Greetings Silvermoon Outpost

Silvermoon Outpost is one of the new areas imported early today and I’ve had a little time to explore it, warning, the below may contain spoilers.

As some of you know I don’t rush into new areas because I’m in no hurry.  Things will stay there waiting to be found another day.  I went to find Silvermoon Outpost because I’ve been mapping west of Darkhaven and I wanted to see if I had to modify my map or if I was ok as-is.  Turns out I’m okay as the Outpost has been located in the extreme southwest of the area.

The area I’ve explored thus far is fairly small, the main floor and a cave but is overall well written, lots of small details such as the paintings and doilies to examine.

It doesn’t take long to understand the meaning of the paintings and in short time you find yourself fighting a flame blasting red dragon.  The dragon goes down fairly smoothly but the flame blasts are non-trivial, lots of hitpoints.  Your reward for dispatching the red dragon is a key to the cave and the red bands of the ancient, an interesting looking evil only sorcerer/shaman armwear.  The 55 mana and 2 str on it makes it particularly attractive since the next nearest alternative is the Sleeves of Power with 15 and they’re anti-druid.  Not too many people have spare sleeves of Kahl for the 25 mana and 1 str from them, so this item surely has a place.

The key is a poof on use key, a rather annoying anti-staking feature because if you have a hard time killing the black dragon you have to restock/cr quickly or else face the red dragon again.  I imagine this will be less annoying in time as we get a little better at the kills but for now it’s just a minor annoyance.  If you kill Khisanthal, the black dragon you may be rewarded with a Dagger of Entwined Hearts, a very excellent evil sorcerer weapon that is clearly targeted at nephandi with a bonus of 5 to damage of qlip.  I say may because I don’t know if it’s a pop or not at this early stage of things.

We were unable to kill the black dragon a second time due to 300-500 damage lightning blasts every round in the subsequent attempts.  Since the mob was purged after repop (and has not purged since) we were wondering if someone had upped the mob after our first kill.  To be fair the mob was pretty straightforward the first time but now the blasts make it a royal pain.  I survived 7 of them back to back using single heals and found myself soloing 😛  So more quaffing power is needed! 🙂

Beyond that I noticed what I perceive to be a couple of Dragonlance references in this area.  Mithian blood ale from the Isle of Mithas, the home of Dragonlance’s minotaur race, I had hoped Dagarak Singlehorn would respond to it but alas.  Bupu the gully dwarf, the rescuer of a spellbook of Fistandantilus from the black dragon’s hoarde who also takes on a few characteristics of the gully dwarf who goes to live in the Inn of the Last Home in the second generation’s adventures, likewise didn’t respond to the ale, even when emptied on the floor 🙂  A blind mage fits a reasonable interpretation of the description of a post-Legends Raistlin Majere.  The name of the black dragon in the Dragons of Autumn Twilight where Bupu appeared wasn’t Khisanthal, but it was Khisanth which is close enough 🙂   I’ve got nothing regarding the inspiration for Talinka or Matthias.  Talinka is the name of a town in Russia, a modification of the name “Tika” who was a barmaid in the Inn of the Last Home, the name of the lead character in a series of children’s adventures (Tina Talinka) or maybe just something from the mind of Romani.  Similarly the best I could come up with for Matthias is that aside from some fan fiction, google tells me someone named “Matthias” is currently reading one of the Dragonlance books, according to his profile :>

Regardless of the inspiration, it has been put together in an original and entertaining area.  Thanks Romani!

Mapping the Realms of Despair

Lots of people set out to do this and many of them choose to make a link between areas so that each one appears in it’s own graphic. There’s good reason to do that, it makes individual areas easier to find and helps to modularize the mapping process. One thing it doesn’t represent well is how the areas fit together on the continent.

I have previously mapped a lot of the Realms using zones but for my currently project on I want something different. Having only taken the time to map New Darkhaven I’ve already come across a number of challenges. I’m sharing them with you because if it’s your first time trying to map the Realms, I think these issues will crop up regardless of which software you choose.

A map of Darkhaven
New Darkhaven

As a bit of background to SMAUG a room is the basic unit of measure of space.  There is no way to specify the size of a room though there is some limited support for expressing the size between rooms.  More on that later.  Rooms are the places the action takes place and exits let us move between rooms.  I will assert here that there is no established coordinate system in Realms that we can tie into to make our life easy, so we have to come up with our own.

I want to point out 4 particular difficulties that will pop up before you’ve finished Darkhaven.  There are more but that’ll give us something to talk about later.

