Wondering About Another Spider, Shev’aal

There are a large number of named spiders in DDO.  A glance at the DDOWiki shows at least 100 different types of spiders documented in DDO, with a large number of them being uniquely named boss monsters.  Some of the more well known spiders in the game include Whisperdoom (even though she is also a magical beast), Redfang, Miasma, Blood-drinker, and Venom.  However, another boss spider caught my eye when I was taking Erdrique (now a Level 5 Bard)  through his rogue heroic past life and working through his first epic reincarnation.  That spider is Shev’aal.  Shev’aal is an Astral Harrower, a type of spider currently only located in the Forgotten Realms half of DDO.  Shev’aal is an orange named mini-boss in the quest, The Portal Opens, which is the capstone quest to the arc known as the City of Portals.

As I was taking Erdrique through the quest, back in the first half of the year, I wondered how this particular spider became a favorite for Hekta Szind, the end boss for The Portal Opens.  We really don’t know all that much for how Hekta Szind rose to her current position of high priestess to merciless goddes Lolth, but I’m going to go under the assumption that she brought Shev’aal with her when she rose up into the ranks.  Seeing a drow priestess of Lolth associated with a powerful spider isn’t unusual at all, but how did Hekta and Shev’aal get aligned together?

Erdrique coming across Shev’aal in The Portal Opens.

I’m going to assume that Hekta went on a personal mission to find a potential guardian or body guard and to do that she visited a nest of Astral Harrower spiders.  These spiders were probably located in some type of hallowed ground or sacred area.  Using some type of elimination process, she chose Shev’aal as her companion and protector to be.  Shev’aal probably showed some of those vicious qualities that the drow priestess favor.  Shev’aal very possibly was a larger spawn in the nest and I could easily see him (her?) tormenting and dominating the other younglings in the nest.  This power, greed, and determination was probably some of the attributes Hekta was looking for.

After selecting Shev’aal, I could then easily see Hekta giving the spider its name as well as enhancing its abilities with spells and powers granted from Lolth.  In this fashion, Shev’aal became a very powerful and dangerous protector and whom Hekta rewarded by feeding him a mix match of various slaves that the drow houses collected over time, therefore being given the title of “slave devourer.”

In any case, Shev’aal is a potent enemy and I can see him easily being able to put a large amount of fear into unwelcome, heroic adventurers.  What do others thing?  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

More Historical Runs, April 8th to April 10th

During the second weekend of April, my questing was dominated with runs by Erdrique.  I didn’t get a chance to do a morning slayer run or a mid-afternoon run on Friday.  However, on Friday night, I did take Erdrique into the High Road.  I was taking him to the quest, Lost in the Swamp.  While I was making my way through the High Road, I collected another 16 slayers.  I entered Lost in the Swamp on epic hard and made my way through the quest with little difficulty.  I collected eight mysterious remnants, defeated five wood woads, completed the optional objectives of freeing the spirits and destroying the evil presense, and for a quest reward I picked up 30 Commendations of Valor.  After I recalled and sold, I took Erdrique back into the The High Road to make my way to the next quest, A Stay at the Inn.  While he was in transit, he came across two random encounters: the druid brothers and helping the Orc wizard Dia.  I completed both of those and picked up a Commendation: Druid’s of the King Forest and Commendation: War Wizards.  I also looted a +4 Upgrade Tome of Skill (Hide +3 to +4).  The only slayers I picked up during this run were the two druid brothers.  Similar to Lost in the Swamp, I entered A Stay at the Inn on epic hard.  The only thing of note that I picked up was six mysterious remnants and another thirty Commendations of Valor as an end reward.

Erdrique making his way to the quest Lost in the Swamp.

Erdrique and his crew battling the native wildlife in Lost in the Swamp.

Enjoying the night life of the High Road.

Erd coming across a rare tome in the High Road.

Erdrique and his party fighting the mercenaries of the Netherese in A Stay at the Inn.

