Grand Tour

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

It is time once again to wipe the slate clean, start anew, and head out into the great unknown in search of fortune, glory and hats! For the start of Release 23 we have the Plague Doctor mask and a Tour Guide that looks like he might need to eat a sandwich or three to put some meat on his bones. As with other Grand Tours, this one starts in Soltown, so once you pick your destiny, you can swing on by and get the tour started.

I have to say, this Grand Tour has some serious teeth. Teeth that bite into your backside and rip out big, meaty chunks! I’ve been working out, bulking up, doling out justice to the undead and I wasn’t able to make a dent to the Thugs, Mages and Skeletons that were lying in wait for me in the Catacombs. Seriously, who designs these things?! The Grand Tour is supposed to be a bit of a fun, a bit of folly, a chance to get out a see the world, and of course to be seen, not get ambushed with no chance of survival. Spiteful I say. Truly spiteful.

But it is possible to do if you are willing to come to terms your mortality and invite death over for dinner. We dined often on this run.

There are four destinations for this tour – Soltown Catacombs, Solania Catacombs, Tower of the Shuttered Eye and Desolate Hills. At least you don’t have go far to get the ball rolling.

Soltown Catacombs
The Soltown Catacombs can be reached from the graveyard in Soltown!

Head out of town, away from the Tour Guide and take a right to get to the cemetery.

At the bottom of the ramp, on the left, is a hidden door you need to go through. Follow the twists and turns, through the toxic haze of purple gas. You will go up another ramp and will find the Tour Guide dead ahead – dead being the operative word. It looks all calm and peaceful in there with the Guide just standing off in the corner, on his lonesome, just waiting for someone to come by and say hello. Don’t believe it for a second! As soon as you get close you will be ambushed by at least half a dozen skeletons!

You should, if quick and lucky, be able to register the visit and make a getaway. But keep your bearings! As you run screaming for your life, immediately head to the west tunnel in that same room and keep following it around. You will pop out another hidden doorway. To your left is the entrance to the Solania Catacombs.

Solania Catacombs
The Solania Catacombs can be reached from a passage under a bridge in Solania. Solania is north and west of the Perennial Trail, near Lake Celestis. You can also reach it directly via the Soltown Catacombs … if you find the secret door!

Getting to this Tour Guide is worse than in Soltown. Take a deep breath and prepare to die. That’s just the way it is.

You can only go one way so follow the twists and take the first left you come to. Up ahead is a room full of Elf Mages, Fighters and Archers that you have no chance of defeating. If you can make it work, play the role of bait (which isn’t hard) and lure as many toward you as possible. Keep backing up to draw them away from the room and down the tunnel. Have your Heal spell at the ready because you’re gonna need it.

Get them as far away from the room as possible, then run as fast as you can through the mob and through the Elf camp itself. It’s amazing how accurate and slowing their Disabling Shot arrows are!

Run straight through and down the ramp on the opposite side. Yes, there is a dead end. Start swinging! Quick now, death is coming! If you time it right you can break through the wall before all the naughty Elves come and surround you.

Bash through the wall like it’s a prison break and go to the right. Keep running and head for the Tour Guide in the next room. Hopefully the bandits aren’t still chasing you because, as you would expect, the Tour Guide is surrounded.

Fully heal yourself if you can then make another run for it. If timing is on your side you should be able to register with the Guide before dying.

Tower of the Shuttered Eye
The Tower of the Shuttered Eye is in the southeast of Novia, in the swamps. You can see it from quite far away!

We should all know where the Tower is, but if not, from Soltown, head out toward Ardoris. You will see it off to the left, out in the swamp, where the wild things are.

This Guide is actually quite easy compared to the others. Run through the main area and make a bee line right for the Tower itself. You should be able to sprint through without running into too much trouble or picking up the plague. Ah, the plague, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Enter the tower and before you go anywhere, turn to the right. There is a door directly in front of you. Go through there and then off to the left into the second room. The most you should face is a Slime. You may be ready and jumpy for an ambush, but one isn’t coming.

Desolate Hills
The Desolate Hills is west of the Perennial Trail, near the Necropolis. It is fairly dangerous, and the tour guide may be hiding out of sight!

Head down to Ardoris and keep going. Follow the path until you get to the West Perennial Trail. Turn Left or South and climb up the hill. It’s rather concealed, so look around a bit. You will see some headstone as though you’re in a cemetery. You’re in the right place!

If you have quick feet you can make this happen and get out without death paying a visit.

There is a crypt just to the right as soon as you enter. It’s mere feet in front of you. Run straight for it and open the crypt door. Surprise! The Tour Guide is inside. However, Wolves and Skeletons have turned this cemetery into their own little fun park and they’re just waiting to tear you to shreds.

And there you have it, you’ve risked certain death in order to gain a festive mask that was used to keep away certain death.

Since you now have the mask, and perhaps need a bit of break from all the death and dying, have a read about the Plague Doctor mask, it’s some interesting, albeit dark, reading.

 

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A hidden entrance, sneaky indeed!

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Hmm, all seems quiet in there, but I bet as soon as I step inside, DEATH!

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Rather gloomy out here in the Desolate Hills

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That’s just completely uncalled for!

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Quick stop to show off my new Plague Doctor mask with the Tower of the Shuttered Eye Tour Guide just hanging out in the shadows.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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