Friday, January 18, 2013

Case Study No. 0733: Brothers Anthony and Marc

Let's Play Betrayal at Krondor 046: Sarth library
We explore the Sarth library and solve a trap.
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Added: 2 years ago
From: KingDD83
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Betrayal at Krondor is a DOS-based computer role-playing game developed by Dynamix and published by Sierra On-Line in 1993. Betrayal at Krondor takes place largely in Midkemia, the fantasy world developed by Raymond E. Feist in his Riftwar novels. The game is designed to resemble a book, separated into chapters and narrated in the third-person with a quick-save bookmark feature.


(Accessible in Chapters 1, 2, 3, 6) The town of Sarth is home to an ancient mountaintop fortress which was converted into an abbey and library by the Order of Ishap. The vaults have hundreds of thousands of books, containing a wealth of knowledge about the history and lore of Midkemia, tended to by Brother Anthony and Brother Marc. Beneath the vaults is an abandoned dwarven emerald mine known as the Mac Bourgalan Dok.



Sarth is a town located north and west of Krondor. It is more widely known for the Abbey of Sarth, a fortress-like temple administered by the priesthood of Ishap. The Abbey also houses one of the largest libraries in the world, in the mines below the fortress. The mines were once a dwarven emerald mine, called Mac Bourgalan Dok.

A stone wall 12 feet high stretches around the city, which was once a fortress. Around the ancient tower, a larger single-story keep and 2 outbuildings were added.

Under the old keep, the hill is hollowed and filled with over a thousand large chambers There are large chambers with shelvings and shelf furniture in the center of the rooms, all packed with books.

After the Riftwar, they were tended by Brothers Anthony and Marc.

It was maintained by a Keshian robber-baron who was assassinated by the locals. Then it was taken by the Brothers of Ishap and travelers visit Sarth for answers that can be found nowhere else.

Prince Arutha once went to Sarth to locate a cure to a mysterious poison afflicting Princess Anita. While his pursuers were formidable, the Abbey was not without defenses, as the brothers of Ishap repelled two powerful spells.

During the Serpentwar, the entire library was relocated to another temple, "That-Which-Was-Sarth". Shortly after, the town and the abbey were overrun by the armies of the Emerald Queen. Kingdom forces managed to liberate the town, but at a high cost.



A garden was nearby.

Wrinkling his nose at the smell of fresh fertilizer, Owyn pointed out a small cloud of dust that rose off the roadside. Within the cloud a mushroom shaped man was hard at work, his hoe rising and dipping over a row of budding pink potato eyes. Flashing his irrepressible smile, Locklear crept up behind the monk.

MARC: I half jumped from out of my robes! Hello there, strangers.

LOCKLEAR: I hope we aren't disturbing you.

MARC: No, no. I was about to leave the garden anyway. Busy hands set the mind to work you know. On your way to Sarth?

LOCKLEAR: Perhaps, brother...?

MARC: Brother Marc of Sarth. Glad to meet you. We don't get many illirati here. Books don't seem to interest the commoners as much as gold or wenching. But we have scholars enough, all going blind from reading worm eaten books and a dozen boys scribbling away their youth in our vaults. It is an unusual place.

LOCKLEAR: I've a friend who visited here once. He told me that you worship the god of Knowledge.

MARC: They do say that, yes, and I suppose after a fashion it is true. If there is a question that can be answered in no other place, your best hope is to look in our vaults.

OWYN: Is it permitted for outsiders to browse the books in the vaults? I would be interested in looking them over.

MARC: It's fine with me, but it's Brother Anthony you may have to convince. He doesn't like strangers wandering around down there without supervision. We have a number of rare and valuable books and it would be the worst kind of tragedy to lose them to a casual browser. I'll warn you though, you may have difficulty finding what it is you want. Many of the books have never been cataloged and unless you know very specifically what you are looking for either by the scribe's name or the title of the work, you might not find anything that will be of any value to you.


Owyn disappeared up the stairs. He returned a minute later, a look of grim determination evident on his face...

"These stairs must lead to the Mac Bourgalan Dok emerald mine. The tunnels are very complicated, but with the instructions we found in Stellan's house we should be able to make it through. Shall we try to find the library vaults?"

Gorath nodded. Together, they climbed the moss covered stone stairway that lead to the mines. Bits of rock and splintered wood covered the dirt floor, making it difficult for them to walk. But they picked their way through the rubble and after nearly an hour came to a wrought iron ladder, piercing a dark hole in the ceiling.

