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Summer Solstice 2018

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Summer Solstice Event
Year 2018
Date From June 15
Date To July 5
Main Organisers Shadowfax
Theme corruption
The Summer Solstice Celebration 2018 was an event that ran its course through latter half of the month of June until the 4th of July and is the sixth such event of its kind. This year's theme was "corruption". The event presented two versions of the famous Puzzlewood Forest, and narrated the story of how Valront became a god in the pantheon of Alter Aeon in place of Taran. The event was organized by Shadowfax, with assistance from Draak.

Pre-event

Traps were introduced just before the event and were featured in a few of the event areas.

Schedule

The main story event areas were single player autolevelling areas (beginning at level 5) and thus could be completed players of any level.

Date Summary
June 15 Act 1 of the main story began. Both versions of the Puzzlewood were opened. Draak released the Rolling Wilds, Crepuscula, a re-worked area from last year's summer event.
June 23 Act 2 of the main story was released.
June 29 Act 3 of the main story was released.
July 5 Draak released the Apiarch Hive, Crepuscula. End all events and close event areas.

History

The concept for this event began in February of 2018, when it was decided that Valront, as reward for his many years of service to the game, could join the pantheon. Dentin stated that some of kind of event was necessary to usher in this change in the pantheon. In March, the story that Valront, as per his intention of becoming the god of corruption, would gain entry into the pantheon by replacing an existing god was invented by Kagome. Details were finalized and approved in April. Shadowfax began construction of the event areas in late May.

Story

Current Event Information
------------------------------------------------------------------
The sixth annual Summer Solstice Celebration has begun!

The main event involving the Church of Taran can be started by typing
'event start 140'.  It is appropriate for players of all levels. Although
the event areas refer to actual places within the game, you can only access
event zones via the 'event start' command.

Due to popular demand, not one but TWO versions of the Puzzlewood Forest
are available for play!  One is a high level group area with waves of
monsters of increasing strength called "Shooting the Curl", and the other
is a single player autolevelling area called "Endless Waltz". 

To complete the "Shooting the Curl" challenge, you must survive 41 waves of
monsters.  They need not be consecutive, but if a "Shooting the Curl"
instance washes, then the waves will restart at Wave 0 in any new instance.
You receive credit for slaying monsters that are of equal or greater wave
than the quest you're currently working toward.  For example, if you are
working on Wave 2 (as indicated in your 'quests' command) and join a group
that is working on Wave 10, then you will receive credit for Wave 2.

For the "Endless Waltz" version of the Puzzlewood,  you must defeat 1500
monsters.  Monsters in the "Endless Waltz" area will autolevel to be a
challenge for your level but will not increase in strength (unless you
level up).  You can leave the area and start a new instance at will, and
will pick up where you left off in the monster death count.

The final quest of each Puzzlewood area will yield a ring of endless
possibilities, an item that will scale to your level and can be randomized
on demand.
------------------------------------------------------------------
(see 'show schedule' for a schedule of events)

Current display mode: IN_PROGRESS

There are open event areas!  Use the 'event list' command to see them.

Areas

The two Puzzlewood versions were:

  • The Puzzlewood Forest - Endless Waltz (108)
  • The Puzzlewood Forest - Shooting the Curl (137)

The main story event areas were:

  • The Tower of Hagar - City of Darcadia (140)
  • Central Ash Mountains (141)
  • Draj Salt Mine (142)
  • The Reliquary of the Usurper - Baronetcy of Anchorhead (143)
  • The back alleys of Elborat (144)
  • The Arcadian Docks (145)
  • In the hills near Finspang (146)
  • Yuan-ti Island (147)
  • A box canyon in the Dunn Hurr (148)
  • Island of Granada (149)
  • The Borderlands (150)

141, 142 and 150 were full-sized areas, while the others were mini-areas of about 10 rooms each except for 143, which was about 30 rooms.

