With Mayong Mistmoore defeated, Norrath was saved from complete destruction. But, of course, there is always a new adventure or quest right around the corner. While most of Norrath's greatest fighters, scouts, priests, and casters were on far away investigating the Buried Sea, an old nemesis has been preparing for war. Meldrath the Malignant, an evil Gnome necromancer, is known quite well by anyone born in Ak`anon, and almost anyone born on the continent of Faydwer. Most young Gnomes are taught to stay away from the mazes in the northeast regions of the Steamfont Mountains, or else they will be slain by the minotaurs that serve Meldrath. He has been amassing an army and building an airship in secrecy for quite some time. Ak`anon shall soon fall, unless something is done.
The lore behind Meldrath is well known across Faydwer. He was born with a conjoined twin connected at the chest. One child a pure heart and shining eyes while the other had a heart of darkness and eyes as black as the Void. Together, they were known as Meldrath, for no one saw them as two separate boys. Their mother prayed every night for a means to disconnect the twins, so they would have a normal life. One day, Fizzlethorpe Bristlebane, the god of mischief and one of most worshipped gods by Gnomes, heard her prayers. He came to Meldrath's mother disguised as a cleric and presented her with a magical sword that would safely separate the two boys. She fled home and sliced into her sons as they slept. Bristlebane does nothing without twisted humor and trickery though. For once she safely divided her sons, she immediately realized for the first time that one was beautiful and the other was grotesque. The beautiful son began to float, rising to the heavens above. As she tried to climb high enough to retrieve him, the ugly son bit her leg and smashed her foot. The pure Meldrath was never seen again, and the evil Meldrath was cast out of Ak'anon by his own mother. He survived in the Steamfont Mountains by his vast understanding of necromancy. It was not long before he had command of the various drakes, harpies, and minotaurs of the region, protecting himself from any good-natured Gnomes seeking fame and fortune for killing the outcast necromancer.
Recently, Meldrath has been amassing a large army of minions and has also constructed an enormous clockwork airship. Upon launching the floating fortress, Mechanotus, a rift was torn through the Steamfont Mountains revealing a passage to a region of eastern Faydwer that has remained hidden for centuries. The first report from the rogues and rangers that have scouted the area is quite frightening, and unbelieveable to many. It is said that the Sleeper, Kerafyrm, who was freed from his tomb in Velious in recent years, came to eastern Faydwer to hide and regain his strength. Kerafyrm's most loyal followers have constructed an enormous keep known as Crystallos, where he plots the extermintation of all races not of dragonkin. Faydwer has quickly become a site of two threats, Meldrath being the more immediate, and Kerafyrm being the most important to Norrath as a whole.
The fourteenth expansion to EverQuest brought about several changes and enhancements to the game. Highlights include:
- New Level Cap: Maximum level increases from 75 to 80.
- New AA's: Approximately 250 new alternate advancement abilities per class.
- Heroic Stats: Many items found within the new expansion have a new tier of stats that grant bonus while in groups or raids.
- Strength - Increases endurance pool, endurance regen, and maximum endurance regen per tick. Increases melee damage. Increases armor class bonus while using a shield.
- Stamina - Increases hit point pool, hit point regen, and max amount of hit point regen per tick possible. Increases endurance pool, endurance regen, and the max endurance regen per tick.
- Dexterity - Increases endurance pool, endurance regen, and max endurance regen per tick possible. Increases damage of ranged attacks. Improves chance for assassination. Improves chance to riposte, block, and parry.
- Intelligence - Increases mana pool, mana regen, and max amount of mana regen possible.
- Wisdom - Increases mana pool, mana regen, and max amount of mana regen possible.
- Charisma - Improves reaction rolls with some NPCs and increases the amount of faction you gain or lose.
Until the launching of Meldrath's floating fortress shook the foundation of the continent itself, there was no feasable way of reaching the southeast peninsula of Faydwer. No one had successfully scaled the eastern reaches of the Steamfont Mountains, or at least had not returned to tell the tale, and arriving by sea was impossible due to the towering cliffs. The peninsula is known as Dragonscale Hills and it is from here that one can reach Fortress Mechanotus floating high above the continent. As well, few regions in central Faydwer have been rediscovered after centuries of being hidden.
is a dangerous place due to the hordes of Meldrath's minions that roam the rising hills. Obviously they are not happy about the flood of adventurers coming to the region and possibly stopping, or at least delaying, their master's plan. The minotaurs have built Kirkoten, a small stronghold led by Overseer Gakkor Deepscar. On the western cliffs is a clockwork golem of mammoth proportions, the Mechamatic Guardian. Getting stepped on or even kicked by this behemoth will surely end in death. The rolling hills of this region also feature a forest that could make Kithicor look tame. Nighmare Grove, as its called, is home to a legion of nightmare horses and ferocious spiders. Another notable locale is the Citadel of Tri`Qaras, which is home to the Ladies of the Light, who are in a battle of their own with the Darkvine Brownies. Further south in the hills is the Prismatic Valley, which is where the territory goes from Meldrath's minions to being under the watchful eye of the powerful dragons of Crystallos.
