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  • Objective: Free the captured barbarians.
  • Location: Frigid Highlands
  • Quest Giver: Qual-Kehk
  • Reward: Ability to hire Barbarians as mercenaries; runes Ral, Ort and Tal.

Activate the second quest by entering the Frigid Highlands (the area beyond the Bloody Foothills) or by speaking with Qual-Kehk upon completion of the Siege on Harrogath quest. You'll find Qual-Kehk near the center of Harrogath. Speak with him to learn about the 15 missing barbarians.

Objective, from Qual-Kehk[edit]

"My concerns have turned to my men taken prisoner on the battlefield by Baal's demons. I hate to think what's happened to them. As you journey up the mountain, keep your eyes out for my soldiers and bring them back to me if you can. Those of my men fortunate enough to escape on their own told me that they were held captive in the highlands and plateaus."

Location[edit]

You'll find Qual-Kehk's missing men in the Frigid Highlands. There's a waypoint there, and you may have activated the waypoint upon completion of the Siege on Harrogath quest (if you continued beyond the Bloody Foothills and into the Frigid Highlands to seek out the waypoint). Use the waypoint in Harrogath to bypass the Bloody Foothills and travel straight to the Frigid Highlands. Otherwise you will have to traverse the complex Bloody Foothills and its narrow bridges and winding trenches. If you're seeking more combat or experience, take the path through the Bloody Foothills to toughen you up for the combat that awaits you in the Frigid Highlands.

Recommended Level to Complete Act V, Quest II: You'll likely begin the second quest not long after you complete the first quest in Act V. Your level probably won't be much higher than when you completed Act IV or the first quest in the fifth act. If you feel the need to be stronger, explore the side dungeon Abaddon within the Frigid Highlands to gain experience, or battle through the Bloody Foothills a number of times before making your way into the Frigid Highlands.

Log Entries[edit]

Log Entry #1[edit]

Find the soldiers in the Frigid Highlands.

The Frigid Highlands is a fairly large map area that bridges the gap between the Bloody Foothills (adjacent to the town of Harrogath) and the Arreat Plateau. You'll find a waypoint in the Frigid Highlands. Trigger the waypoint after completing the Siege on Harrogath quest (which entails killing Shenk the Overseer along the outskirts of the Bloody Foothills near the Frigid Highlands) so you can travel back and forth between the Frigid Highlands before and after this quest.

Qual-Kehk's soldiers are being held in three separate jail pens in the Frigid Highlands. Each pen holds five soldiers. To complete the quest, the soldiers must escape the pen and return to Harrogath via the opened town portal. Locate the pens off the edge of the map toward the center of the Frigid Highlands. You'll be able to spot the distinct square-shaped thick white fence of the pens on the overhead map. The pens are heavily protected by several walls and are typically near towers and catapults.

Log Entry #2[edit]

Rescue 10 more soldiers in the Frigid Highlands.

Once you have assisted a single pen of soldiers in their escape, your quest log updates with a new entry. The Frigid Highlands offer a new variety of dangers. You'll find catapults, as you did in the Bloody Foothills, though not the same quantity. As you did in the Bloody Foothills, avoid standing still in toe-to-toe battles while the catapult's burst of poison, cold, or lightning smashes on top of you. Most of the catapults are positioned near the mini-forts and soldier pens within the Frigid Highlands.

New creatures include demon imps (teleporting fireball-hurling demons) and crush beasts (large creatures that the demon imps can actually ride on to produce an additional attack). It's wise to equip any fire-resistance items you may have or use a paladin in your party to use fire-resistance auras for the betterment of the group. Be careful when you approach the towers positioned along the mini-fort walls. Demon imps can climb to the tops of the towers and launch fire attacks. Take out the towers when no demon imps are on them for the safest alternative. The demon imps can also mount the crush beasts and launch a flamethrower-like attack. Use ranged spells or attacks to take out the crush beasts ridden by demon imps; attempt to avoid a close-range fight.

Log Entry #3[edit]

Rescue five more soldiers in the Frigid Highlands.

After locating two of the three pens and rescuing ten barbarian soldiers, a new entry appears in your quest logbook. You have just one more pen to find. Search any remaining unexplored ground in the Frigid Highlands and keep your eye open for the distinct white fence marking the remaining pen. As you should with each pen, clear out all the defenders before opening the door and freeing the barbarians. Nearby monsters will target the soldiers, and you could fail the quest if too many of the soldiers die before returning through the portal.

Entry #4[edit]

Return to Qual-Kehk for your reward.

Successfully rescuing the 15 barbarian soldiers triggers a new entry in your quest logbook. Return to Harrogath using a town portal scroll or via the Frigid Highlands waypoint. You may also want to consider exploring the Arreat Plateau to locate the waypoint there. That way you can receive your reward from Qual-Kehk and use the waypoint to travel quickly to the Arreat Plateau after opening up the third quest in Act V.

Completed from Qual-Kehk[edit]

"Thank you for rescuing my men. They have spoken well of your bravery in battle. Perhaps there is hope for us after all. If you wish, you may hire some of my mercenaries that you saved. And please...take this set of runes. I had been saving them for a socketed shield, but I think you'll make better use of them. Be sure to set them in the right order for their fullest effect."

Reward[edit]

Return to Qual-Kehk to receive your reward for rescuing the barbarian soldiers. Qual-Kehk offers a double set of rewards. First, from the completion of the quest and onward, you can hire hirelings from Qual-Kehk to assist you. Hirelings in the Diablo II Expansion are a bit more useful than the hirelings in Diablo II. You can equip them with specific weapons and armor and even use healing potions on their portraits to restore their hit points.

Qual-Kehk offers a second reward as well: a set of runes that can be used to socket different items, though you only receive the runeword benefits within a socketed shield. Qual-Kehk hands you three runes: Tal, Ral, and Ort.

  • Tal: In a weapon, +19 poison damage; in armor/helm/shield, +35 percent poison resistance
  • Ral: In a weapon, +5-30 fire damage; in armor/helm/shield, +35 percent fire resistance
  • Ort: In a weapon, +1-50 lightning damage; in armor/helm/shield, +35 percent lightning resistance

Qual-Kehk mentions that putting the runes in a specific order offers greater benefits. Place the runes in the order Ral, Ort, Tal into a shield to create the Ancient's Pledge. The shield offers +43 to all resistances, +50 percent enhanced defense, and 10 percent damage taken goes to mana. You won't receive the same degree of benefits unless you create the designated runeword in a socketed shield.