What do you get when your Amazing Gimp-O-Cleric starts her 13th run of the Thirteenth Eclipse at 1:13?

As one guy in our party put it, “The best messed-up Shroud I’ve ever been in.”

It was one of those spur-of-the-moment things, Baz and Slvr and I, a couple of insomniac Monty members and a MOSTLY great bunch of PUGgers. We were filling up fast and I was still debating which toon I was bringing; kind of wanted to bring Jall but only if we got another healer because, well, it’s Jall. Except with only two slots left we had NO healers, and I figured Jall was marginally better than no healer at all, so I logged her in. Shortly afterwards another cleric joined and I was all happy that I wouldn’t have to solo heal… or so I thought.

We still had one slot and people started stepping in while we were waiting for someone to hit it. Just as we were debating whether to 11-man it, we got our #12, who said he wasn’t going to buff but asked for an invite to a ship with a navigator so he could get there faster.

And that’s when we got the first inkling that the other cleric might be a problem. He started throwing group buffs and I said we should wait until everyone was in, and he went off a little on me and a LOT on the poor guy who joined last and was still zoning into Meridia. “We’re all standing here waiting on you, you [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted]!” Etc., etc., etc. And then I looked at his bio and stats, and realized that although he’s a legend build, he had only a few more hit points and 400 LESS spell points than first-life Drow Jall. A human 36-point pure cleric with 1500 mana?! But OK, I’m not stupid enough to judge playing ability/survivability on stats, and honestly it makes me a little happy to see clerics with lower stats than Jall because she feels less gimpy to me.  LOL

So we head in and start beating on portals, the other cleric is being a general arse… and then he shuts up and stops moving. Some people thought he was DCing, some (including me) thought he was piking. And then another guy in the party said that the other cleric was drunk as hell and had been the cause of a failed Shroud right before ours.

*gulp*  Just the position I did NOT want to be in – solo healing Shroud with three people I knew and trusted, and seven strangers (I’m not counting the drunken idjit). But I do not drop party once I’ve committed, not EVER. And I figured at worst, we’d at least get two chests because c’mon, who wipes in Phase I?

The first phase actually went well. No healing mana needed at all, just the radiant aura was plenty, didn’t even use any bursts. But Phase 2 – that’s when all hell broke loose. I was very glad that a friend and former Monty was on with his warchanter bard so there was at least SOME other healing going on. Right away one of our fighters started taking a LOT of damage. While we were clearing trash and then beating down the red-named gang, this wasn’t too much of an issue because everybody was close enough to be in healing range. But once we started pulling them apart to finish them off – ugh. The guy died a couple of times because he wasn’t in range and I had NO idea where he was. But we made it and headed for the puzzles – I think he died again in the blades there, can’t remember for sure, I know his HP dropped alarmingly but hey, unless something really bad happens and the rainbow wall comes up, nobody wipes in Phase III either.

Ah, but Phase IV – WOW. It started out OK even though someone got the fight going before everyone was in, and then the last devil got killed while there were still about five sets of blades going. I had one of those “OMG DDO don’t you DARE FREAKING CRASH ON ME NOW” moments when Harry dropped – you know, the screen freezes, the music stops and you get that “oh CRAP” feeling in the pit of your stomach. And then there’s this huge BANG of noise and everything’s moving again, except about five people are dead. Jall tried, she really did, but she ended up in the penalty box with most of the party (the drunk guy was still sitting in Phase I) while the few live people left gave Harry some heck… AND WON.


There was some confusion over getting rezzed; I’m guessing lag was an issue again, because I SAW the guy who was supposed to rez Jall start to cast – only nothing happened on my end until JUST as I got teleported (still dead) into Phase V. (WHY does this count as dying again if you’re already dead?) Harry got done his little speech about how he should be on Shavarath instead of in some crummy fountain room with four henchmen and twelve eleven people (since the drunk was STILL in Phase I) who wanted to kill him, we all came back to life and started beating down the red-names. The fighter was taking massive damage AGAIN, had to rez him once. I looked at Jall’s mana bar and saw just a blue sliver, figured running around in water would take far too long so I gulped pots until she was full again – no way was I giving up now that we’d come this far!

We’d decided to save Adur-Nac, and while those who needed it got their health and mana back, the melee types boxed him into a corner and it became pretty obvious that our fighter really DID have some kind of issue, because just standing there blocking I was having to throw heals on him continuously just to keep him alive. Turns out he didn’t have a single heavy fort item… at lvl 19? I already have 20 shreds of tapestry in Char’s bank for her Minos, and she’s only lvl 9. Heavy fort isn’t twink gear, it’s a necessity, especially for melees. But I was glad everybody was cool about it because he was a nice guy. A couple of people told him about Minos and about running Relic to turn ore in for a heavy fort item, but thankfully nobody went ballistic on him.

When Harry first came down things weren’t too bad, was going through a lot of heal scrolls on the fighter but nothing more serious than that… and then the blades came out. The ranged and casters and I were trying to dodge blades and people were getting scattered; I tried to keep heals centered on the melees but that meant that some of the squishies were getting killed. A lot. Jall had a close call or two from forgetting to watch her own health bar. I had selfishly cast her Divine Intervention on herself (’cause hey, if the cleric goes down, everybody is probably going down) and had JUST been about to click it again as it wore off when DING! – the blades got me. Someone, I’m not sure who, sent me a raise, but coming back with 10% of your HP and blades EVERYWHERE just led to more dings. But they kept raising me, and I kept coming back and trying to heal/buff myself and restore at least SOME of the red bars to the party.

