Sorrowdusk Island was really the game’s first outdoor wilderness area. It didn’t have slayers/explorer areas/rares, that came later, but it was huge (for it’s time) and lovely. In many ways, it is the loveliest area in Eberron, exceeded only by the Stormhorns in Faerun.
All of this I’ve known, for years. But what surprised me the other day was the way the differing levels of the wilderness area tie together. They are all on the same map. I’d just assumed that the top of the island and the bottom were really in separate mapping instances, because that’s just how Turbine did those kinds of things, especially early in the game.
But the other day, I ran the quests in here again, for … I don’t know … the hundredth time? Except this time I took a moment to wander around the outsides of the temple and really look around. Not just at the sky, although the sky is nice, but at everything.
Somehow I had missed that it’s all one seamless stretch of fecund flora and ferocious fauna. And beauty, lots of that too.
If you look at the map (and a really nice map it is too, excellent work Thelallion of Khyber), you can see how the lower level of the island surrounds the upper, making it into a sort of peninsula jutting southwards, and upwards.
There appears to be a lot more to the island than just the parts we are able to reach but that is true in most wilderness areas.
Normally I would scale the images in an article like this to make the page (slightly) easier to load, but I hate to remove any of the detail in these images. The island is just too pretty. So I’m posting thumbnails here in the article; click any one for the full-sized version. I’ll also add specific links at the end of the write-up.
One arrives on the map in the south. The first set of quests require moving to the west and northwest, later the team will head east and northeast, encircling the upper area. Or at least as much as we can before hitting end-of-map barriers.
There are several mini-quest areas on the map, ways to get “inside” where there may be a series of crude rooms or caverns or even a mausoleum. One of these, titled “the Troll Dungeon”, contains a path that spirals up. Exiting on the far side of the dungeon deposits one on the upper part of the island, at the extreme north end.
Quests required the team to visit the temple at the southern tip of the upper area. But they do not require the team to visually explore everything. And for some reason I hadn’t. But now I have.
Looking northeast from the temple, you can see the entrance to the Troll Dungeon, off in the distance.
Looking south, one assumes that the ship Eye of Kol Korran would be visible if only it was possible to see that far.
Looking down from the eastern side of the temple, you realize that you are directly over the Iron Mines.
This surprised me so much that I had to run back down to the Iron Mines and see if I should have noticed the Temple from there.
How did I miss all this? Did I? Did I notice and then file it away in some corner of my mind that has since been refilled with something more recent or relevant? I’ll be annoyed if it turns out I used that brainspace trying to memorize the De La Soul rap in the Gorillaz song Feel Good Inc. Or something of even less use. Although it’s hard to imagine something of less use.
But I digress. The island has always been beautiful. It’s nice to know that it also makes sense, in a way that sometimes gets forgotten.
Foul miasma, yes. Lovely views? Yes. A form of realism and coherence? Yes!
Nicely done, Sorrowdusk Island designer, whoever you may be, nicely done.
🙂 😀 🙂
p.s. the promised links: