This quest starts upon entering Stalwart Mines and witnessing the aftermath of an apparent murder - a blood-covered dwarf named Gamel is being lead away after apparently having killed a fellow miner, Sameth, in a most brutal fashion. Gamel protests his innocence, despite having bits of Sameth on his teeth. The mine overseer, Foreman Ismay, asks you to investigate. You can speak to the miner who discovered the killing, Teryc, in the north of the mines, as well as examine the body. It seems Gamel isn't the only miner having mental problems, however, and several are missing altogether.
There are two groups of Xaurips in the mines, the first of which is north of the entrance. They're tough by Xaurip standards, and Xaurip Blighters are high level druids, but they shouldn't be too troublesome. The second group has a tame Ice Troll and ambushes you on the bridge east of Sameth's body. It's advisable to withdraw from the bridge, making use of the bottleneck and forcing the skirmishers and Xaurip Trollmaster on the high ledge to come to you.
Past the spiders is another group of miners, all but one of whom are completely incoherent. That last one, Cillan, has a few flesh constructs under her command. Entering the room will start a conversation, which seems normal enough until you try to break it off. With 18 Might you can free her from being controlled by punching her lights out (also requiring getting close to her when prompted). Cipher with 16 Resolve can also trace her connection with a certain being and in doing so sever it. Either method saves her life, otherwise you'll have to kill her. You'll have to destroy the constructs either way.
There's an entrance to some spider tunnels at the back of the room, which results in a scripted interaction. The quickest way through the tunnels is to keep turning left, using a hammer and chisel to clear the obstruction. However, there is a treasure hidden in here, Comtessa's Gage found by turning right, right, lighting a torch, forward and right again. From the treasure, keep turning right to exit to the Luminescent Caves.
Like the miners above, the vithrack here are't quite themselves, and are searching for some sort of crystal. Throughout this area are a number of hostile Vithrack, Vithrack Brutes, Vithrack Luminaries, various dominated kith, and a band of Radiant Sporelings north of the start position.
There's a sane Vithrack named Terenat imprisoned in a holding cell in the northwest of the map. You'll have to kill the crowd outside his cell to talk to him now, but doing so sheds some light on the situation: the vithrack here found an unusual kind of Dank Spore, the spores from which at first improved their psionic abilities, but turned out to be addictive as well as allowing the (sentient) Spore to mind-control them. The spore itself is sealed in the common room, the key to which is a crystal which Terenat has hidden in the nesting area in the south of the map.
There are a number of difficulty 12 Infestation of Spiders Traps strung between the pillars. Getting through this area without a fight requires a character with high stealth and mechanics. Past the traps is a Vithrack nesting area, and the crystal key is hidden in a stash in the easternmost egg pillar. The stash is difficult to spot - if you can't detect it, you'll need to go talk to Terenat (if you haven't).
Now that you have the key, the wall of light blocking access to the common room will open for you, allowing you to go inside and confront the Radiant Spore.
Approaching the spore will begin a conversation. Inhaling the spores makes it possible to free the Vithrack in the room from the Spore's control so long as the Watcher has 13 Resolve (after that you need 15 Resolve) or 18 Constitution, chooses to push the spore's voice out of their thoughts and then severs the connection. Either way, there's no chance of a peaceful discussion with an evil fungus.
Several Radiant Sporelings will appear as the battle starts. The Radiant Spore itself is a nastier Dank Spore with an increased attack range, but the four tentacles are notable - their rock throwing targets Fortitude and can do a lot of damage to party backliners - it's best to send a tougher party member or summon closer to them in the hope of drawing their fire. The tentacles are immune to every status except prone. Killing the main body of the spore will also kill the tentacles.
At this point the surviving Vithrack will no longer be hostile, and Terenat will thank you for saving his people (though he has nothing to give you). Return to Foreman Ismay to explain the situation and finish the quest. She will ask you to decide Gamel's fate. He's innocent, of course, but the people of Stalwart are Dyrwoodans at heart and like to see someone suffer retribution, so sparing him gives a minor negative reputation with Stalwart, while condemning him gives a minor positive one. You'll receive 2,000, no matter what you say.
- It isn't possible to bypass the business with the key crystal by using the spider tunnels - the back entrance to the common room is 'covered with thorny roots' until the spore is dealt with.