The rungs were rusty, and metal splinters ripped at their hands and snagged their clothes as though trying to deny them egress from the mines as they climbed upward. The ladder ended up in a small wooden hallway, thick with dust and decorated with silky strands of spiderweb. A door at the end of the hall opened, after some effort, into a huge room stuffed with books.

They had been heard.

Assembled in the book lined passage were six priests, all keenly interested in the arrival of the two strangers. From amidst them, a broad shouldered priest stepped forward.

"Your presence may explain a great deal," the priest said, stabbing a finger in their direction. "We have been unable to leave the vaults since this morning and we found the door is bolted from the other side. And since I find it unlikely that our brother priests of Ishap have chosen to starve us to death..."

"It's not like that at all," Owyn replied, waving his hands. "We ran into your Brother Marc when we were coming up the road. He said that one of your brethren has fallen ill with the Quegian Fever and somehow his condition is linked to the passages being blocked..."

"The mystic defenses?" one of the other priests offered. "It is possible his delusions may have triggered them."

Quickly a debate ensued between the robed priests, finishing at last with several brethren scurrying off to shelves assigned for their examination. With a stern look, the angered priest also pointed to a shelf and directed that Owyn and Gorath look for anything that mentioned the mystic defenses of Sarth or outbreaks of Quegian Fever.

Hours passed...

His eyes aching from reading the nearly illegible hand writing of ancient scribes, Owyn leaned his head back against the ancient shelving. "I have no idea what we're looking for, Gorath. I've run across a half dozen references to this Abbey, but then I discover it has something to do with experiments with peas or an account of a new system of organizing these books..."

A sound drew their attention. At the end of the book strewn passageway in which they sat, a priest eyed the disorganization with distress. "Why are you still down here?"

"Still looking for the answer," Owyn said. Vaguely he gestured at the half dozen opened books around him. "Haven't found it."

"Oh." Biting his lip, the priest seemed pensive about continuing. "Well, I am afraid we solved that problem about an hour ago. Brother Dominic is doing a bit better now. We were wondering where you two had gotten to."

Angered, Owyn slammed shut the cover of the book which he held in his lap, a translation of Dorcas' Treatise On The Animation of Objects. Likewise, next to him, Gorath stuffed away a wormy looking book on history...

"Keep it," the priest insisted before Owyn could put away the magical treatise. Dorcas' is popular here. We have other copies cross indexed in the library. I was also instructed that once I found you, I was to reward you with these..."

Opening a pouch, the priest handed them three nearly perfect emeralds. "They are yours, in appreciation for all you have done here. It is a small gesture, but I hope a useful one. Please feel free to continue to scan our library if it please you..."

A supernatural silence reigned in the vaults under Sarth, a perfect stillness which was unbroken even when a priest would accidentally let fall a book while searching the shelves or when someone would sneeze while opening a dusty volume. It was as if time itself had been frozen here, trapped between the wooden cases like pages within a book.

Owyn studied the shelf. While many of the titles on the shelf were either too faded to be read or printed in foreign tongues, most of the subject matter seemed to be related to magic.

The books concerned magic.

Snatching the closest volume at hand, Owyn began scanning the pages, hoping to find a gramarye of spells from which he could learn. Flipping pages, he was nearly oblivious of the priest who marched down the aisle and snatched the volume from his hands, politely replacing it from where it had come.

"These books are restricted," the priest said sternly. "Long ago, we learned the wisdom of making sure an initiate has some training before embarking on reading our magical themas."

"I've had some training," Owyn began, but was silenced by a hard look from the priest.

"You are more than welcome to visit our other collections, but this is restricted," the priest said, his tone indicative that he would tolerate no argument. "I am sorry."

Owyn studied the shelf. While many of the titles on the shelf were either too faded to be read or printed in foreign tongues, most of the subject matter seemed to be related to theology.

The shelves were overburdened. Massive books which all appeared to be older than anything Owyn could imagine, most of the works in the section appeared to be concerned with theology or philosophy. Not as well versed in the history of the gods as he would like, he reached for a less intimidating looking volume and began to read.

Having expected by the title to find a book about Dala, the Protector Goddess, he was surprised to find that within seemed to be a registry of the names of people who regularly attended services at the temple. Also included was a special page which seemed to be a proclamation made by the priests of the Temple of Dala.

