Home > Age of Conan, Quests > Nightmare bubbles and the Silk Road Emissary quest line

Nightmare bubbles and the Silk Road Emissary quest line

Motivation: there’s a somewhat masochistic quest chain hidden amidst the Silk Road encounters, leading to a few curious and bizarre social items and pets, as well as some accessories with an impressive amount of constitution. (Scroll down for screenshots.)

Useful forum threads: link 1, link 2, link 3.

The Silk Road Encounters

Most people nowadays travel to the Khitai playfields with the Path of Asura or one of the paths that you can buy with veteran tokens (to Shaulun and Heaven’s Lake), or even by buying the one-time-use teleportation scrolls from the item shop. But there is also the old-fashioned way of getting to Khitai: by talking to the Khitan pathfinder NPC in the southeastern corner of the Khemi playfield. You’ll have to swim from the main island of Khemi to get there, or pay one of the NPCs (Madu) 75 copper to take you across by boat.

The Khitai travel NPC in Khemi can take you to the Gateway to Khitai, and offers you two ways of doing so: either you pay him 22.5 silver, or you pay nothing but have to complete a random encounter along the way. These encounters are basically short quests in a miniature playfield (“The Silk Road X”, for various values of X) to which you will be transported for that purpose. There are around 8 or so possible random encounters — killing a kraken, gathering fruit or various artefacts, scouting a canyon, protecting the caravan from attackers, etc. See this forum thread for more info.

But the random encounter that we’re interested in at this point is the one where you meet an Emissary from the King of Zamora. He gives you a quest to kill 500 Craterspawns and collect quest items from them. So your first challenge is to pick up this quest in the first place, since it’s just one of several possible random encounters (and I suspect it’s less likely than the others).

One way to do this is to talk to the Khitai travel NPC in Khemi, tell him you want to do the random encounter, and then once you see which random encounter you actually got, if it isn’t the Emissary one, you can relog and you’ll end up back in Khemi at the Khitai travel NPC. So you can keep trying and relogging until you finally get the Emissary encounter.

The other way is to actually complete the random encounters that you get. After you complete an encounter, its corresponding quest goes on a cooldown of 1 hour. So you can hurry back to Khemi and talk to the Khitai travel NPC again, and you can be sure that the next time you won’t get the encounter that’s currently on cooldown. Hurry up and complete more encounters; the more of them are on cooldown at the same time, the more likely it is that you’ll get the Emissary encounter (because most of the others are on cooldown).


As mentioned above, the first quest you get from the Emissary requires you to kill 500 Craterspawns and pick up quest items from them. IIRC the Emissary talked about killing them in Kara Korum, but in fact the Craterspawns in the Northern Grasslands are just as good and will also drop the quest items. I suspect the ones in Chosain and Paikang would also be fine, but I never tried those. In any case, it makes sense to kill the ones in Northern Grasslands as they are the fastest and easiest to kill; you’ll find them north of Pin Pin, near the Shadows of Jade camp and the exit towards Kara Korum.

If you find other people that want to do the same quest, you can team up with them to speed things up even more. Each Craterspawn you kill will provide a quest item for every member of the group.

Once you have your 500 quest items, you can complete the quest by handing them in to a NPC in Pin Pin. At this point you get some more-or-less social gear as a reward: Helm of the Zamoran Honor Guard (social helmet, not very impressive IMO), Soles of Liquid Nightfall (neat social shoes that leave a black trail wherever you go), and Zamoran Treasury Ring (50 con, 34 hit rating, 45 critical rating, 48 fatality rating).

Nightmare Bubbles

Now you can go back to Khemi and start pestering the Khitai travel NPC as before until you encounter the Emissary on the Silk Road again. He will give you a new quest this time: destroy 100 nightmare bubbles in Paikang.

There is a large set of possible locations where nightmare bubbles might spawn in Paikang. A lot of them are along the roads and river banks in the central part of the playfield, so in my experience the best thing to do is to ride in a circle along the roads there (between the ape island, the Children of Yag-Kosha camp, and the Yellow Priests camp) and look around all the time to see if any bubbles are up. See the following map (the dots show all the bubble locations that I know of; I’m pretty sure there are others that I haven’t encountered yet):

(Click to enlarge.)

The bubble is basically a small black sphere floating approx. 1 meter above the ground; if you have particles enabled, it will also be surrounded by a much larger purplish sphere, which makes them much easier to notice.

