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~SO YOU WANT TO KILL A DRAGON~

Beorbrand’s Pet Biographer here – while the old man is sleeping, I thought I’d slip on quickly and and share the following nuggets I’ve discovered in PUG-raiding Draigoch.  The original post was for my kinmates, but I thought I’d post them here as well for all you happy-Googlers out there looking for hot tips and keen on walloping the Drake!  Good luck!

A taxidermist can prepare Draigoch's body for proper display at your home, but be forewarned, the shipping is horrendous!

ROI has brought us the beautiful raid that is against Draigoch, the dragon.  At the time I’m writing this, it is only open to level 75 players (and decently equipped ones at that.)  Here I’ll share what strategy tips I know from running the raid successfully with pick-up groups several times on 12-man tier 2 hard-mode.  I’ll plan on edits as I learn new things.  Please feel free to comment with anything you have to contribute.
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Step 1:  Before You Go Fight to Fight the Dragon

*Read Ten-Ton Hammer’s (TTH) Strategy Guide for Draigoch @  http://www.tentonhammer.com/lotro/guides/misc/draigoch – it is very useful and spot-on.

*Complete the pre-requisite quest if you haven’t already.
-It can be picked up in Galtrev once you are level 75.  This involves going to Nar’s Peak, travelling to discover the cave, and returning to Nar’s Peak.  If you need more details, see aforementioned reference.

*Get your character geared up!
-A well-equipped level 75 character is a far cry from an ill-equipped one.  It really does make a difference in the raid, especially x 12!

-The first four pieces of the Draigoch armor (gloves, chest, legs, boots) can be obtained with 96 Superior Fourth Marks (S4Ms.)  Get these by doing 6-man Great Barrow and 12-man skirmish raids with others at level 75.  Not level 75 yet?  You can still go on runs, and the superior fourth marks will show up when you reach 75.  Great Barrow 6-mans can be run once a day for S4Ms.  The others will grant S4Ms once a week.  The reset for these raid skirmishes is 3am Thursday (Server Time.)  Your /raid locks will not show which ones you have completed for the week, so keep track if you are on the prowl for S4Ms! Another great thing about these runs is the chance that other top-tier items will drop in the loot.  Get out those lucky dice!  Once you have got your S4Ms from a fight for the day/week, you can still go and get skirmish marks and roll for items that are not bind-on-acquire, like the Worn Symbol of Celebrimor (to make lvl-75 Second-Age weapons.)

-Get some bling and maybe a nice cape or off-hand weapon (if you use one!)  That old level 60 jewellry just isn’t going to give you the stats you need to survive the inferno.  we have growing ranks of Westfold Master crafters who can assist you if you can help provide materials.  Update as much gear as you can to lift your statistics.  What statistics are important vary from class to class, of course.  To find out what gear you should be aiming for, I suggest inspecting other level 75 characters around new areas, consulting the LOTRO forums, and asking in kinchat/advice for guidance.  Tanks need tons of morale, etc. while squishy people need respectable will/vitality/tactical offense so that you can be the best at your class’ role in the fight.

-If you don’t already, get some morale/power potions, appropriate food (long-term & short-term,) battle/warding scrolls, etc.

*Check your virtues and traits!
-You will want to have your virtues as high as possible, certainly above 10 (if not 12!) across the board.  Physical mitigation, tactical mitigation, and high-morale are very useful in the raid, so many characters I see are running with innocence and zeal among others.  Once again, the important onces vary from class to class, so consult others who go slash-slash, pew-pew, or zap-zap like you do. This also applies for valued class traits.  Having over 6k in morale is encouraged so that you are less likely to DIE.

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Step 2:  The IQ Test

*The ‘IQ Test’ is the nickname for the journey each character must make from the top of Draigoch’s Lair down to where he is fought.  TTH’s guide covers this well, so I won’t.  If you want to practice, open the instance and go visit the Dragon.  It takes many several tries, especially if they have lag.  Turning graphics down is highly-suggested if you have lag problems.

*Don’t touch the gold!  If he’s set it afire, it will kill you when you touch it.

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Step 3:  General Tips for the Fight (See the TTH guide mentioned above for the fight mechanics)


*Draigoch deals very high amounts of distributed damage.  Because of this, it is vitally important that the ‘DPS Team’ literally stand on top of one another as they fight the claws.  Groups can wipe very quickly if the party does not absorb the damage as a whole.

