Moving Through the Jungles of Khyber

Perhaps one of the most widely run quest in DDO is The Jungles of Khyber, or better known as VON 3.  The Jungles of Khyber is also known as VON 3 because when the quest story line for the Vault of Knight (VON) first came it out, the quests had to be run in a certain order to properly flag for the raid and this quest was the third in that sequence.  This particular quest is run pretty heavily because it gives a large amount of experience at both the heroic and epic levels.  Not only does it have a large amount of base experience but it also has a large number of optional objectives that just add to experience totals.  Also, if you happen to know your way through the quest, it doesn’t take a large amount of time, even though it is considered to be a long quest.

To make your way to The Jungles of Khyber, you first have to make it through the mini-quest, The Gateway to Khyber.  The main goal of the quest is to track down another member of Marek’s old crew, Veil.  Veil is currently in hiding because a Marut is after her.  In order to protect herself, Veil has retreated into a complicated series of caverns and has enlisted the help of her drow tribe as well as forming some alliances with the Blackheart Trolls and a clan of beholders.

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Erdrique making his way through the trolls.

After you defeat the encampment of trolls in the mini-quest, you begin the next quest at the start of a cavern entrance.  It doesn’t take long until you start running into the scorpions, drow scorpions, and drow of Veil’s tribe.  In fact the majority of forces you will encounter are drow, drow scorpions, and scorpions.  As you make your way through the tunnels, you need to take a few precautions.  There are a number of cunning traps set up the drow, primarily at door entrances.  Some of these traps can be pushed through while some others can be quite deadly.  You also need to be careful in some instance of the cavern where some drow rangers and casters will be perched on some upper reaches and will hammer down on you while you are engaged with more drow rushing from below.

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Sttollen staring down the caverns of the Jungles of Khyber.

As you continue to make your way through the drow forces, you catch glimpses of the Marut and its destruction while it is on its own path to find Veil.  Eventually, you run through the end of the drow territory and come across an area with some huge mushrooms that are home to the beholders.  This area is behind a set of locked doors.  After you defeat the beholders, in which case you could come across two optional named beholders, you have to activate some runes to proceed further into the caverns.

At this point, you will make your way to another optional fight above a waterfall and then to an air jet that will push you over a rock wall to land in the middle of a final stand of drow and trolls that come in waves.  After the waves are defeated, you then get the pleasure to deal with champions of the three clans: a named drow, a named beholder, and a named troll.  Of the three of them, the named beholder is the hardest to deal with.  Many people will try to fight the three champions one at a time and will try to “pull” a single champion.

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Erdrique battling through the drow and scorpions.

Once you defeat the three champions, the way to Veil opens up.  You find Veil in a protective ring and then you discover that not only is she a drow but she is a also a vampire.  This is why the Marut is after her.  She then tells you that she will rejoin Marek’s group if you can destroy the Marut.  Shortly later, the Marut arrives knocking down another magical barrier with its attack.

The Marut can be a very tough foe.  Not only does it regenerate but it has considerable damage reduction which requires a chaotic weapon to bypass.  The Marut likes to attack with sonic, lightning, and blinding type of punch attacks.  Fighting him in melee can be a little irritating but not impossible.  Once he goes down, the quest completes.

There are three shrines in the quest.  One just after some serious traps and drow archers hitting you from an overhang.  The second is just before the beholder territory and the third is just prior to the fight with the three champions.  With all of the optional enemies, this quest can also have a large number of chests.  In heroic, there isn’t an end quest for the Marut, but there is one for killing the three champions.  In epic, you do get an epic chest after the Marut is defeated.

If you haven’t tried VON 3 yet, take a chance on it.  It is a fun quest, with a number of little quests.  Just be wary of those beholders and have a weapon suitable for the Marut.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

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Who is Saerick Vorculas?

One of the more interesting things I have found within my questing adventures in DDO is the random encounters or discoveries of potential powerful beings without really learning anything at all about them.  This essentially forces you to create your own “lore” about these particular personas.  One of these is Saerick Vorculas.  Saerick Vorculas is the end boss in the quest, The Keeper’s Sanctuary.  When you pick up the quest for The Keeper’s Sanctuary from Archin Muriose, he doesn’t give you any indication that you might encounter such a foe, just that he is looking for these scrolls of potential knowledge, which will obviously be protected in some way.

