Saturday, July 25, 2015

Towering Despair

Since I won a free immortal corpse retrieval scroll from the Deck of Many Things I've been thinking of places where I can use this insurance policy to take on risks I wouldn't otherwise. This means adventuring to the rare risky places where you can't supplicate a corpse. All up from memory I have managed to have characters die in three of these types of rooms:
  1. Blackmote's room in the Tower of Despair
  2. Albino Goblins in the Desert of Despair
  3. Jade in Seth's Fortress
Each of these deaths have led to differing degrees of difficulty in corpse retrievals. In some cases it involved killing the mob with alts, using grouped characters to loot the corpse or asking for an immortal to help out with the high price included. Of these three areas the one I am most curious about finding out more on is the Tower of Despair...

This area changed a lot since the old days of before the shattering. Following this event a lot of the mobs and equipment from the area was boosted. In the past Orcus was the most powerful mob in the area but since events after the shattering he has disappeared and since then many rumours have arisen. The area starts off with Tyrax the forsaken. He has several keywords that he responds to with some more information on the storyline of the area. I know he responds to the words Blackmote, Orcus, Hastur and Covenant. I know there are more words but can't remember them all.
>Before the Tower of Despair
A black, windowless spire rises up out of the ground, seemingly torn from the bowels of the earth herself.  The top of the tower is lost from view as it rises up into a thick grey mist.  A furious flapping of wings and an abrupt scream can be heard from far overhead.  The hunter and the hunted.
Exits: north south
Tyrax the Forsaken stands vigil against the evil of this tower.
Tyrax is shrouded in flowing shadow and light.

>say blackmote
You say 'blackmote'

Tyrax says 'Poor fool Blackmote.  He does not comprehend that his Master, whether alive or dead, is gone.  Still he guards the Tower, maintaining the prison and keeping the experiments contained.'

>say orcus
You say 'orcus'

Tyrax snarls angrily.
Tyrax says 'If it were not for that foul beast, I would still...
Tyrax glowers with hate brimming in his eyes.
Tyrax says 'This anger cost me much before.  I will learn patience.

>say hastur
You say 'hastur'

Tyrax closes his eyes.

Tyrax says 'Speak not the name of Orcus' lackey.  Twas he that slew my companions.  Twas he who forced my choice and ruined my life. Forsaken by my own pride to guard this spot for eternity.  Speak no more of this to me.  I wish not the memory.
Tyrax' eyes open and fix again on the Tower.

>say blackmote
You say 'blackmote'

Tyrax says 'Poor fool Blackmote.  He does not comprehend that his Master, whether alive or dead, is gone.  Still he guards the Tower, maintaining the prison and keeping the experiments contained.'

>say covenant
You say 'covenant'

Tyrax shakes its head.
Tyrax says 'Nay, no legend I know of speaks of a Covenant.  Though some travellers ages back spoke of a beast named the Covenant Hebredite. It was a beast that ravaged all of Darkhaven, they say.'
Tyrax shrugs helplessly.

Tyrax says 'Some said it had something to do with the Shattering, but I can not say for certain that is true.'
Beyond Tyrax the first part of the area has some nice mobs for when trying to get through the later part of levelling. Past here though comes Blackmote:
Twisted and warped, the essence of Blackmore has expanded beyond his corporeal form. A black mass encompassed by swirling fire, he blocks passage beyond the Stone Arch.

In the old days he used to have a crossbow that would shoot you for 100 hit points of damage from several rooms away if you forgot to recast invisible after fighting the nearby mobs. These days however he hits harder and has some real nasty features - an ip1 limit (never forget to check this before entering his room), is tunnelled to three characters, plenty of gouge attacks and most frightening of all he is in a no supplicate room. I've heard of some orders having one of their tests for new applicants to successfully kill him solo. For most players this is probably the first no supplicate room they ever fight in. My preferred strategy is to use a paladin or vampire to tank and vampires or barbarians as hitters. The one trick you can use to your advantage is that if you go link-dead here and reconnect fast enough you will get transported out of the tower and back to Tyrax. This is particularly handy when doing it solo for when you run low on potions or need to repair urgently.

