An Invitation to a Party

I meant to write about the Anniversary Party last year when it first debuted but I simply just didn’t get the chance to.  Needless to say, I was happy to hear that the developers decided to bring the Anniversary Party back, with some slight updates.  The Anniversary Party is a challenge style quest that celebrates DDO’s birthday outside of the game and celebrates of founding of Stormreach within game.  It is located in House Phiarlan (like you would have a large celebrator bash anywhere else in Stormreach!!).  The quest itself takes place in a reformatted version of Partycrashers.

When you select what level you want to run the quest at, you immediately go to the ballroom where you find Scrag frantically trying to get your attention.  You learn from Scrag that a strange overlord has appeared that has rallied the kobolds of Stormreach to revolt against its citizens.  As a result, they have tried to “crash” the party and to cause mayhem.  Harbormaster Zin is currently guarding the way to the Chapterhouse where the kobolds are currently causing problems.  After talking to Scrag, and on your way to discuss things with Harbormaster Zin, you get the opportunity to explore the celebration hall.  In the hall you will find just about every notable NPC in the game.  You will note the dragons of Argonnesson sitting at a table in elf form (including Velah and the Truthful one, who is actually sitting at the table as a lich) discussing the prophecy, the various Coin Lords strutting about, and even some familiar adventurers.  You will also learn, when talking to some of the party goers, that some “developers” are lurking in some areas of the hall.

The various DDO developers and personalities (past and present) make various cameos in the quest, with many of them being fun enemies to battle against.  In fact defeating four of them are optional objectives for the quest: Severlin, Cordovan, Steelstar, and Vargouille.  Severlin is found in one of the upstairs rooms (the art gallery) and is a Purple Dragon Knight.  Cordovan is in the side room downstairs and is a cleric.  Steelstar is an artificer and is found in the library.  And last, Vargouille is found upstairs in the private rooms and is a vargouille (basically a bat with a human head).  The other developers that you battle are not optional objectives but still are fun to come across.

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Erdrique battling Steelstar in the Annivesary Party.

After the fun encounters with the developers, you find out from Harbormaster Zin how this mysterious dark overlord has organized the kobolds and some others to create havoc for him and the party.  After agreeing to take a look, you get the chance to enter the Chapterhouse where the find the kobolds have taken over and have created various alcoves and mazes.  You also see that they have replaced all of the illsionary crystals with those of kobolds.  As you make your through the Chapterhouse, you will eventually make your way to the throne room where you find the overlord, to just realize that the dark overlord is no other than Jeets.  In fact you might haven noted how he was missing from the party.  In any case, Jeets tells you he is fascinated by Malicia and he has gone through this whole scheme just impress her.  Upon learning about this, you head back to the party, using the door from the throne room and convince Malicia to help you.  You then head back to Jeets, by talking to the same door again, Knockback, and then with Malicia’s help you enter warped mind of Jeets to free him once again from dark thoughts.

The primary reward from the quest is obtaining party favors that can then be traded for special items.  You also can pick up a number of collectibles as well as a few chests on your way.  The quest is quite fun and can be quite challenging.  I have found that some of characters just seem to have a tough time in there at level, where others seem to have no problem at all.  I hope that development teams continues to bring back the Anniversary Party, with slight updates, like they did this year.  In either case, I hope everybody got a chance to check it out.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the Anniversary Party!!

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Who is Lord Hragg?

One of the oldest story arcs and set of quests in DDO is the Grey Moon Waning and Cult of the Six quests.  The basic premise behind these quests is that a clan of ogres has been betrayed by a small faction of their own tribe with the support of trolls and dark priests who worship the Dark Six.  The previous clan leader of the Grey Moon ogres, who reside on Sorrowdusk Isle, is usurped by an evil and brusk ogre named Grust who has given the trolls the ancestral caves of the Grey Moon ogres and has allowed the dark priest to revive the ancient Dark Six temple that resides on Sorrowdusk Isle.