Quests

The following visible event quests were displayed on the 'event list' command:

Current Event Quests:

Vnum   Name
--------------------------------------------------------
63501  Gathered dogmalite pebbles for Lord Vox
63502  Gathered cursainium for Lord Vox
63503  Ran errands for Lord Vox to advance the cause of Taran's church
63504  Retrieved the Staff of the Serpent
63505  Attended the Godsmoot on behalf of the Church of Taran
63506  Slew the dissident priest Karf on behalf of Lord Vox
63507  Slew the dissident priest Betrayus the Bold on behalf of Lord Vox
63508  Retrieved the artifact known as "the Corrupter" for Lord Vox
63510  Vanquished the dissident cultists of Taran in the name of Lord Vox
30581  Killed 100 monsters in the Puzzlewood Forest - Endless Waltz event of 2018
30585  Killed 500 monsters in the Puzzlewood Forest - Endless Waltz event of 2018
30590  Killed 1000 monsters in the Puzzlewood Forest - Endless Waltz event of 2018
30595  Killed 1500 monsters in the Puzzlewood Forest - Endless Waltz event of 2018
30830  Completed Wave 0 of the Puzzlewood Forest - Shooting the Curl event of 2018
30840  Completed Wave 10 of the Puzzlewood Forest - Shooting the Curl event of 2018
30850  Completed Wave 20 of the Puzzlewood Forest - Shooting the Curl event of 2018
30860  Completed Wave 30 of the Puzzlewood Forest - Shooting the Curl event of 2018
30870  Completed Wave 40 of the Puzzlewood Forest - Shooting the Curl event of 2018

The first two quests belonged to Act 1, while the next two were part of Act 2. The remaining quests for Lord Vox were released as Act 3.

Act 1

For Act 1, Lord Vox had players collect dogmalite and cursainium. Both areas were populated by aggressive monsters.

Lord Vox says, 'An adventurer has needed my call!  How wonderful!  Yes,
everything you have heard is true.  I am overjoyed at the prospect of
spreading the word of Taran throughout the land!  He has long been
underappreciated but we'll change that!

'If you are committed to the cause, then I have a task that needs doing.  I
require a rare stone called dogmalite.  It can only be found in a single
location high up in the Ash Mountains, and it is so rare that only pebbles
of the stuff can ever be found.  I require ten sample for my plans.

'Oh, and the location where the dogmalite can be found is guarded by a
fierce tribe of dire corbies.  That's why I haven't gotten any yet, you
see.  The Morian dwarves keep making me promises but they never deliver.

'You should be able to find enough dogmalite lying around, as the dire
corbies mine it themselves.  However, if you're so inclined and have the
skill to do so, you could mine some of it yourself.  Give any samples you
find to my servant Amlici.'
Amlici says, 'Very good.  You will want to speak with his lordship once you
have given me ten samples of dogmalite pebbles to complete your quest.'
Lord Vox says, 'Done already?  Splendid!  Somehow I knew I could count on
you.  When you're ready, I have another task that needs doing.'
Lord Vox says, 'Oh, how the work of Taran should go forward!  But, I need a
rare metal, yes, a very rare one indeed.  It is called cursainium.  I need
ten strips of the stuff.  It is mined in only one place that I known of,
that place is Draj.

'Of course, there is one little snafu with getting the stuff and why I
haven't done it already, and that is because the Draj mine has been overrun
with undead.  Yes, they drove out the miners and no one has gotten anything
done there for some time.  But, since there are no miners involved, there
is no one to stop you from entering the mine and just taking some
cursainium, right?  I'm sure you can handle a few zombies.  You may be able
to mine the stuff yourself if you dig deep enough, but the miners probably
left a bunch lying around in their swift flight from the mine.  Bring the
cursainium to my servant Amlici.'
Amlici says, 'Very good.  You should inform his lordship of your success
once you have given me ten strips of cursainium to complete your quest.'
Lord Vox says, 'Splendid job!  That's all I have for now, my servants will
be working with the stuff you've brought me.  Talk to me again soon and
I'll have more for you to do!'

Act 2

During Act 2, players were introduced to six priests of Taran and ran various errands among them.

Lord Vox says, 'Oh, so you ready for more to do?  Let the work of Taran go
forward then!  My men are finished working on the stone and metal you
brought in earlier, so it's time to make some deliveries!

'My sculptor made some lovely little snake-shaped statue to donate to our
more established urban shrines.  Take this statue to Karf.  She runs the
Reliquary of the Usurper in Anchorhead.  You can't miss it, it's the
biggest thing in town.  Well, besides Castle Anchorhead.  So, second
biggest.

