DUNCAN: It is I, Duncan the Explorer, back once again to share knowledge of the wondrous Solari that one can find in a particular area. Today we’ll cover a dungeon in Taankwan Thicket known as Sagalee Ridge.
As it so happens, I’m quite familiar with this dungeon. When I was a younger explorer, I delved into these tunnels for weeks. I gathered samples from various depths, collected plant and fungus specimens…and did my best to avoid the Solari that lived there.
Which is why I’ve asked Guildmaster Laskian, of Kijang Village, to join me at the local tavern for a spot of lunch and a few stories. Laskian, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with my “students.”
LASKIAN: You are quite welcome, Duncan. It is my honor to assist you in imparting knowledge to those who seek insight and enlightenment.
DUNCAN: So then…what can you tell us about the Solari that live in Sagalee Ridge?
LASKIAN: As you might guess, the most common affinity of Solari living within an enormous fallen tree is Nature. No fewer than three iconic Nature Solari thrive within the woodland reaches of Taankwan Thicket, and each one shows a slightly different aspect of the affinity.
We discussed two of these already while touring Taankwan Thicket. The Ryzo and the Shrubble present an interesting contrast in how the Nature affinity uses healing powers. For example, the Ryzo is a powerful healer, capable of supporting its allies with a long list of useful skills.
DUNCAN: Is it true that the Ryzo is less ferocious than other Lunari?
LASKIAN: I have heard some Wardens espouse the theory that the Ryzo is less vulnerable to the Moonrise corruption than other Solari. For my part, I believe these Wardens have not spent enough time in Kunisi Wood, much less encountered a corrupted Ryzo in the wild.
DUNCAN: I expect you’re right about that. There really is no substitute for field work!
LASKIAN: In contrast to the Ryzo, the Shrubble tends to use healing powers to enhance itself rather than its allies. Wardens who fail to employ the proper focused-fire techniques in battle against a Shrubble may find it outlasting their team thanks to its ability to regenerate health.
DUNCAN: And what about the third Nature Solari found in Sagalee Ridge? Does it also use healing skills?
LASKIAN: In fact, the Leafroot’s signature skill, Verdant Dawn, grants it Regeneration for a time. Some Leafroots supplement this with other healing skills, while others favor a more aggressive approach or even assume a protective role, guarding other members of their team.
DUNCAN: You said there were three Nature Solari, but I remember seeing a Sportle down there years ago.
LASKIAN: It is more likely that you spotted is Electric cousin, the Shockle. It can be differentiated by its striking coloration, as well as its distinctive signature skill, Zap Charge, which delivers Chain Lightning to enemy groups.
DUNCAN: So the woods are crawling with Sportles, and yet a small colony of Shockles lives inside this massive fallen tree. Fascinating! Now what about other non-Nature Solari? Surely there must be many of them within Sagalee Ridge.
LASKIAN: Most assuredly, though only the Basic affinity supplies Solari that are commonly encountered–the others are more rarely seen.
Anyone who has entered Sagalee Ridge will remember seeing the luminous aura of a Zingbat brighten the dark tunnels.
DUNCAN: Quite true. In fact, when I was down there I noticed they even glow when sleeping! Useful for navigation, as long as you stayed very, very quiet.
LASKIAN: Yes, I don’t suppose you would have been happy to awaken a Zingbat colony and endure a string of stunning Swoop Attacks.
The other Basic Solari often seen in the dungeon is the Craghorn. This aggressive, strong creature reacts poorly to those who wander into its territory, using its Goring Charge to dissuade intruders.
DUNCAN: It’s hard to imagine two Solari that look more different than those examples, and yet they’re both from the same affinity!
LASKIAN: That is why categorizing Solari by affinity is such an incomplete method of understanding these creatures. The clarity and simplicity of this method deceives many young Wardens into thinking that it is all they need to know.
DUNCAN: I see. Are those the only Basic Solari in Sagalee Ridge?
LASKIAN: Patient explorers also report the occasional sighting of a Whiffle. Though more commonly encountered in Taankwan Thicket, these inquisitive creatures build nests within the ridge from time to time.
DUNCAN: Nature and Basic Solari seem to make up the vast majority of all creatures inhabiting the ridge. Why is that?
LASKIAN: Many theories have been advanced to suggest why certain affinities seem to cluster in particular areas. I certainly believe that these clusters can’t be explained simply by random chance, but as to whether we give the credit to some form of natural selection or to some outside influence is beyond my estimation.
DUNCAN: Outside influence? What does that mean?
LASKIAN: It means that, as much as the Wardens Guild enjoys trumpeting its vast storehouse of knowledge regarding the Solari, there are still many areas in which we are woefully undereducated.
DUNCAN: In other words, “you don’t know everything yet.”
LASKIAN: Indeed. Of course, there are Solari of other affinities within Sagalee Ridge. We mentioned the Shockle earlier, but in fact each of the other primary affinities has its own representative. The Cubble is a small but strong Stone Solari that likes to dig new tunnels in the soft, rotting wood of the dungeon walls.
After the Cubble carves out new areas, the aqueous skills of the Wiggleby provide much-needed water for plants and fungus to grow deep inside Sagalee Ridge.
And when the tunnels get too crowded with flora, the Pyromander uses its Fire skills (and the occasional Seismic Burst) to clear out these passages and rooms.
DUNCAN: You know, I spent weeks in that dungeon and I had no idea that such an intricate cycle of creation and destruction existed in there.
LASKIAN: Every ecosystem, when left to its own devices, finds an equilibrium point. Only when new changes are introduced–whether those are environmental shifts or the introduction of new species–do we see that balance interrupted.
Sadly, all too often we fail to see how all the parts interlock to form a whole. Instead, we fixate on a single aspect that we find intriguing or troubling and never grasp why it belongs where it is.
DUNCAN: On that philosophical note, I’ll close out this discussion. It seems I may have a lot to think about!
Join us next week when Duncan learns about the Solari that inhabit the enigmatic Mesachie Ruins!
Solari of Sagalee Ridge