Act 5:Betrayal of Harrogath Details
- Quest Name: Betrayal of Harrogath
- Triggered by: Rescuing Anya (Quest Three).
- Given by: Anya
- Location: Red Portal to Nihlathak’s Temple, then down into a three level dungeon.
- Rewards: Your name on an item from Anya.
- Quest Priority: Not required, and extremely deadly on Nightmare and Hell. We recommend you skip it past Normal, especially if you are Hardcore. Contrary to popular opinion, it is possible to complete this quest simply for the good XP and loot while still keeping Anya’s red portal to Pindleskin‘s Garden open for future Pindle-runs, so long as you remember: Don’t activate the Halls of Pain waypoint. Otherwise the red portal closes permanently the next time you quit, robbing the Pindle-run of its future usefulness.
When you rescue Anya in Quest Three, she returns to town and is found to the south of town center in front of a large building. When you first return her to town after rescuing her in Quest Three, she gives you three speeches in a row.
The first is about the game plot, how her father was one of the dead Council of Elders, and how the thought of vengeance against Baal is all that keeps them going. The second leads into the Rare Class-specific item she gives you for the Quest Three reward. Then she gives you the fourth quest with a long speech:
“Nihlathak told me he struck a deal with Baal to protect Harrogath. In exchange for the demon’s mercy, the misguided fool plans to give Baal the Relic of the Ancients, our most holy totem! Doing so would allow Baal to enter Mount Arreat unchallenged by the Ancients. I tried to stop Nihlathak, but he imprisoned me in that icy tomb. Nihlathak must be stopped before he dooms the whole world. As much as I would love to strangle the life out of him, I’m afraid I haven’t the strength. You must go to his lair through this portal I’ve opened, kill him, and then bring back the Relic of the Ancients. Stop Nihlathak from destroying what we have striven for eons to protect.”
As the speech ends she opens up the portal you see here. You must go through the portal to a special quest area that you can’t reach any other way. This quest is not required to finish the Act, and the reward isn’t very big, so you can skip it if you want, though it’s an interesting quest area and advances the plot quite a bit.
Once you get past the very popular (to kill) Pindleskin and down into the dungeon, you descend three levels through the Halls of Anguish, Halls of Pain, and Halls of Vaught. (Fred Vaught is one of the background artists on D2X.) In one of the four points of the Halls of Vaught, you’ll find Nihlathak, on a raised dais surrounded by Minions. They charge and aren’t hard to slaughter, but things become quite interesting once a few Ice Minions go down since Nihlathak then unleashes his Corpse Explosion skill, which can be deadly. Nihlathak himself isn’t hard to kill, once you get a bead on him, though he can teleport which might slow the proceedings a bit.
Once you’ve killed him you have no choice but to return to town, either by a town portal, by going back up to level two and taking the waypoint there (if you bothered to find it) or by walking back up three levels and taking the red portal. Back in town Anya has the “!” overhead, and when you talk to her it’s not all good news:
“You have stopped Nihlathak, but he didn’t have the Relic! He must have already given it to Baal. Now, Baal will not be tested when he reaches Arreat’s summit. I do thank you for trying though. Please, allow me to honor your courage by magically inscribing your name onto an item of your choosing. It’s the least I can do.”
This isn’t a valuable quest reward, but it’s very cool. It works like the Imbue quest, you click the option seen here, and Anya opens up a box that you can drop your item into. You then get it back with your character’s name added before the item’s name. Yes, it works on Wirt’s Leg as well.
Extreme caution was recommended on this quest prior to v1.09, since Nihlathak’s corpse explosion was absurdly deadly on hell difficulty; capable of dealing well over 1000 damage with a radius larger than the visible screen. In those early days of D2X, the skill scaled up just like the Necromancer’s did, based on the hit points of the monsters Nihlathak was blowing up.
- Normal: 155-194 hit points.
- Nightmare: 880-1100 hit points.
- Hell: 1974-2467 hit points.
Corpse Explosion does 60-100% of the monster’s hit points damage with each Corpse Explosion, of which 50% is physical and 50% is fire damage. This was 1184-2467 damage per CE on Hell, until Nihlathak’s CE damage was twinked down to the point it could largely be ignored in v1.09.
Plot Point: Earlier in the Act, one of Nihlathak’s town gossips foreshadows his turn to evil.
“The demon hordes have grown powerful beyond measure, aided by our foolish mistakes. But I may have found a way to correct those mistakes.”
- Nihlathak told me he struck a deal with Baal to protect Harrogath. In exchange for the demon’s mercy, the misguided fool plans to give Baal the Relic of the Ancients, our most holy totem!
- Doing so will allow Baal to enter Mount Arreat unchallenged by the Ancients. I tried to stop Nihlathak, but he imprisoned me in that icy tomb.
- Nihlathak must be stopped before he dooms the whole world. As much as I would love to strangle the life out of him, I’m afraid I haven’t the strength.
- You must go to his lair through this portal I’ve opened, kill him, and then bring back the Relic of the Ancients.
- Stop Nihlathak from destroying what we have striven for eons to protect.
- As noble as Nihlathak’s intentions are, nothing can excuse his actions.
- Regretfully, I know very little about this Relic. However, if what the others say is true, then Baal must not gain possession of it.
- Stop Nihlathak…before all is lost.
- Now, rescuing Anya — that’s good. Talking to me while Nihlathak hands over the Relic to Baal — uh…that’s bad!
- My worst fear has come true. Nihlathak has gone mad.
- You must stop him, before he gives the Relic to the Lord of Destruction!
- I saw Nihlathak leave town just before you found Anya. He must be held accountable for his criminal deeds.
- Find him and bring him back, if you can. Likely, he won’t come willingly, and you’ll be forced to kill him.
- So be it.
- Nihlathak is a traitor! If Baal gets the Relic, he shall enter the mountain and wreak havoc there!
- I cannot believe that Nihlathak would give the Relic to Baal in any kind of trade. He’s truly insane if he believes that he can deal with the Lord of Destruction.
- Ohh…This is a truly horrible turn of events.
- I know it seems you have always been one step behind, my friend. But look at it this way…You have evil on the run.
- …What’s there to talk about?
- Kill Nihlathak!
- Nihlathak was never the kindest man. But for him to betray the whole world…
- Ahh…Where shall his soul finally rest?
- My advice is to go in quick and hit hard. Nihlathak can’t be half as tough as the beasts you’ve faced out there.
- You have stopped Nihlathak, but he didn’t have the Relic! He must have already given it to Baal. Now, Baal will not be tested when he reaches Arreat’s summit.
- …Damn Nihlathak!
- I do thank you for trying, though. Please, allow me to honor your courage by magically inscribing your name onto an item of your choosing. It’s the least I can do.
- Beware! Baal grows stronger with every passing moment.
- Hmmm…What does Baal plan to do inside Mount Arreat?
- So, the Relic is lost. Do not dwell on failures past. It is your future that matters more.
- Nihlathak was a vile demon that shall find his home among the tortured minions of Hell!
- You battled the Darkness without fear. I laud your skill and courage.