A Closer Look At Another Oldie but Goodie, The Prisoner (VON 2)

One of the things I wanted to try to do with my blog this year was to make a little schedule of sorts where I write about different items on particular days.  Of course, it would help to stick to a schedule when you can get the chance to blog daily, or at least much more often than I have been able to :(.  As many of you can tell, I’m still struggling with getting down a real life schedule to work in the time to write, which is unfortunate for me because I really do enjoy writing on my blog and writing about DDO.

In any case, on Wednesdays, I had settled on picking out a quest that I have completed relatively recently from the previous week or so and taking the time to highlight it and in some cases taking the time to basically develop a walk through for it.  I did this for Tomb of the Wizard King and Haywire Foundry (VON 4).  This week I would like to explore another fun and older quest from the first module, Dragon’s VaultThe Prisoner, also known as the Vault of Night 2 (VON 2).

The Prisoner is part of the Vault of Night story arc and is necessary for flagging for the Vault of Night Raid where you take on Velah, the famous red dragon in DDO.  When this story line was first released, The Prisoner was the second quest that was required to be completed as you progressed through the story arc which is why it is also known as VON 2. This is no longer the case, as the four flagging quests for the Vault of Night can now be completed in any order.  In any case, the original designations of VON 2 has stuck with this quest as well as the other designations for the other three quests.

VON 2 is a rather intriguing quest.  It actually foreshadows some later lore items that get released well later in the history of DDO.  This part of the lore also extends into VON 4 as well, and that centers around “The Inspired” as it appears that members of “The Inspired” were responsible for poisoning Orphne and for sabotaging Haywire’s warforged and other constructs.  In any case, VON 2 actually occurs within the dreamscape of Orphne’s mind.  Mistress Orphne is a powerful sorcerer who is a member of the Laughing Knives, the party contracted to test the strengths of the Vault of Night and led by Marek Malcanus (who is the story arc quest giver).  The quest give is named Shen Kulle, who is Mistress Orphne’s protector and body guard.  It is Shen Kulle who tells you that Orphne was poisoned by a member of the Inspired and that she seems to be stuck in an unwakeable dream state.  The only way to free her is to enter her mind and into the world of dreams.

As you enter the quest, the first thing you realize is that the map is basically useless.  The landscape is composed of a variety of floating platforms that seem to originate from a center platform where Orphne is sitting in this dream.  The other platforms have bridges that extend off of this primary platform.  There are barriers up to each of these platforms that don’t come down until you talk to Orphne.  Once you do, you are tasked with finding a number of relics and to bring them back to her.  These include a silver mirror, a golden locket, a wooden dagger, and Memnos blossom.  These items were important to her in some way or another.  The characters you come across in this area are all beings that Orphne has somehow associated with.  You see shadows of characters of Shen Kull, Marek Malcanus, Haywire, and others for example.

There is any particular order in which you need to collect the items.  When this quest was first released, there was a mechanic that would make the party automatically fail the quest if any player fell off a platform.  Because of this, many people would start the quest by walking aross the bridge that has a number of air jets that attempt to blow you off.  Man that was a very annoying mechanic.  That has now changed and if you fall now, you simply get sent to a closed off room where you have to fight a quori stalker that opens up a portal once defeated that takes you back to the central platform.  In any case, the three primary platforms will be guarded by a beholder, at some point.  Other enemies you will encounter whill include tharaahk hounds, arcane oozes, quori stalkers, minotaurs, a fire giant named Ingstoldt, mephits, and gargoyles.  In heroic settings, you can avoid fighting Ingstoldt if you have a high enough diplomacy, bluff, or intimidate.

Larrs taking on some tharaahk hounds in VON 2.

The platform that is connected to the bridge with the air jets leads to a secondary platform that has a shrine.  But as soon as you round the bend from the shrine, you better be ready for a beholder.  The beholder blocks the path to some secondary platforms that you need to cross.  Once you beat the beholder and his barrie goes down you will jump on a ladder and continue on to these other secondary platforms.  As you make your way you will encounter some tharaahk hounds, that need to be defeated to have access to another ladder, and then you come across some arcane oozes.  The arcane oozes need to be defeated to open up another ladder, even though the ques considers this part to be optional objective.  You then come across another bridge with another set of air jets to knock you off.  At the end of the bridge is a chest containing one of the items.  You can feather fall from that general area to land back on the main platform.

Another platform leads you to another beholder right away.  Once you get past the beholder you come across a ladder that leads to a skinny path that has a quori stalker or two in it.  It then opens up into a circular secondary platform and that requires you to defeat a number of quorit stalkers for another ladder to reappear.  Once the quorit stalkersa re defeated, the ladder appears and you an then make your way up the path to pick up a second item needed by Orphne.

