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This article has an associated Zaishen Challenge Quest.
Retake Thunderhead Keep.
- Clear the city.
- Clear the fort.
- Kill Dagnar Stonepate.
- ADDED Help King Jalis Ironhammer hold Thunderhead Keep.
- BONUS Light the beacons to draw additional Mursaat forces into Thunderhead Keep.
At the start of the mission, talk to King Jalis Ironhammer at point A to begin the mission in earnest. He will follow whoever talks to him while outside of combat, but will charge at any enemies he sees; he will not run away even if the rest of the group does. If Ironhammer dies, the mission fails, so keep an eye on him. He is a fairly durable level 24 warrior, so mobs will mostly leave him alone to attack your party if given the chance. Be careful not to aggro too many groups at once, as you cannot simply retreat as in other missions. To keep the King safe, it can help to have a backline character talk to him first.
You can pull carefully by having someone other than the player whom Ironhammer follows handle pulling, while the player keeps the king back until mobs have come to where you wish to fight them. With only henchmen and/or heroes, this can be done by flagging them ahead to aggro mobs, and then back to pull the mobs to where you want.
In addition to the king, there are three Dwarven Soldiers that follow Ironhammer. It isn't necessary to keep them alive, and their use of Frenzy means they will almost surely die unless the group makes a deliberate effort to heal them. Keeping them alive for the end siege has some benefits and thus encourages even more having a backline character talk to the King initially, thus keeping the King and the Soldiers away from initial aggro of battles.
Follow the red path into the fort, clearing several groups along the way. You may wish to pull the group at the north end of the bridge well onto the bridge proper, as another group including a boss will come up behind them and join in the fight if you are there.
Once inside the city, the game will inform you that there are eight groups to kill, and count down as you kill each group. Each group has four or five members and is not difficult if you pull only one group at a time. Once all eight groups are dead, Ironhammer will open the gate at point B. To the north of the city are several roamer groups with overlapping paths. It may help to advance slowly to see how far the roamers come up, and pull only one group at a time.
Inside the fort, there are five groups of two or four mobs, as well as a boss, Dagnar Stonepate. A player with a longbow or flatbow can sometimes shoot Dagnar from south of the fort, and pull him just enough for the party to kill him before entering the fort. Dagnar will not chase very far, but the rest of the mobs will chase a considerable distance if pulled. It is usually easiest to kill the groups at the top of the fort first, then pull the other groups up the stairs to fight them only one group at a time. You may also wish to use the ballistae to kill some giants outside the fort before killing the last of the mobs in the fort. Clearing the fort will trigger a cut scene and start the siege.
During the cut scene Vizier Khilbron appears and summons a few Smoke Phantoms to aid you (five: two on one fort entrance and three on the other) and the king settles down onto his throne(point c), leaving the fighting to you. Any Dwarven soldiers still alive will continue following King Ironhammer at this point, which mostly removes them from combat. You must now defend the king against the various mobs that come to attack.
Defending the fort
The siege consists of three phases. During the first phase, the waves consist of Stone Summit Dwarves and Enslaved Frost Giants. The first phase ends with one of six Stone Summit bosses. During the second and third phases, the waves consist of Mursaat, Jade, and White Mantle. The second phase has a Mursaat or Jade boss come near the end of it, which has extremely high armor and may take quite a while to wear down.
Kill all other mobs that come first, before fighting the boss of the second phase. In particular, if attacking the boss and some other mobs come, leave the boss alone to kill the other mobs. Everything else will die much more quickly, and focusing fire on the boss can let other mobs stack up too much and overwhelm your group. The boss will come in the west gate, and then several more mobs will slowly trickle in through that gate. The final five mobs of the second phase eventually come in the east gate, so you may have to leave the boss to go grab them when they start coming, but once they arrive, nothing else comes until the third phase.
The third phase will not begin until the boss from the second phase is dead, so you have plenty of time to kill the boss in the second phase. The large group including Confessor Dorian is the final one of the third phase. Dorian comes with six White Mantle, of which exactly one will be a Priest.
The basic strategy is to keep the mobs away from King Ironhammer. He is not infused, and while he has enough health to survive one blast of Spectral Agony, he cannot survive long against Mursaat and Jade. Fortunately, mobs will usually only attack the king if they do not see another party member first.
Perhaps the most common approach is to stay near the king, moving out slightly to fight mobs as they come. This has the advantage of always being near the king, so that you can easily grab any mobs that come. The drawback to this is that King Ironhammer will run up to any mobs he sees to attack them, and will not back up after they are dead. If you let mobs get too close to him a few times, he can end up running way out to a position much harder to defend.
The other approach is to guard choke points through which all mobs must pass in order to get into the fort. This has the advantage that if done properly, no mobs will ever come remotely near the king. One way to guard such choke points is by splitting your party to guard both gates at once, with portions of the group at one gate running over to the other as necessary to help out. The drawback of this approach is that a split party can have one half get overwhelmed as other party members guard the other gate.
