Stealth Ops: Blockade Buster

Continuing my series on using stealth tactics, we’ll talk about one of my personal favorites: “Blockade Buster.” The Dungeonmaster’s voice sets up your mission quite nicely.

"The Droaam fleet has gathered here during this dark night --
probably for mutual protection.
Such measures might help against a naval attack--
but not against you."

 

“Blockade” is designed to be a stealth-capable quest. Using any doors or hatches do not break Sneak or Invisibility effects. You can engage all the ships at once with a full stealth party or take on the whole blockade by yourself.

As with a few other stealth quests, “Blockade” offers more XP for those who use stealth. You’re going to work in very close quarters with lots of sleeping Droaam and a few roaming guards, so only the strongest Hide/Move Silently scores will avail here. Invisibility is a help but Move Silently is the key to success. The Camouflage spell, used by a Ranger or someone with high UMD and a scroll, adds stacking Hide skill. Party members with weaker Move Silently skill need an item to add Competence bonuses, or may simply need to bring some popcorn and sit on the raft during the adventure while others complete it. Piking here is a benefit for more experience.

The quest is inherently a simple one: Destroy the three blockading Droaam ships. It’s how you accomplish this that determines your reward.

All ships are similar in design. Your mission objectives are:

  • Get aboard undetected.
    • On all three ships are roaming archers with higher Spot, patrolling the deck. Some ships have two archers. Ladders are located on both port and starboard (left and right side) of each ship.
    • You need to study each archer and time your approach and ladder climb or you will be spotted. Sneak speed is critical (you don’t want to be above deck for long), so use Haste, have Speed/Striding items or train Faster Sneaking enhancements if possible.
    • It’s important to have Sneak active, with Invisibility if possible, from the moment you leave Mist’s raft, your start point. The only shrine is located here.
  • Find the mine bay crest. The crest is randomly placed on each ship in one of four locations.
    • The galley, filled with sleeping Droaam, is located near the center of the ship, closer to the stern (forward).
    • The bridge, above the captain’s quarters aft (rear of the ship). A captain may be here. If he is not, he is in his quarters.
    • The captain’s quarters, aft and below the bridge on a side door to port (ship’s left side). Depending on the ship, the captain is either in his quarters or on the bridge.
    • The lower deck. The mine bay hatch is always here, sternward. More sleeping Droaam. Strong Move Silently skill is required in these very tight quarters, especially in grabbing the crest. One step out of Sneak and you’re in big trouble.
    • Every door in the quest can be used without breaking your Sneak and Invisibility. It’s strongly recommended that you use your item targeting and use-item keys to avoid accidentally making an action that pulls you out of Sneak, causes noise or otherwise blows your cover.
  • Get inside the mine bay and eliminate the engineers before they can raise an alarm.
    • Once inside, three kobold engineers may be sleeping, or awake and on patrol. Near them is an alarm bell that you don’t want them to ring to get your no-alarms XP bonus. One of the engineers will be an orange-named kobold. One has a very high Spot score.
    • Any instant ways to halt or kill these kobolds before they can reach the bell is key to bonuses and your safety. Should they ring the bell, everyone on board that ship (but not others) will awaken, making your exit tougher if you cannot open the mine hatches to leave the ship from this point. Rogue Assassins with Assassinate training are the prime leaders in this area. They can kill silently while staying in Sneak, and have sufficient INT for the next step.
  • Set the timer on the mines or make detonators to destroy the ship.
    • Once the orange-named engineer is dead, the loot chests by the mine controls will unlock.
    • Again, a Rogue is your key main to get the best bonuses here. An Assassin takes down the kobolds quickly and silently to avoid alarms. Any Rogue with four levels has the Trapmaking feat, which allows them to make a remote detonator to blow up the ship immediately on their command. If the detonators can be traded, you can give them to others in party to activate all three at once to avoid other ships from sounding the fleet-wide general alarm that wakes everyone.
    • Detonators are preferable to the timer option, which does work well if you coordinate with others in your party that have neutralized mine bays on the other two ships. Each party sets their timer at the same time so that the ship’s destruction occurs instantaneously. If you’re solo, you’ll need to activate your timer to match that of an active timer so that the ships blow up as simultaneously as possible. So if you’ve already completed a ship and activated a timer for 10 minutes, you need to clear the next ship and activate its time in sync with the first at 5 minutes, and hustle to get the last ship’s timer in sync with the other two at 2 minutes.
    • You need someone with high INT to unlock the mine doors to escape underwater. If alarms have gone off, leaving through the lower deck will be very hazardous.
  • Return to the raft and destroy the ships or wait for them to explode.
    • On timer, the ships will blow once the countdown is done. Otherwise, use your detonators to complete your mission.