*Within the ‘DPS Team,’ 6 members make up the ‘FM group’ which executes the fellowship maneuvers (FM) everytime Draigoch’s body falls to the ground.  These FMs are vitally important because they do a great deal of damage and debuff the dragon’s body.  They are the most important thing to get done when the opportunity arises.  This is why having 1-2 burglars is absolutely necessary for the raid.  It is important that everyone knows their position in the FM and can do them quickly.  I like to write my spots down on a paper and cross them off as we go.  Expect to get 1-2 off each round, and three if you are really, really lucky/good.  The fight can last from 45 minutes to three hours depending on how long it takes to drop the body’s morale, so executing the FMs in a timely manner is in everyone’s best interest.  For this reason, any attacks that cause a stun should not be used when the body drops, because it causes him to be immune to conjuctions for so much time.  If you are going to use any stun attacks, do it right as a conjunction is executed since 20 seconds will elapse before a new one can be triggered.  The body drops for 80s total each time it comes down.

*Don’t stand in fire!  Duh.  Sounds simple I know, but watch it happen!  This is especially important in ‘phase 3’ when fire affecting a single person can cause the whole raid to wipe.

*After the dragon flies up from being whammed on, everyone needs to follow the ‘DPS Team’ leader due West back into the surrounding caves.  There will be a brief moment after being thrown up in the air three times that you can eat if needed.

*The ‘DPS Team’ leader and the ‘Tank Party’ must communicate well and quickly to indicate which direction to go.

*Draigoch isn’t resistant to anything in particular as he’s highly resistant to everything.  He in considered Ancient Evil. He won’t deal wounds, poison, etc. so no need to worry about curative salves/pots.
*Party make-up:  Takes longer, but I think having 3 healers is ideal.  1-2 burgs is important as well as a high-morale tank. I’ve seen guardians with 12.5 – 19 k serve well as the main tank.  Lore-master warding lore causes +%10 melee damage on the claws as well as the body, so I would recommend having one of those as well because the debuffing really helps, not to mention side-heals and spare rezzing.  Captain buffs are highly valued for the fight as well.

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Epilogue: Loot If You Win – Fingers Crossed Now


*There is no five-minute timer on giving out loot like there is for skirmish raids.  Good thing too, because it’s like Christmas when Draigoch dies with all the loot there is to distribute.

*No one should touch the chests before the master looter.

*On master-looter, the party leader can assign everything that is tradeable to themself so that all the loot can appear on screen.  Proceed to link everything into raid chat followed by what you have already put in your inventory.

*It should be made clear ahead of time whether Draigoch’s Scales will be given out in groups of three or one at a time.  Most do one at a time so more peope get a ‘valuable’ item.  It takes three to make a cloak, so many may choose not to receive them unless they can get three at once.

*Items can be rolled on one at a time, or the master-looter can have one massive roll and give each person their choice.

*One of the several chests can be looted by everyone for aged relics and an experience rune.

Why You Should Never Ever Smoke Mushrooms

Self-medicating.

I’m afraid I’m still recovering from the bout I had with Beorlich’s special a while back.  The dreams I’ve been having are dreadful.  Instead of visiting warm beaches and receiving divine lotto tips in my slumber, I’ve been disturbed by visions of dorfs doing terrible things in terrible places.  That lucky pisswhistle Aegthil goes on and on about his visions of the Lovely Lady Wrenaya and here I am stuck with midgets.

It was a helluva dream, I’ll tell ya – whether you want to hear it or not.  Still reading?  Ah, well then, don’t complain when you’re scarred for life.

I was a DORF, just a small, tiny weak thing!  And I was running in snow surrounded by my BBB chums!  They’re slaughtering all the animals around and singing, “We’re taking the dorf to Goblin Town.”  A sense of dread and urgency was spurring me forward to the terrifying climax when dear old Bluebonnett shoved me off a cliff!  What a heartless wretch!

Alamo!

I died, of course!  Let me tell you, when you die in your dream it’s trying!  Your heart clenches up and you break out in a cold sweat!  Your eyeballs nearly bust out of your head when you are sure you have met your ultimate doom!  Your innards do all sorts of nasty-gross things as they twist with fear and regret.  It can’t end like this, you think, feeling like a failure.

As I lay incapacitated in the snow bank mourning my fate, I was surprised to see a dark demon descending over me.  Sure it was the Reaper himself, I had to hold back a giggle when he landed beside me and became incapacitated himself.  Some minion of death and resurrection!  “Just retreat,” it says, as a fountain of all knowledge.  And closing my eyes, I found myself back in Ered Luin…  What does it all mean?!!

It means that smoking mushrooms is a really, really terribly bad idea.  Take my advice kids, and stick to the pipe-weed, lest you too wake up a dorf.

