Posted by: Sean | March 3, 2009

Caverns of Time Gnomeregan: Phase 1 Encounters

[continues from this post]

Phase 1: Investigation

Lead into Gnomeregan via the Caverns of Time, the players find themselves in a small tunnel that attaches to the Hall of Gears, upper level. Walking along, they will see a balcony that overlooks the battle lines of the war against the troggs. (Much like in the Old Hillsbrad Foothills, everyone who is not a gnome will be in disguise as one.) Gnomish soldiers wearing psuedo sci-fi armor battle the troggs back with rifles and grenades, with only a short distance between the front line of battle and the Hall of Gears, wherein gnomes continue their day to day lives. (The juxtaposition should be shocking.) Despite the danger, the gnomes seem to be holding two lines of troggs (the path forks) well.

What happens next will depend upon the number of players in the raid.

10 man instance: As they near the balcony, the players will be met by Chromie, who has quickly stepped in to give the player some reminder of their goals. They need to find out how the Infinite Dragonflight are planning to disrupt the situation in Gnomeregan. She offers a quest that will have them attempt to find proof of what really happened in Gnomeregan, to begin investigating what should change. The party can then split up, if need be, to explore the instance and see what’s going on. The end goal of the quest will be to find a shifty gnome (named “Joey Roostburg”) hanging around with a lot of explosive barrels. This guy ends the quest and starts the next one, which is to follow him through the tunnels of Gnomeregan while keeping a certain distance. If successfully achieved, the small gnome rushes into a locked door in the Hanger, fumbling it open but dropping his key in the process before slamming it shut. The key may be looted by all members of the raid – Enabling the first phase of the instance to be skipped in future runs.

25 man instance: Instead of Chromie, the group will be met by Col. Sherry P. Hopper (Since both are female gnomes, their silhouettes will be identical) who will declare, “All right, you lot! You’ve been drafted! WHAT’S THAT? Sorry, soldier, you don’t GET to complain! You’re already armed, and we need all available hands to hold back the troggs! Report to Captain Tapper on the field of battle! Get to it!”

Gribblefang:

Level 80 Elite:

Apx. 15 million health, but flees when pushed below 9 million.

Attacks: Cleave, as per the warrior ability.
Whirlwind, as per the warrior ability.
Thunderclap, as per the warrior ability but with an added knockback effect. The attack knocks back pretty far, and resets aggro, which means he may latch onto casters if they’re standing too close.

Strategy: Apart from his thunderstomp knockback, he’s a pretty standard tank and spank. Given his (effective) low health and easy strategy, he’s meant mainly as flavour and to set up a later encounter.

Captain Tapper is available in a new cave of the instance, located on the ground floor of the Hall of Gears. He directs the players into a combat zone with a quest that requires them to hold the cave’s line against a small army of troggs. Most of these will be trash mobs, but the final challenge will be Gribblefang, a massive, mutant trogg and the instance’s first boss. During this battle there will be gnomish NPC soldiers also running around, occasionally saluting and cheering on the PCs as they fight. During the fight with Gribblefang, they will not assist but will hold off troggs still charging the tunnel, giving the players a clear fight against Gribblefang.

When Gribblefang falls, the gnomes will say, “Hey! Look what Major Burner had here!” and gather around one fallen gnomish soldier. Looting his body will give the same key that Joey Roostburg dropped, a number of explosives (vendor trash, but with flavour text saying “These could drop a whole tunnel!”), a “crumpled note”, (More vendor trash, flavour text, “Secret HQ off West Hanger! Don’t forget!”) and some appropriate loot for Gribblefang that I haven’t worked out yet.

After their initial contact, the raid will have free run of Gnomeregan. Nearly everything in the instance is easily accessible and available from the world go. Only the final tunnel run from the Tinker’s Court to the Loading Dock is still concealed. Everything that the fans remember from the first instance can be discovered now. There are vendors from whom you may buy equipment, schematics and recipes. A number of gnomes may be spoken with, revealing worry and fear over the attacks. This is the first of our attempts to free up the instance for role-playing encounters, as the raid has free run over the instance to begin with, letting the explore and run scenes. Eventually, they can use the key in the hidden door in the Western Hanger. This is what will trigger phase two of the game.

As the players enter the hidden room, Joey Roostburg will be in there if it’s the ten man version. He’ll scream, “NO! We’ve been discovered!” and attack. He’s easily beaten. However, the hidden room has a view to the Tinker’s Court, where they can view the following scene…

Mekkatorque: No no no, Sicco! Your plan is too risky.
Thermaplugg: Listen to reason, High Tinker! The troggs come back at us stronger every day. We need to use my secret weapon now, and end this once and for all! Open the vents!
Mekkatorque: Not as long as the line holds, Sicco. Our soldiers remain strong. Gnomeregan holds firm.
Thermaplugg: Dammit, Gelbin! How many soldiers must die before you listen to reason?
[a messenger runs in]
Messenger: High Tinker! We’ve lost tunnel #2! Somehow the troggs found some old mining explosives and our men were caught in the explosion! We’re overrun!
Thermaplugg: We have no time, High Tinker!
Mekkatorque: Pull all soldiers back! Begin evacuations! And… open the vents. I hope you’re right about those cleaning systems, Sicco Thermaplugg. May luck be with us.     

The scene ends with Mekkatorque running to switch on the vents. The players may now leave the room and find Gnomeregan has greatly changed…

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