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Absolutely Your Grandfathers MMO: Let's Play Classic EverQuest!

Cyrael

...we're shy.
(he/him)

Boost in Power​

As a pure spellcasting class, Percii gains incredible boosts every 4 levels as the pool of spells available grows. Additionally, as a Magician, we get new pets that can be summoned that are more powerful than the level you initially get them.

What this means is in one more level our options on where to go and explore will expand considerably.

As it stands right now Percii is doing the rounds at the Kobold camps culling the army and gaining experience rapidly. She is now at level 7 and selling the random drops to fund our next spells.

For this update I wanted to talk about some of the spells we will get, and set up where we will be going next.

Pet Spells​


Elementalings (Air, Water, Fire, Earth)
There isn’t any major utility changes between these pets at this level - they still have their innate abilities. Instead they now will summon in the level ranges of 6-9, and all but the fire pet will have the innate abilities to Bash and Kick.

Bash is great because it can be used to interrupt enemy spellcasters. We have run into a handful so far, like the Kobold Shaman, but as we go further into the world of Norrath, spell casting enemies become a huge threat. They have virtually unlimited mana pools and can drop just about any spell on you from direct damage spells to status effects like blind. Having this on our pets can help mitigate some of these things.

Kick is another ability that will just add basic damage to our pet, making them even more melee capable.

Renew Elements
This is actually a non-launch spell that was introduced in the Kunark expansion. It is a direct healing spell that we can cast to heal our summoned pet allowing them to stay alive even longer in tough fights. Typically their natural regeneration is enough that this is a limited use spell.

Damage Spells​


Flame Bolt
This is a direct damage spell, with a twist. Much like our Flare spell it is a projectile based cast that needs to have direct uninterrupted line of sight. It does good damage for the level, and has a long range. However there are times that another enemy could walk in front of the projectile as it is traveling and catch it instead…. Usually leading to disastrous results

Shock of Blades
This is a direct damage spell, but does Magic damage instead of FIre. This can be useful if there are enemies with resistances to fire, and also is not a projectile based spell. However, it’s range is about ⅔ that of Fire Bolt.

Summoning Spells​


Dimensional Pocket
This will summon a NO RENT backpack that has 4 item slots that can accommodate items up to the ‘Giant’ size, which I believe is the largest individual item size. However, because it is NO RENT it (and all of its contents) will disappear on logout. The other great thing about this is dimensional pocket reduces the weight of any item placed in it by 100%. As a reminder, every character has a Strength score that limits the amount they can carry without Agility and movement speed penalties. A 4 slot bag isn’t phenomenal right now, but as we get higher in level we will have even larger bags.

Eye of Zomm
A really interesting spell. This will summon a small NPC that looks like an eyeball, and after a few moments your view and control switches to this eye. It can be useful for scouting and getting into odd areas, but it maintains the same faction as the caster. What this means is that if you get within the aggro range of an enemy it will attack the incredibly weak eye, and as soon as it dies and control is returned to your body the enemy will beeline for you picking up any social monsters on the way causing a train that will ruin your day and the day of anyone near you. There are some better players than me who have utilized this spell to do complex pulling of monsters in a zone, but we will not be setup for that.

Staff of Tracing
Much like our summon Dagger this is our next weapon tier. Instead of a single handed weapon this is a two handed blunt. Could be fun for raising our skills, and using it’s built in ability to cast the Flare spell, but otherwise…. Not sure if I have a major use for it. Any EQ Vets have some stories?

Utility Spells​


Invisibility
Does what it sounds like! We will be using this spell a lot in order to see if I can capture some interesting pictures as we explore new zones.

WITH THAT SAID, this is an incredibly dangerous spell. First, when we cast it our pet will immediately disappear. Second, it can break randomly at any time during the spell duration (which starts at about 10 minutes or so). Third, undead can always see invisible, and many higher level zones have NPCS with the See Invisible spell that they will cast on themselves and others. We can use our /con ability judiciously and make sure that everything around us reports back as ‘Indifferent’, meaning they can’t see us.

Much like D&D where the bulk of this game was based on, Invisibility breaks in a lot of situations. Attacking, looting corpses, casting spells, etc. will automatically break it.

Long story short, there will be some funny/tragic outcomes from this spell.

