Who is Commander Errulf?

Well, here is yet another blog post on an aspect of the Sands of Menechtarun.  This time I would like to focus on one of the rare encounters you might stumble upon, Commander Errulf.  Commander Errulf is a firebrand gnoll who can be located in small camp just above the quest entrance to Maraud the Mines.  He shares time at this location with Lieutenant Ayurro (who you will see much more often).  Commander Errulf is well known because his chest has the potential to drop the boots, Firestorm Greaves.

So besides being a powerful and vicious gnoll in the Firebrand Camp of the desert, who is Commander Errulf?  We know practically nothing about this particular gnoll and we can’t really determine a whole lot of his backstory from the desert itself or from Maraud the Mines or Chains of Flames, the two quests that feature the Firebrand Gnolls.  From his rank, I’m guessing that Commander Errulf is the leading officer for the Firebrand Gnoll forces that guards the perimeter of their territory and the entrance to the Burning Mountain.  I’m also assuming that because he tends to share time at his post with Lieutenant Ayurro, that he likes to make rounds around the perimeter to make sure his forces are staying vigilant.

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However, how did Errulf obtain his rank?  It is known that gnolls are generally quite aggressive and crave the hunt and they routinely fight each other to establish dominance.  It is also well known that gnolls are very loyal to their family and to those they have considered to be friends, even with the constant in-fighting for dominance.  Therefore it is possible that Errulf raised to his position by simply being the strongest in his clan or pack within the Firebrand Gnolls.  I’m not entirely sure how structured their military institution is, but I can see gnolls having battles to determine rank, especially ranks for higher levels within the military structure.  I also wouldn’t be surprised that being a member of a high ranking family also influences a standing an individual gnoll would received within their clan.

Therefore, it makes me wonder if Commander Errulf is related to General Muurajha or possibly General Hruvayah.  I don’t think this relationship would be paternal because gnolls don’t typically have a long life span (30 years or so).  However, it is possible that Errulf is a sibling of these higher ranking gnolls or even possibly a cousin.

What is clear is that Commander Errulf seems to hold an important position, even being responsible for guarding some high profile pieces of loot.

So, what do you think is Commander Errulf’s background.  Thanks for reading and happy hunting in the desert!!

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Runs Over January 11th to 13th

Well, the weekend from January 11th to January 13th was more productive than the weekend previous.  The first thing I did was to complete the quest Lord of Eyes with Erdrique (Level 23 Bard/Fatesinger) and Sttollen (Level 22 Rogue/Shadowdancer) on elite which also closed out the story arc for the Reign of Madness.  Erdrique wand up looting Belashyrra’s Cleansed Scepter in the end quest.  As quest rewards for completing the Reign of Madness story arc, Erdrique picked up the rune arm Glorious Obscenity and Sttollen picked up Fleshshaper’s Brigadine.  I then took Erdrique and Sttollen into the Sands of Menechtarun where they picked up another 502 gnoll slayers and hit the 3,000 slayer mark completing that portion of the slayer quests.  They also picked up another 45 slayers in scorrow.  During this run they took down Commander Errulf, Vorvand Darkfur, Utach Sandcrawl, and Stinkpelt.  That closed out my runs for Friday night.

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Erdrique preparing to finish the quest Lord of Eyes.

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Erdrique hunting gnolls in the desert.

On Saturday night, I took Erdrique and Sttollen into the quest Good Intentions.  It was the first time I tried this quest.  I remembered reading about it and how it contains a lot of constructs.  Boy, was that not overstated.  Even being level 23, Erdrique wound up getting kicked twice, primarily because I just wasn’t prepared for what to expect.  However, I did get through it.  Erdrique would up looting the Dashing Gloves while Sttollen picked up the Ring of Prowess.  I then took Erdrique and Sttollen back out into the Sands of Menechtarun to get some more slayers, focusing this time on the scorrow.  They picked up another 133 slayers and came across Volrune and Utach Sandcrawl.  I then started to run down the level 18 quests in the Adventure Compendium and the first quest in line was Terminal Delirium.  I wasn’t quite looking forward to this run.  I entered the quest and immediately ran into trouble with the beholders and medusa combinations.  I immediately got obliterated and re-started the quest.  I then made it to the mirror portion of the quest and then got punished rather harshly.  Needless to say it don’t go well.  I decided to call it a night at that point.

