My Week in Ddo

You might have noticed that my last few posts have all come today and there was not a lot of Ddo talk in them. Some of you know I took a little mini vacation, with the family. Couple that with a major overhaul at work. And my sudden wonderment about solar flares and 2012 and I find myself a little light on Ddo time over the last week or so…

But I have been playing, but for 1-3 hour mins a night vs my 3+ hours a night that is my norm.

The wife, who has been banking mad xp so she can keep playing with me, has rolled up a baby sorc to have something else to do while I am grinding some of the same things over and over.

I am running lots of Inferno of the Damned and Temple of Vol. Both quests are fairly simple for a solo caster. Flesh Maker a quest I normally run a lot I have not done nearly as much. I think because I need another person to help with the runes at the end, or a hireling that I can count on….But I did run it once last night.

I also tried Ghosts last night, was doing really well thought I would complete in fair amount of time. I was at the last level and almost done, but my hireling died. And not having someone to split the agro with made things super hard for my sorc to blast everything and heal/rez with the beholder looking right at me and I fell to neg levels after my beholder necklaces ran out…. But I pulled my silver flame trinkets out of the bank along with my phase hammer and I hope to hammer through next time… 🙂 Ghosts is really good xp per min with a second person, as long as you don’t bother with the extra chest.

Tuesday or so I asked the wife to help me out and we two maned Tor with Dragons for flagging. Have I said the new lvl 5 Dots are really good? But awaken elemental weakness is the big winner, well at least against the white and black dragon anyway.. in the blue room having that 40 resistance let Ice storm and a few ray spells shine through…

After blooding I tried to solo the Reaver. But the Air Eleies are killers now and at this level I am slow to kill them alone. I miss blade barrier. I remember having a decision/fight/argument with Jerry/Cordoven about what is better BB or WoF. He thought I was nuts thinking BB was better. Wonder how that conversation would play out today????

So a last night, there were a few groups that started out at level. But sooner or later turn in to loot runs by allowing 20s in and I would drop. I want that xp….

Thankfully there was one group that also wanted xp. At 11 people and 10 mins since any new takers we decide to go the 11 of us. We step in and get a 12th, a Reaver virgin and clr to boot.

Instructions were given out. Very smooth run, no deaths, 13 mins. I ended up pulling the lever but didn’t have to solve. I will take it.

Much loot dropped. I pulled a Head, it went up for roll high d42. A napkin dropped, also put up for roll. The necklace (trinket?) the 30 elc/chain lighting clickie I think it was also given up for roll. And a +3 dex tome. Yep a +3 dex tome. Did I say we ran normal as the highest was 16? Very nice run. Oh and no I don’t think the tome was given up for roll 🙂

You know what I also pulled 2 simi hard to get sheild pieces last night also, over all it was a good night.

Half Golems and Other Twists

Another think I would enjoy doing was push my players out of their comfort levels. A lot of times that involved twisting around monsters or using spells in ways they wouldn’t expect…

I remember one quest the players heard about a village being enslaved by a necromancer. Upon arrival they found that the major of the village was a necromancer but used his undead minions as farm hands to help out the farmers. As many of them had been kidnapped or out right killed by other “real” villains.

After getting my MM2 one of the monsters I would use a lot really wasn’t a monster at all but a monster template. I would use this template for many monsters. Many of them weren’t hostile at all, but it was a cool way to remember a ncp. “You mean Ricky, the ½ stone golem bar keep?” I would use that Half Golem template a lot like you see automail used in the Fullmetal Alchemist.

Doing this did two things for me. One made some NCPs more memorable. Some Dms would do this with personality/job alone but I think making the NCPs a possible threat does a better job. Players will keep a running list of things they are afraid of in mind, boring plot points not so much… And two lets me use that NPC later as a threat. Making an encounter out of a early plot point can change the players view of the world. A major shake really makes them think….

Fear the Spell Weaver

One of my favorite monsters to use in Pnp was the Spell Weaver. I good Google search should help you out. My quickie search got me a lot of not what I was looking for results…..

