The Underdark: a vast network of underground caverns and tunnels underneath the surface of Abeir-Toril. It is home to a host of evil beings driven deep into the caverns at the end of the age of demons.
Pretty unbelievably, i’ve been enjoying the heck of Schir’s life as a Sorcerer. As you may have learned previously, i considered the Artificer as the end-all-be-all of class choices for me in DDO. In fact, the only reason i started a TR life in a different class was for the Past Life bonus. Now that i’ve punched my ticket on the TR train though, i’ve got a sneaking suspicion it will be some time before the inevitable return to the magical mechanic of Eberron. That being said, once i accumulate all the targeted PL’s, it will be a lot of fun to slap that rune arm back on. For the nonce, tossing around magic willy nilly is a whole lotta fun. For about a week i was a ‘forcerer’ – force-specced sorcerer because i just couldn’t bear to give up Lucid Dreams and i love all the force spells. Then i reincarnated into an pure sorcerer air savant. See you in about a dozen more lives, Lucid Dreams.
Schir Gold on the left, wearing Lucid Dreams. That’s Elminster on the right.
Anyway…the Underdark. Big shout out to my guild officers Scentinel and Wolfieviii (Juggernauts both) who started helping me and Wrongside get flagged for Caught in the Web – the largest flagging mechanic in the game with a whopping 15 quests required to make you raid-eligible. After salivating over the reward list the other day though, i told Wrongside “dude, we have got to start raiding more – beginning with this one.” My goodness there are a lot of incredible items there. Specifically, i’m looking at you, Twilight, Element of Magic and Sireth, Spear of the Sky.
Impulse +120? Yes, please.
Hey Brett – remember that Air Genasi “Death from Above” PnP character? Yeah…going to try and build that toon.
With honorable mentions to Needle, Quill Slinger – for that far-off arti redux, and Celestia, Brightest Star of Day – for Wrongside, currently loving his light-slingin’ FvS life. You can never have too many named repeating crossbows, as i always say. And a sword whose blade is made of pure light and breaks all DR? Sign me up. Well, sign Wrongside up at any rate. It will be nice to see something other than than piddly dagger is his livewood mitts.
Where was i? Oh yeah – the Underdark, and the incredibly long road to flag for CitW. Saturday night. There’s got to be numerous PUGs running Eveningstar quests, right? Wrong. For the longest time, i didn’t want to believe the forumites’ frequent comments on the PUG scene. But it does seem to bear some truth. There were only about 2-3 at-level LFMs for the entire night. Weird. Up until just a few weeks ago i was largely unaware of the grouping situation, mostly due to the self-conscious belief that i would wind up as the butt of a forum post. Something like “this gimp 18/2 sorc/arti joins and…”
Thankfully i’ve gotten over that hurdle by jumping in groups much more often and learning that – guess what? – i’m actually a pretty good player after seven years. Imagine that. Nevertheless, the problem at hand – no one running Eveningstar quests. Check the guild tab – everyone doing EE Gianthold. Quick survey on channel chat – no interest.
“i’m thinking about running EN Battle for Eveningstar solo,” i ask my fellow Sacred Flame Guardians. “Is this an extremely bad idea for someone who’s never done it before?”
Bracing for the worst, or at least some snickers, instead i get several votes of confidence and well-wishes. They wouldn’t steer me wrong, would they? Guys…?
Oh well, what’s the worst that could happen? TPK (me and Onyx Panther) and some wear-and-tear on my new Battle Arcanist set? Speaking of which, there’s another piece of gear to add to the wish list – Spidersilk Robes. Bonus: they drop in one of the flagging quests, Trial by Fury. Hope hope!
i should note here that much of my trepidation in trying my hand at this quest does not stem from attempting it solo – i’ve done just about everything else on my own at some point. No, rather it’s because of who the primary enemies are (drow) and my current class (sorcerer). That damn spell resistance is a PitA. And the priestesses *sheesh* i wonder if AI hates player healers as much as we dislike enemy clerics?
Guess what? It wasn’t so bad afterall. Granted i had no idea what i was doing, so i followed my tried-and-true “hug the left wall” tactic, but the going wasn’t nearly as bad as i’d anticipated. Secure the Granary? Check. Secure Tummarlin’s Farmstead? Check. Secure the Temple Neighborhood? Che– hey, where the heck is the Temple Neighborhood? Yoo hoo! Maybe it’s around this corner? Nope, that’s where the Necromancer and crapton of minions is. And just when things start to look grim:
“Your friend Wrongside has logged on.”
