Foundation of Discord: Unsafe at Any Level

Get used to seeing a LOT of these in one Gianthold EE quest.

Get used to seeing a LOT of these in one Gianthold EE quest.

Recently, I joined some guildies on Ryncletica the Ninja on an Epic Elite run of “Foundation of Discord,” a walk-up optional quest within Gianthold.

I’ve played this one before. I rank this quest with others like “Proof is in the Poison” and “Acid Wit” as quests that are far tougher running at-level than other adventures. I would assert that “Foundation” is the toughest quest in Gianthold. Here’s why.

I completed this quest on Ryncletica in solo mode (no hirelings) on Epic Hard, so I knew what to expect in EE. You have to slay three Concord guardians to reach Patrick, a very nasty boss in a very well guarded room with archers on platforms, several Aurum mages, fighters and clerics, and continually respawning fire, air and earth elementals. All the guardians and bosses are surrounded by Bards that love to use stunning spells, Clerics abound who are too good with Cometfall and Greater Command, Wizards appear that freeze and zap you silly, and shadowy Rogues amerge with brutal sneak attacks.

On my EH run, after using several turns of Shadow Manipulation (dominate) turns on two earth elementals that guard Patrick to whittle down his HP, I finally dove into the recess where he stood and pummeled him. Stealth and infiltration tactics (pulling individuals to kill and controlling the volume of attacks) helped a lot.

But EE was a different matter.

Ryncletica’s skills at stealth are partially negated with a party, naturally. Stunning things in EE is harder. It’s the versatile nature of “Foundation’s” mobs that’s the key to its difficulty. Some quests have fewer spellcasters and more fighter-types. This one is caster-rich and their AI is relentless in targeting. It’s as if the mobs are more coordinated than in previous updates. Remember that the dwarf-like Duergar that dominate this area are very resilient and resistant to paralyzing and stuns.

We were all getting sniped by Rogues but the real challenge involved taking down each Concord guardian. I don’t know how they were trained but it was clear that they had Ryncletica’s number: Monks are most vulnerable to slashing damage. My high Dodge and Reflex did little here to keep from getting eviscerated several times by the guardians. Others in the party fared no better. A few Shadow dominations put one enemy on our side for a time. I started to target the Bards and Rogues to give the mobs a taste of their own medicine.

Bloodied and dead more than a few times over, we make it to the large room. I was able to sneak in and enable all the sonic traps to bust Patrick out of his invulnerable forcefield while the rest of the party kept the elemental’s initial attention. Then the fun started as the elementals began to earthgrab everybody. Normally, earthgrab is a just a nuisance, releasing you before something serious happens. But in EE, earthgrab holds and then squeezes the life out of you with 100-point or greater damage. Further, other elementals often took advantage and walloped you to death if you weren’t there already.

After several attempts to lure and Dominate the spare elementals in an attempt to bum-rush the boss, as well as removing any Aurum guards (which, thankfully, don’t respawn) I came up on one idea, borne of desperation after looking at Patrick’s stats. Apparently my dojo characters really hate dwarves and duergar, as I’ve amassed quite the collective kill counts in my Monster Manual, allowing me to see the boss’s hit points.

Patrick had 118,000 HP. Between the elementals tagging us, there was no way we were going to survive for any length of time in direct melee. We were all running out of resources.

But one advantage came to mind. Patrick was effectively immobile in the center of that pit, Since we had access to pillars above him, I suggested we take the “death from above” strategy, smacking him with any ranged attacks we had.

The elementals still threw Fireballs and made long-range earthgrabs, while an irritated Patrick used ice spells to pull us off of our perches. I took advantage of Ninja Vorpals with my tiny throwing star and extra attacks to pull a few more HP off the boss. Some of us were still dying to elemental waves but not nearly as rapid as before. Thank goodness Patrick did not regenerate during this battle.

After nearly 1.5 hours, of which nearly 30 minutes was spent trying to kill the boss, it was over. Our repair bills were more epic than our rewards, that’s for sure.

If you’re feeling cocky about your build, take some friends into EE “Foundation.” You’ll be quickly humbled (certain paladins excluded, perhaps).

20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kavatch2.0
    Oct 02, 2013 @ 10:18:03

    My advice for any ee content is bring along 2 furyshooting Monkchers to F the S out of the end boss.

  2. ddomicki
    Oct 02, 2013 @ 10:53:15

    🙂 gratz. Nicely done. I have not done that one ee.

    I would like to tell you the story of me and my sister duo’ing the quest at level on heroic elite on our druids. We cleared the side passages with no problem in 20 minutes, get to the boss room, activate the gongs, the earth and fire ellies attack and my hireling teleports down to the boss. I call retreat and run back to the shrine. The party was 2 druids, 2 hirelings and two wolves, me and my wolf run back to the shrine and while I’m writing on the lfm asking for help, a fire ellie kills me. My wolf takes out the ellie and just stands there.

