Starting off 2017 with Some Questing

I have been writing up short summaries of my quest runs for quite a while now.  I mainly do this to highlight the various types of quest there are in DDO and for me to help track my own progress over time.  I used to do compile two blogs a week to highlight these runs, one blog post would track my questing from Mondays to Thursdays and the second post would highlight my questing from Friday through Sunday.  With the start of the new year I want to continue the general thoughts of summarizing my questing runs but I want to one post to cover the week. Of course, this blog will cover two weeks, since I didn’t get a chance to do one last week :(.

To start the new year off, I took Erdrique  (Level 10 Bard) and Sttollen (Level 11 Rogue) through Mirra’s Sleepless Nights, Purge the Herectics, Sorrowdusk Isle, The Iron Mines: Freeing Achka, and The Iron Mines: Justice for Grust.  While making my way through Mirra’s Sleepless Nights I completed the optional for locating and destroying the source of the wailing.  In Purge the Heretics, I completed the optional objectives to slaughter the halfling mercenaries and all of the commoners.  When I went into Sorrowdusk Isle, to pick up and start the quests for Grey Moon, I collected 125 slayers for Erdrique and Sttollen, located all explorer points; collected the awards for slaying 10, 25, 50, and 100 slayers; and located and defeated Teargon, Furley, and Saate.  Once inside  the Iron Mines, I came across the rare encounter Powder in Freeing Achka and in Justice for Grust I defeated Corrosion, Chef Grank, and Champion Prienyl.  However, while running through Justice for Grust, Erdrique got  squashed by an ogre champion, which made the quest quite interesting.

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Erdrique making his way through Mirra’s Sleepless Nights.

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Erdrique fighting his way to Achka.

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Erdrique battling Corrosion in Justice for Grust.

 

 

On January 2, I took Erdrique and Sttollen into the Searing Heights explorer area to kick things out for the day. While out there, I collected 226 slayers for Erdrique and Sttollen.  Erdrique also picked up a monster manual deed for orc hunter and received 2.260 experience.  Both Erdrique and Sttollen collected the rewards for 10, 25, 50, 100, and 200 kills.  The kills included the rare encounters for the first mate, Ghamzee, Calcine, Giallo, and Itharn Ushu.  Erdrique also collected all of the explorer points.  Later in the day, I took Erdrique and Sttollen back into Searing Heights and this time I collected all of the explorer points with Sttollen.  I also collected 138 more slayers and collected the rare encounters for Shute Ruggzen, Hazai Haatha, and Cruor Russo.

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Erdrique taking on the sights of Searing Heights.

 

I didn’t log back into DDO until Wednesday, January 4th.  I took Garrrin (Level 23 Barbarian/Primal Avatar) out into the King’s Forrest.  While out there, Garrrin collected 45 slayers including six dire bears and one astral panther.  Shortly after that run, I then logged Hamllin (Level 20 Fighter/Shadow Dancer) and took him into the quest Memoirs of an Illusionary Larcenor on heroic elite.  It was the first time I tried this particular quest and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  I’m embarrassed to say that I wound up getting killed near to the end fight, primarily because I wasn’t paying attention to the fact my cleric hireling went down.  But I did my revenge, eventually :).

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Garrrin hunting in the King’s Forest.

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Hamllin exploring the intricacies of Memoirs.

 

For Thursday, I started my questing by dual boxing with Cannock (Level 8 Druid) and Crawlller (Level 8 Ranger) into Tangleroot Gorge.  Crawlller already has this area maxed out but Cannock collected another 50 slayers before I switched characters out.  They also took out the wandering giant, Kroshk.  Later that night, I logged on with Containment (Level 8 Cleric) and Cannock (once again) and took them through The Cloven Jaw Scourge: Caverns of Shaagh.  Making my through that part of Shan-to-Kor, I completed the optional objectives for slaying the three ogres, slaying the three witch doctors, the three large elementals, and 75 hobgoblins.  Dealing with the champions, Containment collected 15 mysterious remnants and Cannock collected 11.

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Cannock illustrating who the alpha wolf is in Tangleroot Gorge.

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Containment prepping for attacks from some hobgoblins in the Caverns of Shaagh.

