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Gradi, Day 17 of Summer 551 - Lost in the woods

This week PTF decided to take a break from its usual occupations and decided to attempt a trip to the advanced pathfinding books in the Foothills [FH]. We recruited people for the difficult trip and gathered in the Meadow. We had a sizeable group and I had a good feeling about the trip.

Note: FHTrip.gifFor those who never had the chance to go to the FH it's a long and dangerous trip. You have to go to the Orga Camp [OC] then through a path to Snaggle Woods [Snaggy], which is like Tangled Woods [TW] only worst (it's TW-like in terms of snell transitions, but with tougher creatures). After Snaggy you arrive at a though path (requires 100+ pathfinding lessons) called Wisher's Gate [WG] which gets you into Hatred Hollow [HH], a passage filled with lightning-throwing orgas hidden behind trees (among other things). When you get on the other side of HH you go through yet another path to an area called the Orga Outback [OOB]. OOB is like Snaggy, only bigger and, well, worst. You go through OOB and arrive at a tree called the Dred Passage [DP] tree, because there is a hole under that tree that leads to a small cave from which you can reach the DP. DP is a bit like HH only, you guessed it, much much worst. If you make it through DP you are in the Foothills. There is still a way to go to get to the advanced pathfinding books, but that's where the FH begin.

FHtrip1.gifOur first passage through Hatred Hollow [HH] was one of the easier I've been a part of. That was a good omen I thought. Well, since I mentionned it was our 'first' passage you can imagine that things weren't all that good afterwards...

We stopped at the Trainers' Grotto and the advanced pathfinders in the group tried their hands at the path that leads near the Dred Passage [DP] tree. It's a hard path that requires more lessons than any of those present had and we realised no one could open it.

So we went through the Orga Outback [OOB], and we were about two-third done when we realised that we had lost Babajaga. Azriel said he had seen her go west when the rest of us went north. This is why the job of leader is so hard. You have to coordinate all these people, take decisions and communicate at the same time. Yor talked to Babajaga while she was still up to confirm what she had done. She had gone west one time too many and, realising it, stayed where she was, eventually falling there. That's what I'm talking about in one of my guides about "falling off." You need to stay where you are, even it it means falling.

So that put her in 5 and we were in 18. OOB is a weird place and I guess I had never paid too much attention to the map. Most of the times I was in OOB I wasn't close to any of the leaders and there were many others that knew OOB very well, so I never felt the need to 'understand' OOB before.

Yor asked for a route from 18 to 5 and back. I looked at the map and realised just how much I should have studied it more carefully and how much I wasn't prepared for that. There is a point in OOB where it's very hard to go back to earlier snells. I had not realised that before and I didn't see the solution at first, so Yor finally decided that it would be faster to get out of OOB, through the Orga Village [OV] and back. There is an exit from the OV that leads back to the Orga Camps [OC]. That meant the rescue team had to go through Snaggy again, and more importantly, though HH again. Quite a detour.

I really felt bad that I wasn't able to find a route in OOB. It's at these times that the leaders need help from people like me and I feel that I failed Yor in not providing a solution to that problem. I finally calmed down and tried to be more systematic in my approach to finding a route, but the rescue team had gone by then, after Callia's Strange Stone crumbled to dust. I did find a way, and I think it would have been better for everyone if we had taken that route and stayed in OOB, but I was just too late. Shame on me for not doing it faster.

The rescue team went while the rest of us waited in OOB. The problem was that new orgas had come into HH after we had passed through it and it was much harder than the first time. Too hard for the rescue team to make it alone, so the whole group joined them in OC and we made a second pass through HH, with Babajaga which had departed in the mean time.

We made a second pass through HH, much harder than the first, but still possible with the complete group. We went through OOB again, this time without any problems (except for Kirth who passed out and couldn't get up again and had to be dragged along).

DP was tough as usual, with many fighters falling badly. With Kirth asleep we missed Horus in many cases and had to use a huge number of red healing potions. After the usual fighter runs we decided to try the passage, with the two rods moving along. It went well up to the pathfinder's path but then things went bad. Many fell, some people with others already on chain. I tried to grab fallens and enter the path. I succeeded in entering the path but fell at the same time and that left those I was chaining on the wrong side of the path.

FHtrip2.gifI was one of the lucky few that was picked up on a chain and dragged to the FH. There were only a handful of us that made it, and as we felt all the others fall one after the other we understood that we wouldn't make it further in the FH this day. Mjolnir was able to raise all the fallen except for me. Sagramor was kind enough to use a potion on me, but it only raised me to 'quite' so I stayed fallen while we waited for the rescue of the others to begin.

When you fall into the DP, there usually are some orga magicians (the Zealots) that teleport you to the Orga Village (presumably to use your body in an unholy ritual). So the best thing to do is to wait until everyone gets 'ported' to OV and rescue them there. In the FH, we waited for the rescue team to get close to OV to join with them.

Once they were close to OV we went back into Snaggy and join forces with them. I was quickly raised and we saved everyone in OV and went back to town. It was a long day in the woods and a frustrating one, but it made me look at OOB more closely and in the future I'll be able to help find a route when such a situation occurs. I'm making a mak'ro to be able to find a route from any snell to any snell in OOB. I won't let my leader down when he needs me again.

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