Last week, my FeyBuckler/Completionist Mawry ventured into the Jungles of Khyber on Epic Elite. Except Mawry was only level 20, and she got popped like an angry zit on school picture day in the second fight.
Normally I would just write that off. I don’t care for EE soloing, it strikes me as a rather crazy activity that is only for those who are truly devoted to it, which I am not. And it is super-crazy-nuts to try and solo something on EE when you are four levels below the quest. Four levels!
No shame in a defeat like that, right? I am free to go on about Mawry’s current life with no regrets. Except it bothered me anyway, because I didn’t have to die. If I’d played even the slightest bit better, I’d have survived.
As days passed I kept turning it over in my head. What if I’d done this? Or instead, that? Maybe I can solo this thing? At level 21? Maybe the FeyBuckler build is just that good?
And so I find myself, again, in the VON3 pre-quest, again, surrounded by dead trolls, again, and choosing Epic Elite on the quest panel. Again.
But this time will be different (he says bravely, with no real reason for the sudden bravado beyond self-delusion)! I do have one more level than last time, although still three full levels below the quest.
I make an equipment change as well, adding the Seal of House Avithoul for the improved Deception, and swapping out my green steel for a Sacrifical Dagger; I am not sure but suspect this may be a slight decrease in DPS but I am hoping to make that up in overall effectiveness due to vampirism and the debuffs the dagger applies versus Drow.
I briefly consider bringing a hireling – additional healing can’t be bad – but in the end I pass. Playing well is hard for me, I have to really focus, and I don’t want to be mucking about with poorly-controlled AI while attempting to achieve the necessary level of concentration.
And so I am buffed and off. The first encounter is red-named, a Drow caster accompanied by a seriously large and hardened scorpion. I remember last time and activate Deathward before the fight. Taking no chances, I use the Dark Delirium/Coup De Grace combination on the scorpion. The red-named takes longer, but the combination of debuffs and Improved Deception is effective; the enemy rate of attack is way down.
Next up is the encounter that was my doom on the last attempt, a Scorrow and three scorpions. No doom today! Kundarak Delving Boots applied, and I am a dervish. The Scorrow goes instantly (Delirium/Coup again), the scorpions take a little longer, but I am never in danger and barely even take any damage.
The following encounter is a heavily trapped door, concealing a lot of drow archers and two casters – one arcane, one divine. I refresh my haste and displacement spells, and throw the door switch. When the door opens, I am already playing my Bard Fascinate song, and I jump and skip around the room until it finishes: all of the archers are fascinated. I dispatch the casters, and then take on the archers one at a time. Easy peasy.
Next is another Scorrow and two Drow casters. The ability to take one out at the top of the fight really helps. The ability to get healing in waves via Sacred Ground helps even more. Another win.
I skip the optional trolls, because optional. Leaving a room full of scorpions. Thinking quickly, I skip them too, running all the way through the scorpion room, under the overhang full of Drow archers and casters, and huddle up behind the shrines while seeing what followed me.
Nothing. Nothing followed me. This is going really well!
On to the room full of earth elementals. Apparently two Scorrow did follow me after all, because suddenly here they are. No worries, there is plenty of time while the Dungeon Master voices a series of plot expositions. I am just finishing the last of the Scorrows as the Earth Elementals activate.
And that is that. Instant doom.
The Sacrificial Dagger is useless against the rockies, I knew that, should have swapped weapons. But really, it doesn’t matter, because all of the rockies are spamming me with Earthgrab and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. The Kundarak boots do not help, I cannot even activate Sacred Ground, nothing.
I do have a Harper pin, and it allows me to escape. Once. But then I am immediately Earthgrabbed again and this time it is terminal. Death comes quickly, inevitably, death by Earthgrab.
I am still in reach of the shrines, barely, and soon alive, huddled behind them, hiding from the Drow archers I’d skipped earlier, scanning my character sheet and backpack for some sort of strategy that might work. I have a more appropriate weapon, a Banisher, although it won’t penetrate rock elemental DR. None of my weapons will. I can’t Fascinate them. I have nothing to stop Earthgrab.
Death by Earthgrab
Maybe if I can get Evard’s Black Tentacles down quickly enough? I toggle on Quicken. With plan in place, I hustle back into the rocky room. To no avail whatsoever, as soon as I arrive I am Earthgrabbed again, and a soulstone shortly thereafter.
Shrine, repeat, same result. I cannot get the spell cast. I cannot do anything of use. It is no contest. I am not going to get through this room, not today. Mawry is simply over-matched.
So be it. I accept defeat, for today, but not overall. I will be back VON3, I will!
And next time … oh next time you better watch out!
🙂 😀 🙂