'Anyway, so Karf has some thing locked up tight in the reliquary.  Trust
me, you do not want to mess with it if you don't have to, that thing is
full of guardians and has traps up the wazoo.  You do not want to go in
there.  Not yet, at least.

'If you lose the statue, give 100 gold to my sculptor and he'll make you
another one.  But try not to lose it.'
Karf says, 'So, this is a gift from the now very famous Lord Vox?  It is an
unusual color, but not a terribly inspiring design.  Maybe I'll find a
place for it in the atrium.'
Lord Vox says, 'All right, here is another statue.  This one is for our
priest in Elborat.  His name is Cezoram.  You'll find his shrine in the bad
part of town.  Don't be afraid to throw a few punches.

'Like before, if you lose the statue, give 100 gold to my sculptor and
he'll fashion you another.  But don't make a habit of it, okay?'
Cezoram says, 'A donation from Lord Vox of Darcadia, eh?  Well, I did hear
that he was rich.  Maybe he'll put his money where his mouth is.  I don't
have much space so I guess I'll put it right on the altar here.  That looks
nice.'
Lord Vox says, 'Very good.  Take this statue to Korihor in Arcadia.  His
shrine is by the docks.  It should be a safe walk.  Arcadia is disgustingly
orderly.

'I said it before, and I'll say it again.  If you lose the statue, you can
get another by giving 100 gold to the sculptor downstairs.  He'll make you
another with no fuss.'
Korihor says, 'Well well, what do we have here?  It's nice to be
appreciated.  I thought the church of Taran had pretty much forgotten about
me.  I was thinking of packing up and hitting the road, but maybe I'll stay
a while longer.'
Lord Vox says, 'For our priests living in the wilderness, I had these
branding irons made.  A brand from one of these is guaranteed to bring the
wearer good fortune.  I figured our more rustic petitioners would find the
brands more appealing than a boring old statue.

'Take this one to Zerahemnah.  He's a wandering priest that happens to be
near Finspang.

'If you lose the branding iron, give 100 gold to my blacksmith and he'll
make you another.  And another and another.  But please don't keep losing
them.'
Zerahemnah says, 'Woah.  A magic branding iron, for like, tattoos and
stuff.  I love tattoos!  Thanks, dude.  I can stamp some of the digesters
and dinos running around here with this baby.'
Lord Vox says, 'Next we have a branding iron for Kishkumen.  He's a
yuan-ti, but don't be scared of him.  His countrymen, however, are not so
friendly.  It doesn't really matter how many you kill, they'll just raid
the mainland for captives and make more yuan-ti.  It's the circle of life!

'If you lose the branding iron, give 100 gold to my blacksmith downstairs
and he'll forge you another one lickety-split.'
Kishkumen says, 'Wow, you came all the way from Darcadia to give me this? 
I'll have to get to know this Lord Vox sometime.  This branding iron will
be perfect for these dunderheads.  Tell him thanks for me.'
Lord Vox says, 'How nice.  And now we have one more branding iron destined
for Betrayus the Bold.  You'll find him in a cave hidden in a box canyon
from off from the Gauntlet.  Tell him I sent you.  And watch out for the
wereserpents.

'Oh, and in case you forget and lose your branding iron, you can get
another one by giving the blacksmith downstairs 100 gold.'
Betrayus the Bold says, 'So, Lord Vox, who recently converted to our
church, sent me, one of his priests, a branding iron.  What am I supposed
to do with this?  I guess I'll accept it, but I don't understand it.'
Lord Vox says, 'Very good, I am impressed with your efficiency.  I just got
word that Karf is looking for a courier to bring a letter to Cezoram.  That
courier should be you!