Lord Hragg is the rightful clan leader of the Grey Moon ogre tribe.  As we make our through the set of quests for these two story arcs we learn that Lord Hragg is a powerful and intelligent being.  We also learn that traditional customs and rights are extremely important to him.  Although the conversations our characters have with him are brief, we notice how important it is to him for the trolls to be eliminated from the Grey Moon’s caves and how disturbing it is to see the halls in the Temple of Dark Six active once again.  His intelligence comes to the service when he demonstrates his ability to read and understand the Libram of the Six, where he learns the rites that the dark disciples in the temple plan to complete and guides you in your quest to stop them.

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Erdrique meeting Lord Hragg of Grey Moon.

One has to wonder though, who is Lord Hragg?  How did he become the lord of the  Grey Moon clan?  How was he betrayed?  The only thing we can gleam from our brief conversations with him is that the internal struggle with Grust has left the Grey Moon tribe broken and too weak to deal with the trolls and priest of the Dark Six that are now trying to make Sorrowdusk Isle their home.  We don’t learn anything about his past or anything about him accept from our initial perceptions.  These holes in our knowledge allows someone like to me to come up with some possible thoughts on these topics.

The Eberron Wiki doesn’t give to much insight into the nature or societal structure of the traditional ogre community.  However, just knowing the strong tendency for ogres to attach first and ask questions second, I imagine that their society is largely based on a show of force and strength.  Based on this thought, I can think of two possible ways in which Lord Hragg became the clan leader of Grey Moon.  The first, is through a family history.  It is possible that Lord Hragg is an heir to the clan leadership where his family may have been the strongest of the clan.  I’m guessing that to maintain this leadership, challenges of combat and strength were issued and defended.  I’m guessing these challenges were few and far between.

A second possibility is that there is some type or ritualistic performance to determine a clan leader when the previous leader dies or can no longer maintain leadership.  I can see the most powerful members of the tribe competing against each other to determine the new clan leader.  I can see this as being a possibility, especially one which would have provided somebody like Grust the opportunity to claim leadership and failing therefore resulting in other means to usurp the current leader.

But how did Grust gather enough support to usurp Hragg?  This isn’t quite made clear.  Grust must have found some way to convince the most powerful of the Grey Moon tribe to turn their allegiance.  I’m guessing one way Grust could have done this was promising these warriors a path to greater glory in some aspect.  Perhaps he claimed he could expand their territory and conquer some other areas giving the traitors a new way to prove their strength and perhaps the leadership of smaller colonies.  Perhaps in stopping the Dark Six cultist we also stopped a possible attack on Stormreach from the “Black Sun Ogres.”

Maybe we’ll find out in some future quests in Sorrowdusk Isle or maybe it will always be a mystery.  In either case, it is always fun to speculate.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in Sorrowdusk Isle!!

 

Another Set of Quest Runs, February 19 to 25

My questing this week was relatively light once again :(.  This was because of a few work related activities that kept me from logging in on Wednesday and Thursday.  Wednesday night is also my weekly date night with my wife so I don’t log into the game for a typical night run but I usually get a chance to run a slayer prior to dinner.  This week though, an ex-coworker of mine retired and his retirement party was on Wednesday and Thursday I was traveling all day and was just too tired to log in.

But, I did get some questing in during the rest of the week.  On Sunday, I logged on with Kanndar (Level 14 Paladin) and I took him into the Ruins of Threnal.  I was running a little short on time and decided to go ahead and complete the set of quests known as the Giant Caves: The Giants’ Lair, The Giants; Supplies, and The Giant Lieutenants.  During these runs, Kanndar picked up a monster manual deed for hill giant hunter which netted him 1,179 experience.

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Kanndar facing off against the fire giants in the fire caves.

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Kanndar battling the giants on his way to destroy some crates.

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Kanndar fighting against a champion in the Giant Caves.

 

Monday, I took Hamllin (Level 20 Fighter/Fatesinger) into the Ruins of Gianthold (Heroic) while I was playing during my weekly digital pen and paper session.  Hamllin collected 80 Storm Fist slayers, 99 Storm Heart slayers, and 116 Storm Eye slayers.  He also came across the rare encounters Zakaya Master Ragath, Expedition Leader Brazwold, Tarmer Stonehoof, Lord Cirrus, and Clan Chief Ogh.

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Hamllin hunting down some fire giants in Giant Hold.

