Pibgorn!

Update 5 gave us a new instrument to play around with, the pibgorn!

If you thought theorbos were obscure, well, theorbos are obscure but they’ve got nothing on pibgorns.
I only found out about the pibgorn recently when I was doing research for my minstrel instrument article, and I like to think I know a good many obscure and archaic instruments.
The pibgorn is a Welsh hornpipe (leeks, pibgorns, the Dunlending language — someone at Turbine has been reading a lot about Wales). The instrument looks like a wooden flute with cattle horns stuck on either end. The smaller horn is a mouthpiece, you blow into it and it funnels the air into the reed. The larger horn serves as an amplifier.

A real pibgorn  sounds somewhat like a bagpipe with not unpleasant hints of kazoo and harmonica.  As for how the LotRO pibgorn sounds,  lotrostrategery  said it “sounds part synth, part violin, part stepping on cats”. There’s also something  screwy with the scale, a few of the notes are not the notes they should be, but I’ve bug reported it and I’m hoping it will be fixed soon.

December 17th edit:
this post has been added to the main minstruments article, rendering that article once again a complete listing of all the instruments in the game.

Fine Grey Company Tunic (which makes elves look fat)

The short version:
The new cosmetic clothing looks great, but why can’t it fit the way it should?!

The verbose version:
Look at my guardian in his brand new, shiny Fine Grey Company Tunic (and the associated gloves and boots, all quest rewards from volume 3, chapter 5). Doesn’t he look awesome? He’s big and strong and handsome.

Except one tiny detail is wrong, my Guardian isn’t big and strong (don’t tell him I said that, he is a Guardian after all and he has an image to uphold. But he is handsome, you can tell him that much).

Here’s my Guardian wearing the Long-sleeved Lórien Tunic and Pants (Galadhrim rep reward available from the barterer at Cerin Amroth).

The Lórien tunic is ordinary clothing, not armour, and so you can see the Guardian’s build. He has a waist which would make Victorian girls green with envy.
The Ranger tunic is also ordinary fabric clothing. It should fit the same way. And yet when this Elf wears the Ranger tunic, he pretty much doesn’t have a waist.

Now, we can talk all day about how male elves are girly and if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but that’s beside the point. If the Guardian has a visible wasp waist, the Guardian should have a visible wasp waist unless he’s wearing bulky armour which would render such a waist invisible.

The Robe of the Learned Stag also looks un-Elvishly bulky on a male Elf, but that was just one piece. Now we have two (three, if you count the other Ranger tunic which is the same thing in a different colour) fabric cosmetics which fundamentally change the character’s build. When I scrolled that “body type” slider over towards the left, it was because I wanted a twig-man character, not so some robe could turn my twig-man into Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’m not sure what to think of this trend.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I do like the new ranger cosmetics, I think my guard looks great in them and he’s been wearing them all over Dunland for the past two days. But in the end it’s just dress-up clothes, like the cowboy robe, and I go back to the Loth tunic for lounge-wear and blue Elven steel armour for tanking.

New ABC file

Not much of a post. I made an ABC file for Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Seventeen Come Sunday and felt the need to share the link.

http://www.thefatlute.com/viewsong.aspx?songid=8450

Although it’s a two-part song, the melody part plays well solo.

A Dunlending Lexicon OR All the Welsh Turbine will make you wish you knew

“Yet there are many that cry in the Dunland tongue,” said Gamling. “I know that tongue. It is an ancient speech of men, and once was spoken in many western valleys of the Mark.”

The Dunlendings are supposed to evoke a flavour of pre-Roman Britain and their culture and manner of dress is obviously inspired by the Celts. In The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien only gives us one word from the Dunlending language (forgoil is a term used to refer to the Rohirrim, it seems to mean Strawheads), which leaves Turbine with as much room to play around as they could wish. In Tolkien’s books the Rohirrim are very like the Anglo-Saxons, and Gondor has a good deal in common with Rome; after the Dunlendings had been in Dunland and what is now Rohan for quite some time, the Gondorians and then the Rohirrim settled the area and the Dunlendings were pushed out. The parallel is obvious, and it was a bright move on Turbine’s part to give the Dunlendings the Welsh language (Welsh is a Celtic language, related to Gaelic and to the ancient Celtic dialects spoken in Boudica’s time). Welsh is not a language with which I’m very familiar, but I have seen just enough written Welsh to recognise that the names in Enedwaith and Dunland are modelled on it. A little work with a Welsh/English dictionary and I was certain that the Dunlending language was Welsh with the spelling slightly modified to make it easier on the English reader, much the way the Lossoth of Forochel speak Finnish without the double vowels. Considering that Welsh and Finnish are the two languages after which Tolkien modelled Quenya and Sindarin respectively, including these two languages in the game is an interesting nod to Tolkien’s work. I here attempt to present, alphabetically, every* Welsh-based word in Enedwaith and Dunland. I’ve probably missed something, but I’m hoping my omissions are slight compared to what I’ve included.
*I didn’t bother including the names of NPCs since so few of them have actual meanings, the vast majority of them are merely Welsh given names snagged from the Mabinogion or a baby name book.

