Welcome To Despair
This is a work in progress but this shall serve to guide you as you progress throughout the Lands of Despair. This is just one account of what has happened. Additional information can be found as you explore the Lands of Despair.
We are not your average module of good and evil. Despair has many subtle layers and is a bit complex and even discouraging at first. Take the time to read your journal entries, and to speak to NPCs that are just now getting their world back. Your journey starts out in the Ruins of Despair where once a mighty castle stood. The forest and surrounding areas are teeming with Goblins to the North and East and Orcs to the West. There are also a couple of caves nearby that are occupied to an extent with some Undead. To the North lies the city of Micidal. It will serve as your base of operations as you explore, providing supplies, adventure, quests and aid in your endeavors.
Before we go any further I must give a bit of background on what has happened, and why we are where we are in today's Despair. A long time ago there were prosperous times for all who lived in the Lands of Despair. Many cities flourished and the main villains were common rogues and an occasional band of Orcs and Goblins. Undead, well, were not around in any noticeable strength. And, if you found any, you were generally deep underground and way in over over your head.
It was during this time that heroes like Biggrin, Boo, Czecky, Zolly, Muddy, Gilm, Armageddon, Wavedancer, Twicedead and scores of others travelled the lands killing all sorts of monsters and doing great deeds of bravery. Role models for all of Despair they were, until one of them betrayed us all. It was with this advantage that evil powers took their queue and unleashed scores of Undead onto the Lands of Despair.
Many of the heroes that roamed the deepest regions of Despair fell to the evil that gave only one option: Join us or perish. Many did just that, perished, but few were granted a pardon, a trial period, if you will. One was given control of securing the Desert Sands and keeping all that entered that region under control. Biggrin took this duty with the same sense of pride that he used to spread his deeds of heroism throughout the land. Greed and power consumed his every thought, and he soon lost track of what mattered the most to him.
It was soon all too obvious to Biggrin that he was left out in the sands, guarding a vast region of wasteland between the Castle of Despair and the holy city of Galis. And that he was kept out of the way, not fully trusted. Biggrin was one of the strongest of the heroes of Despair and the powers that be did not wish to waste resources on trying to kill him.
So while the others were just pawns in an evil game of chess who's end game was the ruin of all of Despair, Biggrin was kept safely out of the important battles, all the while waiting for his reward. He still waits for it, to this day he holds out in a small fortress in the Desert Sands. Pray that you don't find him alone!
It was with the segmentation of Biggrin that the Undead were allowed to organize their attacks and hit several key cities all at the same time. It was a symphony of death in which cities fell before one could warn the next of the attacks. Undead now walked out into the Lands of Despair openly, and without persecution. Some cities were totally overrun, and most of their people perished fleeing to the outskirts of their cities.
I will list most of the cities of Despair and some background information that might help you make decisions on where to explore.
Of the cities around the Castle of Despair that fell swiftly when the Undead were released, only Micidal managed to hang on. As the main Undead forces swept into the larger cities, Micidal was able to rally support and fend off the few Undead that wandered off course and tried to loot their city. The Village of Soport fell to a coordinated attack of Bodaks, skeletons, vampires and zombies. Bruner's Mill fell to a very small band of skeletons. So small, in fact that they themselves were slain by some more organized Orcs and Goblins. The city was so small and of very little importance that no effort was made to reclaim the city. Green Valley, which is a bit further fell very quickly when it's citizens started getting sick, one by one. Not much is known about Prilleach Keep, a city on the outskirts of civilization, it was still in the building phase when all communication was lost with them. Rumor has it that the great library of Prilleach has been looted; it's knowledge lost forever.
The war between the cities of Lidan and Carabin, which have been fighting for over six years finally ended when the Undead armies poured out from the once secure City of the Dead. Carabin worked with them at first, overrunning the city of Lidan and setting it further ablaze. As soon as Lidan fell, the Undead finished what the Lidan Commander could not. It's said that the demon that commanded over that region still occupies the Keep in the center of Carabin. One witness said that the zombies that remain in Carabin are so numerous that it is almost impossible for all save the most skillful of rogues to sneak around without physically running into one.
Of all of the cities that exist today, Micidal and DeLocke are the most complete. Just as Micidal is your base camp for initial operations and exploration; DeLocke is where you shall journey to when you 'grow up' and seek higher rewards and adventure. The reason that DeLocke survived as it did was due to a powerful magical shield that surrounds the city. It is this shield that stopped the Undead from teleporting directly inside and causing chaos as more Undead poured through the city gates. This shield also makes it hard to enter/find the city, as you have to use a Toon Maintenance Tool to port into it when you are of high enough level.
Further north, the cold Lands of Despair were of little or no value to the armies of the Undead. The two cities of Pine Ridge and Gurney were small settlements and offered nothing but piercing cold winds and snow. No effort was even made to penetrate the cold lands of Despair, thus the Frost Giants, ruled by Jarl only worried about normal day to day expansion. Jarl wanted more and more of the Snowy Plains and he did not care if Snowflake, a neighboring dragon had anything to say about it.
