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Epic Education 13: Against the Demon Queen pt1

Hello and welcome to Epic Education – a show of tips and tactics for surviving epic content.  I’m your guide Shamgar and this is Episode 13: “Against the Demon Queen pt 1” alternatively titled “Grasping the Mocking Night.”

 

This week we start a 4 episode series on the quest Against the Demon Queen.  This quest chain is in fact 2 quests, the pre-raid (often referred to as DQ1) and the raid (DQ2), and is the culminating quest of the Demon Sands adventure pack – usually referred to as either the Sands of Menechtarun, the Desert, or the sandbox.

 

DQ1 can be run as its own quest and generally is run singly as an epic quest.  Typically groups running DQ2 on epic will either quickly flag DQ1 on casual in 2 groups (because the pre-raid is a 6 person quest) or they will expect everyone to already be flagged.  Even though its abnormal, I will be covering the entirety of the pre-raid and raid as if run continuously on epic difficulty.

 

The pre-raid portion of the quest lies deep within the desert explorer area.  If you don’t know the way to this quest, it is highly advisable that you either learn the way before joining a group running the pre-raid and raid in sequence, or let the party leader know up front that you need a guide.  Otherwise you may just be wasting your own time as well as that of others.

 

A standard EDQ1 party will have at least 1 healer and 1 caster.  A bard or a spare caster or healer can also be highly beneficial.  There is only 1 shrine in DQ1 which will be taxing for the party’s spell casters, which gives builds that don’t rely on a limited pool of spell points or action boosts an edge.  At least 1 beefy melee is desirable to take the brunt of the demon queens wrath and a character with decent ranged capabilities (ie: manyshot) is also handy when fighting the demon queen.  But before that becomes an issue, we need to reach her first.

 

Upon zoning into DQ1 you will be faced with a closed gate and a pedestal.  Don’t read the book on the pedestal just yet – it will open the gate and we should buff first.  Start with a fire resistance and a deathward.  These will be important for the trash in the center area.  If you can cast it, cold shield is also handy – fire reavers and djinni will both make heavy use of fire attacks and they will be your first of many challenges in DQ1.  Other than that grab the normal buffs.  As with most epic quests blur and displacement are great.  If you brought rangers or paladins, consider having them cast any resistances.

 

When the party is ready go ahead and read the book on the pedestal – this will give you this instances iteration of the riddle which gives the order in which the different segments of the quest must be completed.  There are 6 different areas each with an inscription that must be read in the correct order to open the way to not only the demon queen, but the 1 and only shrine in the quest.  We’ll revisit this in a moment, for now lets clear some trash.

 

Cautiously fight your way to the stair case keeping in mind that the mobs you are fighting make heavy use of area of effect attacks.  Activating too many at one time will spell disaster for your party.  Fight your way to the top of the staircase but don’t run onto the center platform.  Set up a kill zone at the top of the stairs because some more trash is likely coming towards you, and we don’t want to fight on the center platform.

 

Roaming this center platform are 2 orbs similar to chaos orbs.  These orbs are disjunction orbs – they will hit you with mordenkeins disjunction each time you are hit by them.  Not only will this completely debuff you, but it will temporarily remove the magical properties of your gear.  These orbs roam this center platform in a mostly random path, so we don’t want to fight there and we need to be cautious when traversing it.

 

Once the trash is dealt with lets look around for a moment.  The stair you ascended to this platform is at the 6 O’clock position of the platform.  There are another set of stairs going further up directly across from you at 12 O’clock.  The door at the top of these stairs is currently blocked and will remain so until the 6 inscriptions are read in the correct order.  There are also bridges at 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 O’clock.  Each bridge leads to 1 of the 6 inscriptions and has an animal symbol above the doorway at the end of each bridge.  The riddle on the pedestal tells us the order of the animals, but not directly.  Instead of naming the animals, the riddle uses descriptors – grasping, mockery, night, hungry, devious, and poisoner.  These correspond to the animals octopus, monkey, bat, wolf, snake and scorpion and starting at our current location of 6 o’clock this is the order of the animals going clockwise around the circle.  It is also conveniently the order I will discuss them in.

