By Daniel D'Agostino, 2023-09-15
- The Overworld
- Descent into the Underdark
- Cutscene: Descent into the Underdark
- Descent into the Underdark, Level 1 (East Side)
- Descent into the Underdark, Level 2 (East Side)
- Descent into the Underdark, Level 1 (West Side)
- Descent into the Underdark, Level 2 (Central Area)
- The Underground Lake
- Descent into the Underdark, Level 2 (West Side)
- The Dwarven Territories
- Between Dwarves and Drow
- Cutscene: Mining Cart Ride
- Cavern of the Myconids (East Side)
- Cavern of the Galeb Duhr
- Cutscene: The Earthquake
- Cavern of the Driders, Map 1 (Main Level)
- Cavern of the Driders, Map 2
- Cavern of the Driders, Map 1 (Before Chasm)
- Cutscene: Crossing the Chasm
- Cavern of the Driders, Map 1 (After Chasm)
- The Underground River
- Approach to Menzoberranzan
- House Do'Urden
Menzoberranzan is a computer role-playing game (RPG) developed by DreamForge Intertainment and published by Strategic Simulations, Inc. in 1994. It uses the same game engine as Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession and Ravenloft: Stone Prophet but, unlike its siblings, it is set in the Forgotten Realms. It capitalises on the presence of Drizzt, a popular hero of the setting who also appears in other games (such as Baldur's Gate).
The story follows two adventurers as they attempt to rescue several villagers who were captured in a Drow raid. The party may be augmented by two of a variety of exotic and interesting characters including Drizzt himself. As the story unfolds, Drizzt is captured by his Drow brethren, and the party finds itself in the midst of a web of Drow treachery.
The game plays as a dungeon crawler light on story elements, but the level design fails to live up to the earlier Ultima Underworld in terms of exploration and interactivity. The game tends to be very linear, and even the ability to fly is relegated as merely a way to bypass arbitrary obstacles. Many of the areas are labyrinthine and disorienting, with very little in the way of interesting encounters in each area, and the low visibility requires heavy use of the in-game automap.
Nonetheless, the game is still a remarkable journey into the unknown that lets the player experience a variety of settings including above-ground areas, caverns, Dwarven settlements, and the Drow city of Menzoberranzan. The game design deserves praise for ensuring that (in most cases) everything required to proceed to the next level can be found on the current one, and the game offers timely warnings about plot-essential items or important consumables whose loss might otherwise have led to game-stopping situations for which games like Eye of the Beholder 2 are notorious.
Menzoberranzan is a first-person RPG and while it is newer than Ultima Underworld (which pioneered this kind of game engine), it predates standard WASD and mouse look controls, so it can take a little adjustment for newer players.
There are different ways to move around, including the following (consult the manual, page 8, for more details):
- Left-clicking on the directional arrows under the compass.
- Left-clicking in the main view.
- Free mouse movement (press Space).
- The Numpad on your keyboard.
If you prefer the grid-style movement in early "blobber" RPGs like the Eye of the Beholder trilogy, you can toggle step movement by either clicking on the compass or toggling it in the Options menu.
I generally prefer to use the Numpad for movement as it leaves the mouse free to interact with objects, monsters and NPCs. You can then use the mouse in the adventure screen as follows:
- Left-click an NPC to talk to them.
- Left-click a monster or your characters' equipped weapons to attack.
- Left-click an item in a character's hand (e.g. a potion) to use it.
- Right-click an item on the floor to pick it up.
- Right-click an item you're already holding to drop/throw it.
You can access your characters' inventory by clicking on any of their portraits in the adventure screen. If you picked up an item, you can also double-right-click on a character's portrait to place it directly into their inventory (without opening the inventory screen), or double-right-click an equipped weapon to swap it.
Once in the inventory screen, you can:
- Click on an item to place it on the cursor, in an inventory slot, or equip it on a character's mannequin.
- Left-click character portraits to swap their positions.
- Left-click the arrow next to a character portrait to see their attributes.
- Right-click the arrow next to a character portrait to see all characters' attributes.
- Place a container in a character's left hand to open it.
- Place a potion onto a character's head to consume it.
- Place a mage scroll onto a mage character's spellbook to scribe it.
- Once an item is on the cursor, press D to drop it.
- Right-click anywhere (except on the aforementioned arrows) to go back to the adventure screen.
Outside of the adventure screen, right-clicking generally closes the current view (e.g. Load/Save screen, inventory, dialogue, etc.).
To cast spells or use abilities, click on the spellbook, holy symbol, ribbon or combination thereof on top of a character's portrait in the adventure screen. Abilities are listed under 'A', whereas spells are listed under numbers from 1 to 6 representing their level.
To access the main menu, click on the top-left or top-right corner of the adventure screen. This is where you can save, load or quit your game, pray for or memorise spells, and access the automap and Options screen. Right-click to close the main menu.
You can access the automap via either the icon next to the directional arrows on the adventure screen, or via the main menu. You'll need to do this a lot to navigate the labyrinthine levels in very little light. The manual covers the automap in detail on pages 23-26.
A few things to keep in mind while you play:
- Since the game is very dark and has low visibility in most areas, consider increasing your screen's brightness, or adjusting the Palette Intensity setting in the Options menu, as long as your eyes are comfortable.
- It's very likely that your mage won't reach Level 12 by the end of the game, so don't scribe any sixth-level mage spell scrolls.
- Consider keeping any extra mage scrolls for a secondary mage (e.g. Vonar).
- If you can't get around an obstacle, try toggling step movement.
- The leftmost and rightmost characters are considered to be in the rear rank. They can only reach enemies via long (e.g. halberds, two-handed swords, etc.) or ranged (e.g. bows, crossbows, etc.) weapons, except in outdoor situations.
- A multi-class character cannot cast mage spells while wearing armour.
About this Walkthrough
Despite its flaws, Menzoberranzan is actually a solid dungeon crawler, so it is disheartening to see it almost forgotten on the internet. I decided to write this walkthrough to (a) give it a little more presence and respect on the internet, and (b) produce a better walkthrough for the game than any other available.
This walkthrough goes into every detail of the game, providing as much background for each encounter as possible. It is accompanied by close to 900 screenshots (selected from over 2,300 taken during this playthrough) and 40 detailed custom-made maps to help you get through each level with ease.
The legends on each map are positioned in such a way that they are as close to their respective markers as possible. Areas of levels that are currently inaccessible are clearly indicated using boundary lines, and white arrows show the recommended path to follow (although you are free - and encouraged - to explore every corner of each level).
The only online Menzoberranzan walkthrough I'm aware of is the one by Julian and Caryl Tandy. Unfortunately, it is very superficial and also very inaccurate, making it only useful for general direction.
Then there is the official cluebook, which is actually pretty good. If you use this, be sure to get the one from the Museum of Computer Adventure Game History, since the one from GOG is of poor quality (it can't be searched, and many of the maps are unreadable).
Even the cluebook, however, has several flaws, including:
- A lot of back-and-forth is required because maps and their legends are often on different pages.
- Several maps are revisited multiple times, making the annotations confusing to follow.
- It has many mistakes and omissions.
- There isn't any clear path from the entrance of a level to its exit.
The Making of this Walkthrough
This walkthrough was written over a two-month period between July and September 2023, and is based on the GOG version of Menzoberranzan, which is based on the CD-ROM version 1.10 of the game.
The walkthrough is written in a custom Markdown-like format and then processed, along with all the raw screenshots and maps, using custom software to produce the final result that you see here.
Screenshots of cutscenes are taken with sound disabled, so that the captions appear.
The maps in this walkthrough are exported from the game as binary files, converted into images using custom-written software, and then annotated manually. The resulting maps may at times contain small inaccuracies because the map files exported from the game have a very limited resolution, but the trade-off is worth it as it saves a lot of time in creating the maps.
I'm grateful to gibberishh for early review and feedback.
The quest begins in a small village near Icewind Dale. The adventurers celebrate their recent victories at a local inn, but their revelry is cut short when calls of "Fire!" draw them out into a dangerous confrontation. Raiders from the Underdark -- drow elves -- have attacked the village, setting buildings aflame and carrying off many of the town's inhabitants as prisoners.
-- Menzoberranzan Cluebook
In the introduction, a massive beast is confronted by two adventurers. After being struck by a spear and a spell, it collapses to the ground and breathes its last.
To thank the adventurers for their aid, the residents of a village invite them to a celebration at the local inn.
Later that evening, under the cover of darkness, Drow raiders breach the walls of the village with a spell. They slay townsfolk, set fire to the houses, and take prisoners. The survivors are heard shouting, "Fire!"
You need two characters to start playing Menzoberranzan. You can either use the quick start party provided by the game, or create your own.
The Quick Start Party
The game provides a "quick start party" that you can use to get straight into the game. To use this, just select "Continue Game" from the main menu, and select the first slot, which is called "Quick Start [Elf Fighter/Mage - Human Cleric]".
The quick start party, as the savegame suggests, consists of an elf fighter/mage and a human cleric. This is close enough to what I would go for, but creating your own characters gives you a better party.
Creating Your Own Characters
You can create your own party via the "Create Characters" option in the main menu. This is a bit tedious as you have to wait for the 3D animation to play between each step.
According to the manual, this sequence takes place in the chapel of House Baenre, which you will visit towards the end of the game. A priestess prays to Lolth, the Spider Queen and goddess of the Drow, who instructs her to stop the "surface dwellers" accompanying Drizzt, the son of Matron Malice of House Do'Urden. The priestess begins an incantation to reveal the nature of these two adventurers.
In Menzoberranzan, you can only choose two characters, and so it is more difficult to have a good balance of classes compared to other games that allow you to choose four. Up to two NPCs can join your party during the course of the game for a maximum of four characters. Once at the maximum of four, you can swap NPCs when meeting a new one, but cannot drop your original two characters.
My preference is to start with a single-class cleric and a single-class mage.
- This way, you level up faster and can access more powerful spells.
- Fighter-type NPCs are more abundant in the game than spellcasters.
- A cleric and a mage can still take care of themselves.
- There is no real use for thieves in this game.
- You need to have at least one mage or cleric to be able to cast a Light spell.
