Some More Pondering About Crystals

As I mentioned in my last blog, one of the quests I recently completed with Hamllin (Level 15 Fighter) was the Cannith Challenge, Extraplanar Palace: Buying Time.  If you aren’t familiar with this quest, it is based off of the special event, The Treasure of Crystal Cove.  The idea of the quest is to protect a team of kobold miners so that they can gather up purple and green crystals.  You also have to lead the kobold miners using special torches to the stashes of crystals.  To complete the quest, the kobolds need to turn in a certain number of crystals within a specified amount of time.

However, something struck me odd about these crystals.  When you run through the quest you realize that you cannot pick the crystals up yourself.  Only the kobolds can pick them up and haul them away to the foreman.  Now why is this?  Is there some type of enchantment put on the crystals that don’t allow your characters to interact with them?

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Hamllin wondering why he can’t pick up the crystals.

I actually just think our characters our just overly mean and feel that “mining crystals” is beneath them and they are too good to do kobold work myself.  Or it could be that the crystals are so magically enhanced that it takes specially trained kobolds to harvest them.  Yeah we’ll go with that one..lol.

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the Extraplanar Palace!!

Having Some Fun Over the Week, Questing February 23 to February 26

This past week was another week dominated by playing characters that are in the level range of the mid to high teens.  I currently happen to have about 7 characters or so who are between level 11 and 19, so it isn’t to surprising to see a week like this.  With that said, the week actually started with me taking Garrrin (Level 22 Barbarian/Fury of the Wild) into the heroic Ruins of Gianthold slayer area.  I’m probably going to switch Garrrin to working in one of the epic slayer areas soon.  Later that afternoon, after work, I decided to try my hand in Invaders! once again with Hamllin (Level 15 Fighter) on elite.  Although I did get killed, I was able to complete the quest and to get my revenge on those wicked beholders!!  The rest of night, I was too focused with working on issues with my weekly Monday night digital PNP game as we were having a lot of issues with Maptool.  We are hoping we got the issues resolved.  I guess we’ll find out next Monday.

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Garrrin working in Gianthold.

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Hamllin getting his revenge in Invaders!

On Tuesday, I took my low level druid, Cannock (Level 7) out into the wilds of Korthos Island to kick the day off.  For my mid-day run, I logged on with Erdrique (Level 17 Monk) and I started the quest story arc for the Attack on Stormreach and completed Assault on Summerfield on elite.  For Tuesday night, I brought on Kanndar (Level 12 Paladin) who only need a few thousand experience to hit level 12 so I took him into Sorrowdusk Isle and hit my next slayer mark out there and leveled up to 12 which allowed me to use his freshly upgraded longsword with the Risia Ice Game Festival Icy Burst Recipe.  So test it out, I took Kanndar into the Tear of Dhakaan on elite and had some fun dealing death to those hobgoblins.  After experimenting with his newly upgraded longsword, I then logged out and brought Hamllin on, who I was supposed to play on Monday night.  It took Hamllin through two runs of the Cannith Challenge, Extraplanar Palace: Buying Time.  I called it a night after those runs.

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Cannock hunting in Korthos Island.

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Erdrique doing what he can to save Summerfield.

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Kanndar working on gathering that last bit of experience in Sorrowdusk Isle.

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Kanndar battling hobgoblins in the Tear of Dhakaan.

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Hamllin looking at the pretty crystals in Buying Time.

It was time to do another run through the Sands of Menechtarun on Wednesday morning.  I took Tuhnn (Level 15 Bladeforge) out there to continue his slayer gathering.  That afternoon, I logged on with Hamllin and decided to work on the quest Frame Work.  I had some interesting times dealing with all of those minotaurs on elite but had no major issues getting the quest completed.  That was the last run for that day because the rest of the night was date night :).

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Tuhnn exploring the wilds of the Sands of Menechtarun.

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Hamllin wondering what happens in this pit in the minotaur village.

