This guide will tell you the what to expect and look out for on each step along the way of travelling to the Foothills and the advanced pathfinding book beyond.
Typically trips to the Foothills begin by gathering in the meadow or orga camp. Once the group is prepared typically they move to snagglewood (which requires pathfinder to access). If you notice someone being left behind in the meadow or orga camp that you believe is supposed to be with the group and they don't seem to be conscious, be sure to notify the leader of the group so they don't get left behind.
Often there are more healers in the group than you will have free shares for. The popular solution to this problem is to /share /lock anyone else that you need to share (i.e. mystics) then use a sharecads macro. You will still need to manually share moonstoners but having sharecads on can help a lot.
Typically with large groups the leader will ask you to pick buddies. This is important to make sure that folks aren't left behind, since in areas like Snagglewood and Orga Outback locating a missing person can add significant time to the trip. Even if the leader doesn't ask you to pick a buddy, it's not a bad idea to ask someone to be yours anyhow, so that if you fog or slip, someone will notice what happened to you and you can do the same for them. You should check for your buddy in each snell to make sure they haven't gotten lost- there are Buddy Check macros available. Let the leader know immediately if your buddy is missing.
If for some reason you need to go afk (away from keyboard) at any point during the trip, always be sure to notify someone so they can make sure the group doesn't leave without you. It is best if you only go afk with permission from the leader, or when there is a designated rest break. If you must go afk for more than a few minutes, the best approach is to fall and have someone chain you. If you decide to do this, be sure the group understands not to heal you and also be careful to use a macro to stay connected that does not use /sleep (since you can't chain sleepers) such as the awakeafk macro.
Snagglewood, commonly known as snaggy, is a difficult spot to navigate. For example, going north then south is not usually equivalent to going south then north. So it's important here to pay close attention to directions given and stay away from snell edges unless you mean to cross them. Also note that most exiles have the directions to Bones memorized so sometimes the leader won't yell them. From the entrance of snaggy, the directions to Bones (the snell with Wisher's Gate, the entrance to Hatred's Hollow) are SNE NWS SEN.
Typically when going to the Foothills, the group will not clear each snaggy snell but will run through snaggy to get to Bones and then clear that snell and assemble before moving on. Be sure to unequip your weapon so you can run through the snells more quickly and don't stop to fight things unless someone is trapped and needs help getting out. Definitely don't try to fight creatures which hug the edges of the snell (such as orga shamen and zealots).
If you get lost in snaggy (typically by slipping over a snell edge), immediately sunstone the leader of the group with the direction you slipped (and if possible where you came from before you slipped). Be sure to stay in the snell, even if it means you fall, and try to locate the tree in the middle of the snell which has the name label on it. If you find the tree, sunstone the leader again with the name of the snell and then wait for directions or rescue. You may want to consider getting a copy of the Snaggy Directions Macro so you can find your way if you get lost.
Hatred's Hollow requires a rod to navigate through and is accessed through the path at Wisher's Gate in the Bones snell of snaggy. The snell is large but has several narrow chokepoints, and there are a large amount of lightning throwing critters (orga warlocks and hemlocks) inside, mostly far enough in that you can't rush straight to kill them. Typically the group will organize into one or two rods to hold the lightning and fighters will be responsible for protecting the rods and clearing the area so the rods can move forward. A typical Hatred's Hollow trip goes something like this:
- Fighter runs - The fighters in the group will go in through the path, kill as much as they can safely near the entrance, then exit when they get low on health or when out is called. Sometimes the pathfinder will enter then leave immediately to draw the lightning to them so the rest of the fighters have more time to fight safely. Focus on weaker things first because being able to move in and out safely is the priority.
- Rod below choke - Once the entrance to the snell is relatively clear, the rod enters and moves to the area beneath the choke point. All those not in the rod should stay behind the rod, opposite the lightning.
- Lure from choke - A healer or fighter with high health typically lures creatures from the choke point to the rest of the fighters, who stand just outside the choke.
- Swing rod - Once the choke is relatively clear, the rod moves through the choke and the fighters follow, keeping creatures off the rod as much as possible but not getting in front of the rod. The rod should move in front of any creatures that are attacking it so the fighters can kill them.
- Clear SW pit - When close enough, the fighters rush the SW pit and kill all the lightning throwers as fast as they can, then return to behind the rod.
- Advance to SE pit - The rod moves forward toward the SE pit with fighters following, often stopping to heal up the group in the process.
- Clear SE pit - When close enough, the fighters rush the SE pit and kill all the lightning throwers as fast as they can, then return to behind the rod.