 

To kick off the weekend, I took Tuhnn (Level 16 Bladeforged) out into the Sands of Menechtarun for my regular slayer run.  I forgot to record my slayer numbers but I did collect a monster manual deed for zombie exterminator and finished locating all of the explorer points.  Tuhnn also looted a pair of the Gloves of the Falcon.  After that run, I took Hamllin back into Memoirs of an Illusionary Larcener and this time I was able to complete it on heroic elite with little difficulty.  That night, I logged on with Erdrique and Sttollen and I took them, first, through Gladewatch Outpost and then the Forgotten Caverns.  While in Gladewatch Outpost, Erdrique picked 50 mysterious remnants and while in Forgotten Caverns they took out the optional for slaying Moldfang.  After running through the Forgotten Caverns, I took Erdrique and Sttollen out into Tangleroot Gorge and completed Doom of the Witch Doctor: The Way to Zulkash and Doom of the Witch Doctor: Zulkash, Herald of Woe.  To close out the night, I took Erdrique and Sttollen into Devil Assault and defeated all of the waves.  In that run, Erdrique collected 17 mysterious remnants and Sttollen collected eight.

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Tuhnn hunting for some slayers in  the desert.

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Hamllin exploring the dangers of Memoirs.

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Erdrique battling his way through the seige at Gladewatch Outpost.

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Battling the trolls of the Forgotten Caverns.

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Erdrique taking on the hobgoblins of Splinterskull.

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Erdrique setting the rune wheels to make his way to Zulkash.

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Preparing for the Devil Assault.

 

Continuing with my weekend runs, on Saturday I logged back on with Erdrique and Sttollen and I took them through the quest Dead Predators, The Bounty Hunter, Caged Trolls, and the Bloody Crypt.  While in the Bounty Hunter, Erdrique collected another monster manual deed for warforged hunter gaining him 471 experience.  We also collected the optional objectives for freeing Annelisa and killing the troll chieftain and Ras Clowery.  Erdrique picked up two more monster manual deeds in Caged Trolls, dwarf exterminator (1,130 experience) and dwarf hunter (2,260 experience).  We also completed the optional objective of plundering the Emerald Claw’s treasure cache.  The end the night, in the Bloody Crypt we collected the optional objective for slaying Gullet the Famished, defeating the Black Abbot’s legion, and slaying three priests of the Crimson Heart, Burning Heart, Immortal Heart, and Sanguine Heart.

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Time to plunder some loot in the Bounty Hunter.

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Erdrique battling his way through the Bloody Crypt with some help.

 

The beginning of the second week, I started out by taking Stoorage (Level 15 Fighter) and Izmit (Level 15 Shadar-ki) into Caged Trolls and The Bounty Hunter for some simple favor runs.  I completed the optional for plundering the Emerald Claw’s treasure cache in Cage Trolls and for the Bounty Hunter we completed the optional objectives for freeing Annelisa and slaying the troll chieftain and Ras Clowery.

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Stoorage making his way through the Caged Trolls.

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Stoorage exploring the Knaves Hollow.

 

On Monday, January 9th I logged on with Stoorage once again and this time I dual boxed with my other fighter Charlock (Level 16).  I took them into the Red Fens to work on another slayer run.  While out there, Stoorage collected 118 more slayers (with the help of a slayer potion) while Charlock collected 95 more slayers.  They also encountered Sharkbiter and Vyk Ka.  Shortly after that run, I logged on with Erdrique and Sttollen and I took them through the quest, Bargain of Blood.  I completed the optional objectives for finding the Deneith party, freeing the slaves, and destroying the assassination logbook.  That night, I switched characters and logged on with Wapoyei (Level 24 Cleric/Divine Crusader) and I took him into the High Road while I was also playing with our digital PNP game.  Wapoyei collected 81 more slayers and completed the random encounters for Wild Warriors, Trader Travels, and the Wood Woad.  I collected one Commendation: Cleric of Amaunator.

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Stoorage battling the sahaugin of the Red Fens.

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Erdrique fighting off the Blood Tide pirates in Bargain of Blood.

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Wapoyei exploring the dangers of the High Road.

 

I logged on Hamllin to kick off things on Tuesday and I took him into the Ruins of Gianthold (Heroic) for some slayers.  He came across two of the rare encounters, Lord Cirrus and Uthgur.  As for the slayers, he collected 68 Storm Heart slayers and two Storm Fist slayers.  After that run, I then took Hamllin into the next quest of the Slave Lords: Secret of the Slavers’ Stockade.  I completed the two optional objectives to explore the abandoned tower and to speak to Lady Morwin Elissar.  Later on Tuesday night, I took Berann and Containment, dual boxing, through the Tomb of the Burning Heart and The Mystery of Delera’s Tomb.  The completed the optional objective of shattering the burning brigade in the Tomb of the Burning Heart.  In Delera’s, Berann collected a monster manual deed for skeleton hunter earning 1,356 experience and the objectives for slaying Omaren Deathguard, Omaren Sentinel, Shade of Destruction, and 40 ghostly skeletons.

