Grand Tour

As I strode in to Owl’s Head to conclude a rather delicate transaction with the public vendor, I noted the not too long forgotten Tour Guide standing off in the shadows.

“Well good evening, Tour Guide! Fancy meeting you here! I had anticipated after our last encounter where you nearly got me incinerated, mauled by a bear and attacked by thugs that our paths would not cross again. But, here you are, most likely with some sort of trinket that necessitates my harrowing escape from a myriad of enemies and nefarious types out to do me harm? What has brought about your return? Come now, out with it!”

“Good evening Outlander! I do indeed have another exciting and thrilling tour of the realm for you. There will new places to explore, and wonders galore! And when complete, you will get this fabulous, limited edition, hand crafted Cloak of the Shardfall. I can tell by that twinkle in your eye, I have your interest.”

“Oh my dear Tour Guide!” I replied. “Why do you tempt me so? You know my fondest for cloaks! You know I can’t resist the temptation to add another to my collection, even when it means I might lose my life, or worse yet, my dignity. Very well, give me the details! Spare me nothing! Keep me in suspense no longer! Who am I up against this time? Do I have to rob a dragon nest? Steal the loin cloth off a troll? Abscond with the unmentionables of a Cabalist minion?”

“Well, Outlander, I can’t deny those are all fine ideas and worthy of future quests, but I have something far different in mind this time. This is a real tour this time and all you need to do is visit my confederate in the town of Westend, Brookside, Etceter, Brittany and #@$%.”

“Beg pardon there Tour Guide? I think you got a little something stuck in the clockwork gears there. That last location didn’t quite come out.”

“No, there was no error. You merely need to go to #@$%.”

“I see your game. You’ve somehow lost the destination of my final visit and I will have to somehow divine the answer by connecting seemingly unrelated and random sets of information. Very well. Since there is a cloak on the line, I’m willing to play along.”

And with that, I sped to the Lunar Rift and hurled myself to the destination of Westend. To my great delight I was not mauled, stabbed or pummeled with arrows. I was in a civilized town and the Tour Guide watched patiently for me with no sign of thugs or skeletons waiting to leap out at me as soon I got too close.

The other destinations were as equally not fraught with danger. I was even able to take a moment for a light repast at the local tavern before continuing on my way. But as I neared the conclusion of my journey, the final location of the Tour Guide eluded me. I sat in the tavern going over my parchments trying to deduce where he might be hiding.

Using my adventurer skills and past experiences, I plotted my course, connected the lines, triangulated my position relative to the Oracle, drew a curve through all the locations and came to the conclusion that although it made a fine drawing of a drunken condor, it would not help me locate the final hiding place of the Tour Guide.

In desperation I kicked my chair, slammed my fist and toppled my ale. This only lead to further desperation and I hurled the parchment to the floor with great impunity.

As it floated to the floor, I realized the picture was upside down. The answer stared back at me, almost tauntingly, and I dashed from the pub! I then quickly returned to the pub to pay my drinks bill lest there be trouble with the local constabulary and another tavern be added to the list of establishments I’m no longer able to visit.

With that crisis averted, I anxiously waited at the Lunar Rift. I repeatedly checked my sundial, but due to the time of night, it was of little value and time passed even more slowly.

But then the moment was at hand, the gleaming bolt of light struck the cairn stone and I leapt in with a wail of glee.

“Tour Guide! I knew I would find you in the Isle of Storms! It’s the last place anyone would look for you, and thus the last place that came to mind. Other than you being located in a respectable public house or that house of ill repute we aren’t supposed to talk about.”

“Greetings Outlander! I’m glad you’ve come to pay me a visit. I feared no one would play along and come to say hello. I can’t say I blame them, I have put you and your kind to the hazard and caused a bit of grievous injury along the way.”

“Indeed you have my blue metal miscreant. But let us put all that behind us as you reward me with a fabulous new cloak!” I said excitedly. “I’ve been to all the locations. I’ve checked in with your comrades. I even had them write it down in my book of mischievous and exciting deeds. I have proof of where I’ve been! It won’t stand up in a court of law, just keep that in mind, but it should suffice for this adventure!”