Henceforth Let It Be Claimed. Blessed of Dala be the daughters of Flendel Halfgate; so named Thea, Andrea, Gena, Sara, Kira, and Larissa; who in good mercy hath been rightworthy and true to the goddess, having provided much needed leather goods, grain, and entertainment for the woefully poor in their hour of need. From this day in the second year of the reign of good king Lyam the first, forever shall your issue be watched over by the fortunes of the goddess.

A ponderously heavy volume that took a great deal of effort to support, the book was permeated with the darkness of mood which seemed to surround Lims-Kragma, the Goddess of Death. Surprisingly enough, the book suggested the bodies of the dead should be burned rather than buried as the body was no longer of any importance after death. Of primary interest was a short passage near the end of the book...

...Once wounded so that ye may nearly touch the face of the goddess of death, thou shalt be suspended in a deathless state until it is deemed either thou time hast come to enter the Halls of the Dead, or thou has yet more to do among the world of the living. In such a condition, ye shall find great weakness and a slowness of healing which may only be healed of a priest or by rest most prolonged.

Thankfully the contents of the book on Sung, God of Purity and Healing, were relatively light and easy to read, though it told him little he didn't already know about the Temple of Sung and its tenants. Before closing it, he did take special heed of the fact it implied that the Temple of Sung offered more extensive healing powers than those offered by any other temple.

One of literally hundreds of books on the subject of Ishap, the God Above All, the book was difficult to understand and written in a barely legible hand. Setting it aside, he looked back at the other books on the shelves.

After an expansive description of Kahooli, the God of Revenge, and how he was often misperceived by most of the common folk of the Kingdom, the book made brief mention of a series of penances required of the faithful including an odd practice known as mortification in which they starved themselves to make themselves worthy to the temple. It also listed the fact that the most frequent petitioners into the temple were assassins.

Just a few pages into the text, Owyn realized it was yet another book of dogma, though its author put a few new spins on religious theory he had been unaware of. After flipping through a chapter, he replaced the tome where he had found it... "Perhaps there is a more informative book on this shelf," he thought.

Owyn studied the shelf. While many of the titles on the shelf were either too faded to be read or printed in foreign tongues, most of the subject matter seemed to be related to finance.

Owyn scowled. The books arrayed before him all concerned theories of finance, a subject which his father had long ago exhaustively bored him with. While he thought he would never again be interested in the subject, he found himself reaching for one of the volumes.

A very new looking book, Owyn had selected something titled Strategies of Trading, Vol. II. Just below the title, he noticed a special note which had been glued to the face of the tome: RARE. Flipping through the pages, tables and charts of numbers confronted him, most of which he supposed would take him weeks to understand, time he didn't have to waste. In the center of the book, however, he did manage to find something of use...

...At the suggestion of a colleague, I have decided to include here examples of the finest shops in the Kingdom, examples which illustrate my point rather elegantly that good attention to finances will allow the shopkeeper to offer the lowest prices without sacrificing significant profit and ensuring a reliable returning clientele:

Dabeh's Fanciful Trinkets near Cavall Keep
Roots 'N Herbs in Prank's Stone
Arms of Dala in Wolfram
Kingdom Goods in Loriel
The Mercantile in Darkmoor

A pitiful remnant of what once was a wonderfully scribed book, numerous pages appeared to have been ripped out whole, leaving only the ragged remains at the edges. Disheartened, Owyn glanced quickly at what was now the top page before closing and returning it to the shelf.

......many make the mistake of believing that a general goods store will offer the best prices on jewels. In practice, it is by far better to sell to a store which has emeralds, diamonds, and rubies on display...

Immediately upon opening it, he discovered it was a simple ledger, containing only row upon row of numbers which didn't seem to add up properly in his head when he ran his finger across the columns. Closing it with a snap of his wrist, he replaced in on the shelf.

Owyn studied the shelf. While many of the titles on the shelf were either too faded to be read or printed in foreign tongues, most of the subject matter seemed to be related to medicine.

Healer's journals littered the shelf. By far the most extensive collection within Sarth's impressive stacks of books, Owyn felt a little intimidated. Unsure what titles or names would be of the most use to him, he picked a book at random and began to read.

After skipping a fairly lengthy discussion about the benefits of various herbs, he found a list of fairly obscure potions and their effects, most of which he had never even heard. One item listed, however, was a familiar potion which he had cause to use on many occasions in the past.


Generally, the use of these potions are well known among the common folk of the Kingdom of the Isles, but it is not so commonly apprehended that these formulas may help speed the healing process for those who have suffered near fatal injuries.