On Saturday, I continued with the High Road chain.  This time I was making my way to the quest, The End of the Road, when I picked up another 27 slayers which netted me the 100 slayer mark for the High Road.  I also completed the random encounters for defeating the druid brothers and to assist Arganon.  Once inside the quest, I completed the optional objective for defeating Greenstalker, picked up four mysterious remnants, and hit shadow exterminator IV in the monster manual (netting over 9,000 experience).  For the quest reward I picked up another 30 Commendations of Valor and for completing the Netherese Legacy story arc, I picked up the Nether Grasps.

Preparing to enter the End of the Road.

Well this doesn’t look entirely promising.

To close the weekend out, on Sunday I looked on with Stoorage and Lorrikk and took them through another dual boxing session.I first took them through a quick slayer run through Sorrowdusk Isle.  They collected 126 slayers and Lorrikk picked up the gargoyle exterminator I monster manual need for 442 experience.  I then had them start the Grey Moon Waning Story Arc and into the quest Freeing Achka.  As expected, I experienced no issues with this short quest and defeated the optional objective for slaying the winter wolf, Powder.

Lorrikk defeating Noozer in Sorrowdusk Isle.

Stoorage battling Powder in Freeing Achka.

That was the last run I was able to complete for the weekend.  So it wasn’t a bad weekend overall with Erdrique gaining some valuable Commendations of Valor and even coming across a rare tome.  I hope everybody else had a good set of runs that week as well.


Thoughts on The General Manager

I have always thought that one of the more interesting encounters I have come across with my various characters in DDO is when they first meet up with the General Manager.  If you aren’t sure about who exactly the General Manager is, you will find him in the quest Bargain of Blood which is part of the Sentinels of Stormreach story arc and is located in the Searing Heights.  The General Manager is actually not one enemy but two enemies.  These two enemies are quite an unlikely pair with the General being a huge and powerful minotaur while the Manager is a wily kobold shaman.  When you come across them at the end of Bargain of Blood, the Manager is perched on top of the General.  As you battle them, you first defeat the General which results in the Manager falling down and then you battle the Manager to finish the quest.  Definitely an interesting sight.

So how did these guys ever meet?

But I always wondered how did these crazy creatures ever meet and how did they form such a close bond.  And on top of that, how did they ever get involved with Captain Tew and the Blood Tide Pirates?  Whenever I think of these two, I can’t help but think about the story of the lion and the mouse.  I see the kobold as being the mouse and the minotaur as lion.  Where the minotaur stumbles across the kobold during his foraging and initially wishes to make a meal out of him.  The wily kobold takes notice that the minotaur seems to be suffering from some type of ailment, that the minotaur seems to be expressing concern about as he prepares for his meal.  By offering to help the minotaur, the kobold successfully heals him and therefore saves his life and then becomes an influential and important friend to the minotaur.  It definitely seems like a plausible theory but is it the most likely?

Another possible, although rather more unlikely theory, is that Manager’s clan might have hired the General’s tribe as a source of protection.  Perhaps these two unusual comrades knew each other from a young age with this type of association and as a result they grew up and headed out into the world together.  The reverse could also be said, perhaps the General’s tribe captured or bullied the Manager’s clan into being their servants and then an unlikely friendship developed.  This friendship and commitment to each other could have been recognized by Captain Tew who then added both of them to the ranks.

So what is the deal with the Manager?

But looking at this connection more analytically, it could also be surmised that the Manager has literally charmed the General.  The Manager is a shaman after all.  It is not improbable for the Manager to know a number of dubious charming spells.  It could be that the General just thinks he likes the Manager, while in reality he is literally charmed to protect and to work as the Manager’s muscle.

Another plausible thought is that Captain Tew recruited both of these villains to be members of his crew.  As part of the Blood Tide pirates, these two somehow developed this strange and powerful bond that Captain Tew was quickly able to pick up on.  He probably noted that they could make a very formidable enemy if they were to work together and so he promoted that growth in hopes of taking advantage of the unique talents of both them.

In tandem, this unlikely pair is a strong and powerful enemy.  Be prepared for them when you hit the end fight of Bargain of Blood.  What do others thing?  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!


