A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #481
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    Default Re: OOTS #1278 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    Before going on here, it may be worth taking stock to ensure we are not arguing about things we don't actually disagree on. I accept that there may be more than one tunnel, although we don't see more than one. I also accept that an attacker wouldn't know where they are relative to the main tunnel unless they looked through a pinhole. But I assert that the secret tunnels would not be so vast that it would take long to explore them all, nor are they so confusing that an attacker might get lost within them (albeit that they would not know where they are relative to the main tunnels). Do we disagree on any of that?
    I disagree with nearly all of that:

    1. An attacker would not know where they are relative to the main tunnel (why use this term?) any given location in the pyramid, much less the room with the gate in it, even when looking through the pinholes, because there are no landmarks they would recognize. One room or hallway that they've never seen before looks pretty much like any other room or hallway they've never seen before. I'm still somewhat baffled why you think this would help someone navigate through the pyramid and find the gate.

    2. The tunnels cover the area of the pyramid. Just like the hallways and rooms inside the pyramid are within the same area. How "vast" it is is irrelevant. Who cares how long it would take to map out the tunnel network? Since no pinholes from within that network allow you to see the room with the gate in it, you can explore it forever and never find the gate.

    3. They were clearly of a confusing layout, or V would not have said "These blasted tunnels! I cannot make sense of them". At the very least, V is lost and can't find a way out. Sure. Someone with d-door could escape, but would then be right back in the main halls, where all the traps and illusions are. And with no way to know if they are farther away or closer to the gate.

    You've suggested that an attacker, if they found the tunnels (which would be a massive feat by itself) could use them to "bypass the defenses". But you have failed to really explain how this would help them. Yes, they could bypass one room of traps, and then come out in another room of traps. One room which is no more likely to be closer to the gate than the other. I'm just not seeing how this helps much.


    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    We have covered this. There are lots of possibilities that don't cause any problems. The one I favour is having someone spying in the secret tunnels, communicating with someone up-passage from where the attackers are. The up-passage defender then casts a spell to prepare for the attackers, based on what the spy saw.
    So wait. Now you're proposing that one person is hanging around inside the main hallways, with some sort of telepathy spell to a person spying in a room through a pinhole, but the person outside casts the spell instead? Um... Why bother with the tunnels and the pinholes then? If you're going to expose the casters by having them hiding in the pyramid itself, then what's the point? You've just made things needlessly complicated for no real benefit here.

    And we're still left with the person in the tunnel isn't tailoring the illusions. Another person, hiding nearby (who would also have to have the same line of effect requirements) would be doing so. Again. Why bother with the person in the tunnel then? Why bother building the tunnels or the pinholes at all?

    That's somehow less problematic than just assuming that via either a rule change (or some other openings that V never found) they have some means to directly cast into the rooms from the tunnels? Sorry. Not seeing it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    No problem. And no solution because every indication we have (the rules, and V's conversation wit his crow) is that what you suggest is impossible.
    The "problem" we're trying to solve is "how do we cast spells/illusions whatever on folks exploring the pyramid, while remaining hidden and safe from detection and counter attack?". The "solution" is "build secret tunnels that have no actual entrance, so no one can find them or get into them unless they know about them, and then have hidden holes to various areas of the pyramid so we can spy on them, and cast spells on them".

    Everything you keep talking about doesn't solve that first problem. And without that, there's no value to building the tunnels. If all you can do is see folks, but you can't do anything to them without having someone else being somewhere other than the tunnels, you haven't solved the problem. You may as well use various scrying devices instead. The whole point to building this into the structure itself is to use a non-magical means to do this (so it's nearly impossible to detect or counter).

    And yes. I get you keep saying "it's not possible under the rules". I don't agree with that. I've read the same rules you did, and my conclusion (and my ruling if I were running a D&D campagin) is that the 1' square hole thing only applies to area of effect for spells, and not for targetting or casting spells. There. Done. That's how I would run it in my game. Ergo. It's not impossible.

