Annoying But Realistic Mechanic

One of the more annoying but realistic mechanics in DDO is the accumulation of wear and tear on your characters equipment.  It is understandable that our weapons and armor should suffer some damage when our characters are battling other heavily armed and armored enemies or other beasts made from rocks, covered in scales, or magically enhanced.  It also makes sense that our plain clothes would also encounter some wear and tear, such as your gloves, belts, and boots.  I know that I often find myself having to replace these items in real life for more often than I would like and I’m certainly not battling heavily armored hobgoblins or going up against stone and earth elementals.

Although it is realistic, it is extremely annoying too!!  For the most part, repairing your equipment is a small money sink, however it can also become a major problem if you forget about doing this.  I can’t tell you how many times I have gone from one quest to another without repairing to realize that my primary (and in many cases my secondary) weapon was completely broken and couldn’t be used anymore for that quest until I could get repaired again.  Couple this with the fact that some enemies tend to wear down equipment much more often than others (I’m thinking of rust monsters and slimes here) forgetting to repair can result in a quest failure.  And we can’t forget that if you do get killed while adventuring, all your equipment that you were physically wearing takes temporary damage.

Erdrique’s Cannith Crafted quarterstaff showing a large amount of temporary damage (notice the blue bar).

There are a number of intricacies when it comes to loot wear and tear.  Your character’s equipment can suffer two different types of wear.  The first type is temporary.  As you make your way through a quest, it is likely that your equipment will gather some wear and tear.  This is indicated by looking at the blue durability and hardness horizontal bar when you examine your items.  If any portion of the bar is clear, than that means your item has taken some temporary damage.  Temporary damage is annoying but easily repaired.  You can get temporary damage to your equipment (most likely your weapons) fixed by taking them to vendor and selecting the Repair tab.  You can then add in any items that have taken temporary damage to the queue to be repaired and then pay the fee for them to get fixed.  You can do this at all local bar tenders or other vendors.

The second type of damage is permanent damage.  Permanent damage comes from temporary damage and sometimes occurs when you take the equipment to get repaired.  When you take equipment to a vendor to get any temporary damage fixed, there is a chance that some of that damage will become permanent.  When this happens, you see a portion of the blue durability and hardness bar turn red.  If the entire bar turns red, then the item is permanently broken and cannot be fixed by a vendor.  Also, it appears that the more red you have in the durability and hardness bar for that item, the more likely it will take temporary damage while questing.

Combating temporary damage is one thing but eliminating permanent damage is what many of our characters would like to see.  Currently, all items that are bound cannot take permanent damage.  This wasn’t always the case, but thankfully that is now.  Also, you can apply a Stone of Change ritual to any item to make it bound to your character, therefore keeping it from acquiring permanent damage (or stopping it from accumulating more damage if it already had some).  You can also do a few other things to eliminate or lessen change of accumulating permanent damage.  The first thing you can do is to have your equipment repaired by the appropriate specialized vendors as opposed to the bar tenders or general vendors.  These specialized vendors have a lower degree of returning equipment with permanent damage.  You can also summon a special efreeti while in the quest and pay astral shards to repair equipment by clicking on the anvil in your inventory icon.  Getting your equipment repaired in this fashion will eliminate any possibility for your equipment to acquire permanent damage.  The third thing you can do is buy some restoration oil from the DDO Store which can then be applied to a piece of equipment with permanent damage which will then remove the permanent damage and restore the original hardness of the item.

Sludgge looking at his rapier that has temporary and permanent damage on it.

There is one other thing to note when it comes to equipment damage or wear and tear.  This has to do with the durability and hardness of those items.  Items made out of cloth and wood tend to have lower durability and hardness values while those made of metal tend to have higher hardness values.  The higher the durability and hardness value the tougher the item and less likely it will acquire any damage.  It also must be noted that some weapons tend to take temporary damage much more quickly or often than other weapon types.  Some weapons that are notorious for gathering temporary damage are quarterstaves and rapiers.

In any case, if you are new, keep in mind this issue with equipment damage.  Make sure to check after each adventure to see where your equipment stands in terms of damage taken and get it repaired if you need to.  Don’t let that powerful sword break while you are fighting that end boss!!

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in DDO!!

Tackling House Szind

One of the quests that you need to complete for the City of Portals city arc is the quest The House of Death Undone.  Like the other quests in this story arc, it occurs in the landscape area of Sschindylryn.  It is located in the eastern portion of the city and you have to maneuver around a few gates to get to it.  The quest takes place in the great drow stronghold of House Szind.  The quest giver is Oryne Belamadin who is located in Eveningstar.

Wapoyei making his way through Sschindylryn to the quest House of Death Undone.

Making the way to the entrance of House Szind.

The House of Death Undone is a unique quest in two respects: 1). dealing with “respawns” that are from killed enemies and 2). being engaged with some drow political dissension within a powerful drow house.  The layout of the House Szind fortress is also pretty fun, at least to me.  The largest portion of the fortress is a grand room that has three different levels.  The rest of the rooms are broken off of this main grand room.  The other rooms include a library, a laboratory, the servants quarters, a small temple, training room, kitchen, dining room, matron’s chambers, priestess’s chambers, and the ritual chamber.  The primary objective to completing this quest is to take out the necromantic cauldrons using some special flash stones that will exploded when they are placed inside the cauldrons.  The next objective is to take out the head necromancer, Relig.

Entering the primary room of House Szind.