The Changes:
The changes are not uniform across all the words, but the shifts listed here are the general trend
(note: the words shouted by the Bugan have had their spellings changed more extensively in order to reflect Black Speech)

  • Where a Welsh word has an f, the Dunlending equivalent has a v
  • Where Welsh has ff, Dunlending has f
  • Where Welsh has wy, Dunlending has u or û
  • Where Welsh has w as a vowel, Dunlending has u or û
  • Where Welsh has y, Dunlending has u
  • Where Welsh has ll, Dunlending has a lh or, in a few cases, a single l
  • Where Welsh had dd, Dunlending has dh or a single d

The Words:

Next to each of Turbine’s Dunlending words, I have the Welsh original and English translation in parentheses.

  • Algraig (allgraig = outlier)
  • Asgurn-capten (asgwrn = bone; capten = captain)
  • Avanc-lûth (the afanc of Welsh legend is a lake monster which is described as looking pretty much like the avanc Turbine let loose in Dunland, the word afanc is also used to mean beaver ; llwyth = tribe, clan)
  • Avardin (I’m not certain about this one, the closest I can find is: afal = apple; dinas = city)
  • Barnavon (barn = view or opinion; afon = river)
  • Bedh-stones (bedd = grave)
  • Brathach (brath = a wound, stab or bite; ach = ancestry, lineage)
  • Brehur/Brehures (This is the only Dunlending word with both a masculine and a feminine form. However, I cannot seem to find any Welsh original for it. The closest word I’ve found phonetically is Brithwr = Pict)
  • Brenin (brenin = king, sovereign
  • Bröntrig (bron = bank, slope; trig = stay, dwelling)
  • Bugan (bwgan = ghost, bogey)
  • Bûta khi! (bwyta chi = to eat you)
  • Carreglyn (carreg= stone; glyn = glen, valley)
  • Cartrev (cartref = home, household, domicile) the cartrevs of Dunland are associated with personal names.  eg. Cartrev Duved = Duved’s cartrev or home. In the Mabinogion, kingdoms are often described by listing the cartrefs within their bounds.
  • Cartrev Maru (cartref = home, household; marw = dead)
  • Caru-lûth (carw = stag, deer; llwyth = tribe, clan)
  • Cloben (cloben = monster)
  • Coblun (coblyn = goblin, imp)
  • Colven-unus (colfen = branch, tree; ynys = island)
  • Corrach (corrach = dwarf)
  • Cors Avanc (cors = bog, marsh; afanc = beaver or lake monster, [see avanc-lûth above])
  • Crug (crug = hillock, barrow, heap) Crug shows up in two compounds, Crug Fernvael and Crug Cadelhin, both second words are personal names.
  • Cun Annun (cwn = dog; Annwn = the otherworld or faerie world of Welsh Mythology)  The King of Annwn is often described as having a pack of rather interesting hunting hounds, which would seem to imply that Turbine didn’t invent the Cun Annun. — thanks to Erinreth for pointing this out.
  • Cuthraul (Cythraul = Devil)
  • Cuvnerth (cwff = a cuff or blow; nerth = power, strength, force)
  • Cymunu (Cymynu = to hew, to fell)
  • Derudh (derwydd = druid)
  • Dievlig (dieflig = vicious, diabolic, accursed, unholy)
  • Draig-lûth (ddraig = dragon; llwyth = tribe, clan)
  • Draig-math (ddraig = dragon; math = type, kind)
  • Draigoch (ddraig = dragon; goch = red)
    Y Ddraig goch is the Welsh name for the critter on the flag.
  • Dremidudh (trem = eye; dydd = day; trem y dydd = eye of the day)
  • Drug Haniad (drwg = evil, bad, hurtful; haniad = derivation, descent)
  • Druggavar (drwg = evil, bad, hurtful; gafr = goat)
  • Duhirun (dihiryn = rascal, scoundrel, blackguard)
  • Durdrú (Dyr = break; Dwr = water; Drwy = through)  the idea in this name seems to be either “[one who goes] through water”, or “to break through [something, probably the player]”.
  • Durgors (dur = steel; gors = marsh, bog, fen)
  • Dutegelh (du = black; tegell = kettle)
  • Dûv corvan (dwf= water; corfan = foot)
  • Duvodiad (dyfodiad = advent, arrival, one who comes, newcomer, stranger)
  • Elhudan (ellyll = fiend, ghost, goblin, fairy, will-o-the-wisp) as for the final syllable,  an is a prefix meaning not or non and dan is a preposition meaning under, but I’m not sure which it’s supposed to be, of even if the last syllable was just thrown on for kicks.
  • Enaid-helgi (enaid = soul, life, ghost; helgi = hound)
  • Flam-Cadlus (fflam = flame, blaze; cadlys = camp, enclosure)
  • Fordh Maru (ffordd = road, way; marw = dead)
  • Galar Culch (galar = mourning, grief, sorrow; cylch = circle, ring)
  • Galar-gwig (galar = mourning, grief, sorrow; gwig = wood)
  • Galtrev (gallt = hill, cliff; tref = town)
  • Gavar Cadlus (gafr = goat; cadlys = camp, enclosure)