'I'd like you to help out, but with one teensy weensy caveat.  Instead of
taking the scroll directly to Cezoram, I want you to bring it here to me
first.  Then we'll send it off to Cezoram.  No harm in taking a little peek
to find out what's the latest news in the Church of Taran, right?'
Karf says, 'Yeah, I remember you.  I'm trusting you to deliver this scroll.
Don't lose it.  I mean it.  Don't lose the scroll, but if you do lose it,
give me 100 gold and I'll write another one.'
Lord Vox gingerly takes the scroll and with a flick of the wrist, the seal
holding it rolled up neatly separates.  He then unfurls the scrolls and
very quickly speedreads it from top to bottom before rolling it back up. 
With a few magic words, the seal is re-done, and it looks as if nothing had
happened.

Lord Vox says, 'Okay, I saw that I needed to see.  Go ahead and take this
to Cezoram now.'
Cezoram says, 'Hey, thanks! Aren't you the one that Vox sent over earlier?
It's hard to find good help nowadays.  Tell him I said 'hi'.'
Lord Vox says, 'Now that the priesthood of Taran has had a little time to
process the gifts I sent them, it's time to follow up and see how they are
doing.  I've collected donations for the church and need them distributed
to the various priests.  We'll keep this simple and just go down the list
one by one.  The first sack is for Karf in the Reliquary of the Usurper in
Anchorhead.  My stars, that place has a funny name, doesn't it?

'If you lose the sack, you can give me 100 gold coins for another one.  I
am extremely wealthy, don't you know?  I mean, obscenely wealthy.  Believe
it.'
Karf says, 'I'll be sending this back, along with that cock-eyed statue he
sent me.  You can tell him.  I didn't like what it was doing to my
congregation.  I had people wandering in here and staring at the thing
slackjawed like they were on drugs.  Anyway, I did some research and
discovered that the stone that the statue is made of, dogmalite, has a
subtle but dangerous mind-controlling influence like scrith.  My shrine
stands on its own.  I don't need that kind voodoo to keep worshippers.'
Lord Vox says, 'So Karf is going to send my generous gifts back?  How
disappointing.  Oh well, no use crying over spilt milk.  On to the next
priest, which would be Cezoram in Elborat.

'Oh, I know I sound like a broken parrot but if you lose the sack of
donations, you can give me 100 gold coins to get another one.  Honestly I
don't know adventurers lose anything anyway, with their backpacks and
haversacks and pocket dimensions and whatnot.'
Cezoram says, 'Now he's sending me money, too?  Wow, maybe I'll actually be
able to afford to rent a bigger place.  You can tell Lord Vox that he can
visit me anytime!'
Lord Vox says, 'Well, the response from Cezoram is just the sort I'm
looking for.  Let the glory of Taran go forth!  Take this sack of donations
to Korihor in Arcadia.

'Oh, and you know the drill.  If you lose the sack, give me 100 gold coins
for another one.  Try not to lose it, though.'
Korihor says, 'I've had tons more visitors in here ever since Lord Vox sent
me that statue.  I've even had native Arcadians come visit me.  The
donations are rolling in. but I'll happily take what you're giving me, too.
I don't know what Vox's angle is, but I like the direction that the Church
of Taran is heading.'
Lord Vox says, 'This sack of donations is for Zerahemnah.  Now I know he's
more of the aesthetic type, but a little more gold never hurt nobody!

'As with the others, if you lose your sack, give me 100 gold and I'll give
you another.'
Zerahemnah says, 'This is for me?  I appreciate the gesture.  I really do. 
Tell Lord Vox that the branding iron has worked out swell, dude.'  He
points to all of the brands all over his body and continues, 'Works for me!
My luck has never been better.'
Lord Vox say, 'Well, well, well.  I'm glad that's working out for him. 
Let's take a sack of donations to Kishkumen over there on Yuan-ti Island
and see what he has to say.

'I do tire of saying so, but if you lose the sack, you can give me 100 gold
to get another one.  Just try not to lose it to begin with, okay?'
Kishkumen says, 'Holy snakes!  With this kind of dough, I can run this
dumpy island.  You tell Lord Vox that I'm with him one hundred percent.'
Lord Vox says, 'Delightful response from Kishkumen.  Now, there's one more
task to be done before I pay you.  Take this sack of donations to Betrayus
the Bold.