Lesser Shielding
This is our first upgrade from our level 1 self buff spell. Adds some Armor Class, and Hit Points. While nice, if I am in combat directly I am probably going to die even with this applied.

Shield of Fire
One of the most popular Magician buffs. This applies a damage shield to the target that returns 5 points of fire based damage to the attacker. We can cast this on our pets as well (except our Fire Elemental who has an innate version).

This is a lot of spells to look forward to… but we gotta grind out for another hour or two before we can get to 8th level and enjoy them.

Once we get there though… onwards to the stronghold of Clan Crushbone, the low level dungeon on Faydwer. Our next post will be a deep dive into this incredibly popular place!

NPC Spells​

One of the things I really like about EverQuest that I don’t see a lot of modern MMO’s is that just about any spell that a player can cast, an NPC can cast as well.

The first time this happened to me was outside Clan Crushbone against their shamans. They have the ability to cast Blindness practically at will. This will completely black out your entire screen during the duration of the spell. The first time this happened to me I thought that my monitor had died - I could still hear everything but see nothing. It disappears within 30 seconds or so (usually) but it can completely wreck your combat if you panic.

Another common one that enemies can cast is the Fear spell. This will cause you to turn and run in a random direction for the duration of the spell. This can either stick you in a corner for a bit, or in the worst case it can send you through other spawn areas, getting aggro, and then dying horribly.

And the last and worst? Charm. Nothing like having the shadow knight or warrior holding aggro, and then they turn around and start attacking the healer.
 

Destil

DestilG
(he/him)
Staff member
Renew Elements is best used to make sure you're doing things efficiently. Normally your goal is to use enough mana every fight that your elemental HP and your mana bar are back to max at roughly there same time. If you underburn during a fight you can pop off a renew or two to bring the pet back faster, it's more noteworthy with high level earth elementals that have a ton of HP.

Though I always just consumed them and recast a new one if they got too bad; level juggling be damned.

It could also potentially be pretty good if you use it to keep a low HP fire elemental up, since the damage shield on those things is massive.

Eye of Zomm is a Magician meme, seriously. It's mage exclusive and there were a few ways to get it like mage exclusive gear. The dev team remembered this for Kunark...
 

nataeryn

Discovered Construction
(he/him)
I've always thought it strange that more modern MMOs dropped the ability to avoid monster detection. It felt to me like the designers of FFXI expected you to use Invis/Sneak to get into dungeons. There would be doors or switches or some other mechanic that you had to drop those spells to activate or whatever.
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
That's not really the case though? More modern MMOs just dropped the more obscure aggro triggers in favor of various iterations of 'sight' and 'sound' triggers. The more significant change is letting aggro fall off after certain distances to actually allow people to escape and to disable monster PK trains, paired with increased ability to solo world mobs.
 

4-So

Spicy
Yeah, World of Warcraft and FF14 both definitely have aggro via range; "body pulling" if you're a tank, where you go into aggro range to engage the mob or group. Not every mob is on a proximity aggro table but a lot of that is flavor. As an example, in WoW some enemies don't engage because they have no reason to unless you attack them first.

Also, "getting into dungeons" in modern MMOs is essentially queuing up in whatever system that game has and waiting for the dungeon to "pop" so you can be teleported there with your group, your group being whatever randos were added to your instance. While you can still physically go to the dungeon entrance, it's usually irrelevant. (WoW still requires it if you're running Mythic difficulties.)

That is one of the things I miss a bit about EQ (and DAoC). I liked the idea of dungeons feeling like part of the game world instead of instanced setpieces.
 

SabreCat

Sabe, Inattentive Type
(he "Sabe" / she "Kali")
It surprised me to discover that at least some enemies in FFXIV have vision cones like in an infiltration game. You can be ostensibly within their threat range but not aggro them if they're facing away from you.

Enemies are scattered around in such a way that you can't really sneak through a whole area, though--there's always somebody pointed at a spot you'd need to walk through.
 

Cyrael

...we're shy.
(he/him)
A few things about EverQuest aggro:

Aggro is typically just via proximity - if you enter within a set space that a hostile enemy is in (/cons as 'looks at you threateningly' or 'scowls at you ready to attack') they will engage you. Any enemy that has the same faction and same con level will join in if they are in aggro range of the enemy that is now engaging you.

