A trivial pursuit


I’ve auditioned for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” twice. Passed the test, but never made it further than that. I take the “Jeopardy!” online test every January; they don’t tell you if you pass that, just have to wait and hope their random selection process selects you (no luck for me yet). My family has refused to play Trivial Pursuit with me since around 1989.

Yeah, I have a thing for trivia. So when Turbine Community Manager Cordovan said in a forum post that he would be running trivia events to celebrate the eighth anniversary of DDO, I was SO there.


I couldn’t make the first one on Argonnessen – 11 am is earlier than I can usually get away from real life for DDO – but Tirae managed to get into the very first group on Cannith… and boy, was I surprised when she ended up being the first one to get three points, making her the overall winner! There was someone else with two points who got the first shot at a question everyone ended up missing, and I really thought that was going to be it.

I won’t tell you what the questions were, since there are more rounds on other servers yet to come and I don’t know if any of the questions will be reused. But they all had to do with DDO, and the first one I got right was a pure guess after two people got it wrong (and I thought one of them was right for sure). There were a few I didn’t know, a few I did but wasn’t the first one to answer, one I was pretty sure I knew which turned out to be my second correct answer, and then the last one, which was something that Slvr and I had talked about just a few days ago (and which I got screenshots of at the time), so that was pretty cool.

Everyone who participated got goodies, or swag, or whatever you want to call it. I ended up with Lawrence’s Robe of Trivial Knowledge, a code for 500 TP (which I think everyone there got), and Tirae’s very own snowy owlbear, which made her very happy because she’s been envious of the one my Thelanis toons have.

It was great good fun from start to finish, beginning with Cordovan TPing the rest of the party way, WAY up to the top of the Twelve to join him. I wish I’d thought to get a screenshot of Cordovan’s shield for Ben of DDO Gaming, who was in the very first group on Argo and mentioned on his blog that he didn’t get a good screenie of what sounds like a really cool shield. But I did get some other shots I liked.

Many, MANY thanks to Cordovan for taking the time to do this! I think sometimes there are people who feel a bit too “entitled” when it comes to DDO events. I hope everyone remembers that NO ONE is *required* to do ANYTHING AT ALL. But there will be more anniversary events upcoming, and it is incredibly nice of Cordovan to take it upon himself to spend an hour of his own time on each server doling out goodies and fun.

And just two screenies for now to wrap this up…


Tirae admires the view from the top of the Twelve after the event.


Tirae put on her new robe to hang out on the ship with her new owlbear.

There are still more events to come, so keep an eye on your LFM panel and good luck!


If they were Olympians II: Team Xen’Drik

Eberron 2014

Now that I’ve done the rosters for Team Thelanis and Team Cannith, I thought my poor neglected favor farming toons might want to get in on some Olympic action as well. After all, they were included in the original “If they were Olympians” post back during the 2012 Summer Games, so it wouldn’t be right to leave them out now even though there are more of them this time around.

Team Xen’Drik


Badarsia (Drow barb, Khyber): Badarsia likes living up to her  name and being bad-arse. Her personality is very much in-your-face, watch THIS. While the average mob might laugh itself silly at the idea of a Drow barb, her competitors don’t see anything humorous about having to go up against her considerable freestyle skiing skills. Now if only I could convince her that using ski poles is not dual-wielding.


Caehlie (halfling monk, Argonnessen): The only thing better than a halfling monk is… TWO halfling monks. Caehlie’s always eager to be included but she’s not always the sharpest crayon in the box, so when bobsled driver Rhennie was looking for a brakemonk to complete a two-man team, Caehlie happily signed up. Now she just has to remember that it’s push at the start, pull at the end… she might need a lot of practice runs.


Daffodil (human druid, Wayfinder): The thought of her beloved pets all alone on the sidelines made Daffie reconsider going out for a winter sport. Instead, she decided to be a figure skating judge, where her compassion helps her dole out scores fairly… plus her trusty wolf companion can curl up under her chair and hope that there’s a fan or two who’ll throw bacon onto the ice instead of flowers and stuffed toys.


