Continuing our guides to extreme DDO tourism to such destinations as the Subterrane and the Underdark, we turn our attention to what might be the most breathtaking place you’ll likely encounter in your travels to-date.
The Storm Horns is a massive mountain range on the outskirts of the Kingdom of Cormyr. Reminiscent of the American Northwest, this wilderness area is arguably MUCH larger than the King’s Forest, outside Eveningstar.
And if the greenery of the King’s Forest wasn’t enough, you are able to take in true vistas from the ridges of the mountain. You’ll literally make a climb up the mountain, with the climate changing as often as the denizens who, predictably enough, aren’t that fond of sightseers and will not offer much hospitality.
Occupying the mountain are the Netherese, descendents of some of the nastiest spell casters that ever lived, and who tire of not having a legacy of blowing shit up as well as their forefathers. These people aren’t exactly the kinds of magicians you’d invite over for birthday parties, lest you want it to be the last one you’ll see on this plane of existence.
Preparing for the Trip: Heroic and Epic Tours
Like the deadlands of Gianthold and the prison city of Wheloon, the Storm Horns offers a Heroic tour (Level 19) or an Epic tour (L27).
To reach the mountains, you must be able to reach Eveningstar. This requires a Stormreach tourist like yourself to
- Complete the Lords of Dust quest series in Stormreach Harbor and then complete “Beyond the Rift” to open a path to Eveningstar for your first-life character, or
- Use a Key to Eveningstar to make an extraplanar teleport to the town if you received such a key from a previous life.
- Or, use the Hall of Heroes Passport to go to Eveningstar directly from the login screen. Free feature if you’re a VIP tourist, or 795 Turbine Points from the DDO Store. (Thank you, FuzzyDuck.)
The Storm Horns, like the King’s Forest, may give level restrictions for entering. Check with your tourist agent for more details.
New and challenging inhabitants dominate all climes of the mountain. It’s critical to have a good self-sufficiency as only a few shrines to rejuvenate yourself exist in the area. With air elementals and other inhabitants capable of knockdown there, it is possible that you can be accidentally knocked off the mountain.
Feather-fall items are essential to have at the ready. You will fall to your death without feather falling or a similar ability.
On entering, you’ll find a curious individual named Eldovar Fleetleaf that offers to teleport you immediately to one of three areas in the area for a price of Astral Shards.
You can decline his offer and find these special waypoints (Harper Stones) yourself, but this might take some time. For nine shards, you can move about more quickly if your tour group is already far ahead.
It’s strongly advised that you read the tour guide map from DDO Wiki to find these Stones for later (and safer travel). It seems that, once you find the Stones on Heroic, you needn’t look for them again in the Epic version.
Once you do this, future visits with Eldovar will teleport you to that location for free.
The forest is much like a snowy King’s Forest but with a significant gradation as you climb as well as an abundance of deciduous forest that sways in the breeze. Other flora, such as fields of wildflowers, are wonderfully sculpted.
Scattered throughout this and higher elevations are journal entry markers left by the inquisitive but prepared Oriphaun (Heroic tour) or the sarcastic and darkly humorous Netherese leader Amskar (Epic tour).
You will traverse for several hours in real time to find all 45 of these markers, and likely run face to face with imaginative and even mythical creatures as you find these little waypoints.
At the forest level, you might find satyrs: Half goat, half man. You’ll also see the owlbear in its native habitat.
There is a large lake to the west with a tiny island in its center that I’ll refer back as you reach higher altitudes.
As you climb higher, snowfall appears, but waxes and wanes. The cold becomes more sharp, and so do the bites of those that live here.
You’ll see griffons and something far more unusual: harpies, half woman, half bird, all shrieking. Be careful of their crooning, which can stun you or sometimes make you helpless.
The Netherese, who make camp of various sizes on the mountain, will not be happy that you have discovered parts of their plans. Gnolls, orcs, Netherese-allied humans, and giants are in league with the Netheril and will slay you on sight–which sort of makes sightseeing hard to do.
Your best stealth game can avoid some fights if you desire or are able to use it. Remember that the hill giants you first encounter have See Invisibility and (with the Update 19 stealth AI changes) have incredibly far Spot bonuses. They’re able to see you coming at least three times farther than most other enemies.
The cold whips you as if you were a redheaded stepchild. Drifting snow spins about as you walk.
Looking over the ridge, that reasonably-sized lake at forest level becomes very, very tiny and eventually fades from view with the blowing snow.
You must be very careful here as the Netherese have many of the largest fortifications built here.
They’ve added a familiar but no-less formidable enemy that you’ve seen in places such as in snowy Aussircaex’s Valley: Frost Giants.
It’s all snowy from here on out. A white dragon occasionally takes up residence in the area, if dragon-spotting is your kind of thing.
Hopefully you won’t become part of the dragon’s favorite pastime: adventurer snacking.
The largest Netherese installations reside atop the mountain. These also lead to the last two quests in the series, if the tourist information is correct.
Watch out for the Ice Elementals. They are surprisingly powerful in attack. Strong fire spells will rid you of them, but they are very many, and you are fewer.
The Netherese are poor hosts. That’s certainly because they have secrets to their secrets that they aren’t keen on sharing with you until Cormyr is destroyed, and you with them.
That said, check out the glacier entrances once you’ve completed the quests involving the Netherese occupation of the mountain.
By the time you reach the summit and the glaciers, you’ll be a witness to the Netherese magic-bomb facility and flying fortress–if you survive their attempt to use it before you’re forced to destroy it.