On leaving Tilverton, Curse of the Azure Bonds finally opens up – sort of. We now have a larger world to travel through, but we’re still somewhat limited by what quest flags are available to trigger.

This is the general area that you can travel to in the game – no returning to Phlan though.

Leaving Tilverton we’ve got two main leads to go on – a mysterious sage in Shadowdale, and the Zhentarim. The fire knives are down, we don’t know where Tyranthraxus is, and there’s the cult of Moander, which we have no leads on. Since the route to Zhentil Keep goes through Shadowdale, we might as well take that route.

The party fighting some Displacer Beasts.
Journal Entry 58
Maybe next time send someone with the “Monster Handling” NWP.

On the way there, we happen to run into a group of displacer beasts, and after killing them, discover the body of a dead Drow, and learn that the Drow had been sent by the wizard member conspiracy to train them – it didn’t work out so well.

In Shadowdale, at the bar, the party is approached by Elminster a mysterious old man who is absolutely not Elminster why would you think that. He informs them that Elminster is pretty ticked that someone involved with this conspiracy would have used a wizard mark that is so blatantly biting his, and you can find a lead on their location in Hap, and please check that jabroni’s candy-ass into the Smackdown Hotel thank you very much.

Elminster is not happy.

At this point, it’s worth discussing a little bit of how the Cities and the overworld map works. Unlike Pool of Radiance, the Overworld and cities, outside of our experience in Tilverton, are not free-roaming areas. Cities are made up of a very basic menu with the various places you’ll need to go (Temples, Training Halls, Shops, Inns, and the Bar to get dialog and rumors). The Overworld map is navigated by a menu as well, with you choosing your ultimate destination and deciding if you want to go on the trail or cut through the wilderness. There are side-encounters we can run into in the wilderness, but we’re holding off of those for now.

On our way south to Hap we have to travel pass some standing stones, where a shadowy figure tells us we need to defeat 3 more of our masters – it’s probably Tyranthraxus, and the situation effectively serves to let us know where we are in progressing the story. That said, aside from a couple of random encounters on the road – including a fight with some Black Dragons, the journey is uneventful, and we eventually reach Hap – which we’ll cover next time.

Tyranthraxus informs us of our progress.
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