The Quest the Druid’s Curse

Last week, I wrote about how Larrs (Level 20 Bard/Fatesinger) took a stroll through the quest Thorn and Paw.  Well, right after I finished Thorn and Paw, I went ahead and picked up the quest The Druid’s Curse and ventured into that quest to complete the The Druid’s Deep story arc.  Now, just like Thorn and Paw, I’ve only run The Druid’s Curse a couple of times so I decided to to run the quest on heroic even though Larrs is level 20.  The heroic the quest is still level 17 on normal as opposed to being level 23 on epic normal.  Plus, I still felt like I needed to feel the quest out and I already knew that the end fight with Halsaime can be quite challenging on epic difficulties and since I still wanted to learn the quest I didn’t want it to become a source of frustration buy taking in more than I could handle.

Larrs taking his little gang out into the Druid’s Deep.

Upon the completion of Thorn and Paw, you learn from a dying druid that Halsaime has left for the wilds of Druid’s Deep.  The druid gives you some cryptic clues on what you will need to do to (you need to be a wolf, then a fish, and then a bear…) make your way through Druid’s Deep to confront Halsaime.  Luckily, one of the explorers of the King’s Forest has stumbled upon the path that they believe leads to this secret location and offers to take you there.

When you first enter the area of Druid’s Deep, it reminds you a lot of Thorngap.  The vegetation seems much more “wild” than the other areas of the King’s Forest, giving this area more of a jungle feel as opposed to a forest feel, with dense vegetation all around.  The layout of the map is a little more complicated in my opinion than that of Thorngap in Thorn and Paw.  There is a decent sized swim (hence become like a fish) that you will have to meander through.  The swim actually splits off in a couple directions with one path leading to an encounter with an estranged band of drow that will drop a chest after being defeated.

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Larrs fighting the wilds in Druid’s Deep.

The other enemies you encounter are bears, wolves, vine horror, and druids just like in Thorn and Paw.  However, you will also encounter corrupted dryads, primal wisps, and powerful wood woads.  You also find that Halsaime is protected by two powerful companions, a druid named Juhni and a powerful ranger named Kuldail.

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Larrs fighting Juhni, one of Halsaime protectors.

You encounter Juhni first, who offers for you to leave, but when you persist on trying to progress further, she shapeshifts into a powerful direbear.  Once she is defeated you are allowed to move further into the wilds of the Druid’s Deep compound. 

Larrs fighting the second of Halsaime protectors, the ranger Kuldail and his pet Skitter.

It doesn’t take very long to stumble about the second protector Kuldail.  Kuldail is a powerful ranger with a vicious pet spider named Skitter.  While Kuldail is raining his arrows down upon you, he has his pet spider attack in turn.  I really like how the a ranger was added into this quest series because it has a strong synergy with the natural feel of the quest as well as with the druid class.

These formations in Druid’s Deep remind me of Stonehedge.

Once Kuldail is defeated you can progress further into Druid’s Deep and will eventually encounter Halsaime.  Halsaime is no doubt very powerful and he carries with him one heck of a wicked looking quarterstaff.  He is an extremely proficient spellcaster and eventually shaped changes a few times during the encounter.  Each time he shape changes he bring forth more enemies to deal with.

Overall, the quest is intriguing.  I know that I didn’t see everything in this quest quite yet.  There appears to be an optional named night hag I didn’t come across which probably means there were some parts of the map I didn’t get a chance to explore yet.  But in any case, I looked the quest and look forward to running it again!!

Thanks for reading everybody !!  I hope you have a good day and happy hunting!!


Questing over the Weekend, September 26 to 28

The questing this past weekend began with a slayer run through Tangleroot Gorge with Hamllin (Level 11 Fighter).  Now I realize that Hamllin is getting very little out of this explorer area but I like to them maxed out prior to moving to the next one.  Hamllin still needs one more rare encounter out there and is currently working on his last slayer mark then he can move to Three Barrel Cove, Searing Heights, Sorrowdusk Isle and then to the Red Fens.  I think I just need to do some more slayer runs with him just to catch him back up.  I was able to stay on top of these more efficiently with Erdrique, mainly because I would run them on the weekends prior to hitting up any quests.  Looks like I need to do this with Hamllin as well.

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Hamllin overlooking the river in Tangleroot Gorge.

