Ever since the hard-working coldain, Agnor, had been apprenticed to her, Niami DenMother had started delegating most of the research requiring longer field trips. It wasn't that Mum hated field research, but that as she aged, she was enjoying the comforts of home more than she was enjoying learning about new things first-hand.
When she heard that adventurers were trickling into Ethernere to help save Norrath from a growing crises, she really wanted to delegate again this time. The multi-holiday craze was almost upon them, and a bit of rest would do her good. However, it was that same fact that the multi-holiday craze was almost upon them that made her change her mind. With the Heroes' Festival-Frostfell-Erollisi Day-Brewday-Bristlebane Day binge quickly approaching, she didn't want to suddenly realize that Bristlebane Day was right around the corner, and she'd not caused suitable mischief throughout the year. Bristlebritches was sure to give her grief when she least needed it, if she slacked on her worship of him! If she could cause mischief while also researching, so much the better!
So, she readied her armor and trailed after some adventurers who were checking out some of the odd local events. As they passed through The Thundering Steppes, the beginning of a plan took shape, and she eagerly grabbed up loose griffon feathers. She soon lost track of the adventurers she had been following around, but she wasn't worried. She'd find plenty of them later, when she was more ready for mischief.
Soon afterwards, the Duality summoned her to Feerrott, and once she was finished talking to him, she got to chat with the Truespirit Ravinus. Sadly, ethereal feathers wouldn't work for what she had in mind, or she would have tried to ... acquire ... a couple of of them while he was speaking with another adventurer. Somehow, she got the feeling he wouldn't have appreciated her form of mischief while dealing with such serious matters, and while it might have been fun to ruffle his feathers, so to speak, it was probably just as well that she saved her mischief for beings less likely to be able to swat her like a pesky gnat!
She had never been to Ethernere before (most living beings hadn't before the crisis began), but even to her inexperienced eyes things just seemed wrong. Very wrong. Pockets of strangeness, bits of Norrath leaking through, over-aggressive Harrowing Horde. It was a mess.
This, of course, led to adventurers in need of healers. One such small group was just heading out, with the intent to work their way towards the portal to Obol Plains. They were poorly-organized, poorly-equipped, and prone to wandering in several directions at once.
They were perfect for her plan.
"Och! I'm jus' up here trying tae talk tae some o' th' puir Wayward souls that seem tae be lost up here, an' I'll be happy tae help wi' heals, since I've nae set goal in mind. If any recipes drop, I'd love a chance tae try tae decipher them, though!"
They seemed pitifully eager to have her help, so off they all went, helping out the locals, searching for clues as to the underlying cause of the problems in Ethernere, and so forth.
The wizard, of course, was the first to fall, from running ahead of the group and getting mobbed by a bunch of lizardmen without proper backup.
Mum skidded to a stop next to him, yanked off his boots before anyone else could even blink, and brandished a griffon feather. Tickling his feet with wild abandon, she grinned like a maniac. "In th' name of Bristlebane, god o' mischief an' laughter, I call on ye tae get up! Go forth, an' giggle some more!"
Dourly, the snooty high elf got to his feet and stared down his nose at the giggling halfling. "I do NOT giggle. Nor do I guffaw, cackle, grin, nor chortle. I am a solid follower of Quellious, and I prefer tranquility and calm contemplation over such base displays of emotion."
He started to stalk away in a snit when Niami's dulcet singsong interrupted him. "Oh tallstuff, I think ye forgot something!" Blue eyes sparkling with mischief, she held up his boots.
Laughter from the rest of the party followed him as he yanked on his boots and stomped off without waiting for the rest of his companions to be ready. With a shrug, the ogre shadowknight took the lead and they headed off after the wizard ... again. And found him taking a dirtnap ... again.
Which, of course, brought on the tickle-rez ... again. "If ye're nae laughing, ye're nae living! Get up, brush off those robes, an' crack a smile now an' then!"
She thought smoke was going to come out of his sharply pointed ears.
A third time he stalked off without waiting for the group. A third time they arrived to find him pushing up daisies, as it were.
"Ye're a slow learner, mister grumpypants! Yuir face won't break if ye smile, but yuir armor WILL break soon if ye do nae stick wi' th' group a bit more! At least yuir feet are well-aired oot now!"
Uproarious laughter followed him as he left the group and teleported back to Norrath.
He may not have been appreciative of the joking lesson about being an amiable team player, but the half-elven swashbuckler was so amused at the byplay that he leaned heavily against a tree to get his laughter under control ... and promptly got swarmed by a bunch of lurking scorpions.
Poor Mum was giggling so hard by this time that she was unable to find enough breath to fire off a cure spell before the combined poison from them felled him.
"Och! I do be sorry aboot that, lad. Let's see what we can do tae fix ye up. I know!" While the shadowknight, the illusionist and the monk tried to still their giggles enough to hear her next words, Mum proceeded to apply feather to feet with gleeful abandon. "Up! Up! Ye can do it, Captain Tight-pants! Show me that winning smile!"
