Daily Archives: July 2, 2018

Disappointment in the Sylvan Glades

In the Leuthilspar Tales series I have written often about the poor state of the elves of Evermeet.  Stuck on the island until they hit level 20 with only three adventuring zones available, one of which wasn’t much help at all, we were paupers in our own land and would stare agog and high level elves who returned from far Waterdeep with all of the gear slots filled.

And so we ran between Kobold Village and the Faerie Forest, scrounging what gear we could and trying to level up so we could get to the bounty of Waterdeep, where one could find so much for sale.

Other areas of the game got additions.  New zones sprang up along the routes north and south of Waterdeep.  Up in the north Ice Crag Castle showed up, a fine zone with many quests.  Down south the city of Baldur’s Gate, long alluded to in room descriptions, was finally opened up.  And, finally, Evermeet got some attention.  A new zone appeared along the path outside of Leuthilspar, a turn north off the forest road just before the Elemental Glades.

We were long off of the isle when the Sylvan Glades showed up, but returned there… or went there with our under 20 alts… to see what the new zone brought to Evermeet.

The Sylvan Glades

And initially there was a lot of disappointment.  On the content starved island of Evermeet, this new area did not seem to do much for the locals.  Those living there wanted more options to help level up so they could get the hell off the island and into the Faerun where the real content lay.

Few willingly stuck around the place past level 20, the point at which you could go through the elf gate and make your way to Waterdeep to finally join your friends who were smart enough to not roll up elves.  And in walking around the Sylvan Glades it was hard to see how this zone helped the plight of the elves one iota.

The mobs in the place were mostly high level, with the lowest amongst them needing a small party of level 20+ characters to take down.  And the experience for the effort, and the loot from those low end mobs, were not worth the time.

There was a neat little town in the trees to the north of the zone, Larallyn, which had a few shops.

In the trees in Larallyn

The potion shop had armor potions for less than in Leuthilspar, though still not as cheap as in Waterdeep:

You can buy:
1) A large crystal sphere for 100 platinum coins.
2) A scroll of identify for 2 platinum coins.
3) A vanishing potion for 12 platinum coins.
4) A potion of armor for 1 platinum, 2 gold, and 5 silver coins.

And the bard shop had instruments otherwise unobtainable on the island.  But that wasn’t going to change the life of a young elf.

But just because a zone doesn’t serve your immediate needs doesn’t mean it lacks a purpose.  The Sylvan Glades was not built to serve the low level players still stuck on Evermeet.  Instead it was put together as a way to make non-elves find a way to get to Evermeet.

The Sylvan Glades was flagged for all levels in the zone listing (a copy of which is here), which meant it was safe for wee elves from Leuthilspar to wander into (mind the warning at the Dead Grove however), but it was really the focus for high level quests.  There were several quest starter items on the zone, which I have marked in yellow on the map, a few quest NPCs as well, who you would have to engage in the time honored MUD quest tradition, and at least one rare spawn dragon with a drop necessary for a major quest line.  And the mobs themselves were interesting to ponder, such as Keren the bard:

Keren is a flashy looking bard, wearing bright colored clothing and playing
his harp with surprising ease and experience. This man sits here in this
musical grove, playing his many songs that he has learned throughout his
lifetime to all those who would come and listen. His voice has a spectacular
ring to it, almost a calm and soothing feeling. A human bard is a rare in
these regions, but this quality of bard is rare anywhere in the realms.
Keren the Bard is a medium-sized level 59 Human.
He is in excellent condition.
He’s encased in a shimmering globe!

<worn on body> a silk shirt of many colors
<worn about waist> a frilly purple sash
<worn on legs> a pair of tight blue suede pants
<worn on feet> a pair of blue suede shoes

Keren tells you ‘Hail and well met adventurer! I am Keren, bard of the realms!’

Keren smiles warmly at you.

Keren tells you ‘If you know any fellow bards, send them to me for I have a
quest which they might be interested in.’

Keren winks at you.

Of course, that meant people had to be able to get to Evermeet, a trick in and of itself.  The elf gate back to the island was in the Moonshaes and, true to its name, would only allow those of elven blood through.  But even if you could a non-elf through, there was the problem of Leuthilspar.  The return gate put you deep in the town, where the guards, like the elf gates, really didn’t like anybody without elven blood.

Pretty much everywhere in town was death

And it wasn’t just the local guards that would kill you dead, but outsiders in the town would trigger special response guard units.

So to get people to Evermeet you needed some inside help.  A druid could open a moonwell to the island, essentially a temporary portal through which a party could travel, but a moonwell needs a target.  If your druid was an elf, or a half-elf that started in Leuthilspar, they could recall to their guild in town, then walk out to some place safe and well everybody in.

Lacking a local born weller, it was common to see who was online and either try to open a moonwell to some sub-level 20 elf or, if the well failed, to ask them to move some place that would allow a moonwell.

Interestingly, one of the features of the zone was a portal Hyssk, the home town to the Illithid race, which was a back door way to allow evil aligned races in the game a reliable way to get to Evermeet back when a good/neutral race character could become an outcast for just associating with evil races. (I lived as an outcast half-elf druid through one generation of TorilMUD.)  You still had to get to Hyssk, which was a challenge in and of itself.  Evil race towns were tough places.  But once there they could get into the zone and find your way to the quest related aspects of the zone.

So, as a zone for leveling the little elves of Evermeet, the Sylvan Glades were something of a bust.  But we’d get a good zone for that in the Elder Forest later on.  But as an interesting place for quests and related items, as well as a way to force people to find a way to the island, it was a good addition to the overall world.