Highlighting More Quest Runs April 4th to April 7th

The runs during the first full week of April started with a dual boxing session with Lorrikk (Level 14 Monk) and Stoorage (Level 16 Fighter) through Sorrowdusk Isle.  Stoorage already had that area maxed out and Lorrikk was only able to pick up three slayers before I ran into some computer issues and got booted out.  By the time I got everything up and running again, I had to head out to work.  I didn’t get on during the afternoon, but later that night I logged on with Rimuldar (Level 23 Wizard/Draconic Incarnation).  I then took him into the Sschindylryn and made my way to the quest, The Portal Opens.  As I took Rimuldar through the dangerous drow city, he picked up another 9 slayers for the drow and another 4 slayers for the Children of Lolth.  Once inside the Portal Opens, on epic normal, Rimuldar had no major problems dealing with the drow.  He defeated at least one priestess of Lolth.  His loot included two commendations (War Wizard and Village of Eveningstar), a sapphire of spell agility +15, and the blade of the high priestess.  He also picked up 11 commendations of Valor as a quest reward.

Lorrikk taking some time to explore Sorrowdusk Isle.

Rimuldar battling his way through Sschindylrynn.

Rimuldar making his way through the Portal Opens.

To kick things off on Tuesday, I started out with another dual boxing session with a slayer run through Sorrowdusk Isle with Lorrikk and Stoorage once again.  Even though I had taken Lorrikk and Stoorage into Sorrowdusk Isle the day before, I did this because of my shortened play time that unexpectedly occurred.  This time, Lorrikk collected 52 slayers.  Lorrikk and Stoorage also defeated Teargon, Barxer, and Kurmer.  Out of one of these chests, Stoorage looted a nice pair of boots, Boots of Diversion 7 that were masterful craftsmanship with Speed IV at level 7.  I didn’t get a chance to complete an afternoon run.  For my regular play session, I had another dual boxing session with Containment (Level 8 Cleric) and Cannock (Level 8 Druid).  Containment needed to complete the Sharn Syndicate series on elite so I took them into the next quest he needed, Bookbinder Rescue.  I had a number of issues getting through this quest during this go around.  I failed the quest twice because of various lag spike issues.  I did complete it on the third attempt but Containment was killed so I had to complete it with Cannock (as my focus was on playing Containment that night).  After struggling through the Bookbinder Rescue, I then took them both into Repossession.  I had no problems making my way through the quest and I had completed the optional objectives to smash the furniture, kill the master of hounds, and to steal 3, 6, and all artifacts.  I then called it a night.

Lorrikk battling Barxer in Sorrowdusk Isle.

Containment working on rescuing the Book Binder family.

Containment battling in the quest Repossession.

On Wednesday, I had yet another dual boxing session to kick things off.  This time I took Cannock and Crawlller (Level 8 Ranger) into Three Barrel Cove.  The morning slayer run netted both Cannock and Crawlller with 25 slayers.  In the afternoon, I took Erdrique (who is now a Level 3 Rogue) into the Sands of Menechtarun.  It was kind of a disappointing run though.  He didn’t come across any rare encounters but did collect some more slayers including eight gnolls and 89 scorrow.  That was the last run I completed on Wednesday.

Crawlller swimming his way back to the ladder in Three Barrel Cove.

Erdrique making his presence felt in the Desert.

On Thursday, I was only able to get in a single play session.  It was another dual boxing session, this time with Berann (Level 8 Barbarian) and Containment.  Berann was my focus and he still needed to work on Tangleroot Gorge wilderness area.  During this morning slayer run, Berann collected 28 slayers and defeated Clamor.  He also looted a Minor Circlet of Blasting from Clamor’s chest.

Berann looting some interesting things in Tangleroot Gorge.

So this particular week was heavily loaded with dual boxing runs.  I also had some minor issues with my computer and some lag issues causing some frustrations.  But overall, it was a nice but light week.  I hope everybody is doing well and thank you for reading!!



