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Moon Children

April 18, 2012 5 comments

Moon children are small imp-like pets associated with the Scholars of Cheng-ho faction. (According to the lore on the Chosain loading screen, they are originally spirits summoned from the underworld.) They appear in the game in about three different forms:

  • First of all, there’s the Moon Child as a faction pet that you can buy from the Scholars for 800 marks of acclaim and 10 gold if you are rank 4 with them; like most other faction pets, it isn’t really much use in a fight. It certainly doesn’t give you any of the awesome buffs that we’ll see below. According to this very useful forum post, it does a (pathetically) small amount of electrical damage to your enemies.
  • Secondly, there are the Moon Child mobs in Gun Hai, the Scholars’ city in the northwestern part of the Chosain playfield. Those are completely normal standalone mobs without any particularly impressive abilities, so they don’t need to concern us any further.
  • Thirdly, the moon children appear as pets that accompany the Scholars of Cheng-ho mobs (Strategists, Tacticians, etc.) in the battlefield in the central part of the playfield, and in their tower north of the battlefield. This third type of moon children is what this post will be about.


One of the smug little bastards is shown here, accompanying a Scholars of Cheng-ho mob. (Click to enlarge.)

The moon children of this third kind are pets in the sense that killing their master (the Scholar of Cheng-ho human mob with whom the moon child is associated) causes the pet to die as well, and killing the pet doesn’t give you any faction reputation (it does, however, give you some AA xp and valor points). What makes them special is that they provide various annoying buffs to their master (and themselves), which makes it a bit more challenging to fight in areas where there are lots of these scholar/moon-child pairs.

In particular, one of the repeatable quests for the Tamarin’s Tigers faction requires you to fight your way to the top of the tower that’s thoroughly infested by these moon children. A lot of people dislike this quest and either skip it or do it as a team of two or more players (some classes might also be able to sneak to the top of the tower in hide and thus avoid most of the fighting). The main thing many people seem to dislike here is that you can’t just plunge in and start fighting — you have to observe which phase they are in and possibly wait a bit before you attack. But as long as you’re a bit careful and take the trouble to become familiar with the mechanics of the moon children, fighting them becomes pretty easy, so I thought I’d make a post about how they work for those who are too hasty to figure it out by themselves 😛

The moon phases

At any given point, the moon child is in one of five possible moon phases. The phase is indicated by one of his buffs (see the screenshot below), but also by the moon child’s size and by the size and color of the moon-like particle effect above his head.

The moon child moves through the phases cyclically in the order shown above: New Moon (blue), Crescent Moon (red), Half Moon (green), Waxing Moon (light khaki), and Full Moon (yellow). Each phase lasts 20 seconds. If you aggro the moon child (or its master — they will both aggro at the same time anyway), it stays in its current phase for as long as the fight lasts.

The moon child’s primary mode of attack is a ranged single-target spell that does electrical damage (though the name of the spell is different for each moon phase). It spams this attack all the time when it isn’t casting the special abilities of its phase. The moon child’s master generally does frost damage (Light of the Moon), occasionally some holy damage (Star Fall), and sometimes also casts heals over time on himself. He might also silence you (Tranquility: 3 second silence).

New Moon (blue buff)

The moon child is small (-20% scale) and has a small dark blue moon above his head.

First, the moon child casts Darkside, which gives it and its master a 100% immunity buff. It isn’t shown among their debuffs but it can be easily recognized by a purple shield-like particle effect around them.

Apart from that, the moon child spams Eternal Darkness in this phase (single-target electrical attack). It doesn’t seem to provide any heals to its master.

Crescent Moon (red buff)

The moon child is small (-10% scale) and has a medium-sized light blue moon above his head.

The moon child occasionally casts Moonweave, which is a big heal on its master. The rest of the time it spams Moonbolt (single-target electrical attack). It doesn’t seem to have any other special abilities in this phase.

Half Moon (green buff)

The moon child is normal-sized and has a small pale moon above his head.

The moon child occasionally casts Moonlight, which is a big heal on its master. The rest of the time it spams Moonbeam (single-target electrical attack). It doesn’t seem to have any other special abilities in this phase.

Waxing Moon (light khaki* buff)

The moon child is enlarged (+10% scale) and has a medium-sized bright yellow moon above his head.

First, the moon child casts Earthshine, which gives it and its master a 100% evade chance. This buff isn’t shown among the debuffs above their name and health bar, but you can easily recognize it by a yellow shield-like particle effect. This buff seems to expire after 60 seconds, and the moon child tries to recast it after 63 seconds, so if you use a CC at the right moment, you can prevent the moon child from recasting it. It will likely try again about 10 seconds later though, so you’ll have to CC him again (or it’ll get the shield again, etc.)

The rest of the time, the moon child spams Moonstrike (single-target electrical attack).

If your class does only physical damage, you’d best avoid this phase as the evasion buff makes it extremely annoying. For a DT it’s slightly easier as at least your Curse of Gwahlur will still damage it (even though most of your other magical damage is due to procs triggered by melee attacks, which won’t trigger now as the mobs will evade those melee attacks). The mobs are also vulnerable to retributive damage in this phase (e.g. from Cunning Deflection or Covenant of Invulnerability).

* Note: I’m not sure what’s the best name for this color :} I opened the screenshot in an image processing program and found one of the pixels to have the color rgb(246, 242, 153); the Wikipedia describes “light khaki” as rgb(240, 230, 140), which seems close enough.