“Congratulations to you Outlander! Take this cloak and wear it well. Be a shiny beacon of adventurous skill and questing fortitude! And don’t forget to tell your friends I’m out here.”

With that, the Tour Guide gave an enviable flourish as he draped the Shardfall Cloak around my shoulders. I was giddy with excitement and silky trim of the collar was an extra treat.

“It looks quite fetching on you Outlander. Wear it well!”

“Wear it? Are you daft? It could get soiled! Cut! Snagged by some street urchin! Dear me no! This will go on the wall with my other collection of cloaks. I shall admire it for many a day and only don it on special evenings.”

“Well, as pleases you Outlander. Thank you kindly for dropping by. Perhaps you could drop in from time to time and tell me how things fair in the rest of the realm?” he asked, rather longingly.

“Is there another cloak in it for me?” I asked. “And will you let me have it without needlessly risking my life?”

“Perhaps,” he answered.

“Then I shall be back in due course and will regale you with my grand adventures!” Then I sped off toward the Rift once again and gave a wave to the Tour Guide as I disappeared into the ether of the realm.

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Huzzah! Another beautiful cloak to add to my collection! And I didn’t get mauled, set on fire, or stabbed in my kidneys! That makes this one even more special!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

While struggling to get through the Release 27 Post Mortem, there was an interesting tidbit of information about the Tour Guides. The question was asked how many Avatars completed all the Tour Guide quests and thus, laid claim to all 17 hats.

The answer? 370.

Each Tour Quest had about 2000 people play along. Now, there are over 173,000 registered “New Britannians” so for 2000 to get a hat is rather small percentage, thus quite rare. And out of those ~2000 per release, only 370 grabbed them all.

Now if I may gloat for a moment, I am one of those people. I have all 17. I’m quite sure Alley Oop is another, since she helped me get several of mine. So, that leaves 368 others who have all the hats. Who might ye be?

What is that, less than 1% of all registered users completed all the quests? Rare items indeed.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

This tour begins in the town of Hometown, which is located just outside Soltown near the coast. If you want to go in and pay the Tour Guide a visit, head in a northwest direction toward the Moon Tower. The Tour Guide has picked a shady spot by the bridge to wait for you.

Once you locate the bowler wearing blue carbuncle, you will be directed to four different locations – Resolute, Aerie, Sanctus Spine and North Varisalla Foothills. This little tour will take you on a wide arc around Novia, so pack some supplies. In case you didn’t realize, this is the last Grand Tour quest and the final hat in the collection. It has been an interesting series of events and I’m happy to report that I have grabbed all the hats offered. My personal favorites have been the Highway Man hat, the Pilgrim Hat and the Yule Hat. I do like the Plague Doctor mask, but that’s not your average night on the town chapeau. You may cause a bit of a sensation if you show up to the ball wearing that one.

With that, let us have a look at the destinations for the Bowler Hat.

Sanctus Spine
The Sanctus Spine is where North and South Paladis meet, a little ways east of Resolute!

From Ardoris, head toward Eastreach Gap, bash a few skeletons, slap some mages, tell the Mysterious Mage to get stuffed, reach the other side, go past Desolis and make your way through Nightshade Pass. No need to stay long, just run past the thugs, perhaps lingering just long enough to slap them in their dirty mouths, take a shortcut through the pond so as to avoid the troll and make haste up the hill to the exit.

On the other side of the pass, you will be close to Highvale. Further up the road is Sanctus Spine. As good luck would have it, the Tour Guide is waiting at the gate. Unlike other tours, he hasn’t wandered off into the deepest, darkest area, surrounded by scoundrels and layabouts.

Resolute
The keep of Resolute is the eastern most outpost of the Knights of Norgard. It is where the Paladis foothills meet the plains of Verdantis, in the Highvale mountains.

Resolute is northeast of Highvale and east of Sanctus Spine. The Tour Guide also made himself easy to find as you will see him as soon as you enter town.

North Varisalla Foothills
The Varisalla Foothills are in Verdantis, in the farthest reaches of Novia.

You will want to make your way toward Vertas, but there is no need to go through Vertas Pass itself. We have been this way before to see both the South Varisalla Foothills and Mariah Overlook. You will basically head south from Highvale and follow the paths until Vertas Pass is to your left.