 

I started off on Tuesday by dual boxing with Crawlller (Level 8 Ranger) and Cannock (Level 8 Druid) and did a slayer run in Three Barrel Cove.  They collected 104 slayers during that run and came across the rare encounters for Strinati, Dybesh Relix, Chortle, Brine, and Ithun Orenah.  After that run, I logged on with Erdrique (Level 11 Bard) and Sttollen (Level 12 Rogue)  and I took them into the quest Stromvauld’s Mine.  While in there they completed the optional objectives to slay Milos Baran, Boro Charidan, and Degren Marzat.  For my nightly run, I logged on with Charlock (Level 16 Fighter) and I was joined by Hellfiend and we decided to tackle the Slave Pits of the Undercity on heroic elite.  Charlock collected two monster manual deeds, one for ghast hunter (9,439 experience) and one for rat hunter (1,887 experience).  I’m still learning that quest and so is Hellfiend so it isn’t too surprising to learn that we got roasted in the massive fire trap room.  So we didn’t get the quest completed but we’ll knock it out next time.

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Crawlller battling Brine in Three Barrel Cove.

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Erdrique defeating the drow of Stromvauld’s Mine.

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Charlock preparing to deal with the slavers.

 

Friday night, I logged on with Erdrique and Sttollen, once again, and this time I took into the Xorian Cipher.  To get to the Xorian Cipher, I first completed The Path to Madness on elite and in so doing, Erdrique collected nine mysterious remnants.  While in the Xorian Cipher, Erdrique picked up a monster manual deed for scorrow hunter for 2,260 experience.  Erdrique and Sttollen completed the optional objectives for finding and entering the vault, sealing all of the rifts, and taking out Deathfang, Mastart Markud, Urtyan Markud, and the Vault Guardian.  In the vault, Sttollen picked up a mythic version of the Chaosgarde and a Reaver’s Ring.  Meanwhile, Erdrique picked up a Planar Gird and a mythic version of the Chaos Band.  Erdrique also collected 12 mysterious remnants.

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Erdrique slicing through the path to Xorian Cipher.

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Battling the undead of the Xorian Cipher.

To close out the week, Erdrique and Sttollen started things out by dual boxing Sorrowdusk Isle.  They collected 114 slayers and they both hit the 200 slayer mark as well as finding the rare encounters: Saate, Thanolin, Barxer, and Noozer.  A little while later, I logged on with Kolll (Level 22 Ranger/Shiradi Champion) to get the data I need for my monster manual analysis but after I did that, I took him out into  Tangleroot Gorge because I still have yet to finish that explorer are for him.  While out there, Kolll picked up a monster manual deed for wolf exterminator II and received 1,650 experience.  He also took out Gharjat, Jarak, and Silkweave.  Later on Saturday night, I logged on with Erdrique and Sttollen again and I was joined by Sornea.  I have been trying to get some help with the Temple of Elemental Evil Part 1 and this time I had it :).  So we headed to the Hall of Heroes and then to the Temple.  Erdrique picked up another monster manual deed, this one human exterminator III for 1,695 experience.  He also picked up 27 mysterious remnants.  We had a few deaths but we did complete the quest and completed the optional objectives for 10, 25, 50, 100, and 200 slayers.  After that we called it a night.

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Erdrique making his way through the caves of Sorrowdusk Isle.

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Kolll getting reacquainted with Tangleroot Gorge.

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It is time to go hunting in the Temple of Elemental Evil.

So overall the week was a little shorter than usual but still productive.  I was really grateful for Sornea’s help in getting through the Temple of Elemental Evil.  Now all I need to do is get through the second part :).  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in DDO!!

 

 

Getting a New Pet

I wound up obtaining a new milestone relatively recently which resulted in me getting a new cosmetic pet.  The other day I was taking Erdrique (Level 11 Bard) and Sttollen (Level 12 Rogue) into the Searing Heights to work on that explorer area.  As I made my way through the Sulatar encampment I took out a few fire elementals and then took note that I had obtained the second level of fire elemental expertise in the monster manual.  That particular rank awards you with a new cosmetic pet.

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Erdrique picking up a new monster manual deed reward.

