Those Poor Things: Beleaguered Races in DDO

For storylines to have some conflict that requires us players and characters to care to help, there’s often quite a few oppressed races throughout our adventures.

Sadly, most of them are turned against us, and the game objectives often prohibit us from helping them.

But strangely we’re often reminded how we, the adventurers, become the uninvited, the intruder, even the murderers.

Korthos

The Sahuagin play very dirty in their attempts to kill off the population of the tiny community of Korthos. Sahuagin are worshippers of The Devourer, brother of Arawai (whose shrine of bountiful harvests you find out in the Cerulean Hills) and her opposite, a force of natural destruction. The Sahuagin have corrupted not only human followers of the Devourer to aid their cause, but are using the necromantic arts to raise the long-dead Cannith engineers and family buried on the island to terrorize the populace. They’re also using magic to try to freeze the inhabitants off the island.

This may be a reaction to the way that House Cannith often seems quite okay with using places and resources with barely any attempt at gaining permission to do so, or thinking about the implications caused by their acts.

House Cannith is the closest analogue to the British Empire we see in this game–including the need for an outside force to clean up their messes for years to come. Even before House Cannith was available to us adventurers for quests, a quest that let you see through the eyes of an ancient Warforged Titan confirmed that Cannith’s claim of inventing the Warforged was only so much smoke and mirrors. The quests and raids in their house show how House Cannith’s hubris comes to bite them on their non-shiny metal asses.

Kobolds

"Kobolds still hate you." Kobold not above eating you, though.

“Kobolds still hate you.” Kobold not above eating you, though.

Often ostracized by the rest of the Stormreach community as thieves or vermin, kobolds settled into the sewers to live. Unfortunately, they seek out anything vulnerable to use, often causing them to cross into the paths of  those who don’t like them.

A nice little kobold like Scrag actually asks you to help him and his family remove a group of near-feral dogs released into his part of the sewer. But, unlike other citizens (or kobolds), he asks you to lure them out of the sewers unharmed.

But Scrag is a rarity. Kobolds hate you, especially when you go on a rescue mission to find two Stormreach guards who had few legitimate reasons for going deep into the sewers and getting waylaid by the kobolds.

I see kobolds are generally neutral, not evil. In the Waterworks, they attack because you’re invading their home.

Kobolds are easily influenced into doing evil, despite their capacity to be nice, if not neutral. Later adventures into the bowels of Mount Reysalon show yet another group of kobolds influenced by the forces of a lich to help him–what else?–take over the world.

And let’s not forget some very enterprising kobolds who decide to up their game by making the mistake of aligning with a black dragon, or two.

We see a few kobolds in a sympathetic light, and thankfully, we needn’t harm them. That’s because they’re being driven out of their sewer homes, not by adventurers this time, but by an underground incursion by the plane of Xoriat.

Best of all, we get to enjoy kobolds in league with us (this week in fact) as their worker union and our parties join forces to mine crystals on the island of Smuggler’s Cove. As you work and they scurry, they have many a witty thing to say about their work and your past relationships with them.

The Wildmen

"You hurted me!"

“You hurted me!”

These hominids embody the TV Tropeism of “butt monkey” both literally and physically. They’re simply cannon-fodder for everybody throughout the game.

We don’t see the wildmen making any large-scale offensives anywhere in the game. They seem quite content to being left alone–which is why they are often picked off, picked on or picked up by other races to do any bidding but the wildmen’s own desires.

The only people more pissed off than the duergar on the island where Ataraxia’s Haven is located are the wildmen. With nowhere else to go to live, to call them upset at this invasion to turn their island into a resort is putting it mildly. Guys like Mirot attack on sight.

The wildmen are forced to live in the shadows of others that invade another unnamed island, turned into a fortress this time by the Blood Tide pirates. Needless to say, they also attack you on sight if you choose to pass through what’s left of their world that’s not part of the fortress.

Travel to the Restless Isles to investigate a smuggling ring of ancient magical artifacts that Hazadill exploited, and there you’ll find mines where ogres have enslaved many a wildmen to mine for these artifacts. What’s incredible in these quests is that you’ll find some wildmen who turn against their own kind. I’m more than happy to punch these turncoat wildmen straight to Dulurrh.