Daisie (dwarf cleric, Wayfinder): Some toons are built for speed. Daisie’s definitely not one of them. Stamina is more her forte. The 30-kilometer ski race (that’s nearly 20 miles, for us non-metric folks) will give her a great chance to use her second, third, and fourth winds to keep going strong when the speedier competitors in the race start running out of steam.


Ironica (human fighter/barb, Sarlona): Ironica was my very first favor farming toon and is still my favorite “off-server” character. She has big dreams and she’s willing to put in the work to make them come true. Olympic dreams don’t get much bigger than success in Alpine skiing women’s Super Combined, but if anyone can master both downhill and slalom, it’s Ironica, who was also the flag bearer for her team during the opening ceremonies.


Liai (halfling barb, Ghallanda): As she’s a halfling, I almost made Liai a monk, but there’s this little issue with her chaotic alignment. There’s just nothing lawful about her. Like her Thelanis friend Victaurya, Liai will be competing in short track speed skating. Unlike Vic, though, Liai is much more likely to be shoving opponents out of her way rather than dodging them.


Nekah (human paladin, Orien): You have to be really patient to be a paladin, because paladins are – well, they’re slow. Nekah’s a typical DoS non-athlete – can’t jump high, can’t run fast, can’t swim without being in danger of sinking. But her patience stands her in good stead as the coach of the cross country ski relay team. Plus, she can go into tank mode if any overly aggressive reporters start harassing her team members.


Petal (half-orc barb, Wayfinder): Petal’s never quite figured out that horcs generally aren’t slender and graceful. She loves ruffles and spangles and tutus and anything pink, and lots of other stuff that some people don’t think looks good on a “larger” girl. But I say if it makes her happy, she looks great! So she special-ordered some size 27 skates, glued sequins on them, got herself a frilly, sparkly outfit, and is all set to take the figure skating world by storm.


Rhennie (halfling monk, Sarlona): Rhennie’s channeling her natural monk love of speed into what she hopes is a golden career as the driver of a two-halfling bobsled. She recruited Caehlie to complete her two-monk team. The biggest problem she’s had so far is trying to find enough phone books to stack on the sled seat so she can see over the dashboard, or whatever the front part of a bobsled is called.


Vicriia (Drow wizard, Sarlona): Her friends Dissy and Petal took up figure skating mostly for the pretty costumes, but Vicriia couldn’t care less about those. As a highly intelligent wizard, she appreciates precision. The very nature of figure skating – the skating of figures – is to be precise. Riia may not have the rhinestones and glitter, but her edges are clean and sharp, and her timing is spot on.


Vicynrae (Drow fighter/rogue, Orien): Vicynrae still looks as cheesed off now as she did at the 2012 Summer Games, but she’s decided to be more of a team player this time around. As the fourth-line forward for the Xen’Drik women’s ice hockey squad, there’s no  way Cyn will let her teammates get overconfident and blow a two-goal lead with less than four minutes left in the gold medal game, unlike some real-world teams I could name but won’t.


Yelenia (human cleric, Argonnessen): If everyone could be an Olympic-caliber athlete, there’d be nothing special about being an Olympic-caliber athlete. Leni is less likely to win Olympic gold than the Jamaican bobsled team, and she doesn’t have nearly as much crowd appeal. But as a cleric, she’s dedicated to keeping people healthy, and athletes eat. They eat a LOT. With Leni as chief dietician, food is one less thing to worry about.


Zylacia (human monk/cleric, Ghallanda): What the heck am I doing with a monk who’s not a halfling? No wonder I gave her some cleric levels. Lacie likes being a bit different. “Classic” winter sports aren’t really her cup of tea. She prefers to do something newer and fresher, so she’s joined the extreme sports crowd as a half-pipe snowboarder. Her monk agility lets her do some pretty complicated moves, while her cleric-ness is good for patching herself up after falls.