    We can only speculate about how Rich would interpret the same rules. But the fact that he had the Draketooths build the tunnels the way they did strongly suggests he would have a similar intepretation of those rules (or again, there's some other "gunports" present that we are not aware of). 99% of the value to building and using those tunnels disappears if there is no means to cast spells from them into the rooms they spy on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    Yes you have done that. And in each case I've told you why I don't think your proposed problem is a problem (let me know if you think I've missed responding to a proposed problem). You may not agree with my answers, but that is the reason that I don't share your opinion.
    Being blasted by the person you are casting spells on is a problem. Being behind a wall where they can't target you with spells is a solution.


    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    To be fair it was you who brought it up by saying "And this is precisely why most people reject that interpretation of the line of effect rules entirely."

    I agree with not appealing to popularity here. But for reference, you will see at post 312 someone who confirms that the rules works as described (by me) and does not say anywhere that they think the comic departs from that rule.
    Huh? The post confirms that the rules do technically literally say what you claim they do. The poster clearly expressed dislike for the rule as written, and quotes another poster saying this:

    Line of effect only applies to effects that begin on one side of the obstruction. If it is a spell that only requires the caster see the target to cast it, then yes, spells can indeed be cast through keyholes. They can only be cast onto things that can be seen through the keyhole.
    With this:

    I was going to make a post like this, but I could not have said it better myself.
    That's hardly the ringing endorsement you seem to think it is. Both posters acknowledge that the rules technically do state what you claim. Both posters disagree that the rules should work that way though. Again. We can take the rule literally, but common sense tells us that we should not.


    Again. I keep coming back to the fact that they built the pyramid. Why not build it in a way to maximize their ability to defend it?


    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    If the rules worked as you described, then of course it would be silly to not provide pinholes to cast through. In that case every single dungeon or defence except Girard's would indeed by silly (in OotS, but also most in DnD generally), for not taking advantage of this game-breaking rule. But it's not something you can do by the rules, so not doing it is not silly.
    The other dungeons did not have a family of spell casters actively working together to defend the gate. Or were not built purely to defend one single room and one object in that room. But yeah. If I had a group of a few dozen spell casters, and I was building a structure specifically to maximize their ability to take out any invader, I would build secret tunnels just like that and use them as I've described. Why not?

    It's equally "silly" not to have arrow slits in castle walls. Or portculises and murderholes in gatehouses. Or crenalations at the top of walls so you can drop stuff on people. Or any of a number of features that defensive structures usually have. Which is exactly why, if you can afford the cost/materials to build them with these things, you do. Why not do the same thing if your defenders are primarily spellcasters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    Hmmm, what illusion spells? Do they block divination regardless of level (because TE's casters are higher level than what we have supposed for defenders). Does the caster know their divination is being blocked by an illusion, because if so that would call for further investigations, probably by a dispel of the illusion.
    Some do. I previously pointed out the screen spell, which is on the list. Which does exactly this in an entire area. False vision works as well (also has no saving throw). And the less powerful (because they can be overcome) spells like obscure object and nondetection can also be useful. Technically, a spell like mage's private sanctum could be used to seal off some areas from discovery as well.

    Also, a lot of the more immediate detection spells don't penetrate far into solid substsances (like stone). So hiding in tunnels is a pretty darn useful technique to avoid detection without having to use much magic.


    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    If you are right, and the defenders can cast through the pinholes, then I do think we can assume Xykon would find the secret tunnels. If he sees a spell cast through a wall, I think it's very unlikely he wouldn't find them.
    Sure. He'd eventually probably figure it out. But remember, if this place were actively defended, there would be a *ton* of illusions and other stuff going on. Even with true seeing, that's a lot of clutter making it hard to see what's really there (and true seeing only lasts one minute per level, so not long relative to the "all day long" spells in the area). How's he going to "see a spell cast through the wall"? Most spells don't leave a convenient streak of light or something back to the source of the spell (evocation spells tend to, but most others do not). They just take effect.