- It's possible to avoid every hostile encounter in the Luminescent Caves save the one outside the Vithrack Common Room, thus saving their lives. Sadly, doing so seems to make no difference in the quest's outcome or reward, while costing the party experience, bestiary completion and minor loot.
|0||Whispers in the Dark|
|10000||Gamel, a worker in the Stalwart Mines, has been apprehended for murder. Foreman Ismey believes that Gamel may also be responsible for a recent string of disappearances.|
|1||Search for the missing miners.|
|10001||Foreman Ismey asked me to look into the disappearance of several miners. She suggested I start by questioning Gamel, who is being held in the Foreman's quarters just left of the entrance to the mines.|
|20008||Ismey mentioned that the body of one of the victims, Sameth, could be found in the tunnel to the east.|
|20004||Gamel said that he remembers being found by Teryc, a fellow worker, but has no recollection of the day's events prior to that. He mentioned that Teryc is currently dealing with a cave-in at the tunnel to the north.|
|20009||Sameth's corpse bears the evidence of a savage attack. His throat was torn out, and scratches cover his face. His hands are, oddly enough, stained yellow.|
|20010||I overheard one of the miners mumbling about a crystal of some kind. He seemed to be in some kind of stupor.|
|20003||Apparently Gamel is not the only miner to be exhibiting strange behavior. Teryc suspects the sulfur mine itself may be having some adverse effect on the workers. He suggests that I look for the missing miners to the east, where the bulk of the sulfur mining takes place.|
|20006||Cillan, the overseer of the sulfur mining operation, ordered her constructs to attack me. I was forced to kill her.|
|20007||I found Cillan, the overseer of the sulfur mining operation, in a strange daze. She ordered her constructs to attack me. Fortunately, I was able to spare her life.|
|20011||I encountered a vithrack who appeared to be very determined to find a certain crystal.|
|3||Explore the vithrack encampment.|
|10003||One of the spider tunnels bored into the walls of the mines has led me to a large Vithrack encampment. Perhaps this has something to do with the miners' disappearance.|
|20000||I came upon a sealed door with no visible means of entry. A glyph above the door hums a strange tone.|
|20001||I encountered a Vithrack named Terenat. He was being held captive for hiding the key to the common house from his fellow vithrack, seeking to prevent their infection from spreading further. He told me the key was hidden in the nests just south of here.|
|20002||I found a crystal in the Vithrack nests. I may be able to use it to open the sealed door.|
|4||Deal with the Radiant Spore|
|10004||A large, fungal organism called a Radiant Spore has burrowed into the vithrack common house. It is gradually taking over the minds of the settlement's vithrack, and influencing the miners through them in turn. I will have to deal with this creature if I want to free the Vithrack or the miners from its control.|
|5||Return to Foreman Ismey.|
|10005||I have dealt with the Radiant Spore, and the vithrack should no longer be a threat to the mines. Ismey will want to hear of my success.|
|-||2||Explore the East Mines|
|10002||All of the information I've gained points towards the eastern mines. My search should continue there, just past the mining shaft.|
|30000||Someone critical to this quest has died.|
|Finished, Said Gamel was Innocent|
|30001||While investigating the strange occurrences at the Stalwart Mines, I discovered that the culprit was a Radiant Spore - a fungal growth with the power to influence minds. It had taken control over a vithrack colony, and through them it was able to influence the miners in the tunnels above. I slew the Radiant Spore, putting an end to its control and securing the mines.|
|Finished, Blamed Gamel|
|30002||While investigating the strange occurrences at the Stalwart Mines, I discovered that the culprit was a Radiant Spore - a fungal growth with the power to influence minds. It had taken control over a vithrack colony, and through them it was able to influence the miners in the tunnels above. I slew the Radiant Spore, putting an end to its control and securing the mines.|
|Finished, Abstained From Decision|
|30003||While investigating the strange occurrences at the Stalwart Mines, I discovered that the culprit was a Radiant Spore - a fungal growth with the power to influence minds. It had taken control over a vithrack colony, and through them it was able to influence the miners in the tunnels above. I slew the Radiant Spore, putting an end to its control and securing the mines. Ismey was glad to hear that the situation has been resolved.|