With perseverance you can bring him down without too much effort:
Your pierce tears Blackmote!
Blackmote is DEAD!!
The shifting cloud of gas and flame explodes in a fiery ball!
(darkness gets damaged)
The crumpled form of Blackmote lies on the floor, clutching his side.  As the light in his eyes fades, he rants loudly.
Blackmote yells 'You promised me dominion!  Legions at my command!'
Blackmote raises his fist, drenched in his own blood.
Blackmote growls 'The masses at my feet as their own people, twisted and blighted, feasted on their flesh, ended the lives of the useless.  Bringing an age of the strong, an age of power.'
Blackmote's eyes flare.
Blackmote yells 'You promised me dominion, damn you!  Damn you!'
Aware of your presence, Blackmote stretches forth his claw one last time to gut you.  As he lunges, he falls pitifully to the ground.
Blackmote drops circle of mists.
A horn is wrenched from the body of Blackmote.
You see nothing like that in the corpse of Blackmote.
The belt he drops is handy but nothing super special. Not really worth the effort, but killing Blackmote is more about getting access to the next level of the tower which has the four tests: fire, fear, combat and knowledge. The first three involve killing more challenging mobs while the test of knowledge involves avoiding death traps. Each of these when successful besides a chance of popping a useful item will pop a key such as:
Your slash tears An unimaginable nightmare!
An unimaginable nightmare is DEAD!!
The shimmering forms coalesce into an aged gnome.
'Free' he says 'Of the nightmares, of the Demon Prince. But the nightmares he will unleash on this world, I pray my children survived what he tried to bring to pass.
The gnome spits black blood from his mouth.
The mage pulls a shimmering key from his rags as he slumps over.
The eyes of the mage close as he breathes his last.
An unimaginable nightmare drops the key of fear.
An unimaginable nightmare gasps its last breath and blood spurts out of its mouth and ears.
You see nothing like that in the corpse of An unimaginable nightmare.
The corpse of An unimaginable nightmare holds:
And this is where it all gets tricky and the myths begin. It used to be that beyond the four tests was the demon prince Orcus. Once Orcus was killed Hastur the Unspeakable would pop, but now they are gone from the Tower. While some have said they were completely removed from the game it is not entirely true since:
>c loc mournblade
For a brief moment, your awareness expands to encompass the whole world...
...and you find to be in existence:

Mournblade on Hastur
How to get to Hastur is the mystery... I've heard rumours that they are accessible from the top of the Tower if you do some secret things, that the way to them is no longer through the tower but through Nevermore and even that they are now located deep within the Realm of Worship. Either way a free immortal corpse retrieval scroll will come in handy.

There is one more source of easily accessible information on Orcus, Hastur and the possible covenant between them - Ravenhill. Besides eating Seth sets and not giving anything in return he does have some interesting speculation:

Ravenhill's Loft
Shelves and cabinets filled with cluttered books, beakers and instruments overcrowd this small niche.  Wedged neatly between two bookshelves is a large serpentine apparatus of glass and metal.  A black oak desk rests under a small arched window.  Numerous ravens land on the windowsill while some perch on copper bars situated throughout the room.  The scent of burning sulphur assails your nostrils.
Exits: [south]
(Glowing) A cauldron in the center of the room gives off a sulfurous steam.
A tall man with sunken features stares intently into a cauldron.

> say orcus
You say 'orcus'

Ravenhill furrows his brow.
Ravenhill says 'Most curious, most curious indeed are the events which have transpired within the Tower of Despair.  I have corresponded with Tyrax of late, using my ravens as couriers. From what I gather from these messages, and my divinations, the Demon Prince died some years ago.  His carcass was possessed.  I do not know if he housed the entity himself or some other malignant spirit.'

Ravenhill run his finger across his chin while scribbling in his book with his free hand.

Ravenhill looks up and notices you are still here.
Ravenhill says 'Ah, sorry.  I had forgotten you were here.  What was it we were discussing?'

Ravenhill taps a finger on his desk.

Ravenhill says 'Ah yes, Orcus.  To finish what I was saying, Tyrax does not believe Orcus is truly gone.  He does not think the Demon could pass from this world without his knowledge.  As for myself, I think Tyrax overstates his claims.  It is my hope that Orcus long ago breathed his last.
As Ravenhill finishes his statement, he slowly drifts back to writing.

> say hastur
You say 'hastur'
Ravenhill yawns.
Ravenhill says 'Ah yes, the Unspeakable.  I hope that beast was banished back to the Pits that Orcus summoned him from.'

> say covenant
You say 'covenant'

Ravenhill says 'Many years back, Darkhaven was destroyed by a being, or beings, known as the Covenant Hebredite.  The remnants of their actions are the Ruins now inhabited by thieves and murderers ruled by Gravoc.  The motives of the Hebredites had always been a mystery.  Now it seems, or at least I theorize, that the Hebredites were the agents of whatever entity caused the Shattering.  They destroyed Darkhaven to harvest the souls of its citizens.  These souls were then to be used to free this entity.  But the number was greatly insufficient.  At this point, Gravoc began luring scoundrels to the Ruins to harvest their blood and souls.  The Ruins became a giant altar of sacrifice.'

Ravenhill leans forward and speaks quietly to you. Ravenhill says 'I believe this failed, which is why the entity sought other agents.  The Dread Lord and the Demon Prince.  I think that It was the source of their powers, but I can not verify this.'

Ravenhill leans back a bit.
Ravenhill says 'The Tower and the Fortress, combined with the Ruins, provided the souls and the blood.  In this moment, we were almost defeated.  It is fortunate we survived.'
Hopefully if I can find the time and a few allies I'll know more about this mystery.

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