    Seriously here. Run a D&D adventure. Start having folks in the party being hit with spells. Count how many rounds before anyone even thinks "maybe someone's behind a wall", much less actually does anything useful if that were the case. IME, many adventuring groups will *never* think of that. They'll go through every other possible thing that might be affecting them before they start doing thing like checking walls for pinholes. The first assumption is "invisible spell caster", right? That's going to get detect spells tossed up. Of course, there are spells that defend against detection. So maybe you try true seeing (if you've got any left after wading though the pyramid for an hour or two before the defenders set up an ambush). You probably start spaming out dispells to try to get rid of whatever magic they're using to hide themselves next. Then repeat that. Then run into different rooms to avoid line of sight (which will actually work, but you still wont know exactly why).

    I really think you are starting with your own metaknowledge and concluding that this wouldn't be hard to find. But I know from long experience running games like this, just how difficult this would be for any group to handle. This would, in all probabilty, be a TPK situation for any power level group (if I were really being an evil GM). There's a reason why when you run scenarios like this as a GM, you actually contrive reasons why the bad guys don't know the party is coming, or give the party some secret way in, or some other advantage. Because even a halfway intelligently prepared magical defense will completely wipe out adventuring groups almost effortlessly. And everything about Girard's pyramid and its defenders says that they were well past "halfway intelligent" in their defense.


    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    There are a myriad of ways that Xykon might be given a clue that the secret passages exist. For example, in strip 657 Xykon mentions his high bonus to listen checks, which might be helpful if wizards are running around behind a wall with small holes in it. To reiterate, not saying he would definitely find the passages, or even that he probably would. Only that it's enough of a chance to be a real risk to the defence of the gate.
    Eh. Maybe. But illusions can make noise too. And no amount of true seeing actually prevents you from hearing that noise. Only dispelling does. I think you really aren't fully considering just how difficult this would have been for anyone actually trying to get through the pyramid to find the gate if the Draketooth's had actually been there.

  2. - Top - End - #482
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    Default Re: OOTS #1278 - The Discussion Thread

    According to the line of effect rule, spells cannot be cast into a closed building or room, so divination spells are only useful if the subject is outdoors.

  3. - Top - End - #483
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    Default Re: OOTS #1278 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by gbaji View Post
    I disagree with nearly all of that:

    1. An attacker would not know where they are relative to the main tunnel (why use this term?) any given location in the pyramid, much less the room with the gate in it, even when looking through the pinholes, because there are no landmarks they would recognize. One room or hallway that they've never seen before looks pretty much like any other room or hallway they've never seen before. I'm still somewhat baffled why you think this would help someone navigate through the pyramid and find the gate.

    2. The tunnels cover the area of the pyramid. Just like the hallways and rooms inside the pyramid are within the same area. How "vast" it is is irrelevant. Who cares how long it would take to map out the tunnel network? Since no pinholes from within that network allow you to see the room with the gate in it, you can explore it forever and never find the gate.

    3. They were clearly of a confusing layout, or V would not have said "These blasted tunnels! I cannot make sense of them". At the very least, V is lost and can't find a way out. Sure. Someone with d-door could escape, but would then be right back in the main halls, where all the traps and illusions are. And with no way to know if they are farther away or closer to the gate.

    You've suggested that an attacker, if they found the tunnels (which would be a massive feat by itself) could use them to "bypass the defenses". But you have failed to really explain how this would help them. Yes, they could bypass one room of traps, and then come out in another room of traps. One room which is no more likely to be closer to the gate than the other. I'm just not seeing how this helps much.
    So attackers wouldn't know where they are relative to the main pyramid, other than looking through the peepholes and recognising a room they'd seen before.

    The size is relevant because if there were only, say, 100 meters or so of secret passages total, it would take someone less than a minute to walk the lot and look in every room. It would only take slightly longer to eliminate every defender in the tunnels. It would also suggest that there are few dead ends (if any, other then the one we saw), which may make the dead end we see more significant.

    As noted previously, I don't think that V was saying he was confused finding his way around the tunnels when he said "these blasted tunnels", and instead he was saying he was confused as what they are. I think this is because the crow's reply is to tell him that they are service tunnels for spying, and not to give hi directions or alleviate any other sort of confusion about whereabouts.

    Either way, the passages do allow them to bypass some of the defences. Even coming out in a random room is likely to be better than starting at the beginning. If they come out near the gate (either by design or chance) then they've bypassed most of the defences.