- Advance to path in NE - At this point the rod moves to the NE corner where the path to the Orga Outback is located. Sometimes the group will choose to also clear the NW pit of lightning throwers and sometimes they will choose to skip them and just enter the path. Usually there will be some time spent healing up the party before going in the path. Typically the rod will be the last to enter the path and usually one pathfinder will stay with them to make sure nobody gets left behind. Pathfinders should be very careful when going through the path not to turn around and come back, because the other direction leads to Bones, not back to Hatred's Hollow.
Sometimes there are multiple exits called if the rod is failing. When out is called, you return to Bones and heal up before returning. Also note that if you find an orga hatred, call out immediately. Unless there is someone present with the skill to hit hatreds they are usually zued (surrounded by kudzu) so they can't hurt the party.
The orga outback is a lot like snaggy in terms of how it is navigated, but more complex. Follow the same policy for getting lost as in snaggy- sunstone the leader with the direction you went and stay put. It has more snells and many snells require redoing virtually the entire route to get back to so it is essential not to get lost. The entrance snell of the Orga Outback is called Trainer's Grotto (there is a safe cave in the NE part of the snell with three specialized trainers in it), and once you leave this snell you can't return without going back through Hatred's Hollow. There is an Orga Outback directions macro
Typically the group will travel through the Orga Outback in batches of 2-4 snells. When this happens you should run through the snells based on the directions given with your weapon unequipped, then gather at the gatherpoint that is given and bring any creatures following you there instead of fighting them in the middle of the snell. Don't try to fight creatures which hug the edges of the snell (such as orga shamen and zealots). The only way to tell which snell is which in the Orga Outback is if you are a pathfinder with enough training- then you can see the footprint patterns in the snell and you can match them with the pattern depicted on the map.
Often when navigating the Orga Outback, a few chainers will be designated sweepers. Their job is to be the last people to leave each snell and to chain anyone who falls on the way. Don't hang back and wait for the sweepers, just let them do their jobs. If you fall in a snell the group is running through, be sure to yell immediately and keep yelling so the sweepers can locate you.
The Dred Passage is past a semi-safe cave located through a path in a tree in the northern part of snell 32 of the Orga Outback. Inside the cave various levels of vermine spawn, up to death vermine, but nothing more dangerous. Usually when on a trip to the Foothills the group will take a break in this snell before moving forward.
There are many different approaches to taking this snell (and there are multiple PF exits from it), but there are some common basics to keep in mind:
- Fighter runs - Typically the first step is for the party to clear the entry part of the snell with fighter runs. Usually an exile with high health is chosen to be the draw. Their job is to attract the lightning to them and then pop back in to the safe area. The fighters enter 5-10 seconds after the draw, kill as much as they can safely near the entrance, then exit when low on health or when out is called. It is essential to get out quickly when low on health as the quantity of bolts in the area is extremely high and you can easily get unhealable if you are their target when you fall.
- Large death vermine spawns - If you run into a large death vermine spawn be sure to yell a warning and either retreat or kill as quickly as possible depending on the situation. Large death vermine seek out more vulnerable members of the party and can decimate a rod very quickly so they need to be dealt with fast.
- Follow the rod - Typically there are two rods in the Dred Passage and fighters (and other non-rod helpers) are assigned to one rod or the other. Be careful to stay with your rod but stand behind the rod, opposite the lightning. Kill things that get near the rod (ideally intercept them before they lock onto the rod if they aren't coming from in front of the rod) but don't get in front of the rod point, let the rod step around the creatures.
- Exits - there are two main exits to the Dred Passage. One is in the far northeastern part of the snell, and the other is in the southwestern part. Both exits are behind a pit of creatures (mostly lightning throwers) and require pathfinding to enter. Typically when entering one of the pits the rod will stand such that they can hold the lightning and an order will be given for the fighters to charge. Usually fighters should focus on dredlocks (the big pink ones) then hemlocks (the blue ones that throw lightning) first, and kill as quickly as possible, do not wait for tags. The group will usually heal up before entering the path, but if they say to enter, don't hesitate- usually a pathfinder will wait to go last with the rod to make sure nobody gets left behind.
The entrance to the Foothills is technically part of the Orga Outback, but if you exit to the other Orga Outback snells you can't get back without going through the Dred Passage. There is a safe cave in the northern entrance snell which sometimes is used for breaks. Be sure you verify whether you are in the northern or southern entrance snell before attempting to go to the safe cave. There is a Foothills Directions macro available but the map is currently unavailable.