  • Gavar-diavol (gafr = goat; diafol = devil)
  • Glewlûd (glew= brave, valiant; llwyd = grey)
  • Glûs (glwys = fair, holy)
  • Gurach (Gwrach = witch or hag)
  • Gwaed Brun (gwaed = blood; bryn = hill)
  • Gwâl Draig (Gwâl = couch, lair, den; Ddraig = dragon)
  • Gwiber (gwiber= viper, adder)
  • Gwirod (gwirod = spirits, liquor) It would seem that someone typed “spirit” into a Welsh/English dictionary but didn’t doublecheck to make sure it was the right kind of spirit.
  • Gwunfardh (gwyn = white; fardd = poet) Kind of an odd name for a giant, isn’t it?
  • Gwyllion (the gwyllion of Welsh legend are spirits or fairies of some sort, which usually take the form of pan-wielding old women (though it seems they can take other forms, including those of goats). The gwylion can be unpleasant, and they enjoy making travellers lose their way,  but they aren’t the nastiest of bogies as long as you’re polite to them.)
  • Harcennun (ennyn = to burn, kindle, ignite.) the first element of this name poses some difficulty, it could be any of the following: archoll = a wound or cut; arch = coffin; ar = on
  • Hebog-lûth (hebog = falcon, hawk; lwyth = tribe, clan)
  • Hen Turrau (hen = old; Tyrrau = towers, heaps)
  • Khinio (cinio = dinner or lunch)
  • Khoblún Utot (coblyn = goblin, imp; I’m finding nothing even resembling “Utot”)
  • Lhaid Ogo (llaid = mud, mire, sludge; ogof = cave)
  • Lhan Bach (llan = parish, village; bach = small, little; can also mean a corner or nook or bend)
  • Lhan Colvarn (llan = parish, village; collfarn = doom, condemnation)
  • Lhan Gogledh (llan = parish, village; gogledd = north)
  • Lhan Rhos (llan = parish, village; rhos = moor, heath)
  • Lhan Tarren (llan = parish, village; tarren = knoll, escarpment)
  • Lhanuch (llan = parish, village; ych = ox)
  • Lhe colvarn (lle= place, room; collfarn = doom, condemnation) this name is literally Doomplace!
  • Lhu Lhechu (llu = a force or host; llechu = to hide or lurk)
  • Lhun Avanc (llyn = lake; avanc = lake monster or beaver)
  • Maer = mayor
  • Malh-gavar (mall = corrupted, rotten, evil; gafar = goat)
  • Maur Tulhau (mawr = big, large, great; tyllau = holes, burrows) this name could be a rendering of Michel Delving (michel is an archaic English word — related to modern much — meaning great or large)
  • Mîn Haerchen (min = edge, brim, verge of a river) as for Haerchen, I can find nothing.
  • Munuv Dûv (mynydd = mountain; dwfr = water)
  • Oirnad culch (dirnad= to discern, comprehend, perceive; cylch = circle, ring) I can’t find anything corresponding to oirnad, but dirnad is only one letter off and the meaning makes sense.
  • Plas Maru (plas = hall, mansion, palace; marw = dead)
  • Pluvun Gwern (plufyn = feather; gwern = meadow, grove)
  • Pren Gwydh (Pren = wood, tree, timber; gwydd = loom OR plough OR goose OR wild, woods) gwydd has way too many meanings and I’ve no way of telling which is intended
  • Pruv Cadlus (pryf = worm, insect, bug; cadlys = camp)
  • Rheg (rheg = curse, swear)
  • Rhi Helvarch (Rhi = king, lord; helfarch = hunter)
    The Rhi Helvarch (or Wild Huntsman, as the Rangers like to call him) is a Maia in service of Oromë, the Huntsman of the Valar. Turbine rather cunningly made the Rhi Helvarch look like Cernunnos, a horned or antlered Celtic god who is suspiciously similar to Oromë.
    The picture below is Cernunnos as depicted on the Gundestrup Cauldron.
  • Rhost khig! (rhost = roasted; cig = meat)
  • Rhuvel-cadlus (rhyfel = war, warfare; cadlys = camp)
  • Sarf Cadlus (sarff = serpent, snake; cadlys = camp)
  • Skud Carchar (cudd = hidden, disguised; carchar = prison, jail) “skud” gives me some difficulties, but “cudd” is similar enough phonetically and the meaning is perfectly suited.
  • Tantafod (tant = string on a musical instrument; tafod = tongue)
  • Trac-plas (trac = track; plas = hall, mansion, palace)
  • Trenghi! (trengi = die)
  • Trum Dreng (trum = ridge; dreng = morose, sullen, harsh)
  • Tuisog (tywysog = prince)
  • Tulwulh-gwirod (twll = hole; wyll = owl, ghost, fiend; gwirod = liquor, spirits)
  • Tûr Morva (twr = tower; morva = moor, fen, marsh)
  • Turch-lûth (twrch = boar; llwyth = tribe, clan)
  • Uch Cadlus (ych = ox; cadlys = camp)
  • Uch-lûth (ych = ox; llwyth = tribe, clan)
  • Ufern-helgi (uffern = hell; helgi = hound)
  • Ûmborth! (ymborth = food)
  • Unig-pulh (unig = lonely, abandoned; pwll = pond, pool)
  • Urdhas Culch (urddas = honour, dignity; cylch = circle, ring)
  • Uvel-cadlus (ufel = fire; cadlys = camp)