Thursday was quite a busy day.  I kicked it off taking Stoorage (Level 11 Fighter) out into Sorrowdusk Isle.  That afternoon I took Erdrique out into the Ruins of Gianthold and decided to take on the Zakya Cultists in the quest A Cry for Help.  Later that night, I logged on Charlock (Level 14 Fighter) and took him out into the Red Fens to gather some slayers.  Rosnia then logged on as well and we then headed out to take on The Path to Madness and the Xorian Cipher on elite.  We were then joined by a third Crypt Crawler, Oldironsides, and we then headed into the Haunted Library.  After that run, Rosnia had to call it a night but Oldiron and I headed off to the Red Fens and completed the quest The Last Stand on elite.  After that run, I called it a night.

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Stoorage hunting through the wilds of Sorrowdusk Isle.

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Erdrique looking at the desolation of Gianthold.

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Erdrique dealing with the pesky Zakya Cultists in A Cry for Help.

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Charlock making his way through the Red Fens.

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Charlock and Rosnia making their way through the Path to Madness.

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Charlock and Rosnia dealing with the undead in the Xorian Cipher.

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Charlock making his way through the Haunted Library.

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Charlock and Oldironsides dealing with the sahaugin in the Raveneye Village.

So it was a fun week overall!!  Looking forward to a productive weekend as well!! 🙂  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Frame Work-Talk About Some Minotaurs

There are a few quests that are notable because of the monsters that they contain, or more precisely, because the large majority of the monsters they contain are one type.  Some of these particular quests feature minotaurs, with Scondrel’s Run and Maze of Madness coming to mind as quest that primarily feature minotaurs as your primary foe.  However, when one talks or thinks about those brutish monsters, minotaurs, the quest that has to come to forefront is Frame Work.  Frame Work was released in Update 7 and the quest chain is loosely called Deception in Stormreach.  This little chain also includes Diplomatic Impunity and Eyes of Stone.  I wrote about Diplomatic Impunity awhile back here and now want to take a closer look at Frame Work.

I recently took Erdrique (Level 17 Monk) and Hamllin (Level 15 Fighter) through this quest.  Frame Work is a rather interesting quest with multiple ways to complete it.  Gavin Northus bestows the quest and he is located in the back of the Lordsmarch Plaza.  The basic idea of the quest is to frame the Droaam Ambassador, Hestess, by planting evidence and assassinating the minotaur leader of a small village.  The primary emphasis is to infiltrate the minotaur village and either stealth your way to the minotaur leader to kill him or to “bull rush” your way through the village and slaughter everything you come across.  I haven’t mastered the stealthy aspects of DDO, so I typically fight my way through the village, which means killing tons of minotaurs.  If you ever wanted to work on any minotaur monster manual deeds, this is the quest to farm in that request.

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Minotaurs, minotaurs, and more minotaurs as Erd makes his way through the village.

If you take the time, the surrounding landscape of the minotaur village is also full of other enemies, including a few optional orange named monsters.  In fact, if you reach all of your optional objectives for slaying/killing minotaurs you will receive another objective that simply asks you to kill something else.

The quest actually begins on the outskirts of the village where you mean up with a warforged contact named Doris.  Doris will give you a spell wand that has a few charges of flesh to stone on it that anybody can use and this is supposed to be used for planting the evidence against Hestess.  You basically stone at least one minotaur to meet this objective.  Getting up to the quest is relatively straight forward as you can simply take the path up to the village, where you will probably encounter a few panthers, and when you meet up with your first few minotaurs.  When the minotaurs notice you they will lower their gates to attack.  As you make your way through the village a few of the “runts” will occasionally ring warning bells which will bring out more minotaurs and sometimes their pet worgs.  You may also encounter a few minotaur cabal seers, powerful casters, who guard chests and fulfill one of the optional objectives if you slay them all.

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The pit area in the minotaur village in Frame Work.  Wonder what type of sports occur in here?