    So wait. Now you're proposing that one person is hanging around inside the main hallways, with some sort of telepathy spell to a person spying in a room through a pinhole, but the person outside casts the spell instead? Um... Why bother with the tunnels and the pinholes then? If you're going to expose the casters by having them hiding in the pyramid itself, then what's the point? You've just made things needlessly complicated for no real benefit here.

    And we're still left with the person in the tunnel isn't tailoring the illusions. Another person, hiding nearby (who would also have to have the same line of effect requirements) would be doing so. Again. Why bother with the person in the tunnel then? Why bother building the tunnels or the pinholes at all?

    That's somehow less problematic than just assuming that via either a rule change (or some other openings that V never found) they have some means to directly cast into the rooms from the tunnels? Sorry. Not seeing it.
    Well, yes I am suggesting it as a possibility now. But to dispel any inference from the word 'now' that this is some new thing I have just come up with. I raised it way back on page 13 (post 378) and have mentioned it nearly every post since then.

    The answer to 'why bother' is that the caster may be further down the passage than the attackers (so out of sight) and create their illusions before the attacker arrives.

    It is much less problemativ than assuming that people can cast through pinholes, because one has the problem of being impossible under the rules (and apparently the rules of OotS) and one does not.

    The "problem" we're trying to solve is "how do we cast spells/illusions whatever on folks exploring the pyramid, while remaining hidden and safe from detection and counter attack?". The "solution" is "build secret tunnels that have no actual entrance, so no one can find them or get into them unless they know about them, and then have hidden holes to various areas of the pyramid so we can spy on them, and cast spells on them".
    Ah, so, this may be part of the cause of our disagreement here. That may be the problem you are trying to address. I am not trying to address that problem at all, because I think the rules of the game and OotSverse prohibit doing that (and rightly so, because allowing casters to cast from invulnerability would be game breaking). It's like saying 'how do I deal with the problem of humans ageing in real life?'. There is no solution available to you and I, it is just a fact of life (a rule of the real world) that we have to live with.

    And without that, there's no value to building the tunnels. If all you can do is see folks, but you can't do anything to them without having someone else being somewhere other than the tunnels, you haven't solved the problem. You may as well use various scrying devices instead. The whole point to building this into the structure itself is to use a non-magical means to do this (so it's nearly impossible to detect or counter).
    I don't agree that there's no point the tunnels without being able to cast through the pinholes. There is value in being able to spy. It may have advantages over scrying (you point out that some illusions can block such divinations). It also allows defenders to travel from one point of the pyramid to another in the case of attack, without having running into the attackers, and without having to get past the traps. In my opinion, it's obvious there is value to the secret passages. I'm not so sure that the advantage outweighs the risk of the attackers getting into them though.

    And yes. I get you keep saying "it's not possible under the rules". I don't agree with that. I've read the same rules you did, and my conclusion (and my ruling if I were running a D&D campagin) is that the 1' square hole thing only applies to area of effect for spells, and not for targetting or casting spells. There. Done. That's how I would run it in my game. Ergo. It's not impossible.
    Yes, quite right. We disagree about whether it's possible under the rules, and possible under the rules of the OotSverse. We have discussed that at length. I am very confident in my position and find your counter arguments very strained. You perhaps feel the same way about your position and my counter arguments. That is why we agreed to disagree on the point ages ago, and why have suggested reinstating that several times since.

    Huh? The post confirms that the rules do technically literally say what you claim they do. The poster clearly expressed dislike for the rule as written, and quotes another poster saying this:
    With this:

    That's hardly the ringing endorsement you seem to think it is. Both posters acknowledge that the rules technically do state what you claim. Both posters disagree that the rules should work that way though. Again. We can take the rule literally, but common sense tells us that we should not.
    I am discussing what the rules do say (and how they seem to apply in the OotSverse), not what they should be. The posts are a sufficient endorsement of this from my perspective.
    Again. I keep coming back to the fact that they built the pyramid. Why not build it in a way to maximize their ability to defend it?
    I think they did, but within the constraints of the rules.




