Hitting a New Milestone

While taking Erdrique (Level 23 Rogue/Primal Avatar) through the rest of his level 18 quests on heroic elite, I hit a new milestone.  Evidently it was the first time I ever hit 4,000 renown on the Thelanis server.  As a result, I got an additional 100 free Turbine Points.  I hit a similar milestone with Stoorage (Level 13 Fighter) on my premium account when I hit 1,000 favor with him.  However, I was aware of that milestone and bonus (although I had completely forgotten about it because it had been so long so I reached that mark since I don’t play on any other gameworld and it only happens once per account).

Erdrique hits a new milestone.

In this instance, I didn’t realize that you got an additional award for hitting 4,000 favor specifically.  In the past, I had taken Erdrique up to level 20 and quickly heroic true reincarnated.  As I approached level 20, I rarely ever got through quests higher in level than the Vale of Twilight.  This was simply because I would gather enough experience to hit heroic level cap before getting through that area.  This time I have decided to do an epic reincarnation as well as a heroic true reincarnation which has “allowed” me to hit those quests and higher on heroic elite.  Couple this with the release of Temple of Elemental Evil, Heart of Madness, Trials of the Archons, and The Devil’s Gambit I was able to hit this milestone.  I actually hit the milestone when we were working on the quests in the Inspired Quarter.  Makes me wonder if I will be able to hit 5,000 favor.  We’ll see but I doubt it.

In any case, I thought it was something to take note of.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the Inspired Quarter.

Taking Note of the City of Portals

Earlier in the week I took my character Rimuldar (Wizard/Draconic Incarnation) into Sschindylryn, known as the City of Portals, for the first time.  I have only ventured into this unique explorer area a couple of other times.  Those included some runs with Hamllin (Level 17 Fighter) before I put him through the heroic true reincarnation process and a run or two with Wapoyei (Level 24 Cleric/Divine Crusader).  Sschindylryn is one of the dangerous drow cities found in the Underdark.  There are three drow houses found in Sschindylryn (well there are probably more than that but in DDO we have to deal with three of them): House Dun’robar, House Avithoul, and House Szind.  All of these houses have their unique strengths which you get a preview of as you approach each individual house’s borders.

Encountering some drow in the drow city…go figure.

Sschindylryn is known as the City of Portals because it has a large number of dimensional gates that the drow use to move from one area to another in quick succession.  It is the forces from this particular city that is creating havoc for the small village of Eveningstar.

Sschindylryn is known as the City of Portals, no surprise finding one there.

Although Sschindylryn is an extremely dangerous area to take a stroll in, it is also very beautiful.  When one thinks of the “ground” or “even underground” one doesn’t really associate beauty with those terms but generally thinks more about “dirt” and “dull” more than anything else.  However, taking Rimuldar into Schindylryn I was taking note on how beautiful this area is.  The center of the city is marked by a huge ziggurat, which marks the high point of the city.  The walls that surround the city and its graphical design is also quite fun to take a look at and soak in.  The militaristic styles, with all of the sharp points and angles, is matched well with the natural landscape of the Underdark.

Rimuldar coming upon the walled city of Sschindylryn.

The individual houses for each drow family are also quite detailed.

It also should be noted that each drow house is well decorated and marked.  So far I only have taken a close look at House Dun’robar and noticed a standard that was red and orange in color that had two large spears crossing each other to form an “X” with a deep red center piece overlaid on a darker square/shield background mounted on a wall.  I’m assuming House Avithoul and House Szind have their own standards/markings to denote their houses.  In either case, the detail to this area is quite amazing and something to take in.

Taking note of the sights in Sschindylryn.

Rimuldar taking note of the “standard” outside of House Dun’robar.

The landscape area, leading up to the city itself is very similar to what you encounter in the Underdark proper.  The primary pathway has a number of cliffs and large “decorative” mushrooms.  The “roads” are also quite wide but you still feel the “weight” of the Underdark as you noticed all of the rock walls.  Nicely done indeed!!

The path leading up to Sschindylryn is very “Underdark” like.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, take a “stroll” in Sschindylryn and see what you think!!  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in Sschindylryn!!