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Hamllin fighting off some ogres in Gianthold.

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Hamllin making his way through the Slavers’ Stockade.

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Berann making his way through the Tomb of the Burning Heart.

 

On Wednesday, January 11, I took Suppply (Level 11 Paladin) and Harrgon (Level 11 Favored Soul) into Sorrowdusk Isle.  They both collected 103 slayers and took down the rare encounters Thanolin and Vermilo.  Suppply also finished collecting all of the explorer areas.  That was the only run I was able to knock out on that day.

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Suppply exploring the wilds of Sorrowdusk Isle.

 

I took Wapoyei into The High Road, once again, to start things off on Thursday.  Wapoyei collected 40 slayers and came across the random encounter for Spectral Sightings.  After my slayer run, I took Hamllin into the quest Seigebreaker.  Hamllin looted a Mark of the Tzaryan Rrac and Garments of Equilibrium.  I completed the optional objectives for settng the tents on fire, poisoning the water supply, destroying the crates of provisions, and blowing up the explosive stockpiles.  He also defeated Tinkerstab, Skinny, Major Pain, and Brinky.  To end the night, I took Sludgge (Level 22 Rogue/Shadowdancer) into the Chains of Flame on epic normal.  Sludgge collected a monster manual deed for mephit exterminator I and earned 423 experience.  Making his way through the multiple levels of the Burning City, he collected five fragments of the Token of the Twelve and a complete Token of the Twelve.  He also collected 11 commendations of valor as a quest reward.  As for the optional objectives, he spoke to Valgrim Force-Bound, defeated Valgrim’s elemental guards, freed Valgrim Force-Bound, spoke to Erath the Blinded, transferred Erath’s curse, defeated the ogre mages, and freed Erath.

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Wapoyei doing some hunting in the High Road.

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Hamllin battling the forces of Droaam in Seigebreaker.

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Sludgge fighting his way through the gnolls of the Burning City.

On Friday the 13th, I logged on with Sludgge and took him into the Ruins of Gianthold (Heroic) for some simple slayers.  He came across Cirrus and collected 64 Storm Heart slayers and a single Storm Fist slayer.  Later that night, after some maintenance, I took Erdrique and Sttollen into The Black Loch.  Erdrique collected a monster manual deed for zombie exterminator and earned 1,356 experience and completed the optional ojbectives for killing the failed experiments and using the gold key.  Unfortunately that was the only run I was able to complete that night.

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Sludgge making his way through the Ruins of Gianthold.

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Erdrique battling and spinning his way through the Black Loch.

To close the two weeks out, I took Erdrique and Sttollen through Storm the Beaches and The Tide Tuns to complete the Sentinels of Stormreach Story arc.  In Bargain of Blood, they completed the objectives for slaying pirates, more pirates, and even more pirates.  In the Tide Turns they completed the optional objective for activating the barriers in the north and south barracks and trapping the pirates.  Sttollen looted two Tarnished Heavy Deneith Chains while Erdrique looted the Torn Chitin Bracers and a Chimera’s Breath at the end of The Tide Turns.

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Time to prepare to lay seige to an island fortress.

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Erdrique battling his way through the Tide Tuns.

So, a wide variety of runs over the first two weeks of the year that included epic and low level questing, numerous slayer runs, and range of character levels.  I hope everybody else had a great start to the year as well!!  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

 

 

 

Freezing Some Monsters

Erdrique (Level 10) is currently working through a melee bard life.  For this particular iteration, I have decided to primarily focus as a Warchanter.  One of the fun aspects of a Warchanter bard is the ability to use melee attacks to freeze your enemies.  There are three enhancements that allow this ability: The Frozen Fury, Northwind, and Spinning Ice.