The illusionist was wheezing so hard from her giggling (in between checking out the aforementioned tight pants), that Mum suggested that her personae twin was going to have to give her mouth-to-mouth if she kept it up. Naturally, this led to even more hysterical laughter, and the poor gnome had to head back to the camp, clutching her aching ribs, supported by her twin.
The poor shadowknight lost it. Tears of hilarity were pouring down his large green face, and several straps on his armor broke as he rolled around on the ground, howling and chortling. Every time it looked like he was going to get his laughter under control, Mum would give him her best innocent look that she saved for these sorts of occasions, and he'd start up again. Of course, Mum made sure that she was standing well away from him at the time, since a flailing plate-clad ogre is a bit of a menace.
The kerra monk decided that the racket was likely to attract the attention of the Harrowing Horde, and that the party wasn't in any shape to defend themselves. He dropped to the ground, feigning death, but soon learned the hard way that feigning death around the Horde doesn't work very well when the mock-corpse's shoulders and whiskers are shaking that much from suppressed snickers.
When he regained consciousness, there were three brightly colored ribbons tied to the end of his tail.
He was last seen spinning in mad circles in the jungle as he chased his own tail.
By the time Mum was two-thirds of the way through the jungle, all her party members were scattered, and even her sturdy ribs were aching from all the laughter.
Her laughter stopped, however, when she reached the area where it seemed the plane of Fear was leaching through.
The nearest tree was just plain creepy. "Och! Do nae stare at me like that, or I'll ... I'll ... poke yuir eye out, I will!"
After avoiding all sorts of grumpy trees, gibbering fearlings and other aggressive beasts, she finally saw the structure that was supposed to lead to the Obol Plains. There was just one little problem.
She didn't know how it worked.
Clambering atop the low wall surrounding the tourbillion, she leaned precariously over the edge, peering down into the inside of the structure. She let out a loud shriek as a fearling snuck up behind her, and down she fell, arms and legs flailing as she tried to find something to prevent her from falling into the glowing well below the crystal.
A moment of disorientation followed, before she found herself standing, uninjured, in the Obol Plains. Hoping that nobody had seen her panic, she smoothed her clothes, and imitated one of her housecats with an "I meant to do that" look.
When she reached the small walled area known as Hallow Cleft, she knew it was time to end the mischief-making portion of her trip, at least for the moment, while she took a while to sort through the recipes that she had found, and to compile the notes she'd taken while conversing with some of the Wayward souls.
Following the sounds of hammer striking anvil, and much muttering, she found a lady-gnome doing something decidedly odd to a piece of armor.
"If I adjust the lines of the ornamentation like so, and reinforce this joint like that, the slight change in the wind resistance factor should modulate the dodge coefficient by a factor of .98432, give or take .00009. Don't you agree?"
Mum blinked as she realized the last bit was directed at her. "Well, um, it sounds impressive at least, but, what exactly are ye doing, lass?"
"Experimenting! What else is a curious gnome to do? I found these fabulous notes on how to improve the efficiency of weapons. It mentions that armor and accessories can be experimented on as well, but that part of the notes is almost unreadable, so I am trying to extrapolate and improvise! Here! See for yourself! This could make great strides in adventurer safety!"
Mum's blue eyes narrowed with concern as she scanned the battered and stained parchment. "Lass? Did ye see th' warning aboot th' danger o' explosive item destruction if ye're nae careful?"
"Piffle! Careful is my middle name! And I've already successfully experimented on this item four times without misha--
Niami wasn't sure if she should be glad or disappointed that the explosion only destroyed the armor item, and did not cause the overconfident gnome to need a tickle-rez. After a moment of thought, she decided she was glad, because it gave her more time to study the experimentation notes with a bit more detail before she had to hand them back.
While sharing her packed lunch with the Hallow Cleft furniture merchant, she finally hit upon a more efficient means of gathering recipes, and started in on a brewing and baking frenzy at the stove and keg. Soon enough, hungry adventurers started drifting into the building, following the smells of food and drink. "Och! If'n ye want summat tae eat or drink, I'll be glad tae trae some frae th' recipes that can be found in th' area ... Oh, aye, those be chocolate chip cookies ... Do they nae smell grand? Be a guid lad and scrounge up some blueprints an' such frae me, will ye? ... I'll set aside three dozen o' those cookies frae ye! ... Nae rum frae ye until after ye bring me th' recipe ye were talking aboot, else ye'll be tae drunk tae remember tae gi'e it tae me. Now, off wi' ye!"
Several hours later, her packs had been emptied of anything edible, including raw ingredients, and every last inch of space was taken up by parchments, scroll scraps, blueprints, and some interesting samples of refined resources.
She'd also filled the beseiged outpost with much laughter and merriment, as she recounted her tickling antics, and the reactions of her party members, to various adventurers who stopped by to repair their gear, bank, shop, and barter recipes for food.
As she was packing up to head back to Norrath, she overheard a pair of men discussing the merits of one type of feather over another for ressurections. She also had to scavenge up some strips from a damaged cloak to beribbon an envious iksar who seemed to feel that he had to show off the "proper" way to display tail-ribbons, with some impressive martial arts moves.