This has been a ton of fun to write, even though I started running out of sports! My toons aren’t mighty gods on a mountain sneering down at all the lesser mortals, but I love ’em all just as they are.  🙂

If they were Olympians II: Team Cannith

Eberron 2014

Not quite two years ago, some idle wondering about how my toons might fare in London’s 2012 Summer Olympics led to one of my favorite blog posts. Now that the Winter Olympics are going on in Sochi, I figured it was high time to ask my toons what cold-weather sports they’d want to try. The Team Thelanis roster was posted yesterday; today it’s Team Cannith’s turn.

Team Cannith


Azida (dwarf ranger): Her short, stocky stature doesn’t keep Azida from wanting to go out for extreme sports. Not long ago, she traded her ho-hum pink braid for a cute acid green bob to reflect her  wild side. The new ‘do should make her easy to pick out as she grabs her snowboard and takes to the half-pipe, where she’ll attempt to land the quadruple twisting triple 1440 flip. At least I think that’s what she said it was called.


Bazma (dwarf monk): Bazma’s sole purpose in life is to someday solo the Pit on elite at level 4. Since I almost never play her, she’s been stuck at 4 for a while, and she really wants to get out and have some fun. So I let her borrow some plat from Tirae to get a pair of skis, ’cause she’s determined to be the Maven of the Moguls at this year’s Winter Games. The fact that the moguls kind of look like oozes made of snow is purely coincidental.


Holdinn (halfling cleric): Holdinn is loud, snarky and funny… and a complete weakling. Really. He’s got a strength score of 6, so he’s burdened all the time. Rather than attempt to lug around a lot of gear and equipment, he can be found in the broadcast booth giving color commentary on pretty much any event he can find. And eat your heart out, Bob Costas – as Holdinn’s a cleric, he can heal his own eye infections.


Mordreda (Shadar-Kai rogue/monk): Dred, as she likes to be called, has a lot of, um, “issues,” even for a Shadar-Kai. Contrary to what some of her teammates think, she doesn’t actually have a death wish, but  she does have a penchant for laughing in the face of danger. No one who knows her was surprised to find that she’s taken up skeleton. You have to be a little insane to throw yourself face-first on a tiny board and zoom through an ice course at more than 80 mph, and Dred is more than a little insane.


Quiaga (half-orc fighter): Like Winnie from Team Thelanis, Quiaga is competing in curling. While Winnie’s a sweeper, though, Quiaga’s the thrower for Team Cannith. Rumors that she practices by tossing dwarves are so far unsubstantiated… although it should probably be noted that both Azida and Bazma requested not to share a room with her.


Shaora (sun elf cleric/pally): There’s only so much gimpiness you can overcome. Shae was supposed to combine self-healing and divine casting from her cleric side with the tanky survivability of a pally, but seems to have gotten the worst qualities of each. But hey, what would the Olympics be without spectators? Shae’s got flags from all the countries, face paint in lots of colors, and a friends and family discount on scalped tickets from her Thelanis buddy Getting.


Shenlie (human druid): Shenlie was really disappointed that there are no winter sports involving animals. But Olympic-level security means lots of security dogs, so rather than compete in the Games herself, Shen summoned Susie, her trusty wolf, and devoted herself to the task of making sure all the athletes, coaches, officials and fans would be safe. She did take a day off to go visit St. Peterburg’s State Hermitage Museum and its famous cats.


Smaragdine (half-elf sorc): At first glance, it doesn’t seem like an earth savant would find much to do at the Winter Games. But after Rags watched Ted “Shred” Ligety dominate in the giant slalom, she just had to try it for herself. It kinda makes sense if you think about it, seeing as how slalom skiers shred snow while earth savants use acid to shred – well, pretty much anything they want to shred.


Syrmere (warforged wizard): It takes a lot of patience to deal with people always wanting you to toast their bagels for them. (If you don’t get that, you’ve probably never played a warforged.) Syrmere’s learned to use that to her advantage when she competes in the women’s speed skating 5000 meter race. Rather than go out too fast and then run out of steam, Syrmere waits and methodically plots the best time to make her move.


