With the Silver Jester Carnival Mask ensconced in my vault of accoutrements it was time to see what else Release 15 had to offer. The first order of business was to check out the new Gathering skill tree. On the one hand I like the idea of being able to specialize in resource gathering such as getting faster, not destroying nodes and retrieving even more goods from each node. On the other hand it seems to completely negate the use of the Prosperity tools and doesn’t make sense in all cases.

For example, failing to cut down a tree doesn’t make sense. If you have an axe, mark my words, that tree is going to fall. Perhaps you won’t get as much material as a skilled lumberjack, but you’ll get something. The fact this has a chance to fail doesn’t make sense to me. The same is true for Cotton and Garlic. It’s not like it takes some special skill to pull a bulb of Garlic from the ground. Yes, you should get even more materials when using skills, but come on. Without using any points, yet using the Prosperity tools, the failure rate to gather wood, cotton and garlic is basically 100%. That is utterly ridiculous. It basically means the tools are useless on their own. This is only the first pass, so let’s hope this gets some balancing.

But, once you put some points into the different skills, it seems to work fine. I was able to chop down trees with great vigor and field dress an animal with great haste. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the Crafting skill tree comes together. Since there are three sections and only a limited number points, decisions will have to be made on what to focus on. I expect you will only be able to become adept in perhaps two resources at a time, such as Forestry and Mining. And from there you will have add points to support the Craft that uses those materials such as Carpentry or Blacksmithing. Certainly could be fun. I believe this rules out the Jack of All Trades idea unless you just go to ridiculous extremes and achieve a level 100 or higher character, which may not even be possible in the final edition.

I was able to use my skills to loot a lot of resources. I started off collecting wood like a lumberjack. From there, I partied up with Alley Oop and Blake Blackstone and we worked our way around Deep Ravenswood multiple times slaying Spiders, Wolves, Bears and Skeletons. When you have several people in a group, the bodies and points stack up. There was a bad moment when Blake plunged headlong into a den of spiders and set the whole hillside crawling. I quite literally could not see him amidst all the bodies and legs. I just kept shooting and setting everything that moved on fire and hoped his armor and flaming sword would see him through the bad times. They took a lot of the fight out of him, but he was the last one standing.

With all those Wolf and Bear hides laying around, it was easy to stock up. I’m a master with the stiletto and had them dressed in moments. I will add them to my collection. Not sure what I’m going to do with all this stuff, but when the plan hits me, I’ll be ready!

I gained quite a few Production levels by harvesting the resources and then turning them in to items. There are a lot of points to be had by making chairs, tables and shelves. Plus, I need them to decorate my house so it looks like someone actually lives there. Also, I’m working on a bar!

The adventures continued as we decided to take a closer look at the Spectral Mines. If you recall, this is a stop on the Grand Tour and if you’re like me, you popped in long enough to talk to the Guide then bolted out of there. With the protection of my stalwart gang, we ventured further in to see what was available.

Oh yes, what a lovely room of death! First, we defeated all the Skeletons and Spiders that lurked in the shadows. I actually managed to shoot one of the skeletons right off his perch which gave me a great deal of satisfaction.

Since this area has a massive and dangerous lava flow, it makes sense that it either comes from or goes somewhere. In trying to trace the source we ran into a room with a Lich who was quite put out at our intrusion. Through the power of flaming steel he was put down and we took a moment to check out his broken coffins and guillotine. Curious, I wonder what the hooks attached to the ceiling by that big chain are for?

With the Lich out of the way, it was time to deal with the Ghost that guards what we assumed was the Mine entrance. Oh, imagine our surprise when it turned out to be two Ghosts that guard the entrance to the Mine. Or even more surprise when it turned out to be three Ghosts hiding out down there. I don’t like those Ghosts, I really don’t.

But, we were victorious and soon discovered there was a wealth of Copper, Iron and Gems to be mined. I let Alley take the lead here as she has the Mining skill. She is quite adept at swinging that pickaxe. If only I could carry a tune, I would have sung a nice work song to pass the time. I wanted to help, I really did, but my skills are in Forestry and Field Dressing. How was I supposed to know we were going spelunking?

