering.

Assuming you want to go the equipment-conserving route, just head westward. You'll get an encounter with a shepherd before long; ask him where the mages went and he'll tell you to turn south. Eventually you'll get a choice to continue following the river southwest or head northwest into the mountains. These are the Blood Peaks, though they're not labeled on your map. That's where you're heading.

Things of note within the Blood Peaks:

1) There are many secret doors within this dungeon that look just like walls; bump into them to walk right through them. They appear on your automap, so they're not really all that secret.

2) On the top level, in the main room with firepits in it, you can look in the cooking pot by hitting space bar (just bumping into it won't have any effect). The roasting spits with what appear to be humanoid remains on them cannot be examined more closely, though; they're just creepy decor. There's an orcish flag you can rip up, but as far as I know this has no effect. Destroying the orcs' grain stores also has no apparent effect.

3) There's a lever on the top floor that apparently does not do anything other than foist a poorly translated pun on you, and, most bizarrely of all, the outlines of two doors that exclaim "Wow!" whenever you examine them. As far as I know there's no way to make them open. There are also two potentially unopenable chests, one that needs a special key but is rather buggy, so it may not open anyway; and one that just doesn't open no matter how many attempts you make. There's nothing important in either.

4) There are plenty of storerooms throughout this dungeon, not of much use to you unless you entered the dungeon by getting captured and are therefore in danger of starving to death or in need of rusty weapons. In one of the storerooms on the top level there are some bottles of poison, though--useful for slogging through big fights with lots of orcs. The other interesting object you can find around here is orcish armor. It looks really cool, much nicer than human armor, but it's unwearable by any character class and as far as I know, it's useless. If you free the orcish prisoner on the middle level, you can give one to him, anyway.

5) On the middle level, it is possible to find a magic item by searching through the dog crap in one of the kennels (the other just lowers your charisma temporarily). There's also a golden statue of the orcish god nearby, which an avaricious party member of yours may take it upon herself to convert into jewelry. I have no idea what the significance of this is. There is also a notable bloodstain on the floor of this room, which appears to serve no purpose other than decorative.

6) In the prison cells on the middle level, you will find a room the game informs you was the "one you were kept prisoner in." This will probably be confusing if you are entering the Blood Peaks for the first time in the usual way, i.e., following the Dark Mages here. There's a second way into the Blood Peaks, which involves being captured by orcs in the far southwest of the map (where there's no real reason to go), and if you entered the dungeon this way, this would have been your cell. That's all there is to that. It's also the explanation for all the mundane objects (like water and daggers) that are treated by the narrator as precious finds: your characters would have arrived in the dungeon empty-handed except for shirts and pants, had they been captured.

7) You can read the graffiti in the dungeon cells over and over again for a few humorous or undecipherable slogans, but there are no clues to be found there. There's also a magic item in one of these cells, and an important (and familiar) quest item. Most intriguingly, there are two prisoners you can release here, named Praiodan and Thurazz. "Sensible" and "respondami" tell you interesting things about Praiodan's motivations. Unfortunately, this subplot is weakened by your inability to take both characters into your party at once (accepting one makes the other leave) and the fact that either character will automatically leave when you exit the dungeon (so escorting one to safety and then going back for the other is not an effective way of gaining a long-term NPC.) Make sure neither of them is carrying anything you want when you exit.

8) The cauldron and table in the kitchen can be examined, but only by using the space bar. The pool in here has a (briefly) useful effect if you drink from it.

9) The spider cave (accessible once you manually open a secret door on the middle level) has little to offer except for fights with spiders, a possible ascent to the upstairs latrine, and the chance to destroy some spider eggs (an instant-death scenario if none of you have drunk the antidote phials, and cool-looking but of no apparent use otherwise). Perhaps it was just a sly reference to Blade of Destiny. Unlike in that game, destroying the spider eggs does not cause the entire dungeon to become filled with carbon monoxide. You can find a key down here, and a strange glowing sword whose effect I never was able to ascertain.

10) On the lowest floor there are two cauldrons, two vats of ale, and one pool which can all be examined and (if you care to) tasted; use the space bar if bumping into it isn't sufficing. There's really nothing of value down here and the whole area seems rather pointless (and quite anticlimactic after the difficulty involved in finding your way down here.) A few stashes of orcish weapons and an orcish idol can be destroyed here (or not), some caged dogs may be killed (or not), and there are two exits on this level (in addition to the one exit on the top level).

Tiefhusen-Tjolmar Area

It is possible to cross the river at Hilvalla and muck around in the forest at the western edge of the map, but there is nothing there except for a particularly cool instant-death scenario in the northwest corner (it's worth a brief detour for).