Fighting a beholder and his helpers in VON 2.

The third platform leads to another behold right away.  This beholder guards another chest and, as you can imagine, it contains yet a third item for Orphne.  Once that beholder is defeated, you can loot that quest and they continue on to another ladder that leads to a maze.  This maze is guarded by minotaurs, tharaahk hounds, and a number of traps.  The traps include spikes, darts, and force waves.  There are a few quests spread though out the maze at random as well.  In epic settings, you have to activate three runes in specific locations in the maze.  The maze will lead you to another platform that will eventually take you to face off against Ingstodlt.  Once you get past Ingstodlt, he will either drop a key or you obtain a key from him, you will have access to another quest with the last item needed by Orphne.  The quest will be guarded by mephits an gargoyles as well.

Once you get that last item, you can then feather fall back to the central platform and turn them in.  Once you turn them all in, the shadow of Orphne comes out and tries to defeat you.  Once you destroy that shadow you have completed the quest.  There is one more quest to obtain before you head out though.  It was right down the path on the central platform from where Orphen was sitting.  The only catch, it is guarded by a pretty vision blade trap.  So if you can’t disable it, make sure you can get raised in some fashion after you set it off, if necessary.

The quest itself is not long or very difficult to complete.  Although I do admit, I constantly get turned around in that dang maze.  It is a fun quest and quick quest to run on either heroic or epic settings.  On epic settings for hard and elite, you will have also have to deal with the rest of the Laughing Knives as well as Orphne, so be prepared for that.

If you get a chance, check out VON 2.  It is a fun, intriguing, and different quest to make your way through.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in VON 2!!

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Realization About Epic Vault of Night (VON) Quests

Although I have a number of characters that are level 20 and higher, I still consider myself relatively new (or at least learning ropes) to epic questing.  Not too long ago, I had decided that I would work on completing quests on at least epic hard difficulties with three of my characters: Kolll (Level 22 Ranger/Shiradi Chamption), Garrrin (Level 22 Barbarian/Fury of the Wild), and Wapoyei (Level 23 Cleric/Divine Crusader).  Next to my true reincarnated characters (Erdrique and Hamllin), these three characters I feel the most comfortable playing in knowing their attacks, abilities, and spells.  I also feel that they are slightly better geared that my other three epic level characters (Rimuldar, Larrs, and Sludgge).  However, even with that said, all of my characters can use some gear upgrades!!

So, now that I have showed you a little bit about my state of mind when it comes to my various characters (well at least some of them anyway 🙂 ), I wanted to write about what I noticed when I took two of my characters, Kolll and Garrrin, through Epic VON 1, Epic VON 2, and Epic VON 3.  As you can imagine, I noticed some differences right away in the abilities of Kolll and Garrrin to make their way through these quests.  Kolll, being primarily a ranged base character, and Garrrin focusing on swinging a two handed greataxe, their abilities to handle large and dispersed mobs differed greatly.  But that wasn’t what I wanted focus on during this post, I wanted focus more on the things they ran into that were similar, primarily with the overall difficulty of these quests as they compare to each other.

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Garrrin and his onyx panther causing havoc for the drow shaman in VON 3.

VON 1 and VON 2 are level 21 quests on Epic Normal while VON 3 is a level 22 on Epic Normal.  On Epic Hard, the levels of these quest go up by one and the mobs become noticeably tougher.  When I first attempted VON 1 with Garrrin and Kolll on epic hard, I made it to the arena without any issues whatsoever.  However, once in the arena, it didn’t take long for both of these characters to get decimated.  Now, a large part of this in the beginning was my lack of understanding what I was going to be facing in the end fight, as the paragon kobold shamans really liked to drain my guys pretty good and I was ill equipped to deal with that.  However, once I realized my error with those initial runs, I then found deathward items and proceeded back into the quest to only last another round when or so.  Eventually, through sheer luck and grit, I completed VON 1 with Garrrin on Epic Hard but after several frustrating attempts, I gave up with Kolll and settled with a Epic Normal completion in VON 1.  I just realized that Garrrin is probably a little more equipped to handle that last arena fight that Kolll.

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Kolll making his way through epic VON 2.

However, my runs through VON 2 and VON 3 were quite different.  Now I thought that VON 2 and VON 3 would be considerably harder that VON 1, especially VON 3 since it is a higher level quest.  But what I found out is that Kolll and Garrrin had absolutely no problems running through VON 2 and VON 3 on Epic Hard, at all.  Well, I did have some issues with Garrrin on my first attempt on VON 3 but that was because I was just being dumb about taking out some of the ranged enemies when Garrrin doesn’t really have any ranged attack damage to sufficiently take those drow down (the drow perched on the overhang after you open that door that leads to the first shrine).  I just found it really interesting that I was able to blow through VON 2 and VON 3 on both characters but did so poorly in VON 1.