The award you get is for blue fire elemental creature companion.  I think this will be the perfect little pet for Cantlin (Level 13 Sorcerer).  Now time to get the next award!!

Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

Crunching Down the Numbers of My Monster Manual-Part 7

So far, I have taken a look at my monster manual statistics for my account as a whole (Part 1 and Part 2), specifically for Erdrique (Part 3 and Part 4), and specifically for Hamllin (Part 5 and Part 6).  Now, I want to take a look at the same trends and analysis for another of my characters, Kolll.  Kolll is a first life Ranger, who primarily focuses on the Arcane Archer enhancement line and is currently working his way through the Shiradi Epic Destiny.

One immediate thing that is clear when looking at the statistics, Kolll doesn’t account for nearly as much as the overall monster kills as Erdrique and Hamllin.  This is primarily simply due to time constraints.  Although I really enjoy playing Kolll, he just doesn’t get the same amount of playing time as Erdrique or Hamllin.  All told, Kolll has taken down over 5,300 monsters/enemies.  This accounted for just about 1.5% of all of my enemy kills on my VIP account (Table 1 and Figures 1 and 2).

Taking a look at Kolll’s statistics by monster type, it looks like the enemies that accounted for Kolll’s most kills were humanoids, player races, monstrous humanoids, vermin, and undead.  Although not in the same order, these monster types are also the top five across my account.  Kolll accounted for just about 1 to 2% of the total number of monster kills for these top five monster types across my entire account.  Kolll has accounted for a higher percentage of kills in outsiders and constructs than in the some of the other monster types.  This is primarily due to when monsters in those types were added to the monster manual and the timing of the quests that Kolll was (and is currently) making his way through.  For instance, Kolll was making his way through the epic versions of the Vault of Night and the Sands of Menechtarun when some of the various constructs and outsiders were added to the monster manual.

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

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

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

Monsters in the volumes of the Prologue, Volume 1, and Volume 2 accounted for the top three most monster kills for him.  Monsters that were added with Volume 5 ranked fourth for Kolll.  I don’t find this too surprising and these trends are similar to what I have seen with Erdrique and Kolll.  One thing I also noted was that Kolll had more monster killed from Volume 7 then in some of the earlier volumes.  This is all due to the fact that Kolll is running quests that contain more of the monster/enemy types that were released in Volume 7 then some of those earlier volumes.

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

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The monster races that accounted for the majority of kills for Kolll are listed in Table 3.  The monster race that Kolll accrued the most kills for were humans and his efforts accounted for over 1.4% of my VIP account.  Other monsters that were in Kolll’s top ten of most killed included spiders, gnolls, and hobgoblins.  Looking at the percent of the monster kills attributed to Kolll, it is interesting to note how he accounts for a large percentage of the kills for dretch, bears, and draegloth (Table 4).  These monsters just happened to be added to the monster manual while Kolll was working through quests that contain them.

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

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Table 4.  Top ten monster kills by percent contribution from Kolll account wide.

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Excluding the monsters that Kolll hasn’t had any kills of, the monsters that Kolll has the fewest amount of kills are presented in Table 5.  The majority of these monsters happen to be in quests that Kolll isn’t making his way through.  However, I expect this to change.  Kolll still needs a large number of quests to complete as favor runs.  As he makes his way through those quests, he’ll encounter the monsters in these earlier volumes and will build up those statistics.

Table 5.  Number of monster kills for the races that accounted for the fewest number of kills for Kolll and account wide and the percent Kolll accounted for those kills.

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One thing these trends show is the smaller impact Kolll has had on my monster manual statistics account wide.  However, even though Kolll hasn’t contributed to a significant portion of my account’s kills, he has contributed to a large percentage to some specific races.  These are primarily due to timing of monster manual releases and the quests he is actively running.  Thanks  for reading everybody and happy hunting those monsters in the monster manual!!