In general, 'permanent' structures like walls and corridors give you some safety when it comes to getting aggro from a hostile enemy. However, models placed throughout the world often do NOT. For example, the huts that the Kobolds are in will provide zero benefit to avoiding aggro. Not only will the kobold 'see' you as you pass behind the tent, it will phase through the wall to engage you. This is not unusual at all in many zones.

How can you avoid aggro?

There is a skill that Rogues and Monks get called 'Sneak' which will prevent aggro outside of direct front of enemy line of site - similar to the vision cones. Invisibility and the Hide skill are other ways to prevent an enemy from seeing you.

Hide is an interesting one as well - you cannot move while hidden UNLESS you are a rogue and also successfully Sneak. Some races get an innate hide skill which can be useful for sitting down, hiding, and not being assaulted by wandering monsters.

In both cases /con on the enemy should show 'regards you indifferently'

There are a few other tools, like the druid spell Harmony that will significantly reduce the aggro radius of an enemy, allowing you to pull them one at a time.
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
It surprised me to discover that at least some enemies in FFXIV have vision cones like in an infiltration game. You can be ostensibly within their threat range but not aggro them if they're facing away from you.

Enemies are scattered around in such a way that you can't really sneak through a whole area, though--there's always somebody pointed at a spot you'd need to walk through.
Forgot to reply to this earlier, but XIV predominantly relies on two different varieties of sight and sound aggro (within a given range) for main world mobs beyond passive/active aggro:

Regular sight (defined sight cone that usually follows eye placement/etc) and a couple flavors of truesight (same defined sight cone that ignores stealth/etc) depending on what forms of stealth they ignore

Regular sound (actions within a given distance, including movement, pull aggro), and truesound (as truesight, only any movement or action will trigger it). Some mobs only respond to magic actions around them (hostile elemental sprites, etc), some just don't have eyes and respond to loud movements (combat actions, running) and so on.

The more legacy design relic field instances in the expansions also have a few blood triggers (wounded PCs will aggro them, depending on HP % threshold) and more particular sight/sound aggro triggers.
 

Cyrael

...we're shy.
(he/him)

Ding!​

We did it! Congrats to Percii for hitting this milestone. I had enough pocket change to pick up all her spells except for:

  • Air Elementaling
  • Flame Bolt
  • Dimensional Pocket
  • Eye of Zomm
  • Staff of Tracing
I hope that we can get these over the next little bit.

Now that we are 8th level, and we have a good handful of our spells, I will be taking Percii to places that are a little more dangerous and interesting than the Kobold Camps and Ak’Anon.

One of our options is the next stage of the Steamfont Mountains: The Windmills



This area is chockablock with random wandering monsters of various levels between 8-12. It can be a good place to farm for experience and coins, and there are guards nearby we could run to if things get dicey. However, it is really easy to get swarmed and chasing after wandering monsters isn’t my favorite thing to do.

Our other option is ‘Crushbone’, the stronghold of the Crushbone Orc tribe. It is located just off of the Greater Faydark and is one of the most popular low level hangouts - full of good loot, quests, and groups.

Where did this zone come from, and why are the Orcs fighting against us? Well, EverQuest does have a rich amount of lore (that is practically nonexistent in game) that explains in great detail how this happened. I will condense it down as much as I can from some of the information that was published during the earliest parts of the game. In the Beta period newsletters and updates were sent out to explain much of the history of Norrath. There are portions that have since release been marked as 'non canon', but the majority of it is still accepted.

Beta-Lore!​


Kingdom of Kaladim

In the history of Faydwer, there was a great battle between the Dwarves of Kaladim and the aggressive Ogres, led by their warlord Dagnor the Butcher. At great cost, the dwarven king Grimmly Fireforge defeated Dagnor at the shore of the lake to the south of the Lesser Faydark - leading to its modern name of ‘Dagnor’s Cauldron’. This left the enslaved Orcs that the Ogres used as foot soldiers freed and rudderless.

While the Dwarves had no direct quarrel with them, they refused to aid them, and the Orcs had no memory of being outside of the cruel control of the Ogres. Determining that they could do well for themselves by moving out and conquering new regions, the remaining Orcs split into several camps - one of which was led by a young Orc named Gharol.


Dagnor's Cauldron - site of the defeat of the Warlord Dagnor the Butcher

Gharol and his group that he had named ‘The Crushbones’ went far to the east of Faydwer, believing that the Greater Faydark had riches and bounties beyond counting. They were immediately repulsed by the residents of Kelethin, who had already been living in the forest.