  1. Either the distance between rooms varies or the rooms aren’t the same size.  You can’t rely on just counting off the steps in a direction and evenly spacing your rooms out.  Proof: As soon as you enter the game you can move up 1 room to get to ground level for Darkhaven.  If you move east you’re in a small shop.  Now if you move west, north, east, south and west you might expect to be in that same shop but you are actually in the bank.  This is the simplest example of this but you better get used to it.  Try squeezing the Warehouse into the map without accepting it 🙂
  2. Diagonal directions cause some tricky geometries.  To get things to line up “just so” you will either have to accept that every link is not going to be perfectly straight or you need to be prepared to fuss over moving rooms around until they click perfectly.
  3. There is an implied terrain grade that has nothing to do with up and down exits.  What?  It means that you can walk and without moving up or down anywhere you can be looking up or down at a room you were previously in.  Proof: Exiting Darkhaven’s southern gate you can follow the trail northwest until you eventually reach the Crumbling Bridge.  If you had instead gone northeast and followed the Darkhaven River you would have followed a path that lead to a spot below this bridge.  Simply move up and down yet stay on the same map level.  This is one of the most difficult discrepancies to reconcile … most maps can visually represent it but if we’re going to try to apply good mapping techniques we have to understand what sort of physical reality might cause this situation.  In fact it’s not a problem of a real representation but rather it’s a problem that crops up in computer science all the time.  We’re trying to assign discrete, fixed, defined levels to something that were it real would be a continuous reality.  So once again, wha?  Up and down exits are jumps in elevations, not some unusual change in level.  The terrain itself may have some grade that imperceptibly slopes upwards or downwards in a way that isn’t so drastic that climbing is required.  In this case the river slopes downwards or is even beneath the regular grade and when our characters travel it they gradually travel below the street level of Darkhaven.  Eventually it becomes noticeable enough that you’d have to climb up to the bridge to get back on top.  Thankfully this is a short stretch and it peters out, but it sheds a light on the fact that you can’t assume that because something has the same number of ups and downs, or has no ups and downs at all, that you’re on the same level.  Street level in Darkhaven is a different altitude than the ground level in the Southern Mountain Range … or is it?
  4. Paths will irreconcilably cross one another.  Try as you might to keep your map nice and neat and clean, paths will cross one another.  Proof: The first occurrence we’ve already discussed.  Go directly south of Darkhaven to the bridge.  There is no up and down exit here, so no direct path down to the river, yet the river’s gonna pass right under it.  Okay, maybe we’ve explained this one already.  What about the path from Miden’nir to Moria crossing with the one from Darkhaven to the Southern Mountain Range?


Hey, so that’s enough for now, stay tuned for more exploration and additional maps.  You will be able to follow my progress on but first I need to settle a couple of technical questions about how to display them.  I’m pretty happy with the early test setups but it’s not quite right yet haha.

Merry Christmas!

To the Thieves Guild and beyond!

You say 'i am ready'
Deliess Whurgirn, the Guildmistress of Shadowport says 'So be it, Lareawan. Good luck.'
Deliess Whurgirn, the Guildmistress of Shadowport brandishes a wand at you.
You feel yourself transported far away from the security of the Thieves Guild...
The Falcon exclaims 'Ah, I see my lovely lady has sent another would-be adventurer to risk life and limb in the search of gold and gear. So be it!'
The Falcon's backstab _demolishes_ you!

For the last little while I have travelled to Shadowport, keeping in touch with Deliess about the possibility of fighting the Falcon for his mask. Every 2 hours or so, when I remember, I run down there and find out if it’s time to fight. 3 times I’ve been rewarded with the sweet, sweet words telling me to prepare. The first time I didn’t notice that sanc ran during the fight, just as the difficulty ramped up. The second time I went LD just as I was reciting razorbait, damn unstable connection. This time … this time though …. The Falcon is DEAD!!

Twice during the fight he caught me with a gouge before I could hit true sight, scary moments where I was down to a couple hundred hit points …

Someone parries your attack.
Someone parries your attack.
Someone dodges your attack.
Someone parries your attack.
Someone thrusts its foot out and kicks you.
Someone's kick jolts you!
You dodge someone's attack.
Someone thrusts its foot out to kick you but is unable to connect the blow.
Someone's stab gashes you!
(something gets damaged)
You wish that your wounds would stop BLEEDING so much!
You feel seasick as murky waters rise from someone's hand.
Lareawan * * (408/1760h 622v |S|Someone is you're blind!)sty eva

It’s been a while since a fight got my pulse pounding but this one did it. Much the same feeling as playing Diablo 3 hardcore on a higher level.