Taking on the drow of House Szind in the main room.

The main room of House Szind is quite a spectacle. 

The first thing you will need to do in this quest is to find the flash stones.  These stones are located in laboratory which is located to the North of the main hall on the lower floor.  To get to the flash stones you will have to defeat some of the House Szind necromancers and their zombie pets as well as some guards.  These necromancers also have some pet dretches to throw into the mix.  The flash stones are located in something that looks like a desk/cabinet and they look like a parchment in your inventory.

Wapoyei making his way to the laboratory to find the flash stones.

Battling the House Szind forces to get the flash stones from the laboratory. 

After you pick up the flash stones you can then go off into various directions.  One of the major quest objectives is to go to the library, which is basically due east of the laboratory, and destroy the cauldron housed in there.  However, you can also head to the south to enter some of the other optional areas.  One of these areas includes a path that leads to a small temple.  Inside this small temple is an orange named Priestess of Lolth and her red named pet, an astral panther.  After you defeat the Priestess of Lolth and her pet you gain access to a chest and you might find a key to the kitchen.  Using this key can allow you to get access to the ritual chamber where the last fight occurs.  This key will be necessary if you don’t have a rogue or another party member who can pick locks and open locked doors as the primary door to the ritual chamber is locked.  The kitchen key gives the party a back way into the ritual chamber.

Heading to the southern portion of the house after leaving the laboratory.

Encountering the priestess and her pet in the Temple.

Picking up the kitchen key from the temple.

The kitchen key is a sickly green in color.

Another optional area is to enter the servants quarters.  In this area you will come across some more cauldrons and one of the optional objectives is to destroy these cauldrons.  As you progress through this room you will also encounter a number of zombies, and collecting up to 36 slain zombies is also another set of optional objectives (12, 24, and 36 drow zombies).  In the servants quarters you might also find the kitchen key.

Making our way further south into the servants quarters.

Battling the necromancers, zombies, and guards in the servants quarters.

Time to destroy a cauldron.

Up close and personnel with an undead drow necromancer.

Eventually you will have to make your way back to the library.  The library is the arcane center for House Szind and it is also where one of the cauldrons is located and it needs to be destroyed with a flash stone.  The cauldron that needs to be destroyed is actually in a side room to the library that can only be unlocked with a blue key that is in the main portion of the library.  The cauldron is also protected by two more astral panthers and there is also a chest in that room under an interesting drow portrait.

Entering the library of House Szind.

Discovering the blue key in the library.

The library cauldron is guarded by some more astral panthers.

The chest in the library in the cauldron room.

Another optional route is to make your way up to the kitchen which is on the second level of the fortress.  The route through the kitchen will eventually take you to the matron mother’s chambers and to her daughter’s chambers.  When you get to this part of the quest, you will over hear the priestess plotting the demise of your matron mother which you can then use to barter with the matron mother, therefore embroiling yourself into the dynamics of the drow political structure and maneuvering.  During this conversation with the matron mother you can either side with the matron mother and have the optional objective for defeating her daughter and then being granted the optional objective for destroying the cauldron in the daughter’s chamber or you can decide to fight and destroy the matron mother.

Making our way to the kitchen.

The path through the kitchen leads to the matron mother’s chambers.

The entrance door to the matron mother’s chambers.

Making it through the hallways to the matron mother’s and the priestess’s chambers.

Inside the matron mother’s chambers is an interesting snare trap that spawns spiders and a spell ward.

A quick look at the matron mother’s chambers.

Being rewarded after taking out the treacherous daughter of the matron mother.

After defeating the daughter or the matron mother, you can then make your way to the ritual chamber to fight the head necromancer.  The ritual chamber is a large room that has a few low level ramps.  The head necromancer, Relig, is surrounded by House Szind guards, drow zombies, assassins, and necromancers.  This fight can actually get quite hectic.  The fight doesn’t actually start until after you talk to Relig allowing you time to buff your party, particularly with deathward.  After you defeat Relig you need to destroy the two cauldrons in the ritual chamber to complete the quest.

Wapoyei making his way through the hallway to the ritual chamber.

Entering the ritual chamber.

Prepping to talk to the head wizard and to kick off a major fight.

All hell breaking loose in the ritual chamber.

Fighting the head wizard head on.

The types of enemies you encounter in this quest are primarily various versions of drow and undead drow.  However, you will encounter dretches, astral panthers, guardian panthers, spiders, and driders as well.  The traps all consist of spell wards and that one web snare trap that also spawns spiders along with a spell ward.  There are also a few hidden doors as well.

Overall, the House of Death Undone is fun and challenging quest.  The last fight in particular can be quite challenging and you might need to retreat and draw the enemies out in a more manageable fashion, especially if you don’t have a good form of crowd control.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the House of Death Undone.

Pondering Draya Dun’Robar

Last weekend, I took Erdrique (Level 26 Rogue/Legendary Dreadnaught) into the last quest of The Darkening Story Arc, The Battle for Eveningstar.  As I made my way through the quest and to the end fight with the Red Weaver and his mount, I noticed that his mount was a female drow named  Draya Dun’Robar.  Draya was the drow leader for the invasion and her defeat was what was necessary to destroy the invading army.

However, I also noticed that Draya was not a drow priestess.  I’m not sure why this took me awhile to realize it.  Instead of being a priestess she is a ranger instead.  Now, if you know anything about the Forgotten Realms drow you know that the majority of the female drow from the noble houses are destined to become priestesses of Lolth.  So, it makes me wonder how Draya became a ranger.