Loping Plains is a previously hidden area in central Faydwer. It was once a wide open evergreen field for Tunare's creations to roam freely. Recently it has been overrun not only by Meldrath's minions, but the region has also been stricken with a curse of an angry goddess. As if that weren't enough, the Bloodmoon clan of orcs are slowly creeping farther into the plains from their nearby keep.
was actually built by the Elves upon their arrival to Faydwer. It was once a holy site known as Faygannen, the Temple of the Vines. Several decades ago, when Mayong Mistmoore still resided in the area, he grew anxious about the Elven holy site's proximity to his domain. He sent his vampire horde into Faygannen, slaying any Elves they could, and imprisoning the rest by trapping them within the shrine's halls. The curse laid upon it kept even the fallen Elves from passing on to the Plane of Growth. To make matters worse, a vicious tribe of orcs have moved into the temple. Ralkor Bloodmoon, the leader of the tribe, was once the prophet of Clan Crushbone, but he failed in his attempt to overthrow Emperor Crush. Somehow he escaped execution and brought his loyal subjects to the forgotten temple of Faygannen. Now, the orcs have fallen prey to Mistmoore's lingering curse on the temple, which has greatly improved the orc's power. A group of adventurers known as The Fangbreakers are attempting to investigate the curse, and could use all the help they can get.
Crypt of Shade is accessible only after accepting a mission from the leader of Bertoxxulous' Chosen, Reaver Lebanezer. He hopes that a brave band of adventurers will be able to slay one of the clan's own, Bimbalicus the Soulbleeder. The crypt is where the Elves of Kirathas buried their dead. It was once a beautiful resting place covered in green vines and vibrant flowers.
Deepscar's Den is a cavern beneath the Kirkoten fortress built by the minotaurs in Dragonscale Hills. It is believed that their leader, Overseer Gakkor Deepscar knows the whereabouts of Meldrath the Malignant. Small groups of adventurers have been investigating the den in search of the Overseer.
is the largest clockwork creation ever built. Meldrath uses his countless mechanized masterpieces to wage war upon his own people, the Gnomes of Ak'anon. His vengeance and insanity knows no bounds. The fortress is reachable via a steam-powered cannon that rests in Dragonscale Hills. A miscalculation in aiming the cannon would be disasterous.
Gyrospire Beza is the oldest tower built by Meldrath that is still standing. Gyrospire Azia was destroyed in a counterattack by the Gnomes of Ak'anon. Beza is only reachable by a ridiculous manner that requires one be either extremely brave or stupid. A massive catapult machine will launch adventurers from Fortress Mechanotus to the spire. It is crawling from bottom to top with powerful clockworks, minotaurs, brownies, and of course evil Gnomes.
The Hills of Shade
carry a sad tale. After the Elves escaped the destruction of the Elddar Forest and made their way to Faydwer, a group of Humans "discovered" Faydwer as well. Led by Captain Han Jensen, simply looking for new fishing routes, they set up a small port on the northern shore of the continent. Eventually, the two races became aware of each other. The first such encounter was between a young man named Fendel and the daughter of an Elven leader, Amber. Their trepidation soon turned into curiosity, which eventually led to love. Their union was the first of its kind, and it was blessed by Erollisi Marr, the goddess of love. The future interactions betwen the Elves and Humans were not as civilized. A war broke out over control of the shore and fishing grounds. After Amber gave birth to Norrath's first Half Elf, her father killed her. This enraged Erollisi Marr to the extent that she cursed all of the inhabitants of the area to an eternity of reliving their mistakes. To this day, the twisted undead men and elves battle each other. A clan of treacherous Gnomes have moved into the area recently, calling themselves Bertoxxulous' Chosen. They are in a struggle with members of a righteous group of paladins calling themselves Camp Valor who plan on ending the curse upon the area.