The village can be a little irritating to move through.  It composed of a number of small streets and bridges that span across numerous buildings and a small lake.  I tend to get turned around in here from time to time.  The minotaur leader is in a small area of the village and when you approach him you here Hestess, a medusa by the way, talking to the leader.  They then notice your arrival and the minotaurs attack as well as two powerful casters that Hestess leaves behind (an orc and an ogre magi).  The ramp up to this particular location is actually tapped, and its pretty vicious, but it is a one time deal.  After you defeat the orc, ogre magi, minotaurs, and the leader you will then have to make your way back to Doris to report your success.  When you talk to Doris again, the quest is then completed.  If you have completed your entire slaughter (all of the minotaur slayer optional objectives) she will give you a chest.

This particular quest can be extremely challenging if you don’t take some time to make your way through the village.  It doesn’t take long for dungeon alert to kick in, with the runts ringing the warning bells, and you will constantly get knocked down or bull rushed by the minotaurs.  The minotaur shamans can also be nasty as they like to through ball lightning.  Also, there is only one shrine in the village (although there is another shrine in the landscape of the village) so managing your spell points is also wise.  One other thing to point as well as that their are broken ballistae throughout the village and the outside landscape that can be repaired by applying the supplies that can be found scattered around and these can be used to either shoot yourself into the village or to shoot yourself out of the village.

Overall, the quest is pretty straightforward with a little confusing village to move through.  It is a fun quest if you just like to slaughter things but also can be very frustrating as you can find yourself on your back and laying down more often than not from bull rush attacks.  If you haven’t tried Frame Work, give a try.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Really Enjoying the Increases Made to Named Loot Drops

Awhile back, with the release of Update 24 Heart of Madness, the loot drops for a number of named items in quests throughout the game were increased.  Well, I can definitely say that I have seen some of this of have enjoyed it :)!!  Not too long I looted a Bloodstone out of the Sands of Menechtarun and this morning while running Tuhnn (Level 15 Bladeforged) through the same area I looted one of these:

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It has been quite awhile since I have seen a Ring of Spellstoring but picked one up this morning :).

The Ring of Spellstoring is nearly as rare as Bloodstone, if not more rare.  Also, my travels through the Desert have netted me a number of name drops since that Update.  I can say that I have encountered a number of other named items too that I rarely saw prior to its release.  So, as you can imaging, I have been having a fun time with these changes.

Now of course the pack rat in me is trying to figure out where to put all of this stuff….Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting out there!!

Still Getting the Hang of This Epic Thing

Over the past few weeks I have taken a few of my epic level characters into various quests on epic hard as opposed to my typical runs of epic normal.  Wapoyei (Level 23 Cleric/Shiradi Champion), Garrrin (Level 22 Barbarian/Fury of the Wild), and Kolll (Level 22 Ranger/Shiradi Champion) I have started to take into some slightly higher level settings than normal.  These particular characters I feel more comfortable with at attempting these higher difficulties as opposed to some of other characters that are level 20 and higher.  Recently I took Wapoyei through The Lords of Dust and Servants of the Overlord on epic hard, Garrrin through Into the Deep on epic hard, and Kolll through Chamber of Raiyum (Tomb of the Wizard King) and Tharashk Arena (VON 1) on epic hard.

Overall, I have found a number of mixed results.  My cleric, Wapoyei, seems to be the easiest for me to make it through any particular quest at the moment.  This primarily because of his strong self healing, obviously, but some of this is his ability to summon the level 25 owlbear as well as bring forth an extra summon creature that allows aggro to be taken off of him.  Using his radiant server aura, I’m typically able to minimize my healing spells and instead able to focus more on my buff spells and damage dealing spells (Divine Punishment, for instance).  However, I also tend to melee more often than not with him, I just like to swing that morningstar of his :).  I still need to do some more work on his weaponry and armor but overall I’m pretty comfortable with his abilities to stay alive on epic hard quests.

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Wapoyei and Hell making their way through Servants of the Overlord on Hard.