If you’re detected by the ogre slavers in the Shrieking Mines, they’ll sic their wildmen slaves on you to sweeten their sadism as well as kill you. If you can slay only the controlled ogres, the wildmen are freed–but leave more than just a few words of ingratitude for being rescued by the likes of you while teleporting away.

The poor plight of the wildmen hardly stops there. The Vinethrasher clan just want to do their thing in the isolated jungles of the Skyfall Coast when they’re pulled into the middle of two invasion forces: Your party and advance-scouting parties from a Droaam invasion force.

Very skilled (and sympathetic) adventurers can actually avoid killing any wildmen in this quest, and then use Diplomacy with the Vinethrasher chieftain in his village to warn him of the invasion force while also passing through his village peacefully to go warn a Stormreach scouting base.

The next time you run into the wildmen, they’re enslaved again, this time by the corrupted and clandestine Path of Inspiration, a group that is very close to invading Xen’drik from the Plane of Dreams, this time with no giants to stop them as they were stopped eons before. If you’re very careful with your attacks (and have no hirelings that will gleefully hack anything they see), these wildmen won’t attack you. But they’ve become so embittered and completely broken by their enslavement that I’ve felt almost relieved to kill them as the only available means to release them from their horrid captivity.

And the wildmen’s woes aren’t even slowed by living on another plane.

On the Plane of Eternal War, forces in a Shavarath base have exported and turned wildmen into biological weapons, infecting them before trying to ship them disguised as innocuous cargo, back to Xen’drik and other locales. Unable to rescue them, you can use control panels above the suspicious cargo bay to use a weapon to blast open the crates imprisoning the wildmen and others, leaving them to attack their captors on their own, or enter the area through a base portal to kill them along with their guards.

The Undead

Sure. Being dead to begin with, these folks are generally beyond complaining much about anything.

But if you think about the loved ones of those people who are animated to do evil, it becomes a bit more tragic. What’s most tragic is that, of all the butt-monkeys, the undead have no spokesman and have no say. Torture is truly timeless for the eternal.

Wildmen are most trod-upon, true, but the undead are exploited by the legion. Quest after quest after quest is filled with the hordes of the unliving. By count, the undead are certainly the most exploited.

Who knows how saddening it was for one of the Coin Lords to hear about your namesake’s spirit becoming tortured and manipulated.

Some Hobgoblins Who Aren’t Doing Anything

Some hobgoblin has recruited you to wage war against the Arzag-Khor tribe, so that Karnat’s tribe can seize possession of some “tear” shaped thing.

Now, it appears that these hobgoblins aren’t screwing with anybody, living quietly in a complex underground sewer city under House Phiarlan.

They don’t have any war machines in wait. They don’t have a plan to blow up the town. Little hobgoblin kids were probably running through the streets, playing stickball or “Catch the Kobold” or something. Hobgoblin moms are making some delicious mushroom stew, and the smells of roasted rats and spider fill the city with happiness. Bacon is being cooked.

And then you show up.

During the untold slaughter your party brings down upon their world, you’ll likely see one of them say, “Why can’t you leave us in peace?!”

‘Nuff said.

And that’s not the only time you’re a bloodthirsty maniac slaughtering sentients for pay.

Some Poor Homeless and Hungry People

You are asked to purge a small sewer of heretics to the Silver Flame in one quest.

The quest is so reprehensible to many players that they avoid it altogether. I tried to go in to assassinate only the required targets with Kiricletica once. It took all my abilities to keep the enraged inhabitants from harm’s way after the deed was done, even with the quest flag completed.

The fact that you’ll later avenge the deaths of these innocents by killing off the jerk that hired you doesn’t cleanse you from the fact that these innocents died at your hands. You’re a jerk for taking the job.

It’s a wonder the Sovereign Host doesn’t seek revenge. But they’re more like Christians than the bureaucratic, theocratic and easily manipulated Flame (to use a real-world comparison), and certainly less likely to get as corrupted from within. Or captured. Or impersonated. Or completely led down the primrose path to world-ending disaster.

Wheloon Prison

Talk about lazy. The Kingdom of Cormyr finds a terrorist band in a large port city, and decide to go all Escape from New York on it, converting it into a large prison…and trapping lots of innocents with the crazies and criminals.