Working On Another Week, February 12th and 18th

My quest runs this week included some runs across a mulitude of levels, as well as various outcomes.  To kick the week off, I logged on with Harrgon (Level 11 Favored Soul) and Suppply (Level 11 Paladin) and I took them into The Grey Moon’s Den: The Trollish Scourge.  On the way to the quest, they both collected 11 slayers for Sorrowdusk Isle.  Once I made into the quest I ran into some difficulties while playing Harrgon.  Harrgon was ripped apart five times by various champions.  It really emphasized how under geared he really is and I will need to work on that.  Hopefully I can rebuild my stock of essences and have Erdrique (Level 11 Bard) craft Harrgon some equipment.  In the end, I had to have Suppply bail out Harrgon but I was able to get the quest completed.  They also took out Shaman Herpostaw as well as all of the ogre collaborators.

On Monday, I logged back on with Suppply and Harrgon and took them back out into Sorrowdusk Isle for some slayers while I was also playing my weekly digital table top game.  While hunting in Sorrowdusk Isle, they collected 270 slayers out there.  Harrgon hit his 750 slayer mark and Suppply picked up two monster manual deeds, spider (1,200 experience) and scorpion (1,500 experience) exterminator II.  They also defeated the rare encounters Saate (2), Vermilo (2), Teargon, Kremen, Kurmer, Furley, and Noozer.  Harrgon was also able to finish collecting all rare encounters as well.

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Suppply hunting in Sorrowdusk Isle.

I logged on Larrs (Level 21 Bard/Fatesinger) and I took him into the King’s Forest for some slayers.  While out there, he defeated two dire bears, one drow priestess, and came across the random encounters for the Knight’s Plight and Knight’s Collar.  He also picked up a purple dragon knight commendation and 46 slayers.  Shortly after that run, I logged on with Hamllin (Level 20 Fighter/Shadowdancer) and I decided to try The Devil’s Details on heroic elite.  It has been quite a while since I have ventured in here and I was rudely awaken by the onslaught of abishai as I made it further into the quest.  Needless to say I wiped in dramatic fashion.  I will have to try to get my revenge later.  Later that night, I logged on with Kolll (Level 22 Ranger/Shiradi Champion) and I took him into the quest Impossible Demands on epic hard with my new lioness and my onyx panther and owlbear.  Although Kolll suffered a few defeats, he did complete the quest and picked up 16 commendations of valor as a quest reward.  Kolll also picked up seven slayers in the King’s Forest as his way to the quest as well as the random encounter Money and Life.  He completed the optional objectives for saving the hostages, defeating Warleader Speitar and slaying the spider pet Akorstra.  I still had some time left, so I did a quick favor run with Kolll and ran through the Sacred Helm before calling it a night (picked up the Cloven-Jaw Longbow for the effort).

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Larrs hunting in the King’s Forest.

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Hamllin coming across a puzzle in the Devil’s Details.

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Kolll making his way through Impossible Demands.

During Wednesday, I logged on with Containment (Level 8 Cleric) and Cannock (Level 8) Druid and I took them into Three Barrel Cove for some daily slayer action.  They collected 186 slayers which included Ilmarin Tychoon, Ithun Orenah, Vitia, Dulse, Dybesh Relix, and Strinati.  Containment also hit the 500 slayer mark and found a few more explorer points.  After that run, I logged on with Erdrique and Sttollen (Level 12 Rogue) and I took them into the Grey Moon’s Den: Extermination.  On the way to the quest, they picked up 11 slayers.  They also completed the optional objective for slaying Blizzard and all of the trolls.  Erdrique also picked up a monster manual deed for ooze exterminator IV (account award) while Sttollen picked up a monster manual deed for human expertise (account award).  That was all I was able to get through on Wednesday as I spent the rest of the night with my wife for our weekly date night.

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Containment taking in the bell tower in Three Barrel Cove.

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Fighting the scorpions in Grey Moon.

 

For Thursday, my single quest run consisted of another dual boxing episode with Charlock (Level 16 Fighter) and Stoorage (Level 15 Fighter) who both ventured into the Red Fens.  While out there, Charlock collected 104 slayers while Stoorage collected 107 slayers (with a minor slayer potion).  They also came across Crooktooth, Kar Xyr, and Nab Ren.

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Charlock hunting down the enemies in the Red Fens.

