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Overall, this should prove to be the toughest elemental node, save for the boss, which is probably the second toughest. You'll definitely want to be level 10 to tackle it, else you'll probably have extreme difficulty. When you first land at #1, you'll immediately enter combat with two tough Vodyanoi, or umber hulk-like creatures. These creatures will attempt to confuse you and have very powerful attacks. Be thankful you're only facing two. In general, fire spells work well here (as you'd expect).
The toughest encounter you'll face (right up there with the boss), are four "Eye of the Deep" at #3, beholder-type creatures with powerful attacks and cone of cold spells that can take your party out fast. You'll want to be well rested and with all your spells for this battle.
Your eventual goal, like in every elemental node, is to make it to the boss creature, in this case, the Hezrou Guardian at #13, defeat it, claim its elemental power gem and exit through the portal behind it. In fact, like in the other nodes, you're placed fairly close to the boss, in that if you did not want much combat before fighting the boss, you would have a fairly easy time getting there.
1) You Enter Here:
from Dungeon Level 4 (#23)
. You enter combat with the two Vodyanoi immediately at #2.
Two umber hulk-type creatures with powerful mind and melee attacks. Beware.
3) Eye of the Deep:
Four beholder-type creatures that are the toughest non-boss creatures in the entire game: creature rating of 14, 20 hit dice each, and 23AC.
to Air Elemental Node (#1)
. You'll find two sea hags here, similar to the one you may have fought at Imeryds Run. They can hit for a lot, but fortunately are no match for your party at this point.
Six easy undead.
to Earth Elemental Node (#1)
7) Large Water Elementals:
Two of them.
8) Grank & His Men:
When you first get near this area, you'll be attacked by all of Grank's Bandits. Grank himself, at the back of the little island, will not attack and will talk to you after it's over. The bandits have a higher than average spell resistance, are spaced out fairly well, and all have two attacks with their bow. It's not an easy encounter, but it won't be too difficult either.
When it's over, speak with Grank, who you can ask to join your party but will refuse. There is really nothing to do here other than learning a few tidbits about his backstory.
9) Ice Lizards:
These two lizards fly and both have a high spell resistance of 26. They'll also attempt to pin your party with the powerful cone of cold spell.
to Fire Elemental Node (#1)
Lots of lizardmen, and very easy at this point in the game.
Many ogre-like creatures that lumber along and dish out good damage, but are easy to hit.
13) Water Boss, Hezrou Guardian:
This is the main encounter in the water node. As you approach the boss, as always it will talk to you but end in combat. By its side and a little in front will be two large water elementals invisible until it's their turn. With your wizard or spellcaster, it's best to unleash you're most powerful spells first to get rid of the elementals so that you're only dealing with Hezrou, who should be weakened a bit by this time. This boss has more hit points than any in the game, at around 450. It will take plenty of melee damage and you'll want to have a healer attempt to be near the fighters when they're low. Flame strike is an especially good opener, if the guardian fails the saving throw.
Hezrou hits several times in a row for powerful damage, but not as powerful as the Fire Node boss, making it slightly easier. It's also less resistant to your spells, making your wizard and cleric a bit more useful.
When it's over, pick up the water elemental power gem off of its body and enter the portal at #14. On its own, the water elemental power gem has these incredible powers:
1. Ice Storm
2. Summon Water Elemental
3. Summon Hezrou (!)
4. Teleport to Water Node
to Dungeon Level 4 (#24)