Unlike the other Tour Guides, this one has decided to tuck himself away in a bad place. Oddly, he’s right at the opposite exit. Take the path to the right and follow it into the mines and then follow the mine rails. They will wind and turn and don’t be surprised when mages jump out at you. Beware, this is a fairly high level area and you will need protection – a good sturdy helm, or perhaps a metal bucket over your head.

Keep following the tracks. You may hit a few dead ends, but it will take you to another exit where the Tour Guide is standing vigilant over a camping ground full of tents. I was keen to ask about accommodations when my hind section was set alight by a would be bandit. I recorded my progress with the Guide, then cast the brigand asunder.

Aerie
Aerie is the largest port in the Longfall Peninsula, just north of the island of Elysium in the far southwest of Novia!

From North Varisallas Foothills, head south, take the fork in the road (heading away from Vertas Pass) and keep heading south. You will pass Radio City (I hear they have some sort of music hall) and Blood River. Keep heading south as Aerie is right at the coast.

This Tour Guide has decided to make the last stop an easy one. Walk up the path and he’s next to the wagon.

And there it is, the last stop, on the last hat quest. I have to say they’ve been pretty amusing. I won’t say I will miss talking to that blue metal rapscallion as he’s put me in harms way far too often and his directions and guidance have been cryptic at best. However, should I suffer pangs of loss and separation anxiety, I have one of my own that can keep me company, although I think he’s a lamentable conversationalist. He’s also prone to getting stuck in the doorway, which is distressing.

 

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You know Tour Guide, I first came in at the other entrance and almost got mauled by bears and wolves. You could have at least given me a little warning about that and said you were idling about at the non-life threatening entrance.

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You’re a hard automaton to find some times, Tour Guide. So, are you renting out these swanky tents to the locals? Woody and I might be inclined to rent one from you if we can come to terms on pricing and the proper procedure for removing that “rustic” smell from the bedroll.

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So, Tour Guide, we meet again. That’s a pretty neat fortification you’ve got going on behind you there, expecting some sort of trouble in these parts?
But now that you’ve given me the hat, I suppose this is goodbye? Is this it for us Tour Guide?
I would say I’m going to miss you, but let’s be honest, coming out to visit you has put me in harm’s way more times than I can count and your choice in companions leaves a lot to be desired. And I still think you owe me an apology over that Henin Hat.

Well Tour Guide, it’s been entertaining all these months to chase you down and listen to your crytpic ramblings. Good luck with whatever it is that you automatons do in your spare time. Don’t get turned into a paperweight, all right?

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Well, now that I have the Bowler Hat and the Grand Tour is over, I do believe I shall rest upon this bench and contemplate my next move. I wonder if there will be a wagon coming by that I can hitch a ride on?

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

Here we are once again with the epic task of scouring the landscape, confronting dangers, finding clues and ultimately finding the secret location of the wiley and mysterious Tour Guide in the hopes of retrieving the Nomad Hat. It’s a key time to check out new locations and write down landmarks that will be worthy of a second investigation as time permits. And did I mention confronting dangers? Yes, dangers. Lots of them. All bearing swords. There was this one guy, who came out of nowhere, with dead set intents of stabbing me right in the … well, never mind, it wasn’t pleasant that’s for sure.

My adventures went a little something like this.

Kiln

Kiln is just east of the Blackblade Mountains, and a short journey south of the fortress of Hilt!

From Solace Bridge, head toward EastReach Gap and once through, head West through Grunvald Barrens to pick up the path on a westward direction. You will need to cross over the next bridge and keep heading northwest. Kiln is out on it’s own, but you should see it on the horizon.

Once inside, follow the road past the tents and through the gates.The Tour Guide is in the center of town at the market and not too far out of eyesight from the pub and tasked with putting another log on the fire.

Hilt Fortress

Within the Blackblade Mountains, between South Paladis to the west and Midmaer to the east, is the narrow cleft of Nightshade Pass. At its center the winding pass opens up into a bowl-shaped canyon in which rests a shimmering lake fed by icy water flowing down from the glaciers hidden higher in the mountains to the north. On the south end of this valley can be seen the tall volcanic mountain of Hilt that gives this region its name. The fortress is within the mountain, you simply cannot miss it!

