Ashoka: Pale Elf, Kind Wayfarer- Entry 12: Dyrford Part 2- Through Death's Gate
Ok, everyone! It's time to resume coverage of Ashoka's run.
Ashoka completed the Through Death's Gate quest without passing through death's gate. She very nearly did though and the blame for that rests squarely on my diminutive shoulders. I messed up. I made the one mistake that every no reloader should know to never make: I became over-confident and I let that over-confidence effect my play. Ashoka nearly died here simply because I neglected to take a very real threat seriously. Hopefully I won't make that mistake again.
Prior to this quest, Ashoka had never been knocked-out and her team had suffered but three knockouts in total: two to temporary party member, Kana, early in the adventure, and one to Eder while triggering a trap. Despite my constant hemming and hawing and pleas for advice, this run has been -or had been- surprisingly easy. But in no reload play, ease is an enigma: You only find it when you think you can't and you invariably lose it when it's firmly in your grasp. This run was only easy because I thought it wasn't: my constant fear kept me on my toes, on the defensive, and that, in turn, kept us safe. Once I lost my fear, ease slipped away, and Ashoka nearly slipped away with it.
So: how did it happen, exactly? Let's start with the where: the Cliaban Rilag ruins. We had entered the ruins by jumping over the bridge. Aloth, whose Athletics skill is low, sprained a wrist. That led us to rest, leaving us with one set of camping equipment with a long quest ahead. I considered jumping back over the bridge to retrieve the free set near the looter's tents, but I wasn't sure of the mechanics and feared Aloth would sprain his risk again. We proceeded with one.
That was fine, at first. The early encounters were super-straight forward- including our first encounter with the area's most dangerous enemies: the pwgra/druid crews.
Here we see Ashoka, Eder, and Pallegina forming a line, backed by Cassia while Aloth and Ogrnd provide ranged support. Everyone is happy and healthy, except for Ogrnd who was outside of Strange Mercy range.
Everything was going smoothly at this point: the first druids went quietly...
and the animats -like many of our enemies- could pose no threat to a three member, full plate + Zealous Endurance front line that's continuously bathed in mass heals.
But the seeds of disaster has already been sown and those early encounters had served to fertilize them. Remember Aloth's cut scene injury, and, thus, our depleted camping supplies? Remember how I was irked by the damage on Ogrnd's portrait, resulting from his position outside of Strange Mercy range? Do you remember how the animats could do no damage due to our formidable damage resistance and how the first druids fell with nary a peep? Well, I sure did. And, respectively, those experiences caused me to: 1) conserve spells; 2) group everyone together; 3) grow more confident in our DRs; 4) lose my fear of druids; . Ok: Whose ahead of me here? Who sees the problem? Who sees where this is headed? If your answer was:
"Since you're conserving spells, the menpwgra/druid crew near mushroom heaven will get off its AoE stuff. And since everyone is bunched together, your whole crew is going to get tagged. And since those AoE spells will do Raw damage, the DR that you've come to rely on will be useless. And since you've lost your fear of druids, this is going to totally-blindside you. So, yeah, you're going to have a bad time."
Then you're totally right: that's what happened exactly. And here is the the result. Everybody's dressed in red. We barely survived.
It didn't help that I wasn't expecting a menpwgra here (this being my first run on Hard). Nor did my inept movement near the doorway help. But fundamentally, this was a failure at the level of player psychology. I had gone on cruise control and that prevented me from assessing risk. Lesson learned. Even if the challenges within the game world are meager, dangers can still reside within ourselves.
Fortunately, the rest of the quest was a breeze. The spirits were so unthreatening that we could sit back, relax and let Aloth disappoint us with an underwhelming L4.
And full plate + Zealous Endurance still trivializes animats.
But I had learned a lesson here. Ashoka hopes I've learned it well.
Edited by Alesia_BH, Today, 04:22 PM.