With a new Adventure Pack to explore, the Critical Mass guild faced their newest challenge head-on. Your votes last week chose the Sorrowdusk Isle Adventure Pack (400 Turbine Points) for us, and in this installment of Choose my Adventure, I'm happy to report back on my impressions.
Follow along after the jump for those impressions, Fahryn Brygo's in-character journal, another poll for next week and more!
I must admit, I've grown to like these House of Deneith people. In fact, our entire party has spent the last few weeks staying at the various inns within the region, as well as some homes of the citizens. They've been courteous and generous to us, which may be a result of our new status as respected adventurers.
We were advised to speak to a man named Brother Mirashai about a place called Sorrowdusk Isle, where some greedy treasure seekers disturbed an ancient temple of the dark gods, releasing foul demons across the island. He pointed us to a vessel that would take us to the island, but we were on our own once we arrived.
While on the ship, we encountered a dwarf by the name of Kurvic who told us he experienced these released demons first-hand. From the way he described the disturbed temple and his reasons for being on the island, I would suspect it was his "lost" party that was to blame for the whole thing. We didn't press the issue, as the dwarf was very helpful to us. He even drew us a small map showing the exact location of the temple and various ogre caves on the way that may pose a problem for us. Although he seemed much more concerned with the demons, and what he kept referring to as 'The Dark Six", he did stress the fact that there are plenty of trolls, ogres and large spiders on the island that can present an equal threat.
We arrived at Sorrowdusk and followed the main path up to see an ogre elder from the Grey Moon tribe by the name of Bruku. Apparently, this elder had an argument with the tribe's new leader and was cast out. This type of inner turmoil was not needed for the ogres as their energies would best be spent defending themselves from the trolls who raid their caves.
This new leader, known as Lord Grust, had secured the loyalty of the tribe, despite his fiendish ways. Bruku asked us to save the former chief's son from Grust's imprisonment, and work on a way to kill Grust once and for all. It seemed like we were treading territory we should best leave to the giants of the island, but we promised that old dwarf we'd avenge his friends and secure the temple once more. We are adventurers of our word.
Once Grust was defeated and Lord Hragg was returned to his rightful place in the throne of the Grey Moon tribe, we asked Bruku to aid us with our original journey in the temple. The ogre wanted no part of a skirmish with the Dark Six, but did give us some helpful advice. The trolls of the island had infiltrated the Grey Moon den, defeating most of the tribe and stealing their home, thanks to a relentless leader named Hammerfist. Bruku promised us that once we killed Hammerfist and drove the last troll from the Grey Moon den, we would discover the source of the temple's evil and realize what needed to be done.
I was skeptical at first, because this ogre was no fool. We had already done so much for him by killing Grust, but now he asks for more? Of course we agreed, but I was suspicious of his intentions.
The Grey Moon den was much deeper than we anticipated, as we climbed deeper and deeper through waves of trolls and troll droppings. I can only imagine how disgusting these caves were with only ogres inhabiting them, but the addition of trolls made it much worse. Bruku warned us that the trolls are not intelligent creatures and must have been led to exterminate the ogres by a higher force. But what?
It was about this time that I had a revelation. Throughout my journey, as I've struggled to find myself and my riches in Stormreach, I was never truly an adventurer. Of course it's a name I call myself, but being wrapped up in the platinum and gold drove me down a path from which many hired swords never return. It was at this moment that I realized that I don't care about the riches anymore. I don't care about directing others to make riches for me. The single-most important thought in my mind was that of conquering my task. Solving this mystery and saving the Grey Moon tribe from certain destruction meant more to me at that moment than anything else. Now I know that I can call myself an adventurer, because I do this for the love of the adventure.
These new thoughts inspired me to press on through the dank caves. We eventually reached a small altar with a man standing nearby. He was reciting what sounded like a ritual in a tongue I did not recognize. He was startled by our arrival and turned to attack almost immediately, without question. He was no match for the six of us, but I couldn't help but ponder the connection between a dark cleric and these trolls. I thought only demons were released from the disturbed temple.