Everything else is secondary, although certain combinations of races and classes can give you different minor benefits (consult the manual for details). For this particular walkthrough, I've created a male human cleric called Perseus and a female half-elf mage called Andromeda. These names come from Greek mythology and are also names of constellations.
Against the advice of purists, I recommend maxing out your attributes. This gives you more hit points, better armour classes, more spells, and other advantages which will all serve you well on this dangerous journey through the Underdark.
After having saved the village from the beast shown in the introduction, you start the game at location 1 in the tavern, wondering why nobody turned up for the celebration that was promised to you. Talk to the innkeeper at location 2, who would like you to put out a fire that broke out in the village, and asks you to return for a reward afterwards. If you talk to him again, he also directs you to Baldassar, the captain of the guard.
As you exit the tavern through the door to the east (location 3), you'll find yourself outdoors as the darkness of night is setting in, with Drow fighters ready to attack. You can't rest for the time being, so you'll need to make do with the spells you started with. Cast a Light spell to enhance visibility and Prayer for an extra boost in combat, and also take a look at your inventory to scribe scrolls and equip any extra protection.
The building on fire is the one at the southeast corner of the village (location 14). To put out the fire, you'll need to find buckets of water, put them in your characters' hands, and then use / click on them as if to attack while standing in front of the fire. There are lots of buckets scattered throughout the village, but you'll find most outside the tavern (location 4) and by the well (location 9, and on the west and south sides of the building at location 8). You can fill any empty buckets by similarly equipping them in a character's hands and then using them at the well.
Once the fire is out, you can talk to Baldassar (location 16) who will join your party if you wish. He's not a very strong character, but you could use an extra pair of arms at the moment, especially to take on the Drow fighters in the village. Baldassar wears leather armour (AC 2 bonus) and carries a long sword, a shield and a dagger. He can stay with you throughout your journey, or you can later replace him with another NPC.
Baldassar suggests seeking help from someone called Vermulean outside the village, and taking advantage of equipment inside the guard house (location 17). You'll find some items there and also scattered throughout the village. Help yourself to anything you think you need, but very few are worthwhile, except perhaps the ivory scroll case (location 5) behind the tavern.
Go back to the innkeeper, who will give you a magical helm as a reward. This helm gives an AC 2 bonus as well as granting the "Immunity to Poison" ability to the wearer. Now is also a good time to have your spellcasters pray for and memorise your preferred spells. After resting, leave the village through the gate to the east.
Some additional notes:
- You cannot rest until after the fire is put out.
- Baldassar will only join after the fire is put out.
- You can fight the Drow fighters for experience, wait for sunrise (they will disappear), or just ignore them.
- It is possible to leave the village without putting out the fire.
- If you leave the village before revisiting the innkeeper, he will meet you at the east gate to make sure you take the helm.
- You cannot drop the helm, as it has a special significance to the story later.
- It is curious how the village walls seem intact despite the breach seen in the introduction.
- The tavern is larger on the inside than on the outside. This is also true of other buildings seen later in the game.
As soon as you leave the village gates and step into the woods outside of the village, one of your characters notes signs of a wounded Drow raider who was left behind by his party. You'll find him southeast of the starting point, at location 9. If you spare his life (talk rather than fight), he explains that the Drow attacked the village because they were looking for Drizzt, hoping to sacrifice him to Lolth.
The other important thing to do in this area is to visit Vermulean in his cottage (location 15). You can learn more about the Drow by talking to him and also reading his parchment (location 17). He sends you off to look for gems that he can then enchant to provide infravision and protect your party from the radiations in the Underdark, and suggests looking for them to the east. While at Vermulean's cottage, don't miss the two mage scrolls on the table (location 18).
There's a circle of eight stones outside Vermulean's cottage (and another one seen a little later) whose significance is never explained, although it is reminiscent of similar structures in the Ultima series of games in which moongates form.
Exploring the woods, you'll have to fight several gnolls and bug bears. There is a talking gnoll (location 5) and a talking bug bear (location 23), both of which attack regardless of whether you choose to talk or fight. You'll also find several magical scrolls lying about, including a mage scroll of Comprehend Languages (location 10), which will come in handy later although you can't scribe it to your spellbook. Be sure to also pick up the Keoghtom's ointment in the sack at location 8, in case you get poisoned later.
At the southeast part of the woods (location 11), you'll meet Maeldithar, a centaur ranger, who will join the party if you ask him to.
- He only sticks around until the party ventures into the Underdark, which is quite soon.
- He isn't very powerful, and we're getting Drizzt shortly, so there isn't much point in recruiting Maeldithar.
- He has a taller inventory mannequin and thus less inventory space.
- Quoting the manual: "Although the centaur has fewer inventory slots, he has twice the weight-carrying-capacity of a fighter."
- He can only wear his centaur armour (AC 5 bonus, which is great), but other characters can wear it too.
- He takes his armour with him when he leaves the party.
- Maeldithar also carries a composite bow and a quiver with 8 arrows.
- Maeldithar exists only in the CD-ROM version of the game.
Once you are done exploring the woods, you can leave the area at any point on the east portion of the map.
Icewind Dale Plains, Area 1
This area is a hub connecting a few different areas, which are interesting to explore. The key priority is to find the gems that Vermulean wants, allowing safe passage through the Underdark. We'll also meet Drizzt along the way.
Exploring the Plains
Coming from the woods outside the village, you emerge on the west side of the Icewind Dale Plains Area 1. At the southern edge is a rocky passage where you'll meet Drizzt and later proceed to the Icewind Dale Plains Area 2. Towards the northeastern section of the map is a cave serving as Drizzt's Shelter, and there's another cave along the eastern edge leading to Leucrotta's Lair. More on these shortly.
There are a number of items scattered across the map, none of which are particularly important. You may want to grab the magical scrolls at the eastern edge (locations 13, 14 and 15). The keyring dropped by a gnoll (location 10) and the sack (location 17) help keep your inventory organised. You can also help yourself to some potions (healing and fire resist in the same sack, and giant strength at location 8), and a ring of Feather Fall (location 4).
The area is patrolled by gnolls and verbeeg giants. The latter hit hard, especially against weak characters such as Baldassar.
At location 6, where the passage to the Icewind Dale Plains Area 2 begins, you are ambushed from behind by a verbeeg giant. Drizzt slays the giant and offers to join the party in pursuit of the captured villagers. He suggests a journey through the Underdark via a mine to the south, rather than direct pursuit of the raiders.
- While recruiting Drizzt is optional, he is a living legend and a key part of the story, and being able to have him in the party is one of the unique appeals of this game. His skills, equipment and experience are a great help to the party until they are better able to face the dangers of the Underdark by themselves.
- Drizzt is a level 15 ranger and easily the best NPC in the game.
- Drizzt wields the +3 scimitar "Icingdeath" and the +5 scimitar "Twinkle".
- Although other characters can use Drizzt's scimitars, only he is able to use both at once. The manual says: "As a ranger, Drizzt is renowned in both the Underdark and the surface world for his ability to wield two scimitars at once. Drizzt’s father (and teacher) was fond of calling the young drow "two-hands."" Interestingly, other fighter-type characters can in fact dual-wield scimitars, just not Drizzt's.
- Drizzt wears +4 Elven chain mail, providing an AC 9 bonus.
- Drizzt carries a Guenhwyvar figurine which, when used, allows him to lash out at enemies with the paw of a great panther.
Perhaps Drizzt’s greatest friend, Guenhwyvar, is a black panther from another plane of existence. Using the power of a polished onyx figurine, Drizzt calls Guenhwyvar to his side in times of need. To use the power of Guenhwyvar in combat, place the onyx figurine in Drizzt’s hand. From the Adventure Screen, left-click on the panther figurine in the same way you activate any weapon held by a character. Guenhwyvar’s paws lash out into the adventure window, taking their toll on any opponent within range. When Drizzt is holding the image of Guenhwyvar, he can only wield one of his scimitars. After a period of time at Drizzt’s side, Guenhwyvar must return to the home plane from which it comes. Therefore, Guenhwyvar may not be available during every combat encounter.
-- Menzoberranzan Manual
- Drizzt also carries a useless green robe.
- Drizzt sticks with the party until he is captured later, or until he is replaced by another NPC. In the latter case, he proceeds by himself, and is captured anyway.
- Drizzt is critical to the plot and can't die. If he is killed in combat, he leaves the party.
- Drizzt takes his scimitars, armour, and Guenhwyvar figurine with him when he is captured or dismissed. His armour can be saved by transferring it to another character prior to his capture, but this doesn't work when replacing him with another NPC.
- It is not possible to drop Drizzt's scimitars, armour, or Guenhwyvar figurine, except by placing them in a bag and dropping it.
Drizzt's Shelter is in a cave accessible from location 12 in the Icewind Dale Plains Area 1. Exploring the area, you'll find an empty sack (useful for additional inventory space) as well as a piwafwi cloak, which the cluebook says is "a sure sign of drow habitation. Only the drow possess this distinctive garb".
At location 4, you'll find a button on the wall that opens the way to the eastern part of the cave. There's a note written by Drizzt about his private thoughts on Drow culture at location 6, and a non-magical scimitar at location 7. To leave, you can either retrace your steps, or press the button on the wall at location 8 to open up another way back to the entrance.
A second cave, accessible from location 16 in the Icewind Dale Plains Area 1, is Leucrotta's Lair. The leucrotta are tough creatures that can quickly maul your party members, especially weaker ones like Baldassar. The first leucrotta waits in ambush just by the entrance. There are three in this cave, and a few others in the first caverns of the Underdark.
Head south from the entrance and drink the Potion of Jump at location 2 (be sure not to rest right afterwards). With the Jump ability, you can now jump through elevated openings in the walls. You can get some practice at locations 3 and 4, or bypass them completely by following the southern passage.
There's a shield at location 5, which I like to leave where it is as a landmark, as it can be a little disorienting to find your way back later. Jumping through another elevated passage at location 6, you'll find a helm of disguise. This provides no AC bonus, and although the cluebook says that it's used "to disguise the identity of elves from their drow enemies", I've never found a use for it, except that it looks badass on top of Drizzt's armour.