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Finally coming across Saerick Vorculas.

So who exactly is Saerick Vorculas?  As you make your way through the Keeper’s Sanctuary, you will discover a few interesting items that give some clues as to who this powerful enemy is.  The objective of the quest is to recover some powerful scrolls that appear to contain some powerful magics that refer to some necromancy practices.  This isn’t too surprising, since we are making our way through a sacred temple to one of the gods of the Dark Six.  

This also suggests that Saerick Vorculas may have been some type of lead priest or disciple to the Keeper.  He most likely authored these scrolls: preservation, embalming, and decay.  You also may find his own personal journal only to find that you can’t open it my normal means because it is protected by some type of powerful magic.  

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Saerick’s journal is heavily protected.

When you finally collect these relics, you will eventually come across Saerick Vorculas, or what is left of him anyway.  You discover that Saerick is now a powerful mummy lord and a rather clever one who even attempts to distract the party by sending a “double” of himself to attack you first.  Saerick has the ability to cast a number of powerful divine spells including blade barrier and searing light,  These hints also suggest that he was once a higher level cleric/priest and that he was able to learn how to survive in the afterlife with the help of applying whatever he learned during his studies and by giving some guiding advice from the Keeper.

But when did Saerick Vorculas do these studies?  How long ago has he been in Stormreach and Delera’s Graveyard?  Why didn’t the Silver Flame not purge this powerful force when they “cleansed” the templet?  Muriose is often vague on these topics and only tells you that the zealots of the Silver Flame where interested in getting rid of the “living” monks and priests.  They had to know that followers of the Keeper most likely had some undead servants as well.  Why not clear these out?  The Keeper’s Sanctuary is littered with secret doors and passageways.  Could it be that the Silver Flame party was just so inept that they just didn’t notice these passages?  Where they somehow “blinded” from being able to discover these?

Perhaps Saerick Vorculas was just a little bored by the time we enter his Sanctuary and just wanted to have some “fun” and allowed us to find him.  In either case, he has now learned the error or his ways.  So many more questions though are left answered.  We’ll see if we come across anything else in the future that helps fill in those blanks.

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the Keeper’s Sanctuary!! 

Knocking Out Some More Slayer Areas

One of things that I like to try to do with my questing schedule it to make sure I get some time to complete explorer zones. I usually try to do some explorer area runs right after I get home from work during the typical work week and on Monday nights when I’m also playing digital PNP with some friends (since my attention can be diverted from DDO on those nights for quite a bit of time).  Recently, I completed a few of these areas.

Erdrique (Level 13 Bard) and Sttollen (Level 14 Rogue), while dual boxing, completed Sorrowdusk Isle.  It took me forever to finally come across Vermilo during this go round but he eventually sprang forward.

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Erdrique and Sttollen finally find Vermilo to finish up Sorrowdusk Isle.

Cannock (Level 9 Druid) completed Tangleroot Gorge, which was ironic because he completed Three Barrel Cove prior to Tangleroot Gorge, primarily because he was also dual boxing with my other account and the majority of my characters on that account happened to need Three Barrel Cove.  Therefore, Cannock saw more time in that area.  But he eventually completed Tangleroot.

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Cannock finally finishes Tangleroot Gorge.

To end things out Containment (Level 9 Cleric) maxed out Three Barrel Cove, where he received a lot of help from Cannock and Berann (Level 10 Barbarian).

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Getting some help, Containment completes Three Barrel Cove.

Now Erdrique and Sttollen get to move onto the Red Fens (where they will both be guzzling down some slayer potions as reaching 7,500 max kills in that small zone is a huge task to do) while Cannock and Containment get to move on to the Searing Heights were they get to challenge some Sulatar drow and Blood Tide pirates.  Looking forward to it!!

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in those explorer areas!!

