The entrance to the Hive is located in the Blood Moors not far from the East Road leading out of Ascension.
Look for a crack in the wall and once you enter you will find yourself in the Breach. This is the first part of the Hive.
Immortal characters will not fugue or limbo in the Hive. Resting is free (but carries a small risk of rest spawns). Using the planar ring to rest in the parallel pocket dimension will avoid this.
No tags are required to gain entry to the Hive.
Your party will require a means of finding traps to successfully complete the Hive run and at least one character with a ranged weapon or spells. The Hive is recommended for levels 52-58 and features bonus experience points. The Tear of Selune drops in this area (also known as the speed artifact).
You will need an explosive barrel to proceed. These can be found in the Ancient Gem Mine on the Uroboros run and also in a secret tunnel in the Toyshop.
The unique nature of the Hive prevents teleportation to any of the maps with the exception of the Breach. Stones of Succor and the Asmodeus amulet will all allow you to join the party leader, Apport Arcanes will allow you to port between maps which can be useful if you have accidentally fallen through a trap and want to get back to the party without spawning creatures on the way and having to fight them solo..
There is a magical aura in the Hive that acts to suppress magic. Level nine spells will not work here although you will be able to use your level nine spell slots for metamagic spells of lower level. Creatures in the Hive are resistant to instant death spells such as Finger of Death, Circle of Death and Disintegrate. They receive +8 to their fortitude saves for these spells and level appropriate casters may find it difficult to insta kill. Fortitude saves for Hive denizens against these spells are in the 55 to 59 range and with sufficiently high casting DC and debuffing from bard song, prayer, wail of doom, battletide and shifter ability draining powers they can be overcome. Turners with Plant Domain can be very effective against the vermin creatures here.
In addition you will be faced with Magical and Positive exotic damage types. With some resists and > 75% immunity to the above elements and 25% to the exotics your trip will be significantly less painful.
There are no enemies that will Breach or use Mordenkainen’s Disjunction to strip your magical defenses and these immunities are not required.
Item based or inherent class based immunity to confusion is highly recommended for the final battle with the Omni Rat Overmind and this is especially important if you seek the tag.
Immunity to the earthquake spell is highly advantageous.
There are reflex save checks from the Dark Tentacles that will remove your equipped item (weapon, staff or fan) and drop it as a token in your inventory.
High armor class or physical resistance is recommended. The Howler Wasps and Phase Wasps are ranged attackers that can be problematic.
The Breach & The Wax Hall
There are no traps in these zones. Spawns in these two areas are comprised primarily of beetles. Wasps can be found in between spawns and if you rush them it is very easy to spawn the next group of beetles. The wasps are difficult to target but can be insta-killed with called shot or mortal strike or killed quickly with ranged single packet elemental damage spells (empowered orbs for example). Many of the enemies in the Hive can be Harmed including the wasps.
Knell beetles have a shock wave power that deals large Positive damage and forces a reflex save against knockdown. They should be disabled (stoned, knocked down or stunned) or killed as a priority. Knell beetles heal (5x) from Sonic damage. Many parties have a bard who will have sung for the group and provided everyone with sonic damage. The Knells are vulnerable to Fire, Cold and Acid. Bombardier beetles spawn additional Gas Bomb Beetles which can quickly magnify the size of a spawn. These should also be priority targets.
With good crowd control and target prioritization a party can progress through this map with little difficulty.
Clear the map, search for secrets and find the entrance to the Cesspool (which is halfway along the Hall) to proceed.
- Bombardier Beetle (spawns Fire Bomb Beetle & Gas Bomb Beetle)
- Howler Wasp (They do Positive damage)
- Knell Beetle (Sonic Cascade DC 57 vs. Reflex: Knockdown)
- Phase Wesp
There are also no traps in this area as it is the one you will fall into if you trigger one in the areas above.
Next you will encounter the real masters of the Hive. The unspeakable omni-rats occupy the next area of the Hive.
Spawns here include groups of omni-rats along with fetid fungi, dark tentacles and green slime. All the omni-rats are immune to spells when an omni-rat ganglion is in the group. And all rats get a huge conceal bonus with ganglions around. The ganglions should be a priority target. Once the ganglions are dead the rest of the group can be easily dealt with. Fire spells work particularly well for this purpose.
The fungi have a daze check against constitution. Dark tentacles have a reflex check against disarm. The green slimes have a check (discipline?) against an Acid infliction which will appear as a green festering on the player’s character.
The spawns here can be pulled into the tight corridors of the Cesspool to help manage the melee. Using the corridors to create a kill zone with traps and trigger based AoE spells such as delayed blast fireball or vine mine is a highly effective tactic.
Collect the cabbage looking things from this zone. They can be used to disarm the traps you will find later. Search for secrets, check your equipped items and use the enzyme sac to return to the Wax Hall.