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Kolll fighting his way through epic VON 3.

The main difference between VON 1 and the other two quests is the end fight.  The large number of enemies during the arena fight in VON 1 quickly caused me to experience a yellow dungeon alert and didn’t take long for that to escalate into trouble.  The end fight in VON 2 also has some immediate spawns, but those are just named mobs and not nearly as many therefore a dungeon alert situation was not a problem.  Now the at the end VON 3 we have three little waves of enemies prior to facing the named drow, beholder, and troll.  However, again these enemies didn’t spawn to the point of causing a dungeon alert on me.    So the primary difference I noticed was the dungeon alert.  I just need to figure out a way to care of those enemies in the arena in VON 1 quickly enough so that the dungeon alert doesn’t kick off.  I guess we’ll see how that goes in my future attempts :).

In any case, I found it interesting that VON 2 and VON 3 were not much of an issue for me to complete on Epic Hard but VON 1 was.  Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the Vault of Night!!

Wondering About Orphne’s Dream

Currently I’m taking Erdrique (Level 12 Druid) through the Vault of Night Story Arc and the other day I ran The Prisoner (aka VON 2).  The idea behind quest The Prisoner, is that the powerful sorceress Orphne was tricked by assassin from the Inspired and was subsequently poisoned.  As a result, she has fallen under a deep sleep has been trapped inside her dream (the Inspired are members of the Realm of Dreams, who you run across in the Inspired Quarter). 

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Erdrique dealing with the annoying air jets.  At least the quest doesn’t fail anymore when you get knocked off.

My question and thoughts at this point concern Orphne’s Dream.  When you enter her dream, you talk to her to get the quest started and she talks about how lovely her home is.  As you venture further into the quest, I begin to realize that her home isn’t very lovely at all.  First off, it has two treacherous “bridges” that are made from fallen columns that are constantly buffeted by powerful air jets that just love to knock adventures across the map.  Second, it is filled with some pretty vicious monsters including tharaak hounds, arcane oozes, annoying quorit stalkers, and of course the lovely beholders.  Third, what lovely home has a maze?  Fourth, what home contains former adversaries from your past such as huge fire giants?

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Erdrique thinking that his dreams won’t contain any beholders.

All of these questions make me wonder what Orphne actually keeps in her real house and I wonder where her real house actually is?  I’m not so sure I would like to visit such a place myself, lol.  In either case, I just wondered about Orphne’s and her choice of dreams.  Why couldn’t she dream of being in a quiet,serene, and peaceful place? 

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Erdrique taking on Orphne’s shadow.

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Now this part of her dream does seem tranquil.

Well that’s it for now.  Thanks for reading and happy hunting everybody!!  

It Was A Festival of The Traveler Type of Weekend With Some Quests Put in, April 25th to 27th

There is no doubt that I spent the majority of my time running the Festival of the Traveler this past weekend.  However, with that said, I did hit up a few quests as well.  My weekend quest runs started out on Friday morning with Hamllin (Level 8 Fighter).  My morning slayer runs were for Tangleroot Gorge.  Hammy is working hard to get that area cleared so he can move onto Three Barrel Cove.  After I traveled around the Gorge, I logged out to head to work. I later brough Hamllin back on, when I got back home from work, and took him into the Ruined Halls on elite.  Although I ran into some interesting situations with him in the Ruined Halls, I completed the quest without any problems.  I then logged out to take care of dinner and logged on later that night with Erdrique (Level 10 Druid).  It was a relatively slow weekend for the guild, so I went ahead and ran the Festival of The Traveler a few times and then took him into Sorrowdusk Isle and into Grey Moon: Extermination.  After a few more runs through the Sorrowdusk Isle explorer area and a few more runs with the Traveler, I called it a night.

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Hamllin studying a weapon rack in Tangleroot Gorge.

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Hamllin fighting an ochre jelly in Ruined Halls.

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Erdrique soaring toward a silver egg in his chase for the Festival of the Traveler.

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Coming upon the eerie entrance to the cave that leads to the top of Sorrowdusk Isle.

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Erdrique looking around the Grey Moon’s den.

On Saturday, I continued my runs with the Festival of the Traveler, but I was running the event with Hamllin instead.  I had used up all of my tokens with Erdrique on Friday night.  Later that night I logged Erdrique on and took him back into Sorrowdusk Ilse and then into the Tomb of the Shadow Guard on elite, continuing Erdrique’s Elite streak.  Although the swimming of the Shadow Guard is annoying, I still had a good time, using my firewall quite a lot to deal with the phase spiders and umbral worgs and other incorporal mobs.  I also found it fun to cast a firewall as a winter wolf .  After I cleared out the Tomb of the Shadow Guard I called it a night.