Another Look Back In History, Quest Runs April 1st to April 3rd

The first set of questing activities during the month of April was actually during the first weekend of April which actually started on Friday, April 1st🙂.  Questing started out with a typical morning slayer run with Lorrikk (Level 13 Monk) and Stoorage (Level 15 Fighter) through Sorrowdusk Isle during a dual boxing session.  Stoorage has this area maxed out so I had him in there to gather some chests and rare encounter experience if I happened to come across anything.  During the run, Lorrikk picked up 20 slayers but I didn’t come across any rares😦.  That was the only questing I was able to complete on Friday because the rest of the day and night I spent with my wife as it was our anniversary🙂.

Lorrikk taking on Teargon in Sorrowdusk Isle.

On Saturday, I started things out by taking Erdrique (who is now a level 1 Bard🙂 ), into the Sands of Menechtarun.  While out there, he picked up another 319 kills for his gnoll slayers, another 100 kills for his scorrow slayers, and 113 for his undead slayers.  He picked up a monster manual deed as well, gnoll exterminator V (account wide award) and gnoll expertise.  He came across the rare encounters for Den Mother Fheena, Palumak, Haraja, Workan-Kull, Utach, Volrune, and Ayurro.  From those rare encounters he picked up the Vulkoorim Pendant and the Collapsible Shortbow, as well as a sapphire of false life +20.  After the trample through the desert, I took Erdrique into the Anniversary Party.  While in the Anniversary Party, I got defeated by Severlin and his little gang of skeletons but I then came back in and took out all of the developers as well as the Jeets Overloard.  I picked up five party favors as the quest reward.  I called it a night after run and after working on some character maintenance.

Erdrique taking on the scorrow.

Erdrique making his way through the Anniversary Party.

I closed the weekend out by logging on with my first iconic character, Tuhnn (Bladeforged Level 16).  I also took him into the Anniversary Party.  He suffered or struggled quite a bit in there at level.  He was first killed off by Cordovan.  He was actually killed three times.  But during my last reentry, I was able to complete all of the star objectives to defeat all of the developers and overlord.  For his troubles, Tuhnn picked up to pretty interesting items from chests.  The fist thing he picked up was a +6 Venomous 4 Bastard Sword of Draining and then Prudent 8 Goggles of Deadly 6 with +7 Tendon Slice also attached.  Not bad at all.  Like Erdrique, Tuhnn picked up 5 party favors as quest reward.  That was the only run I was able to get done on Sunday night before I needed to head off to bed.

Tuhnn taking on Cordovan in the Anniversary Party.

So the first weekend of April was interesting in that I was taking advantage of running through the Anniversary Event.  It was a nice and light weekend overall.  I hope everybody else had enjoyed the weekend.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!


Don’t Forget About Those Wands

If you have ever taking the time to open up or to click on any of my normal playing screenshots (meaning those screenshots that I haven’t removed the tools bars and chat boxes from before taking it) you probably will notice that I tend to use a ton of tool bars.  LOL, I typically have tool bars covering the vast majority of the perimeter of my screen.  A good portion of these tool bars are filled with a specific type of commodity: wands.

Since the majority of my characters have some type of spell casting ability or have points put into Use Magical Device (UMD) the majority of my characters will also carry wands.  Wands can be an extremely useful tool for your characters.  There are primarily three different types of wands: buffs, damage, and healing/curative types.  There are also some crowd control wands (such as charm person or charm monster, but there effectiveness is relatively minor).  Using wands can vastly expand a characters spell list as well.

For instance, my level 13 Sorcerer Cantlin has a variety of wands.  Two of the wands he is currently using quite a lot include wands of false life and stoneskin.  One of the good things about wands, is that if you are continuously using a wand of a spell that is on your spell list, that will allow you to load up a different spell into your spell book or to mesmerize, which is extremely useful to classes such as sorcerers, favored souls, and bards that have a limited selection of the number of spells they can learn and load.  For instance, I tend to use wands of stoneskin instead of actually loading that spell in Cantlin’s spell list.  List allows me to take a different spell, such as shout or force missile, which are both at the same spell level as stoneskin.