The first of these abilities is The Frozen Fury.  The Frozen Fury is an active ability and is a special melee attack that can be taken up to three times.  Each time you take the enhancement the damage inflicted from this attack is increased by +1W.  When an enemy is hit, it must make a fortitude save against 10+Charisma modifier+(0 or 1/4 or 1/2 Bard Level)+stunning modifiers.  The amount applied to the bard levels depends on the number of times you have trained the enhancement, with the third time adding 1/2 bard level to your difficulty check.  If the monster fails the save, then gets frozen.  The length of time it remains frozen depends on the number of your bard levels (they remain frozen for the number of seconds that is equal to half your bard level).  The cool down for this ability goes from 12 to six seconds, decreasing by three seconds for each time it is trained.  The ability also cost one spell point to activate.

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Erdrique using The Frozen Fury to freeze an orc spiritcaller in The Tide Turns.

The second ability is Northwind.  Northwind acts in entirely different fashion than The Frozen Fury in that it isn’t a active melee attack.  Northwind gives you the ability to freeze your enemy on a vorpal hit.  What is really interesting about this ability is that their is no save, which makes it very powerful. The amount of time the monster stays frozen is shorter than in The Frozen Fury but usually by that time it is essentially defeated.  This ability also has three ranks and the more ranks you tank the shorter the time between the ability to freeze monsters/enemies on vorpal strikes.

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Erdrique taking advantage of the Northwind ability to freeze a wight champion in Delera’s.

The last ability is called Spinning Ice.  Spinning Ice is essentially a cleave like attack.  This enhancement also has three ranks and the amount of damage increases by +2/+3/+4 W.  All enemies that are hit within the attacking range need to make a fortitude save of 14+Charisma Modifier+1/2 Bard Level+Stunning Modifiers.  Enemies that fail the fortitude save become frozen for the number of seconds equal to half your bard level.  Erdrique hasn’t received this ability yet, but I’m looking forward to it.  I believe the 1/2 Bard Level portion of the difficulty check calculation is based on taking the third rank, so I believer this portion of the formula progresses the same as The Frozen Fury.  To activate this ability, it will cost 6 to 2 spell points, depending on the rank.  The cool down time is also dependent on rank and ranges from 45 to 25 seconds.

All three abilities are intimately linked.  The Frozen Fury must be trained prior to being able to train in Northwind and Northwind must be trained prior to taking Spinning Ice.  It is really fun to see your enemies frozen before while you are making your through your battles.  If you ever want to experiment with a Warchanter Bard, make sure to use these abilities, I’m sure you will enjoy them!!

Thanks for reading everybody and happy questing!!

Traveling to the Big Top

The Phiarlan Carnival story arc is composed of quests that are fun and unique and include A Small Problem, Partycrashers, and The Snitch.  The capstone to the story arc is a quest called Under the Big Top.  Like the other quests in the series, Under the Big Top is a level 5 quest on heroic normal and level 20 on epic normal.  The quest is unique in that it takes place entirely within a carnival setting and culminating in an end fight in the Big Top of the Traveling Troubadors.

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Suppply making his way through the carnival.

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Dealing with the tiefling tricksters.

In my opinion, the quest is medium in length, making it nice for a relatively quick run.  As I mentioned previously, it occurs entirely within the a carnival back drop.  The majority of beings you initially come across are disguised tieflings pretending to be various game promoters and vendors.  Any actual patrons will immediately depart once the fighting begins and the charade is discovered.  When you first enter the quest you approach the carnival from the outskirts.  It doesn’t take long until you reach your first set of disguised tieflings and the fighting starts.

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Are these disguised tieflings?

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Preparing to deal with hell hounds balancing on balls of fire.

The enemies you encounter in Under the Big Top are primarily various forms of tieflings and hellhounds.  The tieflings include Malefic strongmen, Malefic seers, Malefic knife throwers, Malefic firebreathers, Malefic illusionists, and Malefic trainers.  The Malefic seers and illusionists can be extremely annoying, as these are the types of tieflings that are the arcane casters and clerics in the group.  Other enemies include special zombies called magician assistants that only spawn once you liberate them from their containers.  These containers are identified with numerous swords strewn through them.  There are also a few other optional names that might appear: Herli’nak the Untamed (named hell hound), Kron’zek (named blue abishai),  Maz’il’tilnik (named tiefling), and Yewil d’Phiarlan (charmed House P attendant).

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Which way to go?

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Looks like I came across a dead end, for a magician?

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Battling a Malefic knife thrower.

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Dealing with a named tiefling.

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Still dealing with a named tiefling.