My questing continued on Friday afternoon when I got back home from work with Erdrique who I took into the Servants of the Overlord.  I attempted to run the Servants of the Overlord on elite using just my animal companion (Fang), my owlbear defender, and a hireling cleric.  The first few fights were brutal but I did make it past them.  However, as it was getting later than I wanted for an afternoon run, I got reckless and forgot to take a few of the enemies from a distance and instead dumped down a pit that you can’t get back up on and got devastated by a few hellhounds, a couple rhaksashas, and a couple hezerous.  So I called it for now having at least taken out the named fire reaver.  However, on Friday night I logged back on with Erdrique and I was joined with Helllinna and we both tackled Servants of the Overlord and although we ran into a few problems, it was much more successful and we completed it on elite :).  We then headed out to the Vale of Twilight and ran Let the Sleeping Dust Lie.  After that ran Helllinna and I both called it a night.

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Erdrique attempting the Servants of the Overlord and using snowslide to freeze some spiders.

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Erdrique and Helllinna taking on the drow forces in Servants of the Overlord.

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Erdrique exploring the Vale of Twilight.

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Erdrique looking out over the Crimsonfoot Hive.

On Saturday, I logged Erdrique back on and I took him out into the Sands of Menechtarun to finish my 1,500 scorrow slayer mark.  After I hit that mark, I then decided to hit up some of the Cannith Challenges, as I haven’t been out in those in quite some time.  So I took Erdrique to House Cannith and ran the challenge quest Buying Time on Level 18.  Not surprisingly, I failed during my first attempt because somehow the foreman got killed.  However, the second go round was much more efficient and when I killed the named rhaksasha I received over 8,000 experience which raised me to the Heroic Level cap.  And then shortly later I completed the quest.  I think I’m going to try to run a challenge at least once a night with my characters to collect enough ingredients to buy guild renown elixirs if nothing else.  But I have to say it was good to run it again.  After than run, I then took Erdrique to the guild ship and to the crafting hall and started to prep him for his next Heroic Reincarnation.  After dabbling around with his inventory and bank space, I called it a night.

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Erdrique hunting down some scorrow in the Desert.

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Erdrique moving the torches in Buying Time.

Sunday was an extremely light day.  I was catching up on a number of guild related things (drafting up the Crypt Crawler weekly newsletter, uploading things to the Crypt Crawler Guild Portal Website, writing up a blog post on Erd’s Druid life, etc..) so I didn’t get a whole lot of actual questing in.  However, I did log in with Suppply (Level 8 Paladin) and I took him to the quest Rest for the Restless and ran it on normal and hard before I called it a night.

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Suppply hunting in the Vault of the Restless.

So the weekend was an exciting one because I hit level 20 Erdrique :).  I’m not getting ready to take him to the Reincarnation Grove so that I can start his next life as a monk.  I hope everybody else had a nice weekend as well and I hope this week will be just as fun with the release of Update 23: The Mark of Death.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

A Look Back at Erdrique’s Druid’s Life

Over the weekend, I hit level 20 with Erdrique who was working on a druid life.  This particular iteration for Erdrique was extremely enjoyable.  I have to admit, I was quite worried about this particular life because I never played a druid up until now.  However, from the time Erdrique was able to shape change to a wolf until the time he was able to cast Earthquake, I had a blast playing him as a druid.  Since I tend to favor the melee side of things, I primarily leveled him through the Nature’s Warrior Enhancement line.  I found a number of its abilities in combination with a number of druid spells extremely effective and just plain to use.

I really found the enhancements Alpha Strike, Essense of the Strike, Fatal Harrier, and Hide of the Crocodile probably the most beneficial enhancements for me.  I would use Alpha Strike primarily when battling more than one enemy to spread the damage from my melee attack (just like a cleave).  Essense of the Strike allowed me to use the addition of temporary spell points from critical hits to perform more wolf based attacks.  Fatal Harrier was also useful to speed my combat speed while the Hide of the Crocodile I used primarily to help when I got in over my head (in actuality I probably should have used this some more).

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Erdrique’s druid life was a blast!!

In terms of spells, I tended to use Creeping Cold, Greater Creeping Cold, Salt Ray, Firewall, Earthquake, and the various healing spells quite a bit.  I also tended to use the wolf/winter wolf attacks of Takedown, Frostbite, and Snowslide quite a bit.  I really enjoyed using Salt Ray at lower levels, stunning just about everything I hit with it, I just found it quite effective.  Creeping Cold and Greater Creeping Cold I found to be extremely effective dot spells and I’m not sure there is anything that is more effective at crowd control than Earthquake.  In fact I would have fun laying down an Earthquake and laying a Firewall or Storm of Vengeance on top of that .  And using the winter wolf attack Snowslide was just fun, especially when I used it in a group of enemies to see them frozen as enemy ice statues.  That was just fun .