Tirae (halfling monk): Monks love speed, and Tirae is no exception. The faster she goes, the better she likes it. She’s not as nuts as Mordreda, so she decided against skeleton racing, but luge suits her to a T (which is appropriate, ’cause “T” is what her friends call her). Her dark skin, black hair and Spider-spun Caparison make her easy to spot against the ice, and hopefully will be a nice backdrop for a medal, too.


Yttriemme (warforged artificer): Being an arti, Yttsie loves to tinker with stuff. She’s not really into sports, but she’s still found her niche at the Winter Games – after all, somebody’s got to keep the bobsleds in peak running order and make sure the ski lifts don’t get stuck, not to mention all the timeclocks and stopwatches that need to be perfect. Plus, the best perk of being the Zamboni mechanic is getting to drive it.

Next up: Team Xen’Drik!

If they were Olympians II: Team Thelanis

Eberron 2014

With the 2014 Winter Olympics in full swing in Sochi right now, I decided it was high time to revisit one of my favorite blog posts. There are a few changes this time around, though. For starters, I have a lot more toons now, so I’m splitting them into three teams: Thelanis, Cannith and Xen’Drik. And they’ll be competing in some new sports, since last time around they were Summer Olympians.

So without further ado…

Team Thelanis


Acanthia (halfling monk): Acanthia loves to fly! She runs fast, she jumps high, she uses Abundant Step with abandon… and she’s been using it a lot in the Storm Horns, practicing for a moment just like this. She’s more than ready to take on the world in an event brand-new to this year’s Winter Olympic games – women’s ski jumping. She doesn’t really even need skis, but I hear the rule book calls for them anyway.


Chalei (half-elf sorc): Unless she’s attempting to nuke the living daylights out of something, Chalei spends an awful lot of her time dancing. If you were a cute helf girl and could do that cool ballet thing, you’d probably dance a lot too. As she’s a water savant, ice doesn’t faze her a bit. She’s no Meryl Davis, but look for Chalei to do well in the ice dancing competition with her partner and guildmate Zak.


Chartreusia (elf ranger): Char’s a pretty versatile girl, being equally at home aiming a longbow or wielding a pair of scimis. So she picked biathlon as her Winter Olympics sport, since she gets to pull double duty by both skiing and target shooting. Ski a little, shoot a little, ski a little more, shoot a little more, repeat until you get to the medal stand… once she remembers that she doesn’t need to pull back the string on her rifle.


Discordette (Drow elf bard): Dissy considered going out for ice dancing along with her best friend Chalei, but opted instead for figure skating because she didn’t want a partner stealing attention from her cute outfits. So she headed for the mall and then got out her Bedazzler. She might not land all her jumps and she still doesn’t know an outside edge from an inside one, but at least she’s gonna look good.


Evennote (human monk/rogue): You can take the girl out of her paladin life, but you can’t take the paladin out of the girl. Though she’s a monk with a rogue splash now, Even’s still a pally at heart. She’s not all that fast as monks go, but she’s a plugger. For the Winter Olympics, she’s competing in cross country skiing, where she won’t set any speed records, but will still be standing at the end. Slow and steady wins the race! … she hopes.


Getting (sun elf bard/cleric): What do you do when you’re an intentionally gimped hagglebard whose sole purpose in life is to be a bank and haggle toon? Getting has no stat points in strength or dex, so she’s not athletic at all… but I hear event tickets in Sochi are hard to come by. Psst – see that sun elf lurking in the shadows over there? That’s Getting, the most successful ticket scalper at the Games.


Ivoire (Bladeforged pally): If being shiny were an Olympic event, Ivy’d be coming home with a gold medal. Alas, there are no events where points are awarded for shininess. Bobsleds are really shiny, though, so Ivy’s going to be a brakeman (brakewoman? brakeforged?). Her high strength will help them push off to a good start, and she doesn’t have to worry about fitting into the sled – with all that shiny metal, she can BE the sled.


Jalliria (Drow elf cleric): Jall’s the quiet type and really doesn’t go in for sports much. She was having a hard time trying to pick an event to compete in when she realized that Olympians get a lot of bumps and bruises. So she joined Team Thelanis as medic-in-chief and is always happy to patch up her teammates – and anyone else who needs a bit of medical attention – so they can get back out there and win medals.


