Choose My Adventure: Opening and exploring the astrolabe forest in Nightingale


I was not expecting the voting to be as close as it was for this game. There was a nearly three-way tie at polls’ close, with the winning vote for my next Nightingale adventure edging out by a single point. So, in honor of that near stalemate, I elected to combine one option with the other: I played with my portal machine but chose to get the astrolabe difficulty card first.

Of course, that did involve my having to unlock the recipe, and that once again involved another little dungeon delve.

I had come across the location where this realm card was hiding previously – it was actually one of the screenshots I took – but now I had a reason to explore beyond simple curiosity. Once again this involved plumbing the depths of this structure in order to summon and defeat a boss, only the first time through I was met with a bit more resistance than I expected in the form of ranged and melee enemies. I was pretty quickly overwhelmed and suffered my first ever death in the game.

After a little ear-chewing from Puck, I decided to outfit myself with a ranged weapon. For some reason I believed incorrectly that I couldn’t make ammo for it, but as it turns out the stone marbles that I was initially confused by were the shots I needed for my makeshift pebble launcher crossbow to function. And considering these things are made from stones littered everywhere, I was able to make a gigantic pile of ammunition.

This ended up being a boon because it took some time to get used to firing this thing well and the final boss was another HP sponge. Initially I thought I was going to suffer a defeat as this giant automaton was joined by smaller, heavy-hitting little bots, but luckily for me I managed to find a way to cheese the fight as I perched myself on a rock, rendering the small bot pathfinding useless and the bot incapable of firing upward at me – another indictment of the enemy AI not being exactly brilliant, but at least it meant I could win. Which is good because I was effectively by myself while my companion kept getting knocked out.

After the whittling down of the main boss as well as the slow hit-and-run fight with the smaller bots, I crafted my astrolabe card as well as a forest biome card, clapped them into my portal, and gave myself the reward of exploration.

You might recall earlier that the second fae realm I was roaming in was only slightly different from my home realm. The astrolabe realm, by comparison, was much different. It was still effectively a more colorful forest, but the colors were extremely vibrant, the skies were astonishing, and out in the distance I could see balloons and dirigibles floating high in the sky. Everything about this area was new and enticing, and with some slightly upgraded gear, I was feeling emboldened to explore more. I picked a cardinal direction and started walking.

It didn’t take long until I found my first point of interest: an occupied area that I could clear of enemies. Once again I was pretty much facing a mix of melee and ranged foes, but I was better prepared this time around and able to fight my way through without too much issue. Melee combat has started becoming a bit more second nature, with the harvesting sickle being my primary weapon of choice, though I do switch to my axe if I’m fighting heavier enemies or am in much closer quarters. What also helped was that my companion would occasionally go on absolute murdering sprees, taking out gaggles of foes before I could even get to him.

Along the way, I found treasures, found new mining nodes that I couldn’t quite harvest yet, and then found another portal to somewhere else: a dungeon within a dungeon. Naturally I had to open the portal and dive in, which led me to another large ruin full of similar enemies but a different layout. It was a long, tough, but ultimately engaging bit of exploration and combat, and at the end of it all I was absolutely flush with unique materials, potions, and a whole bunch of tier one essence.

Glowing with victory and burdened with goodies, I made my way back to my home realm to deposit the spoils and upgrade nearly everything I owned. Every item, every piece of gear, even my fishing rod all got boosted from common to uncommon, which allowed me to slot in some enhancements for more passive bonuses. All told I made my way to a gear score life from 19 to 40 in just a few hours’ time.

I went back to the astrolabe realm and returned to the emptied occupation ruin in order to mine all of the nodes I could. These led me to some new kinds of ore, gems, and coal, but it didn’t really unlock new recipes outright. I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise since recipes are bought and not handed over for the most part, but it did kind of dampen finding new rocks to crunch.

Following that, I elected to continue northward past the occupation ruins and see what else I could find. As I moved, the map guided me toward an essence trader – aka someone who could possibly give me new recipes to craft. I started making a beeline in that general direction… right until I got distracted by a bear cave. Curiosity and the urge to explore once again go the better of me as I killed the bear and went delving.

I was expecting just a little hovel, and at first blush that seemed to be what I was walking in to, but after a turn inward the cavern expanded significantly, widening and twisting downward into new directions while the distant sound of another bear and some insects echoed further in. I pushed forth, gathering more minerals and trying to map out the cavern as I went, all while trying to manage my encumbrance. I was slightly too full of rocks, but I was also managing things well so I didn’t feel too threatened.

That was right until I fell down a hole into a nest full of giant spiders.

Hilariously, my landing in a heap in front of these spiders didn’t immediately arouse their aggro, so I had a few moments to collect myself, gird my loins, then whip out my axe to start swinging. I had never faced spiders before now, but I was able to mostly stay out of the way of most of their attacks, although hitting their faces proved a lot more difficult. Even so, I won the day through some good movement and my companion once again going on a killing spree. After harvesting the spiders’ resources, I elected to cut my losses, return to my abeyance realm, and deposit the goods again.

This was basically the gameplay loop for my past several hours, and I have to say that I absolutely freakin’ loved it.
This was basically the gameplay loop for my past several hours, and I have to say that I absolutely freakin’ loved it. Something about Nightingale continues to encourage me to explore all while rewarding me for doing so, and that means the poll choice for this next week will basically repeat the last column’s format – primarily because I get to roam around like a axe murderer tourist.

What should be my focus for this next week in Nightingale?

  • Continue exploring the astrolabe realm. Explore, seek, gather. (53%, 21 Votes)
  • Open the desert herbarium realm. Redirect to the main story now that you're getting experienced. (48%, 19 Votes)

Total Voters: 40

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The second poll is about next month’s adventure seeing as we’re near the end of March. So with that in mind, it’s time to consider plotting our next course.

What game should I go to next? Choose My Adventure!

  • RuneScape. Do the Gielinor thing. (21%, 8 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous. Return to the space sandbox one more time. (21%, 8 Votes)
  • New World. Continue with the flail guy. (23%, 9 Votes)
  • Sea of Thieves. Sail the open water for a bit. (13%, 5 Votes)
  • The Division 2. Scoot, shoot, and loot for a bit. (23%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 39

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Polling will once again close at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, March 22nd. For now I’m going to resist the urge to feed my exploratory need until polling resolves, which is going to be pretty challenging considering how much fun I’m having so far.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
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