Erdrique taking on Draya at the end of the Battle for Eveningstar.

The House of Dun’Robar is one of the major houses that is leading the assault on Eveningstar from the City of Portals, Sschindylryn.  I’m guessing that the political dissension in the house is what has forced Draya to become a ranger instead of priestess.  Draya is probably one of the “younger” daughters of the matron mother.  It appears to me that House Dun’Robar is specialized in developing melee and martial weapons, especially swords (hence the quest House of Rusted Blades).  I’m guessing that Draya is being forced to make her way up the ranks and needs to prove herself before she can be granted the right to train as a priestess for the house.  Her rank within the house might be so low that she needs to essentially “apply” for priesthood.  In so doing, she has been training in the martial and ranged combat and has been granted the opportunity to lead this invasion force.  In essence, this makes some sense because if the invasion were to fail, House Dun’Robar doesn’t lose a significant portion of their house or their influence.  And in the meantime they can actually establish a stronger foothold in the political structure and in drow society by having having a House Dun’Robar leading the invasion force and striking a number of successes.

Draya is not a drow priestess but a formidable ranger instead.

There is also another possibility for her status that I can think of.  If you ever read the various Drizzt novels by R A Salvatore you know that the drow noble houses are constantly fighting each other and that in many instances the nobles of the defeated house are “absorbed” into the conquering house.  Of course this gets complicated because by the society rules, if any nobles live from the conquered house then they could petition to the ruling party of the drow city where they are located in which case the victorious house could be destroyed.  However, the victorious houses generally offer these lesser nobles extremely profitable opportunities to avoid this (if any of those nobles live after the battle).  I’m wondering if Draya fits in this category.  Perhaps she was from a warring house of Dun’Robar and happened to survive and now she is trying to escalate her status within the strong house she now resides in.

However Draya became the leader of the invasion force and why she isn’t a priestess is of little consequence to the quest and to the invasion.  Even not being a priestess, she is a formidable opponent and her bebilith creature companion in tandem with her abilities are quite lethal.

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting the drow in Eveningstar!!

Summing Up the Weekend, February 19th to February 21st

Last weekend was a relatively light weekend for me.  This was primarily because it was the third weekend in February and I always make the third Saturday of the month a weekend date night with my wife.  I also wasn’t able to get any “extra” runs in the game between my chores.  However, I did get some quest runs in on Friday and Sunday.

To start things off on Friday morning, I took Lorrikk (Level 13 Monk) and Stoorage (Level 14 Fighter) out into the wild jungles of Sorrowdusk Isle.  During this run, Lorrikk didn’t pick up any of the rare encounters and only 33 slayers.  Stoorage already had the area maxed out.  In the afternoon, I logged on with Erdrique (Level 26 Rogue/Legendary Dreadnaught) and I took him into the challenge, Kobold Island: Short Cuts once again.  Unfortunately, I failed at this attempt once again but I did defeat the red named horned devil and succubus and doing so I picked up a hunter monster manual deeds for the succubus and got over 9,000 experience as a reward.  I logged back on with Erdrique later that night I was joined by Hellorcish and we headed out into the King’s Forest to complete the quest The Lost Thread.  While in the King’s Forest, I picked up another 43 slayers and completed the optional objectives for the former neighbors, defeating Yarabaro and the fugitive medusa, and for locating Eliminster’s 23rd message.  Once we made it into the The Lost Thread, we freed 10+ slaves as well as the Cormyian War Wizard.  I also picked up a Commendation: War Wizards in the end chest.  For a quest reward I was offered 17 Commendations of Valor.

Lorrikk hunting down the ogres in Sorrowdusk Isle.

Erdrique coming across a large extractor on Kobold Island: Short Cuts.

Erdrique and Garrrin and hunting in the King’s Forest.

Erdrique making his way through the Lost Thread.

After we completed The Lost Thread, Hellorcish called it a night.  I continued on and headed into The Battle for Eveningstar on epic hard.  I completed the optional objective for lighting all of the torches and in the end chest I picked up another Commendation: Purple Dragon Knights.  I also picked up the cloak, Drow Piwafwi.  For a quest reward, I picked up another 17 Commendations of Valor and for the story arc, I received another Commendation: Purple Dragon Knights.  After I completed the story arc, I then headed out into the Underdark to locate the entrance and portal Sschindylryn.  It was Erdrique’s first time in the Underdark explorer area.  I picked up 195 slayers; defeated two priestesses of Lolth, 2 blademasters, 4 purple worms, Slavemaster Banister of House Avithou, and Taskmaster Uthimez; and located the portal gate to Sschindylryn, Boneyard, portal gate to Riz Malog, cave of the elements, Daycrystals, Overlook, Nessaleesa’s Garden, Dragon’s Roost, grand waterfall, Tranquility Groove, and the spider hatchery.  After these discoveries I called it a night.

Erdrique sending down a comet into the middle of battle in the Battle for Eveningstar.

Erdrique exploring the treacherous Underdark.

My runs on Sunday were much simpler.  I dual boxed with Stoorage and Cantlin (Level 13 Sorcerer).  I was scheduled to take Stoorage through some quests that night and he still needed to make it through Purge the Heretics.  As I took them through the quest, I completed the optional objectives for killing the halfling mercenaries and the commoners.  I then moved over to do the quest Gladewatch Outpost.  I didn’t have any issues after I staged the commander in here hiding spot.  As I was slaughtering the monstrous invading horde, Stoorage picked up a monster manual deed for hobgoblin exterminator and received over 2,000 experience for the effort.  After that run, I called it a night and headed off to bed.