Merenwynne (elf Favored Soul): Meren’s always been a bit confused as to what she wants to do. She’s never quite figured out if she’s a healer or a caster, and she loves to melee even though she’s not very good at it. She enjoys skiing but couldn’t decide between cross country and ski jumping, so she was happy to discover that Nordic combined lets her do both. Sadly for Meren, doing both doesn’t necessarily mean she does either of them well.


Rivalel (sun elf cleric): Maybe Riva, being a sun elf, is responsible for the unseasonably warm weather at the Winter Games. The Olympic committee thought it would be best to keep her away from snow and ice so her Amaunator fire guard didn’t melt the venues. While disappointed, Riva knows she’s really not the winter sports type. She’s happily taken up the post of Official Snowboard Waxer.


Seregeth (Shadar-Kai rogue): Sere likes to live life on the edge, preferably on the edge of sharp things to add to her scar collection. She also likes to be sneaky, ’cause, y’know, she’s a rogue. For the Olympics, she’s trading her daggers for a snowboard and will take to the slopes as a member of the Thelanis snowboard cross team. She’ll sneak up on the other racers and use her bluff skill to make them think she’s not a threat… right before she goes flying by them.


Thangerie (PDK fighter): You have to be pretty tough to be a Purple Dragon Knight. Thangie isn’t fast enough to compete in speed events, but she can be immovable when she wants to be. She’s strapping on a pair of skates and hitting the ice as a defenseman on the Thelanis women’s hockey team. She probably won’t score many goals, but she’s not going to  let opposing players get the puck in on her goalie, either.


Victaurya (elf rogue): Unlike Thangie, Vic is pretty fast. She’s been having a great time zooming around on the frozen river in Eveningstar. Short track speed skating is right up her alley. Her high balance score will help keep her from falling, and her respectable jump stat enables her to leap over fallen competitors. She’s been practicing hard, so she might just be able sneak in and steal a medal.


Winnabette (warforged Favored Soul): When you’re warforged, you have to come up with creative ways to keep dirt and gunk out of your joints. Winnie’s been using a little whisk broom for this. She’s gotten so good at it that she’s joined the curling team as a sweeper. One of the perks is that the curling broom has a much longer handle than her whisk, so it’s better for getting into those tough spots.


Zak (Drow elf wizard): If there’s anything more ridiculous-looking than the human female dances, it’s the Drow elf male ones. But throw a pair of skates on a male Drow and the dances don’t look quite as bad. Anyway, nobody’s going to be paying much attention to Zak once Chalei starts her helf ballet thing, so although he was a bit reluctant at first, he finally agreed to partner her in ice dancing… even though he thinks he’s far too dignified to do anything called a “twizzle.”


I’ll be posting Team Cannith in the next day or so, followed by Team Xen’Drik.

Fun for ALL IV: Stop. Think. Win.


I’m a firm believer in the idea that a reasonably intelligent player on a gimped toon beats an idiot on an ubertwink 99.99% of the time.

Sere, my Shadar-Kai assassin rogue, definitely fits the “gimped” category. I really need to do some shopping and/or farming for her; at level 22, she’s still wearing mostly the stuff she came with. What few things she has that I’ve gotten her are still nothing to write home about – for example, I put her in a Parasitic Breastplate about five levels ago and still haven’t gotten her anything better. And she needs a +2 Con shrine to reach the 400-hit point mark.

So the other night, when Vey asked me if I had anyone 20-24 to run EE Carnival, the last toon I was thinking of was Sere. I told Vey I’d bring Chalei, and he said, “We could really use a trapper.”

Well, Vic’s a dandy trapper, IMHO, but she’s lvl 27. So I said, jokingly, “Great, I’ll get Sere and you can carry her stone from trap to trap.”

And Vey was all, “Bring her.” Which made me all, “OMG NOOOO, she’s gonna diiiieeeee!” But Vey kept being all, “BRING HER. She’s not gonna die. You’ll be fine.”