Full Moon (yellow buff)

The moon child is large (+20% scale) and has a large, deep yellow moon above his head.

First the moon child casts Moonshield, which gives it (but not its master) +80% immunity for 120 seconds. After that it occasionally casts Moonwalk, which is a 5 sec fear on you. It’s a good idea to try to CC it during this cast or you might get feared into some other nearby mob (which might be in an undesirable moon phase). You can also avoid the fear by running a few steps away from the moon child while it’s casting Moonwalk.

Occasionally the moon child casts Cheng Ho’s Forgiveness, which is a channeled spell that heals its master (ticks 3 times).

In this phase, the moon child seems to do melee attacks (crushing), rather than ranged electrical spells.

Summary

As we can see from the above descriptions, the main difference between the moon phases is that some of them result in magical immunity, some in physical evasion, and some in neither. That’s in fact my main complaint about their mechanics — they are a bit unfair towards some classes.

  • If your class does magical as well as physical damage (e.g. necro with melee pets), you’ll be fine with all the phases.
  • If your class does only magical damage, you should avoid the blue phase (100% immunity on both the moon child and the master), and preferably also the yellow phase (80% immunity on the moon child). I remember whacking a moon child to death with my staff on my ToS once because I pulled it during the blue phase — it took ages, fortunately I was able to outheal its attacks on me.
  • If your class does only physical damage, you should avoid the Waxing Moon (light khaki) phase (100% evade chance).
  • It’s a good idea to focus DPS on the moon child first, as if you focus on the master it might get some pretty big heals from the moon child (in the green, red, and yellow phases), which can be difficult to out-DPS.
  • If you pull in the yellow phase, be prepared to deal with the fear (Moonwalk), either by CCing it, running away, or making sure that, if you do get feared, there aren’t any other mobs nearby.

If you’re fighting your way up the Scholars’ tower in Chosain, be careful when pulling:

  • When approaching the tower, it’s safer to pull mobs back rather than charge them where they stand (as this might aggro other nearby mobs).
  • Also note the two patrols that occasionally enter the ground floor of the building.
  • When going up the stairs, there are two Scholars (with a moon child each) on the floor above you; before going too far up the stairs, rotate the camera around a bit to check the buffs on the moon children; and don’t walk up unless both of them are in phases that are safe for your class. (In principle, you’ll initially aggro only the pair that’s closer to the upper end of the stairs, not the pair that’s in the diagonally opposite corner, but it’s better to be safe than sorry :P)
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Categories: Age of Conan, Quests

Who was Dhurkan Blackblade?

April 17, 2012 9 comments

Recently I finally managed to win the Aegis of Dhurkan Blackblade, the beautiful guardian T3 shield, in a T3 semi-pug raid. I never had much luck with this shield; it dropped rarely, more often when I was there with alts than with my guardian, and I foolishly passed for several of these shields in the past, in favor of juggernaut guardians and DTs (my guard being polearm specced). (All of those people have quit the game meanwhile, except one, who no longer plays his guardian; which has led me to conclude that maximizing one’s own lootwhoring without regard to other players is the only reasonable policy.)

As a result, this shield grew into somewhat of an obsession for me, and I couldn’t help being intrigued by its name. So, who the heck was Dhurkan Blackblade?

Melkar, the NPC standing in the Sanctum of Burning Souls, mentions him briefly:

Melkar: Look around… you stand in the City of Burning Souls. Pyrrophlagalon, we called it, and if Python was the capital of Acheron, then we were the dark heart of the empire. Ixion the Devourer ruled this place, with his sons, Xaltotun and Dhurkhan Blackblade. Now the empire is dust… and Acheron is forgotten.

And Ixion the Devourer is IIRC the guy whose soul has been reincarnated in the demon called Devourer in the Amphitheatre of Karutonia; he is mentioned by an NPC that gives you one of the quests for the Amphitheatre.

Googling the new spelling mentioned above, Dhurkhan instead of Dhurkan, led me to a mention of Dhurkhan in the Gazetteer at hyboria.xoth.net, which says much the same things as Melkar the NPC, but it also cites a source:

Pyrrophlagalon: Also known as the “City of the Burning Souls”, this lost capital was the very black heart of Acheron. The city was the seat of the House of “Ixion the Devourer” and his two sons, the dread sorcerer Xaltotun, and Dhurkhan Blackblade, the Supreme Warlord of Acheron. The city’s location is not known. (Conan and the Grim Grey God) [link]

The reference seems to be to a 1996 novel, Conan and the Grim Grey God, written by Sean A. Moore. See also its page in the Wikipedia and on amazon.com, the latter of which also includes a few pages of text from the beginning of the first chapter. There’s also a passage mentioning Dhurkhan on yet another old AoC wiki, which doesn’t mention the source but my guess is that it’s from the same novel. Anyway, in all these other sources he seems to be consistently referred to as Dhurkhan, not Dhurkan, so the name of the T3 sword seems to be a bit of a misspelling.

Incidentally, according to another old page at wikiaoc.com, Dhurkhan Blackblade was at some point intended to be an actual boss in the Sanctum of Burning Souls. Presumably he eventually evolved into the one we now know as Acheronian Warlord.

Categories: Age of Conan, Lore, Vanity Gear