Gharol and the Crushbone Orcs returned, believing incorrectly that Kelethin was the seat of the Elven Empire, and began setting fire to the trees that held the city aloft. Unfortunately for the Orcs, the wood elves of Kelethin were able to send word to the kingdom of Felwithe and receive reinforcements from the High Elves to drive the Orcs out again.

Now that they were pushed back, the elves decided to do their best to exterminate the Orcs. Ruthlessly and swiftly they swept through each of the Orc encampments pushing them further and further back until they were sent to the outskirts of the Greater Faydark and established their own small kingdom.

In recent times, the current leader, Emperor Crush, has been entertaining ambassadors of the Dark Elves of Neriak - primarily via the Indigo Brotherhood. Raids on the surrounding areas have brought slaves into Crushbone from all the primary races of Faydwer, and it is clear the Orcs are massing for a push into the Elven territories.

In general in the live game there are many quests and incidental interactions on Faydwer that will point a new character to Crushbone. There are also many small quests that are fully self contained inside the zone, not to mention the unique treasures you can receive from the named NPC’s.

Instancing​

In classic EverQuest zones are shared between all players on the same server. That means that in places like Crushbone, you are either looking to join an existing group or hoping that you can stake out a specific camp that isn’t already claimed.

Instances, like in modern MMO’s, didn’t exist till the Lost Dungeons of Norrath Expansion which was released in 2003. This was also a period where the ‘newbie’ experience was revamped to have a new character start in an instance of their own as part of a tutorial.

Zone-Experience-Modifiers
Without instancing, and the chance to ‘run’ a dungeon over and over (like in WoW) to get the loot you want, what is the benefit of going to places like this for any character?

One of the biggest reasons is that the exp you earn can be boosted (or lowered in some cases) based on the zone you are in - known as the Zone Experience Modifier (ZEM). In Crushbone for example we get 166% of the base experience for an equivalent level monster that we would if we killed that same monster in the Greater Faydark or Steamfont.

The original intent was to incentivize players to seek out more dangerous zones and go out of their way to new places to gain experience faster. In practice (even more so on a server emulating a 20 year old game) this actually just made these dangerous zones overcrowded and difficult to adventure in during peak times as the bonus was too good to pass up.

Tour of Crushbone​

As mentioned, Crushbone is located on the far north end of the Greater Faydark. Leaving Kelethin and following the road to the north will eventually put you into the areas that the orcs have claimed and patrol.

Several tents full of Orc Pawns and Orc Centurions and the rare Orc Oracle are scattered about.


Various Orc Tents
This area especially is popular for characters of about 4th level as it gives a constant stream of monsters that are both good experience, but can drop valuable loot and quest items such as ‘Crushbone Centurion Belts’.

Mid-Level Orc Footsoldier


The entrance of crushbone is flanked by two huge braziers and a phalanx of Centurions. This is a more dangerous area for new characters, but the zone line into Crushbone itself is nearby. If you get into trouble zoning into Crushbone can save you - as long as nobody on the other side has trained their own set of orcs in an attempt to escape into the Faydark. Corpses on both sides of this zone line are not uncommon.


Crushbone Entrance, with fallen adventurers
Going deeper into the tunnel will take us to Crushbone proper… which we will explore it in detail next time.

Losing experience​

In earlier posts I mentioned that you can lose experience upon death, even to the point of going down a level!
As I was going through Dagnor's Cauldron to take some of the screenshots for this update, I was using my Invisibility spell to avoid the Goblins in the area… but had totally neglected the wandering Undertow Skeletons.

In EverQuest undead can see through invisibility - and there is a special line of spells that Necromancers and Shadow Knights get that is specific ‘Invisibility Versus Undead’. Undertown Skeletons are level 13 warriors, and in only a few hits was I defeated, and as you can see… went back down to level 7.


Oops

It took me about another 2 hours to get back to my corpse, recover my goods, and then re-level up to 8. This game is punishing and definitely will bite you hard if you aren’t paying attention. I am hoping to get enough of an EXP buffer before I get killed again!

You will also see some interesting folks who tried to help me out - the ‘Fabulous Four’ - a group of NPC’s that park it next to the shores of the lake. They will engage with any hostile monster nearby - but they can easily be overwhelmed themselves. In this case, I was too far away from them when I was attacked and didn’t end up being saved by them.