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Encountering many constructs in Good Intentions.

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Going hunting for some scorrow in the desert.

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Erdrique isn’t liking the looks of this in Terminal Delirium.

Sunday night I logged on with Tuhnn (Bladeforged, Level 17).  I didn’t do anything substantial with him, just worked on favor.  He completed the quests Stealthy Repossession, Smuggler’s Warehouse, Recovering the Lost Time, and Missing in Action.  he also collected another 165 slayers in Cerulean Hills.  During these adventures he picked up several monster manual deeds: Orc Exterminator 1 (1,110 experience) and Human Hunter (444 experience),  That closed out my weekend.

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Tuhnn finishing up Stealthy Repossession.

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Tuhnn making his way through the Smuggler’s Warehouse.

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Tuhnn working his way through Recovering the Lost Tome.

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Tuhnn looking for the lost part in Missing in Action.

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Tuhnn doing some hunting in the Cerulean Hills.

Thanks for reading everybody and I hope everybody had a great weekend worth of questing.  Happy hunting!!

Knocking Out Another Story Arc-Reign of Madness

About two weeks ago, Erdrique (Level 23 Bard/Fatesinger) and Sttollen (Level 22 Rogue/Shadowdancer) completed the Lord of Eyes which meant they also completed the Story Arc for the Reign of Madness chain.  If you haven’t attempted the Reign of Madness chain, it also includes the quests Acute Delirium, The Sane Asylum, and The Lord of Stone.  These quests are all level 17 on normal, making them level 19 on elite.  They give you favor from The Twelve and involve pitting one daelkyr against another (Lord of Stone vs. Lord of Eyes).

The quests can be challenging, especially Acute Delirium and Sane Asylum.  However, they also introduce a number of interesting mechanics: such as building an airship out of beds and bookshelves and and hopping back and forth from one plane to another to get past various doors and to take different types of enemies.  Overall, they are fun and challenging.

ScreenShot01661Erdrique checking out his rewards from the Reign of Madness chain.

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Sttollen taking a look at his quest rewards.

As a quest reward, Erdrique grabbed the rune arm, Glorious Obscenity and Sttollen grabbed the Fleshshaper’s Brigadine.  They both used their new loot as food items for their sentient weapons.

If you haven’t done these before, check them out.  Thanks for reading and happy hunting!!

Another Post on Organizing Time

Like most gamers, the amount of time I have available to play DDO and to contribute to the DDO Community has varied over the years.  I have been playing DDO since April 2006 and since then I have played and contributed consistently but not at the same levels (measured in terms of game play logged and posts/time spent on blogging and other activities).  All of this can attributed to changes that have occurred in my personal and professional life.  This has made me reorganize my gaming schedule yet once again.

I wrote about this type of situation two other times (Blog 1 and Blog 2).  The main thing to remember when it comes to your schedule is to be flexible.  A few years ago I had what I thought of as the perfect game schedule.  During the workweek, I would log in into DDO for about 10 to 20 minutes and hit up a quick slayer area.  After work and before dinner, I would log in again and play a quick quest or two.  And then I would cap out the night by playing from 10 pm to midnight, at which point I would go to bed.  On the weekends, I would play from 11 pm to 2 am or so, and sometimes I would get some miscellaneous play time in while also working or chores or yard work.  This schedule allowed me to play the plethora of characters I have and to continue to play through different quest levels of the game.  The extra things I would do that were game related (blogging, forum posts, web site, guild newsletters, etc.) I would work on while I had breaks on work and also between chores at home.

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The Risia Games will be coming back up soon.  Another aspect for consideration when  developing a schedule.

However, I had to change this schedule.  I had switched when I go to the gym to workout from late afternoon to first thing in the workweek which meant I could no longer do my morning slayer runs.  Also, we have been so busy at work, that I routinely get home later than I normally would.  This has impacted my ability to log in prior to dinner.  We have also been so busy at work, that I have been bring extra projects home to work on what would be my typical play time period (10 pm to midnight).  So while I like working on these projects, I took away from my game time.  This then just left me with the weekends, where I focused more on getting game time in and less on other things.

I’m trying to switch things back up again.  I’m currently going back to a play schedule that was similar to when I first started playing the game, primarily just at night (even during the weekends).  I’m also spending more of my lunch hours at work to get back into blogging as well as the daytime hours on the weekend (between chores).  I still have a few things that I want to work in, but so far it seems to be working alright.  I haven’t been able to get as much play time in but I have been able to pick up blogging again.  We’ll see how else the gaming schedule changes, but hopefully I can adjust and make the most of everything.

Thanks for readying everybody and happy hunting in DDO!!

Questing from January 7th to 10th

Just the previous weekend, this past week was also light in quest runs.  I kicked off the week by taking Garrrin (Level 24 Barbarian/Fury of the Wild) into the Harbor to knock out some favor runs.  I’m currently on a kick to just maximize all of my favor across all of characters.  It will slow me down in getting them leveled up but I don’t imagine it will take each character too long to fill in their blanks (of course I could be wrong on that).  In any case, I took him through Irestone Inlet (which I can’t believe he didn’t have on elite already) and Freshen the Air.  I was doing this while also playing during our digital table top game.  Speaking of the table top game, we moved over from using MapTools to Fantasy Grounds.  During this play session, I saw a lot of dialogue time which prevented me from running anything else on Monday night.  I called it a night after that.

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Garrrin just cleaning up some favor in Irestone Inlet.

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Garrrin taking note of being finished with Freshen the Air.

I ended the week by logging in with Cantlin (Level 14 Sorcerer) and taking him into Stromvauld’s Mine on elite.  I didn’t run into any problems, even though playing a caster isn’t my strongest play style.  After that run, I took him into the Red Fens to do some slayers and to close out the night.

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Cantlin burning up some scorpions in Stromvauld’s Mine.

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Cantlin continues to explore the Red Fens.

I didn’t log in on Wednesday or Thursday night.  Wednesday night was date night and Thursday night real life activities got into the way (chores and that type of thing).  I hope everybody else had a great week.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

A Fun Little Trinket

There are a number of interesting and powerful trinkets in DDO.  However, there is one that I find to be tremendously fun, the Shard of Xoriat.  The Shard of Xoriat looks like one of the disks that are used in the Dreamforge to upgrade the items from the Inspired Quarter and Dreaming Dark quest packs.  You can only get it out of the quest, The Sane Asylum and it also an exclusive item, meaning that you can only have one in your inventory at any time.

The Shard of Xoriat grants a +1 Exceptional Charisma and Greater Enchantment Focus.  However, its most useful characteristic is the ability to summon an Xorian creature to your aid three times per rest.  The creates that you can summon include a chaos beholder, a mind flayer, a flesh render, a greater evil eye, or a Taken.  All five of these creatures have their own unique flavor to them that makes questing just a little more fun.

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The Shard of Xoriat is a fun little item to have.

The most powerful of these summons is the chaos beholder and the mind flayer.  The choas beholder has its own way of doing crowd control by hypnotizing your enemies.  It is fun to be in the thick of combat to all of sudden see the enemy monsters with “pink hats” on their heads.  It also tends to shoot other rays out and to grap aggro fairly quickly.  Likewise, the mind flayer is pretty powerful as well.  He tends to like to cast firewalls, cyclonic blasts, and freezing sphere.  It is great to watch your mind flayer stun an enemy and then start to pull its brains out.  Sometimes I feel guilty when I finish killing the monster before he gets through with his meal.

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The mind flayer is one of the summons you can get from the Shard of the Xoriat.

The flesh render is also another aggro magnet.  He likes to just run headlong into battle and to soak up as much punishment as possible.  Although not nearly as effective as the chaos beholder or the mind flayer, still a pretty good distraction to enemy monsters.  The greater evil eye is just funny.  You can tell that enemy monsters have a hard time hitting him, especially when he goes into that “X” flight pattern.  I know I get frustrated when I face off against them, I can only imagine what the monsters feel like.  The greater evil eye tend to just shoot out their arcane zap and arcane blasts as their main attacks.  The weakest of the summons is the Taken.  Although he is weak, we does gather aggro quite well.  It is fun to watch him limp along into battle.  He usually doesn’t last long, but if you need a quick distraction he does provide it.

The Shard of Xoriat has a minimum level of 15 to use.  As soon as I reach level, I tend to grap it out of my bank and start summoning the fun creatures of Xoriat.  I have seen it drop fairly regularly, so if you get a chance to run The Sane Asylum I would recommend it just so you could get a shot at picking one of these up.  Besides being exclusive, it is bound to account, so you can transfer it to your other characters through your shared bank.