In a nut shell the Spell Weaver is a lot like a the best caster mob ever. It can cast upto 12 levels of spells at the same time. IE 12x 1lvl spells or 2x 6lvl spells or any combination of spells a round to get to up to 12. Often I would have one jump out from around a corner slam someone with 6 different magic missile spells hurl a fireball and then blink away, all in one surprise round.

Do you know what 304d+30 does to a PC with out (night) shield or some other way to prevent magic missile damage? Normally kills them, but might just hurt them real bad. But add in a fireball… Good times for the DM… 🙂

One of the tricks I would have my spell weaver’s do was cast an programed illusion of itself as if it was invisible. Then make it invisible. At the time my players were more or less running See invisibility all the time. And they would burn a few resources fighting a illusion. Well as long as I didn’t over use the trick and until true seeing became a possibility….

Double Barrel Wand Gun

So I am playing catch up everything I missed while on my mini vacation with the family in Oklahoma City. And one of the things that has fallen behind is my ddo blog. So I am going to shoot out a few quick posts. People seem to like it when I do the blast from the past pnp items that we used back in the day. So here is one of my favorites.

Back in the day I loved using wands. I still do in pnp. But not so much in ddo. But at lower levels they are great… (Stop getting side tracked!) Any way back in pnp staffs were a lot like super wands, normally designed around a theme. The Staff of Life is a fairly famous one. A charge the staff gave a heal, 5 charges let you rez dead. And then there are Rods. Rods did slightly stranger things, like the Rod of lordly might (which gave Chr bonuses and made lots of weapons) or the immovable rod (which was well… immovable).

So something I kinda got hung up on in my magic creation days was using other magic items as batteries for MY magic items.

My first real attempt at such a magic item was a lot like the the staff guns used in the Andromeda Tv show. It had a rod/mace mode, could turn in to a staff, and you could put a wand or two in it and fire off the wand with a button push vs the normal way the wand needed to be used. Ie, letting non magic users have access to junk wands….

Later I developed the Double Barrel Wand Gun. It took a cross bow stock and replaced the arrow/bow with two smaller rods that took wands. And using the trigger let you fire one wand at a time, or both. Once meta magic rods became the norm in our campaigns the holding rods some times got bumped up to burn up more charges but applied a metamagic magic feat to the wand.

At one point we even had a magic bazooka that we could shove some number of wands/staffs in to to fire off all the wands/staffs at the same time. To dump a massive amount of spell damage on a few targets.

Good times.

Back in the Day

Back when I didn’t have a computer I rolled a lot of dice. And I mean a lot. 2-4 times a week for a few hours at a time. I even had a weekly game at a special booth at a Pizza Hut in the next town over. I would go to work at Wendy’s until Tobril would get off work and pick every one up and then we would all drive over to Hoe Town.

That was its simi-official nickname, Hoe Town. I didn’t give it the name, but I will agree it was full of hoes and whores. 🙂 Hmm tasty… the pizza! I am talking about the pizza. Not the 20 something easy riders, I swear!

So I would buy the Pizza, Tobril would drive and Jack would chip in when he could. Aka, free load.

I don’t think I have ever told the story of Jack. Believe me when I tell you he is a special guy, that and he almost always played some kind of wizard.

Anyway we would head up to the hut and game. We played there a lot as it allowed our friend Justin to play some as he worked. This was our core group. Well at least for a long while.

So I Dmed most of the time, being the guy with the most dnd time. And I did a lot of Dming from the seat of my pants. Some people are not set of the pants guys. You have to do a lot of thinking on your feet and getting the group to bend and flow like you want is hard. But I didn’t have time or money for a lot of published modules and it was the dark ages of the Internet. Took you minutes to download a dirty pic. I would hate to see how long it would take to get a sexy video, days?

