Dire Maul East that is.

Not the guild’s best outing ever, but we’re still at about level for DM-East with our current equipment, and there was only four of us in the party (Dunain, Blanc, Brunev and Blondiewood). Given that, we did quite well indeed.

This was actually our second visit to Dire Maul. Our first involved sneaking in, having Dejek pick the door for DM-West, going in while the player switched from Dejek to Brunev so we could visit the library and Brunev could pick up his quest for better conjured water. We got caught in a couple of fights we didn’t want in the courtyard, and therefore some deaths (darn elite ogres…).

This weekend’s visit was smoother in that part as Blanc and I had a much better idea what to expect. Once inside… well it was a lot different from what I was expecting. Lots of plants (elementals). Big ones. Little ones. Annoying ones. Patrolling ones. And generally close together enough for us to need to take some time pulling them away from each other.

And during all this, we get to try to run down an imp who seemed to think he was the Gingerbread Man. In the end, he didn’t do any better.

We continued through until the first truly nasty boss: Zevrim Thornhoof. He’ll occasionally teleport a party member onto an altar, which will do a lot of damage while the character can’t do anything. Meanwhile, Zevrim’s still beating up on the rest of the party. Actually, occasionally isn’t a good term. He does it pretty often, once he gets warmed up. This is bad enough (it hurt Blanc pretty bad when he got picked), but he put Blondiewood (Druid and main healer) on the altar twice in a row. After that, the fight went slowly downhill until he and Blanc were all that was left, and neither had much health.

I’ve seen Blanc come back and win some pretty tough fights that really looked like he shouldn’t be able to win. I’ve seen him scrape through on no health and no help. Of course, I’m probably just remembering the exceptional times. But it was still disappointing when Blanc didn’t pull it off.

Worse, when we got back in the instance, the monsters at the front were just starting to respawn. So we had to quickly fight our way through and race ahead of the wave of monsters tracking our previous progress. It wasn’t that hard, but is was a couple of tense minutes, since we could have ended up with an uninvited guest in the middle of of fight.

The second fight went much better. So we were off to the courtyard that we’d been above and circling around at the beginning. It’s effectively an overgrown open area with a lot of groups of monsters/plants wandering around (which had been driving the Hunter-dar crazy earlier). Blondie stealthed her way up to the center and talked to the one uncorrupted ‘ent’ in the place, who took off and tore down the door we needed. Getting across the room ourselves took a little more doing. Not that it that difficult, but it looked difficult.

Once there, it was on to the final boss, and possibly the most tragic loss of the run. All along the way are little seed pods, they do random, possibly nasty, things (like rooting you in place, not helpful if you trip it during a fight) – though it looks as if once a character has interacted with them a few times, he starts getting the better results (items for a good cooking recipe). Anyway, one of the last ones rooted – and killed – Blanc’s warbunny. Certainly the silliest death of the run.

The actual final boss fight went well enough. After that, we climbed out the back door and headed back in. Into DM-West that is, and the turn-in for Brunev’s quest, and a very handy high-level ability. After that is was off to turn in the other, less important quests.

Took us about 5 hours, 3-4 wipes, plus one almost-wipe (single surviving member). Not at all bad for a four-man group.