A bubble disappears 30 seconds after spawning, so you don’t have much time once you notice one. To enter it, you have to click it; you can be mounted while you do this, but you must not be in combat. Some bubble spawn locations are a bit tricky because there are mobs nearby, and if you aggro them you probably won’t have enough time to kill them and get out of combat before the bubble will despawn; so be careful from which direction you approach the bubble.

The inside of a bubble isn’t really a separate instance; you actually just get teleported into the extreme northwestern end of your current instance of the Paikang playfield. This means that only one player can be inside a bubble at any time, and while someone is there, no other bubbles will spawn. (If you stay inside a bubble for too long, you get ported out.) In my experience it’s best if you hunt for bubbles outside of prime time hours, so that you won’t have other players competing with you too much.

Sometimes you’ll find three bubbles in 10 minutes, sometimes no bubbles in 2 hours, so you have to be very patient. IME you can get 25 or more bubbles in one day if you spend the whole day looking for them. Another possibility is to just do quests in Paikang and hope that you’ll eventually happen to find some bubbles along the way, but IME that is a lot too slow and it would take ages to reach 100 bubbles that way.

Incidentally, there’s another quest involving bubbles, namely a repeatable quest for the Insurrection faction, which requires you to enter 3 bubbles. The difference is that the Insurrection quest updates as soon as you enter the bubble, whereas the Emissary quest updates only if/when you successfully complete the encounter inside the bubble.

The rewards for completing this second Emissary quest are a purple necklace (Pendant of Royal Zamoran Favor: 78 con, 55 hit rating, 66 crit dmg rating) and the Embodied Serenity, which is a social pet that looks like a partly transparent quilin.

(Click to enlarge.)

The Game Director Pet

If you spawn the Embodied Serenity, it will occasionally say various wise sayings; but three of those sayings are a riddle:

Embodied Serenity whispers: Move in rhythm while in the blessed space. This is the first truth.

Embodied Serenity whispers: The desert witch hides a great secret in her waters. This is the second truth.

Embodied Serenity whispers: The skull in the water is holiest. To stand on top is to be blessed. This is the third and final truth.

What this means is the following. Once you have the Embodied Serenity, you can go to the Oasis of Zaara and go to the shallow lake in the last part of that dungeon. There’s a large skull lying in the water; stand on top of it and start dancing.

This will give you another social pet, the Soilirrion, which looks like a large slug (e.g. like the bloated parasites in Paikang, or the umbra mobs in T’ian’an district). The name is of course a pun on the game director’s nickname, as is the description of the pet (“an experienced director of soil production and management”).

(Click to enlarge.)

Similar items elsewhere

I noticed a pair of social shoes in the item shop, similar to the Soles of Liquid Nightfall that you get from the first Emissary quest. From the description I suspect that they leave a red trail instead of a black one (they “cause the wearer to walk always upon blood-sanctified ground”), but I didn’t try buying them so I’m not completely sure. They are called Soles of Eternal Suffering.

Likewise, I noticed a social pet for sale in the item shop that looks very similar to the Embodied Serenity, except that it’s a different color. It’s called Embodied Winter. I never tried buying it so I don’t know whether it also produces wise sayings and if it allows you to obtain the Soilirrion pet.

Categories: Age of Conan, Quests
  1. January 31, 2012 at 21:09

    Bah! I wanted to do this guide! You beaten me to it :X
    I made my 100 bubbles on monkey island. It is not really all that hard. If you have couple hours per day you can probably beat it in a week or so. But yeah, that would be pretty hardcore

    Good stuff here.

  2. Argona
    March 6, 2013 at 19:40

    This was fun…..and the Comparison of Full Plate is fantastic….Thanks!

  3. Argantes
    January 21, 2014 at 07:32

    “This means that only one player can be inside a bubble at any time..”

    this is not true. back on Fury I used to have quite intense fights with some ranger in Paikang and once or twice we met eachother even inside the bubble 🙂

    • January 21, 2014 at 09:13

      Hm, interesting. I suspect that’s because one or both of you were using some sort of dirty relogging exploit rather than entering bubbles legitimately 😛

  4. Dimchik
    March 15, 2014 at 08:04

    I also had an encounter with other player inside Nightmare bubble (looked like he was fighting the boss for a bit before i zoned in).

  5. alabandes
    February 12, 2016 at 19:57

    Hello folks,look at my quest video, thnx for again Cynara veery nice blog.

    Alabandes / Crom PVE

  1. July 21, 2012 at 08:08
  2. August 22, 2012 at 21:41

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