Crunching Down the Numbers of My Monster Manual-Part 8

In my last article about analyzing the numbers of my monster manual, I took a look at the diversity of monsters that Kolll, my level 22 Arcane Archer/Shiradi Champion, defeated.  In this article I take a look at the opposite side of things, what monsters accounted for his defeats.

Unlike what I saw with Erdrique and Hamllin, the trends I noticed here showed that Kolll’s defeats by monster type did not follow the same trends for my account as a whole. Kolll’s  top three adversaries were player races, monstrous humanoids, and elementals/abberations (Table 1 and Figures 1 and 2).  For the entire account the top three enemy types that accounted for the most of my characters death were humanoids, player races, and undead.  Across my entire account, Kolll accounted for just about 3.5% of my total deaths.

Table 1.  Number of defeats suffered by Kolll, my account, and the percent Kolll accounted for by monster type.

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Figure 1.  Proportion of Kolll’s defeats by monster type.

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Figure 2.  Number of defeats by monster type for Kolll and my account as a whole.

The next thing I wanted to look at was Kolll’s kill ratio and his death rate and how these statistics compared to my account as a whole.  I explained how these statistics are calculated back in this blog post.  Tables 2 and 3 and Figures 3 and 4 illustrated these trends.  Kolll’s highest kill ratio were for humanoid, vermin, undead, giant, and player races.  These particular ratios ranged from just over 100 to over 1,000.  Comparing these trends account wide, these monster types ranged in the middle area for my account as a whole, except for vermin which also had a very high kill ratio.

Table 2.  Kill ratio statistic by monster type for Kolll and across my account (sorted by highest ratio for Kolll).

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Table 3.  Death rate statistic by monster type for Kolll and across my account (sorted by highest death rate for Kolll).

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Figure 3.  Kill ratio by monster type for Kolll and my account.

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Figure 4.  Death rate by monster type for Kolll and my account.

Looking at the death ratio statistic, the most dangerous enemies Kolll encountered were aberrations, elementals, and monstrous humanoids.  A comparison to the death rate statistic account wide showed some divergent trends.  Account wide, dragons, outsiders, and aberrations accounted for the top three deadliest enemies.

I took a broader look at Kolll’s defeats and compared them to my account as a whole across monster manual volumes (Table 4-6 and Figures 5-7).  Across the eight volumes (Prologue + Volumes 1 thru 7), the monsters in Volume 2 accounted for the majority (9 deaths) of Kolll’s defeats than any other volume.  Comparing the trends of Kolll’s defeats to all of my characters, the trends were quite different.  Kolll suffered the majority of his defeats from monsters in Volume 2, while across my entire account the majority of deaths were due to monsters in the Prologue.  Kolll’s second leading volume was Volume 7 while account wide it was Volume 1.  Taking a look at the percentages that Kolll accounted for by volume is also interesting.  Kolll accounted for less than 10% in the majority of the volumes, but in Volume 7 the number of deaths he suffered accounted for 80% of deaths on my account.

Table 4.  Number of defeats by monster manual volume for Kolll and my account and the percent Kolll accounted for.

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Table 5.  Kill ratio for Kolll and my account by monster manual volume (sorted by highest kill ratio for Kolll).

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Table 6.  Death rate for Kolll and my account by monster manual volume (sorted by highest death rate for Kolll).

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Figure 5.  Total number of defeats by monster manual volume for Kolll and my account.

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Figure 6.  Kill ratio by monster manual volume for Kolll and my account.

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Figure 7.  Death rate by monster manual volume for Kolll and my account.

I noticed some interesting trends when I looked at the number of defeats by monster race (Tables 7-12 and Figures 8-15).  The monster races that accounted for the top five defeats for Kolll were minotaur, warforged, drow, mephits, and sahaugin.  These trends definitely reflect those I saw when I looked at defeats by monster type.  Comparing these to the top five for my account; humans, hobgoblin, beholder, skeleton, and troglodytes we see quite a divergence  What I found really interesting is that Kolll accounted for 100% of my account’s defeats against drow and 43% of my defeats from warforged.  Looking at the opposite trends, monsters that accounted for the least number of deaths for Kolll (excluding those that Kolll hasn’t suffered a defeat against) include humans, beholders, driders, scorpions, elf, zombies, hill giant, and kobold.  At the time I pulled this data, Kolll hadn’t suffered a defeat against 62 different monster races, at least to date (a good portion of these he hadn’t yet encountered).  Account wide, this number is only 17 races.

