|Avernum: Escape from the Pit|
Navigation: General Hints | Party-Building
Walkthrough: Getting Started | Known Lands | Strengthening the Party | Major Quests | Loose Ends | Great Quests
Further pages: Towns (friendly, neutral and hostile) | Shops | the other Games
The surface is ruled by the cruel Emperor Hawthorne, master of the Empire. All of the known lands are subject to his brutal command. Everyone who speaks out, who misbehaves, who doesn’t fit in is cast into the dark, volcanic pits of Avernum, far below the surface. There, you are expected to die, a victim of starvation, horrible monsters, or simple despair.
Are you going to accept your fate and try to survive in this hostile environment? Or will you rebel – strike a blow against the Empire, find an escape route to the surface or maybe help the Avernumites by eliminating some of the more dangeous monsters?
There is much that could be done to improve the lot of your fellow outcasts. There are many monsters and hostile creatures, some of which are intelligent. But before you can start to combat the tyranny of the emperor you must help to secure the territories in which you fellow the humans here have settled.
Before you can start playing, you must create a party. I always use custom built characters with the standard setup of two warriors (one principally sword the other with pole weapon skill), a wizard (with a few priest spells) and a priest who has a few mage spells. Further notes on character traits and NPCs (Non Playing Characters).
There are three game-winning Great Quests:
In addition there are four Major Quests:
Before you can undertake these missions, you must first strengthen your party by adventuring and completing some of the many side quests. Only when your party is relatively strong, can the major tasks be attempted.
These hints are now almost complete. For the few dungeons that I have not yet completed can my old hints for Avernum 1 be used to give some idea of how to get through them.
Moving the party is much easier but also more difficult than in the original trilogy. You just need to click on a free square and the whole party (or in combat mode the active character) moves to this space. The trouble is that if something is blocking the direct route you take a detour. It can also happen that your party sets off some special encounter on the way. It is particularly annoying in combat mode if you do not notice that for instance one of your party is in the way .
It is much easier to keep track of things in this game. Every uncompleted task is recorded in your "Journal" along with details the task and to whom you must report. The location of the destination is also marked on the "Map of Avernum". The list of "Special Items" gives detailed descriptions of the individual artefacts and you can record any text from a special encounter or a dialogue in your journal, which can be read at any time.
When it comes to checking up your statistics however the situation is much worse than in A1. In the original game you can just click on Info to see what level you have for all skills. From there you can look at the Mage or Priest Spells and find out, not only what level spell you have for each spell, but also what it does and what level you need to cast it; and when you cast a spell, the menu which comes up tells you the name of the spell, the level you have and what it costs. This was all very clear and easy to understand. In AEP it is very difficult to get this information. Your staistics can be accesed via the question mark-button from where you can see the Spells/Abilities-window, but here you only get a list of the spells you have at which levels, but not what the spells do or what level you need to cast them. For this information you must try to cast a spell. Here you get a very good description of the spell and what it costs. The level needed is only given if you have not yet reached the minimum required level. The effects of the spell (which depend on the spell level) are given, but the spell level itself is only occasionally given.
This is all very confusing and does not make playing the game any easier. For this reason I have tried to summarise all information about the spells in the page about Shops and Other Stuff.
Money is very short in this game. There are not many wandering monsters and the few that there are do not drop much, not even the giants. There is also very little, that is worth picking up, lying around in towns. A few dungeons yield some good loot. It is therefore important to pick up everything that might be sellable. I have even resorted to collecting ale, cheap wine and bags of meal, which can be sold to the right people at a mediocre price.
Dragons are renowned for their avarice. So they could be a good source of loot. There is no problem in taking Pyrog's treasure because she should be killed anyway. It is not too difficult to relieve Motrax of his hoard. Khoth has no treasure trove, but he has a few things that you could "pick up". Athron is very touchy about anyone appoaching her treasure and you will have to kill Sulfras to get at her treasure. Not only is that difficult but it is morally questionable to slaughter such creatures.
In every friendly town you will find tradespeople who will sell you their goods, mages or priests who will teach you spells or other people like sages, healers or innkeepers who will offer you a range of services. I have compiled a list of all these people and places under the heading "Shops and other Stuff in Avernum". Since money is so short and since there are many very good artefacts lying around if you look in the right places, I have never needed to buy anything except spells and skills.