    It's equally "silly" not to have arrow slits in castle walls. Or portculises and murderholes in gatehouses. Or crenalations at the top of walls so you can drop stuff on people. Or any of a number of features that defensive structures usually have. Which is exactly why, if you can afford the cost/materials to build them with these things, you do. Why not do the same thing if your defenders are primarily spellcasters?
    Because to do it in the way you are suggesting is not possible under the rules.

    Some do. I previously pointed out the screen spell, which is on the list. Which does exactly this in an entire area. False vision works as well (also has no saving throw). And the less powerful (because they can be overcome) spells like obscure object and nondetection can also be useful. Technically, a spell like mage's private sanctum could be used to seal off some areas from discovery as well.

    Also, a lot of the more immediate detection spells don't penetrate far into solid substsances (like stone). So hiding in tunnels is a pretty darn useful technique to avoid detection without having to use much magic.
    The two you mention are limited to scrying, and not other forms of divination. And Screen is high level, so it's not certain that any of the defenders would be able to cast it, and if so, it would be one of the few they can cast.

    You might be right, I don't know if the defenders would be better than blocking, or TE would be better at divining. Or even if TE would try to divine. But that was only one example amongst many of different possible ways whereby an attacket might discover the tunnels.

    Sure. He'd eventually probably figure it out. But remember, if this place were actively defended, there would be a *ton* of illusions and other stuff going on. Even with true seeing, that's a lot of clutter making it hard to see what's really there (and true seeing only lasts one minute per level, so not long relative to the "all day long" spells in the area). How's he going to "see a spell cast through the wall"? Most spells don't leave a convenient streak of light or something back to the source of the spell (evocation spells tend to, but most others do not). They just take effect.

    Seriously here. Run a D&D adventure. Start having folks in the party being hit with spells. Count how many rounds before anyone even thinks "maybe someone's behind a wall", much less actually does anything useful if that were the case. IME, many adventuring groups will *never* think of that. They'll go through every other possible thing that might be affecting them before they start doing thing like checking walls for pinholes. The first assumption is "invisible spell caster", right? That's going to get detect spells tossed up. Of course, there are spells that defend against detection. So maybe you try true seeing (if you've got any left after wading though the pyramid for an hour or two before the defenders set up an ambush). You probably start spaming out dispells to try to get rid of whatever magic they're using to hide themselves next. Then repeat that. Then run into different rooms to avoid line of sight (which will actually work, but you still wont know exactly why).

    I really think you are starting with your own metaknowledge and concluding that this wouldn't be hard to find. But I know from long experience running games like this, just how difficult this would be for any group to handle. This would, in all probabilty, be a TPK situation for any power level group (if I were really being an evil GM). There's a reason why when you run scenarios like this as a GM, you actually contrive reasons why the bad guys don't know the party is coming, or give the party some secret way in, or some other advantage. Because even a halfway intelligently prepared magical defense will completely wipe out adventuring groups almost effortlessly. And everything about Girard's pyramid and its defenders says that they were well past "halfway intelligent" in their defense.
    I doubt anyone in a DnD adventure would think 'maybe someone is behind the wall', because the rule is the people cannot cast from behind walls without an obvious opening. If you did do this, then I think you would indeed be being an evil GM as you say, if you didn't clarify that you were departing from rules as written before starting.

    I think a simple counter Xykon might take to a spell being cast at him without him being able to see who cast it would be to cast dispel (or superb dispel). As for wiping out Team Evil 'almost effortlessly' how would a moderately levelled caster (between 5 and 15), remembering that the pinholes are placed periodically, so unlikely to be more than one caster able to cast into a given room.

    Eh. Maybe. But illusions can make noise too. And no amount of true seeing actually prevents you from hearing that noise. Only dispelling does. I think you really aren't fully considering just how difficult this would have been for anyone actually trying to get through the pyramid to find the gate if the Draketooth's had actually been there.
    Maybe, it was only one example Like with your screen spell, Lich's listen modifier may or may not be something the Draketooths actually plan to circumvent. Maybe Xykon would find the secret passages, maybe he never does, but the possibility is a weakness to GIrard's defence.
    Last edited by Liquor Box; 2023-04-26 at 11:10 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #484
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    Default Re: OOTS #1278 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    According to the line of effect rule, spells cannot be cast into a closed building or room, so divination spells are only useful if the subject is outdoors.
    This. All of this. Line-of-effect rules govern two things, who can be targeted by a spell (any spell) and the area that spells can effect (only aoe).

