DDO: All the Wight Moves

It was a night of crime and pun-ishment in Dungeons & Dragons Online last night. The crime was courtesy of the bandit crew we ousted from their little underground hole last night. The pun-ishment, alas, we inflicted upon ourselves.

It’s just not Team Spode until Spode logs in, so the Spode-less crew milled about, uncertain and with no purpose in life. Ulan, I think, had found a quick quest we could do for House Jorasco while waiting for the rest of the group. New cleric Shananana(sp?) wasn’t online, so, heck, why not? And then Spode logged in and we were good to go. Now, Spode’s also been grinding a quest he found in a tavern in the Marketplace, and we’d been talking about doing that one on elite. So we did them both!

I stopped by my guild airship on the way. When asked why, I explained that I needed to get buffed up — my guild (TEH “GAMERZ” RULE OMG!) has four NPCs who have just one purpose in their life, and that is to cast buffs on anyone who asks. Why wouldn’t I want to stop by and get them? That sparked some discussion on, like, maybe we could all join the same guild? Sure, guys, but you slackers all went joining different guilds and never invited me to join. So I went and accepted the first random ninja guild invite that came my way. Don’t blame ME if your guild airship is small and puny and smelling of elderberry.

My guild’s airship smells of baby burps and kitty purrs.

Our first mission, Mirra’s Sleepless Nights, was a rogue’s paradise. “Never fear, I HAVE THIS!” I shouted as I tried ineffectively to disable a cold trap and was frozen to death before I could unlock the one shrine door. So I watched spectrally as everyone else killed the iron golems that were keeping poor Mirra awake. I WILL go back and figure that trap out!

Next up was Spode’s quest, from the Phoenix Tavern in the Stormreach Marketplace, the Swiped Signet. He’d mastered the dungeon on hard mode already, opening elite mode for us all.

This place, full of water, narrow catwalks, and narrow catwalks over water, is just the kind of place Spode hates, but he danced over them like Philippe Petit. Normally nimble Gleek, however, kept falling. I sense some enchantment, here… Gleek had to make a couple runs to the rez shrine, but the run went fairly smoothly.

It was just short of midnight when we finally started on Delera’s Tomb — the perfect time to be tromping through a graveyard! A graveyard filled with nasties from DDO’s Halloween event. The event was so buggy on the actual Halloween that they brought it back for a couple of weeks so that people could have their belated fun. Gleek had been there already and was turning everyone into skeletons. Also turning us into skeletons were the actual skeletons and other undead, who would occasionally turn up and smack someone into the ground.

Once into the tomb, we turned up our sound so we could hear Gary Gygax’s narration of the adventure. “The door suddenly crashes to the floor,” he’d intone, “as do the lids of ancient sarcophagi as a legion of undead issues forth.”

Gleek and Spode were killing each other softly with undead-themed puns the rest of the night. “I’m a-ghast!” shouted Spode. After that, there was absolutely no stopping us. We finished the quest without much trouble, which was just the first of four or five, and then spent the rest of the evening hunting down respawning Ghostly Skeletons for the optional quest objective.

I was in freaking HEAVEN! There is nothing, well, ALMOST nothing I like better in this world than trying to incite someone to murder through puns alone.

I’m not going to tell them all to you now. As we go through Delera’s Tomb, the best ones I can remember will be the post titles :)

Next week, more Delera’s Tomb. Will our cleric, Shazzama(sp?), join us? We’ll find out Sunday!

DDO: Searing(ly expensive) Heights

Team Spode left Three Barrel Cove behind, complete except for one level 7 dungeon we may return to once more of us are level 7. But we’d fought pirate monsters long enough. It was time to strike the barnacles from the scurvy mains’l, star the board and drink the port, drive the wharf rats out from under the saxboard, swab the bo’s’n and harpoon the gunwales, weigh the anchor and turn two sheets to the wind, and in all other ways, leave the pirate life behind us for awhile.

We were off to Searing Heights! Searing Heights, the high country, the land of volcanoes and drow, ancient terrors and … PIRATES?

We walked in and within minutes were battling first mates and so on. We gave them the spodey death they apparently craved. Following us here from Three Barrel Cove! Who could believe it?

I was in tow only to meet up with my fellow surface drow. We all have our own reasons to leave the dark tunnels of our spidery lairs. Someday, I may tell you mine. These drow, the Sulatar, had chosen a drastic form of volcano worship that was really quite exciting. Harness the power of the Earth itself toward destruction? It’s hard not to wonder how they were getting on with that.

I greeted them in our secret tongue. They killed me without a thought. Maybe it was the company I keep — a human, a gnome and an elf? I hovered spectrally around the group as we searched for a shrine; I eventually released and ran back (from Three Barrel Cove…), by which time Team Spode had fought their way through the Sulatar encampment to the Bargain of Blood, our dungeon for the evening.

Or not. It was paid content, part of the Sentinels of Stormreach adventure pack. The end result of those quests is a bit of named gear, but those adventures are generally slightly beyond our level. I think Ulan has access, but couldn’t give the rest of us guest passes, so there was no dungeon crawling for us this night.