When you have cleared out a hostile dungeon you will want to turn your hard won loot into cash. Many shopkeepers will offer you a price between 20% and 28% of the face value depending on your negotiating skill. Since money is so short, I wait until I can up the negotiating skill of all my characters before selling anything. That is unless I really need some money desperately. By the way you can only get one increase in Negotiating, so there is no point in waiting further.
Item storage is not necessary in this game because you can apparently carry an unlimited number of items in your "Junk Bag" and there seems to be no limit to the amount of money you can have.
Although the NPCs Andrew, Jay, Sabrina and Mona from the original game are all still there they will not join you even if you have a spare slot in your party. Sabrina does however give you a small mission.
You start off just after being teleported to Fort Avernum and find yourself in a dark and damp cellar. You must first find your way out of this cellar into the town, where Andrew rushes up to greet you. He will tell you to see Tor and Thairl who have offices south of the staircase to the Arrival Caves. Speak to them and explore a bit. Outside the walls in the SE corner are two cave rats which you can kill. Then pick up a pair of boots nearby. In the NW corner is a corpse with a wooden shield and another pair of boots. Look around the town talking to everyone who will talk to you. Warrick, who is sitting at the table in the dining hall, will give you the quest to find Anastasia. (She runs the armoury in Silvar.) Also pick up everything, that might be useful or can be sold. If something is marked as "not yours" do not worry: you can take it so long as no one is watching
Stealing is not a crime in Avernum as long as you do not get caught. Before taking anything that does not belong to you, have a look around and save the game. Then take the item. If you use a simple click a message will tell you whether your crime was seen or not. If it was, you can backup to the saved version. If you use the CTRL-click to transfer it directly to your junk bag, you cannot tell if anyone saw you.
You should explore the area around Fort Avernum, visiting the friendly towns to pick up some missions and then investigate the Brigand Fort. Having picked up your reward from Captain Johnson you can explore the area to the north.
I have decided to forgo writing a full Walkthrough. Instead I have compiled a few notes on the strategy I used in one walkthrough. There are many seperate strands in this game and it is up to you in which order you complete them.
After talking to everybody in Fort Avernum and picking up everything in the town and around the walls, which could be useful or turned into hard cash, I head for Silvar. Here I can find Anastasia . After talking to everyone here and I went to Cotra where I talked to everybody and got the quest from Mayor Steele to free the soldiers captured by Nepharim. Then to Fort Duvno. Now off to explore the area to the north.
There is a group of Goblins camping east of Duvno. They are not very strong but do not have much loot. The Bandit Fort is also not very difficult. In this case it is probably better to go straight in through the main gate, killing all bandits around the living quarters. Then dispatch the Mage, pick up some loot and back to Fort Duvno for the reward.
If you go carefully (saving often) you should be able to rid the area of bandits for Jason in Fort Duvno and other wandering monsters like the lone Slith in the northeast and also clear out most of the Bat Cave and the Goblin Caves. After these you could try freeing the prisoners in the Underground Nephilim Fort but the party is proably not yet strong enough. Then off to the towns to collect the rewards.
At this point I have a party with two fairly strong warriors, a mage who can cast a few useful spells and a priest with Healing. Now I can explore most of the known lands in Avernum.
The first stop is Formello. There is a lot of information and learning to be picked up here. Miles can train mages. Claudette is not so expensive for priest spells in this game but you must watch your cash. Toddric and Mairwen in Fort Dranlon are for intance much cheaper. There are a few minor quests which can be completed before going of to find Mayor Evelyn's golden necklace in the Nephilim Fortress.
After clearing out the Nephilim Fort I visit Motrax, pick up the Stone Key and find the hot springs for Gary. Even if I am not stong enough to kill the Lich, I can enter the Ancient Crypt (and hopfully find my way out). The Emerald Mines nearby are also not to difficult. Now I can admire Avernum's biggest anvil in Fort Dracoand then back to Duvno and Silvar.
The next goal is the Tower of Magi. I do not usually bother to visit Mertis yet, although if I have some Energetic Herbs on my inventory, I could pick up a Healing Elixir plus about 12xp from Ether. Between Mertis and the Tower of Magi there are often wandering groups of ogres which can be a bit tough. In the Tower it is important to talk to everyboby including Abrim, X, Throndell and Kelner. They have important information, give quests and (except for Kelner) can teach spells.