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Erdrique using Snowslide on these spiders in Servants of the Overlord.

I also found that my wolf companion, Fang, was quite more effective than what most people find.  I know many people complain about their companion but, overall, I thought Fang held up quite well.  Don’t get me wrong, he did die more than I would have liked, but I didn’t really consider him to be a liability at all.  I really enjoyed using him and then using Nature’s Ally to bring forth another minion.  There were a couple of times where my little pack would clear a group of enemies by having them all tripped an sitting on their rumps while we took them down.  Good times indeed!!

Overall, I’m going to miss my druid life.  It was a blast running around as a wolf/winter wolf and my questing in this class was quite fun.  However, Erdrique is now ready for his next life.  It is time to bring on the monk .

So What is the Deal With the Ancient Mindflayer in the Ruins of Gianthold (Heroic)?

There are a number of explorer/wilderness areas in DDO and all of them are fun and interesting to explore and adventure through.  For me though, I also enjoy trying to determine how the various monster factions within those areas are related to each other or how they interact with them.  For the majority of the explorer area, determining the links between them is pretty straight forward (for the most part).  However, for a few of the explorer areas, there  are a few monsters that kind of stand out as “oddballs” for the lack of a better term.  One of these is the Crooktooth, the bugbear raider in the Red Fens.  Another one that has thrown me for a loop though is the Ancient Mindflayer in the Ruins of Gianthold.

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What is the deal with this Ancient Mindflayer?

The Ruins of Gianthold wilderness area is divided into three camps: Stormfist, Stormheart, and Stormeye.  The Ancient Mindflayer is located in the Stormeye encampment area.  The majority of enemies in the Stormeye encampment area include jariliths, zakaya cultists (humans), gold concord dwarves, and rhaksashas.  There is also one path that leads to the named fire giant (Lord Jax) that will contain some fire giants from the Stormheart encampment.   The Ancient Mindflayer is actually located at an explorer point called the Crystal Peak.  As you approach the summit to the peak you hear the mindflayer talking to two of his dwarf slaves and then you hear those same slaves say they have to protect their master when you round the corner.

Now, this set of exchanges suggests that the mindflayer was not a sanctioned member of the Stormeye encampment.  So why is he in the Gianthold and what is his purpose for being there?  I’m thinking that this might have something to do with the great war between the Giants and invaders from Dal Quor, which happened years ago.  The magic that was used to rip the plane of Dal Quor from the material plane was substantial and it makes sense that the crazy denizens of Xoriat (very many mindflayers are known to associate with and come from) would be interested in this.  With the rumors of the Stormreaver returning, I could see the masters of Xoriat being curious to learn what they could from his appearance.

Then again, the mindflayer could be just taking advantage of the situation for his own personal gain and using the encampment for easy prey.  It could be that he was already there in the Ruins of Gianthold when the three current encampments were set up.

In any case, his appearance is quite interesting.  And the fact that he drops a locked chest after he is slain but doesn’t have a key on him is also more interesting and leads to more questions.  In any case, he is a “standout” in Gianthold.

Well, thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

A Busy Week of Questing, September 22th to 25th

This week was quite a busy week for me and questing in DDO.  It all started with some slayer runs on Monday morning with my half-orc Berann (Barbarian Level 7) through the Waterworks slayer area prior to heading out to work.  When I got back home from work and before making dinner, I took Erdrique (Level 18 Druid) into the quest In the Flesh.  Now, with Erdrique, I have run every quest on elite.  I broke this trend concerning this particular quest.  The end is notoriously difficult on elite and because Erdrique was Level 18 his bravery streak wasn’t affected by this.  So I ran it on normal instead and still netted nearly 20k experience out of it.  Later that night, I logged on with Crawlller (Level 5 Ranger) and with some help from a fellow guildy, Grabthar, I was able to run The Kobold’s New Ringleader, Information is Key, Haverdasher, Garrison’s Missing Pack, and Durk’s Got a Secret all on elite.  This was extremely beneficial to Crawlller because he is on my premium account, so this saved me from having to run them on normal, hard, and then on elite.  I also need to point out that I was also doing my weekly digital PNP group so Grabthar was also being very patient with many “breaks”.  After those sets of runs, I called it a night.

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Berann creating havoc in the Waterworks.

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Erd fighting the beholder Pixel in the quest In the Flesh.

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Crawlller looking to find out who is the new ringleader.

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Crawlller watching the door slide open in Information is Key.

