Version 0.4 / updated on 2002JN05
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Note: as with all my scrolls, I welcome comments and corrections.
Scarmis are creatures found on Ash Island [AI] in what is called the Scarmis Pen. The Scarmis Pen is tough area that is challenging and requires good group coordination and tactics. I find it is an interesting place because of that, and also because of its unusual nature. It has the advantage of being close to town and offers a nice challenge to mid to high level groups. On the other hand it requires a full mystic to enter, which sometimes limits access and often complicates rescues attempts.
You reach the pen by going to west Puddleby, paying 5 copper for boat fair, then on the ocean you head north until you find an island with dead trees called Ash Island (check my map in the travel section). Land on the south shore and head north. In the first snell north of the landing area, head north-east to a place where there are a clump of trees near the east edge (that is the entrance to Dark Chamber [DC]). The entrance to the pen is on the east edge, but it is hidden behind an illusion which only full mystics (and some old journeymen) can break through.
Once on the other side of the illusion you will find yourself in the pen area. It is where Cimmbrion's Keep is located. Note that we did not find a way inside that Keep yet (that I am aware of anyway). The Keep is surrounded by a wall and is thus penned-in. Around the Keep, and inside the pen, are scarmis, hence the name. There is a corridor all around the pen and that is where you come in when you pass through the illusion. You come in on the middle of the west side of the pen. You can exit from that same spot (by going west) and you don't need an illusion breaker to get out (only to get in).
There are also scarmis and other creatures in that corridor (undines mostly). Once inside you go north and then east (there is now a crumbling wall in the way) to the NE corner where there is a hole in the ground. When everyone in the party is assembled around the hole you jump in (usually after sending a runner in first). Weaker parties might want to use kuzdhu once inside to protect themselves, although it is generally not necessary for typical parties going to the pen. Note that you hurt yourself a little when you jump in. It isn't much damage but don't jump on low red :) There is also an awful sound as you slide down the sand of the hole.
Under the pen there are four areas. One area is the Scarmis Queen Chamber [SQC] which is the main attraction and the usual destination. Another area, which I call the Scarmis Hole [SH], is where you come in from the pen (by jumping in the hole). Then there is the North Passage [NP] and the South Passage [SP]. Both passages give access to the SQC.
There are two ways to get out of the pen underground: one exit is in the Scarmis Hole, in the southeast corner (there is a patch of sand which get you to the southeast corner of the corridor around the pen outside), and the other exit is through the garden maze that you can access from the SQC (but that's not an easy way out and is the subject of another scroll in and of itself).
Scarmis are four legged creatures with an exoskeleton (requires Dentir training to recover mandibles). They run very fast and are very aggressive in general. Here are the various scarmis that we encountered to date.
|Bestiary symbols legend|
|The sword represents the amount of accuracy (Atkus) required to hit the creature in a reliable manner.|
|The shield represent the defense (Detha plus Balthus at full balance) required to brick the creature.|
|The cross represent the amount of damage (histia) dealt by the creature (on average).|
|Note: All these numbers are approximative and vary for individual creatures and for the race, weapon, etc. of exiles. They are given only as a general measure of the relative strength of each creature and should not be taken as hard numbers. (Note that damage may list physical hits damage [h] or acid [a] damage).|
|Scarmis harvester||150?||Gets in the way of peoples, like Orgas. Their smaller size lets them inside holes in a kuzdhu wall.|
|Scarmis Warrior||160-170||Will track you until you can dump it on another exile, by going around this last one. It swings a little less than the Forager. Easy to hit after they swing.|
|Scarmis Attendant||275-350||Strange behavior, it will track an exile for a long time, but won't go straight at him. It swings somewhat slowly. It's very hard to hit. Tends to gather around fallen bodies. Apparently very hard to brick. I was told someone with 1000 defense didn't brick one.|
|Scarmis tunneler||180-200||Great defence, it's a little harder than other scarmis to hit. It 'sticks' to walls, meaning you'll need to get close to it to lure it away, otherwise it may leave a group be.|
|Scarmis Eunuch||??||By far the toughest, it is as difficult as an Orga Hatred but swings once about every 2.5-3 seconds. It will also track an exile, until it meets another closer target. Drue mentions the damage it deals varies greatly and compares it to that of a Hatred.|
|Scarmis Queen||300||Very fast, it will swing a little slower than others, but with great accuracy and high damage. Is somewhat easier to hit after it swings. Spits acid at a target to a great range. It will only 'acquire' a target if someone stays too close to her. Once aquired, range to the target does not seem to be an issue. Anyone between the queen and the target will be splashed too. Acid coverage is about 3 exiles wide. Babajaga has an interesting visionstone about it.|
I drew some maps (from memory) of the general layout of the place. It is not very precise I'm afraid, but I lost the visionstones I made of the pen area. I'll try to improve them when I get the chance (or if someone wants to send one to me I'd appreciate it). These maps are not to scale.
As with many areas, there are as many successful tactics to negotiate the pen as there are groups going there, and a lot depends on the strength of the exiles in the group. Because of the high atkus required to hit scarmis, fell-bladders are particularly useful. Someone with high ranks in Dentir is also very useful since scarmis mandibles can fetch a good price. There is also the possibility to bring a boosting mystic to help deal with the tougher scarmis. A good chainer can also come in very handy (same as anywhere of course).
The first thing to consider is whether the group should attempt the SQC or limit itself to the scarmis hole and the passages. The scarmis hole and the passages provide a good hunting ground and leaves the possibility of an escape, while the SQC can quickly become a death trap for weaker groups.
Depending on the group, it may be a good idea to set-up kuzdhu walls to control the number of scarmis attacking the group. Good places to set-up are at the entrance until the SH is cleared and then possibly near the exit (an example is shown in the following picture).
Stronger groups usually don't have to use this technic and only send someone to lure creatures from the south while the rest of the group stays north near the entrance.
The best technic I've seen to take the SQC is to first clear the south passage and then the north passage. Then a runner is sent in from the north entrance and gathers as much stuff as he can near the east exit. Once he has moved creatures away from the entrance he sunstones to a team of two 'zuers to enter. One plants kuzdhu from the center towards the east and the other from the center towards the west to make a wall as shown in the following picture.
The runner tries to stay as long as possible so that the wall can be build, and then exits and joins the rest of the group through the north passage entrance. Once the zuers have established the wall they call in the rest of the group.
This technic leaves enough room to make sure the queen won't acquire a target to spit acid on and leaves the possibility of exit through the Garden Maze. From this position it is possible to clear the Queen Chamber and then look for a scarmis egg that can sometimes be found in the chamber to the SW.
Thanks to the many people who helped me getting all the information right. Special thanks go to Drue'Dreemi, Althus and Kamik for the info provided and the comments.