Except for wandering ogres on the first part near the tower, there is seldom any problem on the road to Almaria where I can pick up useful information and some quests. Then into the Great Cave where I can visit the Castle, Gnass, Fort Saffron, Blosk and the other towns.
What you do now depends on your strategy. You could complete all the missions which you have now picked up: clear out the Slith Fortification, complete the quests for Rosie and Mairwen in Fort Dranlon, deal with Araneae to the north and the Sliths on the lakes then fight the giants before starting on the Major Quests.
Since Sabrina in Blosk and Mona in Fort Saffron will no longer join the party it is not necessary to join the Scimitar or kill the Pit Darake a soon as possible. Neverteless I like to explore the Great Cave further, then go on to the Abyss.
Fort Remote is a sleepy little town which should be approached from the north along the west wall of the Great Cave, in order to avoid the gremlins lurking around the SW of this cave. Here I get the mission from Captain Bronwen to kill some fire lizards to the west. I then go west but often find the fire lizards a bit too tough. So I sneek south and east to the remote cave guarded by some araneae and spiders. They are also tough (save often in this area), but after killing them I can learn Dispel Barriers L1 thus saving at least 1000 coins which you have to pay Mairwen in Fort Dranlon for each level.
Even if I manage the fire lizards, I usually cannot attempt the Pit Drake just yet. So I collect my reward from Captain Bronwen and start on the road to the Scimitar. Later, when my party is stronger, I deal with the Pit Drake.
By this time I have picked up enough information in Dharmon and Blosk and elswhere about the Scimitar. In particular Royce in Blosk has suggested asking Calder in Bargha about them.
Although Dexter in Almaria is a bit of a rouge, I always complete his first two missions (get a ring from Blosk and deliver a dubious package to Meena in Spire). Since this packet cannot be taken through Fort Spire, I must go via Fort Emerald to the Abyss. I often make an attempt to clear out the Slith Fortification, which can however be a bit too tough, particularly if I do not have Dispel Barriers. In Spire I do not bother to do much more than deliver the package. Scab can wait till later and the others do not bring much. The maraudering highwaymen in the Abyss are best avoided if possible, but they should always be paid (10 coins) otherwise it costs 50 coins to enter Spire.
After Spire I visit Bargha. The important people here are Calder who tells how to reach Cleese and Cynthia who runs the library (for X's quest). After that I can find the Pylon and zoom back to the Tower of Magi then on to Cotra where I can buy a boat (if I do not have one) and paddle off to meet Kyass.
At this stage I have quite a strong party.
I now concentrate on the Major Quests (particularly the Orb and the Demonslayer) completing side quests like Greymould Salve for Hathwisa, Herbs for Ether, the Ogre Cave for Ambrin, the Slith Island Fort for Rosie, the quest for the Spiders and particularly the jobs for Kyass on the way.
The Orb of Thralni is actually fairly easy. The only prerequisite is a boat, which can be bought in Cotra. The route through the Waterfall Warren to the Stagnant Caverns is marked on the map.
After getting the Orb I like to visit Erika and clear out the Erika/Bandits area. I also like to pick up the Alien Blade, which is a good alternative to the Demonslayer when not fighting demons.
The Demonslayer is a bit more difficult. This wonderful sword has been broken into three pieces, which have been scattered across Avernum. The first piece, which I normally already have by this time, is in the crypt in the Underground Nephilim Fort. The second piece is on the Altar on the first floor of the Slith Temple and the last piece is in the Crypt of Drath. The Stone Key is needed to get the last piece. Although not strictly necessary, I like to visit Solberg and explore the river in NW Avernum before completing this quest.
Now it is time to find the key to the giant's gate in the Giant Castle and visit Aydin and Aimee on the Northern Islands, after which Erika will divulge the password for the talking statues around Avernum. None of them actually tells you anything you did not already know. The stautue in Almaria, however, teaches Acid Spray L3, which is not a lot of help.
While on the Northern Waters I also visit the Lair of Khoth where I can train, learn a L3 spell and complete Claudette's quest.
By this time I have a pretty potent party. There is no very good reason for doing the remaining tasks in any particular order. In fact I usually combine a number of quests. I will however describe them seperately, as if the were to be completed sequentually.