In the southeast corner (location 8), you can talk to or fight a second leucrotta. It will attack either way, but if you talk, it reveals that it destroyed some caravans and has been hoarding gems. A third leucrotta is just around the corner to the north from here, near the potions of healing (locations 9 and 10). If you proceed a little further, you'll also find a ring of protection and a mage scroll of Burning Hands (locations 11 and 12, respectively) by the eastern wall.
The gems you need are in the northeastern section of the cave. The first one is easily accessible at location 13. To reach the second gem at location 15, you'll need to jump through the elevated passage at location 14 (in case you wasted the earlier Potion of Jump, there's a second one at location 18). The last two gems are nearby at locations 16 and 17.
Enchanting the Gems
With all four gems in your possession, leave Leucrotta's Lair by retracing your steps back to the entrance, then head west across the Icewind Dale Plains Area 1 until you're back to the woods outside the village. Revisit Vermulean in his cottage and ask him to enchant the gems.
- Vermulean enchants the gems so that they provide protection from the Underdark radiations. Three of the gems change from white to orange and are each called "Gem of Infravision".
- The fourth gem is a Stone of Winter. It has the same benefits as the Gems of Infravision, plus it allows you to cast Cone of Cold once per day.
- Although he says that the enchanted gems allow you to "see in the Underdark as well as any of its natural denizens", in practice I have seen no such benefit, and a Light spell is always required for visibility underground.
- Vermulean tells you about a magical fountain "capable of healing various wounds and diseases".
- He also invites you take the two scrolls on his table, to which you've likely already helped yourself.
You can now head back to the Icewind Dale Plains Area 1, and take the southern passage at location 7 to the Icewind Dale Plains Area 2.
Icewind Dale Plains, Area 2
Like the ones before it, this area contains a number of items scattered across it, and several monsters (stirges and troglodytes). Among other things, there are a number of magical scrolls, although the most interesting items are dropped by two troglodytes when you kill them: a mage scroll of Improved Identify (location 9) and a javelin of lightning (location 19).
Other interesting encounters in this region include a talking troglodyte (location 17, attacks whether you talk or fight), a second circle of stones (location 8), and the NPC Vonar (location 18).
Vonar is a kenku (birdman) who was wounded by the Drow and has vowed revenge against them. As his goals are aligned with yours, he will gladly join the party, and he also knows Drizzt. However, as he is already the fourth NPC that can join your party and you can't have more than two (on top of your original two characters), you have to make some hard decisions on whom to keep.
- Vonar is one of my favourite characters; he belongs to an exotic race and is useful as both an additional fighter and additional mage.
- However, keeping both Drizzt and Vonar in the party is a scenario that leads to finishing the game with only three characters. For this reason, nowadays I prefer not to recruit him at this time.
- Like Drizzt, Vonar will proceed on his own personal quest if you don't take him with you. There is another opportunity to recruit him later.
- Vonar is a bit on the weak side in terms of hit points, so watch the damage he takes.
- Vonar wears kenku armour (AC 5 bonus). He cannot wear any other armour, and nobody else can wear his armour. His kenku armour cannot be dropped and goes with him if he leaves the party.
- Vonar also carries a quarterstaff, scimitar and lock picks.
- Vonar cannot wear any helmets. His head is too big.
- Vonar has several abilities relating to his Thief class, including Read Languages, which is useful if you missed the mage scroll of Comprehend Languages earlier.
Near the southeast corner of the map, at location 16, is the entrance to the Underdark. To enter, you will need to be carrying all four Gems of Infravision enchanted by Vermulean. Have each character in your party carry one to avoid taking damage from radiations after entering (only Drizzt doesn't need one).
Cutscene: Descent into the Underdark
A brief cutscene shows the party riding an elevator down into a mine at a 45-degree angle. The environment becomes dark very quickly, and it's a long way down. After the party exits the elevator at the bottom, it returns to the surface, leaving the party no choice but to continue their descent.
Descent into the Underdark, Level 1 (East Side)
The Descent into the Underdark is a series of dark, winding caverns. Because the game reuses some maps and has you revisit different sections later, you can't reach the western portion of the Level 1 map just yet. The monsters on this level consist mostly of osquip, but you'll also run into cloaker lords, gnolls, and Drow fighters as you explore.
This level has its share of magical scrolls and other items. In particular, there is a cleric scroll of Passweb (location 12) and two potions of Flying (locations 4 and 10) that are handy to collect. There are several areas in future levels that are gated by webs or elevated passages, and the only way to get through them is by using these kinds of items.
They're not strictly necessary here though because there are no such barriers on this level (the elevated passages can all be bypassed) and you'll find more potions/scrolls of Passweb and Fly later, but it doesn't hurt to have a few spare ones. In fact, the game very helpfully warns you against consuming the Passweb scroll and then resting, which can make the game unwinnable if you exhaust the available supply.
The most interesting encounter on this level is Manahath the Barbarian (location 9), a tough fighter who is willing to join the party. After having been cheated by the Drow (House Do'Urden, no less), Manahath lost track of his caravan, and wants nothing more than to make the Drow pay for their misdeeds.
During conversation, Manahath offers directions in the form of the "cut-away map", an option within the automap that shows a cross-section of the underground to illustrate the party's overall progress and offer quick access to each map. The cut-away map is documented on page 26 of the game manual.
Although Baldassar might at this point be ahead of Manahath in terms of experience, the latter has a better attribute build. His strength and his mighty two-handed sword are great to cleave through enemies, whether from the front or back rank.
Manahath also comes with pretty good gear:
- Chain mail (AC 5 bonus) armour
- Bracers of protection (AC 5 bonus, but does not stack with armour)
- A dagger
- A Gem of Infravision (makes sense - he wouldn't survive down here otherwise)
- A potion of Healing
- A two-handed sword
When you're done exploring, head for the ladder down (location 20) to Level 2. You can reach it by going a little southwest of Manahath's position (location 9), and then either keep going southwest and then southwards, or else head southeast and go through the illusionary wall at location 19. You can approach the ladder from the east or west - it doesn't matter.
Descent into the Underdark, Level 2 (East Side)
You start in the southeastern portion of level 2. As with the previous level, you're constrained within the eastern half of the map, and only get to explore the rest at a later stage.
Head northwest from the entrance, optionally picking up the potion of Passweb at location 4, and take the potion of Flying (location 7) and mage scroll of Passweb (location 8) right next to each other. Passweb is a fifth-level mage spell, so you can't cast it yet if you scribe it to your spellbook, but it will come in handy later. On the other hand, Passweb is a fourth-level cleric spell, and your cleric may be able to cast fourth-level spells at this point, in which case both Passweb and Neutralize Poison can be very handy to have available.
From location 7, retrace your steps and head north until you can't go any further. After taking another potion of Passweb at location 11, make your way to location 14 (a double-arch rock formation) via either location 12 or 13. At this point, drink a potion of Passweb or cast the equivalent cleric spell (a party member warns against wasting such a potion), and walk through the web at location 16. From here, use the ladder at location 8 to reach the next level.
Descent into the Underdark, Level 1 (West Side)
There isn't really much to do in this level other than zig-zag through it. It's easiest if you follow the annotated map provided here. Make your way to locations 5 and 6, where gnolls drop mage and cleric scrolls of True Seeing when killed. True Seeing is a sixth-level mage spell and a fifth-level cleric spell, so it will be a while before you can cast it, but it will be useful to have active later because it reveals illusionary walls.
West of here, at location 4, there's a Sling of Seeking +2 that is almost invisible because it's got the same colour as the floor. The automap hints at its presence.
Continue the zig-zagging until you're killing Drow fighters instead of gnolls, and go through the illusionary wall at location 9. Take the potion of Flying immediately to the north as you emerge from the illusionary wall, and use it to get past the elevated passage at location 11. Alternatively, I found that you can actually squeeze through the wall, and then use stepping mode to help bypass the stalagmites beyond (or just squeeze through them as well).
Before you take the ladder down at location 13, pick up the pickaxe at nearby location 12. A party member helpfully points out that this can come in handy later.
Descent into the Underdark, Level 2 (Central Area)
From the entrance (location 1) at the southern edge of the map, you can optionally find a couple of items if you explore the caverns to the west, including an adamantite chain mail (location 2, AC 5 bonus) and a mage scroll of Protection from Evil 10' Radius (location 4). Most of this level is inhabited by troglodytes.
Make your way north of the entrance, past a mace (location 5). Pick up the potion of Passweb at location 7, which you'll need shortly (unless you already have a few).
Just to the north, at location 8, a Drow party waits in ambush. Two Drow fighters are accompanied by a Drow priestess, and more Drow fighters attack from behind you. The fighters are easy to dispatch, but beware of the priestess. She can do decent melee damage, but is most dangerous when casting lightning bolts that can decimate the party, so take her down first.
From the ambush location, head west through the illusionary wall at location 11, then through the web at location 12 after casting Passweb (potion or cleric spell). A little further on, you run into Borenorak (location 13), who can join the party.
- Borenorak is a rather weak dwarven cleric and not a great companion.
- However, he is under the control of an aboleth and afflicted by its disease, so having him in the party adds a little depth to a couple of things we'll encounter soon.
- In his inventory, he carries a pickaxe, a warhammer, and cleric scrolls of Spiritual Hammer and Draw Dexterity.
- Although he should be immune to the Underdark radiations, he in fact does take damage and needs a Gem of Infravision just like everyone else. It's strange that he wasn't carrying one.
- Borenorak remarks about illusionary walls whenever you pass near one.
A dwarven miner named Borenorak. He appears mad, his face disfigured as if he suffers from some disease. Unknown to the party, Borenorak is under the control of an evil sea beast, an aboleth which the party must confront on the next level, the Underground Lake. The party may ask Borenorak to join it at this time, or the party may return for him after the aboleth has been destroyed and Borenorak released from its control. Even when the aboleth is destroyed, however, the disease afflicting Borenorak can be cured only by the healing water found at a fountain in the Temple of Dumathoin, Level 3.