When Biggrin took control of the Desert Sands, he effectively cut off the holy city of Galis from the rest of Despair. The demons made short work of it's soldiers and citizens. They still walk the streets under the control of the Word of Galis, a demon that was once a holy man second to Galis himself. The magic shop of Galis was hidden just in time from the Undead that would surely loot and destroy all of it's contents. After doing this, Galis disappeared into a bluish-grey cloud of smoke, leaving all to fend for themselves.
Janeal, another holy city, this one of the Elves was also able to stay the hordes of Undead. Elven archers and fighters still patrol the city and it's only now starting to repopulate and open it's stores. It was said that Janeal herself never left the city, and that she fought along side her people until the last vampire was slain.
The underground cities of the Dwarves, Drow and Gnomes were basically unscratched. The Undead from those areas were pushed out from their regions long ago, and no effort was made initially to conquer them. Who knows what might have been in store for the bowels of Despair. My guess is that the battles above ground were still working their way towards completion when the orders to delay their underground expansion came in.
This leaves only the cities of Port Brochaw, a beautiful city on the edge of Despair, and Southland, a very large, quick-growing city. Evil has no rules when it does what it needs to do. It does what it is told, what is expected, following instructions towards the goals of it's master. And when it can do what it loves to do at the expense of goodness, it's this that is cherished the most. Thus when Port Brochaw fell, it fell hard. Help was inlisted in this attack unlike nothing ever seen before. Fish men walked straight out from the water and methodically took control of the city. Ships landed in port fully crewed by their own. Not a single Undead servant fell in the battle. Port Brochaw was given to them in exchange for an agreement to come to their aid if called upon. Southland was a city that fell on it's own sword. It appears that it was poisoned from the inside, by one of their own. The goal seemed to be to take over control of the city, but it's not sure if this was orchestrated by Undead, or if it was just the doing of the evil of men.
This sums up the most of the cities of Despair. Now, for a brief explanation of what can happen to you as you explore Despair! If I had to give you the
main purpose of this adventure, it is to rid Despair, once and for all, of all Undead creatures! To this end you shall find quests to enlist the strengths of the Lands of Despair herself; Goblins, Orcs, Giants and Trolls! It is these four races that you shall control in the final assault on the City of The Dead. Without their help, you will only go so far.
As you progress through the module, you will find that there are numerous subraces to enjoy. There are lots that are hidden, that have to be found in order to play them. Despair rewards those who put in the time, plain and simple. Random drops based on location, monsters and even class aid you towards your end. We offer standard leveling to 40, then Legendary levels to 60, then the two titles of Demigod and God status. We offer set gear that give you 12 towards your main ability, 2 to all others, and an AB/AC of +5. Before I go too much further, I wish to say that the subrace bonuses on Despair are applied softly, as bonuses, not hard, as if added directly towards your abilities. So, if your subrace gives you an Int bonus of +2, and you need a 14 for your feat, you will still have to get your toon's Int up to 14, and with that bonus, you will have a 16 when you are done. But as far as the feat requirement, your toon will still have a 14 to meet that requirement. I know that some players will leave right now, and that their build requires that additional 'free adjustment' to get a 'good build' that they like to play. There are lots of good builds to be had out there, and Despair offers most subraces and classes a fair shot at survival.
There are Low, Medium, High, Legendary and Uber item drop pools. There are others, too, for classes like Mages, Rogues, etc. Special events like holidays have their own, as well as other special 'set' and 'quest' drops. These make for some interesting situations as people value and trade what they like and know to get what they think can help them complete a set or reach a better AB or AC. We also use tokens here, and offer a nice PvP environment if you like to do this. We allow Clans and Guilds, you can purchase your own home, Guild members can port to other Guild members' houses, and even a shop or small business can be owned, with specific perks to boot!
As to the previous reference of tokens, the basic ones are Red, Blue and Gold. That ranges from value and a rating of common to rare. There are uses for all of these tokens. some tokens drop on monsters, some are placed in chests, and some are placed automatically into the inventory of the killer of some bosses. What you do with these are up to you, but I strongly suggest banking them until you learn more about our server. This can be done in several places, but for starters, Micidal General offers these services. Other tokens are holiday bonuses, and even Czecky tokens. These two types of tokens can be banked by speaking to the Blacksmith in Micidal. At this moment, you cannot take these out of the bank to use, once deposited, they stay there until their uses are discovered.
There are way too many quests to list here. I shall just mention some by name, to peek curiosity and probably lead a character to it's death, until it is learned what is necessary to complete the quest.
Collect Item Sets
Deliver Rare Diamonds
Negotiate a contract
Refill Spring Water Bottles
Bacon and Eggs
Collect Dragon Teeth
Weapons of Quality
Spell Components for Micidal Merchant
Clean out Undead from Dank Caverns
Destroy Undead in Dark Caverns
What Darkness Lies in The Barrows
Decimate the Spiders in Cedar Woods
Collect the Souls of the Innocent
Port Brochaw needs more bread!