Stoorage making his way through the quest Purge the  Heretics.

Stoorage waiting for the commander to finish in Gladewatch Outpost.

Overall, it was productive, although light, weekend.  I completed another story arc with Erdrique and am steadily moving him forward with his first epic reincarnation.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the Underdark!!

Hitting the Second Rank of Purple Dragon Knight Favor

Over the past weekend, I completed the Battle of Eveningstar on epic hard with Erdrique (Level 26 Rogue/Legendary Dreadnaught) and after that run I noticed that I had some new mail.  It turned out that I had earned the second rank of favor for the Purple Dragon Knights.  The second rank for Purple Dragon Knights is called Swordcaptain and you earn that mark when you hit 250 favor.  It was the first time I hit that mark with any character and I was pleasantly surprised to see the reward.

Erdrique checking out his mail and seeing he is now ready for his next rank in Purple Dragon Knights.

The bottom half of Erd’s letter.

Erdrique talking to the Battlemaster to see what his reward is.

The reward you get is for a new creature companion, a spotted wolf.  The spotted wolf is the other variety of wolf you see in the King’s Forest and the Storm Horns.  That was a pretty fun reward indeed!!  Now Erdrique is the proud owner of a new puppy creature companion.

Erdrique now has another new pet.

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting those drow our your path to hitting that next Purple Dragon Knight favor reward!!

Crunching Down the Numbers of My Monster Manual-Part 3

The first two articles I wrote about analyzing the data in the monster manual were primarily based on my entire VIP account.  The first article looked at the number of enemies my characters have defeated while my second article looked at often my characters suffered defeats.  Now I want to look more specifically  at the monster manual statistics for each of characters on my VIP account, starting with Erdrique.  There is no doubt that Erdrique is my favorite character and my main/primary character to play.  I was curious to see how his specific data matched up to data for my account as a whole.  I updated the data to do on February 22, 2016 (as I had originally wanted to publish this article on that date).  Keep this in mind if you happen to compare my tables in this article to my first article because they won’t match entirely.

So, like I did for my entire account, the first thing I wanted to see was how many enemies I have defeated and how they break down.  I also wanted to see how much Erdrique accounted for those monster kills across all of the characters on my VIP account.  Looking back at the trends across my account the top five monster types that my characters had slain were humanoids, undead, player races, vermin, and monstrous humanoids.  These differed slightly when looking at Erdrique’s top five which were humanoids, player races, undead, vermin, and animal (Table 1 and Figures 1 and 2).  I found these trends interesting.  I figured that since I play Erdrique much more frequently than my other characters that his trends would pretty much drive what I see for the entire account.  This doesn’t necessarily appear to be the case.  There is no doubt that the enemy kills Erdrique has acquired have helped determine the trends across my account but my other characters have also had quite a bit of influence.  This is most likely due to when the monster manual was released and its individual volumes and when my characters were created and played.  These trends are also influenced by Erdrique’s reincarnation cycles as well, especially when monster manual volumes with lower level monsters were released when Erdrique was higher in level and not facing them.  If you look at the percent number of monsters Erdrique has accounted for you see that his higher percentages are with higher level monsters and later editions of the monster manual volumes and the lower percentages are for monsters at lower levels.

Table 1.  Number of monster kills for Erdrique and my VIP account and the percent of kills attributed to Erdrique.

Figure 1.  Distribution of Erdrique’s monster kills by monster type from the monster manual.

Figure 2.  Erdrique’s and my account monster kills by monster type for those in the monster manual.

Focusing more on the trends for Erdrique, just like my trends account wide, I’m not entirely surprised to see which monsters have topped the list.  The monsters that are in the humanoid, player races, undead, vermin, and animal types are occur in almost every quests making their encounter rates much higher than those on the bottom of Erdrique’s monster type list.

Taking a broader look at my trends with Erdrique, I took a look at his enemy kills by monster manual volume as well.  Account wide, the number of monster kills by volume were ranked in the following order: Volume 1, Prologue, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 5, Volume 4, and Volume 6.  In contrast, the number of monsters kills by volume for Erdrique were the following: Prologue, Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 5, Volume 3, Volume 4, and Volume 5 (Table 2 and Figure 3).  I know that some of these tends are driven by my obsession to maximize out slayer areas, including the Red Fens.  The Red Fens has an extraordinary amount of slayers (7,500 slayers) with the majority of enemies in that area being sahaugin, which are in the Prologue.  I also found it interesting to see how high Volume 5 is for Erdrique because when that came out he was working on clearing out the Restless Isles and on working in the quests in the Desert.  Volume 5 included ogres and scorrow allowing Erdrique to start accumulating those kills (nearly accounting for 40% of all my kills account wide).

Table 2.  Total monster kills for Erdrique and my VIP account by monster manual volume.

Figure 3.  Total monster kills for Erdrique and my VIP account by monster manual volume.