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Hamllin running a circuit in the Festival of the Traveler.

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Erdrique taking on the enemies of the Tomb of the Shadow Guard.

I logged back in Sunday with Hamllin to do another set of runs through the Festival of the Traveler.  I wasn’t on long.  I logged back on Sunday night with Wapoyei (Level 22 Cleric/Exalted Angel) and took him through a route of the Traveler and then into VON 2 on Epic Normal where I experienced a classic ‘noob’ moment.  As I typical do, I headed off toward the beholder on the other side of the air jet bridge.  I started to engage the beholder with my onyx panther, my owl bear, and my hireling when I heard ‘ding’.  Before I knew it, was a soul stone.  Turned out that I didn’t have a deathblock item on and was hit with a finger of death…go figure.  That was my only snafu here and finished the quest without any other problems..thankfully. 

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Wapoyei looking for the eggs of the Traveler.

So those were my runs for the weekend.  Mostly focused on the Traveler.  I got a few interesting awards which I will write up soon.  I hope everybody else had a fun weekend!!  Thanks for reading and happy hunting!! 

Rimuldar Having Some Fun in Epic Normal VON

I currently have five characters running in epic levels (Rimuldar, Wapoyei, Garrrin, Kolll, and Larrs).  All of these characters are level 22 or less, so I’m moving them slowly through the various epic quests while putting more focus on Erdrique and his True Reincarnation train.  Recently, I logged on with Rimuldar (Level 21 Archmage/Magister) and decided to run The Vault of Night on epic normal.  Since I have decided to put more of a focus to the pug scene for this year, I created a post for a group in the LFM panel.  I was kind of worried how this would turn out because I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to hold up my end in the pug scene for the higher level quests, especially since I haven’t concentrated on gearing up the majority of my characters, especially with my casters. 

So, after I created the group in the LFM panel, I entered the Tharashk Arena and started to make my way down the quest.  I summoned forth a Favored Soul/Exalted Angel hireling, my Onyx Panther, and my level 17 Owlbear.  After taking a few minutes to buff (and to figure out where all of my spells were since it always takes me some time to get readjusted to my caster’s hot bars) I started off.  Coming down the first hallway was a breeze, taking out the hobgoblins, bugbears, and minotaurs.  I ran into a little more difficulty after I passed the promoter and entered into the arena cells.

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Rimuldar hacking away at a troll in VON 1.

One thing I tend to do with my casters is I tend to blow through their spell points much too quickly.  I have started to pay more attention to this and will routinely enter into the fray with the melees, at least with my hires (as you see above).  Making my way to the chamber room 1 was completed relatively easily and I didn’t really have much of an issue until I made into the actual arena.  I was laying down a number of fire walls, using greater shout to stun the mobs as much as possible, and putting down acid fog to help with some crowd control as well as some damage over time, as well as cycling through my magic missile spells (arcane blast, chain missiles, arcane bolt, etc..), scorching ray, acid bolt, and sometimes disintegrate. 

One thing I had learned when I took Rimuldar through “The Last Stand” on Epic Normal was the power of Symbol of Persuasion, so when I entered the arena I put that symbol up and was relieved to see a number of enemies get charmed, especially the air elementals.  It was nice to see the kobald casters get kicked around.  The fights did last a little long, but I was never really ever in any danger of failing.

When I had just completed VON 1, I had received a request from a player to join the party.  I sent a tell to the requester and let them know I had just finished and offered for them to come in for a shot at the chest.  So he joined the group and we started chatting about some builds and what we were planning while he was making his way to the chest.  When he finally got to the chest, we popped it open but unfortunately he didn’t get any loot because I had already completed the quest. 

However, I mentioned that I was going to take on VON 2 next if he was interested and he happily joined me.  He was playing a warforged wizard.  We picked up the quest and entered Mistress Oprhine’s dream.  I just knew I was going to embarrass myself .  However, the quest run went well and we only ran into a few minor issues with the beholders and fire giant, where I actually survived but my party mate had suffered a death.  We laughed on it and I was able to raise him up and we finished the quest.  It was nice because the quest was completed and a new friend was made, which is the strongest aspect of the game!!

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Rimuldar burning up a quorti stalker.

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Rimuldar conserving spell points again and swinging away (can’t tell I generally play melee oriented characters can you?…)

So all in all, I had a fun time with Rimuldar, both in running VON 1 and 2 on Epic Normal and in meeting a new friend.  I hope the trend continues throughout the year!! 

Thank you for reading everybody and I wish you well in your quests and happy hunting!!