Syp is AFK on vacation this week and put out a call for substitute writers! Today’s guest post is brought to you by DDOCentral. Check out his blog for more great word-stuff!
Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO) recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in February 2016, which is a milestone within the MMORPG gaming community. Not only is DDO one of the few MMOs to have supported its fantasy world continuously for over ten years but was also the pioneer of the hybrid free to play business model now common with PC based MMOs.
There are currently 128 free to play quests in DDO, with the three most recent f2p quests released on May 10th, 2016 as an extension of the 10th anniversary celebration. The official 10th anniversary update earlier this year introduced the Gnome and the Iconic Deep Gnome player races to DDO and the subsequent Update 31 is appropriately entitled, Gnomework.
All three of the f2p quests feature a Gnome NPC quest giver and each of the quests somehow involve one or more of the gnomish qualities of exploration, illusion mastery, and invention. ‘Good Intentions’, ‘Memoirs of an Illusory Larcener’, and ‘Search and Rescue’ are offered at both the mid-level Heroic and upper level Legendary quest difficulties.
Memoirs of an Illusory Larcener
The second quest in Gnomework is also in the Harbor area, near the gates to The Inspired Quarter. The party meets the gnome master illusionist, Callumnie (a calumny is a kind of false statement), who entices the players with an offer to tell an exciting story. Callumnie explains that he has travelled all over the world of Eberron, from the gnome kingdom of Zilargo to the distant, nearly uncharted continent of Argonnessen which is home to a race of Dragons. Callumnie assures the adventurers his tales are so vivid in their descriptions that those who hear them will believe themselves to be actual participants.
The party agrees to hear the compelling yarn, so the gnome illusionist invites them into his humble abode.
Callumnie then asks the party to step through the double doors adjacent to his dwelling’s foyer, into the hallway, and onto a luminescent blue circle covered in glyphs. Once the party has gathered on the illusionary spot, the players are surrounded by heavy mists and are transported to an urban scene which appears similar to Stormreach Harbor but perhaps a dream-like version of it.
Callumnie’s voice is heard in the players’ heads and he instructs the party to find an Upstanding Citizen to begin the story but warns that she is a “master of disguise.” The Upstanding Citizen is standing in the middle of the street as the party enters the City and is a lone halfling female.
The streets of the Harbor are populated with NPCs bearing often absurd names – for example, Completely Ordinary Citizen and Extremely Dull Citizen – who will state nonsensical things if the players speak to them. “If I was actually in this story, I would have something interesting to say.” The names of the NPCs will change randomly each time the quest is done or based on other factors that are not yet clear.
To advance the story, the players must take a “missive” from the Upstanding Citizen to two human thugs named Julius and Vincent. The goons are just down the street but, in keeping with the often bizarre nature of dreams, the players must walk a dozen or so yards to the men and hand them the letter personally. Julius and Vincent accept the letter after some harsh dialogue and request that the players give Upstanding Citizen their own handwritten letter.
When the letter is returned to Upstanding Citizen, she asks the players for another errand. This time, they are to retrieve “an artifact” from an Elf holed up in the local tavern. Upstanding Citizen says that this Elf deserves to die as he is a thief, murderer, or pretentious abuser of grammar (these text options change as well, depending on what the players say to the halfling).
The party finds the pub after a quick jaunt down several streets and enters to see a small army of elvish rangers with bows guarding the Elf.
The party finds the Elf in the back corner of the pub with his bodyguard. The players must extract the artifact from the Elf, which soon turns into a fight involving everyone in the room. After defeating the Elf and his escort, the players must beat a hasty retreat with the artifact as many more elven rangers gather outside the tavern to prevent the artifact from being stolen.
After battling waves of belligerent elves in the City’s streets, the players notice Julius and Vincent down an alley with an escape route to an airship waiting in the clouds.
Once aboard, the players learn that they are on a Sharn Syndicate airship and must meet its commander, the halfling Lucy Lawful. The Sharn Syndicate is a criminal organization in Eberron known for its use of feral halflings as muscle.
The players learn from Lucy that no reward is offered for the artifact and that they are to be dropped off on land empty handed. The players leave the commander’s quarters and bump into Upstanding Citizen as they return to the lower decks.
Upstanding Citizen says that the Sharn Syndicate would never let the players leave the ship alive and that they should swap out the real artifact with a counterfeit one supplied by her. The real artifact can then be used as a bargaining chip to secure safe passage. The players agree and must fight their way through the ship’s crew once the deception is revealed.
Following the Sharn Syndicate crew’s defeat, the party is teleported out of the airship from another blue circle into a flat, seemingly manufactured forest. The players fight scattered Sharn Syndicate brigands until they come upon a clearing in the woods with yet one more blue circle. Callumnie’s voice is heard again, this time telling the players to step onto the final portal to finish the story.
As soon as the players touch the circle’s border an ambush is sprung of all of the characters in Callumnie’s story that were backstabbed by the party, including Lucy Lawful.
When the Sharn Syndicate gang is defeated, the players enter the blue circle once more to be teleported back to Callumnie’s home for the quest end reward. Callumnie tells the party that even he was surprised by the outcome of the story as it is different every time.
Interestingly enough none of the mobs in ‘Memoirs of an Illusory Larcener’ are counted as kills in the Monster Manual, affirming the phantasmal nature of the quest’s opponents.