Thanks for nothing Fab Four. (See other adventurers they failed ot help)

Next Time:​

A tour of Crushbone!
 

Cyrael

...we're shy.
(he/him)
This seems relevant to the thread:


Look at this 'lil guy! Isn't he cute?
Ahhhh Dunedigger.

It's funny - this little guy brings back a lot of memories for me!

He is a unique named Armadillo with a pretty decent shield (for the timeframe) as a common drop. The big challenge though is that he is a rare spawn in a zone full of dangerous creatures - North Ro. Not only that he is not a guaranteed spawn, and his placeholders can be either other armadillos or a large rattlesnake. Once they spawn they wander randomly.

I camped him for a bit with a druid when I played. Using the 'Tracking' skill I was able to see if he was up in the list of creatures nearby. Baring that I could track any Rattlesnake or Armadillo in the zone and attempt to kill it hoping that it was his placeholder and he could show up on the next zone-spawn. I think I spent about 2-3 days of play looking for this guy and never found him! I did however seem to run into the Sand Giants that can spawn nearby more often that was warranted. The only thing that could save me was the spell Spirit of the Wolf which would allow me to run away as fast as possible.
 

nataeryn

Discovered Construction
(he/him)
That's not really the case though? More modern MMOs just dropped the more obscure aggro triggers in favor of various iterations of 'sight' and 'sound' triggers. The more significant change is letting aggro fall off after certain distances to actually allow people to escape and to disable monster PK trains, paired with increased ability to solo world mobs.

In WoW, there are no hide mechanics that I know of other than rogue stealth which makes you walk crazy slow and is therefore not intended as a mechanic to help you traverse zones without being bothered by random mobs. The design seemed to be more of stick to the roads and travel through zones that progress in difficulty with your level and kill everything in your way. Whereas XI would put mission and quest triggers for spells or gear you needed in your 20s and 30s in the back of dungeons that you would need to be in your 50s or higher to fight through. Chocobo Licesne, Khazam Airship Pass, most missions and several popular leveling spots have higher level mobs between where you start and where you want to get at the level you want to get there. And then the dungeons would have doors or traps or mechanisms to foil your attempts to just sneak past the guards.

Having aggro drop after a certain distance was indeed a significant change from these older MMOs, but that's not really what I was talking about as that has more to do with anti-griefing.

Exploration is probably one of the parts of MMOs I've always liked the best. So thanks Percii for risking your neck for some screenshots. Sorry you lost a level. I have certainly experienced that demoralizing feeling a few times on FFXI too. Interesting that EQ gave an xp bonus to people fighting in a dangerous zone. FFXI didn't have anything like that. The groupthink on leveling spots was bad enough. Many of the popular leveing spots were in potentially dangerous spots in XI, but I think that had more to do with mob density and trying to get a high xp chain.

Did EQ have an xp chain mechanic?
Was there any kind of meta competition between players? (not talking PVP here) In FFXI, they had the Conquest system. If you fight in an area with a status effect called "signet" you earned conquest points for your nation. The nation with the highest conquest points in a region won control of that region for the week and the nation with the highest number of controlled areas won first place and so could buy better gear with their conquest points.
 

4-So

Spicy
Rogues no longer move slower in stealth in WoW and it's entirely viable to just have on if you're walking around. (Of course, if you're trying to move through a zone you're likely on a mount. You can now get basic riding skill at level 10, which is incidentally around the same level you'll be when you leave the new tutorial island, so basically everyone has a mount now.)

EQ did/does not have a XP chain mechanic that I'm aware of but I stopped playing years ago.
 

Cyrael

...we're shy.
(he/him)
I'm not sure what an XP Chain would be, but I am 99% sure that for classic it had nothing other than 'kill monster, get exp' or 'turn in quest, get exp' at a standard rate. One of these posts I should devote a good chunk to try and explain the EXP mechanics and the idea of 'hell levels'.

As far as meta systems, in the classic games there was not anything specifically set up. I don't know enough about FFXI to comment on it directly, but they added these kinds of mechanics to EverQuest 2 for sure at launch, but I never really played too much beyond that and the game is entirely unrecognizable from how it was in the beginning.

