GBP – Curse of the Azure Bonds #4: Liberation of Hap

Last time we reached the town of Hap, our first step towards getting free of another of our magical bonds – but rested on the outskirts. Now, it is time to head into the city.

The flavor text you get when entering town.
There is very little bonhomie to be found in this town at the moment.
Map of the Village of Hap (or Haptooth) from the Curse of the Azure Bonds Cluebook.

So – Hap itself is, um, a lot of gameplay, but not with much to talk about. Shortly after entering the town the party is attacked by a group of Drow elf guards – you can probably talk your way out of it, but not really. The shop is closed and unavailable to you, the townsfolk’s huts are unavailable to you, and there’s no training hall to level up your characters, and the Temple is unable to offer services. What you can do is rest in the inn, and also rest in the Temple.

Ultimately, the goal of this section of the game is to go to the barn at the end of the town and kill an Efreet and his guards. The interesting articulation here, in terms of gameplay, that Pool of Radiance didn’t get into, is that any patrols you don’t kill on the way to the fight with the Efreet will be present when you confront the Efreet directly.

Screen shot of combat against a Drow Elf Patrol
One of the handful of Drow patrols you’re going to fight.

Thus, if you run from patrols, or try to bluster your way through them, you’ll actually have a harder time than if you take advantage of the two safe places to rest and do hit-and-run attacks on the patrols. Or, to put it another way, the game rewards you for running a proper insurgent campaign.

On top of all of this, you also get a guest party member – Akabar Bal Akas – a magic-user who will fight alongside the party. You can’t control them in combat the way your Hirelings and guest party members in Pool of Radiance could, but you do have some control of their magic loadout – so if you want to keep them from blasting fireballs into a rolling melee battle, you can make them memorize a different spell instead.

After liberating the town, we get a map to a nearby wizard’s tower, which holds the master of the Drow and, presumably, the wizard who was responsible for another of our magical bonds – but that entails a trip through an underground passage, which will have to wait for the next installment.