Table 7.  Top five monster races by number of defeats for Kolll, the number of defeats those races accounted for on my account, and Kolll’s percent of those defeats.

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Table 8.  Monster races that accounted for the fewest number of defeats for Kolll, excluding those Kolll never suffered a defeat from.

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Table 9.  List of monsters that Kolll has never been defeated by and the number of defeats those same monsters have accrued against my account.

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Figure 8.  Top five monster races that defeated Kolll and their respective defeats account wide.

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Figure 9.  Monster races that accounted for the fewest number of defeats for Kolll and their respective defeats account wide.

Taking a a more detailed look at the monster races that accounted for Kolll’s most defeats, drow had the lowest kill ratio and the highest death rates, indicating that these monsters are the most dangerous encounters for him, at least with those from the top five in defeats.  Looking at the kill ratio and death rate statistics for those races that accounted for the fewest defeats, driders and beholders were the most dangerous for Kolll, and in fact the one encounter he had with a drider resulted in a defeat and at the time I pulled the data he hadn’t had a chance to encounter any others.

Table 10.  Kill ratio and death rate for the top five monster races by number of defeats for Kolll and the same statistics for my account as whole for the same monster races.

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Table 11.  Kill ratio and death rate for the monster races that accounted for the fewest number of kills for Kolll.

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Figure 10.  Kill ratio for the monsters that accounted for most of Kolll’s defeats.

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Figure 11.  Death rate for the monsters that accounted for most of Kolll’s defeats.

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Figure 12.  Kill ratio for the monsters that accounted for the fewest number of defeats for Kolll.

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Figure 13.  Death rate for the monsters that accounted for the fewest number of defeats for Kolll.

The last analysis I did was too look at the top 10 deadliest monster races for my account and looked at those statistics for Kolll.  Taking a look at the kill ratio and death rate statistics, the top 10 deadliest races for my account include: purple worms, dragons, beholders, hezrou, ice flensers, abishai, drider, lich, efreeti, and mind flayer.  Out of these, Kolll has only suffered defeats beholders and driders,  Much of this is do to the fact that Kolll hasn’t encountered these enemies or they were added to the monster manual after Kolll complete the quests where these enemies typically occur.

Table 12.  Top 10 deadliest monster races for my account using the kill ratio and death rate statistics and comparing those statistics to Kolll’s.

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These trends I have observed with Kolll are a little different from what I saw with Erdrique and Hamllin.  This is primarily because Kolll is questing in a different level range than Erdrique and Hamllin and because he gets a lot less play time.

Thanks for reading everybody!!  Happy hunting in DDO everybody!!

 

 

Erdrique Get’s His First Mysterious Remnant Award

Although mysterious remnants have been dropping for quite some time now, I haven’t really taken the time to explore the items available from the mysterious remnant trader.  Instead I have just been collecting and collecting remnant drops.  Well the other day I decided to see if I could get anything useful and decided that my first trade in would by a tome of melee power.

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Erdrique gets his first remnant reward.

I’ll be working on saving more remnants for the other rewards, especially for upgrading the melee tomes.  I wonder if I will have enough remnants to get a cloak or so when the remnant trader weekend comes back into town.  I guess we’ll see.

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Hot Linking Metamagic Feats

I only have a few casters in my character arsenal for DDO, as I tend to favor melee and ranged characters.  At least most of the time.  Casters just have so many different spells and abilities that it just makes it hard for me, personally, to keep up with.  You then layer this on top of the various metamagic feats that you can obtain as you level up and things can get really complicated; trying to remember which metamagics to turn on and which ones to turn off and that type of thing.  And then realizing that you left a metamagic feat on and you just cast a spell where it didn’t need to be and noticing how much of your spell point pool you just wasted.