-- Menzoberranzan Cluebook
Past Borenorak, there are more troglodytes to fight, as well as an ochre jelly, which is capable of poisoning party members. Make your way to the exit at location 15.
The Underground Lake
As you take your first steps into the Underground Lake, you see a girl struggling in the water, though it quickly changes into an aboleth and attacks as you get close. The aboleth is relatively easy to kill and does not do a lot of damage, but it can inflict Aboleth Disease upon party members. For this reason, the cluebook recommends taking it down from a distance. Alternatively, it's also possible to just run past it.
If Borenorak is in the party, the fight with the aboleth gains a little more context. Under the control of the aboleth, he in fact urges the party to help the girl, delivering it right into the tentacles of the aboleth. Once the creature is defeated, Borenorak is released from its influence, and suggests reaching "the fountain in the lower levels of the temple" to cure him of Aboleth Disease. If other party members are also afflicted by the disease, the game is smart enough to change his dialogue accordingly.
Once the aboleth is defeated, there is only one path to follow that hugs the east wall. Not even with the ability to fly can you explore the waters. Near the exit you'll find an elf ghost plate mail (AC 7 bonus) and a matching helm (no AC bonus, but looks great). Go through the cave at the end of the path to continue to the next level.
Descent into the Underdark, Level 2 (West Side)
At this point, it's normal to start feeling tired of navigating labyrinthine caverns, where the most variety you get to see is the size of the arches. Fortunately, the environment is about to change once we get through this level.
Fight your way through ochre jellies (remember they can be poisonous) and troglodytes to the southwestern portion of the map. There's another web blocking your way here, so cast Passweb or drink a potion (there are a couple at locations 5 and 8 if you're short) to get through it. Kill the two ochre jellies waiting behind the web, and proceed to the exit beyond.
Unlike the caverns we explored so far, the Dwarven Mines are organised into rooms and passages with walls of either rock or wood, inhabited by hostile derro dwarves and hook horrors. Most doors on this level are operated by a pull chain (usually right next to the door, but sometimes elsewhere nearby), but others are operated by either a rock-like button, rectangular button, or a pressure plate. If you step on a pressure plate and it closes a door, just step away and step onto it again to reopen the door.
The derro take only 1/2 damage from magical attacks, so non-magical weapons are best to use against them in combat.
-- Menzoberranzan Cluebook
Northeast of the entrance is a special door with Dwarven inscriptions (location 4). It works as an illusionary wall, so you can walk right through it, but a party member suggests taking a closer look. Click on the door to see the Dwarven writing. If you use a mage scroll of Comprehend Languages, a Dwarf/Gnome/Halfling party member's Read Dwarven ability, or a Thief party member's Read Languages ability, you'll also see the translation in English. The writing provides hints to the puzzles in the Temple of Dumathoin, which is spread out over the next three levels.
You can optionally explore the rest of the southern portion of the level, fighting more derro dwarves and collecting a few items including a Wand of Paralyzation (location 32), cleric scroll of Flame Blade (location 33) and a potion of speed (location 35). It is not clear what the button at location 30 does; although the cluebook says that it deactivates a fireball spell trap, in practice it does not seem to disable either of the fireball traps on this level.
At the end of the hallway from the Dwarven door, open the door to the north using the button next to it, and fight your way west through the derro dwarves. One of them drops a Bag of Holding (location 28), which has weight 0 and capacity 255, so it's great to store heavy items as if they were weightless.
The doors in this part of the level are operated by pressure plates. Take care to avoid the fireball trap as you step past location 29. Turning north, you can reach the central chamber, which contains a mage scroll of Fly (location 25) among other things. You'll want to scribe this in case you run out of potions of Fly later.
Exploring the rooms to the east, you'll find a short sword +1 (location 22) and a cloak of protection +1 (location 24) as well Keoghtom's ointment, dropped by a derro dwarf when killed, which is useful for curing poison.
An illusionary wall at location 21 allows you to explore the northeastern part of the level, although the corner is not reachable at this point. There's a button at location 20, near the illusionary wall, whose purpose I haven't quite figured out. A derro dwarf at location 19 drops a cleric scroll of Raise Dead, and there's a white candle at location 17 which the cluebook says "provides some protection from the attacks of the derro". From here, you can reach the exits at locations 15 and 16, but there's still another portion of the level left to explore.
If you head west from the central room, you'll reach a long and winding passage. At location 8 you'll meet Azarell, a young elf who can join your party.
- Azarell is an Elven fighter, whose strength almost matches that of Manahath.
- Azarell is actually a yochlol (also known as "handmaiden of Lolth") in disguise, sent to spy on the party.
- If the party refuses to let Azarell join, she reveals herself as a yochlol and attacks.
- If Azarell joins the party, she later betrays it -- she reveals herself as a yochlol and attacks when facing the carrion crawler in the Cavern of the Driders.
- If Azarell joins the party and is later replaced by another NPC, she gives her betrayal speech but simply disappears.
- If Azarell joins the party and is killed, she simply dies and nothing special happens.
- A yochlol is very powerful and can only be harmed by magical weapons (+3 or better). Spiritual Hammer is an effective way to defeat it, as it is a fast magical attack with very little cooldown. Defeating a yochlol results in a significant experience bonus.
- There are two other yochlols in this game.
- The game mistakenly calls them "yochol".
- The cluebook says that Azarell can cast Cure Light Wounds, but this does not seem to be the case.
- Azarell carries a long sword, Elven chain mail (AC 5 bonus), a quiver with 8 arrows, a composite bow, and a potion of Extra Healing.
- Despite her underlying nature, Azarell still needs a Gem of Infravision to survive the Underdark radiations.
- YouTuber Kikoskia came across a bug that allowed him to recruit Azarell twice.
On the north side of the winding passage is an illusionary wall (location 10). If Azarell is in the party, she alerts the party to it. There's also a shield of Lightning Protection +1 nearby. In the northwestern part of the map there's a long sword +2 among other things.
Make your way to the east until you get to the chamber at the north end of the level. The doors at locations 15 and 16 both lead to the Temple of Dumathoin, Level 1.
The Temple of Dumathoin, Level 1
Depending on which door you took from the Dwarven Mines, you start at one of the entrances (locations 1 or 19) at the south end of the Temple of Dumathoin, Level 1. Here you'll fight more derro dwarves, a derro dwarf savant, and a few night hunters. The southeast corner of the level is inaccessible for the time being.
The main action is on the eastern part of the map. Head through a couple of doors to the east until you reach a long hallway running northwards, then take the second door to the east. When you pick up the Silver Moon key (location 21), you'll also watch an argument between a Drow priestess and a derro dwarf savant through a hole in a wall.
The priestess belongs to House Oblodra, which helped the derro dwarves take the temple from the dwarves that originally lived here. She expects that the derro honour their alliance by attacking House Barrison del Armgo, which is preparing a spell to wipe out House Oblodra. Throughout this exchange, it appears as if the derro dwarf savant isn't listening, as he keeps mumbling about wanting to find the fountain first. The priestess' temper flares as she expects the derro to move immediately before her House is defeated by its enemies.
Use the Silver Moon key you just picked up to access the room you saw through the hole in the wall, at location 22. Kill the derro dwarf savant (location 23) and take the Silver Star key which he drops.
In the room is a Drow parchment (location 24) outlining the alliance between "a certain house of the city of Menzoberranzan, known to be in conflict with House Barrison del Armgo" (which we now know is House Oblodra) and "certain Derro, known to be occupying a dwarven temple once the property of the Black Axe Clan". There are also two books (locations 25 and 26) written in Dwarven runes, which once translated (using a mage scroll of Comprehend Languages, a Dwarf/Gnome/Halfling party member's Read Dwarven ability, or a Thief party member's Read Languages ability) offer clues similar to those encountered at the inscribed door in the Dwarven Mines.
Head north of the current room and you'll run into a spinner. This is a disorienting mechanism that flips the direction where you're headed. The trick is to watch your compass and notice when it flips, at which point you walk backwards instead of forwards. This is easier to do if you temporarily switch to stepping mode (click on the compass). Once past the spinner, head through the illusionary wall at location 28 and press the button (location 29). This disables the spinner and opens the way to where we're going next.
Go through a second illusionary wall to the west, at location 30. Here, at location 31, you'll find the Holy Symbol of Dumathoin, as well as a chain mail, a chain helm, and a warhammer +2 (assuming you pressed the button at location 29, otherwise you'll see a wall). Make sure to take the Holy Symbol of Dumathoin, as you can't proceed past the next level without it.
Head west to the northwest part of the map, which also looks like a hammer. Use the Silver Star key in the lock at location 13 to open the way down to level 2 at location 12.
If you (optionally) explore the rest of the level, you'll come across a few more items, including some equipment as well as useless items (such as the buckets, torches, and a figurine). You might want to grab the mage scroll of Cloudkill (location 18) near the entrance as it's a fifth-level mage spell. And, if you missed collecting a pickaxe earlier, there's one at location 5 (it's optional, but you need one for a side quest soon). There is also a talking derro dwarf who says that the derro are planning to attack a Drow House after finding the fountain.
The Temple of Dumathoin, Level 2
Level 2 of the Temple of Dumathoin is occupied by derro dwarves and derro dwarf savants, which are more dangerous as they can cast spells including fireballs at the party. There are also a couple of umber hulks as we'll see later.
The level is made up of long halls that lead to various rooms. There are spinners in the middle of each hall, so follow the advice from the previous level to get past them. Exploring, you'll come across a number of items including:
- Gauntlets of Stone Giant Strength (location 8). Give them to Drizzt, boosting his strength from 13 to 20, turning him into the ultimate killing machine.
- A mage scroll of Lich Touch (location 18). This is a sixth level mage spell, so you can't cast it yet if you scribe it to your spellbook.
- A yellow candle (location 2) that has the same effect as a Light spell.
- A figurine (location 28) that seems just as useless as that on the previous level.
- Banded mail (location 22) which provides an AC 6 bonus
At location 26 you'll find Vlakverdling, a prisoner of the derro dwarves who can join the party.
- He is a level 6 Gnome Thief. He has all the usual Thief abilities (including Read Languages), but as a Gnome, he also has a Read Dwarven ability.