While the followers of Shar are very, very dangerous, it’s still a significant amount of misplaced retribution to sacrifice innocent people in order to resist a very powerful evil. As your adventures in the prison and elsewhere deduce, rather than diminishing the Netherese terrorists in Wheloon and Cormyr, the prison city is now a full Shar command center, with nothing and almost no one to stop them from their plans to ruin Cormyr.

Somewhere, the Harper Agents are facepalming. They have a quite the mess to clean up, thanks to the Lawful Stupid acts of the Purple Dragon Knights.

Those Who Deserve What’s Coming to Them

And then there are many other races that intentionally ask for it, gaining little or no sympathy or even a way to see their point of view.

There’s not a sympathetic gnoll that you’ll encounter in the game. They are a strong, prideful force that would be left alone if they weren’t so predatory. Ever talk to a NPC Gnoll in the game? That’s because they have nothing to talk about. You’re dog-food to them and they don’t talk to food.

Most of the Drow like being assholes in favor of their allegiance with some giant or some god. The Vulkoor Drow hate giants but hate outsiders even more, with small groups like the Raveneye being exceptions. The Sulatar Drow are just crazed maniacs with fire spells who haven’t given up their enslavement to the giants of old, despite having control of a volcano they could use to blow up (very) nearby Stormreach! And we won’t bother discussing the quintessential dark-skinned dickery that epitomizes the Drow of the Underdark.

While many of us have banished Arraetrikos back to Shavarath more times than we can count, don’t you feel a little sad when other leaders in the Tower of Despair not only condemn him for apparent weakness and/or treason and then shrink him down to a cute, cuddly-sized bundle of red-winged terror, suitable as a pet?

Nope, I wasn’t shedding any tears, either.

And we’re all still waiting for our Baby Pit Fiend companion, Turbine, complete with things to say like, “Tell me how many times you banished Daddy again!” or “Kobolds taste like chicken!” or “Buy me an Cube pet with pineapple and human chunks in it!”

I’m sure I’m missing several lesser groups that get it in the shorts throughout the game, so feel free to cite your own examples.

The Insane Tourist’s Guide to the Underdark

Underdark1In our first guide, we discussed the wonders inside the demon-infested catacombs of the Subterrane that tourists like some of you might enjoy.

The Insane Tourist might find the vistas of the Subterrane interesting, but not quite big enough.

Experienced tourists (that is, Epic characters) can take in the magnificent desolation of the Underdark, where not-so-happy dark elves plot to invade some towns of the surface world. It’s all drama down there. Yuan-Ti power grabs. Immense giant worms that try to eat you whole. A dragon. Zombies.

Sure, the Drow are rather ruthless and evil. But they also have style in doing it. And their digs (no pun intended) are pretty majestic for a massive underground canyon. You have to go see.

Preparations Before You Visit

The Drow aren’t standing about, asking for your tickets, passport or papers and ushering you inside the Underdark on a tram. As is their way, they’re out to kill or enslave you.

Therefore, you’ll need to be properly equipped for your trip. Weapons with Elf Bane are okay, but generally any good-aligned weapon will suffice to keep the crowds of natives at bay as they surround you in wonder and murderous intent. Remember that the Drow are more spell resistant than other enemies. They also tend to use more poison attacks that can be debilitating if you don’t pack some poison neutralization potions for the journey.

To reach the Underdark itself, customs require you to

  1. Be Level 20. You must be Level 20 or higher to enter the King’s Forest to find the sole portal into the area.
  2. Complete the “Lords of Dust” quest chain, and then complete “Beyond the Rift” to open a path for you from Eberron to the Forgotten Realms, if this is your character’s first life as an Insane Tourist.
  3. You may either venture through the King’s Forest to find the entrance on the barren hill, or complete the “Darkening” Eveningstar quest chain to gain access. Once you complete “The Battle for Eveningstar,” the portal to the Underdark activates inside Eveningstar Cavern. (Until you find another portal inside the Underdark or complete the chain, the other cavern’s portals may remain darkened.)

Once you’ve basked in the hospitality and quiet desperation of the villagers of Eveningstar, enter the King’s Forest from their town and head south. It may be easiest and safest to follow the path of the river to the east once you come to it, since it winds southward and just east of your destination.

As you travel, you’ll find many journals left for you to read by Elminster, known to be a powerful wizard and scholar of the area (as well as quite popular with the ladies and a goddess or two).