It was ugly… REALLY ugly. But we made it! Fifty-three deaths… *sigh*  As Slvr pointed out, though, 18 of those don’t count because 11 were the end of Phase IV, and seven were people who were already dead at the end of Phase IV but “died” again on the way to Phase V. So “only” 35 deaths… but the only one that mattered was the big red winged guy, so it’s a win, right?

Oh, and once we were outside, Baz dropped the drunk guy (who had FINALLY DCed while we were in Phase V) so he wouldn’t be able to get back in and loot. I’m sorely tempted to name him, but as totally classless as he was, I can’t bring myself to be just as classless by calling him out. He’s on my “special” friends list, and that’ll do.

Could’ve been worse – Jall could have done her 13th run of the Thirteenth Eclipse at 1:13 on Friday the 13th.


I TOLD him not to laugh


Me: OK, don’t laugh, I know she’s not going to make it but… Imma gonna try to solo Rainbow on Dissy.

Slvr: g’luck!

Me: Thanks for not laughing.  😀

Slvr: I laughed in party chat accidentally.

As part of my master plan – which I’m not going to bore you with – I’ve been working on leveling up Victaurya, Chartreusia, and poor, lame, gimpy Discordette, the bard no one wants. Lots of people don’t realize how awesome bards can be. I can’t say too much there, since I’m sometimes one of those people. But Slvr – Slvr should know better, considering his main is a bard.

On the other hand, who would’ve expected Dissy to be able to solo Rainbow in the Dark? It’s a level 16 quest (OK, OK, 15 because she did it on casual and ComicRelief, you can just SHUP! Keep reading!), and she’s level 13. It’s pitch black so you need some method of lighting your way – the preferred solution is the Radiant Arc, a scepter that lights up everything around you, except it’s min level 14 so Dissy couldn’t even equip it. She’s got 241 hit points with ship buffs and her DPS is practically nonexistent – spellsingers aren’t built for dealing damage.

I decided to even the odds a bit and grabbed a Gold Seal hireling from the bank where he’s been wasting away for weeks – Rage, the lvl 14 barbarian. Dissy also took Tanya, the lvl 12 FvS hire, mostly because Tanya has blade barrier. For light, I was VERY glad I never got around to swapping out Summon Monster IV for something else now that I have SM V, because IV lets you call up a lantern archon. It’s not as good as the Radiant Arc – doesn’t give as much light and tends to hang back behind you a ways, plus it’s easily crushed by earth eles. But you have to have SOME light in there (although her bearded devil from SM V would have been SO much more help against the mobs… *sigh*).

Things went downhill right from the start, when Rage lost his weapons fighting the first rust monster that came along. Tanya kept throwing fire and holy smite at mobs, burning through her mana at an alarming rate. Spellsong Vigor helped, but wasn’t a very fast way of doing things. The casters just loved hitting us with negative levels. Tanya doesn’t have Restoration and I never thought to pick up a stack of scrolls, so a few times I had to sit around and wait for the negs to wear off (the most Dissy ever had was 9).

Every new little section cleared on the map was a victory – “Yay, past the fire eles!” (because of COURSE one of the hires stepped on the rune and spawned them). “Yay, got the crest!” “Yay, got the key!” “Yay, got through the nasty jumping part!” – until suddenly there she was in the puzzle room. After orthons, golems, rock scorpions, bearded devils, all manner of gnolls, beholders and of course those pesky gelatinous cubes (which Dissy hates because they’re immune to suggestion and they don’t dance), the only thing standing between my gimpy little bard and completion was one mean fire ele. She made Rage rage and took Tanya out of “don’t do anything, you mana-blowing idiot” mode, buffed the party up as best she could, forgot to summon her bearded devil instead of the archon, had Tanya throw up a blade barrier and charged in. With the quest on the line and a nearly full mana bar since she hadn’t been called on to do anything, Tanya decided to switch to her bow rather than hit the ele with holy smite and all that (seriously, Tanya? You nuke one lone gnoll and then switch to arrows for a boss?). Raging Rage was punching away valiantly with his bare hands, the archon was hovering in a corner shooting the occasional bolt of something, and Dissy was frantically tossing out heals in between trying to blast the ele with her Cacophonic Verge.

It wasn’t pretty, not at all, but – well, I’ll let the picture speak for itself. It’s resized to fit, but you can see larger versions here and here.


The reason Dissy made it out alive wasn’t because she’s an über build (oh trust me, she is SO not an über build), or because she has twinked-out gear – just check out her MyDDO page. She succeeded not because I’m an awesome player – I’m definitely not. Nor am I a genius, but this was an example of why it’s so important to play smart. I knew the quest and I knew my toon, and because of that I knew what to do to give her the best chance at success even when things went wrong.

I know there are people out there who’ll read this and still decline players because they don’t have “enough” hit points or the “right” gear. Too bad there’s no way to check MyDDO for someone’s “game smarts” stat.

*grin*  Maybe I’ll try her in Coal Chamber next…

Save more than your pixel butt: KONY2012


I happened upon this video tonight, and the impact it made is something I can’t describe. I can only share it and hope you’ll do the same.

Yes, it’s half an hour of your time, but it’s well worth it. KONY2012 isn’t asking you for money (although donations are appreciated and merchandise is available). All they’re asking is that you GET INVOLVED by spreading the word to everyone you know. EVERYONE. Because if monsters like Joseph Kony are as famous as celebrities, they’re going to have a much harder time hiding, and because without evidence that we CARE about the atrocities Kony is perpetuating, government leaders won’t support the efforts to track him down and bring him to justice.

Please watch the video, and please spread the word. Because believe it or not, some things are more important than DDO.