- He belongs to the deep gnomes, also known as svirfneblin. This is one of the races that should be able to survive the Underdark radiations without a Gem of Infravision, but he still needs one, and it's not clear how he survived without one.
- Vlakverdling exists only in the CD-ROM version of the game.
- The cluebook says he is of Chaotic Good alignment, but he is in fact True Neutral.
- He is wearing leather armour and a leather helm, and carries nothing else.
- Vlakverdling is afflicted by a special poison that can only be cured by the fungus of the myconids later in the game. As with Borenorak's Aboleth Disease, it is not clear what impact this poison has on Vlakverdling, but it does not prevent him from resting.
- He vows to help the party obtain Borgonar's Stone, which is also encountered later in the game.
- Vlakverdling was captured by the Drow and handed over to the derro dwarves, presumably as part of their deal with House Oblodra. He also shared a cell with a Drow prisoner of House Barrison del Armgo.
Take the Silver Circle key at location 21 and use it in the lock (location 30) in the northeast part of the level to open the wall next to it. Walk up to the western wall to teleport past it (location 31 to 32) to a long hallway.
Push the button nearby to your left (i.e. along the south wall) at location 33. Walk down the corridor, killing a couple of umber hulks along the way, and push the button (location 15) to open the door (the earlier button at location 33 both enables this button and reveals the door).
In the next room (location 16) are a battle axe +2, a chain mail +2, and the Dwarven Horn. Make sure to take at least the latter before walking through the teleporter (location 17).
After appearing in the southwest part of the level (location 10), head south and use the hidden button on the south wall (location 11) to open the door to the west. Use the Dwarven Horn in front of the statue holding the Chalice of Healing Waters, then take a step backwards and pick up the chalice from the floor. Open the door to the southeast using a nearby button (location 13) that is very easy to miss.
The door at the end of the corridor (location 34) opens automatically, but only if you have both the Holy Symbol of Dumathoin and the Chalice of Healing Waters. Head through to reach the stairs down to Level 3 (location 35).
The Temple of Dumathoin, Level 3
The derro dwarves have been unable to reach the third level of the Temple of Dumathoin without the Holy Symbol of Dumathoin and the Chalice of Healing Waters, so in this level you'll instead fight less dangerous spitting crawlers and hook horrors. This is also the place to keep a pickaxe handy, as there are a few precious stones embedded in the walls.
The long hall running from west to east in the middle of this level requires a Silver Axe key (location 17), so you'll need to walk around it on the west side of this level until you're able to get it.
On the south side of the hall and the level you'll find mage scrolls of Improved Identify (handy for a second mage) and Claws of the Umber Hulk (sixth level spell - for later). The plate mail at location 4 provides an AC 7 bonus, although you likely don't need it if you've already picked up a chain mail +2 earlier. You can also use your pickaxe to get a blue gem (location 15) and citrine (yellow gem, location 6) from the walls. A couple of blue gems are necessary later in the game, though you'll find more so it's not necessary to grab this one. I'm not aware of any use for the citrine.
As you reach the northwest corner of the level and turn east, take the second door to the south and take the Iron Circle key (location 9). Go around the corner to the adjacent room and use the pickaxe to pry the diamond from the east wall (location 11). You can also help yourself to a shield of Lightning Protection +1 (location 10) in the same room.
Heading further to the east, collect the Silver Axe key from location 17. If you want, you can also complete your collection of gems by using the pickaxe to get an emerald from the east wall (location 18). The emerald doesn't have any known use.
Use the Silver Axe key to open any of the locked doors (locations 13, 14 and 7) to the central hall, then use the Iron Circle key to reach the eastern chamber (location 19) where you'll finally find the Fountain of Healing Waters.
By holding it in a party member's hands, use the Chalice of Healing Waters while standing in front of the Fountain to heal the party to full hit points and cure any poison (except that which afflicts Vlakverdling). If Borenorak is in the party, he is cured of his Aboleth Disease and his skin is restored to a smooth texture. It's not clear whether there is any other benefit to healing him.
The Dwarven door had said: "For a gem, the Fountain speaks." Use the diamond to sacrifice it to the fountain. The Fountain itself speaks to the party, followed by the Dwarven Hero who asks the party to avenge the dwarves of the Black Axe Clan who were slain by the Drow. He gives the party an Axe of Hurling +1, which appears behind the Fountain, and returns to a party member's hand when thrown.
Through the doors north and south of the chamber with the Fountain are some cleric scrolls, potions of Extra Healing, and a ring of Regeneration (location 24). Finally, make your way to the southeast room, where the stairs up go all the way back to the southeastern part of the Temple of Dumathoin, Level 1.
The Abduction of Drizzt
This is a brief but significant transition, as Drizzt gets captured, which has a profound impact on the party's quest.
Temple of Dumathoin, Level 1 (Southeast Corner)
After leaving the Temple of Dumathoin Level 3, you find yourself in the previously unexplored southeast corner of Level 1. This is your first encounter with a roper, a fearsome beast reminiscent of a beholder that lashes hard with its tentacles. Kill or evade it, and head for the exit on the other side of the room.
Dwarven Mines (Northeast Corner)
You are now in the northeast corner of the Dwarven Mines, which is not connected to the rest of the level. Dispatch the Drow fighters who are waiting for you near the entrance.
If he is in the party, Drizzt is captured as you approach the door to the southeast (location 2). There's nothing you can do about it, and his absence will be felt for some time, both in terms of his skill as a fighter as well as his inventory space (since you'll be down to three characters for a bit). The party's morale won't be quite the same.
- Drop any extra stuff you don't need. That includes all keys you got from the Dwarven levels, as well as quest items such as the Dwarven Horn, the Holy Symbol of Dumathoin, and the Chalice of Healing Waters.
- It is okay to proceed with three characters for a while. If you don't have Vonar in the party, he can join the party again later.
- Because many people like Drizzt and Vonar, having them both in the party at this point usually means finishing the game with three characters.
- If you want to fill the gap left by Drizzt as soon as possible, you can head back to the Temple of Dumathoin Level 2 and pick up Vlakverdling.
- Switch positions of your party members as necessary so that you have two in the front rank who can reach enemies in combat.
- Drizzt never seems to gain a level in the game; even if you clear out every monster, he still has several thousand experience points left to advance. Perhaps he might advance to level 16 in a smaller party where members get a higher share of experience.
- If you want to keep Drizzt's Elven chain mail +4, move it to another party member's inventory before he is captured.
- Drizzt's scimitars and Guenhwyvar figurine normally go with him regardless, but you can keep them by placing them in a bag and dropping it on the floor before he is captured. This bypasses the game's protection against dropping critical or NPC-specific items, and you can pick up the bag with its contents after Drizzt is captured.
Beyond the next door is a Drow priestess and another Drow fighter. The priestess will hammer the party with lightning bolts, so go get her first. After going through another door, you'll find a mining cart (location 4) which takes you away from the Dwarven Mines when you approach it.
Cutscene: Mining Cart Ride
The party rides a mining cart that courses through a winding tunnel at high speed, like a roller coaster, until it finally flies through the tunnel exit and crashes into the cavern below.
Cavern of the Myconids (East Side)
After having lost Drizzt and crashed its mining cart with no chance to turn back, the party once again has no option but to move on.
This level has a number of enemies including shriekers, violet fungi, fungi skeletons, and also an umber hulk that is part of a quest. None of these are particularly dangerous. Doors are operated via nearby pull chains, rectangular buttons or stone-like buttons; once opened, they cannot be closed again.
From the starting point, you can see the remains of the mining cart in front of you and the tunnel exit behind you. A short distance to the west, you'll find a Jade Spider. Although it's not clear at this point, a party member remarks that it is of Drow origin and that it might possibly fit with some other object. In fact, you can combine it with the magical helm you got from the innkeeper at the beginning of the game. The helm now grants the wearer the ability to cast Lightning Bolt alongside Immunity to Poison which was already available.
Make your way southwest to location 8 and walk into a trap. A wall closes behind you, and fungi skeletons attack as three other walls open. In the same room you'll find a battle axe, Dagger of Throwing +2, and mage scroll of Hold Monster (fifth level mage spell).
From the south end of the room (location 11), head west and then southeast to reach the Myconid guards (location 20). After a brief dialogue, they clear the way and you can reach King Feerus (location 21). The dialogue changes depending on whether Vlakverdling is in the party.
Speak to King Feerus, who wants you to kill an umber hulk in exchange for the Myconids' special fungus that can cure all poisons. Head west and kill the umber hulk (around location 22).
There is also a mage scroll of Haste at location 24, reachable either via the illusionary wall at location 23, or by going around to the north.
Return to King Feerus after killing the umber hulk and he will give you three doses of his fungus that can cure all poisons. If Vlakverdling is in the party, he can use one portion of fungus to cure himself of his permanent poison. The only difference this seems to make is that his skin looks clearer, but there does not seem to be any other benefit, or other kind of pat on the back (as with Borenorak). It's quite a let-down.
King Feerus also opened a wall at location 25, allowing the party to head for the exit at location 27. Just east of the exit is a plate mail and a two-handed sword +2, which is a great replacement for Manahath's trusty two-handed sword.
Cavern of the Galeb Duhr
From the entrance (location 1) near the southeast corner of the map, head southwest and then north. To the west there is a cleric scroll of Darkfire and a mage scroll of Cone of Cold. (locations 34 and 35). Slightly further on and to the east is a mage scroll of Wizard Eye and a potion of Flying (location 33).
A roper comes at you as you approach these items. It's the first taste of the fauna of this level - it is full of ropers and verbeeg giants, both of which hit hard and can kill weaker characters in two or three hits. Fortunately the verbeeg are easier to kill.
There is not much more to explore before you realise that the area is a dead end, and you have no choice but to bargain with the Galeb Duhr, a rock creature in the west wall at location 30. Once you exhaust the dialogue options, the Galeb Duhr will open a passage at location 29 so that you can fetch a necklace for it.
From location 29, you can go either north through the elevated passage at location 26, or through the web at location 28, but it makes little difference since both passages loop through the northern part of the map and come back here. Either way, you'll need to cast both Fly and Passweb to get through. Fortunately, this level is littered with potions of both, but you may also have leftovers from the Descent into the Underdark, and you should also be able to cast both freely by now.