A Purple Dragon Knight outpost lies along the river’s edge just before the river ends at the southernmost reaches of the forest. You may want to stop there and speak to a mage inside, who can instantly teleport you from the outpost back to Eveningstar, and then vise versa for future tours once you speak to him while at the outpost.

Take some rest at the outpost, and then head westward until you find an easily identifiable barren hill with many Drow greeters. The entrance atop the hill allows you to find two sub-portals within the Underdark that make it easier later to reach a quest in the Underdark itself as well as the Drow city, Sschindylryn,  from the Eveningstar Cavern.

Update: One reader disagreed on the availability of accessing the Underdark. I am reasonably sure that any character that hasn’t entered the Underdark on their current life will find that the Eveningstar Cavern has only one of three portals active. You’ll only be able to use the single portal which (at that stage in your life) only returns you to Eberron (or, if you have one, a guild airship). The portals that activate once you visit the Underdark or Sschindylryn are not active until you reach their respective entrances for the first time. You must complete the Eveningstar battle quest chain for the Underdark portal to activate inside Eveningstar cavern.

Your First Stop in the Underdark: Greet Some Slavers

The King’s Forest entrance rests above a caravan of Drow slavers from House Avithoul. Their charges are Eveningstar villagers and soldiers, each equipped with a magical collar that forces them to fight you, rather than sell you tschotskes and maps.

Underdark2-slaves

More slaves…and slaver’s loot…liberated!

The slavers are often shrouded in invisibility and accompanied by more visible Drow guards. A good Spot reveals their outline. Show them how hospitality is best offered by killing the slaver and his guards without harming their collared slaves.

You’re rewarded with XP if you can save enough of these less-prepared tourists you find here and elsewhere the Underdark by using your skills of disabling devices, your Concentration, or even brute strength to remove the controlling collars from the enslaved ones–without killing them. For Monks, you’ll likely need a Concentration at least 48 or better to have a fighting chance of removing the slave collars.

Next Stop: See a Real Drow Priestess and Open the Portal to Sschindylryn

After the slavers, you can make your way over a stone bridge to a small redoubt with a few Drow archers who are happy to show you what real arrows look like–points first and at high velocity. Be mindful that slowing and damaging Spell Wards are all over this area, making a quick exit harder to do. A Rogue in your tour group can disable these to make your trip less arduous.

Continuing southwest and up a path leads you to a welcoming party of more Drow slavers accompanying a Drow priestess. They’ll demonstrate their religious customs for surface dwellers by making you their sacrifice of the day.

If you want that selfie of you alone and not you with your soulstone, you might decline the Drow’s insistence to die horribly by slaying everyone else first, except the Priestess. She’s a special one. If you attempt to kill her, she’ll use her magics to leech the lives of anyone in her party to continue fighting you. Only when a Priestess has no more allies or slaves left alive to leech can you (easily) kill the Priestess herself.

Did I mention that the Underdark denizens love to use death spells? Be sure to pack something or bring someone that offers Death Ward throughout your tour, and at least be wearing a Deathblock item if you haven’t Death Ward options at hand.

With the twisted religious service over, head a little ways up the path to find a shrine and a portal to enter the Drow city of Sschindylryn. Once you enter this portal, you will have now activated sister portals to both the Underdark and the Drow city to make it easier to return to either destination, directly from Eveningstar Cavern.

Sschindylryn: City of Portals

See_Rock_CitySo that’s what all those “See Rock City” barn signs were talking about, right? You’ll never see them quite the same way again now.

As you might expect, there’s not a tour guide awaiting you to show you the fine eateries and museums inside the Drow city. It’s still quite scenic on the outside. Lots of waterfalls.

Scattered about the city and the southern parts around the city are missives from a Drow leader that discuss their desire to visit Eveningstar and Eberron and take what they want. Seems they’re also learning about things from your world, like guild airships.

You might want to pass on any requests from them for a ship invite.

Collect all the missives scattered about the city outskirts and inside the city and you’ll complete a full map of the area.

The Drow make you work for that map. Watch your step! Sschindylryn rests atop a wide canyon to an underground river so deep that the Drow aren’t daring enough to visit there. Fall off into the bottomless crevasse surrounding the city and your tourist days are temporarily over. Several of the missives rest along the edges of the canyon to give you sphincter-clenching sensations as you hop over gaps on the way to find them. It’s good reading, really.

Look up. THAT'S how you build a pyramid.