Yadda yadda yadda there’s one less drow field commander, Eveningstar is saved, we’re hailed as heroes…and then conscripted to continue to fight against the subterranean threat by taking the battle to their front door. And by “to their front door” i mean beyond their front door, into their heavily fortified underground city and into the fortress of their weapons master. But hey – you don’t get to Epic levels without taking on some challenges right?
Through the portal we go, into the Underdark.
This was not our first foray into the lightless depths though. That occurred last week, when we stumbled upon an entrance in the King’s Forest, promptly began running (i.e. falling deeper and deeper) for our lives, and finally finding a nice quiet tunnel…that was promptly disrupted by not one but TWO purple worms that proceeded to annihilate us in short order. Yeah, let’s go back down there!
For an idea of scale, we’re about as big as one of this thing’s teeth.
The difference now? This wasn’t our first trip to the rodeo. We were fully prepared for danger, at least what we could imagine. As a bonus, we entered from a different area and there was a very useful dwarf near the entrance selling goggles that help you see in the darkness. Makes a big difference when the environment isn’t practically pitch black all around you.
Probably the first thing that really hit us – this area is BIG. i mean, there’s some wilderness areas on the large side, but nothing like this. Not only is is far and wide, it’s deep too. So even though we eventually caved and busted out the wiki map, it was still pretty tough to navigate because not only do you need to find certain things on the top-down 2D map, once you arrive and start looking around you might realize “oh, it’s about a half-mile above us.” Such was the case searching for our objet de desir the Portal Gate to Sschindylryn and access to House Dun’Robar so we could take on the ‘House of Rusted Blades’ quest.
Undisputed masters of the Underdark – the drow.
When i tell you just getting to that gate was an adventure…whew! We were fumbling around in the Underdark for the better part of two hours trying to find it. And we weren’t dawdling much either. i mean, yeah – we were taking in the sights and stuff, but at the same time we kept our minds on the goal. And there are some sights! i’ve definitely gotta hand it to Turbine on this one – what a great wilderness area. Especially in light of the fact it’s essentially a cave. Enormous cascading waterfalls illuminating by phosphor glow, lakes of eerily glowing green acid, luminescent fungi, serene underground lakes…it’s pretty frickin gorgeous if i’m honest. And amidst all the natural beauty, the spelunking adventure is beset by all manner of creatures we’d never encountered before. Classic D&D beasts like the afore-mentioned Purple Worm (wish we woulda ran into another one of those!), Yuan-ti, Salamanders, and one of my favorites – the Deepstone Elemental. Usually, you come upon similar creatures as inert piles of stone that unsurprisingly spring to life when you draw near. Not down there, buddy! Nope, you’re just strolling along the rocky corridor and with no more than a momentary rumbling as warning, these things grow right out of the walls around you! But beyond all those nasties, our favorite encounter was the slavers. In this lightless world, several dominant races typically raid the surface world and take slaves to their fathomless realms. Chief among slavemasters are the drow and the illithid, more commonly known as mind flayers. Often, these frightful villains are encountered with a contingent of slaves whose actions are controlled either by magical collars around their neck (in the case of the former) or because their willpower is completely sapped (via the latter). Fortunately, us hardy adventurers (if we’re fast enough) can take out the slavemasters and free their slaves…who are naturally righteously pissed and started laying the smack down on nearby monsters.
Why are they called ‘mind flayers’? Because not only do they subvert your will with vast psionic power, they latch onto your head with those tentacles and literally suck your brain out and eat it!
Finally, we make it to the portal that leads to Sschindylryn. Woot woot. This is after Wrongside’s Leap of Faith-fueled scouting trip to the mysteriously shadowed part of our map that we could not for the life of us find the way into. It’s worth noting that if either of us had just a teensy bit more Spot, we might have noticed his choice of landing pad was crawling with zombies, evil spider goddess priestesses, and deadly spellward traps. But thankfully he is a terrific healer and was able to get away, back down the slope, and reverse-engineer the path we needed to take. As for his hireling and Onyx Panther? Let’s just say they made a great diversion, and we picked up their soul stones on the way back.
Okay. We made it. There’s a shrine right next to the portal, so we can get back up to full strength before tackling what is sure to be a difficult quest in an unknown environment against deadly enemies. Hmm, that’s weird – no adventure UI pops up when i click the portal.
OMG it’s another wilderness area, with a whole new set of goals and places to explore?!
Thankfully, we had the intestinal fortitude to stick it out, find the quest entrance, and pull off yet another successful completion that put us one step closer to that deliciously loot-laden raid. Which is more than i can say for my own stamina right now. Unlike our digital alter-egos who can run, jump, fight, and quest without ever stopping to sleep (unless it’s part of the quest), i gots to get some rest. Otherwise, i wouldn’t have the presence of mind for whatever awaits us tomorrow night in DDO.
Thanks for visiting!