Taking the longer route via location 26, you'll find a broad sword +1 (location 7) and a mage scroll of Acid Bolt (location 23) nearby. But the best rewards are to the southwest, where you'll find a blue candle (capable of casting Lightning Bolt) and a chest containing Borgenar's Stone (capable of casting Stoneskin).
Past the elevated passage at location 9 is a mage scroll of Enchant Weapon. This is a particularly useful fourth level mage spell which raises the attack bonus of a weapon up to +3, not only dealing additional damage in combat, but also helping to deal with yochlols that do not take damage from weapons lower than +3.
You'll finally find the Galeb Duhr's necklace (location 2) in the northwest corner of the level, past the web at location 4. If, on the other hand, you came around the east side of the map, then you went through the web at location 28, grabbed the mage scroll of Spidercloak Armor (location 24) on the way, and flew through an elevated passage (location 21) before reaching the necklace.
Once you return to the Galeb Duhr with the necklace, it happily opens a new passage right next to it (location 31), leading to the southwestern part of the level.
There's a mage scroll of Disintegrate (sixth level mage spell) at location 15, and also a blue gem at location 19. You'll need at least two blue gems very soon, so it's good to grab this one. There are a few more available in the next level.
Head towards the exit at the southwest corner of the level (location 17). To do this, you'll need to fly through another elevated passage (location 18). There's a potion of Flying at location 20 (next to the blue gem) in case you ran out. As you approach the exit, the ground begins to shake...
Cutscene: The Earthquake
The party's progress is halted by a sudden earthquake. The ground cracks, and the party falls into the resulting chasm, landing in what seems to be water. The way back is cut off once again, and the party approaches yet another cave entrance.
Cavern of the Driders, Map 1 (Main Level)
The Cavern of the Driders is so huge and disorienting that it is a chore to get through it even if you're following the cluebook. To make it more reasonable, I'm splitting it into several parts.
The first part of the Cavern of the Driders comprises about two thirds of the map starting from the southwest corner. The goal from here is to reach a sub-level called Cavern of the Driders, Map 2, which logically fits in a hole in this map.
However, there are two routes that lead to Map 2. One reaches it via the eastern section of the map. The other heads northwest and revisits a new sublevel of the Cavern of the Myconids before returning back to the Cavern of the Driders. The first route is preferable because it offers better loot, but the second route is also valid, despite the cluebook relegating it to an optional "side quest".
Both routes have points of no return, so it is not possible to take both. However, it is possible to fully explore the Cavern of the Driders and the Cavern of the Myconids sub-level by visiting the latter, turning back before the hole at the end, and then proceeding via the first route.
This part of the Cavern of the Driders is inhabited by various beasts including:
- Uropygi (can poison party members)
- Drow fighters
- Driders (can cast fireballs, heavily damaging the whole party)
- Violet fungi
- Rust monsters (can destroy armour)
- Carrion crawlers (can paralyse party members)
- Cloaker lords
Route 1 via Eastern Section
Near the entrance (location 1) is a potion of Flying (location 2) and a cleric scroll of Passweb (location 3) in case you need them. Head east through what seems to be a cave but is actually a tunnel (location 6) through the east wall.
In this area there are a few items including a mage scroll of Dragon Scales (sixth level mage spell, location 20), a rusted plate mail (measly AC 2 bonus, but actually hints at nearby rust monsters), an ivory scroll case (location 23) and a blue gem (location 24). Check your inventory after fighting rust monsters in this area, as they have the ability to ruin your armour.
Head north through the door near location 23. In this area, don't miss the mage scroll of Lightning Bolt (location 27). There's also a rod of Anti-Levitation whose purpose is unknown.
At location 31, you'll be attacked by a carrion crawler.
- The wall closes behind you. It opens again after you defeat the carrion crawler and take a few steps north.
- The carrion crawler can paralyse party members but is otherwise relatively easy to kill.
- If present, Azarell betrays the party at this point. This puts the party in a tough spot because it now has to contend with both a carrion crawler and a yochlol, with one party member less and without Drizzt's scimitars.
After dispatching the carrion crawler, follow the path and take teleporter (location 32) to location 33. There's a potion of Passweb (location 34) that you can go ahead and drink, and a mage scroll of Ice Storm (location 35) around the corner. Go through the web (location 36), and after clearing out the uropygus lair, pick up the wand of Magic Missiles (location 37) and take the teleporter (location 39) to location 40.
The exit leading to the Cavern of the Driders Map 2 is nearby at location 46, but feel free to explore the area before you go there. There's a potion of Flying at location 43, which you'll need in Map 2 if you don't have other Fly spells or potions. There's also a cleric scroll of Fireseed (sixth level cleric spell, location 44) near the northeast corner.
Route 2 via Cavern of the Myconids (Northwest Section)
In the alternative route, you can still grab the potion of Flying (location 2) and cleric scroll of Passweb (location 3) if you need them. But when you head east, instead of taking the tunnel, cast Passweb and go through the web at location 7. Then go through the tunnel (location 8).
In this area you'll find a mage scroll of Ice Knife (location 9), a javelin of lightning, and a blue gem. Be careful though; the driders are unforgiving when they throw fireballs at you from a distance.
To proceed, you'll need to fight the carrion crawler at location 13. The same notes from Route 1 apply, including about its ability to paralyse, the wall that closes behind you (and reopens after you head north), and Azarell's betrayal.
In the subsequent area, there is some more loot but nothing really interesting. Head west via either the winding passage (location 15) or the web (location 16) and leave the area at location 19.
You are now in a small sub-level of the Cavern of the Myconids. There are ochre jellies and night hunters in this area, as well as a few scattered items of little use.
The exit is a hole at the southeast corner (location 7), but be aware that it is one-way and you can't come back. So if you want to continue exploring the Cavern of the Driders, then turn back and pursue Route 1. Otherwise, enter the hole to proceed.
Back in the Cavern of the Driders, all you need to do is head a little south and then east to find a second entrance into the Cavern of the Driders, Map 2 (different from that in Route 1).
Cavern of the Driders, Map 2
Depending on whether you took Route 1 or 2 in the Cavern of the Driders Part 1, you start Map 2 at either location 1 or 2, respectively. Both lead into the same room, but to get there from location 1 you need to fly through an elevated passage (location 3) that is very easy to miss.
If you don't have Vonar in the party, you'll meet him for the second time in the central room (location 5), and he is still willing to join your party. His greeting changes depending on whether you've spoken to him before, but his response when you reject or recruit him is the same as when you speak to him the first time.
Vonar has the same attributes, inventory and spells as when you met him the first time. This makes him relatively weak at this late stage in the game. However, if you're down to three characters, he's still useful to fill that fourth slot. And if you have Vlakverdling, Vonar is a useful replacement because:
- Being a Fighter/Mage/Thief (as opposed to Vlakverdling being just a Thief), he's also useful as both an additional fighter and an additional mage.
- His AC 5 armour beats anything Vlakverdling can wear.
- He can wield weapons that Vlakverdling can't, such as one of Drizzt's scimitars.
- He carries lock picks, whereas Vlakverdling didn't. Unless you kept a spare set for Vlakverdling, his lockpicking abilities are useless.
Vonar only knows three spells (Magic Missile, Shocking Grasp, and Levitate), so allow him to scribe any extra mage scrolls you've been carrying until now. That should also free a little inventory space.
The passage southwest of Vonar's room offers a mage scroll of Spider Venom Immunity, but you also have to fight a couple of hostile driders. At the end of the passage is a drider willing to talk (location 7). If questioned, the drider explains that the villagers will be either sacrificed to Lolth or "marched ahead of warriors in battle" as human shields. He also explains that Malice Do'Urden seeks to sacrifice her son Drizzt to gain Lolth's favour and obtain "a great artifact returning to Drow hands after many ages".
The passage northeast of Vonar's room leads to another friendly drider called Maznafein. Warning about an impassable chasm ahead, he offers a special scroll of Spider Shape in exchange for a favour that would later help restore him to Drow form. He also directs the party to seek a merchant named Ssar Tarell at the Menzoberranzan Bazaar.
East of Maznafein is another room with a mage scroll of Stinking Cloud, gauntlets of Stone Giant Strength, and a gem of Infravision. Give the gauntlets to your party member with the least strength to make them do more damage in combat. The exit lies nearby, at location 12.
Cavern of the Driders, Map 1 (Before Chasm)
Head north through a spinning web door, then head west, and then north again. As you approach what seems to be a barrier of silk, a party member recognises it as the chasm that Maznafein spoke of, and suggests to use the scroll of Spider Shape. Do that.
There are no monsters in this area.
Cutscene: Crossing the Chasm
After using the scroll of Spider Shape, a party member is shown transforming into a spider, crossing a bridge of silk in spider form, and then reverting to human form at the other end.
Cavern of the Driders, Map 1 (After Chasm)
Once past the chasm, you can make your way through the winding passages that lead to the exit in the northeast corner, fighting cloaker lords and night hunters along the way. Before you leave, make sure you have at least two blue gems. If you haven't collected them by now, there are two in this area (locations 3 and 7). There is also some other loot, including a cleric scroll of Flame Strike (fifth level cleric spell, location 5).
The Underground River
As you step into the Underground River, you meet the ferryman, who wants two blue gems to take you down the river. Assuming the gems are in your possession, simply proceed into the boat after talking to him.
Once in the boat, movement is automatic and all you can do is look around and exchange blows with stirges and night hunters flying over the river. When the boat stops, simply get off and walk to the cave entrance.
Approach to Menzoberranzan
You start near the northeast corner (location 1) of this small level, and there isn't much to do other than fight your way through uropygi and umber hulks to the exit near the southwest corner (location 5).
You have now reached Menzoberranzan. The long descent is over, and the nature of the game changes. Instead of dungeon crawling, this part of the game involves running a series of errands as you try and discover the fate of the villagers who were taken captive by the Drow.
