D&D4E: Ding!

Of scales and slime pits...

After last week's epic battle against an Indiana Jones-style boulder trap and various drakes and kobold lords, what could possibly await us in the cavern below the tower ruins, from whence came the acrid stink of dragonbreath and fear?

Could it be……?

We sent Wenner, the halfling thief, to check it out. He crept around turn after turn, beckoning the rest of us after him. We cautiously followed. At the entrance to a room we could not see the end of, Wenner went bouncing through like a maniac, alerting everything inside to our presence.

Frickin' dice rolls.

A whispery voice asked, "Is that you, ?"

Bryn cast a light spell that lit the darkness. From it strode a dragonborn, clad in scale armor and looking awfully familiar. "Ralph? Big brother? Is that you?"

"…. TIPA?" he roared.

Actually, no. We didn't know each other. But we all look alike, right?

I tried reasoning with him while readying my halberd. "We killed all your friends –"

"Except the one you healed!" snickered Wenner.

"Well, yes, except that one. Nonetheless, I've no desire to slay a countryman, even one who follows Tiamat's lies. Leave us your armor, weapons, loot and experience points, and you can keep your life."

"Riiiiiiight," said Ralph, as Sheeoil socked him with a spell and Wenner made the air deadly with shuriken. Ralph pulled out his long sword, leaped over the slime pit, and stabbed me.

I choked him with acid and swung at him with the halberd. We all burned action points to keep Ralph off balance; Sheeoil and Wenner got him back in the slime pit and kept him struggling while Bryn sent fiery magic missiles at him.

Then he stood up and killed me. I made a save against death; Sheeoil brought me back to consciousness. I staggered to my feet and poked Ralph with the halberd while death whirred toward the dragonborn from all directions — and that was that, the beast was dead.

Mom is going to be SO PISSED.

I worried myself about the name Ralph called to the darkness. Would we be facing a second enemy from behind? I used my remaining healing surges to bring myself back to health while the others converged on a chest in the corner.

Finally satisfied that there would be no more fighting here, I joined the others in looking for likely loot. Wenner looked sneakily suspicious about something. Why is it we always let the THIEVES open the chests first?

Oddly, Ralph had stored absolutely nothing in that chest. How unusual.

Ding!

Well, except for this bit of dragonhide. And a strangely light sword. And some gold pieces. And 250 experience points.

OMG DING. Level 2!

We returned to town and sought out the liege lord, the one with the glowing question mark hovering over his head. He gave us our reward for the kobold ears Wenner had collected, gave us the name of a merchant who could help reveal to us the secrets behind the orb Wenner had forgotten to tell us about, my sword, and Bryn's dragonhead staff.

There was another task he had for us, one dealing with the arcane art of Cartography and a newly-discovered ruin. A new ruin. Just ruined last week.

But first — to the magic merchant!

My sword — a Longsword +1 Lifedrinker. If I crit, my target gets a 1d6 lingering necrotic effect. If I get the killing blow, I get some temporary hit points. The orb was a focusing orb of some sort, and I forget what the staff did.

Minor increases in power for all except Sheeoil, who will have to wait until next week to ding, as he missed a night's adventuring.

Sorry for no D&D update last week. I was on Benadryl and largely out of it.

DCUO: It’s a hard light

Tipara, member of the Sinestro Corps

Okay, so in SOE's DC Universe Online, people are getting random superpowers by being infected with some superpower thing cooked up by Brainiac. You wake up one morning, you have superpowers. Maybe you have to escape from Brainiac's space ship, but whatever.

With DCUO's Lords of Light (or whatever) expansion pack, you can have Green Lantern or Sinestro's powers. Including a power ring. Note power ring on my character below.

Soooooo where'd the power ring come from?

I played DCUO in beta. I even pre-ordered it and put down a $5 deposit on it, but after working my way through the first quest line, I was so bored I never bought the game, that $5 was just wasted.

It's free now, though, and people I know are playing it, so I told Steam to send it to me while I was off taking pictures of bridges in the rain today (yay!). It was finished downloading by the time I got home. I started it up and immediately got a message from +Eric Redman asking if I'd be interested in creating an evil, Sinestro-type character and joining his guild.

