“Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” – unknown
I’ve run a fair amount of Shrouds. Acanthia’s approaching number 60, Even’s closing in on 40, Jall ran 20 in her first life and has a few under her belt in this one, Vic’s going for 20, and even Dissy has gotten some completions in.
Mostly they’re smooth runs – I mean, it’s Shroud. But every once in a while it goes a bit haywire, usually in Phase 4 or 5. And sometimes when things are looking pretty bad, a few intrepid souls step up and save the day. Once in a while, I’ve had one of the toons involved in the save, and that’s a great feeling. Still, ever since I saw a video of a cleric soloing Harry, I’ve had this sekrit urge to someday be the lone person who pulled the party through when all seemed lost.
So, Tuesday night. Elite Shroud. AWESOME group (and a PUG, no less). Crazy insane DPS with a bunch of monks, a cleric, a FvS, a couple of rangers, an arty, a wiz and a rogue. Whiz through the first three phases fast, including one of the smoothest Phase 2s I’ve ever seen, and on to Phase 4.
Things start out well. Just a few little things here and there. Someone accidentally killed the last devil while there were still several sets of blades, but no big deal. Then someone cast acid fog that kept the folks around the outside from being able to see the blades closing in, so we lose a few people on the first round. No worries, gather up, heal and get ready for Round Two.
More acid fog, more deaths in blades, repeat for Round Three. We’re down to about five people – Acanthia and two other monks, Slvr on his ranger and the cleric. Clear the devils at the start of Round Four. My Everything is Nothing is on cooldown, so one of the other monks hits his when Harry drops, but it’s just a bit too soon as the gnolls aren’t all there yet. But we get them down and keep plugging away at Harry. The blades close in and suddenly it’s just Acanthia and Harry left standing; 11 soulstones are revolving in the next room while their owners call out encouragement to me.
Harry and I are both down to a sliver of health. It’s him or me.
Finally, Acanthia’s chance to be the hero. She gulps a Silver Flame pot just in time as Harry fires off a delayed blast fireball at her, then she goes into Empty Body (same thing as Shadow Walk) and tears around the outside of the circle chugging Cure Serious pots to get her health back as Harry flies up to the top and tries to hit her with a few more DBFs. He disappears after a few passes and the devils drop. With Stunning Fist, Kukan-Do, Tomb of Jade and Shining Star, Acanthia is able to pick them off one by one, saving the last one until all the blades have gone, her health is full, and her Wholeness of Spirit and Everything is Nothing are off timer.
Drop the last devil; Harry ports in, followed closely by the gnolls. Acanthia waits a second or two to make sure all the gnolls have appeared, then hits Everything is Nothing to vaporize them. A few more shots interspersed with Quivering Palm and Drifting Lotus, and Harry falls. She did it!
Except… it didn’t QUITE happen that way. The story above is correct up to the point where I wrote, “She gulps a Silver Flame pot just in time” – because unfortunately, she’d gulped her last Silver Flame pot a few minutes before that and didn’t have any left. So when that Delayed Blast Fireball hit her, her soulstone joined the other 11.
But still, I think that’s going to stick in my memory as one of the best Shrouds I’ve ever run. If I’d had just one more SF pot, or if my Wholeness of Spirit hadn’t been on cooldown… I really do think she’d have pulled it off. And even though she didn’t, knowing that she COULD have is a very cool feeling.