Head north back along the path until you come to a juncture with two bridges. One is a stone bridge and looks quite safe to pass on. The other is a rickety wooden bridge fraught with danger and uncertainty. Yes, head to the wood bridge to the west. You’ll be heading towards Trader’s Hill for those that have a map of the area. The final destination is Nightshade Pass.

If you recall, the Tour Guide was in the same location, but did us the favor of hanging out outside the fortress with his new found buddy the troll. Well, it seems they’ve had a parting of the ways and now he’s moved up a bit to the very top of that same path.

Once you get to the troll, take the path up and keep climbing, bobbing and weaving until you get to the fortress door.

Once inside, head south to the main room, up the stairs and through the little entryway. Keep heading south again and spiraling down into the depths. Keep heading left. The more death and destruction you encounter, the more you know you’re going the right way. Right as in correct, not right as in right. Go Left. Right?

Once you get to the bottom, the Tour Guide is just hanging out waiting for someone to come along to talk to.

South Varisalla Foothills

The Varisalla Foothills are in Vedantis, in the farthest western reaches of Novia!

On the other side of Nightshade Pass, head west and over the bridge. Keep going west and cross over the other bridge. You’ll be heading toward Highvale and from there make your way over to Vertas and Mariah Overlook.

Take the path to the northwest and look for the ruins. Go up the steps of the courtyard and look for the large statue. Tour Guide is washing her feet.

North Naryad Pinelands

The Naryard Pinelands are in the north of Verdantis, in the far western reaches of Novia!

Head northeast away from the foothills and keep circling around toward the city of Foundation. Just off into the distance toward the west if the Pinelands.

Inside, follow the path to the southwest and keep looking off to the side for the large hill and camp off in the distance. Head up the path toward buildings and the Tour Guide is loafing about trying to figure out how to work the crafting stations.

North Brightbone Woods

The Brightbones Woods is just west and south of Solania, and to the northwest of the Perennial Coast!

Head North toward Solace Bridge then cut back across the river heading toward Solace Forest. Follow the path around as though heading to the Spectral Mines. Go past that and the Woods are just up ahead.

Once there, follow the road to where the lake is on the right hand side heading in a southerly direction. Up ahead will be a fortress with several ill-tempered guards ready to pounce and send you away without sharing any of their roasted pig, which is quite rude if you ask me.

The Tour Guide is toward the back of the camp keeping an eye on the tents and most likely tasked with basting the pork from time to time.

With all of that done and a few knocks to the head and other sensitive places, the Nomad Hat can be retrieved and added to the collection.

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Hi Tour Guide, just checking in to see how … Oh good gravy! Alley! Alley, you’re on fire! What have the townspeople done to you? What manner of skill have they mistaken for witchcraft this time?

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Hey Tour Guide, pretty festive ruin you have here. I will say your welcoming committee leaves a little something to be desired as they shot me in the back for no good reason. I didn’t mean to break that guy’s neck, but he was asking for it.

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Ah ha! The foothills, right at the foot of these … hills.

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Hmm, lonely shack in the woods with no one around, I see no reason to think anything bad will happen to us inside.

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Sorry about the flaming sword of smiting Tour Guide, I’m a little on edge from all the wolves and bandits you continually seem to keep company with.

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Far be it for me to tell you how to keep house and the like, but these cobwebs and piles of bones aren’t doing much to up the appeal of coming to visit you. And if I’m honest, there is a wee bit of a smell, can’t quite place it.

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Holy beacons of light! Alley, what the devil goes on in there?! Do you now have phenomenal cosmic powers?

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I don’t know Tour Guide, you keep setting up these lovely picnics with delicious smelling pork and pork products, but every time I show up, it’s nothing but stabs in the back and arrows to the midsection. You’re friends are a little protective and don’t like to share and get a little aggressive when they drink. Perhaps you can a spare hat I can borrow to staunch the bleeding?

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Check out the fur lined brim on this Nomadic Hat! This thing is awesome! It will protect my noggin when the cold winds come.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

A new release is at hand, and is the tradition, it’s time to head out into parts unknown to face mighty creatures and seek out the ever elusive, ever blue Tour Guide. And what is the reward for this death defying quest? It’s the Pilgrim Bonnet of course, just in time for the holidays. I must admit, it’s not quite my style or color, but that doesn’t matter. I’m going to go out there, I’m going to get it, I’m going to wear it for 5 minutes and then I’m going to stash it in the box with all the other hats I’ve gotten over the past year!