Quickly, he felt himself drawn into the book, apparently a journal which was kept by a healer who had travelled with one of the larger military companies of Bordon. While it actually dealt very little with the actual practice of healing, it did have a few useful bits of information. comparisons, it has seemed that herbal packs by far offer more beneficial effects, but only inasmuch that they will do more for the injured in question over an extended number of days. Usually, however, my patients have been near death and in need of the more immediate healing effects of restoratives.

More a book of home remedies and folk cures than anything else, there was little in the book about which he had not heard. Practically speaking, the only advice it had given of a practical nature was that it was better to sleep indoors in an inn while sick, rather than toughing it out on the hard, cold ground.

Of particular interest because it had actually been written within the walls of Sarth, the book was designed as a quick manual to instruct the reader on how to deal with the critically injured.

Immediately as may be performed, the injured party should be conveyed to the locality of an inn or other place they may spend the night out of the night's humors. Once bedded, it is advised they be administered four dosages of restoratives and a herbal treatment. Providing they are left undisturbed for a period of three days, the chances are reasonable that they will recover from their "near-dead" condition.

The newest volume on the shelf on which it was located, the book concerned itself solely with the administration of a new anti-venom, created by a Father Nathan of Krondor.

...following the unfortunate events which transpired shortly following the ascension of Arutha conDoin to the Princedom of Krondor. Unfortunately, since that time, border barons have seen a proliferation of the use of this poison, now harvested in mass dosages on the shores of Moraelin and elsewhere within the Northlands. If there may be said there is any good in this, it is that the new strains of Silverthorn now used are significantly less harmful than those used to wound Princess Anita ten years ago. Although many scholars have been speculating that perhaps only the nutrients in the soil near the Black Lake give the plant its lethality, the true cause of this shift is unknown. Fortunately, in the case of the Princess, I was able to formulate a Silverthorn anti-venom which may be taken internally to neutralize the poison, and it may be that I can make it into a treatment that may be smeared on armor to neutralize the effects of any Silverthorn poisoned blade which comes in contact with it.

Unfortunately, much of the book he had selected was confusing or contradictory, and after struggling with it for nearly half an hour he finally gave up, putting it back on the shelf where he had found it. "Next book...," he thought.

Gorath studied the shelf. While many of the titles on the shelf were either too faded to be read or printed in foreign tongues, most of the subject matter seemed to be related to warfare.

Gorath smiled. Pleased to find something in the Vaults which appealed to his interests, he thumbed through a book which apparently had something to do with combat techniques.

Beginning as a basic soldier's text, it seemed there would be little of value to be found in the book, but moments before he closed it, he stumbled across a treasurehouse of information in the last chapter.

This last chapter is reserved for the most well prepared of soldiers who are also familiar with the enemies they are to face on the battle field. With an adequate amount of information before a battle, it is entirely possible for an enemy to be defeated even when the enemy has the advantage of surprise, providing you learn what their natural weaknesses are. By exploiting this feature, it is possible to take down enemies who might otherwise seem unkillable. Based on reports gathered from soldiers from different battle situations, it would seem that the following things tend to be true: Trolls in general seem to take more harm when they are attacked with any form of magic, but they likewise are quite resistant to physical harm. When fighting magicians of any stripe, it seems they generally are poor when it comes to hand to hand combat, though there are exceptions to this rule. Though wyverns have never to my knowledge been exploited for use in battle, farmers troubled by the red variety have spoken of good results when attacking with blades prepared with an Althafain 's Icer. I highly suggest that in the future you attempt to take notice of similar weaknesses and resistances so you may use your resources to the fullest of advantage.

Written by a magician, the text was rather muddleheaded when it came to the idea of various tactics, depending far too much on information gathered by spies or certain formations which rarely worked as well as they looked on paper. Mixed in between a rather prolonged discussion of magically enhanced siege engines and battlefield enhancements, he did manage to find a useful snippet of information which he could relate to Owyn.

A rather simple tactic first applied during the battle of Carse against the goblins was the use of the spell sometimes known as Invitation. Thought of as a mere prank by studying mag icians, it became quite effective during the battle when Althafain used it to drag a band of the Dark Brothers into a trap which they had devised.

Highly specific in nature, it dealt with a variety of tactics for dealing with an enemy when they resorted to using various ballistic or magical tactics. While he could understand most of the ideas involved, he realized it would take several months of practice for him to master any of the more advanced techniques. In the end, the most practical information ended up being the first few lines of the book.