________________
References

while compiling this lexicon, the following websites and books were indispensable:

translate.google.com
Welsh/English dictionary (University of Wales Trinity Saint David)
“What are these darned Bugan saying” (thread on the official LOTRO forums)
Enedwaith dev diary

The Mabinogion. Trans. Jeffrey Gantz. New York: Dorsett Press, 1976. Ellis, Peter Berresford.
The Chronicles of the Celts. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1999.

Robe of the Learned Stag and Halloween Costumes

There’s quite a number of interesting cosmetic gear from the new quests in Dunland, I could fill pages with screenshots fof it, but I’d rather be out there doing those quests (and practising with these minstrel changes) so I’m only going to post one robe.
The Robe of the Learned Stag is available from one of the quests in Trum Dreng (and there are cosmetically identical robes from a quest in the Bonevales  and from the Dunland reputation vendor). It’s a very nice-looking robe, but it comes off rather bulky and not very elven. I can’t really take it seriously for my characters, but I went ahead and made up some Harvestmath costumes.

Here my Guardian is dressed up like a cowboy. He’s got the Robe of the Learned Stag, the snow-dusted hat and the fingerless gloves (from the winter festival), and the Shoulders of the Mighty Verse (part of the Minstrel Moria set). Every piece is dyed Sienna and all he needs to finish the costume is for someone to invent the six gun.

And here’s the same robe used as the base of a completely different costume. Iranon the Minstrel is attending Harvestmath as Dracula. He’s got the Robe of the Learned Stag, the Wandering Bard’s Helm (part of the Minstrel Rift set, available as a cosmetic from the skirmish vendors), the Cloak of the Raven (from the last fall festival), and Shoulderpads of the Learned Stag (also from a Trum Dreng quest). The shoulderpads are dyed black, and the rest of the gear is in crimson. I’m thinking of getting rid of the hat and dying Iranon’s hair black for the festival, but the difficulty in getting the original shade of blonde again might make me just keep the hat.