Look up. THAT’S how you build a pyramid.

The city is stunningly built. Ornately inscribed doors and spires, seemingly carved from the stone itself, form the many residences and halls there. Unfortunately, the Drow never offer open-house tours of city dwellings, so you will not be able to share that Eberron fruitcake you’ve been carrying.

If you want to get an idea of how to build a ziggurat (a stepped pyramidal building), stand at the city’s main entrance and look up.

Notice how the Drow built dwellings within stalactites above the city. Awe-inspiring. And don't even think how they get up there.

Notice how the Drow built dwellings within stalactites above the city. Awe-inspiring. And don’t even think how they get up there.

You’ll also find yet another portal inside the city. Taking this is a quick way to head elsewhere in the Underdark. But should you activate this portal, you may find yourself materializing on return trips to the Drow city at this portal and not the outskirts portal. There are one or two other city portals, but these are inactive (likely for a future adventure somewhere else in the Underdark).

Underdark-Scity3There are three areas based on the Drow houses to see as you slay the guards, commoners and driders that greet you on your tour. House Dun’Robar is a military house, specialized in training fighter legions. House Avithoul, as you might guess from your first encounter as you initially entered the Underdark, specializes in the slave trade. House Szind offers to keep other Drow troops and slaves alive, even if you keep killing them, by using their necromancers to raise them as undead. Lastly, atop and inside the ziggurat of the city, is a Drow temple where you may get to meet the High Priestess and pay your respects.

Inside any of these houses you’ll find a magnificent living space. Tapestries adorn the walls. Sculptures and decorated altars abound. Racks of weaponry and military precision. The beautifully and tastefully decorated bedrooms of the Matron Mothers. Libraries filled with the knowledge of Drow over the milennia. Incredible furniture. The Drow blend form and function in a mesmerizing, captivating synergy.

Sadly, all of these areas are closed to deeper tours. Once you complete a battle to save Eveningstar from a Drow invasion, you can enter their Houses in the Drow city and get a closer look at mostly everything in House Dun’Robar without Drow complaint. But the illusion spell works only temporarily to allow you to contemplate the art inside House Avithoul, and the spell fails utterly in the necromantic spyworks of House Szind.

The city has at least one rare encounter in each house as well as two in the common area. These Drow and driders do not offer their wares willingly.

The Underdark Tour Continues

The wilds of the Underdark are contained on three levels. Being of natural formation, it’s not at all easy to find paths that lead where you want to sight-see. There’s also the matter of Drow and Yuan-Ti forces wanting to push you off these high ledges to your doom at your earliest inconvenience.

Key places to visit are noted in a copy of the full map. There is one additional portal that you can use to leave and return to the Underdark with greater ease than having to use the King’s Forest portal. Activating the Riz Malag portal makes it more convenient later to reach the quest, “In the Belly of the Beast.”

The ruins of Riz Malag.

The ruins of Riz Malag.

Ever seen a dragon up close? Any typical adventurer has done so, of course. Why stop now? In one of the harder paths to find, and a harder rare enemy to discover in his lair, is the red dragon Micahrastir. Now, dragons are rarely friendly. To them, you’re the snack on their version of a trip. You might be able to get a selfie of you next to his slumbering bulk, but if you’re that close, fighting him is probable.

Careful not to get knocked off of Micah’s lair by his wind buffeting if you’re trying to steal his loot (as is custom for adventurer tourists). Once a fight starts, the small path that leads up to him is destroyed and you cannot return to him in the same instance to continue your fight if you’re knocked off.

Overall, stealth is a wonderful and preferred way to enjoy your tour, especially if alone. You’ll certainly attract less attention if you are keen on reaching every encounter point. True to the name, however, it’s dark in there.

The Underdark with no goggles (enhanced a bit but still dark).

The Underdark with no goggles (enhanced a bit but still dark).

A vendor named Malchor is close by the Eveningstar portal into the Underdark. Now that you’ve activated a portal in Eveningstar Cavern, it’s easy to reach this vendor. Recall from anywhere in the Underdark, and then use the Underdark portal in Eveningstar Cavern and choose the option for the trader’s post.

Malchor’s having a promotion on his wares and will offer to give you a pair of his light-enhancing goggles at no charge.

The Underdark with goggles!

The Underdark with goggles!

