I’m a very big proponent of stealth tactics in quests.
I know that doesn’t go down well with many adventures in DDO, but usually, the joy of slaying is lost on me. I kill enemies because they will try to kill me. Often, I must initiate attack. If I am attacked first, I ensure I’m the last one standing to finish it.
So, with a serious case of altitis with a little boredom kicking in, I’m considering a game for myself that others can play along as well. I’m inspired by two sources. First, from the creator of the DDO Character Planner, who had begun this some time ago.
The second inspiration is from a popular manga/anime show.
The rules are simple:
- Do not kill except when
- A required objective requires it
- Stealth is not an option (enemies can often or always detect you, such as wraiths and spiders)
- You are revealed/unable to hide and you are fighting for your life
- Do not smash breakables unless it is a required objective; this makes noise that attracts enemies
- Reveal yourself only when
- A required objective/condition of passage is activated only if you are visible (to prevent bugging a quest)
- Aggression or diversion is required to complete an objective
- Complete the mission without assistance (no hirelings) unless an objective requires additional party members for levers and switches. Assistance will be dismissed or left idle after levers are completed
- Discreet (5% or less), Devious (7%) or Insidious Cunning (10%) kill objectives are required where possible.
To meet the “no kill” objective will require taking advantage of the game’s improved stealth AI. Enemies now respond to noises more reliably and go to the sound to investigate. In narrow corridors where enemies block the doorways, noise could be used to pull the enemies away and allow an adventurer to pass by. Alternately, a character can use a single attack or quick reveal to pull enemies towards them. If you can break the line of sight of these enemies and then hide and go quiet, the enemies often pass you by, searching for you in vain briefly before often returning to their original positions.
It will take my best Ninja Spy to make this work. My fondest characters (Syncletica, Lynncletica and Ryncletica) have Epic levels and have been idle for some time while my star-thrower mania has continued unabated for weeks now.
But which character should enter this game? I’d likely dedicate only one character to complete this, from level 1 to 28ish.
I strongly considered Syncletica herself. She’s been largely idle since her first TR and horrific results as an Epic character.
Ryncletica is already a strong general Ninja Spy and would enter a third life to try this.
In the end, I generated another Ninja Spy. Inspired by Sword Art Online‘s “Black Swordsman” and central character, Kirito, the player character Kiricletica is now skulking the dungeons.
As the build goes, Kiri isn’t very special except I’m adding longswords to her ability for slashing damage, befitting her namesake. Every ability to stay hidden or divert attention is getting maximized.
Every Trick in the Book
I’m not quite utilizing every condition of RJ’s attempt. While his goal was to fully complete all quests, including optionals, I’m sticking to the required objectives only. I’m using ship buffs and I’ve equipped Kiricletica with some starter equipment with the goal of her gathering her own later.
Since I’m attempting each dungeon on Elite and within 2 levels of the quest difficulty, any gear she attains from other characters, should I choose, essentially evens the odds, not increases them.
Self-healing is a critical consideration in solo play, but thankfully is going to be less problematic since Kiricletica is Half-Elf with the Cleric dilettante to allow scroll and wand healing as well as good protective buffs. Several points are going into the Shintao and Mystic trees for greater ki regeneration, healing amplification and improved DCs.
Kiricletica will need an improved ability for ranged damage to avoid some fights. While she won’t be as powerful as Szyncletica, I’m using all I’ve learned of the Shiradi Shuricannon build to boost Kiri’s DEX very high for improved damage and attack as well as shuriken throw rate. I might add Shuriken Expertise while adding in Cleave and Great Cleave. The Two-Weapon Fighting feats are important but I don’t know if taking all three will be essential.
Kiri’s already equipped with a Phiarlan Mirror Cloak, a great item for new characters to improve Hide/Move Silently skills. Spot will get a boost, and Diplomacy where possible for avoiding some fights.
From here, it’s all tactics.
Stealthy Repossession: The Dreaded
Many players in groups either skip this quest altogether or use tactics that keep the precious kobold prophets busy enough so one person can zerg in to grab the gem that completes the quest.
I chose to do things the old fashioned way.
I entered in as a level 4 character on Elite. My first mistake was walking around as I activated a buff or two. On opening the first door, two ordinary kobolds and one prophet attacked and had to be put down. I still had a safety margin of prophets, so in I went.
The key in stealth is often to follow the paths of those you avoid. Staying behind them keeps you out of their visual arc, their line of sight. You also need to avoid sneaking too closely for their Listen skill to hear you take that misstep.
The second prophet guards a wide main hall with two gated passages. The little guy makes a lazy clockwise walk around the area, so I follow him and, while he’s at 3 o’clock and I’m at a the lever at 11 o’clock, I pull the lever, restealth without taking one step, and enter the west hall.
Two prophets walk in a slightly different pattern up and down this north-south hallway. Your only target is another lever on the west wall. Many other kobolds are sleeping.
This lever is the hardest of the six you must engage since you have to time pulling the lever with restealthing before the prophets are in Spot range. Hopefully you will restealth and be heading back north before the prophets turn around for their northern track, as you’ll want to pull that thing quickly as they pass. Thankfully, despite the sound effect, it seems that levers don’t make sounds that attract. Else, this quest would be clearly impossible.
I pulled the lever and sneaked back out, wary of the central hall prophet still doing his rounds.
On to a west hallway where a fourth prophet makes another patrol. Same tactic is used as in the central hall but you have to watch for when the kobold stops at certain points before turning and walking away. I let the kobold head more easterly and away from my objective, a door where another lever awaited inside. More sleeping kobolds. There were some boxes I was able to use to elevate myself out of some tight spots where my timing with the prophet was too perfect and his line-of-sight approached too fast.
Ahead to the east, a corridor leads to another room with a mix of sleeping kobolds, one vigilant thrower atop a tall pile of crates, and two prophets. Here, you have to move fast to get past this to fall down and to the right into a lower room, avoiding the bridge ahead. Inside a recess are two switches to pull. Do not make one move without being in stealth here (or anywhere) as the prophets will hear you.
You must then head northerly, avoiding two more prophets, to the final switch. On this one, it may be best to use invisibility if you have a potion or effect, to gain an edge on Spot, since there are two last prophets and often one optional boss, a witch doctor. Activate the switch on the south wall, and then sneak in for the gem, located north and west from the last switch.
Sounds easy? I didn’t think it did.
Thanks to Micki, I’m now the owner of a Bandicam license, so here’s a recreation of that run with Kiri, now a little higher at level 5, in the first of a series of videos to help Monks work out their kinks in certain quests.
Here’s another successful but less glamorous attempt on that quest. My apologies for the darkened video; I’m getting used to the gamma and brightness settings as things get moved here and there.
How Far Can I Go?
As the character Kirito knew, there will be point where solo play is not possible, much less practical. Kiricletica isn’t designed to be an achiever of quest chains or gain accolades in leveling. Her only desire is to complete as much of the game as possible without any player character’s to assist. Raids would be the exception. Maybe.
The only challenges that will thwart her will be ones that absolutely require several live players to coordinate levers and switches. As much as I’m hopeful of Kiri’s abilities, being in two places at once isn’t one of them.
Perhaps I’ll be able to get a Devious bonus in “The Kobold’s New Ringleader.” You never know.
(Update: I apologize for the video quality. Serves me right for using Windows Movie Maker, free as it is. I’ll be improving the video quality as I find better options. This thread, older as it is, still has some tips.)