The only thing that comes to mind is something we will talk about in a later post in more detail, Kerafyrm The Sleeper a raid boss that once 'woken' on a server was meant to be un-killable and could never be encountered again. This caused a LOT of consternation in the player base at the time.
 

Destil

DestilG
(he/him)
Staff member
No, EQ dosn’t have a chain bonus for killing enemies in quick successions.
 

nataeryn

Discovered Construction
(he/him)
Thank you 4-So and Destil and Cyrael for answering my questions.
Obviously my knowledge of WoW is vastly out of date.
 

Cyrael

...we're shy.
(he/him)

Into Crushbone​

Last time we learned a bit about the Crushbone Orcs and saw the evidence of their incursion into the Greater Faydark. Today we will be going inside and showing off one of the most popular low level dungeons in the game.

Overview of the zone​


Map of Crushbone
Crushbone is an outdoor dungeon zone laid out with several distinct areas that become progressively more difficult the deeper in you go. One thing I always appreciated about this zone is how it is laid out in a way that really emphasises the military mindset and general life of the orcs.

Entrance​

The Entrance to Crushbone is always littered with many player corpses. This is typically due to the trains of Orcs that end up congregating here as the lucky few players get out. Spend enough time here and you will absolutely see some of the higher level enemies chase a group out of the zone (and promptly wallop you for being close by).


Always full of fallen adventurers...
At the entrance we see that Pawns and Centurions are the key threats. There are two of the lowest level orcs, and they are definitely possible to run into outside of Crushbone inside the Faydark. This area also functions as a parade ground where groups of orcs (if they are allowed to stay spawned long enough) will begin marching in front of the large hill. From here as we go deeper we can go to the left or right of the hill itself.


Parade Grounds

Trainer Hill​


Base of Trainer Hill
If we climb up the hill, we find one of the most popular camp spots in the zone. ‘Trainer Hill’ will spawn several small groups of Orc Centurions, and in the middle there is a chance that the Trainer himself will spawn. This character is ostensibly training the Orcs in the art of warfare. When you are up here you are typically safe from trains coming from other parts of the zone, and the Trainer can drop a rare but useful item - The Shiny Brass Shield (+10 AC, +10 Magic Resistance).


Cleared out Hilltop, waiting for a respawn of vicious orcs


When it is empty and safe it also provides us with a great vantage point of the Castle and the Mines.

Castle Crushbone from Above

Slaver Hut and Caves​

Dropping back off the hill and going over a few bridges we come to the mines.


Every area is guarded by Orcs!


Looking Down on the Slaver area


We also begin to see our first non Orc NPCs - unnamed slave NPCs of elves, gnomes, and dwarves that have been captured and forced to work. It is entirely possible to kill these (very weak) NPCs and directly damage your faction with their home city.


A Dwarven Slave NPC - one of many random spawns

Inside the mines themselves you will begin to find Orc Slavers as well. These slavers have a chance to drop a numbered slave key that you can use to free slaves and receive a small amount of experience and coins.


Dark and Dangerous Mines

Unfortunately, giving the wrong key to the wrong slave will consume the item, causing the NPC to berate you and ask for their specific key. A quick way around this is to offer them a single copper to find out what key they need. Also, in classic EQ fashion there are several keys that have no use at all!

There is also a hut (known as Iron ORC) that contains specific slaves that are used for the ‘Screaming Mace’ quest - a fully self contained questline based around trading items that were stolen by the orcs from slaves that culminates in the player receiving a great weapon (and other goodies along the way).


A Smithy?


Static Spawns of Slaves inside forced to work


Going back behind the mines we run into the Legionnaires camp. This dangerous area has some of the most formidable foot soldiers in the Orcish army. This is also the dead end (often literally) of this side of Crushbone.


Lasantik and Percii took care of the Orcs in these tents!

Slave Pits​

If we retrace our steps and go the other direction around Trainer Hill we come to another popular camp site: The Wall. The wall is relatively safe, and allows for a group to pull the guards and patrols from the castle out into an easier area to manage. Groups will start here before moving into the Castle itself, slowly clearing the way in between the spawn timer.


Orc Taskmaster above the Pits

If we go on the other side of the wall you will run into the Slave Pits. These open air pits contain more Slave NPCs as well as the named Orc ‘Taskmaster’. This orc will drop a nice whip as well as his earring. Unlike slave keys the earring can be given to any slave as proof that the Taskmaster has been defeated. They will then give you a letter to take to their home and escape. In particular, if we get the chance, there is one specific slave we will want to find to give this to.