These goggles better highlight the area, and they also mark hostiles in a red hue. Aside from changing your character’s gear setup, the goggles may cause contrasts in your sight that might annoy your appreciation of the aesthetics of the area.

Other notable encounters and sights:

  • The last priestess of House Jegg’Dralnoc. A rare sight to find a priestess all alone in the wilds. Doesn’t look like Lolth is giving her any sympathy or alms. You’re not that type of “take pictures, leave only footprints” kind of tourist, however. Once she attacks you, you can take a certain pride in ending an entire Drow house all by yourself. Her altar is always in the same place, although sometimes she isn’t there, replaced by a Drow acolyte.
  • Nessaleesa, She Who Hunts Among Stones. A medusa has made a garden of stone–specifically, enemies she has turned to stone by her petrifying gaze. If you’re a Shintao Monk, it would be curiously fitting to turn her into jade stone, if possible, for a few moments before ending her.
  • Agathea, a night hag, has a little old place where she wants you to get together. It’s not a love shack, however. You’re to be part of our food supply, baby.
  • The Grand Waterfall. The Yuan-Ti like it, too. But they aren’t inclined to share it with you.
  • Tranquility Grove. Wow, man. Poppies poppies poppies…you shouldn’t rest here. At all. The flora will attempt to make you sleep here indefinitely. If you’re of elven heritage, you’re immune to sleep effects and should be able to traverse the area without problem.
  • Riz Malag: A rather striking set of ruins amidst the starkness of the Underdark stone. Do find this for your alternate portal out and back to get to “In the Belly of the Beast.” There’s many illitids and animated armors nearby.

Next time on Insane Tourism: The Storm Horns.

Monks and the Dreaming Dark: Going Deeper

It’s fascinating what you can learn from Wikipedia these days (especially given that you really shouldn’t use Wikipedia to learn anything important unless you like your data heavily biased).

With thoughts of creating my own guild someday, I began considering a name for the guild. That’s when I stumbled on Wikipedia’s article on the religions of Eberron.

Unlike the Forgotten Realms, religion is cited primarily as minor story background through DDO, rather than determining your character’s specific alignment or favored weapons and spells as you would see in games such as classic Neverwinter Nights. That is, you’re more associated with a church (such as the Silver Flame) than a specific deity.

Also, while you might actually encounter avatars of many deities in FR gameplay, DDO’s Eberron has only a handful of powerful physical gods (The Lord of Eyes, Vol, Lolth, the Devourer of Dreams) but  few to none of the deities of a more cosmological bent, such as Mystra or Tyr. You can see the distinction as the developers portray it in the rest and resurrection shrines. In Eberron, these shrines are more hunks of vaguely ornate carved stone with generic, non-descript faces. But for shrines in the FR adventures, the shrines are beautifully-crafted figures of two specific deities of the Forgotten Realms. You might not be aligned to them, but these shrines restore you, all the same.

While DDO is based on the Eberron game campaign, it’s gameplay mechanic doesn’t fully sync with the pen-and-paper game. That said, the wiki article gives a very interesting backstory on the Dreaming Dark, as well as what occurred in the Eberron backstory that surrounds these shadowy inhabitants.

The Quori

You’ve heard the name of the Quori dropped if you’ve played any of the adventures in the Inspired Quarter.

The Quori are, as the Eberron Wiki page describes them, creatures of nightmare that originate from the extraplanar realm of Dal Quor. The Quori’s existence was tied to Eberron’s ages. When Eberron moved to a new age, the Quori die off and are reborn into something else that aligns better to what Eberron has transformed to become.

However, most of the Quori seem to hate this link and are trying to continually stop the change. They attempted to invade Xen’drik during the Age of the Giants, several game-thousands of years prior to present-day Eberron. The Giants stopped their advance. Familiar story? It should be. You get to react to a new invasion inside a recording of an old invasion of one key battle of that Quori/Giant fight in the quest “Eye of the Titan.”

After seeing that recollection, your character freaks and decides to investigate more into the Inspired, where they find themselves fighting for their own will in “Finding the Path.”

Let's see Leo and Friends try to go deeper on THIS guy.

Let’s see Leo and Friends try to go deeper on THIS guy.

Yep, if you’re fighting dream creatures, you need to go deeper. (In a related bit, GamerGeoff notes that, if you’re fighting DDO bugs, this might be true, too.)

