So there we are, hiding in a corner while wave after wave of high hit-point bad guys come at us. Spell points are low. Clickies are expended. Hirelings are not following orders and have to be set to passive, and even then are just uselessly getting themselves killed. Hit points are at a premium. Death penalties are adding up.
Things look pretty grim for Our Team.
I should explain. My Gamer Girl and I are in Breaking the Ranks, which can be quite the draining grind when run on Elite at level. Technically we are below level, finishing off TR lives at level 18 while running a quest that on Elite is level 21.
The quest features wave after wave after wave of bad guys that come at you en masse; first dozens of gnolls, then dozens of orcs, then hill giants, then Shadar Kai. There is more to it than that: a handful of red-named bosses, traps scattered about the combat field.
A really, really difficult quest to duo on Elite at our level.
But there we are nonetheless, having already defeated piles of enemies. The gnolls are gone, the orcs, even the hill giants. But we are really struggling against the Shadar Kai. Not all of them; the problem is the chain-swinging Assassins. You can’t effectively melee them unless you can get them in single isolation, but they keep going in and out of invisibility: you think you are fighting one of them when suddenly there are three or four, all chaining you, and you are a soulstone. Again.
They have very high saves too, only certain crowd control techniques work on them and none stay for long. No easy button this time, there is nothing for it but caution, tactics, and a nice pile of raise dead scrolls.
So we play a dancing game, hiding behind fencing in the gnoll camp, using terrain. Jump out; engage one target; defeat it, or at least hit on it until it gets reinforced; then try to shake off agro and return to safety behind the fence.
It is an intricate dance, and one that is difficult to get exactly right. Come back too soon and you don’t have any effect. Come back too late and you have too much agro. There are penalties if you misstep, in the form of grouped chains following you into the safe space, using their AoE attacks and debuffs to root everyone in place and kill us all at once.
It can get quite grim.
During past instances of this quest, we’ve seen that sometimes the bad guys will all clot up in the middle of the combat area and be unable to see us. There is an undead dragon who is sort of randomly breathing iceballs into the area; if he (she?) cannot see you either, she (he?) will instead pelt the bad guys. Which eventually kills them, although it takes awhile, especially with the Shadar Kai who have such excellent reflex saves. Cheesy. Time consuming. Boring. But given enough time, the dracolich will win the quest for you.
We are in trouble, and have been in the quest too long to just give up. Instead we try to set up the dragon ice ball situation, trying to herd the bad guys into the middle while at the same time avoiding dracolich attention. I’m not sure one can even set this up this on purpose; when we’ve encountered the iceball situation in the past it has always been accidental. But desperate times call for desperate measures. And we are desperate.
Suddenly there is a huge explosion. We hear it more than see it, a bang that is so loud and so sudden that it rises above all of the other noises – and there are a lot of other noises – BANG! We feel it through our speakers. It is startling!
What the … ?
Cautiously I make my way back to the center of the combat area: there is Draeton, the main boss, but he is alone? All of the bad guys that were killing us are gone?
And there is a circle of Tasty Hams?
Unbelievably, Colors of the Queen (or perhaps Double Rainbow, who can say for sure, my Gamer Girl’s caster has both in play) has produced something I’ve never seen it produce before: the exploding barrel of Tasty Hams. And more, on Elite at this level the explosion is apparently quite violent: only Draeton, he of more than 100,000 hit points, survives. Maybe he had time to climb inside an abandoned refrigerator?.
We cleared the whole area in a single blow.
We dropped the H(am)-Bomb.
Bad guys got you down?
Death penalties stacking up?
Call in the H-Bomb!
What a great end to what had been an incredibly difficult quest! Now if only we could do it again, on purpose!
H-Bombs for everyone!
🙂 😀 🙂