Another way to keep mobs far away is to wait for a lull in the attacks, and then have the party leave the fort entirely and head north to point D. Be sure that you go around the fort in both directions so as not to miss any mobs on the way to the fort that can kill the king while you are away.
Yet another way to protect the king is to have all but one party member go out to meet the attackers as they reach the gates, while the remaining party member plays free safety around the middle of the fort, to intercept any mobs that should come in the opposite gate at an inconvenient time. The safety player can help with fighting via very long range heals such as Light of Deliverance or Recuperation. He can keep mobs off of Ironhammer until help arrives, though the rest of the party should rush to help out if they let anything slip by. The rest of the group should let mobs come into the fort by about an aggro bubble range, so as not to overextend. This also lets the safety player step up to heal some casters with normal range heals if needed.
If you stay in the fort, consider using the ballistae to damage the attackers as they enter the bombard zones. Using a defend-the-King strategy, you will often need to put a little more damage on foes damaged but not killed by the ballistae, otherwise they will heal before getting to the king. Leaving a single spirit at the gate will suffice to reset their health regeneration.
Once Confessor Dorian's group is killed, no more mobs are coming. You can freely loot at this time or explore the area. Talk to Ironhammer to complete the mission.
The bonus is to save the 12 Dwarven soldiers outside the keep by lighting the Storm Beacons to draw the Mursaat forces on the outskirts of the keep to the keep.
After clearing the fort and watching the cutscene (right before the siege), the king will ask you to light the beacons to save the Dwarves trapped outside the walls. Lighting the beacons will draw the groups of Mursaat on the outskirts of the keep to the fort. Specifically, each beacon lit early enough will attract two Jade Armors and one Jade Bow to the respective gate.
There are two Storm Beacons that you must light: one on the east wall and one on the west wall (both points marked 1 on the map). Enchanted torches appear at the base of each, so it is just a matter of running to each beacon, picking up the torch there and clicking the beacon. You have only a few seconds after the cut scene to do this, so it'll be easiest to designate one person on the team to light each beacon before taking their assigned position.
It is still possible to light both beacons with one person (for full hench parties), as long as you drop the torch when running from the first beacon to the second. Time is tight, so you may wish to do a practice run before starting the cut scene, so as not to get disoriented long enough to fail the bonus. It is easier to run through the courtyard instead of around the perimeter because of the shorter distance and absence of obstacles.
The dwarves outside the keep will plead for their lives, if they scream out "The end is here! Great Dwarf save us!" then the chance to light the beacons is lost.
The six additional Jade enemies that come forward as a result of the beacons are hostile to all the other enemy units, including other Mursaat, Jade, and White Mantle. If the entire party huddles around the king's position, it is often possible to not aggro them. When the enemy waves start coming in, these additional enemies can provide a first line of defense. Sit back and watch as they tear through the Stone Summit with Spectral Agony.
Unfortunately, they sometimes get out of the way and let another group of mobs slip by, forcing you to clear those mobs to defend the king. Trying to stay back and let the Jade fight for you also risks aggroing them at a highly inconvenient time. When it works, however, you can do little or no fighting until well into the second phase of the siege.
Note that none of the mobs you fight are infused. Jade can quickly destroy Mursaat and other Jade with Spectral Agony. Once the second phase starts, the bonus Jade are thus killed pretty quickly if you haven't killed them already.
Credit for the bonus is only granted by talking to the King after killing Confessor Dorian's group at the end of the mission. You can use this time to pick up any unclaimed items or to explore the area outside the fort.
King Ironhammer is as reckless as before, and the mobs you face are stronger in hard mode, making it critical to pull and kill only one group at a time. You can pull groups even alone by flagging henchmen and heroes ahead to aggro mobs, and then back to where you're standing, while you stand way back. It helps immensely to pull the first group north of the bridge to about the middle of the bridge this way. This also helps to pull apart the various groups in the fort.
Be sure to kill some giants outside the fort with a ballista before starting the siege. Likewise, kill the bonus Jade as soon as they come, as you have plenty of time then, but if you wait, they might aggro on you at a highly inconvenient time later.
White mantle are much stronger now, but most of the siege is still manageable with about the same tactics as in normal mode. It is especially vital not to kill the Mursaat or Jade boss that comes until all other mobs in the fort are dead.
Confessor Dorian's group can vary wildly in difficulty, depending on how many savants and sycophants he brings. These two types of mobs and the white mantle priest are the top priorities to kill. Check his group composition while he's running around, and if there are savants, use flags as necessary to spread your group out. It can help to have untargeted group heals to be able to heal through Shame or Mark of Subversion. The other white mantle are much less troublesome, and Dorian's Heal Area isn't much of a problem, either. Try to blast Dorian's group with ballistae a few times as they come around the perimeter of the fort, before entering it.