- Omni-Rat Chewer
- Omni-Rat Devourer
- Omni-Rat Ganglion (protection aura for all Omni-Rats)
- Omni-Rat Mutilator
- Omni-Rat Predator (does Psionic damage)
- Fetid Fungi (Constitution check versus DC 36: daze)
- Dark Tentacles (reflex check against DC 55: disarm)
- Green Slime
The Winding Tunnels & Larvalium
Head back to the Wax Hall and you will find one of the entrances at the far end is now opened. You need to head to the Ant Queen and defeat her. From now on you will need to have an active searcher looking for traps. Rogues should use a Lens of Detection (available from store in town) to aid them in instant detection. Traps are typically located in recesses in the landscape and are spawned randomly, also backspawns are possible. Traps can be disarmed either by a rogue or by using one of the cabbages acquired in the Cesspool.
A player who falls into a trap will be returned to the Cesspool and will need to make their way back to the group by fighting any of the denizens of the Cesspool and Wax Hall who may have respawned. Enemies will spawn on the potential trapped areas and it is prudent to let them come to you rather than rushing them and falling through to the Cesspool. Occasionally, mobs will run away, attempting to pull you over a trap. Be wary.
The spawns here are mostly ants, burrowing roots, occasional beetles and wasps that typically spawn on or beyond potential traps. Fire ants heal from Fire. The confined environment is perfect for AoE attacks and Cold is particularly effective against the spawns in this area.
The Ant Lieutenant encountered here drops a random mega damage hive Sonic weapon.
Once the Queen has been defeated you will need to run back to the Wax Hall to proceed. Sometimes a secret can be found in this area.
- Drone Ant (Heal aura for Ants)
- Fire Ant (heals on Fire)
- Guard Ant (heals Ants)
- Soldier Ant (festering wounds)
- Worker Ant
- Bombardier Beetle
- Knell Beetle (sonic knockdown)
- Burrow Root (split into two. festering wounds)
- Fetid Fungus (con check DC36 vs. daze)
Head back to the Wax Hall and you will be able to use the enzyme sac to open the entrance at the opposite side of the hall from the Winding Tunnels. These are the final two maps of the run and as before there are traps on all but the last map.
More traps here, don't fall through the floor!
The spawns here consist of groups of Ettercaps and Spiders. The Ettercap Darkweavers cast earthquake and spawn with buffs that protect them. They are vulnerable to Electrical damage and can be dealt with easily by a Bigby’s Forceful Hand to knock them down and stop them from casting. The Inferno Spiders inflict Fire vulnerability, have Fire and Positive kickback and heal from Fire damage. The Shadow Spiders will reflect any gaze attack aimed at them. Swarm Spiders have a DC:53 entangle attack.
The Ettercap miniboss "Spider King" has a poison breath attack (DC: 60 vs Fortitude/Poison instant kill) that reduces fort saves ("The Spider King's venom burrows into your veins, weakening you!") when the saving throw is successful. His poison is very unique - even the CON artifact offers no protection against it. That makes him very dangerous. He will continue to spawn spiders so focus on disabling them and killing him. On death it drops items including Dionaea the ranger sonic/divine shortbow.
The last spawn you face before the boss fight includes a Ruin Swarm. This is a priority target for Greater Ruin but should be cursed first if possible. The Swarm will shred your robes and inflict massive festering wounds if not dealt with quickly. Your robes can recovered by talking with Zerial in the Workshop or by using a Scroll of the Miser and paying the gold cost required, it drops the key required to enter the final area.
- Ettercap Darkweaver (caster, dispel magic)
- Ettercap Fang
- Ettercap Spinner
- Bloodsilk Spider (Red cloud deals Internal damage)
- Inferno Spider (heals on Fire, Fire KB and Fire vulnerably infliction)
- Shadow Spider
- Swarm Spider (DC:53 entangle attack)
- Burrow Root (split into two. Festering wounds)
The Hive Mother and the Omni-Rat Overmind
Clicking the portal to the Hive Mother’s lair drops you into the middle of a large open area. The Hive Mother is waiting for you along with Ettercaps and Spiders.
|Boss Strategy Spoiler Warning!|
|Focus on disabling her minions and killing her. She will summon more minions if you kill them. During the fight she will occasionally jump away to protect her eggs which are on a distant part of the map across a chasm. To bring her back use a ranged weapon or spell to shoot one of the eggs.
As she dies the Omni-Rats and their Overmind burst forth from inside her. They have been controlling the Hive and now must be exterminated.
As before the ganglions should be a priority target. Many parties use the Immute epic as the Hive Mother dies to give themselves some time to target ganglions. Immute combined with Starfire or Hellball to knockdown the rats is a very effective combination and allows the party a moment to target and focus on the ganglions.
The Overmind has a confusion power. Immunity is recommended if you would like the tag.
Once the Overmind is defeated do NOT take the obvious exit which looks like a door in a sunken cave as this will return you to the Cesspool. You will find a transition point at the edge of a chasm that leads to the treasure room. If you pop the artifact and it doesn’t explode (it looks like a pearl) then carefully check your inventory for artifacts before grabbing it.
The anti-teleportation field surrounding the Hive is now gone and you can port safely to town after you have looted and searched. Alternatively you can take the sunken cave door to Cesspool (which may respawn), Wax Hall, the Breach and even to The Blood Moor and back to town.