The trends in the number of monster kills by monster race wasn’t entirely too surprising for me.  Account wide, the top 10 races that accounted for monster kills were humans, skeletons, hobgoblins, kobolds, sahaugin, spiders, wolves, zombies, scorpions, and trolls.  Erdrique’s top ten were humans, skeletons, sahaugin, kobolds, spiders, wolves, hobgoblins, gnolls, scorpions, and mephits (Table 3 and Figure 4).  Although the order isn’t the same, eight of the monsters that were in Erdrique’s top ten were also in the top ten for my account.  Erdrique differed by having gnolls and mephits in his top ten as opposed to zombies and trolls.  Again, I attribute this to the timing of monster manual releases and the level Erdrique was in his reincarnation path at the time of the release.  Gnolls, for instance, are a large part of the desert and Erdrique was working in that area when that volume was released.

Table 3.  Total number of monster kills for Erdrique’s top ten, both for him and account wide, and the percent he accounted for.

Figure 4.  Number of monster kills for Erdrique’s top ten monster races (and the number of those for my account).

Taking a look at the opposite spectrum, the fewest number of monsters that have  fallen to my characters on my account by race are warforged titan, horned devil, liches, hellcats, stone golems, dragons, iron golems, yugoloth, clay golems, and quori.  For Erdrique it was warfogred titan, horned devils, liches, hellcat, stone golems, iron golems, dragons, clay golems, and hezrous (Table 4 and Figure 5).  As you can imagine, there is a lot of overlap here.  The quori are not on Erdrique’s list but this is primarily because he just recently moved through the Inspired Quarter and the Dreaming Dark, allowing him to account for the majority of the quori kills on my account.  I find it interesting that the hezerou were on his list instead.

Table 4.  Number of monster kills for the races that accounted for the fewest number of kills for Erdrique and account wide and the percent Erdrique accounted for those kills. (I noted that only had nine enemies here, the 10th for Erdrique was the Yugoloth).

Figure 5.  Number of monster kills for the races that accounted for the fewest number of kills for Erdrique.

The last thing I took a look at were the trends in the relative percent that Erdrique accounted for by monster race across my account.  I was curious to see which monsters Erdrique accounted for in terms of percent.  Looking at the top ten by percent of kills, Erdrique accounted for a high percentage (if not all) for warforged titan, hellcat, stone golem, succubus, dragons, liches, ice flenser, quori, abishai, and bearded devil (Table 5).  At the time I compiled the data, Erdrique accounted for 100% of all the kills for the warforged titan and hellcats.  On the opposite spectrum, by percent, the monsters deaths that Erdrique accounted for the least were elves, ghouls, spiders, troglodytes, skeletons, wraiths, ghasts, bugbears, hobgoblins, and minotaurs.  I found these trends interesting because although Erdrique has a large number of kills for these races, his over all contribution is low, relatively speaking, when accounting for the rest of my characters on my VIP account.  I’ll be curious to see what my other characters show.

Table 5.  The monster races that accounted for the highest proportion of monster kills for Erdrique and the number of kills he had and across my account.

Table 6.  The monster races that accounted for the fewest proportion of monster kills for Erdrique and the number of kills he had and across my account.

Some of the trends I noticed in the monster manual for Erdrique are easy to understand why others are quite surprising.  Thanks  for reading everybody and happy hunting those monsters in the monster manual!!

Questing Over the Previous Week, Quest Runs February 15th to February 18th

Well, I think the theme for me during the last two months of 2015 and first two month of 2016 is to just fall behind :(.  I’m just over a week behind in my blog publishing so it is time to start getting back to being productive!!  Speaking to that end, I wanted to review what I did last week over the Valentine holiday.  On Monday, February 16th I kicked off the day by taking Cantlin (Level 13 Sorcerer) and Stoorage (Level 14 Fighter) for some dual boxing fun out into Sorrowdusk Isle.  While venturing the wilds of the tropical island, Cantlin picked up another 70 slayers.  Cantlin now needs less than 250 more slayers to max the area out.  He also picked up all of his rare encounters when I finally stumbled upon on Thanolin who was my last rare for him.  Stoorage I brought along but he already had the Sorrowdusk Isle area maxed out.  During the afternoon, I logged on with Erdrique (Level 26 Rogue/Legendary Dreadnaught) and took him into Kobold Island: Short Cuts on level 25.  Unfortunately, I only picked up 475 crystals out of the required 500 crystals so I failed during that run.  Later on Monday night, I logged on with Tuhnn (Level 16 Bladeforged) and I took him out into the Ruins of Gianthold.  While out there, Tuhnn picked up another 59 slayers in the Stormfist Camp which pushed over the 50 slayer mark for that camp.  He also was credited with finding Hobgoblin Lair’s entrance and the gnoll’s breadth bridge.  I then took Tuhnn into A Cabal for One on elite.  As Tuhnn made his way through the hobgoblin ranks, he obtained Hobgoblin Exterminator I in his monster manual for just over 300 experience.  He also encountered a few champions that dropped him 11 mysterious remnants and he finished the quest and also took down Olos Nobrac.  I then took Tuhnn out to Korthos Island to do a quick simple favor run, Storehouse Secret since he is an iconic character and skipped all of those quests.  After I completed Storehouse Secret, I then headed to House Cannith to do another challenge, this time the Extraplanar Palace: Labor Shortage.  I didn’t have any issues at all and completed the objectives collecting 100 crystals and for defeating Auraxylion.  At the end of the challenge, I picked up 156 Arcanaloth Scrolls and a monster manual deed for Yuguloth, Yuguloth Hunter, which netted my over 2,00 experience.  I called it a night after that.

Cantlin hunting in Sorrowdusk Isle.

Erdrique running along the beaches of Kobold Island: Short Cuts.

Tuhnn making his way to the Hobgoblin Lair and taking down some of the Stormfist horde on the way.