I remember when DDO made it possible to “hot link” a metamagic feat to a particular spell.  What this allows you to do is to right click on a spell and specify if you want to always have a metamagic feat on or off for that spell (at least for all those metamagic feats the spell can actually use).  When this came out, I remember thinking that would be a waste of spell points because if you always leave on empower and maximize then you would wind up burning through spell points after the first couple of fights.  I always felt that micro managing your spell points and your metamagic feats was a better alternative, with only turning those feats on as needed.  However, I found myself forgetting to turn off some metamagics (such as quicken and extend) when I didn’t need them and not having time to turn on others when I did need them.  So instead of micro managing those spell points I found myself wasting more spell points or losing effectiveness in my spell casting.

A few weeks back, the DDOCast episode 461 looked at tips for formatting and handling the user interface for DDO.  One of the topics they discussed was hot linking your metamagic feats to your various spells.  As I mentioned before, although I knew it was possible, I kind of dismissed it but after listening to the DDOCast episode I figured I would give it out a try.  I discovered that hot linking the metamagics actually seems to work better for my play style.  For spells such as Haste, Displacement, and Rage I find myself not forgetting to extend them and realizing that I didn’t extend the length for spells such as Freedom of Movement or Blur which I don’t typically want to extend (as they tend to last long enough for my needs from a normal cast).  For my damage dealing spells, hot linking empower and maximize just allows me to not worry about it layer.  So now I don’t have to worry about turning those metamagic feats on when I get to boss fight or a particular tough encounter.

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Rimuldar setting up his metamagics.

The one thing I’m still learning though is too effectively judge what spells to cast as my opponent’s hits points are dwindling down.  I do find myself sometimes wasting some spell points because the damage dealing spell I just let fly resulted in much more damage than what was needed to finish the enemy off.  However, I tend to melee and range attack much more often with my casters than normal players, as well as using wands, so I believe I will be able to through a better mixture of when to cast my spells and augment them with other forms of attack.  This is a learning curve I’m still practicing.

In any case, I just wanted to point out that hot linking is a useful too and it is something worth exploring if you play a caster (whether it is an arcane or divine caster).  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

 

Questing Over the Anniversary Week, February 26 to March 4

This past week, I had a rather tough time in a number of questing activities this week.  Not only did a suffer a rather large number of defeats and I also had a computer crash, go figure!!  However, with that said, I still had a good time.

I kicked things off on Sunday by taking Erdrique (Level 11 Bard) and Sttollen (Level 12 Rogue) into the Anniversary Party.  Since Sttollen is level 12, I entered the Anniversary Party at level 12 and made my way through the quest with little difficulty.  I complete the four optional objectives and received five party favors of the run.  That was the only quest I completed on Sunday.

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Getting stunned by Steelstar in the Anniversary Party.

On Monday, I dual boxed with Lorrikk (Level 13 Monk) and Stoorage (Level 15 Fighter) and took them into the Red Fens.  For a little awhile now, I have been running through slayer areas on Monday because I’m also playing with a digital table top game with a small set of friends and sometimes my attention gets diverted for a large amount of time.  By running an explorer area, I don’t worry about not completing a quest.  During these runs through the Red Fens, Lorrikk collected 429 slayers and Stoorage collected 515 slayers.  Lorrikk picked up four monster manual deeds during this run.  He picked up mudman exterminator I and picked up 1,130 experience, sahaugin exterminator II for 1,320 experience, mudman exterminator III for my VIP account, and monstrous plant exterminator II for my VIP account.  Lorrikk hit the 750 slayer mark while Stoorage hit the 3,000 slayer mark.  They also took out Anogoreth (three times), Chokebriar (twice), Crooktooth (twice), Mudfoot (twice), Kar Xyr, Sharkbiter, Vyx Ka (twice), Gorger (twice), Fencreeper, Riptide, and Nab Ren.

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Lorrikk making his way through the Red Fens.