Of Note to Anyone Who Doesn’t Understand Aegthil

A link of interest…

The Fall of Draigoch (Aka Trogdor)

As many of you may know, I have left my recuperation therapy at the Haunted Inn in Mirkwood for more recuperation therapy in Galtrev, the capital of Dunland.  Aegthil remains behind for the moment as he has become obsessed with their gold-star reward system for doing silly things like repetitive level-stretching extensions and slaughtering orcs.  I’m glad it’s working for him.  I personally found myself in need of more intensive therapy when I ran the tap dry at the bar.  Imagine me regaining my strength without a mug of stout in my hand!
So there I was, riding my dear horse Tippler past the superior pipe-weed field when a dark shadow blackened the sky ahead and the smell of barbeque wafted from the hill-side town above.  Spurring my horse on thinking there might be free food or a town festival, I rode hard into town to the most dismaying of sights.
Hide yer wife, hide yer kids!

F.1 Hide yer wife, hide yer kids!

Galtrev was aflame!  It was truly a dreadful sight punctuated by all sorts of terrible, whiny screaming, particularly by those unfamiliar with the /groundroll method.  See figure one above for one poor sucker.  Drop and roll, dummy.  Seriously.
The friendly Galtrevian town loony to my right in the painting informed me that the dragon Draigoch had come laid waste to the town for failing to send his weekly virginal sacrifice on time…
When it was noted that the town tavern had been burnt to the ground for the fifth time in as many months at the consequential community meeting in aforementioned superior pipe-weed field, a lynch mob was assembled to show Draigoch (known as Trogdor by the men of Dale) what for.  Enough was enough!  I should have quietly slipped out of town at this juncture, but I couldn’t help myself.  I guess I got carried away in the excitement of it all, sure I could compose a story that would rival Aegthil’s expose on dorf-kidnapping.
Besides, Galtrev was out of virgins, and the dragon had to be brought down before he started taking off livestock like goats and less-desirable humanoids.  I am positutely sure this fact had nothing to do with the BBB’s recent passing through town on their way to scribe scenes in Isengard.
There you are!  *Burninate*

Draigoch, aka Trogdor

Assembling quietly in the bowels of the great drake’s lair, I sketched this portrait as the team strategized and Draigoch looked in vain for his deliveries, sure the villagers would move quickly to appease him with a cache of manling-meat.  I needed no strategy because I am Beorbrand and couldn’t help it if I was inspired to paint by his great spotlight eyeballs.  It was terrible indeed when he would spot some villager joining the party from the wrong end of the cave, shouting “There you are!” as he cooked them where they stood.  I had to calm my nerves via nefarious methods several times just to still my quaking arms so that I could finish my paintings.

That Draigoch was quite the poet, but he was smote in the end for better or worse.  Better because Galtrev can now rebuild and drink in peace, but tragic because there will now be an overabundance of pure women ruining all the town’s delightful debauchery (in due time.)

The dragon was smote, and I still had my head of luscious hair!

He had a great Beard, that Draigoch/Trogdor/Thing, and the greater part of me wept to see the awe-inspiring ancient beast of lore fall.  He was so misunderstood… a dragon has to eat SOMETHING after all!  Just think of the possibilites wasted had the the geothermal qualites of his lair been tapped to heat the local communities.  Galtrev could have reformed itself into a lovely resort and tourist area complete with hot springs, but Nooo…  Cooperation, peoples, not lynchery and burnination is the answer!

Anyway, I subsequently went /groundroll and /spin in all the gold, because that’s what you do in old dragon treasure caves.  It’s not everyday you get to slay a dragon, you know.  Most daily dragon battles in this modern era are only metaphorical, P.B. asserts.

I think I will buy Madame Celestine’s House of Wonders with my share of the estate!  Call me Beorbrand the Red, because I’mma paint the town!  The townfolk were also kind enough to reward me for my important role with several titles and a worn medal symbol of Celebrimor from the Second Age.  I immediately had it melted down by a friend and forged into a new walking-stick which will serve me well (don’t tell anyone in Galtrev!) as my old one had seen better days.  I do think I will move my operations back to Bree after this, however.  Galtrev has lost it’s charm, with the missing tavern, dragon, and all.

Persistence Doesn’t Pay At All!

Utter disaster, dear readers!

I have just escaped from the dungeons tucked away deep beneath Orthanc!

That Saruman is a lying bastard!  Would you believe he had us locked up?  All over this…

Chillin' on the White Throne

We played the bit and the wizard left to go do whatever wizards do when they leave the room, and I thought I’d have just a bit of fun.  I don’t even know how the old crow knew, but he came back into the Hall like a hailstorm, hair flying and arms waving, stark raving mad!

‘Banish them to the dungeon,’ he cried, all cliche-like. ‘Work them to the bone!’

‘My nails!’ bemoaned Aegthil.

And in the dungeon we went.  It was truly awful, particularly because I was stuck in a cell adjacent to the nastiest of nasty men.  Good thing I am unwashed, ugly me, as all the unsavory prison attention was diverted to Aegthil, that old prison pro.