The carnival/fair grounds are divided into varies sections that are separated by special rune wheels called the “Wheels of ill fate.”  To the lower the barrier from one section of the carnival to another you need to set the rune wheels on the right positions.  Every time you turn the rune wheel you have the chance of activating a potent trap or for spawning a group of enemies.  The traps associated with the rune wheels can be disabled, with the boxes sometimes being located in places a distance away from the rune wheel.  Even with the rune wheels being disabled, you can still get random mob spawns when you turn the wheel.  The runes to set the wheels are posted on various pillars in the carnival.  Also, there are a few “high striker” games spread around the carnival that you can play for some other optional experience, although very minor.  These games are based on a random roll to hit the high striker bell and when activated prompt the spawn of some tieflings and once they are defeated you get awarded the experience.

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Coming up on a rune wheel of ill fate in the Big Top.

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The path is now open.

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Another blocked path, time to set some more wheels.

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Wishing for some luck with the rune wheel.

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Finding the runes to set the rune wheels.

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Coming across a high striker game.

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Here is another high striker.

Once you make your way through the carnival grounds, you finally come to the top of the midway and to the big top.  Outside of the big top you will be encountered by a contingent of House P assassins.  Of course they basically tell you that you were being used as a distraction so they could infiltrate the big top and defeat the leader, Malicia.  Feeling a little annoyed, you agree to stand back and let House P handle the conflict to come in the big top.  However, once you enter the big top itself, it doesn’t take long for Malicia to dominate these assassins and get them to attack you instead.

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Making my way to the midway.

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Wondering who set that rune wheel on fire.

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Fighting above the carnival grounds.

So, the end fight essentially starts out with you fighting the contingent of House P assassins and then dealing with Malicia and her tiefling underlings.  Halfway through the fight Malicia will call another group of tieflings to help her.  Malicia herself is a succubus making this end fight quite interesting.

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Suppply making his way to the Big Top.

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Exploring the depths of the carnival grounds on the way to the Big Top.

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Coming across the House P contingent.

Under the Big Top is fun quest and could be quite challenging to complete on elite without a trapper because of the rune wheels.  It is a fun quest and can be completed relatively quickly.  If you haven’t done this quest yet, I would recommend it.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the Big Top!!

Thinking About Tharmalos

There is no doubt that dragons hold a special place for all adventurers.  There isn’t much that is more dramatic and epic then coming face to face with deadly dragon.  One dragon that I have been wondering about for awhile now is Tharmalos.  Tharmalos is the end boss to the quest Don’t Drink the Water in Eveningstar.  When we first make our way into Eveningstar, one of the things we learn right away is that the drow are laying siege to the small village.  In this endeavor, the drow are employing a wide array of military tactics from raiding the smaller outlying homes and villages, sabotaging supplies, and even forming some dangerous alliances.  One of these alliances is with the powerful green dragon Tharmalos.

The drow have tasked Tharmalos to basically poison the water supply to the village.  To do this, Tharmalos has raised together a small army of Yuan-ti.  With this army, they have invaded and taken control of the under  ground tunnels that lead to the ground water supply to the Eveningstar Well.  None of the people of Eveningstar know about this situation, they only realize that the drinking water is now making people deathly ill.

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Tharmalos just waiting to have some fun.

I find this whole dynamic very interesting.  Primarily because it appears to me that Tharmalos has had this association with the yuan-ti for some time.  In fact, they continuously show they are willing to sacrifice themselves in order to implement his plan of poisoning the drinking water, if not even showing signs of worshiping him.  I find this interesting because when we first venture into the Underdark, we basically find out that the yuan-Ti and drow are bitter enemies, constantly fighting for control of the Underdark.  It makes me wonder why the drow would even attempt to form an alliance with such a powerful entity that also has control of an army of yuan-ti.  It also makes me wonder what are the underlying motives of Tharmalos.  There is no doubt that he knows the drow and yuan-ti are bitter enemies and he must be wondering about intentions of the drow.  The only real hint we get from him during the battle is that the drow have promised him form of riches.

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Battling Tharmalos in Don’t Drink the Water.

Since all the parties involved here are tremendously evil, nothing can be taken at face value.  I believe that Tharmalos is using this potential alliance to gain a foothold into taking control of Eveningstar, and perhaps even all of Cormyr, for himself.  I can easily see him using this alliance to manuever himself around into through the ranks of the drow until he can see a chance to overthrow them with his yuan-ti cohorts and perhaps other allies that we don’t know of yet.  Of course it also stands to reason that the drow are anticipating this and have counter measures of their own.

Oh you have to love how the minds of evil beings work…

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting out in Eveningstar!!