Starting the quest for A Cabal for One.

Tuhnn collecting some favor by running through the Storehouse.

Making his way through the Extraplanar Palace, Tuhnn clears the way for the kobolds in Labor Shortage.

To start my questing activities on Tuesday, I took Larrs (Level 21 Bard/Fatesinger) out into the King’s Forest for some morning slayer action.  While hunting in the beautiful forest, Larrs racked up another 34 slayers.  In so doing, he killed off two dire bears, hit the 50 slayer mark, found the 10th message from Elminster, and defeated the drow hunters.  In the afternoon, I brought on Hamllin (Level 17 Fighter).  I then took him into the Extraplanar Palace: Labor Stortage and I ran into some unfortunate problems.  For some reason, I had a number of the kobolds decided they wanted to take a swim in the lava portion of the floor design and after I little while they died off one by one :(.  I only had one kobold left by the time the quest was over and then he got stuck on the pathing when I had 92 crystals collected, so needless to say I failed that run.  Later that night, I logged on with Rimuldar (Level 23 Wizard/Draconic Incarnation) and I took him into Sschindylryn and I made my way to the quest The House of Death Undone.  On my way to quest, Rimuldar picked up 13 slayers and took out the mindflayer, Enrhiikuz.  While in the quest, Rimuldar was able to the complete the optional objectives for killing 12, 24, and 36 drow zombies, destroying all of the cauldrons (slave quarters and priestess room), and for defeating Silan Szind.  It wasn’t a bad run at all!!  I then called it a night.

Larrs hunting the drow in the King’s Forest.

Hamllin hunting in the Exraplanar Palace: Labor Shortage.

Rimuldar making his way through Sschindylryn.

Rimuldar burning his way through the House of Death Undone.

Wednesday started out by doing some more dual boxing, this time with Containment (Level 7 Cleric) and Cannock (Level 8 Druid).  I took them out to Tangleroot Gorge for the morning slayer run.  They both picked up 56 slayers and while hunting Cannock picked up the Wolf Exterminator II monster manual deed which awarded him nearly 1,700 experience.  In the afternoon, I logged on with Erdrique and I took him back into Kobold Island: Short Cuts, but just like before I failed again.  I just ran out of time extracting those crystals.  After that run, I took Erdrique out into the Sands of Meenctharun.  While doing some hunting in the desert, Erdrique picked up another 63 gnolls and 87 scorrow slayers.  He also was awarded Scorrow Exterminator IV in the monster manual and picked up nearly 9,500 experience from that reward.  He also came across Volrune the Curate, Mendexethazz, and Den Mother Feena.  He still needs two more rare encounters to have those complete.  After that run through the desert I called it a night to spend the rest of the evening with my beautiful wife 🙂 for date night.

Containment looking at the entrance to the ogre cave in Tangleroot Gorge.

Erdrique battling hell hounds on Kobold Island: Short Cuts.

Erdrique leaving behind some carnage in the desert.

I logged on with Charlock (Level 16 Fighter) and Stoorage (Level 14 Fighter) and had another dual boxing session in which I took them into the Red Fens for the morning slayer run on Thursday.  While moving through the marshes and swamps of the Red Fens, I collected another 95 slayers for both of them.  This actually pushed Stoorage past the 400 slayer mark.  I also killed Gorger and Nab Ren.  I didn’t get on during the afternoon but later that night I dual boxed again, this time with Containment and Cannock.  I was scheduled to play Containment and he still needed to run The Captives and the Sharn Syndicate quests.  So I took them out into the Cerulean Hills and made my way to The Captives.  While taking down the Grul Tribe orcs, Containment and Cannock defeated captains Griznuk and Maknuls. I also defeated a wolf champion that dropped 64 mysterious remnants for Containment and only 15 mysterious remnants for Cannock.  However, in one of the chests Cannock looted a +2 Dwarven Axe of Feeding that also did pure good damage, a nice low level twink weapon.  After I took them both through the Captives, I then headed to Marketplace and started the Sharn Syndicate series by running through Stand Your Ground.  While in the quest, as I was playing Containment with Cannock piking around, I wasn’t paying attention to Rance’s health and I actually lost him during the battle.  I did pick up some more mysterious remnants from another champion though (16 for Containment and 11 for Cannock).  After that I took them both into the quest Dirty Laundry.  As I completed the quest, I also completed the optional of opening doors with the secret levers.  I then moved onto the Stormreaver Fresco where I completed the optional objectives of not opening the safety deposit boxes and not killing the guards.  That was the last quest I ran for the night.

Charlock taking some note of the spiders in the distance.

Containment battling his way through the Grul Tribe orcs.

The battle ensues at the doorway to the bar in Stand Your Ground.

Fighting the launderers in Dirty Laundry.

Containment watching Zircon in the Stormreaver Fresco.

Overall, the week was quite a mixture of various quest turns.  I had some epic runs as well as some low level runs.  The slayer runs were also quite variable and I even had a decent mixture of dual box and regular quest runs.  It was a fun week indeed.  I hope everybody else had a great week too.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!




Its Fun to Scream!!

One of the active abilities in the Fury of the Wild epic destiny is called Primal Scream.  Primal Scream is a tier 1 ability that can be trained three times.  Following its barbarian like theme, when Primal Scream is activated it grants all nearby allies up to a +5 morale bonus to strength and constitution at the cost of -2 penalty to armor class.  It also will deal up to 30d20 sonic damage to all nearby enemies.