This fight to me was more about the accomplishment than the reward but I won’t turn down the reward, the mask is quite a handy item that allows me to swap out the spaulders for leader sleeves, a dr less but 30 more hit points, which is a decent trade.

If you are planning to do this, all I can suggest to you is that preparation is the key. I spent a fair amount of time rampaging Olympus for ambrosia before setting out, living near Thoth in the Blasted Lands for triple heals, got my shockstone from Nevermore, Tree of Life for glyphs, made sure my equipment damage triggers worked and renamed the duplicate pieces if I could so they’d track better … and on and on. Any advantage I could give myself to help me out.

Ultimately the 131 dr didn’t do the job, the 1760 hp didn’t do the job, but staying cool when things went sideways was the real key. Even being very careful about curing blind if the gouge would outlast the true sight wasn’t a guarantee that I wouldn’t end up blind, I ended up gouged twice after true sight dropped due to sitting in a bash or circle lag, but reacting while blind and dropping to evasive and then healing to full as quickly as I could after the blind was critical. I was lucky that I didn’t get gouged again before I got the next true sight or have a huge damage round.

Lareawan *|* (1660/1660h 580v |A|The Falcon is almost dead)
The Falcon parries your attack.
The Falcon parries your attack.
The Falcon parries your attack.
The Falcon parries your attack.
The Falcon dodges your attack.
You dodge the Falcon's attack.
The Falcon thrusts its foot out to kick you but is unable to connect the blow.
The Falcon thrusts its foot out to kick you but is unable to connect the blow.
The Falcon thrusts its foot out and kicks you.
The Falcon's kick brushes you.
The Falcon attempts to distract you with foolish swordplay.
The Falcon lunges forward, striking with its blade.
The Falcon's swordstrike grazes you.
The Falcon leaps into the air and kicks you on the chest with both of its feet.
The Falcon's leap scratches you.
The Falcon vaults through the air and crashes feet first into you.
The Falcon's vault scratches you.
The Falcon says 'Your skills may be strong, but I am a true master!'
The Falcon tumbles out of the way and takes on an aggressive stance.
The Falcon's backstab _cleaves_ you!
(Set's ring of Power gets damaged)
That really did HURT!
Lareawan * * (1117/1660h 579v |A|The Falcon is almost dead)

A 500 hitpoint round like that would have finished me off when I was blinded, I went to around 400 hp twice, but a little luck saved my bacon. There’s other ways to deal with blindness, like blind fighting on humans or whatever but those weren’t options for me (dang it, I just got used to using optometrum on a ranger again …) .

Your circle hits the Falcon!
The Falcon is DEAD!!
As The Falcon falls, his most prized possession falls from his face...
The Falcon says 'You have done well to best me, Lareawan... You are a true master.'
You hear the Falcon's death cry.
You get 10895913 gold coins from the corpse of the Falcon.
You get the Mask of the Master Rogue from the corpse of the Falcon.

For those who haven’t seen the mask before:

Object 'the Mask of the Master Rogue' is infused with your magic...
It is a level 50 armor, weight 2.
Locations it can be worn: face
Special properties: dark unique
Genres allowed: rogue
This armor has a gold value of 23532.
It is one of the pieces of the set 'Guise of the Falcon'.
Owner: Lareawan
Armor class is 10 of 10.
Affects dexterity by 1.
Affects luck by 1.
Affects affected_by by hide.

Seeing as there is only one face wear location I’m not sure how much use the unique flag is here, but a bit of future proofing I suppose. The big thing to notice is the 10 ac. This thing can and will scrap, and though the quest tag can rot off so you can get another one, apparently it takes so long as to be practically never.

You take a closer look at the Mask of the Master Rogue on your body...
The master rogue knows the advantage of covering his or her face in the
midst of a sly deed, and this mask looks like a perfect solution. This mask
is also imbued with magic to enable its wearer to see much which cannot be

The mask has a small picture icon on the inside, along with the word:


In conclusion, yes it is possible for a stock thief to do this, with a fair bit of luck. The shorter you can make the fight, the better, and that’s where extra dr will come into play. I did this with a Lifebane and a Darkfire Thrasher, not entry level but not ‘blivs either. With 500 hitpoint rounds not only possible but regular extra hitpoints will not hurt a darn thing. Overall, just have supplicate favour and don’t be afraid to go and try.