The Rogues re-entered Act 5 and began trekking through the snowy northlands once again in search of the Worldstone Keep. I'd like to illustrate the early parts of their journey, but for some reason I don't have any pictures from any part of Act 5 before the Crystalline Passage. Here's one picture I do have, a shot of Svava's character screen at the start of Nightmare Act 5:
Svava has fairly decent damage and resistances, considering the variant setup that we were working with. And the attack ratings for all of the Rogues were incredibly high thanks to all that dexterity. As for the early goings in the field, here are some things that I do recall from memory.
We got an unusual draw in the Bloody Foothills: endless swarms of Quill Rats and Burning Dead Archers. This was the first time I had seen that new feature where enemies from previous acts show up in various parts of Act 5, by the way. We all had a good laugh the first time that a Rogue was killed by a Quill Rat, but as the deaths piled up, the laughter came to a halt. Those things are vicious when they get their stats pumped up! I think Dathon summed it up best with a line something along the lines of "OK, I'll stop kidding. Those things really ARE dangerous." Of course, they were complemented by our old friends, Burning Dead Archers from Act 2. Svava swapped to her shield setup for protection from the arrows, and that seemed to work fairly well.
The Frigid Highland was notable for one thing: an incredibly nasty boss pack of Burning Dead Archers (yes, they were there too) that I believe was Extra Strong/Fanaticism Aura. It was either that or Cursed/Fanaticism, but whichever it was, they were packing 1-hit kill bows. They were holed up in a little protective walled area, and we had a devil of a time clearing them out, let me tell you. Nothing else sticks out in my mind before we hit the Crystalline Passage.
Right at the beginning of a session, we began by jumping to the Passage waypoint. Unfortunately, it was trapped with a boss pack of some sort, and most of the Rogues were killed in short order. I managed to get out of there through the waypoint, but subsequently got killed when teleporting blindly trying to find some safe ground to set up a portal. This was the first time that all of the Rogues lost their bodies.
That's what it looks like when everyone loses their bodies and you have a bunch of naked sorcies (err, Rogues) running around. Alan has his equipment back, and I believe that's his portal where we're all regrouping to make a run at getting our stuff back. This portal was quite a ways from the waypoint where all of the carnage took place.
This is one of Sirian's pictures showing the battle to get our bodies back. The Crystalline Passage has lightning-tossing Bone Mages and bone-spear-chucking Claw Vipers, so it was definitely an unusual draw. It's a bit tough to see the minimap, but if you look closely you can find both the waypoint (red circle) and the approximate location of the portal from which we were able to reset and start clearing the level (red X). They're close in terms of the minimap, but the path between them was a long loop that we took, picking up fallen Rogue bodies all the way.
Another one of Sirian's pictures as we're closing in on the waypoint. I think this highlights pretty well just how many bodies we left packed into that tiny little area. Most of those were from attempts to teleport away and create a safe portal zone after the initial trap had already been sprung. There is also one body out in the middle of nowhere that Jaffa simply hadn't picked up yet.
The waypoint has finally been reclaimed here; the bodies still on the ground are a testament to the slaughter that had previously taken place. The inset in the corner was another view of the Rogues that had falled around the waypoint. All in all, this was probably the biggest disaster to befall the team since Fangskin, going in the category of "times when we got slaughtered" along with that and the Countess quest. The rest of the Crystalline Passage was (fortunately) more routine.
This is from the Halls of Pain. We had a nasty, nasty draw on the monsters down there, consisting of:
1) The Stygian Hag monsters from Act 4 you can see in this picture
2) The Blood Maggot breeding worms also from Act 4
3) The Hierophant/Zealot combo from Act 3
So we had literally enormous numbers of larva and demon young wandering around, mixed in with the blizzard attack and healing ability of the Hierophants. Here's another picture Sirian had of the battle:
Meteor certainly came in handy when dealing with this particular area. And the Halls of Pain are freaking enormous too! (look at that minimap) There were just acres and acres of these guys to wade through. We had a real battle just securing the stairs first; it took a good 20 minutes to get any kind of safe area around the staircase, with many deaths involved. These two pictures will have to do, because trust me, it was very difficult fighting!
No pictures from the fight against Nihlathak; I do recall him killing me with Corpse Explosion, but most of the Rogues survived without dying. Next up was the Ancients at the top of Mount Arreat.