One of the most popular themes we used, was what I called the “magic shop”. You the PC were kidnapped by a strange man/wizard/robot and would fine yourself stripped in a small closet. Looking a round you would find a gold coin and a slot in which to “buy” your way into the game and opening the doors and allowing you to step into the shop.

Pcs were greeted by your “kidnaper” you were explained the general rules. You would go from “level/world/plain” find a magical portal defeat what ever guardian/s was trying to stop you from entering said portal. After X number of completions you would be turned and give the choice of worlds to defend and players would test your defenses. To aid you, you where give to 3 items from the vast supply of items found in the shop. allowing the player/s to cherry pick an items powers to fit their character’s needs. And i normally didn’t worry about power creep, as the dm i could add weird side effects when ever it was needed.

For example, Jack once asked for a Swiss army sword. The sword granted its owner proficiency with the weapon no mater what form of the weapon.

If he wanted the sword to be in sword mode it could be a long/short/great/or any other kind of sword. He made it in to mace/hammers/etc but the form he used the most was chainsaw mode.

Once I had a player get a few more arms and hands. And became a muiti arm monster.

The Original Tobril ended up putting on some black dragon armor that bonded to him and became his skin and slowly started to turn him into a dragon. I wonder why he hasn’t gotten his DDO Tobril any black dragon armor….

Anyway a quick story mostly to have a point of the post. I hate to burn this one already but this is one of the best pnp stories. And Tobril and I still joke about this to this day.

Jack and Tobril were making their way through a maze in a mountain knowing that they had to get to the far side to complete the stage. It had many levels and was moving a lot slower then I had wanted. So around one bend they found small room. All that was in this room was a small box with a hole in it. And a rod that clearly went into the hole. With a little playing they discovered that putting the rod in the hole and tilting the up the door closed and the hole room moved up very fast. They found a magic elevator, that ran all the way up to the top of the mountain. But it was a high mountain and the air was thin and they had to go back down quickly before passing out. So they returned the lever to level and found themselves back where they started.

So with a quick estimate of how high the mountain was and some careful math Jack developed a plan to use all of his first level spells slots on feather fall and glide down. Jack and Tobril go to the top of the mountain. Jack counts to 3 and jumps off. And Tobril turns and looks to me and says “I didn’t jump.”

The look of shear terror on jacks face, so great. All of his careful math was done on a bad estimate of the height of the mountain and he miss used his feather fall spells. He was saved by an npc at the last moment. But the look remained for a long time.

Tobril rode the elevator back to the start. And then tried moving the rod down and found himself at the foot of the mountain not long after Jack made it to the bottom.

A purple dragon was waiting at the foot of the elevator, awakened by the elevator’s use. And a wonderful fight broke out. But if I didn’t let the group lead the way they might still be in that mountain and we never would have had this story to hold over good old jack.

Left with a Bad Taste in my Mouth

So last night I was running around Giant Hold solo or helping the wife’s acrobat get Tor flagged. And it was about 10 and Tobril finished what ever he was doing and joined group for voice chat. About that time I got the sudden urge to do something else. Always up for an epic (even the baby ones with me) Tobril was on board. Thinking he I and could just burn our way though a epic Bob we both switched to alts. I loaded up Samiusbot, Tennie for Tobril and I started to remember where spells are on the bars and whatnots…
Now Samiusbot has been re-tuned a few times since we got a way to do so. But for the most part he is a WF (pure) wizard Pale master. He has a 39 int, no really great items, a unlocked Deaths Touch and a mad trickery rod are in his hands most of the time. And only get pulled out if I am going to do a few epics or turn earth eleis into rocks to boost some items with low Hp/hardness. He is only so good, but in the house D epics he works fine. His Dcs/spell pen is way low compared to other casters that run this kind of stuff all the time, 40-43 for enchment/necro spells. (That is why I am working on Samius.)

Now I know that epics have changed a lot. I have played some epics since the change happed. Tobril is working on fleshing out his Red Fin stuff and I mostly help him if I am in the mood. So I know what my toaster can do. He can finger mobs with out SR hold the ones with good fort saves or web and pray to hold drow long enough to nerco bolt/blast/touch them down. I don’t epic everyday like some but often enough to know the drill.