    We know they're separate both because they're clearly delineated in separate paragraphs (context) because many spells would not work as intended or described if we interpret that way (gameplay) and because in the OOTSverse specifically, for story reasons, the rules aren't exactly 3.5 (narrative).

    As an earlier poster hinted at, transparent materials don't block line of effect(for targeting(except for rays and touch spells which are weaponlike spells also dealing with weapon rules on cover), but if they are durable enough (such as magically hardened glass or transparent aluminum) they may block line of effect(for example, from a fireball).

    Casters have a line of effect from them to their target governed by their unobstructed senses and area-of-effect spells have a line of effect emanating from (usually) their central point.

    Is it reasonable to assume that the Draketooths wouldn't be able to fire some specific offensive spells that use a projectile emanated from the caster too wide for lens? Yeah, absolutely. The Draketooth MO is much less direct that that though. We see them employ a combination of spell traps on a doorway that would 1. summon a hellhound and 2. give it stoneskin and haste. So the tactic of summoning monsters in the rooms where confused intruders are wandering, getting hit with traps and then buffing those monsters to high heaven? Over and over? That's what I imagined the Draketooths getting up to, in terms of spell defense. Textbook attrition and diversion tactics you'd expect from the descendants of a paranoid ranger/illusion specialist.

    TLDR I agree that the Draketooth's probably couldn't cast scorching ray or disintegrates from the secret tunnels but they have better spells they could use instead. Targeting an enemy with a ray from a tiny siteline is going to give you penalties even if there are gunports (pure speculation on the gunports but about as supported as Durokan's unseen super effective monster gate guards). I doubt they'd use many evocation spells at all, they could do worse things to you.

  5. - Top - End - #485
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    Default Re: OOTS #1278 - The Discussion Thread

    They could always check where the intruders were, get to the rooms ahead, and add a bunch of buffed summons and trap spells there before ‘porting back out.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1278 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    According to the line of effect rule, spells cannot be cast into a closed building or room, so divination spells are only useful if the subject is outdoors.
    Quote Originally Posted by World Illusion View Post
    This. All of this. Line-of-effect rules govern two things, who can be targeted by a spell (any spell) and the area that spells can effect (only aoe).

    We know they're separate both because they're clearly delineated in separate paragraphs (context) because many spells would not work as intended or described if we interpret that way (gameplay) and because in the OOTSverse specifically, for story reasons, the rules aren't exactly 3.5 (narrative).
    Just to address this line of argument. The spells that wouldn't work as intended if the line of sight rules are properly applied, either explicitly say they don't require line of sight, or it is obvious from the spell description. For example, to use a divination spell, the description for clairvoyance says:
    Clairaudience/clairvoyance creates an invisible magical sensor at a specific location that enables you to hear or see (your choice) almost as if you were there. You don’t need line of sight or line of effect, but the locale must be known—a place familiar to you or an obvious one. Once you have selected the locale, the sensor doesn’t move, but you can rotate it in all directions to view the area as desired. Unlike other scrying spells, this spell does not allow magically or supernaturally enhanced senses to work through it. If the chosen locale is magically dark, you see nothing. If it is naturally pitch black, you can see in a 10-foot radius around the center of the spell’s effect. Clairaudience/clairvoyance functions only on the plane of existence you are currently occupying.
    https://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/cl...airvoyance.htm
    Last edited by Liquor Box; 2023-04-27 at 03:02 AM.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1278 - The Discussion Thread

    The funny thing is Xykon did find the "service tunnels" at Dorukan's dungeon (there were goblins there) and those tunnels absolutely got directly to the gate without any doubt.
    Last edited by Vikenlugaid; 2023-04-27 at 03:32 AM.

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