Tiefhusen and the Phex Dungeon

Tiefhusen is a rather boring city. It's apparently been conquered by the orcs, but other than one really interesting random street encounter with an orcish officer and a little girl, there's no evidence of this. You can learn about the one useful person in town, Hensger, by asking about Star Trail in the temple of Hesinde and at an occupied table in any bar; then you can find him sitting by a tree near the river outside the gates (he doesn't have a house, a detail omitted from Jandor's directions which caused me to waste far too much time on mindless flounder-nose houses). Once you find him, he'll let you into the Phex Dungeon. (Here's something I guarantee few of you will have encountered in this game before: if you insult Hensger enough that he refuses to talk to you anymore, then go to sleep in an inn in town, orcs will come in and execute you because Hensger told them you were spies. (-: ) Anyway, there's nothing else of any importance in this city at all. Before you enter the dungeon, make sure you have the spell "Banish Ghosts" and a healthy amount of gold ducats (50 should be sufficient).

Things of note in the Phex Dungeon:

1) Transversalis doesn't work in this dungeon (which is only sensible, since most of the tricks and traps have to do with getting secret doors to open and teleporting past them would spoil the fun). Secret doors are not visible on the automap, by the way, although on the movement screen they appear visibly discolored.

2) There's one secret door and a large portion of the map that seem inaccessible. What's going on there is that if you try to steal from Phex's offertory bowl, you will get tossed into a maze in that corner of the map as punishment. It really is a good punishment. The maze is long and boring, and has many teleport squares that make you repeat large sections of it, and nothing else in it at all. There's no reason to go out of your way to see it.

3) After opening all the secret doors and figuring out a couple of easy but nifty puzzles, you can escape this dungeon; but you will not be able to re-enter it, so make sure you have done everything you want to down here (finding the magical helmet, shield, and axe are the only things that come to mind) before exiting. You will be offered the oppurtunity to kill the morons who've been jerking you around this whole time at the end--I recommend restraining yourself until after they've exposited where Star Trail is and what was really going on this whole time, as you'll have a second chance to attack them at the end of their monologue. It hardly matters anyway, since they'll only run away before you can hit them either time. :P

Tjolmar and the Nameless Dungeon

Tjolmar is even smaller and less noteworthy; you're really in the endgame now, and your primary motivation should be finding Ingramosch and learning what is going on with this Salamanderstone. The Red Lotus bar is actually a brothel in disguise, as you can find out if you ask the bartender about "lodging." She has useful information about Ingramosch as well; ask about him twice. You can also learn more about Ingramosch from a patron in the Bridge Guard. However, as near as I can tell, the smith said to be Ingramosch's ex-girlfriend won't say even a word to you about him.

The Tjolmar dungeon is really, really cool-looking and contains several very nifty tricks, but unfortunately stepwise movement seems to be broken down here, which is bad because unless the game thinks you've stepped fully into a square it won't tell you what's there. This makes secret door-finding much more of a pain than it should be.

Things of note in the Tjolmar dungeon:

1) There's a chest that won't open no matter how many times you try to pick it or foramen it; though this usually means it just has a high lock rating and you have to keep trying, in this case, there's a key for it elsewhere on this level. The contents should make you go "hmmm," especially if you ID the magic amulet and rings.

2) It is possible to free the woman entrapped in ice; find an appropriate spell to cast at her. She will join you as an NPC for the first two levels of this dungeon, but leave when you reach the third. She's not much help, but she looks a little like Nicole Kidman, so you may like her anyway.

3) I was never able to figure out the purpose behind the gongs. There are inaccessible areas with more gongs in them, leading me to believe that the gongs must somehow open secret doors, but I was never able to figure out how, and teleporting into those inaccessible areas revealed nothing special. There was also one gong with a deadened sound that I was unable to do anything with. If anyone knows what these gongs are for, please let me know.

4) As near as I can tell, the stairs on the first level are just illusory stairs; stepping on them will just cause your characters to be randomly teleported around the dungeon (the least lethal and most annoying trap in known existence). I don't know whether there was supposed to be some way to avoid this, but there is a second way out that will be revealed when you find a special statuette, so it may just be a red herring. (If you've lugged around the black statuette you got way back in Blade of Destiny, by the way, that one will work just as well as the one you can find in this dungeon.)

5) On the second level, you have to click on the first set of shelves twice before your idiot characters find the one useful object on them.

6) You will find an "otterskin" on this level; it appears to have no purpose.

7) The quest to collect the four amulet pieces is timed; if you take too long, some of the old ones will disappear and you'll have to find them all over again. Transversalis is your friend--once you've got all four pieces, just teleport back to the southeastern corner to open the secret door.

8) On the third floor are many unusual features that appear to be pointless. The bottomless pit in the floor, for example, is examinable if you turn stepwise motion off, but there seems to be nothing you can do with it. There's a piece of demonic art that does not seem to serve any purpose. Most bizarrely of all, there's a warren of desks in one corner of the maze. None of them is examinable with or without stepwise. I can only assume that this must have been a floor map of the programmers' office or something along those lines.

After this is the final fight (visually a very nice one), an anticlimactic exit through the dungeon, and then the congratulatory endgame cutscene. Once you've finished Star Trail, you can export your characters to the sequel, Shadows Over Riva, and you really should. It's the best of the three in my opinion. (-:



American Indian cultures * American Indian religions * Y-Indian Guide * tribal tattoo art

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