Another extremely useful quality of wands, is that they also allow you to expand your spell list into spells from other classes.  For instance, if you have the UMD, your arcane casters will be able to divine caster wands.  This allows you to become self sufficient, especially at lower levels.  You can basically add the cure spells to your spell list being up to use wands to cast cure light wounds through cure critical wounds.  You can also obtain other curative wands that allow you to cast lesser restoration to remove that negative stat damage, cure disease, neutralize poison, remove blindness, and many others.  For many divine warrior characters, such as paladins and rangers, if you have put points into UMD you can also gain access to the use of wands to cast shield, false life, and stone skin all of which can add to your survivability and your resilience.

Cantlin taking a look at his wand of false life.

The damage dealing wands, on the other hand, are probably the least useful.  That is because their damage output is solely dependent on the level of the wand and not necessarily your character’s spell casting abilities.  There are enhancements that increase the effectiveness of these wands but in the grand scheme of things these enhancements are taken more to enhance and produce greater results from casting cure wands.  Even with that said, these wands do allow you to continue to cause damage when you run out of spell points and spell point potions.  In some instances, you can use wands to bypass certain barriers as well (thinking of quests such as Inferno of the Damned where you have light or extinguish the flames).

Cantlin glancing at his wand of stoneskin.

In any case, just don’t overlook the wands you come across during your adventuring.  It is also worthy of note that not all wands are available from the vendors.  Especially those 10th level wands.  If you come across those you should hold onto them or put them on the auction , I’m sure somebody will buy them.  Wands are just those items that help to expand your spell list and to make your character more resourceful.  If you are new to the game, keep this in mind and they can be very useful!!

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

A Closer Look At Another Oldie but Goodie, The Prisoner (VON 2)

One of the things I wanted to try to do with my blog this year was to make a little schedule of sorts where I write about different items on particular days.  Of course, it would help to stick to a schedule when you can get the chance to blog daily, or at least much more often than I have been able to😦.  As many of you can tell, I’m still struggling with getting down a real life schedule to work in the time to write, which is unfortunate for me because I really do enjoy writing on my blog and writing about DDO.

In any case, on Wednesdays, I had settled on picking out a quest that I have completed relatively recently from the previous week or so and taking the time to highlight it and in some cases taking the time to basically develop a walk through for it.  I did this for Tomb of the Wizard King and Haywire Foundry (VON 4).  This week I would like to explore another fun and older quest from the first module, Dragon’s VaultThe Prisoner, also known as the Vault of Night 2 (VON 2).

The Prisoner is part of the Vault of Night story arc and is necessary for flagging for the Vault of Night Raid where you take on Velah, the famous red dragon in DDO.  When this story line was first released, The Prisoner was the second quest that was required to be completed as you progressed through the story arc which is why it is also known as VON 2. This is no longer the case, as the four flagging quests for the Vault of Night can now be completed in any order.  In any case, the original designations of VON 2 has stuck with this quest as well as the other designations for the other three quests.

VON 2 is a rather intriguing quest.  It actually foreshadows some later lore items that get released well later in the history of DDO.  This part of the lore also extends into VON 4 as well, and that centers around “The Inspired” as it appears that members of “The Inspired” were responsible for poisoning Orphne and for sabotaging Haywire’s warforged and other constructs.  In any case, VON 2 actually occurs within the dreamscape of Orphne’s mind.  Mistress Orphne is a powerful sorcerer who is a member of the Laughing Knives, the party contracted to test the strengths of the Vault of Night and led by Marek Malcanus (who is the story arc quest giver).  The quest give is named Shen Kulle, who is Mistress Orphne’s protector and body guard.  It is Shen Kulle who tells you that Orphne was poisoned by a member of the Inspired and that she seems to be stuck in an unwakeable dream state.  The only way to free her is to enter her mind and into the world of dreams.