    After 10 min waiting with no response from anyone about coming to help, I park my wolf at the shrine and go into sneak mode. I sneak into the boss room, pick up the stones, bring them back to the shrine and tell sis to wait there. Back to sneak mode I sneak up to the pit, cast firewall on the boss and try to run away. Get grabbed by an earth ellie and die. Click activate on my stone, my wolf who’s still parked at the shrine zergs into the room and runs back to the shrine with my stone. Rinse and repeat a few times, then one of the earth ellies teleports up and stands right in the door way to the boss room. I ask my sis to aggro him, and she manages to pull him away from the door and I’m back to sneaking and casting firewall. A few minutes later the boss goes down. Yay! Short man and out numbered we managed to complete a seemingly impossible task with a bit of tactics. (ninja style, lol.) (Oh, hope I’m not repeating myself here…)

    • teachersyn
      Oct 02, 2013 @ 14:02:12

      Awesome! Proves my assertion that this is a really tough quest to complete. It’s the entrenched and respawning elementals, a hard-to-hit enemy, that makes that so nasty. And that’s before Patrick even gets a spell in on you.

  3. John B.
    Oct 02, 2013 @ 14:59:36

    Me and my brother ran this on Heroic Elite last night, and he ended up rage-quitting after the first death. He was on a Barbarian, and I was on my monk. (We’re both level 15.) So, after he bails, I learned that a level 15 monk with a Speed V ring is fast enough to make it from that pit, all the way back to the shrine. Nice to know. (Can’t wait to grab the Quiver of Alacrity though.)

    Took four deaths, and a hireling with a couple charges from my Invisibility Belt and a charge of Rise of the Phoenix to eventually finish it off. I am, however, torn between Wind and Water Stance now. Perhaps I’ll use Water as priority, but Wind during boss fights. With the full TWF line and a few enhancements, the Wind allows a 100% chance of offhand strikes.

    My level 22 monk has problems with this quest on Heroic Elite, with a hireling. This quest is insane.

    • teachersyn
      Oct 02, 2013 @ 18:25:57

      I’ve done all of the GH Heroic quests except The Crucible and this one with Quintessica the Mystic. I’m hoping that the damaging ki attacks and uberstaves I own will help. I think less is more there in terms of party. Ryn’s done that alone on EH as noted. Maybe Quin will fare similarly. Stay tuned!

      • John B.
        Oct 02, 2013 @ 19:51:15

        I am hoping my mechanic in training fairs better. Shooting from a distance should save plenty of time while UMDing various scrolls to be rid of those infuriating elementals!

        Far as my monks go, however, I find my Shintao does fine with simply Dismissing them, but overall, the time it takes to build up that Ki, along with the cooldown often make it less than amazing. Maybe a pair of Banishing weapons will help fairly well.

        Ranged characters seem to have a much easier run with this quest. Casters and Artificers in particular. (Seriously, that Fusilade is insane!) I’m still contemplating a Bow oriented monk. Perhaps something like that would work much better with that quest.

        • teachersyn
          Oct 02, 2013 @ 22:36:53

          One Monkcher AA, one banisher bow, one paralyzer. That might work. 🙂

          • John B.
            Oct 03, 2013 @ 07:51:37

            After reading this, I took straight to MrCow’s videos on his run of this thing. He makes every quest look so simple, I swear.

            • teachersyn
              Oct 03, 2013 @ 09:33:14

              Funny you mentioned His Udder Majesty. I’m reviewing the benefits of Improved Trip over Stunning Blow when The Cow’s response came up. I need to do a feat swap and then I’ll write about it. I’m learning quickly that I need to think more and more like a Fighter when designing the Mystic than as an unarmed Monk–with benefits.

              And yeah, MrCow is just too good. Look up his three-minute “Frame Work.” Glorious.

  4. erdrique
    Oct 02, 2013 @ 16:11:04

    Man, that sounds like a painful run, excellent job on getting through it. I always felt Foundation of Discord was hard on heroic levels, let alone trying it on epic elite. Congratulations on your ingenuity and perseverance!!

  5. EvenNote
    Oct 02, 2013 @ 20:35:42

    Oh man, Foundation can be painful at ANY difficulty, and EE is a nightmare. That was never even on my list of quests to try to solo on EE. Awesome job on getting through it! 🙂

  6. grimorde
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 04:10:24

    ‘I would assert that “Foundation” is the toughest quest in Gianthold.’

    Oh yes! At any level but especially eE. We always get Patrick from the pillars. In fact, I ran this last night (just on hE) with a guildie and two cleric hirelings. Ended up with just myself alive on the pillar with my monk/ranger/rogue build ranging him while evading everything the ele’s threw at me.

    Fun times 😀

    • teachersyn
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 09:38:12

      I took Quintessica the Mystic into there on Heroic Hard last night. Haystack the Idiot came along for his Death Ward but was otherwise parked as a (usually) stationary heal station. Dispatching the minions and gatekeepers wasn’t as taxing (I had better saves over their attacks as an 18). But damn that Patrick! He had only 1,400 HP or so…hardly uber. But his guardian earth elementals remained the indomitable crush-force they have always been. Didn’t help that Haystack decided it was time for his moment of glory/stupidity by attacking Patrick himself. I left his stone, the bastard.

      After Patrick’s guards crushed me and my ghost barely made it back to a shrine to revive, I went back and used the EE tactic (which I suspect is really THE ONLY tactic) against Patrick. Range him from above. :sigh:

  7. Mernom
    Oct 11, 2013 @ 06:05:21

    my arti and my friend monk did it epic hard on lvl 24,somehow we got throgh to the end. i gotta say,lightning sphear daze without a save really helps!

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