But first, I complete a side quest in Lonelywood. I go to the trappers' house, and learn that a second brother has been killed by a wolf that apparently can't be harmed.
I then visit Emmerich in his house. With persistent enough questioning, that also involves questioning Keiran Nye at the Whistling Gallows, and then questioning Emmerich again, I learn that Emmerich has been infected with lycanthropy. This is one xp reward. I then explain things to Keiran, who gives me an amulet that helps keep the curse under control. I then bring it to Emmerich for a second xp reward.
This part is really an extended series of combats against monsters I will have faced before. And I use the same tactics as before, only that they're much easier to complete after having advanced a few levels.
A particular point of interest is a shield that can be easy to miss or overlook. Basically, go north all the way you can, then a little west, and then go south all the way you can. There will be a chasm at the east edge of the walkway leading south, but there will also be another narrow pathway starting at the east edge that leads north and a little east. At the end of the pathway is a clearing that has Tiernon's Sundered Shield (+2 armor class vs. any weapons besides crushing, +3% resistance to slashing and piercing damage). I hold onto this, since it will in due course be improved and become Halagrim's shield for the rest of the game.
The next level is where I go through a series of tunnels that are inhabited by giant worm-like monsters called Remorhazes. Sometimes they appear one or two at a time, so I shoot them down. Sometimes they appear in larger groups, so that I can shoot down the first one but then have to engage in close-quarter combat for the rest. I did fine in these situations, but when a Remorhaz does manage to hit, it can score hefty physical damage plus fire damage on top. So for the large groups, I still prefer to shoot the first one down to minimize the risk for when combat becomes melee.
Now I run into an old and blind dwarf named Tiernon. I have Halagrim speak to him first, the reason being that a Dwarven character can ask a question about Tiernon's clan in order to get an xp bonus. A Bard can also get the same bonus.
I then ask about getting to the Seer, and after much prodding, I can get him to make me a Black Ice Mirror so that I can reach the Seer further within the Gloomfrost.
I then bring up Tiernon's Sundered Shield, and take him up on his offer to fix it. I now have the Sundered Shield of Tiernon (+3 armor class, +10% to all physical damage resistances, Unfailing Endurace 1/day, additional +2 bonus to armor class and additional +15% to all physical damage resistances 1/day). This will be Halagrim's shield for the rest of the game, and the damage resistances will stack with those provided by the Clasp of Bron's Cloak, the Morningstar +4: Defender, and the Ring of Greater Resistance. He now has 35% resistance to crushing, piercing and slashing resistance. The once a day ability can kick both armor class and damage resistance up even further.
Tiernon also overhears the Blade of Aihonen, and offers to repair it. The Black Thorn now wields the Singing Blade of Aihonen (+1 Longsword, +5 within a dragon's flight of Lac Dinneshere, +30% cold and fire resistance, +10 hit points, Cure Critical Wounds 3/day, Strength +3 1/day).
Genevieve also convinces Tiernon to make an Ice Rose for him, which is the item that Murdlaugh will want.
When you pursue the question of "Why did you come here?" with Tiernon, it eventually leads to you helping him make a weapon from the ice of the Gloomfrost itself. Whichever weapon is chosen, it will always be a +4 weapon, will always provide its wielder with +10% bonuses to both cold and fire resistance, and will allow its wielder to use Storm Shell once a day. The possibilities are, depending on which dialogue option you choose:
Hammer >> Blood of the Gloomfrost (+4 Warhammer, 5% heals wielder by 2-12 hit points, a Dwarf must initiate the "Why did you come here?" dialogue for this option to be available)
Finger >> Talon of the Gloomfrost (+4 scimitar, 15% Entangle on the target, a Druid must intitiate the "Why did you come here?" dialogue for this option to be available)
Huge >> Hand of the Gloomfrost (+4 Two-handed Sword, 5% chance of Suffocate on target)
Blade >> Kiss of the Gloomfrost (+4 Longsword, 5% chance of extra 2-12 cold damage on target)
Stretch >> Fist of the Gloomfrost (+4 Mace, 5% chance of extra 1-10 crushing damage)
Dagger >> Fang of the Gloomfrost (+4 Dagger, Anti-Magic Shell 1/day)
Pillar >> Tongue of the Gloomfrost (+4 Halberd, 3% chance of Cone of Cold on target)
I chose the Talon for Cassandra, in some respects by default. The Pale Justice is made for a Paladin like Genevieve. The Black Thorn wields the Singing Blade of Aihonen. Halagrim's build centers around the Morningstar +4: Defender. And Derrick wouldn't want anything other than his Doom Halberd +3. So, the Talon is a relative improvement over the Frostbrand. It does make a tactic possible. If the Talon Entangles a monsters, everybody can move away and pelt it with missile weapons.
Cassandra also buys the Winter King's Plate from Tiernon. The Winter King's Plate can be worn with a cloak or ring of protection, and yet also provides 25% bonuses to both cold and fire resistance to boot. It's a perfect fit with Mithran's Cloak, and now Cassandra is set for the game.
And finally, the Black Thorn pickpockets Tiernon for Tiernon's Hearthstone (Resist Cold/Fire 1/day, Burning Hands 1/day, Unfailing Endurance 3/day). A Dwarven character, like Halagrim, can use it from one of his quick-item slots. Tiernon will call you on it, but won't be especially upset over it.
Ice Golem Sentries
The next level of the Gloomfrost will require you to battle the Seer's personal guardians, Ice Golem Sentires, often several at a time. The Golems have some damage reduction, hit really hard, and can stun with their attacks unless a saving throw is made. There are also plenty of ice-based traps here. My procedure here is for the Black Thorn to edge forward, looking for traps, while the rest of the party stays close behind. When any Golems appear, he regroups. I also, whenever possible, have Halagrim stick his neck out ahead of the party so that he bears the brunt of the attacks as the defensive bulwark.
The southeast corner has a pit with a single Remorhaz. It can't reach me, so Genevieve takes it out with her Throwing Axe +2. It has apparently left behind an amulet. Lanatir uses Dimension Door to get inside the pit. The amulet turns out to be Kossuth's Blood (+20% fire damage,-2 casting times), which turns out to be just perfect for Lanatir. The party rests and then Lanatir uses Dimension Door again to get back out of the pit.
The Gloomfrost Seer
Now I'm towards the northeast corner. The Black Ice Mirror will melt away the last door. I then speak with the Gloomfrost Seer at length about what Wylfdene really is, and how to expose the truth.
She offers to teleport me back to where I first entered the Gloomfrost. There is another option available, asking her to teleport you back to Tiernon. If you go this way, you can have Tiernon turn the Black Ice Mirror into the Mirror of Black Ice Amulet (+3 to armor class vs. missile weapons, +2 to armor class vs. all physical attacks besides crushing weapons, cast Blur, cast Mirror Image, +3 to saves vs. spells, rod, wands, staves). The problem for me is that it cannot be worn with magical armor, so I don't have any place in my inventory that I can fit this into.
So I just take her up on her offer to teleport me back to where I first entered the Gloomfrost.
Now I'm ready to head back for the Barbarian Camp to confront Wylfdene.
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