Here is a quick run through of the steps needed to kill Adze-Haakai and get the Onyx Sceptre: read the tome on the NW of the Tower of Magi, speak to Kelner to learn how to find the password to Solberg's Tower, visit him and get the Crystal Key; then back to the Tower of Magi and through the maze in the restricted area to reach the demon, kill him and get the sceptre. Now X will train you and Solberg will teach you some powerful spells.
Now is the time to finish off all uncompleted side quests and check the known lands for missed quests. Lost Bahssikava yields a few goodies. In fact the whole of the Spiders/Formello area including the Aranea City, Aranea Cave and the Eastern Gallery can be cleared. It is also a good idea to check the Magi/Honeycomb area and the Great Cave for missed treasure and quests, although I usually leave the Shattered Fort until later.
At this stage I rid Avernum of all remaining warlike Slithzerikai on the Lakes. After killing Sss-Thsss Skatha in Gnass will train me and King Micah in The Castle will give a reward. As soon as Micah gets the Slith Chief's torc, Grah-Hoth attacks and destroys Fort Remote. So I always wait until I am sure that I have completed the quest for Captain Bronwen and have picked up all I want in Fort Remote before setting of this chain reaction by telling the king that I have killed Sss-Thsss.
There are also a number of other side quests which can be completed while making preparations for the Great Quests. I make sure that I have cleared out the caves to the north of Erika, explore Spire (talk to Scab and kill the Brigands), explore the Abyss (not forgetting Zavlek) and Bargha, where there are some side quests and a bit of treasure. Then I make sure I have cleared out the Giant Lands (rob Pyrog, recover Khoth's scroll etc.).
By this time I have a pretty awsome party. Most of the preparations for the Great Quests have already been completed. It is now just a case of fighting my way through to the three Ends. The order in which I complete these quests is dictated by the reward, which (apart from coins and experience points which are rather useless at this stage) is in each case two L3 spells: Arcane Binding (Arcane Summon) and Divine Retribution (for killing Grah-Hoth), Cloak of Arcane and Divine Restoration (for finding the Exit to Surface), Arcane Blow and Divine Echo (Divine Host) for killing Hawthorne. I have not used any of thes spells much except for Cloak of the Arcane which I first came across in Fort Emerald. So it is rather a toss up, which I do first.
Although all hints necessary for completing the quests are buried in the town descriptions, I will recapitulate the steps required to complete them.
After getting Royal Clearance from Mayor Evelyn in Formello for recovering her necklace from the Nephilim Fortress, get the mission from King Micah in The Castle to kill Sss-Thsss. After giving Micah the Dark Slith's torc, Fort Remote will be destroyed by Grah-Hoth. Investigate this attack and get the quest to kill Grah-Hoth from King Micah. Pick up the Blessed Athame from the Tower of Magi. Then go to Skarragath and free Grah-Hoth from his prison. By this time you must have the Orb of Thalni and the Demonslayer. Finally go to the Tower of Grah-Hoth, dispose of the demon lord and report back to King Micah to get your reward.
Join the Scimitar by talking to Royce in Blosk and Calder in Bargha. Get the mission from Cleese to destroy the Empire Orb in the Gremlin Cave. Report back to Cleese and Rogow in Bargha and visit Erika. She will tell you that you need a four part password and give you the first part of it. Then visit Patrick, Aimee and Athron to get the other parts. Now get the Silver Circlet which Meena stole by talking to Scab in Spire and the Onyx Septre from Adze-Haakai. When you have these two artefacts, Sulfras will let you pass her Tower to reach the Final Gauntlet.
Erika will give you the mission to kill Emperor Hawthorne. Visit Aydin in the Hidden Island Tower. To complete this mission you need four of the five brooches scattered around Avernum, a Royal Seal and a chant that Khoth will teach you. The brooches are listed in the description of the library in Erika's Tower. (To get Bertraud to sell you the Platinum Brooch you must first talk to Edlin in Dharmon.) To recover the Royal Seal you must persuade Rone in The Castle to tell you about it and Patrick to tell you how to get the Gold Key in The Castle. Then you can recover the seal from the Shattered Fort. Khoth will only teach youthe ritual when you have returned his stolen Scroll. Having the brooches, the Royal Seal and the chant you can sail off to the start of the Path to the Black Spire and the Tower of Barriers. On the way you will meet two large groups of demons and have to use the Orb of Thralni to cross a chasm (at M on the Worldmap). At the end of this path Erika helps you get to the Royal Spire.