Well, duh. Being a Green Lantern is the only thing I ever wanted from DCUO, and was a key reason in my disappointment in beta. The Sinestro Corps is just like the Green Lantern Corps, just yellower.

Tipara and more eviler friend

As a Station Pass subscriber, I even got the Phosphorescent Photons (whatever) expansion free, so I made my character with Sinestro as my mentor (which gave me all his powers and, apparently, his ring, which I imagine he'll miss in a bit), popped into the tutorial mission and kicked butt.

Later on, Lex Luthor stopped by and helped me kick butt. All along I was being shepherded around by a mysterious person who was interested in getting me off the ship for no apparent reason.

I met up with Eric's character. He modeled super outfits for me and shot me with a gunship. You know, he's a bad guy, he does stuff like that.

He helped me out with a small project to corrupt local university students by forcing them into Occupy Metropolis movements, and then infecting them with mutagens. Bwahahaha. That eventually got us joined up with the supervillain Parasite to capture Power Girl and force her to put on some clothing. And steal some of her DNA.

She's the cousin of Superman in this game. I thought Supergirl was Superman's cousin?

I love the smell of napalm in the morning

Is DCUO suddenly interesting because it is F2P? Well, it was always part of the Station Pass, so I'd never be paying anything additional to play the game. The controller/combo-based gameplay is something I find tiring if forced to do it very long. The game seems designed to be a pick-up-and-play game. Can DCUO be fun for thirty minutes a day?

Maybe.

Will I still be playing it in two weeks?

That's the real question.

I’m semi-Internet famous!

Stargrace of MMO Quests interviewed me about gaming :)

Reshared post from +Stephanie Morrow

A new monthly feature I've added to MmoQuests, hope you all enjoy it as much as I did writing it! Congratulations +Brenda Holloway, it is well deserved.

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Feature: Inspirational Girl Gamer for November – Tipa. Posted by stargrace in Of Interest, Real Life. It's time for a new monthly feature here on MmoQuests, one inspired by an email I had received…

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DDO Update 12: Challenge Dungeons

Tirelessly defending kobolds. Huh?

Turbine pushed its "Vault of the Artificers" update live today. As well as enabling the new Artificer class to be unlocked through gameplay, the update brings a new "Challenge" dungeon system.

Whether this is similar to World of Warcraft's upcoming Challenge dungeon system is unknown. DDO's version is a first person real time strategy system. We've seen adventure-themed tower defense games such as "Orcs Must Die", now we get resource gathering and management in an RPG context.

The objective of a challenge dungeon is to enter the endless Lava Caves and to guide a group of Kobold Workers to crystals, which they then collect and return to the Kobold Foreman at the entrance. Simple enough.

Standing in the way are monsters guarding the crystals which must be killed, and occasional invasions by normal and named-level monsters who aim to kill the workers, foreman and you. Also arrayed against you are the few workers you have (who die so very easily), the extreme distance the kobolds must travel, and the enormous number of crystals you must deliver to the Foreman within the time limit — 15 to 20 minutes. In the two I played, I managed to get 75-85 crystals deposited.

Once the kobolds have started depositing crystals, you can spend some of them with the Foreman to buy more torches — necessary to lead the kobolds to the crystals (these eventually burn out). You may also buy healing torches, more kobold workers, larger crystal barrels so the kobolds can carry more, and kobold teleporters.

The teleporters are key to getting kobolds where they need to be. A teleporter, placed in one of the glowing Circles of Power scattered around the dungeon, is a direct route back to the Foreman for kobolds, monsters, and you.

While the challenge dungeons are theoretically possible, the many roles needed filling demand more people. Players must carry Kobold Teleporters to new crystal areas, place torches from the Circles of Power thus connected to area crystal outbreaks, protect kobold workers and the Foreman from mobs, relight sputtering torches… Two players with hirelings could probably do it, with one player defending one Circle of Power and the kobolds while the other player moves a teleporter to a new place and clears the monsters in that new area.

How many new workers and larger barrels to buy, I don't know. My gut feeling is to get the maximum number of workers and largest barrels in play as soon as possible, as the invading monsters get considerably tougher as the timer ticks down.

As we get experience with the Challenge dungeons, it may become possible to solo these, but for my own group, I'd suggest doing a Challenge dungeon or two on the way to a more traditional fight.