I logged on with Berann (Level 10 Barbarian) to kick things off on Tuesday and took him into Tangleroot Gorge for some quick slayers.  While out there, he collected his last 21 slayers and finished off the zone.  He also came across and defeated Clamor and Silkweave.  Now he gets to move to Three Barrel Cove.  I then logged on with Erdrique and Sttollen and I took them into Sorrowdusd Isle to run The Temple Outpost: Captives of the Cult.  However, when I got to the quest entrance my computer crashed.  By the time I got it back up and running, I ran out of time for that run.  However, I did pick up another 26 slayers for both of them and defeated Noozer before my computer died.  Later that night, I logged on with Garrrin (Level 23 Barabarian/Primal Avatar) and I took him into the Underdark to attempt In the Belly of the Beast.  On his way to the quest, I picked up 20 slayers and defeated one Dun’robar Blademaster.  Once I made it to the quest I entered on epic hard and quickly regretted it.  I didn’t have any problems until I got into the arena.  Once inside the arena, I started to suffer quite a bit from lag.  I didn’t take long for my hirelings to die under the spawns of yuan-ti with me following shortly later.  Up to that point, I was suffering lag quite a bit so I was worried something bad would happen.  I recalled and made my way back to the quest but entered it on epic normal instead.  Things went much smoother this time.  Even with the lag, I had little difficulty with completing it.  Garrin picked up three monster manual deeds during the completion of In the Belly of the Beast: yuan-ti hunter (2,300 experience), purple worm hunter (2,300 experience), and purple worm hunter II (4,000 experience).  He completed the optional objective for slaying Voltane the Slave Master and picked up two commendations, one for war wizard and one for purple dragon knight.  He also received 11 commendations of valor as a request reward.  That closed out my runs on Tuesday.

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Berann finishing up the Tangleroot Gorge explorer area.

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Garrrin traveling through the Underdark to get to quest In the Belly of the Beast.

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Garrrin making his way to the arena.

On Wednesday, I logged on with Garrrin once again but this time for a slayer run through the King’s Forest.  He gathered 55 slayers, of which 3 were dire bears and one was a drow priestess.  He also completed the random encounter for Money or Life.  He also mind one more message from Eliminster.  Unfortunately that was the only run I was able to get in.

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Garrrin hunting in the King’s Forest.

I logged on with Cannock (Level 8 Druid) on Thursday and took him through Tangleroot Gorge.  He picked up 109 slayers and came across Silkweave, Clamor, and Gharjat.  After that run, I logged on with Hamllin (Level 20 Fighter/Fatesinger) and I took him the Anniversary Party at level 20.  This turned out to be a mistake :(.  It was painfully evident that Hamllin is nowhere near as prepared as Edrique and he suffered some humiliating defeats.  Well after that embarrassment, I logged on with the Cantlin (Level 14 Sorcerer) and Suppply (Level 11 Paladin) and I took them into Tomb of the Shadow Guard on elite.  Cantlin picked up a monster manual deed for spider hunter and received 1,356 experience.  After that run I called it a night.

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Cannock hunting down some enemies in Tangleroot Gorge.

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Cantlin swimming his way through the Tomb of the Shadow Guard.

I didn’t log in on Friday, primarily because my wife and I went out to eat, and then I fell asleep, completely missing that play time.  But on Saturday, I logged on with Erdrique and Sttollen and I took them into Sorrowdusk Isle for some slayers.  They picked up 146 kills and defeated Saate, Furley, Noozer, Barxer, Kurmer, and hit the 400 slayer mark.  I then ran it again later that night and picked up another 148 kills and defeated Saate, Furley, Barxer, Kurmer, and Kremen.  Erdrique also picked up the monster manual deed for scorpion exterimantor II and collected another 1,650 experience.  I then headed off to the Anniversary Party once again and had no issues completing.  Erdrique actually picked up a +1 to +2 Skill Tome (balance I believe) from the end chest.  I ran the quest on level 12 again which gave us five more party favors.  I then called it a night.

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Erdrique fighting the ogres in Sorrowdusk Isle.

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The ultimate ogre slayer in Sorrowdusk Isle.

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Erdrique taking on Steelstar in the Anniversary Party.

So yeah, it was a relatively rough week.  Having my computer crash, over sleeping, and then hitting a few rough gaming sessions but the questing was still fun and that is all that matters.  I hope everybody else had a great week!!  Thanks for reading and happy hunting in Stomreach!!