Aegthil was angry I had sat on the throne. I pointed out I was not the one wooing Saruman's favored chambermaid.

There were all sorts of unsavory seediness taking place beneath the great tower and all types of terrible forced labors.  I was forced to play for the worst-smelling orc brutes I have ever encountered as they took their even more disgusting chow.  Imagine poor me, gagging on the foul air as I filled my windbag and played every old Dale song I could remember.  The knots even had enough gall to request Orcish opera!  Good thing I have had years of conditioning standing next to doused-in-awful-cologne Aegthil at gigs, or else I would have never survived.

Pipin' for the lads in the mess hall

When I wasn’t piping, I had to carry weapons everywhere with my minder, a no-fun fellow.  For all his wisdom and glory, Saruman has never heard of the Industrial Revolution or of a contraption called a conveyor belt.  The forge was a hot mess, much like the BBB’s latest moving picture!

Large, blunt metal object, anyone?

Well, it was apparent it couldn’t go on forever.  You can’t keep a good BBB down, and needs dictated we find a way out lest we meet an unnatural end.  While I’m not one to mind being sweaty and dirty, I’d lost enough weight on the Orthanc diet (patent pending) and missed my daily kegs.  Aegthil broke two and a half nails.

Capitalizing on a theme for ‘hope and change’ like the master pitchmen we are, Aegthil and I rallied the other prisoners to stage a riot.  We escaped to the surface in the ensuing gory aftermath.  It was a bit like this artistic interpretation.

Dramatized Reenactment

Recuperating beside the bar at The Haunted Inn, I have vowed never to enter the tower again, but to see it fall in flames.  At least I have not left empty-handed from my experience.  Amidst the chaos of our casual stroll away from Isengard, I may have slipped one of the wizards’ prized palantir into my robe, but I don’t dare paint it as it’s so mesmerizing!

The Minstrel Mash! Tonight!

Persistence Pays Appropriately

Long ago in my youth, I renounced the ongoing battle my kin the Beornings waged through the High Pass and travelled south on a journey to experience everything there was to behold in Middle Earth.  Since then, I have travelled far and wide in my quest for knowledge worth knowing, and the years have slipped past as wind in dust.

Needless to say, it has come to this:

Candygram

This one's the plumber.

Weary from our tiki tour through the annals of Dunland, I suggested we stop by Orthanc and pay respects to Saruman, who is known as the great White Wizard.  A man I took falconry lessons from as a young man always spoke highly of him and said his tower had been a sight to behold through the many ages of man.  A veritable repository for the depth of knowledge I admire, I was most impressed indeed as we viewed its expansive height.  I had seen it but once long ago on a rare expedition, and it looked nothing as I remembered it.  The lush green forest of the vale I had recalled so fondly had largely been destroyed, and a foul chemical stench permeated the air.  Something was much amiss.  Even worse, two nasty-looking and foul-smelling trolls stood guard before the gate, blocking any chance of seeing what nefarious activities were stirring at the tower’s base.  For all the racket, it sounded like a stellar party.  One we hadn’t been invited to.

Despite the obvious warning signs that we should have turned about at that moment and left, Aegthil was very keen to sell Saruman some bat fur protection devices (bfpd.)  Something about major market potential and battle stirring tensions and I didn’t pay attention to the rest.  It was just too disturbing, as is much of what Aegthil says.  Best just to ignore him, and we just had to have an audience.  He set to charming the trolls in his usual manner, but they ignored us depite repeated attempts.  I’d like to say that I spoke up as the voice of reason at this point and insisted we leave, but I had always wanted to see the tower’s inside myself and it was getting rather late.

‘This one’s the plumber here about the pipes out back,” I said, using my most convincing drawl.

Nope.  Diddly.  The trolls would not budge.  Not for a delivery, not for a bribe, not even a candygram or a shiny wrapper.  It was nearly dark by this point, and Isengard is no place to go camping beneath the stars.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and so Aegthil took his theorbo from its weathered case.  A round or six of “Lament for Aegthil” in a mixolydian minor would surely change their minds.  So we played… and played… and played, so loud I might add that I split two reeds.

Just when it all seemed pointless, a great commotion could be heard coming toward us from the great tower. The White Wizard himself soon stood before us.

Isengard bids five.

“Bids five, whatever for?”

Come inside he says and play for a bit, and he would buy all the b.f.p.d. we had between us and give us board for the night!  Whan an easy gig and I would finally get to see the inside of Orthanc!  Exuberant elation!  I’m sure it will be great.  More to follow…

I mean, c’mon, it could be worse…

Dorf Mating Rituals

Much, much, worse…

Baldies Behaving Badly