Now Garrrin is a slightly different story.  Being level 22, he cannot summon forth the level 25 owlbear yet and he cannot summon forth an extra creature.  However, with his higher hit point range and his ability to do more damage overall, not to mention the changes to the barbarian enhancements, he has become much more survivable.  I was quite surprised at how easily he made his way through Into the Deep on epic hard.  He did require some healing from this exalted angel hireling, of course, but he was still doing pretty good.  I just applied a festival icy burst to an electrical storm greataxe for him and I’m looking forward to seeing how well he does with that weapon.

Kolll has been another story altogether.  I have found that Kolll can do extremely well in encounters where he can maneuver around, allowing him to use his numerous ranged arrow attacks.  He did exceptionally well in the Tomb of the Wizard King on elite but I struggled with him I got to the end fight in the Tharashk Arena.  However, my issue in the Tharashk Arena was partly because I was ill prepared.  I didn’t realize those dang paragon kobold casters had enervation in their wicked spell list and of course I didn’t have deathward to protect from this  They basically made short work of Kolll and his makeshift hireling party.  I will have to enter this quest and make sure to have deathward potions or clickies the next time I enter.

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Kolll trying to make his way through VON 1 on epic hard.

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Kolll surprised at these hex wraiths.

I am still learning how to manage through these quests on epic hard.  I’ll get the hang of it :).  The new challenge with the monster champions has also been interesting.  I will continue to make my way through some of these quests on epic hard and will continue to experiment with them.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting out there in DDO!!

A Light Weekend of Questing, February 20th to 22nd

This past weekend was relatively light for me.  This was because my daughter was in town for the weekend so instead of slaying the numerous enemies in DDO I had some nice family time .  However, I did get some questing in!!  My questing began with a slayer rung with Rimuldar (Level 23 Wizard/Magister) who I took out into the King’s Forest for the firs time.  I had some taking a caster out there but still need to get a little more used to throwing spells instead of whacking people .  I didn’t get on that afternoon, but I did get back on Friday night with Erdrique (Level 17 Monk).  Erdrique still needed a few level 11 and 12 quests to complete on elite, including the quests in the Deception of Stormreach Chain.  Before I did that though, I headed out into the Sands of Menechtarun where I collected my set of slayers, the scorrow, and maxed the area out.  I then took Erdrique into the quest Frame Work on elite to dispatch of the numerous minotaurs and then I headed into the quest Eyes of Stone to fight Hestess the medusa.  After those runs, I called it a night.

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Rimuldar taking his gang out into King’s Forest.

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Erdrique collecting his scorrow slayers in the Sands of Menechtarun.

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Erdrique dealing with a lot of minotaurs.

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Erdrique and his hirelings taking on the troops of Droaam in Eyes of Stone.

I didn’t log back into the game until Sunday night, after my daughter headed off to go back home.  I logged on with Kolll (Level 22 Ranger/Shiradi Champion) and decided to take him into Tharashk Arena, better known as VON 1, on epic hard.  With the help of his onyx panther, owl bear (level 17), and exalted angel hireling, he easily made it to the arena.  However, it was at this point where I was sorely unprepared.  I have done VON 1 a number of times on epic normal without any issues across a few characters but haven’t really tackled it on epic hard.  So, I wasn’t quite prepared when the paragon kobolds started hitting everybody with enervation and I watched needlessly as my levels drained away.  In short order, I had a little party wipe.  Oh well, lesson has been learned.  I will need to make sure that I have some deathward clickies or potions take care of that particular issue .

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Kolll trying to make a name for himself in the Tharashk Arena.

So, although it was a light weekend, it wasn’t a bad one.  I moved Erdrique ever so much closer to level 18 and learned some things about VON 1 on epic hard.  Hopefully this week will be just as much fun!!  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Taking Note of the Art

It still amazes me how the little things make running DDO fun :).  The other day I was running around the Crypt Crawler’s guild airship and swapping out stored amenities to that I could get all of the buffs we currently own when I finally realized that there are some interesting pieces of art on the wall.

This first one is of a ship docked in a peaceful harbor.

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Erdrique finally taking notice of some of the art work on the guild airship.