Adventuring Over a Holiday Week, Quest Runs November 23rd to November 26th

Well I didn’t get any quest runs over the weekend this past week because my wife and I headed out of town to Savannah, Georgia on Friday and then to meet my family in Orlando, Florida on Saturday to have a little pre-Thanksgiving get together.  We did this because a large portion of my extended family from Michigan were going down to Orlando to meet up with my parents and to head off to Walt Disney World and Universal for Thanksgiving Week.  Although my wife and I couldn’t get the whole week off, we did get the weekend off to spend time with them :).  So that meant, I wasn’t able to get a single quest run in over the weekend or on Monday.

So this week, my quest runs started on Tuesday morning.  Unfortunately I didn’t have my calendar completely worked out and I logged in with Tuhnn (Level 15 Bladeforged) and took him out into the Sands of Menechtarun.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t who I was supposed to run.  I was supposed to run with Cantlin (Level 13 Sorcerer) through Sorrowdusk Isle.  So, later on that night I logged on Cantlin and I took him through Sorrowdusk Isle and I dual boxed the run with Suppply (Level 10 Paladin), although I realized that Suppply didn’t get any credit for the kills because he was being power leveled.  Now, although I knew I wouldn’t be home on time on Monday to do a slayer or afternoon run, I was actually hoping to get home in time to do a regular night run.  Again, I was scheduled to log on with Cantlin.  So after I did the circuit through Sorrowdusk Isle, I picked up the quest Taming the Flames and switched out Suppply with Stoorage (Level 13 Fighter) and dual boxed them through the quest.  I then realized how hard it is for Cantlin, who is a fire savant, to deal with primary nothing but fire based monsters.  Luckily I had Stoorage to bail him out :).  Now, before I logged on with Cantlin I did get a chance to log on with Erdrique (Level 23 Rogue/Primal Avator) and I took him back out into the Storm Horns to look for the quest entrance for the quest Breaking the Ranks.

Tuhnn hunting down some scorrow in the desert.

Erdrique coming across a beautiful sight in the Storm Horns.

Cantlin roasting some ogres in Sorrowdusk Isle.

Cantlin watching Stoorage talk to Master Fulvio in Taming the Flames.

On Wednesday, I started the day by taking Larrs (Level 22 Bard/Fatesinger) out into The King’s Forest for the first time :).  Later in the afternoon, I took Hamllin (Level 17 Fighter) back into the Sands of Menechtarun to continue to work on his scorrow slayers.  Those were the only runs I had on Wednesday as I spent the rest of the night with my wife with date night.

Larrs heads into the King’s Forest.

Hamllin making his way through the desert.

For Thanksgiving day, I took Rimuldar (Level 23 Wizard/Magister) out into the City of Portals, Sschindylryn and took on the quest, House of Rusted Blades.  I ran it on epic normal and didn’t have any problems in there.  When I completed the quest I wound maxing out the Magister tree so I then switched trees to Draconic Incarnation.  After that run, I logged back on with Tuhnn and took him back out into the desert and ran the quest An Offering of Blood on Elite.  I logged back on with Tuhnn because he was supposed to be nightly run on Tuesday and not my slayer run.  So now, I had everything caught back up :).  I ended the night by taking Erdrique through a  circuit of the Restless Isles and also by taking Ragnar and his party through the rest of Leldon’s House in Neverwinter Nights II.  After that, I called it a night.

Rimuldar coming across a portal in the City of Portals of Sschindylryn.

Rimuldar exploring the House of Dun’robar.

Tuhnn exploring the scorrow territory of the desert.

Tuhnn throwing a lever as he makes his dash through An Offering of Blood.

Erdrique taking care of the ogre enemies in the Restless Isles.

Neeshka looking to pay back Leldon.

It was definitely an interesting week’s worth of runs.  I’m looking forward to the holiday weekend and taking Erdrique through the rest of the Reaver’s Reach and the Storm Horns.  Thanks for reading everybody and I hope everybody had a great holiday and I hope you all have a great weekend as well!!  Happy hunting everybody!!

The Influential Netherese

As I continue to take Erdrique (Level 23 Rogue/Primal Avatar) through the upper level heroic content on elite, I have run across a number of quests that have involved the Netherese.  The Netherese first make their appearance for us when we encounter them in Wheloon Prison.  We then struggle with them when we enter the High Road and continue to struggle with them while we venture out into the Storm Horns.   One thing I have learned about the Netherese is that they are extremely influential.