'And if you lose the sack, give me 100 gold and blah blah blah you know the
drill.'
Betrayus the Bold says, 'I consulted with the elders and they told me that
this cursainium stuff is.. well, cursed.  Not only that, but the icon on
the brand looks like a snake but isn't an officially recognized icon of
Taran.  I'll take the money, but I'm not using these branding irons on
anyone.  I have some serious doubts about the sincerity of this Lord Vox
person, and you should, too.  I trust him about as far as I can kick him.'
Lord Vox says, 'Betrayus' response is disappointing.  Hrm.  That should do
for now.  Seems like I'm getting a feel for who is with me and who is
against me.'

Act 2 climaxed with breaking into the Reliquary of the Usurper to steal the Staff of the Serpent.

Lord Vox says, 'The Church of Taran has an artifact known as the Staff of
the Serpent that serves as a badge for the office of high priest.  I need
to borrow it.  I don't think Karf will cooperate, and there's no need to
involve her.  Or mention any of this to her.  Anyway, the staff is kept in
the western tower.  I don't have a key to get in, but I'm sure you can pick
the lock on the front door.

'If by some chance you lose the staff before bringing it to me, you can go
run another one.  They'll replace it as soon as they discover that it is
missing.'

Once the player gave the staff to Lord Vox, he said the following:

Lord Vox says, 'Yup, that's it.  Come back later and talk to me.  I'll let
you in on what's really going on.'

Act 3

Act 3 opened with the player travelling to the Island of Granada to attend the Godsmoot.

Lord Vox says, 'Taran has been the most under-appreciated god in the High
Pantheon.  It occurred to me when I converted that there had to be a reason
for this.  And what I concluded was that it was through no fault of his own
that Taran is not widely worshipped.  It had to be the priesthood
leadership.  I vowed from that moment forward that not only would I work
tirelessly to advance the cause of Taran, but I also would take command of
his church in order to bring his teachings to every part of the world and
see to it that my vision was carried out.

'The greatest obstacle that the church faces is its current high priest, a
dark elf named Amulon, who has held his position ever since Taran joined
the High Pantheon.  He's very old and very stubbron, and also too mired in
his foibles to ever change.  You've demonstrated a willingness to steal and
kill for me, so I trust you with this task.

'One of the other priests tipped Amulon off of my rising influence, and he
has called a Godsmoot to discuss the issue with representatives of the
other faiths.  You must take the Staff of the Serpent, travel to the Island
of Granada, kill Amulon and take his place at the Godsmoot.  The other
priests will ask you if there are any problems within our church.  You must
answer 'no' in all cases.  Here is the staff.  It's time for a little
role-playing.'
(Now that Amulon is dead, head north and enter the Godsmoot.  You must
carry the Staff of the Serpent to show that you are the representative of
Taran.  If you lose it, you can run another one.  Remember to say 'no' when
asked if there are any problems within the Church of Taran.)

After slaying Amulon, the player proceeded to the northern part of the island where the Godsmoot was to take place. Guarding the spot was a paladin of the Silver Flame, who refused to let the player pass without the Staff of the Serpent to prove that he was the official representative of the church of Taran. Arguing outside of the Godsmoot was a priest of Pyrenius and an underpriestess of Seth. (Pyrenius was the false fire god behind the fire plane invasion during the first Summer Solstice event six years ago. Seth is the serpent god of the Naginag Combine. If plans for Valront had fallen through, then Seth would have replaced Taran on the pantheon.)

To complete this stage, the player had to simply answer 'no' during the Godsmoot to the two questions posed to him concerning the state of affairs of the church of Taran. If the player remained after that point, he would see a vote cast by the attending priests to bar the priesthood of Pyrenius from attending the Godsmoot indefinitely. The player could even cast a vote, but with the other votes being three 'yes' to one 'no', his vote didn't affect the outcome.

(You have completed your goal.  Return the Staff of the Serpent to Lord Vox
in order to finish the quest.)
Lord Vox says, 'I'll take that.  Looks like you fooled them.  Moving on,
then.'

Lord Vox then had the player assassinate the two priests of Taran that weren't cooperating with his plans.