You have the option to assassinate the ship’s captains, but this typically requires them to be in their quarters, where no other crew will hear your fighting. Captains are red-named ogre bosses and often spam death spells and have nasty melee attacks.

A party in Stealth Team Six deployment can assault all three ships simultaneously, and then set a two-minute timer with the mine controls on party cue, and leave. This makes for a very quick XP run that can be done over and over.

Never, ever break any breakables in this quest or you’ll awake everyone.

“Blockade”‘ is biased against non-hiding characters. You can complete it through massive bloodshed if your party lacks training, but you also lose 160% more XP than the stealth path. Leaving the non-stealthy party members to pike this quest on the raft, watching patrols and buffing, is a very legitimate option.

Video Demonstration

I’ve completed this quest many times on my ninjas, but lacked the ability to keep the general alarm from sounding.

So here’s a video of a perfect run using Sukitetica, my new assassin. The only thing I was missing is the Mission: Impossible TV theme playing throughout (and no, not that Tom Cruise abomination).

The video has Closed Captioning. To see the captions, click on the CC button on the video toolbar. I’m still new at the use of my tool for this and some captions might appear faster than they should. Apologies for that.

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Laurel Ann Elliott
    Nov 04, 2014 @ 11:03:56

    Very nice to watch. 🙂 I will have to try this. 🙂

    • teachersyn
      Nov 04, 2014 @ 13:34:28

      In fact, I neglected the Bard option. With good Hide/Move Silently, they could Fascinate or Charm the kobolds, use the mine controls and skedaddle.

  2. Lightning
    Nov 05, 2014 @ 01:44:00

    I’ve always had trouble with this quest on non-rogues. Something about using the detonation switches just make this quest that much more enjoyable.

    That said, I’m running a Ranger primarily this go around (Sniper… I mean “Deepwood Stalker” route.), and I’m already thinking of how to run this, otherwise, pain in the neck. The problem is always the kobolds on the bottom.Everyone is on high alert now, so just shooting them might be problematic. Also, I believe that the control panel for detonation / hatch unlock / trapmaking options make noise when activated, unlike levers or valves when opening doors. (Honestly, that none of the kobolds find it strange that the portcullis is making large amounts of noise is just silly, but I digress.) Even if one weren’t to move, one ship has all of the kobolds sleeping around the panel, so simply sneaking up to it is fine, but activating it is a no go. I suppose it’s because the dialogue box appears.

    Ranger spells are also a hit or miss, as rangers tend not to specialize in DC casting, usually lingering in the 8-14 base wisdom. So yeah, that isn’t going to happen.

    I’m both looking forward to, and hoping to avoid this quest in time. But, that said, I’m running pretty much everything on normal so far. I doubt I’ll need to bother with hard or elite for pulling that off. At best, Sniper Shot is amazing. Almost guaranteed a hit, and an almost 3/4 chance at a critical, and a high one at that. (I’m looking at you, Silver Longbow. 3d10 – 4d10 depending on PBS range, bow strength modifier, 15-20ish threat range, x5 multiplier, 1d6 force, 2d6 holy, and potential +4 sneak attack die. That’s not even including the potential for 6-8 damage from favored enemy or seeker.)

    Oh well. Practice makes perfect.

  3. DDOCentral
    Nov 05, 2014 @ 02:02:24

    Reblogged this on DDOCentral.

  4. grimorde
    Nov 05, 2014 @ 05:06:59

    You mean.. I’m not supposed to run on each ship and hit everything that moves…?

    😀

    Nice write up 🙂

  5. longshotist
    Nov 05, 2014 @ 05:40:58

    Love this quest. Attack on Stormreach in general is one of my favorites and this one in particular is a lot of fun to stealth for certain.

    • Lightning
      Nov 05, 2014 @ 22:29:41

      While I don’t run them all that often (I honestly don’t like running this chain, but do so for elite if I can), it really is nice to see DDO create an actual war of sorts in the game. In-game political achievements are always fun to watch.

      Most of the game is, “We need stuff killed / X thing investigated. Care to help?” It really is nice to see the world of Eberron actually have a sort of life all it’s own.

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  7. erdrique
    Nov 06, 2014 @ 09:56:36

    Nice write up!! One thing to point out, the three captains aren’t all ogres. There is one red named ogre, one red named orc, and one red named gnoll. 🙂

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