And the second piece of art was of another vessels being violently tossed around at sea:

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Erd then taking note of a second piece of art on the guild airship.

It is the little things like these, the hidden little gems in the background of the game, that help keep the game fun and interesting for me.  One thing I do wonder though, concerning these paintings.  I couldn’t help by realize that these paintings are pictures of water born vessels.  Why aren’t these vessels of airships?  I could have easily seen an airship being docked at an air tower for instance as the first painting and strong winds tossing another airship around in the second.  I wonder what hidden message is implied there.  Hm…

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Negative Level, Negative Level, Negative Level…Must Be Invaders!

There are just some quests where you just expect to get killed at least once.  For me, Invaders! is one of these quests.  I recently took Erdrique (Level 17 Monk) through it and then attempted it again with Hamllin (Level 15 Fighter) earlier last week.  For me, the most difficult aspect of Invaders! are all of the beholders.  This level 12 quest (making it a Level 14 on elite) is littered with beholders, with a primary objective of eliminating at least four elder beholders which are covering various loci throughout the quests.  The biggest threat that these beholders cause is energy drain and their resulting negative level effects.  It doesn’t take long before you realize you have lost 8 levels…uh wait, let’s make that 12 levels..and then to hear that awful “ding” and see your soulstone sitting where you had a character hacking and slashing away.

The thing about Invaders! that makes it even that more challenging is that it is also littered with a ton of tharaahk hounds, flesh renders, fire reavers, ice flensers, and Xoriat drow.  So as you make your way through the quest and you watch your buffs get dispelled from the beholder anit-magic field and then you watch your negative levels accumulate, you then get to deal with these other potent enemies which also have some dangerous abilities.

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Hamllin stunning an elder beholder in Invaders!  To bad it wasn’t enough to stop his eventual demise but he will return!!

Unfortunately Hamllin did not survive this attempt to make his way through Invaders!  Erdrique made it through his run but Hamllin is now out for revenge.  He will looks forward to his next attempt at these vicious beasts that have assaulted the Waterworks :).

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting out there…and watch out for those beholder eye beams :).

Middle of the Road Questing, Quest Runs February 16th to February 19th

The only adjective I could come up with to describe my quest runs this week was “middle of the road.”  This is basically because I primarily ran characters in the level 10 to 17 range.  I started the week off with a slayer run through the Red Fens with Charlock (Level 14 Fighter).  Charlock is slowly making his way through that expansive wilderness zone and still has a way before he comes close to finishing it.  Later that afternoon, after I got home from work and exercising, I too Erdrique (Level 17 Monk) out into the Ruins of Gianthold and completed the quest Maze of Madness on elite.  Later that night, I logged on with Larrs (Level 20 Bard/Fatesinger) and took him into the quest The Lord of Eyes on Hard.  I’m not really familiar with this quest so I had a fun time taking Larrs and his hireling minions through the quest to meet up and take on the Lord of Eyes.  I called it a night after that.

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Charlock coming across some of the drowned in the Red Fens.

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Erd lost in a batch of minotaurs in Gianthold.

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Erdrique making his way through Maze of Madness.

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Larrs dealing with the Lord of Eyes.

On Tuesday morning I was scheduled to bring in Lorrikk (Level 12 Monk) who I took out into the wilds of Sorrowdusk Isle to collect some ogre and troll slayers.  Later that afternoon I had an interesting time with Hamllin (Level 15 Fighter) who I took into Invaders! on elite.  Not whenever I take on Invdaers! I expect to get killed at least once.  There are just too many beholders not too.  Unfortunately I got killed more than once, I really do need to get a some type of spell absorption item for those beholders, but even with that said I made it nearly to the last fight.  Unfortunately, I was also short on time, so I will have to collect my revenge on Invdears! next week!!  Later that night, I logged on with Harrgon (Level 10 Favored Soul) who finished up the Tangleroot Explorer area and took on Under the Big Top on elite to finish out the Phiarlan Carnival Series.

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Lorrikk exploring Sorrowdusk Isle.