Erdrique realizing that the Netherese are quite influential.

Looking back at these encounters I noticed that they have made allies with the prisoners of of Wheloon Prison, the natural fauna of the High Road, hired a bunch of sellswords and other mercenaries, and recruited monstrous armies into their ranks from orcs, gnolls, and giants.  I’m sure I’m missing others as well.

All of this just makes me realize how powerful the Netheril Empire actually is.  I also wonder what other problems this powerful set of enemies is going to cause for us!!  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting against the Netherese!

The Mysteries of the Menechtarun Desert

I have said it a number of times in some previous post that my favorite explorer area is the Sands of Menechtarun.  This explorer area has a number of unique landscapes and awe inspiring sights but it also has a large amount of lore that has barely been touched in DDO.  Within DDO, the Menechtarun Desert takes up a vast amount of area on the Xen’drik continent.  The vast reaches of the Menechtarun spans the ancient temples and pyramids of the once vibrant empire of King Raiyum, the mines and mountains of the Firebrand Gnolls, to the vast valleys and plains of the Windlasher Gnolls, and to cover the area of the Vulkoorim Spiral, home of the deadly Vulkoorim drow tribes.  When you enter the Sands of Menechtarun, you are tasked with finding sixteen different lore based explorer points and nine different dungeon entrances.

The mysterious Menechtarun Desert.

However, it is quite evident that there is a whole lot more to explore and to learn about when it comes to the Menechtaurn desert.  Awhile back I wrote up a blog post wondering what other treasures where in the large tombs and pyramids that we can’t explore but this time I wanted to take a more broad look at the landscape in general.  There are a few areas in the Menechtarun that make me wonder about their origin.  The first area I wanted to look at is known as The Scar.  This particular area in the Menechtarun is the home for the Vulkoorim spiral.  You can’t go very far in this area without running into a drow, a drow scorpion, or a regular desert scorpion.  When we first enter Zawabi’s Refuge and talk to the various travelers and adventurers in the area, we learn that Queen Lailat influenced the drow that inhabited the Menechtarun to worship the violent god of Vulkoor.  But where did this original tribe of drow come from to begin with?  Who did they worship prior to this and why were they so easily swayed?  A lot of possibilities exist here and that could be further explored and fleshed out.  Another thing that interested me though are two explorer points that we come across in this area: the Vulkoorim Spiral (quest entrance to An Offering of Blood) and the Dead End.  Both of these explorer points have a logistical problem for me.  Looking at the Vulkoorim Spiral, we learn that the primary encampment for the drow is deep in this crevice.  However, the only entrance to this crevice is through the crack in the Spiral floor and then the only way to get into the tunnels below is literally drop down the Spiral shaft.  Now, also realizing that the entrance way here is heavily guarded, one has to think that the drow have a much easier way to leave their encampment and to enter the Scar region of the Menechtarun.  They obviously don’t scale the Spiral to make their way out.  So where are these entrances?  What other paths do these entrances lead to?  The explorer point for the Dead End is equally confusing.  There is a drow ambushing party located here but when you look at the map of the Menectharun, why in the world would anybody be going into that area?  The Dead End is located well above ground level, and the only way to get to it is to leap from the cliffs above it and to feather fall to its location.  The area is actually quite out of the way and one would only venture into this area to explore the Vulkoorim drow and their territory.  Not sure how many adventurers would be willing to do this making me wonder why this area would be “a favorite ambush spot of the drow” (part of the dungeon master text you hear when you find this point).  I also wonder, how did the drow party get up here?  There doesn’t appear to be any caves or tunnels leading from this spot to levels below.  I guess they could have teleported but that doesn’t make sense to me.  In any case, I would like to see these little things explored further :).

Tuhnn coming upon the Dead End…how did these guys get here?