With all the dangers cleared away we explored more of the area to try and work out this lava flow thing. No matter where we searched there was no lever, door or mechanism that gave us any further access. However, we did run into a terrible peril.

Blake Blackstone, being the courageous type, took the lead, but made a tragic miscalculation in his footing and plunged into the precipice to the lava below. In my naïve attempt to offer help I went to the edge, got vertigo and slipped over the side myself. Alley, being of sound mind remained cool, kept her footing and simply said, “Idiots.”

Blake swan dived right into the molten earth and despite his best efforts was incinerated. His heavy armor drug him down and I lost sight of him. However, through my frantic flailing of limbs I was actually able to cling to the walls and slowed my descent. For a brief moment, I thought I would actually be able to stop and avoid the lava. Of course, I would be stuck to the wall, balancing on whatever ledge had stopped me, but it might give the cooler heads a moment to devise a plan for my rescue. If they were still around.

Regrettably, I was only able to slow my fall, not prevent it. As I screamed and cried for help I finally slipped into the red hot depths. In a fit of panic I began to jump and run. Death was certain, but I would at least go out trying. To my great surprise, I was able to make forward progress. I was only wearing cloth armor, which made me light and nimble and thus I was able to skim across the lava. It wasn’t all roses and wheels of cheese as I did burst into flames and took tremendous amounts of damage as I ran for the stairs, which I really hoped were in front of me. Oh the disappointment if I was running the wrong way.

With my final strands of life fading out and running in a blaze of glory, I reached those stairs and collapsed to put out the flames. Through miracle of miracles, I was still alive. I was greeted by the reassuring words from Alley Oop, “How in the hell are you still alive?” Music to my ears my friends.

Alas, Blake was reduced to ashes. We couldn’t effect a rescue or good looting of his corpse. Well, not all of these outings can be gems. Some times you slay the monster, grab the loot and walk away with a fabulous tale to tell at the pub. Some times you end up as hot buttered death.

With my shoes melted, pants smoldering and hat singed, it was time to leave the gem mines with a vow to return only when carrying a pail of water. And since I can’t seem to buy or make a bucket, I’m not going back.



Whoa now! It’s all fun and games until someone starts putting pictures on the floor and sitting in a circle of candles!


This would make a nice room once you get rid of all the caskets, spooky symbols and guillotine.


The start of the Spectral Mines, Ghosts lie beyond


You scout ahead Alley! Don’t worry about me II ‘ll make sure no one sneaks up on us from behind. Perfectly fine, you keep going.


Oooh, shiny.


You know, I would love to help you mine all these gems, but I’m not properly qualified. I’m not fully checked out to be a miner. If you need a tree dealt with, I’m your guy.


This is quite a lovely room and should put some food on the table once we sell this stuff off. Can’t help but notice all the large spider eggs though. I swear, if that thing starts to move, I’m sitting it on fire and running like hell!


Someone should really invest in handrails, this place is quite dangerous.


Phew, what a nasty mess. I sure hope no one slips off the top railing and plummets to their fiery end down here. That would be a terrible way to go.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

2 Responses to Slaying all that moves, Increasing my Production Level and a closer look at the Spectral Mines in Shroud of the Avatar Release 15

  • Alley says:

    i’m pretty sure i didn’t actually call you idiots out loud. you read my mind!

    also, FOUR ghosts.

  • PeteWi the Disoriented says:

    Oh that’s right, there was another one further down protecting the crystals and ore. So that makes two guarding the entrance, then a third just inside that only wants to pop out after you start trying to mine and then a fourth lurking further that down hoping you’ve let your guard down and then it attacks.

    So an old mine that Cultists have taken over who seem to worship some Lich and halls filled with Ghosts. Plus, the addition of lava pits that have no hand rails! It’s a death trap! Who comes up with these places?!

    And I can’t be precisely sure of what was said, the thought of impending fiery death clouded things just a touch.

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