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Crawlller working to take care of the scorpions for Haverdasher.

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Crawlller moving through the Den of the Kobold Brothers.

On Tuesday, I took Rimuldar (Level 21 Wizard/Magister) out into the Vale of Twilight for some slayers prior to work.  Although he is well over level for the Vale, I still have an itch to finish those slayers out there.  Later that afternoon I logged on Hamllin and took him out into the wilds of Sorrowdusk Isle  to run the first two quests of the Cult of the Six story arc: The Temple Outpost-The Captives of the Cult and The Temple Outpost-The Libram of the Six.  I had also put this particular quest up in the LFM panel and had one other come and join me for some quick and smooth runs.  I logged out after completing the The Libram of the Six but logged back on later that night with Larrs (Level 20 Bard/Fatesinger) into the quests Thorn and Paw and The Druid’s Curse.  I ran these quests on heroic normal, level 17 quests, so that I could learn them a little bit more as I haven’t played some very much yet.  I had a fun time in Thorn and Paw and wrote about it here.  After those runs and completing that story arc I called it a night.

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Rimuldar burning up some rats in the Vale :).

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Hamllin looking at the ancient ruins in Sorrowdusk Isle.

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It is time to free some ogre captives from the Cult of the Six.

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Hamllin looking for the Libram of the Six.

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Larrs running in Thorn and Paw.

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Larrs preparing to do the Druid’s Curse.

Wednesday, as usual, was a short night because it was date night.  However, I did start the day by logging in with Garrrin (Level 21 Barbarian/Fury of the Wild) and taking him into the Ruins of Gianthold (Heroic) for some easy and relaxing slayers in the Stormeye encampment. After work, I logged on with Erdrique and took him into the Lords of Dust on elite.  Using the spells earthquake, firewall, creeping cold (regular and greater), and snowslide I was able to make quick work out of most of the enemies.  However, I still ran into some problems with Gnomen and the drow Karas at the end but I did pull it off :).  I logged out happy that I was able to make my way through their with minimal issues.

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Garrrin dealing with the Stormfish out in Gianthold.

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Erdrique using earthquake and firewall to devastate the cultists in the Lords of the Dust.

I logged on with  Stoorage (Level 10 Fighter) on Thursday morning and took him out into Sorrowdusk Isle for the morning slayer runs.  He is just starting that area so he wracked up some quick experience out there.  That afternoon I brought on Hamllin and took him into Hold for Reinforcements, the last quest in Threnal East.  I thought I was going to have a tough time keeping Coyle alive in there but I had summoned two hirelings (a cleric and a wizard) and actually had little problems with the quest.  I would intimidate every once in awhile and set the cleric to guard Coyle and things worked out well.  Hammy is now set for the Southern Expedition.  After that run I logged out for a little while and then I brought on Harrgon (Level 10 Favored Soul).  I took him out into Three Barrel Cove and ran the quests Ghost of a Chance and The Legend of Two-Toed Tobias.  I was quite pleased with the those run as I needed nearly 30 K from those two runs and that wasn’t involving any bravery bonus experience because he was level 10 and the quests are level 7 on elite.  So nice runs indeed!!

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Stoorage hunting in Sorrowdusk Isle.

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Hamllin and his hirelings prepping to keep Coyle safe.

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Harrgon hunting down some pirates in Three Barrel Cove.

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Harrgon making his way through the quest A Ghost of A Chance.

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Harrgon taking a swim to get to Two-toed Tobias.

The week overall was quite active for me.  This weekend I’m hoping for the same as I plan on running Erdrique through a number of quests to get him closer to level 20.  I hope everybody else had a good week and will have a good weekend!!  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Enjoying the quest Thorn and Paw

Recently, I took my character Larrs (Level 20 Bard/Fatesinger) through the Druid’s Deep story arc.  I had only done this series of quest a couple of times prior to this point so I haven’t really learned all of the aspects for these particular quests so I decided to do them on heroic instead of epic, especially since Larrs is under geared and these quests are level 24 on Epic Normal.

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Larrs starting his exploration of Thorngap.

One of these particular quests is Thorn and Paw.  The quest giver for this particular quest is Kirinel Zay who is located close to the other quest givers for these quests out in Eveningstar.  On heroic, these quests are level 17 on normal.  The purpose of the quest is to travel to a location called Thorngap which is located in some remote area of the King’s Forest.  The hope is to find the druid Halsaime, who appears to have something to do with the disappearance of Oriphaun.  Another was sent to Thorn Gap, Peron Uthe, who was somehow infected with some type of illness and now the hope is that we can investigate Thorngap in hopes to find clues to Halsaime, Oriphaun, and this illness.

