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.

6 thoughts on “Disappointment in the Sylvan Glades

  1. the duke

    Man I do love these posts! Never commented before, but just wanted to say I’ve been reading your blog for probably 10 years now and find it very enjoyable. Keep up the good work bud.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @the duke – I am glad somebody likes these posts. I have a few more in progress. I am trying to get them all written down before I forget them. We’re now at the point where it has been about 15 years since I last played TorilMUD seriously.


  3. Telwyn

    I too love reading these, I forever regret not getting into MUDs with two friends back when they were a main form of online gaming. It makes for great reading. I remember about 10 years ago downloading a FOSS MUD system onto my then Macbook PC and playing around with one of said friends on how to get the server setup and a client connected, but then we ran out of steam as it was a barebones system and needed all the actual content creating. I’ve never managed to play a MUD for any length of time, although now that I’ve started working with Linux at work again I’m feeling more friendly towards command line interfaces, so who knows?


  4. .xyd

    Well there is at least three who love these MUD posts. How is it you can recall more about the game than I ever even knew?

    Sojourn/TorilMUD is such a fondly memorable experience for me but, like you, I haven’t played much in 15 years. Probably closer to 18 at this point. I’ve logged into TorilMUD several times with the intent to play but the learning curve (and consequences) keep me from playing it seriously. I don’t have the time to remap it especially since mapping with a level 1 char isn’t feasible and mapping with my cleric means I’ll have to do an inevitable corpse retrieval sooner than later.

    For me TorilMUD is like an old song that, when you hear it, takes you back to a “better” time. Keep these coming. If you’re taking requests, would love some memories about Lava Tubes and that damn tracking cat. And that lake NE of WD. And the Automaton. (Did you ever get trapped and subsequently killed by him?)


  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Xyd – I was there when you went through the trap door and got killed by the Automaton and we had to find some barbarian warrior with a three letter name to come and get your corpse out. I also seem to recall a petition about that being rejected because the description of the room mentioned some bones, so it should have been clear you were going to die. There are no death traps in Sojourn! Hah!

    I am definitely better at recalling zones where I spent lots of time in. And the fact that my old copy of ZMud still works and still has all my old maps helps a lot. Lots of details have gone missing in my brain however. I should have written some of these 15 years ago.

    Zones I am likely to try writing about:
    -Elder Forest and Castle Drulak, to finish off Evermeet
    -Ice Crag Castle up by Mithril Hall
    -The road south from Waterdeep
    -Bloodstone, before it was destroyed


  6. flosch

    I’m reading most of your posts (and comment every now and then), but this kind of post is why I always come back to to you, even after longer breaks of reading blogs.

    History of gaming is just so fun to read, and by now, this is ancient history and hard to come by!


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