I have had quite a bit of fun playing around with this ability.  I currently have this twisted in on Erdrique (Level 26 Rogue/Legendary Dreadnaught) and with Garrrin (Level 23 Barbarian/Primal Avatar).  I have twisted Primal Scream primarily because of its strength and constitution buff, its low “twisting” cost since it is only a tier 1 ability, and for its burst like area of effect damage.  If you are patient with its activation, it is a great way to do some damage to a wide area of enemies and draw them to you where you can use other crowd control abilities to stop them in their tracks.

Primal Scream is a useful ability for Garrrin.

I typically use it just as I get into the thick of a battle or when I get surrounded.  I have found that it has great synergy with the Legendary Dreadnaught line and with the Thief Acrobat prestige enhancements.  For Legendary Dreadnaught, activating a burst of Primal Scream is quite effective when using the abilities of Lay Waste, Lightning Mace, and Momentum Swing.  This is a nice little burst of quick and fun damage.  Couple that with the Thief Acrobat abilities of Sly Flourish, Quick Strike, and Sweeping Strikes you get a pretty lethal combination of abilities to be clicking through.  You can then couple all of this damage with Venomed Blades and Shiv for more fun.  And then have Power Attack on just for the some icing on the cake :).  And then we can’t forget about Cleave and Great Cleave as well!!

Garrrin getting ready to reactivate Primal Scream.

The animation of it going off looks similar to something like a sound burst spell.  A large wave like stream of sonic  energy flows through the air around you and strikes your enemies.  It also radiates in a 360 degree arc around you.  Overall, I just find it as a fun little buff :).  If you get a chance play around with it!!

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Looking at the Hobgoblin Lair

Gianthold has long been considered by many players to be one of the best content packs in DDO, and that was before the epic versions of the quests were developed and released.  Many players also enjoy running around the explorer area as well as completing the quests.  One of the “flagging” quests to get into Gianthold Tor is the quest A Cabal for One.  Historically this wasn’t always the case.  A Cabal for One is the replaced The Crucible as one of the three flagging quests to get into Gianthold Tor when epic version of Gianthold was released.  This led to a number of debates on the forums but the decision held.  In this blog I want to go over the heroic version of the quest A Cabal for One.

Tuhnn starting the quest A Cabal for One.

A Cabal for One takes place in a specific location in the Ruins of Gianthold known as the Hobgoblin Lair.  The Hobgoblin Lair is located in the Stormfist Encampment in the northeastern region of Gianthold.  The Hobgoblin Lair is located in the remnants of an old fortress that is set within the mountain ranges of Gianthold.

Battling hobgoblin casters, warriors, and archers in the Hobgoblin Lair.

Out of the three flagging quests for Gianthold Tor (A Cabal for One, Madstone Crater, and Prison of the Planes) A Cabal for One is the easiest, at least in my own opinion.  The quest is pretty straightforward and unlike the other two it doesn’t have any special mechanics to get through it.  In Madstone Crater you have to protect the Seers long enough to shatter their crystals while in the Prison of the Planes you have to activate various dimensional prisons with special orbs and then defeat the cells inhabitants to gain more orbs that are then used to summon forth the enemy boss.  In contrast, A Cabal for One is simply a straight forward hack and slash of all enemies until you loot the end relic.

Battling the Cloven Jaw hobgoblins in the lair.

Although A Cabal for One is a straight forward quest, unlike the other two flagging quests, you do have two different options in how you complete the quest.  You can either accept Gardak’s offer in the beginning of the quest where he plots with you to defeat King Bendix or decline his offer and fight Gardak in the beginning and dealing with all of the traps he originally offers to disarm for you.  I always tend to accept his offer but this does make the end fight much harder because Gardak will betray you and fight with King Bendix.

Coming across Gardak in the beginning of A Cabal for One.

However, before you get to that point you have make your way through the Hobgoblin Lair.  As I mentioned before, it is a pretty straight forward layout.  The inside of the fortress contains the typical block walls and floors with a number of closed doors that need to be opened as you progress forward into the lair.  In the beginning of the quest, after a brief encounter with some hobgoblins you come across Gardak who offers to either help you by disarming the traps or to fight you right then and there.  If you choose to fight Gardak at the beginning then you will have to disable the traps he offers to disable for you as you make your way through the quest but you will also get his additional chest.  If you accept his offer, the majority of the traps will be disabled but you will have to deal with him at the end of the quest and you won’t get his additional chest.

Coming across something other than hobgoblins.

Battling a winter wolf and noticing one of the traps that Gardak disabled.

Battling a champion and casters in the Hobgoblin Lair.

The enemies you encounter include hobgoblin casters, archers, and warriors.  You will also encounter their pets, and unlike other quests where wolves or worgs are the pets of the hobgoblins, this time you encounter winter wolves.  To make your way to King Bendix, you have to take out four other conspirators, who are traitors to the King.  These include Kivol, Maksim, Mikahi, and Vokur.  Kivol and Vokur are Arzag-Khor casters (lore masters I believe) while Maksim I believe is like a hobgoblin avenger and Mikahi is an archer.  Mikahi actually guards the room to the sole rest shrine in the quest.  There is also another conspirator but he is an optional objective kill, Olos Nobroc.  Olos is an a room that can be bypassed if somebody has a high enough jump to get over a spiked wall that has a gate in center of it.  On the other side of the wall is the lever that opens the gate.  However, most adventurers will take the path around the wall which leads into his room which contains himself and a few other hobgoblins and winter wolves.