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Hamllin fighting an elder beholder in Invaders!

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Harrgon finishing up in Tangleroot Gorge.

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Harrgon making his way through Under the Big Top.

Wednesday turned out to be a lighter day than normal.  I kicked off the day by taking  Crawlller (Level 6 Ranger) out into Tangleroot Gorge so he could continue collecting those slayers.  But later that day, I would be catching some type of a mild fever and not only did it ruin any chance of playing during the afternoon but it pretty much killed my weekly date night with my wife :(.  Needless to say, I wasn’t too happy about that.

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Crawlller preparing for some hobgoblin entanglements.

Thursday started off with Berann (Level 7 Barbarian), who has just now started his adventuring in the Tangleroot Gorge Wildnerness area.  Thursday afternoon, I brought Hamlllin back on but this time I took him out to Gianthold and took on the orcs in Feast or Famine which went really smoothly.  Late that night, I logged on with Suppply (Level 9 Paladin) who continued to work on the Sharn Syndicate series.  He had just completed it on hard and is now working on completing the series on elite.  He made it through Stand Your Ground, Dirty Laundry, Stormreaver Fresco, The Book Binder Rescue, and Repossession all on elite.  Now he only needs to complete, Come Out and Slay to be finished with that chain.

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Berann considers himself the new wolf hunter in Tangleroot.

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Hamllin slicing and dicing in Ruins of Gianthold.

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Hamlllin chasing down Ruzak.

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Suppply working to protect the Statler brothers.

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Suppply dealing with the Dirty Laundry.

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Suppply dealing with the security system.

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Suppply helping out the Binders.

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Suppply getting in a little payback.

Not a bad week’s worth of questing, even with Wednesday being a little messed up and having such a hard time in Invaders! with Hamllin.  I hope everybody else had a strong week in DDO and has a good weekend.  My weekend might be a little light because my daughter is in town visiting this weekend, but we’ll see.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Malicia, What is Her Backstory?

There are a number of fun and interesting bosses in DDO that our characters will encounter during their questing careers.  While questing with Harrgon (Level 10 Favored Soul), I came across one these bosses and wondered a little more about their backstory.  The boss I’m talking about is Malicia, who is the final boss for the Phiarlan Carnival Series in the quest Under the Big Top.  I find Malicia as an interesting boss, not only because she is a succubus but because we really don’t know much about her.

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Malicia is an intriguing boss.

Malicia is a powerful succubus from the plane of Shavarath who is leading the Maleficient Cabal and their siege on House Phiarlan.  The vast majority of the forces of the Maleficient Cabal are tieflings, however we do encounter a few others, such as the abishai in The Snitch.  However, the overwhelming composition of the Maleficient Cabal being teiflings suggests to me that Malicia has somehow become extremely influential in their circle.  Being a succubus, we know that Malicia has a number of “wily” abilities that she can use to gain the influence of others.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Malicia has worked (or “influenced) some of the more influential members of the tiefling clan that compose the troops of the Maleficient Cabal.  However, it could also be that this clan of tieflings sought her out and recruited her to lead their troops.  In either case, the relationship and link between Malicia and the tieflings is probably intricate and quite interesting.

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Harrgon preparing to fight Malicia.

But what exactly drives this enemy?  We are still not clear as to the motives of Malicia and why she has targeted House Phiarlan and in particular the Stormreach contingent of the house.  It makes me wonder if she or the tieflings, or both perhaps, have been disgraced by the spies and agents of House Phiarlan in one way or another and that she is acting on a path of redemption or revenge.  Or it could be even more sinister.   Perhaps Malicia was hoping to infiltrate House Phiarlan in order to gain access to their spy, informant, agent, and assassination network to server her own purposes and she was attacking the weakest link in the house, the Stormreach contigent.  If this was the case, the motives behind Malicia’s intent are still unclear.  What would she do if she got this type of infiltration?  Who or what is her primary target?  So many questions…

This particular storyline could have a lot of potential directions.  Makes me wonder if it will be picked at some later point.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!