As you enter the quest, the first thing you realize is that the map is basically useless.  The landscape is composed of a variety of floating platforms that seem to originate from a center platform where Orphne is sitting in this dream.  The other platforms have bridges that extend off of this primary platform.  There are barriers up to each of these platforms that don’t come down until you talk to Orphne.  Once you do, you are tasked with finding a number of relics and to bring them back to her.  These include a silver mirror, a golden locket, a wooden dagger, and Memnos blossom.  These items were important to her in some way or another.  The characters you come across in this area are all beings that Orphne has somehow associated with.  You see shadows of characters of Shen Kull, Marek Malcanus, Haywire, and others for example.

There is any particular order in which you need to collect the items.  When this quest was first released, there was a mechanic that would make the party automatically fail the quest if any player fell off a platform.  Because of this, many people would start the quest by walking aross the bridge that has a number of air jets that attempt to blow you off.  Man that was a very annoying mechanic.  That has now changed and if you fall now, you simply get sent to a closed off room where you have to fight a quori stalker that opens up a portal once defeated that takes you back to the central platform.  In any case, the three primary platforms will be guarded by a beholder, at some point.  Other enemies you will encounter whill include tharaahk hounds, arcane oozes, quori stalkers, minotaurs, a fire giant named Ingstoldt, mephits, and gargoyles.  In heroic settings, you can avoid fighting Ingstoldt if you have a high enough diplomacy, bluff, or intimidate.

Larrs taking on some tharaahk hounds in VON 2.

The platform that is connected to the bridge with the air jets leads to a secondary platform that has a shrine.  But as soon as you round the bend from the shrine, you better be ready for a beholder.  The beholder blocks the path to some secondary platforms that you need to cross.  Once you beat the beholder and his barrie goes down you will jump on a ladder and continue on to these other secondary platforms.  As you make your way you will encounter some tharaahk hounds, that need to be defeated to have access to another ladder, and then you come across some arcane oozes.  The arcane oozes need to be defeated to open up another ladder, even though the ques considers this part to be optional objective.  You then come across another bridge with another set of air jets to knock you off.  At the end of the bridge is a chest containing one of the items.  You can feather fall from that general area to land back on the main platform.

Another platform leads you to another beholder right away.  Once you get past the beholder you come across a ladder that leads to a skinny path that has a quori stalker or two in it.  It then opens up into a circular secondary platform and that requires you to defeat a number of quorit stalkers for another ladder to reappear.  Once the quorit stalkersa re defeated, the ladder appears and you an then make your way up the path to pick up a second item needed by Orphne.

Fighting a beholder and his helpers in VON 2.

The third platform leads to another behold right away.  This beholder guards another chest and, as you can imagine, it contains yet a third item for Orphne.  Once that beholder is defeated, you can loot that quest and they continue on to another ladder that leads to a maze.  This maze is guarded by minotaurs, tharaahk hounds, and a number of traps.  The traps include spikes, darts, and force waves.  There are a few quests spread though out the maze at random as well.  In epic settings, you have to activate three runes in specific locations in the maze.  The maze will lead you to another platform that will eventually take you to face off against Ingstodlt.  Once you get past Ingstodlt, he will either drop a key or you obtain a key from him, you will have access to another quest with the last item needed by Orphne.  The quest will be guarded by mephits an gargoyles as well.

Once you get that last item, you can then feather fall back to the central platform and turn them in.  Once you turn them all in, the shadow of Orphne comes out and tries to defeat you.  Once you destroy that shadow you have completed the quest.  There is one more quest to obtain before you head out though.  It was right down the path on the central platform from where Orphen was sitting.  The only catch, it is guarded by a pretty vision blade trap.  So if you can’t disable it, make sure you can get raised in some fashion after you set it off, if necessary.

The quest itself is not long or very difficult to complete.  Although I do admit, I constantly get turned around in that dang maze.  It is a fun quest and quick quest to run on either heroic or epic settings.  On epic settings for hard and elite, you will have also have to deal with the rest of the Laughing Knives as well as Orphne, so be prepared for that.

If you get a chance, check out VON 2.  It is a fun, intriguing, and different quest to make your way through.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in VON 2!!