The next question I have is about the Firebrand Gnolls.  This harsh tribe of gnolls is located in the Burning Mountain with their primary residence being in the Burning City, home to the quest Chains of Flame.  The Firebrand gnolls appear to be a little more organized, and a little bit more ritualistic, then their Windlasher cousins.  I say this because of the presence of fiendish firebrand gnolls and no fiendish windlasher gnolls.  However, like the drow, I wonder more on how the firebrands migrated to this area of the Menechtarun desert.  I’m also a little confused on their “mining” ability.  I just don’t see gnolls as being known for mining, such as what we see in the quest “Maruad the Mines” where the gnolls are mining gems and ore.  This makes me wonder if the gnolls have pushed out a different race or culture out of the mountain and have taken it for themselves.  Is it possible that that gnolls pushed out a clan of dwarves or gnomes from desert?  Was this part of the deal they made with Queen Lailat?  Like the Vuloorim drow, I think there is room of exploration here.

The last question I have is about the Windlasher Gnolls and Windlasher Canyon.  This tribe of gnolls appears to have been present in Menechtarun prior to the Firebrand and what makes these gnolls interesting is that they appear to have been more aligned with King Raiyum as opposed to Queen Lailat.  This makes me wonder more about their history and origins as well.  The Windlashers appear to be more of summoning tribe, and worshipping tribe, bringing forth air elementals frequently.  I wonder how they entered the region and settled in Windlasher Canyon.  I have a feeling that their borders were always along those of King Raiyum.

There are also a few other secrets within the Menechtarun desert that we haven’t quite seen or have been exposed to in game yet that I would find fun to explore.  Include a few new races, including the thri-keen who once inhabited Stormreach and are known to still have a presence there.

The Sands of Menechtarun holds quite a bit of mystique and fun.  I hope it gets developed some more!  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the desert!

What Exactly Makes a Taken Unstable?

Awhile back, I took Erdrique (Level 23 Rogue/Primal Avatar) through the quest Fashion Madness and I noted that one of the monsters you encounter in that quest are Unstable Taken.  This made me wonder, what makes these taken “unstable” what does unstable actually mean.

We first come across the taken when we do the quest Missing from the Harbinger of Madness quest series.  As we make our way through that quest chain we learn that the taken are created from innocent humanoids who have been kidnapped and placed into special pods and basically transformed or morphed into the taken form.

Erdrique finding some unstable taken in Fashion Madness.

So what makes the taken from Fashion Madness different from the taken we have encountered before?  And how exactly are they unstable?  My assumption here is that these taken have been placed under some type of accelerated transformation process.  Its not clear how long a humanoid has to be inside the pod before they morphed into a taken but I would think it would take  a good amount of time.  I’m guessing that the taken we fight in Fashion Madness have been given some type of ingredient or catalyst that speeds their “development.”  However, this particular change in their creation makes them “unstable.”

I’m thinking that these unstable taken are more likely to lose control of their limited mind functions driving them even more insane and making them more likely to suffer some type of traumatic psychotic episode that would lead them to a premature death.

Definitely something I wouldn’t like to experience.  What does everybody else think?

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in Fashion Madness :).

The Wonders of the Storm Horns

I have posted a few times now about the Storm Horns and I plan on continuing that theme with this post.  In my other posts I have been talking about the quests and my thoughts on those quests that are found in the Storm Horns but this time I wanted to just talk about the wilderness zone itself.

Erd taking a look out over the Storm Horns.

I really enjoy exploring the myriad of wilderness/explorer zones that are currently in DDO and I had a number of people tell me that I will really enjoy the Storm Horns when I finally get out there.  Well, I must say they weren’t wrong :).  The artwork out in the Storm Horns is just amazing and goes that show that some great graphical work can still be created from a game engine as old as the one DDO was designed on.  The forest area itself is very detailed and quite breath taking.

What a beautiful waterfall in the Storm Horns.

I have found myself taking in the sights more often than I have in other explorer areas.  When I started to get higher into the mountain peaks, I was even reminded of how bleak and cold snow can be (I’m from Michigan and am quite frankly sick of snow.  Luckily I live in North Carolina now and it doesn’t snow all that much here…).  I have also enjoyed the encounters out in the wilds of the Storm Horns from the Netherese army, the harpies, the griffons, the owlbears, and winter wolves.  I have found the snow elementals quite fun to defeat :).

Erd traveling through the snowy peaks of the Storm Horns.

All in all, the Storm Horns are just fun and amazing.  If you haven’t explored the area yet, take some time to head out there.  You won’t be disappointed.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!