The foothills passes are an area mostly populated by midnight wendecka (pebble throwing wendies with a nasty bite). There are many sections of the passes where rockslides occur. Clearing the rockslides with a weapon is typically extremely time consuming, so usually someone with a shovel (there are only a small number in use) travels in the front of the group or needs to be pulled to the front to clear. Be careful not to stand in the rockslide area, either wait behind it or past it so you don't get buried alive.
The cave with the entrance to Camp Dred is located through a path in snell 25 of the Foothills. The cave is populated mostly with arachnoids and is not terribly dangerous. The path to Camp Dred is located in the NE corner. Camp Dred is a popular break spot before entering Dredwood- although creatures spawn there it usually isn't very dangerous because the quantity usually isn't that high.
Dredwood is populated by the same types of creatures found in the Dred Passage, in large numbers. However the snells are relatively free of obstacles which makes it easier to clear them. Depending on the size and strength of the group they may use a charge or a rod approach.
The snell leading up to the Malachite Lair is more dangerous than the ones leading to it because there is a stronghold of sorts that most of the lightning throwers hide behind. This snell is generally rodded by two groups so that the fighters can get close enough to the lightning throwers inside the stronghold to clear the area. Spawns in this snell are very high. Once the area is cleared the group typically gathers at the waterfall inside the stronghold, which is where the path to the Malachite Lair is located.
The Malachite Lair is mostly full of olive arachnoids and also usually has some malachite arachnoids. Typically each snell is taken in the following way:
- Kudzu wall - A runner enters to lure the arachnoids away from the entrance and one or two others enter to create a kudzu wall a bit away from the entrance so that the arachoids can be cointained.
- Lure and kill - The group enters the snell but stays behind the kudzu wall. One or two lure points are established and the kudzu is cleared just enough in those spots so that the fighters can access the arachnoids one at a time. In the first snell all exiles should be careful not to slip back outside as the entrance requires pathfinding and the outside snell spawns extremely fast
- Clear - When most of the arachnoids are dead the group enters the main part of the snell and finishes off the rest, then gathers at the entrance to the next snell.
When the group gets to the well, usually another break is called and strategy is discussed for accessing the pathfinder trainer past the Pitch Den snell.
The Pitch Den is a relatively new discovery and as such there isn't a solid strategy in place for clearing it yet. However there are certain basic issues to keep in mind:
- All the noids in the Pitch Den are capable of pulling exiles, and the pitch (black), crimson (red) and albino (white) noids also throw webs. The webs take approximately 30 seconds to disperse and slow the movement of anyone caught in them. They also do some damage to fallens and live exiles alike. Any chainees that are dragged through a web will slip off the chain. So it is pointless to try to chain someone fallen in the middle of a web and chainers need to try to not drag their chainees through them.
- Never enter the snell to chain people right after a group exits unless told otherwise. The webs will be in the way so it will not do you any good to try to chain them. Wait at least a minute to be sure the webs and critters disperse, then ideally have the exile toggle for chaning when it is relatively safe to chain.
- Disconnecting within the snell brings you back at a random location, so if you are near the entrance don't do it unless it is absolutely necessary to free trapped noids. If you are pretty far from the entrance, you can keep trying to disconnect/reconnect till you get near enough the entrance for a chain run.
- The advanced pathfinding training book is located through a path in the far southwest part of the snell. Only those with at least 100 ranks of pathfinding can train with the book, but non-pathfinders can still follow pathfinders into the safe area in through the path in the SW corner.
Although not a necessary visit on a Foothills trip, most Foothills groups either leave the Orga Outback through the Orga Village after their trip or stop there at some point to pick up a fallen teleported by an orga zealot. The entrance to the Orga Village is west from snell 23 of the Orga Outback. Both the eastern and western snells of the Orga Village are full of lightning throwers so usually a group will use a single rod to enter the snell and the fighters will follow, clearing the snell and protecting the rod.
Retrieving Teleported Fallens
When exiles are teleported by orga zealots, they appear in the western snell of the Orga Village. The western snell has a bridge near the west part, all exiles teleported appear west of the bridge. Often when an exile crosses the bridge, a lot of new creatures spawn so it is very important not to cross the bridge until told to do so. Typically the rod will setup at the bridge, heal up, then send one exile across to trigger the spawn, then either retreat or call for a charge depending on how bad it is.
Exiting Orga Village
The exit from the Orga Village to Orga Camp is accessed by going S in the west part of the Orga Village entry snell, then going through the appropriate path. Pathfinders should be very careful not to enter the wrong path as there are quite a few paths in the snell and almost none of them are two-way.