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Onyx Chambers ticket bosses

As is well known, Age of Conan was released a bit prematurely, and many things in the game were therefore a bit unfinished. Onyx Chambers is no exception to that; but what is really tragic in this case is that instead of finishing some of this unfinished content, or at least leaving it alone as it was, Funcom actually went out of their way to remove it.

Onyx Chambers has a system of rare bosses, where certain mobs (either common bosses or plain old trash mobs) are “placeholders”: when a placeholder is killed, there’s a certain probability (commonly estimated to be around 20–25%) that what will respawn in its place won’t be the same placeholder again, but its corresponding rare boss. Each rare boss has a specific, well-defined placeholder. You can consult the various maps of Onyx Chambers (e.g. link 1, link 2) to see their locations (and what they drop — each rare boss has a loot table consisting of several blue items that don’t drop anywhere else).

However, in the early months of the game, some of these rare bosses also had a small chance of dropping items with which you could spawn additional, even rarer bosses. These items were called either Manuscripts (of Siduvecte, Maelcortes, and of Lagicer) or Tablets (of Argech, Elib, and of Haes). Each of these can be used to spawn a corresponding level 83 boss.

The Tablets can be used at the Acheronian Summoning Portal in the northern part of the dungeon (238, 420). You need to have a Tablet in your inventory and click the corresponding part of the portal (incidentally, these clickable parts of the portal are also called tablets: Bile Stained Tablet, Flame Etched Tablet, and Energy Infused Tablet), and the corresponding boss will spawn.

Similarly, the Manuscripts can be used in one of the rooms that normally contains a Black Ring Slave Mistress, in the eastern part of the dungeon (344, 374). This room contains three clickable pedestals (Pedestal of Lust, Pedestal of Ice, Pedestal of Domination); having a manuscript in your inventory and clicking the corresponding pedestal will cause the corresponding boss to spawn.

Unfortunately, you can use each tablet or manuscript only once; it disappears from your inventory when you use it to spawn a boss.

I haven’t done that much Onyx farming in those very earliest months of the game, so I only killed two of these six bosses. It felt pretty sensational to be killing a level 83 mob; at that time, the only level 83 mobs were these extra rare Onyx bosses and king Atzel in Atzel’s Fortress (he was later demoted to level 81). Their full names were: Argech the Tempest, Elib the Defiler, Haes the Enflamer, Lagicer the Cold Hearted, Siduvecte the Ravisher, and Maelcortes the Impaler.

I suspect that each of them used a different 3-d model; Siduvecte looks like a smaller version of Succubus (from BRC Wing 2), and Argech looks a bit like a smaller Ahazu-Zagam. I don’t know what the others look like. You can see an old screenshot of Siduvecte here.

As far as I can tell, the only problem with these level 83 bosses was that they weren’t dropping any fancy loot. Their loot tables were basically the same as those of trash mobs. You can still see old forum threads about people killing them and complaining about the lack of loot: link 1, link 2.

Now, the complete absence of any sort of interesting loot is certainly a bit silly. I really don’t see why they didn’t simply add some loot to these bosses; they were hard enough to spawn that they could be dropping the old bind-on-equip purples if nothing else. Or, if they couldn’t be bothered with that, they could simply just leave the bosses as they were, as something for curious people to spawn and kill, even if it doesn’t bring any loot.

But these would have been reasonable things to do, and we can’t have that in Age of Conan; so Funcom, with its unerring instinct to always choose the worst possible course of action, decided to remove the level 83 Onyx bosses altogether. The 1.03 update notes include this item: “Onyx Chambers: Ticket Bosses – Elib the Defiler, Argech the Tempest, Haes the Enflamer, Lagicer the Cold Hearted, Siduvecte the Ravisher, and Maelcortes the Impaler are no longer accessible.”

However, as it turns out, this line from the update notes is a bit inaccurate. The fact is that you can still spawn the bosses just fine, as long as you have the tablets or manuscripts needed for spawning them. What they changed in 1.03 is that these tablets and manuscripts are no longer dropping; so after you consumed any old tablets and manuscripts that you might have kept from before 1.03, you really won’t be able to spawn these bosses again.

I happen to have an unused Tablet of Argech from before 1.03, and since I don’t want to actually lose it on the live server, I transferred my character to testlive and spawned the boss there. It turns out that the Tablet of Argech works with the top right clickable tablet (Energy Infused Tablet) on the Acheronian Summoning Portal.

Here’s a screenshot of Argech from one of my earlier suicidal runs to spawn him:

(Click to enlarge.)

And one from the fight:

(Click to enlarge.)

He hits fairly hard, mostly crushing damage, occasionally a bit of electrical. Sadly, he dropped no loot whatsoever. He turns out to have approx. 179 k hit points, which is the same as the Executioner in the Iron Tower (another level 83 group boss), and fits in well with my other measurements of level 80+ old-world group bosses:

Level HP
80 150 k
81 159 k
82 169 k
83 179 k

This is pretty close to a nice arithmetic progression, by approx. 6% to 7% per level (relative to the level 80 value).

Incidentally, these level 83 bosses aren’t the only sadly unfinished aspect of Onyx Chambers. There’s an Ancient Stygian Door in the room behind Kesh, in the grave robber area in the western part of the dungeon (197, 393), which as far as I know has never been of any use. Perhaps it was meant to lead to an adjacent dungeon that never got completed; an old page about Onyx Chambers on Funcom’s website (link 1, link 2, link 3) contains the following quote:

No Stygian tomb-robber would dare risk a venture into these chambers despite the riches that may be found there, but others are less aware of the dangers. Rumors of grave robbers from Shem are murmured in Kheshatta. No-one yet knows the horror they have disturbed down there but soon all will hear of Setsokhaten the death-knight.

And indeed to this day you can see a playfield called ‘Setsokhaten’s Crypt’ in the list of playfields in the player search window; but as far as I know, no dungeon with such a name has ever been actually available to players, nor has anything ever explicitly been labeled as a door intended to lead into it.

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