Interestingly, not only is The Robe of the Learned Stag an incredibly versatile robe, but it also looks like an entirely different cosmetic on female characters. On a girl, the robe has an exterior belt with the tail hanging down in front; it has fitted long sleeves instead of puffy, shorter sleeves; the vest underneath is smooth fabric instead of textured; the top of the vest is cut a little differently and the bottom half of the robe is more closed on a female character and only shows the trousers beneath when she walks. Overall, the female version looks more like a heavily styled dress and the male version looks like a trench coat over a two-piece suit.

P.S.
One benefit of wearing costumes with hats that hide your ears is that when you meet Rohirrim, who don’t really believe in Elves, they don’t freak out and implode.

Haudh Iarchith, the Breeland Rep Dungeons (Pt. 1, Southern Barrow Downs)

What is Haudh Iarchith?
Haudh Iarchith, or (more accurately) the Breeland rep dungeons, is a series of ten small level 20 dungeons throughout the Barrow Downs. These dungeons contain a number or regular slayer deeds, an additional boss-killing deed and the items, mobs and bosses for the Bree reputation quests available from the NPCs at the Hunting Lodge in Breetown. They also contain scholar nodes for both tier 2 and tier 3, and the mobs will drop scholar mats for both these tiers (and occasionally tier 5 mats will drop*), making Haudh Iarchith invaluable to scholars.
*the tier 5 mats may be the result of a bug caused when the dungeons were de-level’d from 50 to 20, so take advantage of it while it lasts.

A Bit of History.
There used to be a great big level 50 dungeon called Haudh Iarchith and known as the Breeland rep dungeon (singular). The door to this dungeon was in the Southern Barrow Downs somewhat near the entrance to the Great Barrow.
With the launch of Free-to-play in September of 2010, Turbine made a number of changes to the game, and one of these changes was to de-level Haudh Iarchith down to 20, break it into ten much smaller dungeons and scatter the entrances all over the Barrow Downs. These rather vast and recent changes have caused some confusion, it can be difficult to find accurate and current information on the Breeland rep dungeons.
The term Haudh Iarchith properly refers now to only one of the ten smaller dungeons, but is still used occasionally (both by players and in in-game text) to refer to all of the Breeland rep dungeons collectively. The deed log entry for the deed “Executioner of the Wicked” lists all the bosses as being “in the barrow of Haudh Iarchith”, but in actuality these bosses are spread throughout the various little dungeons and only one boss is actually in the dungeon called “Haudh Iarchith”.
This guide is intended to provide a useful overview of how the rep dungeons looks now, without any confusion from how it might have looked in the past.

Southern Barrow Downs
Here is a map of the Southern Barrow Downs, with the locations of the rep dungeons marked.

  • F is Haudh Nogbenn
  • G is Haudh Iarchith
  • H is The Tomb of Maenadar
  • I is Goetham
  • J is Gwantham

Southern Barrow Downs Breeland rep dungeons

In all the following maps, the player cursor is located at the door of the dungeon.

F – Haudh Nogbenn
See the section on Northern Barrow Downs for a full description.

G – Haudh Iarchith
Haudh Iarchith contains the boss Fergandir (a Gaunt Man) and also contains the following ordinary mobs for deeds or quests:

  • Barrow Wardens
  • Howling Barrow-hounds
  • Barrow Spirits
  • Noxious Barrow-wardens
  • Barrow Candles
  • Gaunt Plague-bearers

The location of Fergandir is marked with a red X.

Haudh Iarchith map

H – The Tomb of Maenadar
The Tomb of Maenadar contains no boss, but has the following mobs for deeds and quests:

  • Barrow Wardens,
  • Barrow Bats
  • Howling Barrow-hounds
  • Creeping Hands
  • Barrow Candles (in part 2 only)
  • one Gaunt Plague-bearer (in part 2)

The Tomb is in two parts. When you enter through the door marked H on the landscape map, you will be in the first part of of the Tomb.
Travel through this tomb and you will find another door called “Tomb of Maenadar” (marked with a red X on the map below).
Tomb of Maenadar map part 1

Proceed through this door and you will find yourself in the second part of the Tomb.

