The Koval Mansion isn’t the last City Hex we have to go – Stojenow Gate and Valjevo Castle still remain. However, it is the last city hex we have a quest for – and indeed there are no official quests for those areas, so theoretically we can just push through right now. But, first, let’s get this last city hex.
The fundamental concept of the Koval Mansion area is, in a sentence “Hey, maybe have a thief!” After the entire city area going without any form of booby traps, and with locked doors that the party can otherwise get through with either a Knock spell or brute force and massive ignorance, here you really need a thief or else you’ll end up taking a lot of damage from various traps.
Otherwise, this area’s pretty straight forward. Most of the time you’ll be fighting small groups of 1st level thieves in straight fights, which is not where they are most effective. They’re not doing Sneak attack damage, and their THAC0 is too low to have much of a chance hitting most of our party members. Consequently, the main hazards here are damage from traps and a cursed broadsword in one of the treasure chests.
In terms of the benefits of this area, we managed to get just about enough XP to level up Woodchuck, so I think he’s at the cap, and Deedlit isn’t quite at the cap yet with either of her classes, so we can level her up further.
We also get a lore dump – the Thieves Guild has been gathering rumors about each of the members of the city council. In a tabletop game, this would be great – it would provoke a whole bunch of tension over which members of the council the party could trust and who was secretly working for The Boss. In this game, however, the actual members of the Council are a non-entity. We’ve met the Council Clerk and Cadorna, but that’s it.
There is some other information that is a little more useful – we get maps of two quadrants of Valjevo Castle and some intelligence on The Boss – that they are a metallic dragon that presumably has fallen under the influence of Tyranthraxus the Flamed One. This sets up our final fight – that we’re going to get a dragon to go with our dungeons, and also setting up the danger of the Pool itself – that it has enough power to take control of a Metallic Dragon and subsume the dragon’s will to its’.
As far as where we go from here, next time we try our luck against Stojenow Gate, and if we bounce off, we’ll move on to Sorcerer’s Island and stem the pollution of the river.