Battling the first of the conspirators, Kivol.

Tuhnn coming across another of the conspirators.

Tuhnn encountering Vokur.

The shrine room is now clear.

Fighting in the Olos Nobroc’s room.

Another special note about the room Olos is located in.  It contains a hidden door which conceals a small alcove that has a chest in it.  Inside the alcove is also a trap, one of the few traps that doesn’t get disabled by Gardak.  When this quest first came out, this trap used to be one of the hardest to disable at level and finding the trap box was extremely challenging, especially on elite.  This has changed since then but it is still worthy of notice.  The only other traps you will encounter, if you accept Gardak’s offer, are a few breakaway floor pieces that conceal some spikes in a small pit.

Dealing with a hallway full of hobgoblins.

After you defeat the four conspirators you can then get access to King Bendix, Gardak (as he betrays you if you didn’t kill him in the beginning), and the king’s protectors.  Gardak is a hobgoblin infiltrator who likes to use dual swords with quite a bit of efficiency.  The best strategy is try to fight Gardak and King Bendix separately, primarily because King Bendix is a cleric and tends to heal quite effectively as well as to drop blade barriers and comet falls quite often.  Gardak is actually not that problematic on his one.  It is also a good idea to take out the hobgoblin casters that are part of king’s protective party, as their glitterdust spells and their healing ability makes things very annoying as well.

Perhaps one of the most annoy spells ever…glitterdust…

Tuhnn coming across some of the king’s protectors.

There are a few named items that can be obtained from this quest.  These include the adamantine knuckles, the madstone skull, and the shamanic fetish.  You will also get a ancient elven relic as well, which can be used purchase augment crystals or elfcraft armor from vendors in Gianthold.

More protectors to the king.

The king and his bloody blade barrier.

One on one with the king.

Time to claim the relic.

Overall, this quest is pretty short and pretty straight forward.  It is a fun quest to run and is typically a nice little run, especially if you are limited in time because it is quick to get to and to complete.  If you have anything against hobgoblins, try this quest out :).  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Developing a Character Biography for Tuhnn

I haven’t created a large number of iconic characters.  So far, I have only created one and that is Tuhnn who is currently a level 16 Bladeforged.  I created Tuhnn awhile back and now it is time to add his storyline and creation to the lore side of things.  In other words, I need to develop a biography for him.  My main thoughts for Tuhnn was to focus more on generating damage and just creating havoc in the midst of his enemies.  I planned on using nothing but great swords for him, maybe a great club as well for slimes, so he won’t be using any type of shields.  I also want him to have a very intimidating appearance.


Tuhnn looking imposing on guild’s airship.

Being a “child” of the Lord of Blades and being a paladin, Tuhnn has some conflicting personality conflicts.  With the Lord of Blades inherently being evil but Tuhnn being lawful good, as his class requires for being a paladin, has created a number of internal conflicts for him.  He wants to maintain that religious connection to his creator but he also wants to work in the promotion of eradicating evil beings.  To make things even more complicated, he is conflicted when it comes to working with others as he wants to make sure that the quests and adventures he is participating in further the goals of the Lords of Blade while also working to provide for a safer and better world.

That is definitely an interesting back drop for a character biography.  Tuhnn was created by the Lord of Blades as a member of his elite warrior class, the Bladeforged.  Created in the mystical forges under House Cannith, Tuhnn emerged from the creation forge and ventured out into the House Cannith ward.  He was eager to explore the wild continent of Xen’drik and it’s mixing pot city of Stormreach.  Stormreach was the perfect city to explore, learn, and adventure in.  There was plenty of work to do and deeds to be done.

As he left the House Cannith ward he entered the Stormreach Marketplace and headed for the Rusty Nail in the hopes of finding some information and to see if there was anything going on that needed investigation.  When he entered the tavern he noticed a few adventurers sitting at a large table.  As soon as he noticed them, they noticed him.  One of them got up and headed towards him, another warforged but unlike him, Harrgon wasn’t a Bladeforged.  Harrgon introduced himself and offered him a place at the table.  Tuhnn learned that Harrgon and the rest of the group were adventurers who were in a small guild called the Crypt Crawlers.  The Crypt Crawlers were lead by a passionate and caring leader named Erdrique.

The members at the table mentioned that Erdrique was recruiting more hands and recommended for Tuhnn to talk to him.  Tuhnn accepted the offer and shortly later met up with the guild’s leader.  Tuhnn realized that he would fit I  with this group of adventurers and confided in Erdrique about his inner conflicts.  Erdrique told Tuhnn that he would help him resolve those issues and that troubles they continue to solve in Stormreach and Evening star may present him with a solution to his own problrms.  After some consideration, Tuhnn accepted the offer to join the guild.

So, with that as a background to Tuhnn here is a quick biography:

Tuhnn was created by the legendary Lord of Blades in his personal creation forges under House Cannith as one of his elite and few Bladeforged warriors.  Tuhnn wants to do everything he can to forward the goals of the Lord of Blades but he also wants to do what is right for the greater good as well.  This has caused quite a bit of personal conflict for him.  He joined the Crypt Crawlers to help them with their goals to restore good in the wild land of Stormreach.  He is hoping that through theses quests and adventures that he will be able to develop a solution to his internal conflicts.

I think that is a descent description for my thoughts on Tuhnn and his background.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in Stormreach!!