The first thing you see after exiting the Approach to Menzoberranzan is the Menzoberranzan city interface, which is described by the manual on page 27. This is a little confusing at first, since you need to hover over each place to identify where it takes you (a fine example of Mystery Meat Navigation). Unfortunately, the map in the manual (page 27) has several mistakes in the location and naming of places.
Initially, you can only travel between a handful of places, but more are unlocked as you complete different quests.
The Merchant's Bazaar
Back in the Cavern of the Driders Map 2, Maznafein told you to seek out Ssar Tarell at the Merchant's Bazaar, so that is a reasonable place to start. It is near the middle of the Menzoberranzan city interface.
The bazaar has no enemies in it, but the atmosphere is hardly heartwarming. It is very dark, and many shops are closed. Two merchants are closing as they fear a war is about to break out. There are only two other merchants willing to do business.
North of the entrance, you'll find Galentha (location 12), who is very interested in the magical helm given to you by the innkeeper back in the village, and offers a music box and two candles in exchange. There are a few different ways this can play out, but it's easiest if you agree to the trade.
- It's not clear at this point why you need the music box, but getting it now will save you a little back-and-forth in the already tedious errands to come.
- If you do not make the trade at this point, you can do it later but it becomes less rewarding and more complicated. See the cluebook (page 77) for details.
- The dialogue with Galentha can reach a point where you run out of dialogue options. I like to imagine this as a staring contest.
- The music box is actually a music box of healing. You can place it in a character's hand and then click on it to open and close it, which heals the character as many times as you want.
- The candles are yellow (light) and black (darkness).
Towards the southeast is Ssar Tarell. She will tell you to seek Jalynfein the Spider Mage, in the Tower of Sorcere. He has a scroll that can free Maznafein from his drider's curse. In return, she is willing to provide information about the captured villagers.
The Tower of Sorcere
After leaving the Merchant's Bazaar the way you came, select "Tower Sorcere" on the Menzoberranzan city interface. This is a small place with distinct red walls and there are a bunch of myrlochar and cloaker lords to fight.
From the starting location, open the doors in front of you and head north to the teleporter at location 14. The other doors nearby can't be opened, and a party member will point that out as you approach them.
In the second area, there are a few items scattered about the various rooms including mage scrolls of Agannazer's Scorcher, Flame Arrow and Venom Bolt; a wand of Fireballs, and a couple of potions. There are also spinners in each corridor, but unlike those in the Temple of Dumathoin, these will rotate the party slowly.
Take the west corridor and talk to Jalynfein (location 4). Exchange the music box you got from Galentha for a mage scroll of Drider Wish. Jalynfein explains that Maznafein's spirit is imprisoned in the throne of House Baenre. The scroll is capable of both freeing Maznafein's spirit and cloaking the party as it enters House Baenre.
The scroll cannot be used directly, so leave the Tower of Sorcere the same way you came. We're going to House Baenre.
Cutscene: House Baenre
With the scroll of Drider Wish in your possession, you can now select House Baenre from the Menzoberranzan city interface. This triggers a cutscene showing the throne room - apparently, the party was able to reach it quickly with the aid of the scroll. After using the scroll, Maznafein's spirit leaves the throne and he returns to his normal Drow form in the Cavern of the Driders.
Upon entering House Baenre, the party moves quickly, hidden from drow eyes by the powers of the Scroll of Drider Wish. As if the scroll has led them to the spot, the adventurers soon reach the throne and activate the scroll. Upon doing this, one imprisoned spirit is seen to escape from the throne. It soars through the Underdark, swiftly reaching Maznafein in the Cavern of the Driders, whereupon the curse of being a drider is removed. Maznafein returns to his normal, drow form.
While in House Baenre, the party witnesses an exchange of words between the Matron Mother of Baenre and the innkeeper, the friend from the surface who bestowed the gift of the Helm upon the party.
It becomes clear that the innkeeper was working for Baenre, his gift no more than a trick, a way to have the party bring the Helm to Menzoberranzan so that he need not take on the risk of transporting so valuable an artifact. By this point it becomes obvious that the Helm is at least one part of the drow artifact known as the Helm of Spiders.
-- Menzoberranzan Cluebook
Once the scroll is consumed, the party is spotted by Matron Baenre. The game transitions into a dialogue involving her, the innkeeper from the beginning of the game, and a mind flayer called El Viddenvelp. It turns out that the innkeeper was working for Matron Baenre all along, and gave you the magical helmet - a powerful Drow artifact called the Helm of Spiders - only so that it could be delivered into her hands. The dialogue ends with the death of the innkeeper at the hands of El Viddenvelp, just as the latter senses a mysterious force at work nearby.
Cutscene: The Stealthy Assassin
Go back to the Merchant's Bazaar. As you approach Galentha's Goods, you understand what "devious power" El Viddenvelp sensed: Galentha lies dead on the floor of his store, and you see a dark figure slip out of the tent, presumably with the Helm of Spiders. A cutscene shows the assassin fleeing past the tents of the Merchant's Bazaar with the party in hot pursuit. The assassin leaves through a tunnel and "reaches the safety of House Do'Urden".
The Merchant's Bazaar
After the cutscene, you're back at the Menzoberranzan city interface. Return to the Merchant's Bazaar and revisit Ssar Tarell. Maznafein is already by her side, and tells you the villagers and Drizzt are both held captive at House Do'Urden. Given that the Helm of Spiders is also there, the destination is at this point clear.
The question is how to get in. For this purpose, Ssar Tarell advises you to "seek out Grumsznar, the House Fey Branche wizard".
Leave the Bazaar and head for House Fey-Branche, where you'll find several night hunters and myrlochar, as well as a Drow priestess and a yochlol who attacks whether you talk or fight. The yochlol can only be harmed by weapons that are +3 or better, and there aren't any in the game except for Drizzt's scimitars (which are gone by this point). However, you can cast Enchant Weapon to raise some of your weapons to +3, or use spells like Spiritual Hammer to effectively dispatch the yochlol.
The only important thing to do in this place is to talk to Grumsznar, who can be found in a southwestern room (location 4). He is reluctant to help the party, but recognises that its intervention can aid in "House Fey-Branche's struggle against House Do'Urden".
- Grumsznar says that "the crest and the helmet may already be in Do'Urden's hands". He also mentions a gem in that context. After the conversation, a party member suggests asking Ssar Tarell about it.
- He wants you to retrieve the Helm of Spiders from House Do'Urden, and says that its powers will help you escape.
- He tells you to seek out Rizzen Do'Urden at one of the taverns. Rizzen has turned against his House and now works for House Fey-Branche. He will be able to provide a map of House Do'Urden as well as the password required to enter.
- He transforms the party into Drow, and this also provides typical Drow abilities such as Faerie Fire and Levitate.
- He says that the spell also grants Infravision, though it's just as good as that of the Gems of Infravision: you still need to cast Light to see anything.
- Your characters will retain this Drow form until the end of the game. It does make them harder to recognise.
- Technically you don't need to carry the Gems of Infravision any more, as Drow are immune to the Underdark radiations. However, hold onto at least one of them for a moment longer.
The Gem of Lolth
Return to Ssar Tarell at the Merchant's Bazaar once again and ask her to contact Vermulean. He identifies one of the Gems of Infravision as the Gem of Lolth. It cannot be used as-is, but, as a party member remarks, needs to be kept handy until the Helm of Spiders is recovered.
Leave the Bazaar and go to Carpathian's Tavern. Open the door by clicking on it directly, and if you want, you can click on the tavern sign to see a close-up view of it.
Talk to Rizzen Do'Urden (location 3) in the back room.
- Originally the patron of House Do'Urden, he seems to have betrayed it in favour of House Fey-Branche in order to survive the conflict.
- He provides a map of House Do'Urden, indicating where to look for the villagers, the Helm of Spiders, Drizzt and Malice Do'Urden.
- He provides the password to House Do'Urden, but sends you to Jarlaxle for the House Insignia.
- Rizzen explains the role and composition of the Helm of Spiders:
The Helm of Spiders holds a spider crest, which you have not seen. When the Gem of Lolth is placed upon the crest, and the crest upon the helmet, the entire device might give one House power over all others. That is, were it in the possession of a High Priestess. Yet even in its present state, it will have powers enough to get you out alive.
-- Rizzen Do'Urden
Rizzen didn't tell you where to look for Jarlaxle, but you'll find him at Gollvelius' Tavern. Similar to Carpathian's, you click on the door to open it, and there isn't much to do but you can interact with the tavern signs (four of them) to see a close-up.
Speak to Jarlaxle (location 4), who is willing to provide House Do'Urden insignia if you bring him a golden necklace from one of the Mantle Caverns. He also elaborates on the conflict between Drow Houses, pointing out that House Baenre is also competing for possession of the Helm of Spiders along with House Do'Urden and House Fey-Branche.
Mantle Cavern Two
In the Menzoberranzan city interface, you can now access the two Mantle Caverns in the northwest and northeast corners. The first one you need to visit is Mantle Cavern Two, which is the one in the northwest corner.
In Mantle Cavern Two you'll find night hunters and Drow fighters, which do not pose a significant threat. Jarlaxle's necklace lies in a chest (location 6) behind an illusionary wall (location 7) a short distance southeast from the entrance.
Exploring the cave, you'll also find a number of magical items, including a wand of Fireballs (location 5), a mace +2 (location 4), a two-handed sword +2 (location 9), an adamantite chain mail +2 (location 10, AC 7 bonus), and an axe of hurling +1 (location 14). Most of these are comparable to items you've come across before, but the biggest prize has got to be the ring of Wizardry (location 2), which doubles the number of level 3 spells a mage can cast (e.g. more Haste, Lightning Bolt or Fireball spells).
House Do'Urden Insignia
Return to Gollvelius' Tavern and revisit Jarlaxle. He does not have the House Do'Urden Insignia with him, but tells you where you can find them: in the Mantle Cavern northeast of Menzoberranzan, in the possession of a Drow patrol.
Mantle Cavern One
From the Menzoberranzan city interface, select the Mantle Cavern in the northeast corner, which is Mantle Cavern One. Unlike Mantle Cavern Two, this one is fraught with driders and Drow fighters, and you will even find a roper and a Drow priestess in the northwest section. So be careful, because it's easy to lose a party member to fireballs and lightning bolts.