 

Being careful of the disjunction orbs head down the octopus bridge.  There may still be some djinni on the bridges so look out for them both on the bridge we are on and from the nearby bridges.  Octopus is the easiest of the 6 bridges.  Most of this part consists of swimming and pulling levers in the water.  Swimming on epic is exactly the same as swimming on normal.  The first lever is always in the same location.  The second lever can be in one of 3 locations within its room as defined by the gates that will lock you inside.  After these first 2 rooms things get a little trickier, the third underwater room has traps.  Someone will need to grab the key on the floor of this room.  Someone with evasion is good because unless your timing is excellent you will get hit by the blade traps.  Everyone else can avoid the traps by staying near the left wall and going up and to the left.  The key will open a door down this passage behind which is the last lever.  Also down this passage is a chest behind a secret door.  Once the lever is pulled head back and go straight through the trap room to the passage on the other side – and watch out for the epic only air vent on the top of the pillar in the center. 

 

Wait for everyone to get to the room with the inscription before entering – each of these inscription rooms will have a door that closes when people approach the inscription and mobs corresponding to the animal will spawn.  In this case it will be 2 mindflayers.  Some quick crowd control or stunning will make short work of them. 

 

Once the mobs are dead the inscription can be read which will in turn release the prince of swords, a red named rakshasa.  While it is certainly possible to kill this rakshasa, most parties will simply take a dimension door to conserve spell points and supplies.

 

Now to do this 5 more times.  Lets head to monkey next being wary of the disjunction orbs and on the way get a lightning and fire resist, a deathward and a freedom of movement.  Monkey will have several melee and caster wildmen.  Run past the melee wildmen to quickly engage the casters who have high ground positions and favor spells like irresistible dance, holds, disintegrate, fireballs and chain lightning.  The casters tend not to move much which makes them vulnerable to lasting AoE spells.  To open the first gate you will need to pull the lever in the upper left corner of the second room, but the gate is timed and will close on you if you are unable to navigate the tall platforms back to it, so don’t bother opening the gate until everyone is ready – and everyone wont be ready until they grab their chest behind the secret door across from the lever.  You can have someone fast and hoppy stay at the lever and give everyone else a head start.  The third room has another gate that opens in the same manner, but this lever also sets off a disjunction trap.  Anyone not pulling the lever should stand on the first step of the blockish stairs to avoid getting hit.  If you make it into the inscription room carefully hug the left wall and go to the near left corner.  This will protect you from being disjuncted if people need to reopen the gate and try again but won’t activate the room.  If the inscription room does become active, don’t pull that lever because it will hit the rest of your party as they are fighting the mob of wildmen that will spawn.  Crowd control is very helpful here and the party should try and target the casters first.  Release the prince and either take a DD or kill him.

 

Bat is by far the most difficult of the 6 paths.  It consists entirely of mephitis that not only use primarily AoE attacks (including the ever annoying variations of blindness) but they summon other mephitis.  There are also traps throughout to contend with.  Sonic, fire, and cold resistances are a must.  Crowd control and instant kill spells are key to avoiding a party wipe, but so is agro management.  Set up a kill zone preferably with a disco ball and have someone carefully pull back a few mephits keeping in mind that for every 1 mephit you pull more will be summoned and to add insult to injury dungeon alert tends to go crazy with the mephits.  It is usually helpful for the healer to stand back a little bit so they can heal the party from a safe distance.  You can either stay at this initial kill zone and pull everything back here, or you can move your kill zone forward as you kill more mephitis.  As you do move forward hug the right wall through the first few turns to avoid setting off some of the traps.  The inscription room is much the same except you have no choice but to activate all of the mephitis as once.  Crowd control and quick elimination of mephitis is key for success here so try and focus on killing the same mephit.  Read the inscription and 3 down 3 to go.

 

If you like your party can clear bat (or really any of the paths you find troublesome) up to the inscription room at the beginning regardless of the correct order.  This has the advantage of tackling the most difficult path first with the full capabilities of the spell casters, but they should be mindful of trying not to use too many spell points early. 

 

That will end this week’s Epic Education.  If you have any questions, comments, or corrections you can email me at DDOEpicEducation@gmail.com or visit myDDO blog at my.ddo.com/pjstechie. Join me next time as I continue discussing epic demon queen.  Thanks for listening.

 

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