She may not have solved the mystery surrounded the odd goings-on in Ethernere, but she not only had a respectable new recipe collection, and may have earned enough "street cred" with Bristlebane that he'd go gently on her during her yearly holiday season chaos.
And if he was still inclined to send bad luck her way, well, she'd just have to find feathers large enough to tickle an avatar into submission!
Now that I have my standard beta warning out of the way, here is a bit of what you can expect on the crafting front when the expansion is released:
You will note that there aren't any new crafting quests, and new writs will not be available at expansion release. (They will come along later.) While this is a sad thing, a bit more time and attention were put into making sure that the new mechanics for refining, experimentation and mass production (tradeskill prestige lines) were soundly beaten into shape to go along with the 3-level increase. Those who have been regularly working with their tradeskill apprentices should, in theory, have plenty of progress and innovation potions to breeze through the leveling up process pretty easily, before they settle into learning their way around the new prestige abilities.
Your three recipe books for handcrafted items will be on crafting trainers as well as guildhall recipe vendors. They will follow the same naming as the other level 90+ recipe books, so you are searching through the vendor listings for "Grandmaster _______'s Basic Compendium, Volume III" (Then Volume IV for level 94, and Volume V for level 95). The "Grandmaster ____'s Advanced Compendium" books with the mastercrafted recipes will be mob drops out in the new content. Note that Provisioners will not have any advanced books this time.
Most of the remaining armor and weapons recipes that would normally fall into later parts of the tier (level 96+ recipes) have been smished down into these three levels, so folks can get full coverage. Here's a peek at the appearances:
|Handcrafted Woven, Cloth, Martial
(Druid leather, mage cloth, brawler leather)
|Mastercrafted Woven, Cloth, Martial|
(Druid leather, mage cloth, brawler leather)
Want a look at the level 93-95 furniture made from carpenter recipes? I thought you might!
When the expansion goes live, level 90+ treasured and better gear should be returning the new tier 10 adornment materials (frozen fragment, frozen powder, infusion of ice, and frozen mana). The recipes for the lesser adorns, Essential Adornments Volume 10, will be on the adorning vendors throughout Norrath. The Advanced Adornments Volume 10 book with the greater/superior recipes will be mob dropped out in the new content.
You will find one soul trap recipe has been auto-added to each of the tier 3 and up adornment books. (You won't have to do anything special - if you scribed the book already, the recipes will appear on Tuesday in your recipe listing.) These recipes will only take powders and fragments, so it will be pretty easy to hit the ground running and provide green adorns even for lower-level adventurers.
In addition to these basic soul traps, there will be 12 high-end (level 90+ gear) soul trap recipes that are drops. These fancier soul traps will not only have lovely primary stats, but a bunch of blue stats targeted at one of the four adventuring classes. (Fortified for tanks, Consecrated for priests, Arcanic for mages, Sheen for scouts.) They will come in crude, refined and prime, based on which astral material they use as a primary ingredient. (Each will also require a tungsten ore, among other things.) These 12 recipes, and the astral material will be drops. (I know the astral material is dropping in the advanced solo instances, and suspect the recipes might be from there as well.) When searching on the broker for these recipes, they will be named: "Imprint: Crude ___ Soul Trap", "Imprint: Refined ___ Soul Trap" and "Imprint: Prime ___ Soul Trap".
In addition to these wormhole generators, there will be two dropped recipes for adornment dislodgers. The Basic Adornment Dislodger, which will also require a tungsten ore, 5 infusion of ice, and 5 frozen powder, will allow a player to remove a single adornment from an item. This will destroy* the item, but leave you with the adornment. The Advanced Adornment Dislodger, which will also require a tungsten ore, 2 frozen mana and 2 infusion of ice, will remove all adorments from an item, and also destroy* the item. (If the item is able to fit in an appearance slot, it is currently being turned into an appearance-only version of the item, in case you want to keep the look.)
Why, if they use such expensive materials to make, and destroy the item, would you want to use one of these? Hard-to-find red or yellow adorns may be worth the cost. Green adorns that you have put a lot of effort into leveling up would be another possible candidate. Last, but not least, there will now sometimes be gear that drops with an adornment already in it. If the item isn't one that you can use on any of your adventurers, but the adornment within it is valuable enough to you, you might feel the expense and item loss is worth it. In other words, it is unlikely that this will cut into the demand for white adornments, since it isn't cost efficient to remove white adorns for reuse.
At the same time this is going on, many tinkered items that were tinkerer-only, and/or no-trade, are going to become tradeable and useable by any, which should really increase the demand for certain tinkered goodies. The Mechanized Platinum Repository of Reconstruction ("mender bot") will NOT have the tinkerer-only requirement removed, however.
There is some buyable furniture in Hallow Cleft, in a gallery here. While this has nothing to do with crafting, I figured the housing junkies would be interested, and Nytefyre was kind enough to put together the icons for me at the last minue! (Thanks!)
It is very, very likely that I have missed ... something ... while trying to do the brain dumps needed to get this preview in order. If there are any updates after I have published and publicized this article, they will be noted below.