Friday, I kicked things off by dual boxing with Lorrikk (Level 13 Monk) and Stoorage and entered the Red Fens for some slayers.  They both collected 117 slayers and came across Mudfoot, Fencreeper, Kar Xyr, Nab Ben, Sharkbiter, and Gorger.  Lorrikk also picked up a monster manual deed of monstrous plant exterminator (1,100 experience).  Later that night, I logged on with Erdrique and Sttollen and I took them Free Delera on elite.  They completed the optional objective for slaying the soul lock guardians.  Erdrique picked up 26 mysterious remnants while Sttollen picked up 12 mysterious remnants.  I then took Erdrique and Sttollen out into Searing Heights for more slayers.  They picked up 103 slayers and both hit the 750 slayer mark.  They also defeated Guck, Calcine, and Hazai Haatha.  Erdrique also picked up the monster manual deed for wolf exterminator IV and picked up another 3,390 experience.

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Lorrikk hunting in the Red Fens.

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Erdrique battling a skeleton in Free Delera.

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Erdrique coming across Guck in the Searing Heights.

 

To close out the week, I logged Erdrique and Sttollen during the mid-afternoon and I took them into the Searing Heights in hope to find their last rare encounter.  After a few attempts I finally came across the last rare encounter for them, Smolder.  They also came across and defeated Giallo and Ghamzee.  In doing this, Erdrique also picked up monster manual deeds for drow exterminator II, fire elemental exterminator II, fire elemental hunter, and fire elemental expertise II.  As a result, Erdrique picked up the fire elemental creature companion 🙂 and he and Sttollen completed the Searing Heights.

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Erdrique finally finding Smolder.

Needless to say it was a busier week than the week prior and just as diverse.  Erdrique and Sttollen are now going to finish making their stamp in Sorrowdusk Isle.  We’ll see what the rest of the new week has for me!!  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!

 

Trip, The Staple for A Strength Based Melee Combatant

There are a large number of feats in DDO, especially for those who like to engage in melee combat.  A few of these melee feats are handed out to all characters during the creation process, with one of these being Trip.  To a melee combatant, the trip feat can be extremely useful.  By building up your trip ability, a melee character can use trip as an effective crowd control mechanism, especially if you don’t have an arcane or divine caster to help stop a crowd of enemies in their tracks.

The difficulty check for a trip attempt is based on 10 + strength modifier + enhancements + vertigo bonus against an enemies strength or dexterity saves.  If a creature is tripped and subsequently knocked down, they can then make a balance check to get back up after a short period of time.  Naturally, the higher the strength score you have the more likely you will be able to trip an enemy.  Barbarians, fighters, and paladins are more likely to use this type of attack and this can be especially useful against enemy spell casters and brutes that can do a large amount of damage over a large area.

There are a number of things that can increase your trip ability and difficulty check besides increasing your strength score.  One of these is by taking the Improved Trip feat.  The improved trip feat adds +4 to the difficulty check to knock down an enemy and to keep him down.  However, one issue with taking the Improved Trip Feat is that you have to take Combat Expertise as a pre-requisite.  And to take Combat Expertise, you need to have a intelligent score of 13, which could be an issue for a melee class which tends to spend their attribute points in other areas (strength, constitution, dexterity).

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Suppply tripping an ogre in Sorrowdusk Isle.

Another way to increase the effectiveness of the trip attack is through various enhancements.  In particular, those in the fighter trees such as Alacrity and Tactics from the Kensai and Last Stand from Stalwart Defender increase the difficulty checks for all of your combat based attacks.  Other ways to increase your trip ability is to equip some gear that promotes a vertigo bonus.

Although the majority of trip attacks are based on your strength as a major portion of the character’s difficulty check there is at least one character class and enhancement line that uses dexterity instead of strength for its trip difficulty check with a special attack.  The special attack that I’m talking about is Sweeping Strikes from the Rogue Thief Acrobat line.  This special attack uses a difficulty check equal to 10 + rogue level + dexterity modifier as long as the rogue is equipped with a quarterstaff.  This attack is also special in that it is a cleave  attack meaning that it can trip numerous enemies that might be surrounding the rogue.

Overall, trip is a pretty fun ability.  I try it use it as much as I can with my appropriate melee characters.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting!!