Since that war, the Giants broke the direct connection of the Quori realm and Xen’drik, so the Quori can’t easily manifest in the Material Realm.

I love this story as well because it shows that the Quori were the true creators of the Warforged, not House Cannith. Before the House Cannith additions were added to the game over a year ago, players could pick up on this clue only from the quest. The true origins of the Warforged are now clearer as you read the journals found scattered about  inside the Cannith Manufactury zone. Basically, House Cannith found an old Quori device that could make these living constructs.

There were a handful of Quori who did not care for the evil ways of most of their brethren. In fact, they favored this change of the Ages. Before the war with the Giants, I think, one of the Quori, Tarantai, rebelled and escaped with about 66 followers into the Material Realm in hopes of a way to promote this change, which they believed would be filled with joy and not static darkness. There, she encountered some monastics in the land of Sarlona. These Monks voluntarily melded with these good Quori spirits–and also ensured that they’d have a bullseye painted on every one of those Monks by the Dreaming Dark Quori.

The descendants of these good-aligned Quori Monks are known as Kalashtar: Humanoid beings with psionic powers. Familiar word, kalashtar? You heard the name dropped when you’re exploring the second quest in the Gray Moon Waning chain on Sorrowdusk Isle: “Justice for Grust.” The Dungeon Master implies that kalashtar are extremely wise–and it doesn’t take you, much less a kalashtar, to know you are walking into a trap in that quest.

To kill off a kalashtar’s Quori spirit forever is nearly impossible. You could off one or two, but to kill off the Quori essence which, like a spiritual genetic trait, has passed into all kalashtar, you can only destroy Tarantai’s followers completely through absolute genocide of their entire race.

Destroy an entire race of super-smart psionic Monks? Yeah, like that’ll happen.

Not that the Dal Quor haven’t tried.

The Kalashtar vs. the Legions of Dal Quor

It seems that good Quori Tarantai realized that the legions of evil brethren in Dal Quor would eventually come to the Material Realm to destroy the Monks of Sarlona and the descendants of her followers.

So Tarantai and her direct descendants decided to screw up that plan–at the cost of their own existence. When the Dal Quor entered the Material World to target Tarantai’s descendants, they eventually used special devices called Shroud Resonators, which began to eternally protect the kalashtar and the Salona Monks. Activating these devices required all of Tarantai’s descendants to die in doing it.

This event hasn’t stopped the Dal Quor from continuing their efforts to destroy Xen’drik. They began to merge themselves with some humans (over a much longer time frame than the Kalashtar, and with greater coercion)  to create the Path of Inspiration, a secretive organization that plots the overturn of anything that will move Eberron forward into light. Darkness hates that, apparently. You can play a series of quests that deal with their attempt to mind-control all of Stormreach, which is also connected to yet another attempt by the Dreaming Dark to invade Xen’drik en masse again–this time, without the Giants and Dragons to stop them.

In the game, they call the cover organization “Dal Qat” and not “Dal Quor,” and I’ve yet to figure out why this is.

Maybe it’s a cover inside a cover within a cover.

Dammit!

Be sure to drop in the Inspired Quarter one day to see them at their work.

What? They look like just another quirky religion to you?

Try looking at them with True Seeing active on your character.

Differences in DDO

As I said before, the kalashtar are mentioned only in passing in one DDO adventure. The kalashtar, despite being aligned with some Monks at their start, are primarily a psionic race, with beauty that rivals the Elves. DDO, at the moment, don’t have the Kalashtar or any psionic race in game. (I expect the Gnomes to show up in-game before psions do–and I won’t bet on that, either.)

But should the Kalashtar do appear, they have to have a special kinship to the Monk class, and, as Halflings have an affinity to the Rogue class, a Kalashtar Monk would have special racial abilities. I like the take on this on this fan page about the race.

Oh, yeah. “I can kill you with my brain”, indeed.

The “Shroud resonators” and the Shroud raid (“The Thirteenth Eclipse”) aren’t related (as I first believed in reading the Wikipedia story). But it does give a fine story to why the Dal Quor seem more annoyed in fighting Monks and lawful characters. You never know if your Monk has a little Quori in them–and that means there’s an old blood feud about to occur.

You can read what I think is a tidbit of the the PnP Eberron usage of its thirteen moons that forms “The Shroud” story background in this Eberron Wiki article for comparison.