Oh, and did I mention we were short-manning without a healer? This had disaster written all over it.

Except it didn’t. Sere died a total of twice in all four quests combined, once when Crateos one-shotted her (which also took out one of our other party members). I can’t remember what her other death was; think it might have been a caster in Partycrashers. She needed a GH to find the traps a few times (and oops, she probably wouldn’t have if I’d remembered to swap in her search/spot item) but had no trouble disarming them.

And no… she did NOT pike. In fact, in three of the four quests, she finished second in the kill count, and definitely had enough kills in each of them to show that she was contributing.

Sere’s ability to be productive in epic elite content was definitely not the result of her build or gear. Nor was it any great skill on my part. I didn’t do anything that required a genius IQ or uber playing ability. But, I didn’t do anything *stupid* either.


I know Sere’s HP is low. I know she probably won’t survive pulling aggro. So I kept her in sneak mode most of the time, let the rest attack first and grab aggro, and only then did I move in. Pretty simple, really – but my gimpy toons have more than once carried the soulstones of better-built, better-geared characters played by people who rushed into a fight without thinking about the best way for them to approach it.

It helped that by the time we got to Big Top, we had a paladin who tossed a few Lay On Hands Sere’s way, and someone – think it was the bard – threw her a Cocoon from time to time. And it really helped that the rest of the party were smart, experienced players who were very good at keeping a gimpy undergeared rogue alive.

Sere was still about 20K short of level 22 when we finished the chain. A quick two-man EN Snitch with Vey almost did the trick – she was still 137 XP shy. Vey DDoored back to the start while Sere was still trying to figure out what she could trash to make inventory space for her shiny epic loot, and did one of the optionals to get her to 22.

I think a green steel HP item would be a good first step in un-gimping Sere. She flagged for Shroud a while back but hadn’t run it yet. Seemed like every time I put up an LFM, we filled without a healer so I ended up switching to Jall. (My groups are always gimp/first-timer friendly, so running without hjealz is not a great idea.) Last night she finally got her chance, and again managed to get a decent number of kills without dying herself (well, y’know, except for that one part after Phase 4). People were great about passing her shards of power, and she ended up with one regular, one great and one supreme. Looks like I’ll be doing some GS crafting tomorrow!

Earlier last night, Chalei ran her first ToD and had a great time once she managed to get and stay online. In the first run, we’d just dropped down to the doggie doors when I got a blue screen of death. Once I got the computer back up and running, it took me several tries before I could get all the way on DDO without crashing, and it was a nice surprise to find that someone had grabbed Chalei’s soulstone from the penalty box and carried it along so I wouldn’t be stuck there when I got back. The party was in Phase 2 by the time I got back on, and I crashed again about 10 seconds after I got rezzed, so I was kinda glad to get back on yet again and find out that there’d been a mishap with the shadows and they wiped, because that meant another chance for Chalei.

Second run went much smoother, except that Chalei was kinda forced to pike against Nyth. Any time she hit him with anything, he immediately aggroed *hard* on her. So she ended up having to stand off to one side blocking; I had some cure scrolls at the ready figuring that maybe she could at least be useful that way, but our two hjealers did a great job keeping everyone’s red bars up.

Armed and dangerous

Club of the Holy Flame

If any members of the Players Council try to give me any problems, I’m ready for ’em. See, my DDO friends take good care of me.

At least a few times a week, I’ll log in to find that someone’s sent me Potions of Wonder for Acanthia’s ever-growing collection, or hair dyes (especially sage). Sadie sends me Tasty Hams, just because (I think she’s hoping I’ll fry them up into bacon in the airship wok).

But the longest-standing wacky gift tradition I have is with some members of Monty’s. I don’t even remember any more just how it got started, but a few of them – Geek in particular – like to send me Clubs of the Holy Flame. Best dang weapon in the game! I occasionally reciprocate by passing back a few Clubs to them.

It had been a while since anyone had sent me a Club, but tonight, to my delight, Even found one in her mailbox when she logged in.

I freaking love this game. 😀