Female High Elf Slave - our target to give the Taskmaster Earring to

Castle Crushbone​

The ‘end’ of the zone - this is where Emperor Crush himself spawns. Relatively small inside, it is by far the most dangerous part of the zone, and the place where the worst trains originate from as it is nearly impossible to clear out a few enemies at once without an Enchanter or Druid.


Front Door of Castle Crushbone

Once you clear out the drawbridge and ascend the steps into the main area you are in what is known as the Throne Room.


Full of Orcs...

In this room you have NPC’s like Royal Guardsmen, Lord Darish (an enemy of the dwarves - and he will drop specific dwarven weapons he has looted), Orc Warlords, and Orc Emissaries. Groups that can hold this space can then attempt to move up into the tower where the two boss enemies can spawn.


The Throne Room. The tower is accessed behind the throne with the map of Faydwer

Emperor Crush himself is an 18th Level warrior who can hit incredibly hard. Defeating him can randomly provide you with a unique chest armor known as the Dwarven Ringmail Tunic. This is a key part of the Screaming Mace quest.

However - the true villain and most difficult NPC is Ambassador D’Vinn. D’Vinn is the emissary of the Dark Elves who is there to assist Crush in his takeover of the Elven lands. A Dragoon in the Army of the Indigo Brotherhood, D’Vinn is a level 20 Warrior. He hits almost twice as fast as Emperor Crush and for more damage with each hit. I hate him very much.

Defeating him will sometimes provide you with a Dragoon Dirk (DEX +2, SV Magic +3) - an item that can be placed in either of your melee slots OR your range slot and used by almost every class. I’ve owned this dagger a few times.

Why a few?

Well, because it can be equipped in your range slot and still provide you with the stat bonuses. However, when it is sitting in your range slot you can use it as a thrown weapon. Unfortunately, thrown items are not-recoverable. I was playing my Bard and accidentally hit the ‘throw’ button when I was juggling playing several songs and lost it permanently. I ended up spending way too long camping D'Vinn (a rare spawn himself) to get another, rather than just buying one off of another PC just because of how stubborn I can get.

That is it for the tour! I took most of this while I was invisible or after I had cleared out an area - and will be returning next time to chronicle how we will be adventuring in the zone, and a spotlight on more of the quests. Hopefully I will also see some of the more interesting named NPCS as well.

Outdoor Zone
I mentioned above this was an Outdoor dungeon zone. This is important for Rangers and Druids as several of their really good spells require you to be outside. Other dungeons can be a significant challenge for them as they are flagged as 'indoor'.

Mishaps​

It wouldn't be classic EverQuest without something going catastrophically wrong.

While I was up on Trainer Hill doing some camping I learned about one of the most dangerous things in EverQuest: Pet Pathing.


Oops...

Sitting on one corner of the hill I told my pet to attack a nearby one that was probably 10 feet in front of me, up a small rise.

Unfortunately for me (and the other 5 people who were in Crushbone at the time) my friendly little pet decided to go down the hill and around the front side of Castle Crushbone in order to get to this spot, picking up all of the Legionairres, Warlords, and a few Centurions on it’s way.

I was able to get to a relatively out of the way place away from the other players and began casting the Gate spell.


Thanks 'Channeling' skill....

It was a close run thing and I made it to Steamfont with only 12hp left. However, this is a much preferable outcome to losing experience on a death. Since I am going to be spending more time in Crushbone I was also able to have the friendly Shaman Varhara who thought the whole thing was hilarious cast the spell ‘Bind Affinity’ on me near the city of Kelethin. This will reset my respawn and gate point here, which makes runs back into Crushbone take a lot less time.

Next Time:
Crushbone Belts and next level!
 

Destil

DestilG
(he/him)
Staff member
D'Vinn killed me so many times.

This is a relatively kind introduction to the hell pathing will become in some of the more complex dungeons. One of the nice things about the air pet is it casts invis on itself outside of combat and can actually be okay to move around a zone with.

Stand on top of the hill and cast Bolt of Fire backwards, from an orc and it'll circle around the entire hill and hit them in the back, did that a lot in XP parties here to avoid friendly fire (you can't damage people without a PVP flag but it'll waste the spell).
 
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