Any way the Tobril puts up a group. Surprised I guess he wants to try and get a few done and is using the first run as a warm up. No big. We get started and I finger or circle a few guys, bolt and bast dps along the melees. Things are going fine. And I get asked for haste and rage. Well this shows up in the txt box. “haste??rage??” I say over mic, oh sure, I have haste/rage one sec here we go…as I find/ cast them. Some people run off and miss out. They must not have needed them… A sec or two later I get another “haste??rage??” I say, “I just cast them but be sure to be in range and I will go again” and rage/haste.

As that is going on, Tennie/tobril as picked up some agro while trying to pull a lever and asks for someone to pull the lever or take the agro. A blast or two later he still has agro so I move to finger mode and a person moves to help with the lever. Tennie regroups and then the other person joins us and we begain to move on, but the lever didn’t get pulled. So tennie goes back to get the lever.

Now there is a place where in BoB by the shrine where a red named cow can come up from below and attack the group if the group is standing around. So Tennie and I always move around the corner as quick as we can and clear trash as to not have to worry about the mad cow. I turn and watch the rest of the group (all good players according to Tobril) as the stand right at the little intersection right past the shrine, and they are fighting. Okay as long as they are fast is it fine. But the Cow has joined the fray. So I start on trying to control the cow and clear the agro and a air ele shoots down into the crowd below stirring up all sorts of trouble. I let tennie know that this half of the group is getting over whelmed and he runns back just in time for ding, ding, ding. There is lots of talk of reforming and trying again real fast. But tennie says no way there is a shrine right here we will salvage this as it will be faster. And we do and all is well.

We move on to the area where you have to shoot one of the two levers to open the way to the final boss and I am standing, waiting. And blades shoot out of the floor killing most of the group. I here an minor ass chewing from Tobril as to if you don’t know what lever to shoot then don’t… As the remainder of the group gets killed with out their healer healing them, as he is dead in the trap along with me and someone else. So reform.
While we are reforming I see this in the box. “As the healer, I like it when mobs don’t hit me back.” Now in a foul mood I take that has a slight and ask him if hold person got taken off his spell list? Thankfuly Tobril I think picked up on my mood and diffused me about to go off on this guy. We move along a lot better now, as I don’t care any longer and is mostly finger/circling/wailing like crazy. At one point a hold lands and the healer types “thanks”. Oh, boy. Never mind the all the other spells that are being cast, but a blue ring and the healer type is all warm and fluffy. Never mind keeping the party together or healed. Blue MOTHER F*ING RINGS…
Okay I am a big boy I let it go. And Tobril makes a joke about not hitting the wrong side like… “Lets hit the right side this time okay?” So I guess someone took him at this word and killed at least 4 of us…
At this point I didn’t care anymore. I got rezed and we recovered. And finished. But I had all the “something else” I could handle for the night. A fun 10-15 min epic took 2 tries, 2 full party wipes, 2 near party wipes, 2 recoveries to complete and 41 minutes.

*head shake*

I don’t know… Maybe next time I want to do something different I will suggest a first time abbot run or just use rusty nails and nail my wang to the chair. Sounds about the same amout of fun, atm.

After 10+ minutes of Tobril trying to convince me that this is not normal and most go smoothly I still don’t fully believe. I do know that I need some time, because if I get in another epic right away and it also goes poorly then I will be pissed at epics and swear them off for a long time. Same kind of thing happened to me with the Hound raid shortly after the F2P people started to get into it and I still hardly run it anymore. All do to a few bad runs. And I have 3-4 guys near their 20ths. And have been for little more then a year…

I just need to re tune Javabot or Buterz for epics. And take a break from being the “caster” people want/assume me to be with out asking or informing me that they want me to be. What i find to be funny 2 weeks ago we did a large handful of epics tennie + 3-4 wizards (short maned) and had 0 problems. Why do things become hard when you let 2+ melees and a healer in?