Completing a Few More Explorer Areas

This past weekend two of my characters completed two explorer areas, meaning that they discovered all of the explorer points, defeated all of the rare encounters, and maximized the slayer count for those areas.  My characters, Erdrique (Level 9 Bard) and Sttollen (Level 10 Rogue) knocked out  Tangleroot Gorge and Three Barrel Cove.  Tangleroot Gorge is a level 4 area (with full experience being awarded to characters between levels 2 and 7) and it contains 13 explorer areas, 9 rare encounters, and a maximum slayer count of 1,500.  The types of enemies you encounter include the ever persistent hobgoblins, wolves, worgs, spiders, scorpions, troglodytes, bugbears, ogres (including a named ogre mage), a named hill giant, and even a single rust monster.  With the rare encounters, I have typically found that locating Kornak, the ogre mage, and Gharjat, the hobgoblin commander, the hardest to find.

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Erdrique completes Tangleroot Gorge.

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Sttollen gets his turn to complete Tangleroot Gorge (it took him an extra run or so because Erdrique had used some slayer potions).

Three Barrel Cove is a level higher (level 5) with full experience being awarded to characters between levels 3 and 8.  The landscape of Three Barrel Cove is much larger than Tangleroot Gorge and some of this is reflected in the number of explorer points, increasing up to 20.  Three Barrel Cove also contains 14 rare encounters and also has a maximum slayer count of 1,500.  Three Barrel Cove is dominated by various types of pirates, it is after all a pirate haven.  These  pirates include minotaurs, orcs, hobgoblins, humans, dwarves, drow, halfings, bugbears, warforged, and kobolds.  These pirates also have pet dogs, worgs, and rats.  Their is also a number of natural dangers to worry about including scorpions, hyenas, sahuagin, a named scrag, spiders, mephits, a named earth elemental, and fire elementals.  Three barrel cove even has some unnatural enemies in the form of skeletons and zombie rats.  For the rare explorers, I have generally had the most difficulty coming across Ilmarin Tychonn, Dybesh Relix, Chortle, and Ithun Orenah.

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Erd and Sttollen finishing Three Barrel Cove together.

While I was making my way through Tangleroot Gorge, Erdrique was using a slayer potion so he reached the maximum slayer count before Stollen (I have been dual boxing these characters since I reincarnated Erdrique as a bard).  But I did complete the slayer area in another run or two with Sttollen.  For Three Barrel Cove, they both complete the area at the same time.

It is now time to start collecting and exploring in Searing Heights and then off into Sorrowdusk Isle.

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Looking forward to 2017

Now that 2016 has come and gone, it is time to focus on 2017 and to start developing and working on my plans and goals that I would like to complete in DDO, within the DDO Community, and with Neverwinter Nights II.  My first goal in 2017 will be to complete Erdrique’s Bard life and to complete his second epic reincarnation.  After that Erdrique will begin his first caster life as a Wizard.  Following in his wake, I would like for my dual boxing character, Sttollen, to go through his first heroic and epic reincarnation.  For Hamllin, I would like to continue on his second life as a Fighter and to complete his first epic reincarnation.  For my other epic level characters (Wapoyei, Kolll, Garrrin, Larrs, Sludgge, and Rimuldar) I would like to get up to level 25 and higher.  For high level characters (Charlock, Stoorage, Tuhnn, Izmit, and Burlland) I would like to get them up to level 20.  For all of my other characters I would like to get up somewhere between levels 10 and 15 (Cannock, Crawlller, Containment, Breyy, Berann, Cantlin, Kanndar, Harrgon, Lorrikk, and Suppply).  We’ll see how this pans out, it will be a tall order to get all of these characters to that point.

I would also like to create or roll up a few more characters as well.  I still need to roll up a Warlock, a Deep Gnome, and a Morninglord.  I would like to do that this year at some point, probably over the summer.  I also would like to max out Erdrique’s Cannith Crafting levels this year so that I can start making some good twink equipment and weapons.  I also would like to start participating more in some raids.  We’ll see how this goes.  I have been forestalling on getting involved in the raiding scene for a number of reasons but I think it is time to start getting involved more into this ever changing scene of DDO.  I’m thinking of using my character Garrrin or Kolll as my “raider” for now.  This will probably be the most difficult aspect of the year for me.  Another game play goal for me is to put up more of my questing/explorer runs up in the LFM panel and/or to join more pick up group runs.  Although I tend to play a lot, they tend to be quick and short “bouts” and usually they are for runs that I happened to be over the level to gain bravery bonus or the maximum experience from the explorer zone.  This is primarily because I like to just follow up the list of quests in the Adventure Compendium during my game play, just to make sure I don’t miss out on any quests and to get as many monsters as I can in the monster manual.  However, even runs like these could be useful to some folks, so I want to start taking that into account.