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Overview of the Lord of Eyes

The quest, Lord of Eyes, is the capstone quest to the Reign of Madness adventure pack, which also includes Acute DeliriumSane Asylum, and Lord of Stone.  It is a level 17 quest on normal, making it a level 19 quest on elite.  It is located in the Tower of the Twelve and the quest giver is Elawyn Thwr.  You won’t be able to talk to Elawyn until the other three quests are completed.  The whole point of this quest is stop the Lord of Eyes, Belashyrra, from taking control of the Tower of Twelve and wreaking havoc in Stormreach.  You will do this by accompanying the forces of the Lord of Stone, who you recruited to help the Twelve in the quest Lord of Stone, and defeating Belashyrra’s forces and then Belashyrra himself.

The quest starts out by entering the main compartment to the Tower of the Twelve.  Belashyrra’s forces are currently invading the tower and the wizards of the Twelve are having difficulty in containing the invasion.  As soon as you enter the quest, you make contact with one of the wizards trying to maintain the invasion.  He is apparently a competent wizard, as you notice a frozen mind flayer (supposedly due to him) as you approach.  He tells you to make your way to the lower level of the tower to talk to another member of the Twelve.

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Erdrique preparing to enter the quest, Lord of Eyes.

As you enter the main portion of the tower, you see a number of platforms with reverse gravity.  These platforms work by propelling you into the air, rather slowly, to higher levels where you can slide out of the area of reverse gravity to reach the higher platforms.  You also see platforms below you, realizing that you must have entered the tower in middle levels.  As you make your way to the lower levels, you will fight a series of evil eyes, greater evil eyes, various beholders, and eye horrors.  The beholders include chaos beholders, armored beholders, and frost beholders.  You will eventually make your way to your second contact and he tells you that we need to blow a hole in the stone to allow the forces of the Lord of Stone to enter the tower,  To do this, we need to power up the mage fire cannon.  To power up the mage fire cannon, we need to obtain the four elemental essences and place them into the cannon.

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Time to start exploring the inside of the Tower of the Twelve, take note of the frozen figure at the end of the hallway.

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Taking note of the reverse gravity platforms in the Tower of the Twelve.

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Using the reverse gravity platforms to get higher into the tower.

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Coming across some of the forces of the Lord of Eyes while looking for the second contact in the tower.

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There is the broken down mage fire cannon.

As you can imagine, there is a fire, water, air, and earth essence that you need to obtain.  The first essence you will gather is the fire essence.  The fire essence node is located in the same cavern as the mage fire cannon.  To obtain the fire essence, you need to draw a set number of fire elementals into a red circle that surrounds a capture crystal.  You need to defeat the elementals within that red circle and when you do they get captured by the crystal.  You can draw the elementals in one at a time, but they all must be killed within the red circle.  Once you defeat the elementals, you can obtain the essence.  After you collect the fire essence you then have to make it back into the tower and travel to the upper levels to collect the water, earth, and air essences.

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Luring the fire elementals in to the ring.

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Capturing some earth elementals.

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Bringing in some water elementals.

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Time to capture some air elementals.

After you collect the essences, you then need to return back to the mage fire cannon.  You can then place the essences into the cannon and watch as it blows a hole in the stone.  Shortly layer a stone army comes to help you.  You lead them back to the main part of the tower where you then enter a portal to go to Belashyrra.  When you encounter Belashyrra, he is huge.  However, the stone servants of the Lord of Stone remove that enchantment and soon the battle begins.  It is important to try to keep some of the Lord of Stone’s army alive to hold back the power of Belashyrra.  Once Belashyrra is killed, all of his servants also are killed.

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Fighting a named flesh render.

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Taking down a named armored beholder.

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Loading up the mage fire cannon.

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Getting help from the Lord of Stone.

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Belashyrra in his preferred form before the legions of the Lord of Stone bring him back down to size.

Overall, the quest is unique in how it is structured.  The use of the reverse gravity platforms gives you a feel of doing some Mario style questing without actually doing Mario style questing.  The enemies can also be tough.  Besides the ones I already mentioned, you also might stumble across Belashyrra’s hounds, a named beholder, or a named flesh render.  Not to mention, you will also encounter mind flayers in the other levels of the tower.

If you get a chance, check this quest out for an interesting time.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the Lord of Eyes.