My girlfriend and I are working two of our TRs through the Threnal series. Threnal is not the greatest XP ever but we are running it because we haven’t, and I want a Mantle of the Worldshaper. I am on Chelena Armstrong, she has her barbarian Pickley McPickster, and we each bring a pocket cleric.
The Western quests go very smoothly. Eastern is going to suck (damn you Coyle!), and I stall for time, taking her through the Threnal explorer area* and all three Giant caves.
* This is sort of nostalgic for me, I spent (hundreds?) of hours here back in 2006 when I only had one character and the Giant caves were the best loot runs in the game. Remember this?
|The quest flagging item.
Click image for a full-size version
And the tour finale, the Threnal Arena. What the heck, we both have the quest flagging item. I ask my girlfriend to go ahead and click on the altar.
Chaos ensues, but we are badasses, in our own minds at least, and there is nothing in the first wave that we cannot handle with aplomb. The Rust Monsters are annoying, when they are mingled with other opponents it is impossible to pick the right weapon, but in this case they die quickly and soon the entire wave is defeated.
“What was that?” she asks, only to get the reassuring reply “not to worry, just click the altar again”.
The second wave goes much as the first. The intermingled Rust Monsters are again the biggest challenge even though they are not the most deadly. The girlfriend remains mystified as to what we are doing, but we are both feeling pretty confident after the easy victories so far. Little urging is needed to get her to click the altar a third time.
Except … I had forgotten one thing about the third wave … two things actually … and they are both beholders.
Ouch. No time to swap in anti-beholder gear, as soon as we realize the peril it is over. Party wipe.
The DDO Store beckons me, taunting me with infinite Raise Dead cakes*. Yvonne is all for abandoning the quest and recalling, but I am determined. We are this far in, and I want her to see this quest completed even if we only ever do it this one time.
* Plump, juicy, delicious, expensive(!) Raise cakes
Naturally I mis-click and buy a cake three-pack instead of just the one I intended. There goes a month’s worth of Turbine Points! But it is for a good cause. Then it dawns on me that there really isn’t anyone to raise.
- Chelena: fighter, no raise dead capability
- Pickley: barbarian, no raise dead capability
- My pocket cleric: eighth level, no raise dead capability
Yvonne’s cleric, Samuel Merrik, has Raise Dead. I hit him with a cake, but dismay! He runs straight into the middle of the arena, between the two beholders, and just stands there getting eye-zapped until he is killed again.
I try to plot a way to raise Samuel in a safe zone. It’s a challenge, partly because Yvonne does not directly control the hireling, but also because the bedamned beholders are patrolling the arena! Usually when a beholder kills you it just sort of stands there and gloats, but no, gloating is too good for these two, they are actively searching for survivors.
|Soulstones at 6 o’clock! Damned adventurers never stay dead. Keep patrolling!|
We carefully time things, Yvonne pulls Samuel to the safe area, click on a cake (maybe it was a good thing I accidentally bought extras) and Samuel is alive again!
And runs straight into the middle of the arena, drawing both beholders, and stands there unresponsively until killed. Again.
“Why are we doing this again?” I am asked. The real answer is that I am a stubborn S.O.B. who hates to admit defeat, but that’s the kind of introspective answer one can only achieve in hindsight. Instead, I mumble something about completion and go about plotting our next move.
Yvonne realizes why the hireling is dying (it is just running back to her) and that raising Samuel is never going to work. She recalls while I hold the instance open. In a few minutes she and Samuel return, alive, but before we can reset, Samuel again misbehaves and charges the beholders.
Aaaaargh. I am so putting Samuel on my squelch list.
Yvonne is ordering Samuel to raise me but now he is in the antimagic field and nothing happens. Frustrated, she charges! Beholders roaring, eyebeams blazing, valiant Pickley McPickster rushes into the fray, swinging her picks with skill and determination (and a nice STR modifier)! One of the beholders falls before her, the other is taking damage, Go Pickley Go!
Ohhhhh. So close! Brave little Pickley, once again a soulstone.
No way I am giving up now, not after that stirring display. Recall, heal, run back, re-summon my hireling, charge through the wilderness.
I can’t raise anything, and neither can my hireling, but I am not here to raise. I am here to avenge.
Silver Flame Amulet! Deathblock robe! Charge!
The beholder was nearly dead beforehand and stands no chance now. It is over in an instant. The remaining flensers, renders and reavers are equally overmatched and soon fall before my pixellated fury. Victory!
|Pick any +5 weapon you want
from the above list
A quick trip to a nearby shrine and we are all gathered back in the Arena for our reward:
Yes, that’s right, our pick of either a +5 longsword or a +5 dagger. Yvonne puts a brave face on things while I mutter explanations about game history and back in the day (and in truth, back in the day a +5 weapon really was pretty cool). Eventually we agree that she does not have to kill me. Today anyway.
We wander back to the Eastern Excavation, and Coyle. The next day, its South, and my Mantle of the Worldshaper. But after the Arena it is all an anti-climax.
Two cakes, two recalls, several hours, two +5 weapons. Now that’s adventuring Commando-style!