For the Crypt Crawlers, I would like to start putting a higher level of commitment to recruiting folks.  Our player base has been pretty stagnant over the past year for various reasons and I didn’t do a very good job at promoting us.  I need to do better this year.  I hope I can and I hope we can a few more players into the guild.  Our guild is very laid back, and we have players that like to solo to those who like to form their own groups and to those who play a lot (like myself) to those who can only play on a limited schedule.  We are more for the community aspect of the game as opposed to the power gaming aspect.

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Erdrique working through his bard life enjoys stunning bugbears in Redwillow’s Ruins.

As for the DDO Community, I play to continue to blog as much as I can.  Like I said in my post yesterday, it has become readily apparent that I won’t be able to blog on a daily basis as I used to be able to.  My plan right now it focus my blogging on the weekend or during days off (which I was able to do yesterday and today).  I also plan on rotating blogging topics and to also to highlights of my questing runs over the week.  I like to do the highlights to show all players all the types of quests and explorer zones that DDO has to offer.  Who knows, maybe I can spark interest in some players  to delve back into out quests they haven’t tackled in awhile :).  Besides blogging, I also plan on downloading and listening to the various DDO podcasts (DDOCast, DDO Players News, DDO Cocktailhour, and Damsels of DDO as well as those others that might pop up) and to hopefully send these great podcast teams an email on a rotating basis, primarily to show my support and appreciation for their efforts.  Along this same thought, I would like to get more involved with those folks who maintain YouTube Channels and TwitchTV channels.  My initial thoughts are to view a video or two before I start my own playing on the weekends and to send any comments that I think would be worthwhile.  Another aspect to keep alive, is to stay up to date with other bloggers and the DDO forumites.  I know I won’t have enough time to stay up to date with everybody or every topic but  I would like to contribute at least once a week to these avenues, if not more, by reading blog and forum posts and contributing my own thoughts and/or encouragements.

Perhaps one of the biggest things I want to refocus on is my commitment to the Crypt Crawler Website and my newsletter.  I used to spend hours trying to keep the website up to date with various things from game news, to forum posts, to interesting blogs, to character and guild membership as well as the guild’s newsletter.  This will probably be the biggest hurdle for me.  What I would like to do is create a small schedule where I work on a topic each day but nothing that takes “hours.”  I’m still “mentally” working on this and play on writing out this proposed schedule later tonight.  I can easily see this changing but I feel it is a worthwhile attempt.  As for the guild newsletter, I think I need to scale this down a bit.  I used send out a weekly guild newsletter that was extremely detailed.  I would highlight what is coming on in the game and the community and then I would breakdown our guild runs, list my play schedule, welcome new members, highlight updates to the guild websites, and maintain a guild bank.  I’m thinking on scaling this back to a monthly letter with a lot of those things I breakdown being maintained on the guild website (quest runs, calendar, guild bank, etc).  This will be a lot of work to set up initially, but once done I think it will be much easier to maintain.

My last goal, in terms of gaming, is for Neverwinter Nights II.  I find Neverwinter Nights II to be a nice distraction to DDO.  Neverwinter Nights II plays a lot differently and has a much large set of classes and prestige classes to choose from as well as a different set of character skills and abilities.  Although Neverwinter Nights II is a multi player game, it is not an MMO.  But there are a few player worlds set up as well as player created modules that players can download and play.  One thing I would like to do this year is to finish playing the Original Campaign that was released with my Spirit Shaman and to join one of the player worlds.  However, I have been moving extremely slowly with this aspect.  I think I would need to devote some time on the weekends for this to happen, which means putting more of a balance between DDO and Neverwinter Nights II.

I think it will be a challenging year for me with all these goals.  Now couple that on top of the potential impacts to DDO itself with its development team splitting off and forming their own studio, Standing Stone Games, not only will it be challenging but also exciting and intriguing.  I  wonder how things will change as 2017 progresses, not only with my own set of goals but also with DDO itself.  I guess we will see.

Thank for reading everybody and happy new year and happy hunting!!