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Larrs looking to find his way into Thornhollow within Thorngap.

When you first enter the quest, you get the sense that Thorngap is much more ‘wild’ than the other areas of the King’s Forest.  The area just appears to be more like a jungle with multiple levels of vegetation growing here and there as opposed to the high tree stands that compose the main explorer area of the King’s Forest.  The enemies you encounter are not diverse although they can be quite challenging.  These enemies include wolves, dire bears, bears, vine horrors, red musk zombies, and a few named druids and their pets.  You will also encounter a red named dire bear, the den mother.  The druids and their pets have the potential to be extremely potent and you have an optional to defeat them all.  The den mother is a very large dire bear who tended to knock me over quite a bit.

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Larrs in the midst of battle and a druid’s firewall.

The layout of the quest is “windy”.  As you make your way through Thorngap you will come across “dens” with sleeping bears that are walled off by vines you can’t get down.  However, when you destroy the corresponding corruption nodes, these get destroyed and you can then fight them and look for corruption seeds which can be destroyed as another optional objective.  Destroying the nodes are also necessary to weaken extremely thing vines that block primary path routes, which are typically guarded by one of the named human druids and their pets.  Also, there are few interesting pit fall traps, loaded up with spikes just waiting to catch the unwary, which I thought was a nice touch to this quest and added some atmosphere.  The coloring of the vegetation sometimes made it hard form me to determine the next route to take because I had a hard time noticing what was a passage and what was just shading but overall the map isn’t very complicated.

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Larrs looking for the corrupted seeds in Thorn and Paw.

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Well, I guess it make sense to have to face off against some druids.

Overall, the quest was fun and different.  Fighting through the various vine horrors and red musk zombies and taking on the packs of wolves and bears was different and fighting the named druids was interesting.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

What is the Story Behind the Ancient Ruins in Sorrowdusk Isle?

One of the things we learn as we adventure across Xen’drik is that there are a lot of untold stories behind the ruins we encounter.  And there seems to be ruins just about everywhere you go along the continent.  Well, this also includes the wilds of Sorrowdusk Isle.  One of the explorer points located in this fun adventure area is called “Discover the Ancient Ruins”.  This particular explorer point is next to the hell hound den.  While I was taking Hamllin (Level 11 Fighter) through the area to make my way to the first set of quests of the Cult of the Six chain I ran past that particular explorer point.

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Hamllin making his way to the Cult of the Six and stops to ponder these ruins.

As I took Hamllin past the explorer point I couldn’t help but wonder about these particular ruins.  It is well know that the vast majority of Xen’drik was populated by the ancient and powerful giant empire at the time with elves/drow serving them as slaves.  It makes some sense to believe that these ruins might be some type of remnant of that ancient giant civilization.  Currently, Sorrowdusk Isle is now inhabited by the Grey Moon Ogres, some rogue trolls, some traitorous ogres, and those who belong to the Cult of the Six (there are some other things as well but these are the bigger players).  So it makes me wonder if perhaps these particular groups might have had ancestors on the island that were responsible for these ruins.  However, I find this doubtful with respect to the ogres and trolls.  Ogres and Trolls tend to inhabit natural made areas; glades, dens, and caves and don’t have the skill or the desire to craft and make actual buildings.  I also doubt these ruins were founded by the members in the Cult of the Six.  These cultists seem to be more a recent nuissance (being driven out once) than one that could be responsible for constructing these ruins.

So does this mean that these ruins were constructed by the giants of old?  The ruins do seem to be pretty large and encompassing, but there aren’t any other ruins on the island to indicate a large settlement.  It could be that these ruins were some type of outpost for the ancient giant civilization.  I could see this as a possibility.  Sorrowdusk Isle appears to be pretty fertile and rich in wildlife, indicating that some of trade for its natural resources may been established at one point.  Not to mention that the Iron Mines also seem to indicate that it was rich in minerals at some point (of course who put the mines there…I asked that before ).

My thinking is that ruins were inhabited by a few giants who were responsible for whatever operations were going on at the time and they probably had a number of elves/drow slaves and laborers with them.  It makes me wonder what other plans the giants (or whomever) had in mind when they were settling on Sorrowdusk Isle.  Did they want to see the island become more populated?  Did they want that notoriety?

Just more mysteries to think about while we are doing our questing .  Well, thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting out in Sorrowdusk Isle.