Southland is Poisoned
Fighter Class Quest
Mage Class Quest
Return a Lost Soul
Lady Bethany's Ring
Collect a Debt
Elminster's Library Collection
Discover Hidden Vampire Den
Find My Son
Blackened Moors Delima
Mother Leeds' Children
A brief note on vampirism in the realm of Despair is necessary. When a vampire comes into the realm of Despair, s/he suffers pain and is held in place until darkness sucks them down into the ground. They then travel to the Coven of the Damned. It is here where they gain their strength and powers back. It is here where they go when they receive that blow that would have killed them if they were still mortal. From there they can travel to different places throughout Despair, and even directly into Micidal General! Consider it a safe house where only a vampire can travel to. There is, however, a group of men and women who call themselves the IoVH or (The Intellectual Order of Van Helsings). They hunt vampires, and if you are tagged one of these players, you do not need to worry about effy killing any vampire. All vampires are fair game. Rumor has it that a secret door has been keyed for them that leads into the Coven itself!
As far as the disease itself, you'll find that some vampires suffer more from this than others do. You will also notice that the Ruins of Despair is always cloudy, and therefore does not affect (hurt) vampires with divine sunlight damage. Having said this, the two suns that circle the world of Despair are hotter than normal, and caution should be taken whilst traveling during the daylight at lower levels. There are several types of vampires, and even several bonus skins which give vampires different appearances in which to explore Despair. Enjoy this, as I have spend some good time on making them enjoyable to play. There is nothing that I can do to ensure this server is not overrun like most, with monks. Let alone monks that have been affected with vampirism. I myself play an IoVH toon and rest assured, if you are a vampire, I'll find you. I hope that you will enjoy the plethora of subraces that are out there for you to enjoy. Some of the basic ones can be purchased in a book or two in Micidal General.
As far as navigating the realm lf Despair, there are several tricks that can help make your adventures more enjoyable. For one, little blue gems resembling frogs can port you directly to the Ruins of Despair (where you start off). There is also a Toon Maintenance Tool available in Micidal General that has several handy functions. One of these are the teleportation to some cities, arenas and even your Guild member's houses!
A wonderful start towards equipping one's self can be done in/around the city of Micidal. This consists of standard weapons, magic weapons and weapons that you can forge magic on. The first and most basic of all forges is located in Micidal General. As you travel through Despair, you will notice that gold is not too hard to obtain. This is partly due to the fact that some Undead armies that were retreating back into the deeper regions of the City of The Dead were raided and never made it back. Lots of gold can be had, as well as the bosses that survived the Undead looted their victims and added to their wealth.
One will also notice that most of the bosses have overcome and adapted when it comes to certain damages and immunities. Divine being one of the most obvious damages, will be noticed by all save the lowest of bosses, and by all to some extent. It did not take the Dragons long to notice what worked against Undead.
There are some bosses that drop a particular item or items, and they are the only way to get that item. That's where bartering, trading, and excess gold come into play. Not all fighters can kill all bosses. There are some bosses in areas that rogues and mages cannot go. The same is for fighters and other classes. It is recommended to play a fighter farmer class when you start exploring the Lands of Despair. See what you come across and keep what you find on another toon for a bank, just in case.
A brief warning about items and banks: Items in banks are NEVER replaced by DMs, and by me infrequent at best, so use the item banks and chests at your own risk. Having said that, with the exception of having some 1.69 issues and going through a bad period of internet connectivity, firewalls and my ISP, we have not had any issues with our server, banks or your toons. I also want to mention that I don’t delete characters, so if you need to take a break, or go back to school, or just try out another site, it’s ok with me. You’ll have all of your toons when you come back!
I will go out of my way to help new players get a nice start; so will others who are regulars on Despair. One thing not tolerated by all here is the ruining of another's experience on the server. This includes bad language, frequent shouts, effy killing, and begging, (in no particular order). Do what you can to have fun here at Despair. Enjoy the special events and holidays, and learn the server, map it out, it's huge! As the need arrises for additional DMs and control, I'll look into it. For now, I'm the man you need to speak to if you have a problem. Please feel free to join the forum for additional info and special notifications.
You will die here at Despair, and often. Get over it, it's part of the learning curve. Hell, I have even thrown in some Henchmen to hire for those of you that need backup. At the present there are five different ones, and I would love only to see mages using them. But, if you need help, grab one and have some fun.
As far as suggestions and input from players, I listen to all, good or bad. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean, no matter if you post on the message boards in the game, or on the forums.
One final note about our server and availability: The server takes about one hour and ten minutes to reset and come back up where you can log on and play. When it does, it’s up for about 16 hours at a time, so this works nicely for the drops and once per reset items.
I hope you enjoy Despair as much as I do.