We spent the rest of the evening working on slayer and exploration achievements. It’s a beautiful zone, Searing Heights, and I’m sure the dungeon would have been just as amazing.

Next week, we return to the last module I ran with the Massively crew, Delera’s Tomb. This is paid content, and I’ll be picking up the tab for the guest passes for those who do not choose to purchase it (yay me). I remember it being a heck of a lot of fun, and the end reward is a trinket, Voice of the Master, a 20-sided die that confers extra experience. Voice of the Master, indeed — the Delera’s Tomb module is narrated by the original DM himself, Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, to whom this entire module is a tribute.

We’ll also soon be welcoming a fifth member to Team Spode, Shylaren (sp?), a cleric and friend to the others from their LotRO days. Kinda makes me wonder what a good sixth class would be. Cleric was an obvious need. Between her, Ulan’s Favored Soul and Spode’s Paladin, we should have enough healing. Monk? Barbarian? Nah — ranger is what we need. We are drastically short in the ranged damage department. (Our only real ranged class is the drastically short Gleek, a sorcerer).

Me, I leveled to 7 Rogue last night, still on the path of stealth and disabling. I got sneak attack, which might well be class-defining, and since I hadn’t spent enhancement points for awhile, picked up additional +2 saves against all sorts of trap damage. I’ll have to tote up my abilities in the various roguely skills to be sure, but I may be approaching the time when I can branch out to bard (for buffs) or ranger (for ranged attacks) and add some more utility to the group.

DDO: The Puzzling Three Barrel Cove

I need to tell you about the picture that heads this article. It was taken right after placing the last piece in the puzzle room in Goldthorn’s Retreat, for the quest A Ghost of a Chance.

When Team Spode encountered the room while finishing up Three Barrel Cove last Sunday, we turned some tiles, nearly got the guy we were trying to free killed, and decided to kill a named in the dungeon for the key and a lesser reward. We moved on.

Okay, so there wasn’t much reason to take a picture, but I wanted to solve that room, so I went back Monday and after 90 minutes, solved it. How can they make this a group adventure? I guess you could cheat or something, but if the goal is to actually finish this, the first time it’s going to take a LOT of time, and you really can’t have people working on their own corners. Like Rackam’s Trials, it’s just a dungeon for people who want to spend a lot of time working on a puzzle.

So I eventually did solve it, but I didn’t realize the room goes dark after the puzzle is solved — missed the shot. Gleek was on, so together we finished the explorations and Gleek got the 750 Slayer achievement for 4K xp.

So Tuesday night, I went back AGAIN. Gleek and Spode were online, tracking rares and finishing Spode’s exploration (including the elusive Elusive Bounty, a pile of gold at the end of an underwater maze). Barely buoyant Spode died, but so did Gleek and I when we went for it the day before.

Anyway, while they were doing their stuff, I solved the puzzle room again, except for the last piece. Gleek and Spode finished up, got the quest, zoned into the dungeon, and I turned the last tile and we all got XP for that, more XP for finishing the dungeon, and the extra loot you get for solving the puzzle.

Of course, I’d forgotten to take a screen shot.

So Wednesday night, I went back for a fourth time, solved the room, watched as the whole room goes HUMMM and KLANG and JUST AT THE LAST MOMENT — remembered to take a screen shot.

I don’t think I ever spent so much time on one.

Anyway, the room really looked cool, all lit up. I can solve the puzzle in minutes now, too, a talent which will undoubtedly come in handy if I wake up some morning, mystically transported to Stormreach in Eberron. “Oh no!” I’ll cry. “The game has become reality! Or, was Stormreach the reality all along, and my increasingly dim memories of another existence just a vision?” Then I’ll run to Three Barrel Cove, swim to the puzzle room, and get slaughtered by a hundred pirates because in REAL life, when you’re attacked by a hundred pirates, you get really dead.

Anyway. That was our exciting puzzle adventure. We also did The Legend of Two-Toed Tobias, the story of a man whose main claim to fame was nearly always hidden by the boots he wore. Could be worse, I guess. We could have done the Fable of Fungus Foot Fred, or the Harrowing of Hangnail Harry.

I mostly remember just one room in that dungeon, that had annoying target levers on high shelves. Just couldn’t flip those. Tony finally had a look at the wiki, and said you had to turn auto target lock off in order to hit them in the correct way. And then we were through. Seems kind of weird to have a puzzle that cannot be solved when the game has the default settings.

Why Did It Have To Be: Rats and Mephits.

Questions: How many quartermasters does one ship NEED?

We did another pirate ship adventure to get Spode leveled to 6 — just in time, the rest of us are closer to level 7.

Next week, we leave the paid content behind and head to Searing Heights. Spode asks, “Searing Heights sounds like a place without much water. I hope it’s not dizzying heights?”

We’ll find out.

Dungeons & Dragons Online: Endless Trials

Last night, Team Spode continued our adventures in Dungeons & Dragons Online’s Three Barrel Cove. It’s the next step in the Barrel Cove series, and we can’t wait to get started on Four Barrel Cove. Yay, pirates!

Well, these pirates put up a fight, this time. But what got us in the end wasn’t pirates at all, but a simple game of Chutes & Ladders…
Continue reading Dungeons & Dragons Online: Endless Trials