We returned to Bruku for some consultation, but he told us to speak to Lord Hragg to hear his thoughts on the matter instead. The ogre chieftain spoke of an ancient tome of the Dark Six that was left to rot on the island. The ogres had left it alone for many years, but the dark clerics have returned for it. If this was true, it meant that our treasure-seeking dwarf friend and his party were not the ones who disturbed the temple after all. This would certainly be good news for Kurvic.
Upon retrieving the book from the troll-infested temple, we returned it to Lord Hragg, who was very excited to read what was inside. He eyed it intently, as I found myself astounded at this ogre's intelligence. Not only could he read that ancient text, but he concocted his own plan that I was eager to follow.
We broke into the temple's inner sanctum where we discovered a collection of creatures much more powerful than any wights or cultists we've seen. The rituals here had summoned mephits -- extraplanar winged demons that resembled imps with more power than anyone could imagine. Their source appeared to be a series of fiery portals protected by fierce traps and puzzles. These summoning gates breathed the fires of Fernia and burned more intensely than anything I've ever experienced. Destroying them was no easy feat, but we did what we had to do.
With the summoning fires destroyed, the clerics driven from the temple, and the trolls without a leader, the Grey Moon tribe was able to return to their den to begin the rebuilding process. They held grand celebrations in our honor throughout the following days, and I think it's safe to say that ogre relations with the inhabitants of Stormreach have been greatly improved.
It's times like these that make me proud of what I do.
As you can tell, we had some fun this week. I guess my only disclosure here is that we actually did not defeat the mephits at the end, but we came darn close. With most of our group being 3-4 levels below the recommended level for that last part of Sorrowdusk Isle, I'd say we didn't do too badly. I'm sure if we gave it a few more hours, we could have done it, but our (read: my) play times are fairly limited throughout the week. For now, we'll lick our wounds and try that part again at a later date and a higher level.
Playing through a paid Adventure Pack was exciting for me because I got to taste how the other half lives. Two weeks ago, our fearless leader Stormsnow handed out some guest passes for some paid content, which was actually my first hint at that side of things, but it just seems more personal when you spend your own hard-earned points on it.
Ironically, I do believe the rest of our party just went ahead and purchased a VIP membership for the month ($15), instead of paying the $6 for one Adventure Pack. I don't blame them one bit, either, as it seems like the wiser decision.
As I explained last week, gaining Turbine Points through favor works if you can't or won't fit the bill for a subscription, but sometimes it just makes sense to throw a few extra bucks out for that whole buffet.
So now we look forward to this week's adventure. Discussing our options with the guild, we decided to put up a few of the longer quests in our level range for the vote. Check out these brief quest descriptions from mmodb.com and the DDO Compendium:
- Stormcleave Outpost: One of the most popular high level experience quests in the game. It is initiated by speaking with Alcianna d'Deneith in the Anvil Fire Inn in House Deneith, and targeted at a group of players.
- Church and the Cult: This quest is often referred to as the Vampire Quest in-game, because it was the first quest with a Vampire boss, and was introduced with the Vault of Night episode. It is given out by Inquisitor Lightbringer in House Phiarlan, and takes place in the Temple of Vol.
- Gwylan's Stand: Coralay D'Phiarlan in House Phiarlan gives this popular quest, which occurs in Gwylan's Stand. The goal here is to collect eight cylinders that have been stolen from House Phiarlan and then to empty them into House Thuranni's supply crates.
- Caverns of Korromar: The Caverns of Korromar quest is given by Ulfgar d'Kundarak in House Kundarak, and is an oft-avoided quest. The reason for this is that it takes longer, and is more difficult than many other quests this level, yet gives less experience.
- The Xorian Cipher: This quest is given by Gatekeeper Chulkash in House Jorasco and takes place in the Xorian Cipher zone, which is inside of the Path to Madness.
- The Tears of Dhakaan: This module was introduced with the Vaults of Night episode. It is given out by Kamat Thaar in House Phiarlan. This dungeon takes you to the Arzag-Khor Sewer. This dungeon is populated by high level hobgoblins and is rather difficult. The difficulty comes primarily from the spellcasters, who will cast a nasty cloud spell which can be the death of a party.%Poll-37401%
We will play through the first quest voted on, but we'll also play through the second and possibly third if we have time. With 2 weeks left in our DDO time, I plan to do something special for our final week, so stay tuned!