Taking a Look Back at 2016

It has been over two months since I have had a chance to gather some time to draft and write up a blog post.  Needless to say, 2016 has been a rough year for me when it comes to keeping up with my extra DDO activities.  When I first started blogging back in 2013, I was able to somehow find the time to generate blogs nearly everyday while also maintaining the Crypt Crawler’s guild website, the Crypt Crawler’s newsletters, participating in the forums, reading and commenting on other blogger’s posts and articles, listening to the various DDO podcasts, watching the numerous DDO TwitchTV and YouTube channels, and sending in emails to those same groups of people to make comments and to submit words of encouragement.  I felt very connected to the wonderful DDO community, without even being logged into game world.

And then 2016 happened.  It didn’t take long into the 2016 year for things to start slipping away from me.  Most of this was centered around changes in my professional life.  I’m a marine fisheries biologist who works for the state of North Carolina and while I can say that I don’t make a large salary, the number of constant fisheries issues keeps all of us involved in this industry extremely busy and under a lot of pressure.  I can definitely say that I’m never bored at work but in 2016 this translated into a pretty stressful period.  I found myself with less and less free time to explore my other DDO hobbies such as writing and watching the various media channels during lunch hours and downtime.  Essentially my downtime just simply disappeared.  In years previous, I had taken advantage of that downtime to participate in these hobbies.

All throughout 2016, I told myself that I would be able to get back into the swing of things.  I tried numerous times to develop schedules and to stick to them but these things just never really happened for one reason or another.  I finally realized, I just simply can’t keep up with my pace that I set for myself years earlier.  I have now realized that I just simply can’t keep up the pace but I can still contribute.  I just need to take a step back and make a less aggressive goal and schedule for these activities.  I instead of blogging everyday, I’m going to focus on blogging twice or week or so, primarily on the weekends, and seeing how things go.  I also plan to work those other activities as well.  In this sense, I’m looking forward to 2017.

Although my extracurricular DDO activities suffered tremendously during 2016, my actual game time remained relatively the same.  I did rotate my gaming schedule slightly but I still maintain a slayer run, a mid afternoon quest run, and my daily night runs.  In 2016, I completed my first epic reincarnation with Erdrique, which actually took me much longer than I had originally anticipated.  I was also able to complete Erdrique’s rogue life and to start his bard life (which is the beginning of his 9th life on the way to completionist).  Erdrique currently sits at level 9, with level 10 banked.  During 2016, I also continued with my effort to keep on dual boxing with my VIP and Premium accounts.  Overall, this has worked out pretty well.  One thing I have  discovered is that running two characters through a quest does take a little longer but when things go south with the primary character the secondary character was able to pick up the slack.  So the number of quests I have completed in 2016 were relatively fewer but I was able to level up more than one character at one time.  I could probably speed things up by ignoring the loot for the secondary character but that is the whole point of questing right :).

While Erdrique made his way through his first epic reincarnation and started his bard life, Hamllin (my second most played character) is now in epic levels and is currently working on his first epic reincarnation.  My other characters have also been moving up, albeit rather slowly but still making progress.  I also added to my character list by creating a new Purple Dragon Knight, a Shadar-kai, and a gnome Artificer on my VIP account and a new rogue on my premium account.  Although the number of new quests released in 2016 was relatively light, I still haven’t made my way into most of them.  I was able to play heavily in the Anniversary Party, the new quests in the Night Revels (Getting Ahead in Lords March Palace, Hayweird Foundry), and the first quest in the Slave Lords (Slave Pits of the Undercity).  I will hit up the others sooner or later :).  One thing I can say about myself, I’m quite patient :P.

One thing I really looked forward to this past year was the revamp into Cannith Crafting.  With that  said, I haven’t really had a chance to participate in the new and improved version as of yet because I was waiting until Erdrique hit level 10 before I started to really play with it.  The second thing that caught me by surprise, as well as everybody else, is the move of the development teams of DDO and LOTRO out of  Turbine and into their own studio, Standing Stone Games.  I’m anxious to see what this will mean for the game as well as the developers.  I have a lot of high hopes here and I’ll be curious to see how things move forward in 2017.

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Erdrique closing out 2016 as a bard and looking forward to changes in 2017.

Overall, 2016 was a rough year for me.  Although I was able to keep up with my gaming time, the time I had for blogging and extra community activities just dried up.  I’m hoping I can change this in 2017.  I hope everybody else had a great year and I wish everybody a happy, safe, and adventurous New Year in DDO!!  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!