- 20 Vizier Khilbron (cutscenes only)
- 17 (20) Smoke Phantom
- 24 (26) Enslaved Frost Giant
- 24 (26) Siege Ice Golem
- 24 (26) Blessed Griffon
Bosses - elite skill captures
Briefing from Grambol Stonebook.
Inside the mission
King Jalis Ironhammer: The time has come for you to repay your debt to the Dwarves of Deldrimor. We must retake this great city. It looks like most have fled or been killed, but some of my countrymen may still remain. If we find them they will be of great use. We must clear out these Stone Summit traitors. I'll open this door once the city is clear.
Dwarven Soldier: HELP! Wer're trapped outside the fort! I beg you, draw them away or we will surely die! The Mursaat are closing in on us!
King Jalis Ironhammer: My countrymen are trapped outside. Lighting the beacons will save them. Our battle will become more perilous for it, but if we do not, those brave dwarves will see the Great Forge before their time.
Dwarven Soldier: The end is here! Great Dwarf save us!
King Jalis Ironhammer: Deldrimor declares war! Beware Stone Summit! Jalis Ironhammer stands in Thunderhead Keep once more! The Mantle followed you! Stand fast friends! This will be our finest hour! Be on your guard. The left hand of Grenth himself comes for us.
Confessor Dorian: By my divine hand you will pay for your heresy!
Confessor Dorian: There is but one punishment for you. Death!
Vizier Khilbron: You have taken the keep, but your fight is not yet over. The Mursaat and their White Mantle counterparts are headed this way. They drive before them the denizens of the Shiverpeak Mountains. I grant you this boon and the aid of these undead servants. Today you must prevail, for the tale does not end here. Your destiny lies to the west.
King Jalis Ironhammer: Not even death will save you from my wrath.
Vizier Khilbron: If you will allow me this indulgence, King Ironhammer. Perhaps the confessor can still be of some use to us.
King Jalis Ironhammer: Never give me the opportunity for revenge.
Vizier Khilbron: This is just as it was written in the Flameseeker Prophecies. An opening will be given to the disciples of the Unseen. The peaks and valleys of the Shiverpeaks will be painted in blood. At this time, the Ascendants will rise, and the way to the Door will be clear. The time of our judgment is near. We must prepare. Today's was a great victory, but now your true challenge begins. You must go to the Ring of Fire island chain. In the caldera of the largest volcano you will find the power you need.
King Jalis Ironhammer: The Ring of Fire? A more treacherous land in Tyria there is not.
Vizier Khilbron: True enough, but that is where we will find the Door of Komalie. Behind it lies the secret to defeating the Mursaat.
King Jalis Ironhammer: You're a brave lot, but you'll not make it past the beachhead.
Brechnar Ironhammer: Not without some Dwarven help. I will go with them.
King Jalis Ironhammer: Brechnar, do you know what you are saying?
Brechnar Ironhammer: Yes, brother.
King Jalis Ironhammer: A mission to the Ring of Fire would be suicide.
Brechnar Ironhammer: Then may we meet each other in the afterlife.
Vizier Khilbron: Through this portal awaits your destiny. Do not let it linger. Seize that which you were born to do.
Brechnar Ironhammer: Until we are reunited in the Great Forge.
King Jalis Ironhammer: Go with honor, my brother. Fight bravely in the name of Deldrimor.
Undead Lich: It won't be long now. Not long at all.
- Upon completion of the mission players will find themselves in: Ember Light Camp, where they should find Shadow to take the quest Final Blow.
- This mission is the only way to get to the Ring of Fire Islands, where the skill trainer with all non-elite Prophecies skills, Dakk, can be found, and where many elite skills can be captured. This means that it is important for any player seeking to unlock skills to complete this mission. Unfortunately, it also means that there are many players being run to this mission directly from Beacon's Perch through Droknar's Forge. These players do not have infused armor and do not know about it. Make sure to confirm all your party members are infused, or they will melt before the Mursaat. Heroes are automatically infused, as are all henchmen in this mission.
- Due to the difficulty in completing the mission with random groups, few PUGs do the bonus for this mission, and it is often easier to solo it with henchmen if you can, as finding a group that can do it is hard.
- Normally you have to light the beacons before the waves start coming; however, on some occasions there will be a bug that allows the bonus to complete while lighting the torches too late. It is unknown what causes this bug to trigger. Sometimes lighting the torches on time also results in a failed bonus.
- Players looking for the cartographer title can uncover a significant area to the north of the keep. This can be done after the mission, but before talking to the king. Make sure your group understands this so they do not ruin your chance to uncover unexplored area. There is also a large portion of the map to the east, before the bridge at the start, that is very easy to beat with henchmen and can be explored separately.
- Dagnar Stonepate always spawns, while other Dwarf bosses have a 50% chance of spawning, and Mursaat/Jade bosses have a 1 in 6 chance of spawning.
- This mission is sometimes referred to as THK.