The Mechamatic Guardian
wanders the western coast of Dragonscale Hills. This colossal steamwork makes hill giants look like Halflings. Its creation was for the sole purpose of lifting and placing large support beams during the final stages of construction of Mechanotus. It was then used to protect Meldrath's Majestic Mansion. During the fortress' maiden voyage, a large chunk of the floating island broke off due to an unforseen explosion. Many Gnomes and minotaurs plummeted to their deaths, but more importantly to Meldrath, the Guardian fell as well. Almost all of the Gnomes inside the massive guardian died in the fall, and the remaining crew can no longer control the giant. After speaking to a Gnome at the camp near Steamfont Mountains in Dragonscale Hills, Overvolt Rigster the IV, adventurers can accept missions to investigate the behemoth. This is the only means of entering the guardian without being punted across the hills.
Tinmizer's Wunderwerks is a small dungeon beneath Dragonscale Hills. Rumors from Ak'anon are that a clockwork dragon resides in these tunnels and may have information on the location of Meldrath the Malignant. Small groups of adventurers are known to enter the tunnels in search of Big Bynn I, the oil-spewing dragon.
is Meldrath's newest tower. It too is only reachable by a catapult in the Fortress Mechanotus. While similar to its sister tower, Beza, Zeka is the more challenging of the two. Unlike the older tower, Zeka has absolutely zero living creatures within its walls. The entire tower is operated by clockworks and steamworks. This wasn't necessarily by design. Commander Gearwell, the captain of the tower, despises organic life with such intensity that he had every Gnome, minotaur, brownie, rat, and insect in the tower exterminated. Obviously he will not take kindly to adventurers visiting his tower.
Meldrath's Majestic Mansion is built upon his floating fortress, Mechanotus. Despite being built almost entirely out of metal using gears, pipes, and oil, the mansion has a unique beauty about it. Meldrath's original plan was to build a walking mansion for himself that could crush Ak'anon, then almost immediately replace the Gnome city. The plan failed because the legs could not support the weight. So instead of building new legs, Meldrath decided to go a step further and just make his mansion fly. Hundreds of minotaur and brownie slaves maintain the mansion and protect its many secrets. Anyone stepping into the mansion is up for a challenge not only in terms of combat, but in terms of sanity.
is a tower used for experimental research. The acronym stands for Somewhat Hazardous Industrial Prototype Workshop. It was erected a safe distance away from Mechanotus in case of a disaster. One such disaster has already left the tower almost immobile, and it is now towed by the flying fortress via a massive chain. Head Administrative Grigano runs the tower on the edge of insanity, but the creations coming out of the workshop may win the war for Meldrath.
The Steam Factory is located beneath the Fortress Mechanotus. Prior to launching the fortress, these tunnels extended deep within the Steamfont Mountains. Most of them were left behind as the fortress tore away from the earth. The factory is chock full of Meldrath's loyal followers who are tasked with maintaining the inner workings of the floating fort. Steamworks and clockworks scurry about constantly to keep up with the mining and manufacturing standards set by the powerful necromancer. The heavy labor is handled by the enslaved minotaurs, while the brownies are tasked with more risky jobs seeing as they are the lowest in chain of command. Because of this, a rebel group of brownies have decided to sabotage every piece of the factory that they can.
Crystallos, Lair of the Awakened
, is the new home of the most powerful dragon Norrath has ever seen (not counting Veeshan herself). Kerafyrm, better known to most simply as "The Sleeper," came here after escaping his prison beneath the Eastern Wastes of Velious to recuperate. He believes that the world has lost its way, and things are not as Veeshan intended when she claimed this world as her own and gave it life. Kerafyrm has decided that the time has come to start over from scratch, which means eradicating all races except for the dragons. Crystallos was constructed by Kerafyrm's devout followers that survived the war between the dragon clans of Velious. They knew that Kerafyrm would one day escape, so they prepared Crystallos to serve as a gathering point. Construction was overseen by four dragons known as The Ancients. Adventurers may have encountered these powerful dragons before if they explored Sleeper's Tomb after Kerafyrm had been awakened. Kildrukaun the Prophet, Tjudawos, Vyskudra, and Zeixshi`Kar have managed to pull power from the elemental planes in order to construct a barrier around the keep. The energy is attuned to repel dragons not loyal to Kerafyrm, for not every dragon agrees with the prismatic dragon's plans; most notably the Claws of Veeshan. Kerafyrm will usher a new era into the world of Norrath. Velious lore states that he may be powerful enough to rival even Veeshan herself. Putting a stop to this threat will prove more difficult than anything any Norrathian has ever encountered.