Tomb of Maenadar part 2

Going back through the door you came in lands you outside the dungeon on the barrow downs and not in the first part of the Tomb where you just came from. This can be rather disconcerting, but it seems to be working as intended.


I – Goetham
Goetham contains the boss Faegfaer (a shade) and the following mobs:

  • Barrow Spirits
  • Noxious Barrow-wardens
  • Gaunt Plague-bearers

Faegfaer’s location is marked with a red X.

Map of Goetham

J – Gwantham
Gwantham has the following mobs:

  • Barrow Wardens
  • Barrow Bats
  • Barrow Candles
  • Howling Barrow-hounds

Gwantham does not contain a boss.

map of Gwantham

Haudh Iarchith, the Breeland Rep Dungeons (Pt. 2, Northern Barrow Downs)


Northern Barrow Downs
The map of the Northern Barrow Downs, with the locations of the rep dungeons marked.

  • A is The Barrow of Taradan
  • B is The Barrow of Ringdor
  • C is Haudh Methernil
  • D is Haudh Taenthond
  • E is Hautham
  • F is Haudh Nogbenn

Northern Barrow Downs; Breeland rep dungeons marked

On all of the following maps, the player cursor is located at the door of the dungeon.

A – The Barrow of Taradan

The Barrow of Taradan contains the boss Gwigon, two Ancient Pillars for [such and such a quest] and the following regular mobs:

  • Barrow-spiders
  • Creeping Hands
  • Rotting Barrow-wights

Gwigon’s location is marked with an X, and the Ancient Pillars’  with Ys.
Barrow of Taradan map

B – The Barrow of Ringdor
The Barrow of Ringdor is one of the larger barrows. It contains the boss Umnen (a darkwater who, unlike the other barrow bosses, drops a ruby shard), three Ancient Pillars and the Watcher’s Workshop (clicking this will open your crafting panel, as if it is a crafting facility, but it isn’t. I remember it being a location associated with one of the epic quests, but I can’t for the life of me remember which one, and google is being particularly unhelpful). The Barrow of Ringdor contains the following regular mobs:

  •  Putrid Darkwaters
  • Decaying Barrow-wights
  • one Kergrim Barrow-prowler

Umnen is marked with a Y, the Watcher’s Workshop with a Z, and the Ancient Pillars with Xs.

C – Haudh Methernil
Haudh Methernil is home to the boss Marrow and one lonely little Ancient Pillar. It also contains a number of Kergrim Barrow-prowlers and one Decaying Barrow-wight.

Marrow’s location is marked with a Y, the Ancient Pillar’s with an X.

D – Haudh Taenthond
Haudh Taenthond contains three Ancient Pillars and the following mobs:

  • Creeping Hands
  • Rotting Barrow-wights
  • Barrow-spiders

Haudh Taenthond does not contains a boss; the locations of the Ancient Pillars are marked with Xs below.

E – Hautham
Hautham houses neither a boss nor any Ancient Pillars. It is overrun with the following mobs:

  •  Barrow-spiders
  • Rotting Barrow-wights
  • Barrow Candles
  • Creeping Hands

F – Haudh Nogbenn
Haudh Nogbenn contains the boss Brishzel (a bargest) and the following baddies:

  • Barrow Wardens
  • Barrow Bats
  • Howling Barrow-hounds

Brishzel paces between the two rooms in the dungeon, his path is marked in red.

How to run The Grand Stair (Hard Mode) and not look like you don’t know what you’re doing

The Grand Stair (GS) is a level 56 Moria instance. It contains six bosses (three of which are killed for hard mode), the level 60 class quest for hunters, several quests which can be picked up at the Orc-watch, a handful of deeds and a challenge quest (completing which is known as “hard mode”) granted automatically upon entering the instance. This guide focuses on the challenge quest.
This is not The Only Acceptable Way to Run GS, nor is it Nifty GS Tricks for Level 65s. There are alternate strategies and there are other ways to go about things, but this is How To Run GS and Not Look Like You Don’t Know What You’re Doing. This is the most common strategy, it’s how a successful GS pug will normally do things, and it’s what to expect if you’ve never ran GS before.

The Quick Recap

Go straight ahead and fight Ilzkâl (use fear pots); go right, fight through to the bridge and send the tank on the suicide run to go and tag Nardur; go up the stairs and fight Nardur (watch the knockback); retrace your steps to Ilzkâl, take the north bridge and fight through to Igash; one tank tanks Igash, another tanks the archers, watch out for fire, ignore the Devoted; win.

