Howlers look as horrible as they are dangerous, especially in groups.
This third installment in using stealth in the Wheloon Prison series makes many a player cry. It’s “The Thrill of the Hunt.”
One word: Howlers. This otherworldly dog-like creatures gang up on you, stick you with stacking howler quills that damage your HP, and create a strange yelp that causes a stacking debuff against your WIS–a particular danger to Monks and other WIS-based classes. Characters with a normally low WIS could quickly find themselves left Helpless and unable to defend themselves.
This time, unlike the first and second quests, Kiricletica goes in alone; no hirelings. Her only central objectives are to get a key to access the boss, and then kill him. A prime quest for a Ninja Spy or a resourceful Rogue Assassin.
Getting to this quest is the second worst challenge for many players in exploring the backstabbing denizens in the town-turned-prison. When you enter the zone, the quest entrance is actually immediately to your right, but it’s behind a gate that can only be opened from the other side. If you are part of a party and have one or more people who can sneak there to reduce fighting time and resources, let them make their way around to open the gate for those less-adventurous in your party. Often there are red-named beholders, night hags or even an encounter boss near the entrance. I’d advise you to just get inside the quest.
Sneaking works for infiltration through most of the quest, but there are Shadows that sense your presence. While you’re in Sneak, you may see the “Eye” appear over you, indicating you are in line-of-sight of something. The problem is that the Shadows, typed as undead creatures, are invisible until you make yourself known. Be mindful in many places where swarms of Shadows will jump you.
The quest begins with a Shadar-Kai and Netherese mage bickering over how their Shadar-Kai leader (Karleth) is totally bat-guano crazy, even for a Netherese agent. Once you move past them, you find yourself in a narrow hallway with four rooms, all doors closed. Ahead is a locked door going deeper. A stealth master can easily enter each room and rummage through a table in each room for a key to use, leaving any Shadar-Kai inside each room unawares. A Rogue Assassin should be able to simply pick the door lock. If not, that Jeweled Key is required.
You’ll find the sadistic Karleth mewing with faux lamenting on how he regrets using his howlers to gnaw his Cormyr magistrate prisoners to bits. The first to stop is a single howler, Kryll (above). Howlers are best killed with ranged attacks but with care you can just hack them up before their quills or WIS debuff becomes a serious problem against a single dog. You’ll gain a chest and some XP by saving the first magistrate.
Moving on, there are Shadar-Kai patrolling through the halls, often in stealth, along with some Shadows. They’re often too bunched up to distract away, but you should be able to take them out provided you change up your attack if one or more pull out their spinning chain attack, which damages and debuffs.
A second larger room has Karleth changing his terror target to you, but this time there are more howlers. This time, their combined WIS debuff is highly dangerous to low-WIS characters, and not a walk in the park for higher-WIS characters. Howlers have no particular immunities, so blinding them, using Solid Fog, or other control techniques may help a larger party. In Kiri’s case, she sliced and diced, using a Ninjutsu skill to mass negative-level the mob.
A few places offer a chance to use a Flaming Sphere to lure enemies away from tight spots to move forward without fighting. But if you reveal yourself at nearly any location, Shadows will take advantage. By the time you reach the second and last shrine, there are several rooms you can search to find Kuttar or Yzthmeth , red-named Shadar-Kai that drop a gold key when dead. You’ll only find one or the other, and the rooms either might inhabit are random.
With the gold key, it’s the boss fight. As you enter, a stealth master should go into Sneak immediately without moving and invisible if possible. Approach Karleth, start the NPC dialogue but return to Sneak as you click-through the selections. When Karleth goes hostile, head to the back of the hapless prisoner’s cage in Sneak, to keep the howlers from being lured to you, and fight Karleth there. Kiri can’t save the prisoner (this requires a Rogue or Artificer) and wouldn’t try if she could: The howlers will be overwhelming even for a full party.
When Karleth dies, the quest is complete. Your end chest spawns right by the howler cages. Kiri uses a trick to loot the chest and escape out the door you entered to fight the boss.
Kiri gets to use more ninja and stealth tricks as she’s tasked to kill another Netherese leader in “Army of Shadow,’ next time.
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