And we’re off!

This ill-tempered tour contains the following destinations: Hometown, Etceter, Nightshade Pass, Brittany Graveyard Mariah Overlook.

Hometown

Hometown is an island run by the Novian Grand Tours Agency and Realty Company! (Marcus Gorn proprietor). Its star attraction, the Parade of Homes is a showplace for all the finest architecture available to settlers of our fair continent., many of whom are outlanders just like yourself! You can find Hometown (and you should!) on a small island just to the east of Soltown, off the coast.

From Soltown, head toward the coast (away from Ardoris) and you will see a small island. Jump on over to Hometown and the Tour Guide is right on the dock. This is the easiest Tour Guide to find.

Etceter

Etceter is a city on the northern coast of Quel, west of the Perennial Coast. Many people journey there to gain passage to Elysium and Xenos.

From Ardoris, head West down the Perennial Trail. Take the path up to the Brightbone Pass. Run like the devil and don’t look back!

On the other side, head South to follow the path. It’s a bit of a trek, but Etceter is out there. You will actually come around and find it in a more Northwestly direction.

Once inside more toward the coastline and the town market. You’re heading the docks and the pub. To the Southwest is a ramshackle tower, the Tour Guide is tucked away next to it. It’s right in sight of all the broken boats at the harbor.

Nightshade Pass

Nightshade Pass is the pass between the Blackblade mountains and the Serpent’s Spine, roughly in the center of Novia, east of Paladis. The Obsidian fortress of Hilt can be found there.

The pass is right around the corner from Brittany. Head to the west and you will see it on the horizon. This is one wickedly dangerous area, so get ready to run.

Once inside the path, start running. Keep following the path and heading down to the valley floor. You will likely get shot repeatedly in the backside, gnawed by wolves and just for fun, there is a troll keeping the Tour Guide company.

As you’re running, look for a path heading up. The Tour Guide is at the top of this path in a North East direction. As mentioned, there is a troll. And he likes to throw rocks. And stomp his feet. And clap his hands. All of these are deadly to the unprepared outlander.

Brittany Graveyard

The Brittany Graveyard is just outside of Brittany, the largest city of Novia on the north central coast! It is not actually used by the residence of Brittany, but where the first group of outlanders from an age past are interred. You can talk to the groundskeeper to learn more about this curious place!

From Soltown, head through the Eastreach Gap

Keep following the path up passed Paxlair

Head West to Trader’s Hill

Over the bridge then North to Brittany – It’s a big castle along the coast

Once you enter the cemetery the Guide is right in front of you

Mariah Overlook

Mariah Overlook can be found near Vertas, in the Mariah Mountains! It once house a mummer’s festival, but alas, the Amphitheater remains silent…

Head through Vertas pass and you will the town of Vertas off to the side. Mariah Overlook is just beyond, up the path. Make note of what the Tour Guide said about the amphitheater, that’s where you need to go.

Follow the path to the Southwest and keep winding around. Keep heading toward the south until you come to the amphitheater. The Tour Guide is in the nose bleed section to the Southwest.

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Well, I suppose I better start swimming

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Hey Tour Guide. Remind me to come back and check out this place once I get this fetching bonnet.

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Hail, Nightshade Pass is on the horizon

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I have to say, I didn’t enjoy coming out here to meet you Tour Guide. Perhaps you should make friends with the troll and persuade him not to crush everyone who comes out here to pay you a visit.

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Who is this Mariah person anyway?

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You picked a heck of a night to take in some dinner theater.

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Ah ha, Etceter. Thought I would never find you. I’ve taken many an arrow in a bad place to reach you.

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Yes indeed, I had to enlist the expert tracking skills of Alley Oop to find you. Why you hiding Tour Guide? You could have at least taken up a stool in the tavern, they seem like a good sort. I’m sure someone around these parts could whip up a hot batch of fish and chips. The Faun seems eager to serve. 

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I’m not sure this is my color

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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