The Long Version

To complete the challenge quest in The Grand Stair (also know as GS hard mode), you will need a fellowship consisting of:

  • a tank (Guardian or Warden)
  • a healer (Minstrel or Runekeeper)
  • an off-tank (a second Guardian or Warden, or a captain or champion with experience tanking)
  • three other players (having a Hunter is nice, but by no means required; once your spots for healer, tank and off-tank are filled you can fit any classes at all, really)

You will also need conhuith potions (the purple kind) which can remove fear effects of at least 58. This is not an option, it is a requirement. Every person entering GS and expecting to kill the first boss will need to have fear potions. If you do not have fear potions you will have to get some from a vendor or bum some off a fellow.

Once you have your group and your fear potions all gathered up, enter the instance. The instance is a sort of maze of stairs and bridges running every which way, and it is very easy to go the wrong way. Also, most of the bridges do not have guard rails (the place is built by dwarves, after all) and a fall will most certainly lead to your demise, so watch where you’re going and don’t try to use auto-run. Imagine that Escher painting, except with gravity functioning properly. That’s GS.

When you enter the instance, go down the stairs in front of you and you’ll find a closed drawbridge. When you get close enough to the bridge (when you brush against the differently coloured floor, to be exact), a cutscene will begin. At the end of the cutscene, one of the orcs shouts, “you have ten minutes”. From this line, you have ten minutes to activate the second boss (Nardur) and secure hard mode. Once the cutscene ends, the drawbridge will lower and you can run across and begin fighting.

The First Boss, Ilzkâl, is a remarkably easy boss. It’s just tank-and-spank and there’s only one trick. Ilzkâl will put fear effects on you, and every now and then he will call out “Feed me your fear”. When he does so, he will absorb the fear effects on people and use it to heal himself. This is why everyone must have fear potions, you must  use a conhuith potion to remove any fear effects on you, or Ilzkâl will heal himself continuously and you’ll never make it to Nardur in time for the timer.

When Ilzkâl dies run down the stairs to the west and fight through the wargs (there is no chest for the first boss). Remember that you are on a timer, so kill the trash mobs as fast as you can and keep going forward. If you do not know your way to Nardur, follow someone who does. If you run off in the wrong direction and pull random extra mobs, you will waste time and get lost (go east after Ilzkâl, then south at the next crossroads; see the map below for more clarity). Soon you will reach a larger landing with a bridge on the north edge, and gated board fences on the west and south edges. After killing the wargs on this landing, it’s time for….

The Suicide Run. The second boss must be activated within ten minutes of the cutscene, and you cannot fight through all the mobs in time, and so one player must run in, activate the boss, die, retreat and come back and fight through the mobs. Technically the tank should do the suicide run, but a minstrel can also do it with Lay of the Hammerhand activated, and a burg can also sneak in and manage it with Hide in Plain Sight.
To accomplish the suicide run, everyone gathers up at the foot of the northern bridge. If you look at the bridge there’s a sort of threshold or line across it. Do not cross this threshold or you will aggro stuff.
If there is a Runekeeper in your group, have him put Do not Fall This Day on the sacrificial lamb, that way he;ll be rezzed where the RK is standing and will be spared the trouble of running back.
Then everyone stands around and waits while the one doing the suicide run does the following. Don’t follow him, just wait for him to die and get back to where you are.
Mr. Suicide, you run straight ahead north and through the wargs and goblins and. Don’t stop, don’t fight them, just train straight through. Go across the bridge, around the pillar and up the staircase to the next landing; at this landing, go up the stairs to your left (west) and activate Nardur. You must get close enough to him that he begins walking and talking. After he’s been activated, go ahead and die (jumping off the cliff  saves you repairs) and then retreat to the beginning of the instance and run back to your fellows (or be rezzed back to them, if an RK put Do Not Fall This Day on you).
Back to your fellows who have not moved, not aggro’d anything and not gone cliff-diving while you were away.

Once everyone is reconvened at the foot of the bridge, everyone cross over to the north side of the threshold and begin fighting your way through to the second boss. If a mob is standing on one side of the threshold and is aggro’d on something that is on the other side, the mob will bug out, so everyone be sure to cross to the north side, and watch where you leave your pets, banners, runestones, etc.  You are no longer on a timer, so go ahead and take your time killing your way to Nardur. There is a number of Uruks on the landing at the top of the stairs here, you’ll want to pull them only a few at a time, so it’s best to pull them down to the centre of the stairs and fight them there.