You'll find the Drow patrol near the southwest corner of the map (near location 5). It consists of four Drow fighters who are easily dispatched, and they each drop House Do'Urden Insignia when they die. If you can't see them, take a step backwards because they will likely be right underneath you. Make sure to get all four.
If you want to explore the rest of the level, there are a few goodies you can get your hands on. Use the tunnels to get through walled sections quickly, and use the illusionary wall at location 10 to circle back to the entrance.
- On the west side, there's a javelin of lightning (location 3) and a plate mail +2 (AC 9 bonus, location 4) which is as good as Drizzt's armour.
- East of the Drow patrol, there is a cleric scroll of Blade Barrier (location 8) as well as mage scrolls of Otiluke's Freezing Sphere and Death Spell (location 9), all sixth-level spells.
- Through an illusionary wall at location 17, you'll find Tricinia's Gauntlets and a long sword +2. According to the cluebook, Tricinia's Gauntlets are a quest item in an alternative sequence of events in which you refused the trade with Galentha, but do not seem to have any use otherwise.
- In the northeastern area, not far from the entrance, there's a red candle and a sack containing 8 crossbow bolts. The red candle can fire one round of Fireball, whereas the sack is useful to organise your overflowing inventory.
House Do'Urden Commoners' Area
Once you have the House Do'Urden Insignia, you can leave Mantle Cavern One and go directly to House Do'Urden, which is on the west edge of the Menzoberranzan city interface.
As Rizzen Do'Urden's map indicated, you start on the east side of the Commoners' Area. This level is split into layers, and you need to find a key for each. You'll mostly find bug bears and uropygi, with a shrieker and an ochre jelly behind illusionary walls, so no real threats as long as you can cure poison.
Talk to the guards at the entrance. By now you have the password from Rizzen Do'Urden, so they'll let you pass.
The room to the north contains a few items, but nothing special - even the cool Drow adamantite armour provides only an AC 5 bonus. In a room further north, if you go through an illusionary wall (location 26) and press a button (location 25), the west wall (location 24) disappears, revealing a shrieker and a chest. The chest contains a ring of Wizardry and a long sword +1.
Once you get the gold key with red gem (location 22), you'll be able to get past the first set of locked doors and access the western half of the level. Then, go for the gold key with green gem (location 14) to get past the second set of locked doors.
Use the gold key with green gem to unlock the northwestern locked door (via location 4). In the northwestern room, there's an illusionary wall in the west wall where you'll find an ochre jelly and the white circle key.
Head back south along the corridor and unlock the southwestern door (via location 8) with the same gold key with green gem. Here, you'll find two guards in front of the prison where the villagers are being held. They won't allow access, saying that "Matron Malice herself has the key", and that Drizzt will soon be sacrificed to Lolth.
There's nothing you can do about it at this point, and a party member suggests returning after finding Drizzt and the Helm of Spiders. Proceed west and unlock the door at the end of the corridor with the white circle key. In the next room, go through the doors to the west to access House Do'Urden Nobles' Area, Level 1.
House Do'Urden Nobles' Area, Level 1 (East Side)
West of the entrance, you find a couple of guards who block further progress, as a key from Rizzen Do'Urden is required. A party member remarks that he has likely returned to House Do'Urden by now, so the party should find him.
In a northeastern room, you'll find another parchment (location 3) written by Drizzt. In it, he shares his concern that the Drow were really after him, and captured the villagers out of spite when they couldn't find him.
There isn't much else to do on this level until you find Rizzen, so take the teleporter to House Do'Urden Nobles' Area, Level 2 (location 4).
House Do'Urden Nobles' Area, Level 2
Just south of the starting location, there's a long hallway running west to east. The door at the west end is inaccessible, and there is no direct access to the region south of the hall. Make your way west, towards the northwest end of the level, fighting uropygi as you go along.
There are a few items in the area including a mage scroll of Spidercloak Armor (location 24), Drow adamantite armour +2 (location 19, AC 7 bonus) and a dagger of Throwing +2 (location 8).
Eventually you come to a room with two illusionary walls. There is a music box of Healing (similar to the one you got from Galentha earlier) and a potion of Speed behind the one in the north wall (location 7). The illusionary wall in the west wall leads to a room with two Drow priestesses, a wand of Frost (location 3), and a teleporter (location 2) in the northwest corner. If you cast True Seeing, you can see the priestesses through the illusionary wall as they hurl lightning bolts, and can charge at them quickly before they have the chance to decimate the party.
The invisible teleporter in the northwest corner takes you to the southeast corner of the level (location 27), in an area built of roughly hewn walls. Use the button (location 26) on the south wall to open the door and leave the room.
Head west, fighting through myrlochar, towards the southwestern part of the level. There's a door opened by a button (location 16) a bit further behind, so it's easy to miss. Head through the illusionary wall (location 15) and, as you turn north, a party member notes the Helm of Spiders on a table ahead.
As you approach the Helm, it disappears, and you are ambushed from behind by Rizzen Do'Urden and two Drow fighters. Kill them and head through an illusionary east wall (location 12), behind which is a chest containing both the Helm (of Spiders) and a gold key with black gem.
Now that the helm with the crest has returned into your possession, and you also have the Gem of Lolth, you can combine them to complete the Helm of Spiders. On top of the AC 2 bonus and the Immunity to Poison and Lightning Bolt abilities we've seen before, the addition of the Gem of Lolth also grants the wearer the ability to cast Gust of Wind and Charm Drow. It's easy to miss these among the heap of Drow abilities you already have.
Take another step east (location 14) of the chest and you'll be teleported to location 22. The entrance (location 1) is nearby, so head back to House Do'Urden Nobles' Area, Level 1 the same way you came.
House Do'Urden Nobles' Area, Level 1 (Main Level)
Make your way around the corner to the door that was blocked by guards (location 15). The guards are gone, and you can now use your newly acquired gold key with black gem to open the door. Drow fighters attack as you go through, and there are several others throughout this level. Be prepared to also face a few shriekers and a handful of Drow priestesses.
Head south and then west, towards the southwestern part of the level. Take the gold circle key from location 24, then pick up Drizzt's scimitars (locations 12 and 13) and a javelin of lightning (location 14) in the next room.
- Unlike Drizzt, your fighters can only use one of Drizzt's scimitars at a time.
- Your fighters cannot use another weapon (e.g. a short sword) alongside one of Drizzt's scimitars.
- Although you may have cast Improved Identify on Drizzt's scimitars when he was in the party, these are technically different objects and you'd need to identify them again to see their damage bonus.
- If you used the bag trick to keep Drizzt's scimitars after his capture, you may now have two sets of Drizzt's scimitars.
The main part of the level doesn't have much worthy of note. There's a figurine (location 18) in a northern room that seems just as useless as those found in the Temple of Dumathoin, and there are a couple of Drow priestesses (location 20) in a room.
Go around the locked area (noting the sound of lightning bolts as you approach) and head to the northwestern part of the level. Unlock the door at location 8 with the gold circle key. In this room you'll find a black candle, a couple of potions, and a couple of Keightom's ointments.
To the south are cleric scrolls of Cause Critical Wounds and Harm (location 9, fifth and sixth level cleric spells). Just beyond them is an illusionary wall where you'll find a shrieker guarding a ring of Wizardry, a wand of Magic Missiles, and a gold key with blue gem (location 11). In the northwestern room you'll also find a short sword +2 (location 3).
You can now use the gold key with blue gem to unlock any of the doors with blue locks (locations 19, 23 and 25) to access the central western area. Kill the Drow fighters and head into the next chamber, where you'll also have to kill Vierna Do'Urden (Drizzt's sister) and a Drow priestess.
You can access the final battle via the teleporter in the west wall of this room. Before you go through, be sure to rest, cast any preparatory spells (e.g. Haste, Prayer, etc.) and save.
Cutscene: Preparing to Sacrifice Drizzt
As the party enters the chamber, Drizzt lies bound on top of a sacrificial altar. Matron Malice Do'Urden, his mother, raises her arms, holding a sharp dagger in one of them. A yochlol forms over one of the surrounding braziers and looks on, as things fly out of its mouth.
House Do'Urden Nobles' Area, Level 1 (Final Battle)
The final battle takes place in the western chamber of House Do'Urden Nobles' Area, Level 1. A yochlol is ahead of you, and there are columns to your left and right, restricting movement. Meanwhile you're a sitting duck, as Malice Do'Urden hurls Lightning Bolts at you from either the east or west (her actual position can change between one game and another). There are also several myrlochar around.
The typical strategy is to take out the yochlol and then go for Malice. Like the other two before it, this yochlol is only vulnerable to magical weapons that are +3 or better (i.e. Drizzt's scimitars as well as any weapons you enchanted up to +3). You can use Spiritual Hammer or Flame Blade, but they are too slow while you're getting hit by Lightning Bolts. Instead, you can use Gust of Wind (ability from the completed Helm of Spiders) as well as Melf's Acid Arrow to take down the yochlol quickly. If you collected the cleric scroll of Blade Barrier, it will tear the yochlol or Malice herself apart in a couple of seconds, but it will also have the same effect on you if you walk into it.
It's also possible to ignore the yochlol completely and reach Malice directly by backtracking towards the entrance and squeezing past the columns.
Once Malice falls, another Drow priestess teleports into the chamber with some Drow fighters, but she's much easier to kill (e.g., with a Lightning Bolt). Once both Malice and the Drow priestess are dead, the game ends.
The party has just saved Drizzt, but he urges the party to quickly free the villagers, offering to "delay any pursuit".
Drizzt also helps the party and the villagers make their way back to the surface.
The hour has come for me to leave, yet I shall not forget what was done here, nor the acts of courage I witnessed in the Underdark. Until we again walk the same path, farewell.
-- Drizzt Do'Urden
The party and rescued villagers return to the village, where a warm welcome awaits. Drizzt thanks the party and leaves. Meanwhile, in Menzoberranzan, House Do'Urden "falls to its enemies". The cutscene ends with a view of Lolth, the Spider Queen, similar to the cutscene that plays when the party is defeated.