Acanthia almost always has a very specific role in the end fight of Tower of Despair – get behind Horoth and keep spamming Grasp the Earth Dragon to keep the tank and healer from getting stunned. I’ve never thought of her as a tank – that’s Even, who despite her less-than-spectacular AC has successfully tanked both Horoth and Sully. Not once have I ever done anything with Acanthia’s build or gear to prepare her for a tank role; it’s just something I never considered for her. She has no incite gear (unless you count earth stance), no points in intim, no special attempts to beef up her AC.
But anything can and does happen in DDO. Acanthia was running her 19th ToD the other night, in on hard, and was in her usual spot behind Horoth, going through her finishing moves – Grasp the Earth Dragon for anti-stun, Aligning the Heavens to save the healer some mana, Walk of the Sun to give the tank a bonus to attacks and saves, the occasional Moment of Clarity for an additional attack boost, and healing ki in between.
Then came the dreaded screen freeze – I’d like to blame Turbine or my crappy ISP, but in truth I’m pretty sure it was my crappy video card, because I think I heard the fan kick into high gear (hard to tell for sure with the game noise). Whatever the cause, I was suddenly staring at a frozen screen with Acanthia hanging mid-kick and something like 18 seconds left until the most recent anti-stun wore off. I’d already started the finishing move for another, so I began pummeling frantically on the keys hoping I’d somehow manage to get the next one off before anyone could get hit by Blasphemy.
It seemed as though I were staring at that stuck screen for hours, although it was probably only a few seconds, and when it did finally start to move again, i t w a s r e a l l y s l o w – that strobe light effect when your frame rate is barely into positive numbers. I kept hitting keys and gradually realized that people were yelling, “Stop! STOP!” over voice. Stop WHAT? I thought, and then things were suddenly at normal speed again, the tank was dead, my random frustrated keypresses had Acanthia running around like crazy, and Horoth was aggroed on… ME! EEP!
Yes, that’s right – Acanthia had become Tank Girl!
Once I realized that Acanthia was dragging Horoth around like a haywire kite and its tail, I stopped, turtled for a few seconds so the healer could catch up, and then took on the strange new (for Acanthia) role of tank… which to be honest really wasn’t all that different from her usual ToD experience except that this time she was in front of the big red guy instead of behind him. The tank got rezzed and took up position behind Horoth along with the rest of the party now that Sully had been reduced to an ugly granite soulstone, we clobbered, we won.
Oh, and after enjoying his blogs on MyDDO, this was the first time I got to run with Keava. While waiting for the unfolding drama bit at the start of the quest, the party got to talking about monk moves which led to Tomb of Jade. Keava mentioned that orthons look really cool when jaded, and I said that beholders look even cooler. A couple of party members said they’d never seen a jaded beholder, so… here you go.