Crucible follow up.

Yesterday I was asked about soloing the Crucible. And I thought it was possible. And thought my way through how to do it. The way that came to me as the easiest was to use a hireling and a DD or two.

But thanks to all the great comments, I got a few videos and whatnots explaining that if your fast enough you can get past the doors as they are closing. So you can pull your own levers, hall ass, and make it. And some of the doors I didn’t have a problem with. Others I had to try many times, but I was able to make it sooner or later.

But the run through method doesn’t leave a lot of margin for error. At least not in my mind.

One of the things that you have to be able to do if your doing the run through method is make it through the doors. That last one, the one that is opened with the horn, closes real fast. I couldn’t make it with haste/invis alone. I watched Mr. Cow’s video and it looked like he was using a sprint boost most of the time. Maybe that little extra boost was what I needed…..
Watch the video, The Crucible part 1.avi by Ukenburger

So I used DD and a hireling and got it down to 30 mins on my second completion. I will admit I did try to make it through both times and failed and had to DD and go for the horn. Think if I didn’t try for the breakables, or tring for the run through and failing I think I could get to 20ish minutes.

The other nice thing about using a hireling was I was able to use it to try for the horn of Guessing. I was not 100% sure my wisdom was low enough to get the right answer. You need a 13 for the Clr Dilettante. So having someone that I wasn’t super worried about living helped when it came to opening dangerous doors. 🙂

You can also solo Pop in the same ways. Either run/tumble as you finishing pulling the levers. Or get a hireling and SET THEM TO PASSIVE ONLY to handle the lever jobs. In Madstone, Invis and lots of killing is your friend, also totally soloable. May have to see about finding a hireling that can defend a box in Tor with out leaving it….

Can you solo the Crucible?

Believe it or not I was thinking about this question before @skaggy_the_poet replied to my twitter call for blog topics for today. Mostly due to 2 things, one Samius is now level 14 which means Gh time and @tobril shot me a link (again via twitter) to a forum post, Forums are down for me atm, so I dont have a title but here is the link….

I once saw an animated gif of a 2 man team solving the maze, I think it was by Mr Cow… I will see if I can dig up a link some time. (isilmerel: just tweeted me the link To Mr. Cow’s animated gif)

Any way, this life has been one where I have soloed a quest or two I didn’t think was soloable. Namely The Tomb of the Shadow Lord..This is what the ddowiki has to say about this quest.

“Requires extra player(s)/hireling(s) (mandatory: the party has to split several times in order to pull simultaneously several pairs of levers) “

But with the aid of a hireling and Dim Door, it was/is totally soloable….

There is no such note on the Crucible’s wiki write up, but that doesn’t make it soloable. Thinking through the maze, however, I do think it could be done with a hireling. The trick is understanding the maze and how the doors work..

Each valve controls a set of 3 doors. A door can either be N-S or E-W. Using the valve puts each door it controls in the opposite orientation. Each set of 3 doors has 2 doors that share their default orientation, and 1 door that is odd man out.

For example the three “I” doors (red in the map above thanks DDowiki), if the valve is set for its default you will see that the two most east doors will be in the N-S orientation and the third door will be in the E-W orientation. Solid color means that the door in its default orientation (off), two black lines means the alt (on) orientation.

Now you can use a hireling to camp the valves and switch it back and forth as long as YOU keep the valve targeted yourself. This is where you can get into trouble as you have to pick up crests, but if you keep the door directions in mind, and the path you need to take, you should be able to set the door your working with before locking yourself into a corner.

For example when you are getting the most northern crest, You are working with the I doors. You want to be sure the South I door is in the N-S orientation, or back to its default. Then you can Dim Door.

So soloing the Crucible should be very doable, with a hireling and at least 2 Dim Doors, one behind I and one behind K.

Of course you also have to be able to make the swim, and work the top part of the maze (you have lots of time as long as your fast).

I will try to solo it tonight, watch my twitter feed (@samiusgurobo) for completion details.