After the landing is cleared it’s time to fight Nardur, The Second Boss.
Nardur himself is on the stairs to the west, there is a metal gate to the north, another staircase to the east and the stairs you just came up are south. Nardur has a nice big AOE knockback, so the best place to stand is with you back to the northern gate. If you are in front of Nardur you will be knocked back and if you’re not against that gate you almost certainly will be knocked off the edge to fall to your doom.
So everyone stands with their backs to the northern gate and you kill Nardur, there’s nothing else to it.
However, if a healer or ranged DPS class is utterly certain that he is NOT going to draw aggro, he can stand with his back to the eastern stairs and avoid all of Nardur’s AOE. Do this only if you are quite confident that the tank can hold aggro well and that you’re not going to be a hunter in strength stance or a minstrel who opens the fight with Chord of Salvation or something silly like that. If the tank’s a little shaky, or if you tend to snag aggro every now and again, it’s best to just stand by the gate with the rest and take the little bit of AOE.

After Nardur dies, there are two chests to loot. Everyone should personally loot both chests, as each contains one Moria Medallion.

Once looting is taken care of, retrace your steps back to where you fought Ilzkâl, and this time take the bridge leading north from that landing. You will run in with several orcs, and then a stair leading up. At the top of this stair there is a rather tricky pull. There are a bunch of orcs and they are all linked, if you aggro one, all of them will come. There are several ways to manage this pull. The easiest way is “the DF trick”. Have everyone stand back and have a hunter run in, aggro them all, and then use Desperate Flight to warp back to the entrance. The orcs will reset and their link will be broken, which means they can be pulled one or two at a time. This pull can also be accomplished with a root pull, either Rain of Thorns from a hunter or Herb Lore from a Loremaster. If you do not have a hunter, it’s best to try and keep as many of the orcs as possible mezzed while you fight the others.

After you’ve cleared out those nasty orcses, my precious, it’s time for…..

The Last Boss
Igash is tricky, the fight is mildly complex, you have to pay attention.
The room is an ordinary cave-like room with walls, there are no more cliffs to fall off of (thank Eru). At either side of the room on the way in is a banner, when you pass the banners, the fight will start. The Devoted and the Archers will spawn instantly, and Igash will begin orating and walking towards you, when he’s done bragging he’ll enter the fight.

There are four mobs in the fight; two archers, an orc called The Devoted and Igash himself.
Igash is a pretty standard boss. He has a knockback, he lays down patches of fire, he hits rather hard and he has some interesting lines lines of dialogue. Your main tank will tank Igash, and will avoid the patches of fire (standing in fire = death). Be sure to fight Igash within the room itself, if Igash passes out beyond the flags, he will re-set. This is incredibly irritating, since often when he resets there are other fellowship members still fighting on Igash’s side of the flags, which means that the fight itself will not reset and you will not drop out of combat, but Igash will re-spawn with full health and enter the fight again. For this reason, it is advisable to have everyone (this means you, Hunters) come stand on the Igash side of the banners.
The Devoted will run about shouting and poking random people, he does very little damage, just ignore him and let him do his thing. If you kill him, you fail the challenge quest, and you’ve already gotten this far, so just don’t.
The Archers will do what archers do best, they will try to range your healer to death. This is why you need a second tank for GS. Archers and Igash is usually too much damage for a single tank to handle, so we have the other tank keep the archers occupied. The archers can be killed without harming hard mode, but if they are killed they just respawn and you will have two archers throughout the fight no matter, so don’t bother killing the archers, just keep them off the healer and focus DPS on Igash.

After Igash dies, the Devoted and the Archers will disappear (sometimes it takes them a few seconds to do so), and then you can loot the chests. There are several chests, and they sometimes drop some rather nice gear for level 56-60 characters in addition to the Moria medallions and the regular IXP runes and relics.
After completing the challenge quest and looting all the chests, each person should walk away from the instance with seven Moria Medallions.

Grats!

  • the circled player cursor is the entrance
  • follow the path marked in red to A (Ilzkâl)
  • follow the dark blue path to B (the bridge at the beginning of the Suicide Run
  • follow the magenta path to C (Nardur)
  • retrace your steps back to A and then follow the pale blue path to D (the spot for the DF trick)
  • follow the bright green path to E (Igash)

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