Lord Vox says, 'Taran's priests have had some time to simmer and I think
that they are ripening.  Alas, however, it would seem not of them share my
vision for the Church of Taran.  Karf did indeed send her statue and
donations back to me like she said she would.  She thinks she's so great
because she runs the biggest shrine of Taran around and that she doesn't
need me.  Well, truth be told, it is I who doesn't need her.  Go show her
who's boss.'
(Talk to Lord Vox to inform him that Karf is dead.)
Lord Vox says, 'That will teach the little brat a lesson, though I'm sure
some idiot will come by and resurrect her.'
Lord Vox says, 'It would seem that Betrayus is living up to his name.  He
and his wereserpents have failed to fall under my sway.  Hunt him and kill
him.  Nothing must interfere with my plans!'
(Talk to Lord Vox to inform him that Betrayus is dead.)
Lord Vox says, 'Well, I think I sent a pretty clear message, don't you?  I
have another task for you.'

Lord Vox has you return to the Draj Salt Mine to retrieve an item of great power: the Corrupter.

Lord Vox says, 'There is a little item hidden at the bottom of the Draj
Salt Mine that I require.  You may or may not have encountered it the first
time that you were there, but all of the undead that freed themselves when
the miners dug so deep are actually the first line of defense for Draj's
lair.  Yes, the legendary Draj may have indeed been slain by Ilsidur but
the Naginag Combine never found her hoard, and, boy, did they look for a
long time.  Of course, they don't know that and you probably want to keep
that little details to yourself.

'Search around the tunnel where the salt vampire is.  You should find a
stone slab that you can open.

'There is hollow gold tube covered with clear gems deep in the lair.  It is
called, "the Corruptor".  Draj collected it eons ago but I don't think she
ever knew what it was exactly.  I do, however, and I want you to get and
bring it to me.  What's left of Draj's brood and guardians fight over the
scraps of her hoard, so one of them might be carrying it around.

'Oh, and you really need to get this one yourself.  No cheating this time. 
If you lose it, go run another one.'

By "no cheating", Lord Vox meant that the player actually had to get one himself. He couldn't have someone else do it like with the Staff of the Serpent.

(This is the item that Lord Vox wants.)

Once the player gave the Corrupter to Lord Vox, he was treated to the following scene:

Lord Vox takes the Corrupter and slides it over the Staff of the Serpent. 
He then twists the gold tube until a loud click is heard, accompanied by a
burst of magic sparks.  Looking very satisfied with himself, Lord Vox
places the newly combined staff in a pocket dimension and takes a minute to
savor the moment before addressing you.

Lord Vox then assigned the player his final quest:

Lord Vox says, 'All remaining acolytes of Taran that oppose me have
gathered in the Borderlands.  It's time to make the big push.  Sweep them
from the land.  Brook no quarter.

'You can't leave off and pick up on this one.  All of the cultists must be
killed in a single instance.  They're divided up between several valleys
and are not well organized.'

Players had to enter the instance and kill all 24 enemies in one go. They consisted of 18 cultists divided into groups of three, with each group favoring a different class. The other enemies were gray render guards. Once all of the dissident cultists were dead, players received the following vague instructions:

(Return to the Tower of Hagar to receive your reward.)

Upon returning to the Tower of Hagar, the player would discover that Lord Vox was no longer there. Lady Hagar would explain that he had left unexpectedly. The player had to talk to the servant at the bottom of the tower to complete the quest.

Amlici says, 'I'm sorry Lord Vox wasn't here to meet you, but he has
authorized these funds to be given you upon the completion of your task.  I
don't know where he went or what he's doing, but he said that you will have
changed the world as we know it forever going forward.  I suppose now that
only priests loyal to him remain, my lord will have no trouble taking over
the church of Taran, but I'm only guessing.  Perhaps we'll soon discover
his meaning.'

Upon completion of the final quest, in addition to gold and experience, players gained a wand of disbelief, a level 36 wand of 'curse ward'.

Puzzlewood Quests

Two versions of the Puzzlewood were available, each with its own set of quests.

The solo version was named "Endless Waltz", a name borrowed from the once-popular Gundam Wing sequel, that alludes the seemingly never-ending flow of enemies.

The group version was named "Shooting the Curl", a reference to surfer-speak where a curl is a wave and shooting it means to ride it with one's surfboard. Enemies on this board arrived in waves, hence the name.

Notes

The event was originally scheduled to begin June 8th.

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