Good bye Dragonmarks.

Saturday… maybe late Friday… had to be early saturday…. any way the when is not important. Can you tell I am a little sleepy? Anyway sometime this weekend I uesd a lesser heart of wood taking out the helf dragonmarks. Why? Well after testing them out I decided while they are good… Okay Call lighting storm is good.. look I will get in to the marks in a minute. While they are good, I was being hurt by the lack of a few meta magic feats, and trying to play as a fire savant 1 at level 12-13…

The marks:

The first gives gust of wind, a good spell for limited uses. I need to clear a aoe spell mostly. But I did use it a few times to slow baddies chasing me while a dot killed them. Good on my sorc do to having a small spell list, and swapping in to GoW at a shrine when you notice that casting mobs are a little wall or cloud happy is not possible…

The second mark gives Electric Loop a really great spell. But at the time I had already focused on fire and air and had the spell. A second timer was well and good, with out heighten however, its Dcs are kinda low so 20-50 damage… Still good but just not for me atm..

The third mark, big daddy… Call Lighting Storm. The spell itself is super. A minute of really good spell damage that auto killed guys. Problem was some (most) of the kills are off screen or not right in front of you removing bad guys that are actively trying to kill you. Also one minute? For 3 feats? Wow. Okay you can burn ap and get a few more uses. And 3 minutes is much better. But for that much the dps has to be killer.

I really loved Call Lightning during Frame Work. It is all out side, there are tons of baddies to kill. It mostly one shots every non-boss in the quest. So for 3 minutes you get 1 kill every 3-4 secs…or about 45 kills..I think that mostly sums up the spell. I would totally cast the CLS but devote all those feats and Ap in to 3 minutes? I couldn’t any longer. To solo the kind of content I have to start soloing now my build has to be tighter. And the wiggle room is just gone.

So when I remove the Marks my reasoning for not being an air savant (aka the marks + air S == buged) is gone. Air savant has all the best spells available to it. Ice Storm as always been one of my favorite spells. And is one of the best spells, the cold dot and frost lance rounds out my ice splash, WoF, Fire Ball and Scorching Ray for fire and then there are so many good air spells, Shocking grasp and Elc loop are 2-5 sp clickies but I still pick up Shocking grasp for the second timer. Bolt has become my main spell followed up by Chain Lightning and Ball Lightning, and of course Eladar’s.

Once I was all swapped over, and gotten my bars resetup with my new metas, clickys and whatnots, I thought I needed a good test. Mired in Kobolds is a level 13 quest. Takes about 4 mins to zerg. And has a optional really hard dragon fight that is a real challenge to solo even a few levels over the quest. Is worth about 3k and can drop black scales. Aka $$$.

This fight, while intense, is not super hard for this build. Lots of pack pedaling. Keeping Dots up. Watching the timers and keeping up a few buffs. I ran it solo about 4-5 times. No scales. Just confirms to me that air is the right elemental to focus in as it looses the least amount. And that Helf is the right race for my kind of sorc, even if they are fugly.

Never make Character Decisions While Sleepy

Last night I gathered xp for level 12. Ran over to the trainer and leveled up, got the 3rd dragon mark for the call lighting.

Started taking enchantments and noticed that I had made an error and I didn’t have the right feat for the prerequisites. So I bum a dragon shard so I don’t have to switch around characters. And talk to Fred and swap to Spell focus: Evoc and run to the trainer again and fail????

Spell focus: Ench is not Spell focus: Evoc, Doh!

Okay fine then I wont take my second tear of the savant line. I will just focus on trying out my lightning feats. Lets max out the enchantments. And all done. Run out to an explorer to test them out and it is rocken. The lowest damage I have seen in my limited testing is 119 and the max is 503. Normal numbers in the 220 point range. But I didn’t take any extra uses so right now it is a really good min of damage.

Boy I kinda wished I had just logged off last night and saved leveling for today now… Well I do what I can with what I what I have for the next few days.