Just when I thought that I’d learned almost all I needed about Monks, I find myself surprised twice in the same week. The first moment came when Lynncletica stood up to the Judge.
The next came after a moment of study, starting with this DDO forum thread from one enterprising player, who admits that his character(s) are “not yet uber.” (Who really is “uber”, really? There’s always something in the game that will easily kick your ass in a one-on-one fight if you get too cocky.)
The subject: The Icy Raiment robes I’ve noted time and again.
One of my toons has a pair, and those on her first and only run with a PuG through the Subterrane and to Garamol’s lair.
The goal: Get to Garamol, kill him (eventually), loot chest.
Your party: Just you, whoever you are.
The player maps out the quick way to find which of three portals in the Sub will lead to Garamol without steering you into a mob of smashing, spell-casting giant skeletons or highly destructive living Meteor Storm spells. He has a great plan that generally works right up to falling down the long column to Garamol himself, a level 23 badass that’s meant to challenge an entire raid party (did we mention that the Sub itself is a raid wilderness area?).
So I consider this (insane) idea of a solo “Icy Run”. Lynncletica needs a pair, definitely. Would she be able to survive long enough to find the right portal? Well, once anyone gets past the one living spell that follows you at the very start, the meteor swarm, it’s a matter of steering it into the very first skellies you fight (two by a door must be killed to unlock its lever).
The Road to Garamol
For a light Monk like Lynn, armed with a L12 pair of Wraps of Endless Light, I pace myself to build up ki, spamming Fists of Light to heal myself and hurt the undead (sadly, this giant skellies are in a type of planar existance like Shavarath and cannot be disrupted). I alternate between Fire and Mountain Stance as ki and defense needs warrant.
So, I manage to comfortably survive my way to a portal leading to Garamol. It’s one of three portals. If the closest portal isn’t it, you’ll have a second option, also guarded by skeletons, and a third, guarded by a beholder and some flensers/flayers. Again, not much of a challenge to a light Monk.
In The Hall of the Giant Skeleton King
What the poster didn’t note as well were the traps that lined the upper level of the cylindrical lair of Garamol. Fire, Acid, Electric, Sonic activate as you fall…and they are raid level nasty. There are rune circles you can run through to avoid setting off some of the traps, but you can’t avoid them all.
I bolt down a Greater Ardor II potion for emergency healing amplification and chug Cure Serious Potions before I hand. I prefer to fall slowly become I’m too lazy to try to turn off the bugged Perfect Slow Fall and pull off my Cannith Boots of Propulsion. My saves are generally fine, but I typically lose half my HP as I dodge the traps. Your mileage may vary.
Lynn makes it to the bottom. She happens to find herself away from the gold. She expects a crapload of skeletons as Syncletica experienced, but only Garamol is about. He charges. It’s just Lynn and Garamol, mano a mano.
Fine with me. I switch to Ultimate Mountain Stance, check my Wraps of Endless Light and take him on.
The battle is long, but I’m restricting my elemental punches, using only my Fists of Light (light damage with 1d50 light damage on critical, vampiric healing shield) to kick his butt slowly but surely, occasionally hitting a 100 as he absorbs what would be a disrupting vorpal. For every 40-50 HP he sucks from me, I pump back 60-90 HP from Healing Ki (more if I keep my Greater Ardor buff running). Garamol also kicks more ki into me if he does strike me, which I convert back into HP and light attacks.
After about 4 minutes, the Little Mountain stood defiant. The damage reduction of my stance kept me well in the game.
And if I remembered how to post a picture here, I’d show the result. You can guess. Garamol was a broken pile of bones.
I get to the chest. No Icys. When at first you don’t succeed, kill, kill again. I made 4 more runs that night, two with a guildmate (where we learned that more in your party is not necessarily better).
Surviving Garamol: Observations
Now, here’s some tips for those of you playing at home.
- DO NOT LAND ON THE GOLD below. If you do, you’ll spawn several giant skeleton mages, fighters and archers, ghosts, and still get Garamol bearing down on you. Looking down as you fall, you’ll see the stairs form up. Treat that as “12:00.” At “3:00” is a small rock formation. Aim for it and land there (and if you are party of a larger party, try to get everyone there). Do that, and odds are that only Garamol, maybe 1 other skellie, and maybe 1 ghost will attack you throughout your entire attempt.
- DO NOT JUMP. This is really hard for me as a Monk. Take a jump and Garamol may reverse gravity on you, sending you up, up and into the traps above. That’s bad.
- Stay close to the wall, with your back to it or close to it. Garamol often strikes you in an attempt to knock you down. If you have good Balance, you’ll be knocked back but stay on your feet. But if he knocks you back into the gold, your fight will get a bit more complicated.
- Use your best defensive posture as you fight. Mitigating damage to yourself is actually secondary to damaging Garamol, to a point. Note Lynn’s example. Else, Garamol will finish you faster than you can finish him, even against your most effective weapons and spells.
- Healing amplification is necessary. Garamol will hit you often and repeatedly, and if he has friends, they will drain you fast. There is no shrine, no safe place, no escape except recalling and death. Your resources MUST outlast Garamol. Use Greater Ardor and Potency/Devotion items. Have a Monk throw an Aligning the Heavens SP reduction buff to conserve spell points.
- STAY OFF THE GOLD AFTER KILLING GARAMOL. It will still spawn many nasties. Your only goal is to get to his chests. Carefully run from 3:00 to 12:00, up the stairs and to your reward, which hopefully includes the Icy Raiment.
- A party will likely trigger all the nasties, but will always be more likely to survive. Running this thing solo is part self-gratification but also desperation. It’s not required to do it this way.
Lynn took to the lair again the next day. Still no Icys, but she did score a Mace of Smiting and the coveted Tira’s Splendor rune arm. Too bad that I rolled up two Chaotic Good Artificers and have no Clerics at present. Oh, well.