If it may at all be arranged, it is best to confront your enemy on a battleground of your choosing in such a way that you have the element of surprise and command any setpieces which might mean the turning of the battle. If, however, your opponent has command of magical or ballistic means, it is always a better stratagem to close range so as to deny him the ability to load his weapons without obstruction.

Gorath scoffed as he began to read, realizing the author had little or no idea about the actuality of fighting hand-to-hand. Disgusted with it, he shoved the work summarily back into the slot from which he had pulled it. Examining the shelf full of volumes, he muttered to himself, "There must be another book here more helpful than that one."

Owyn smiled. Of all the mysteries of the universe that the Brothers of Ishap at Sarth had failed to discover, it was amusing the secret passage had gone undetected for so many hundreds of years.

Owyn pushed on the bookcase. Swivelling on a special hinge, it moved to the side, revealing a long timbered passageway which slanted downward. "Here is the secret passage," Owyn said. "Do you think we should leave by this route?"


Brother Marc hove into view. Still wielding a hoe in his hammy fists, he gestured to James with it.

MARC: Don't get too close. As I said earlier, I may be carrying the fever and I don't want to make any of you ill. Perhaps you want me to look up something for you in Sarth's library?

JAMES: Would you have anything up in the Abbey about the Guild of Death? As I recall from when I visited your abbey years ago, your collection of books was quite extensive. I wanted to find out how it is that some of them become Black Slayers.

MARC: No need to search the vaults. Many of them worship Kahooli, who, occasionally, will grant them a near-deathless state in exchange for total dedication to the god of revenge. It took us a long while to learn the spells that keep a Nighthawk from rising from death.

JAMES: There is a spell? We thought you had to hack the body up and burn it to bits.

MARC: An unpleasant solution, and time consuming. After the Great Rising was over and the moredhel went home, we were able to work with the priests of Lims-Kragma to create a spell to keep a Nighthawk from becoming a Black Slayer or to keep a Black Slayer down once he was slain. If you would like, I can probably dig the spell up in the Vaults. Are you interested? There will be a hundred sovereign fee.

JAMES: What happened to the Brothers of Ishap at Sarth being dedicated to the god Knowledge?

MARC: Even the Brothers of Ishap must feed themselves, though we all agree with the sentiment that it should be free to all. Perhaps when you have made a few sovereigns, we can talk again.

JAMES: I don't suppose among those masses of books you have in the Abbey you would have one on chess, would you? I'm looking for information on a chess move called Abbar's Turn.

MARC: No self-respecting Keshian library would be without one and as the Abbey was founded by Keshian wanderers...

JAMES: stands to reason you have something. Wonderful. If you could dig something up for us, I would be very happy to pay a finders' fee for anything you can find on chess moves.

MARC: It's a fairly special request so I may have spend a while digging and I do have another project I need to handle this evening. Would you be willing to pay a hundred sovereigns?

JAMES: Hmm, well. I think in this case it might be worth the expense.

MARC: I will see to it your money is well spent. If you will wait here, I will return as soon as I have found something of interest...

The priest returned several hours later.

"So, what did you discover?" James asked, his mood improving with Brother Marc's reappearance. "Anything we can use?"

Marc frowned and burrowed in the folds of his robe. "I found that there appears to be no difference between lin-lan, pashawa, cock-fighting, daerts, pokiir, King's Mountain, dice, shomshone, Four-Hands Down, and chess as far as our cataloging system is concerned. They are all still considered just games at this point."

James shrugged. "Oh well, nice try. I just wish we hadn't wasted our time."

Brother Marc pulled a scroll out of his left sleeve and laid it in James's lap. "It was no waste of time, you haven't seen this particular scroll."

"Pardon?" James blinked at the parchment, then at the priest. "What do you mean?"

"What I mean is that the scroll in your lap is known as the Saaha Bela'hi, the Victor's Soul. It is perhaps the rarest and most valuable writing on the subject of chess ever put to paper. Unfortunately, it is also exceedingly rare. I get chills just thinking what we had to do to get it. This is our only translation available and it was the only work I could find with reference to Abbar's Turn. Read it and quickly, before Brother Anthony finds I've taken it."

James smiled and unrolled the scroll, studying all the details of the move carefully. Once he had absorbed the material, he produced the gold he owed Brother Marc.

"I promise I won't forget your efforts, brother."

The priest nodded, then snatched up the scroll.

"Let's just hope Brother Anthony can."

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