Some photos included.
I've tried this for 3 lives now (skipping the ones where I was on a late bloomer), and each time have done a little better. This time I prepared more than in the past, and was ready for the ridiculous damage output that Sor'jek surprised me with last attempt.
This picture shows the culmination of the better part of 2 hours.
While only about 55 minutes were spent in the quest (by design since I was not eager to fight Sor'jek without 30 resists) about another hour was spent in preparation.
- I crafted a level 7 gear setup (largely just +4 stats and GFL since Death Priests spam dispel so often that relying on spells/wands is a no-go. The crossbow is a boring +2 Holy Heavy Repeater of Bleeding (MC) with a +3 guild accuracy crystal in it),
- shopped for wands (prot from evil, prot from energy, stoneskin, bull's strength - to buff doggy to open levers, and flame arrow),
- filled augment crystals (+1 reflex saves, +60 SP, and +15HP)
- repeatedly failed to teleport to the portable hole but ultimately succeeded and bought scrolls (fire shield, jump, nightshield, blur),
- picked up potions (rage, heroism, blindness removal, neutralize poison, 300 CSW, and lesser restoration)
- read through my cookies and decided some would be useful (toven's, syrania, blue abashai, red abashia, daanvi)
- and even got the ship dummy for once
The hardest parts were where retreat was impossible:
- The very beginning corridor.
A group of blackguards in a tight space is not fun. Something was trying to stun me at times too. My self-healing was nowhere near strong enough to kite multiple drow for long in the space of that corridor (CSW pots 20-30, CSW wand ~40). Death priests who dispel interspersed with hill giant soothsayers who destruct mean you have to be very careful with refreshing Deathward as deathblock doesn't cut it against destruction - hence 6 Visors.
- Lair of Fire and Ice.
The hard part is whatever you do second due to the time crunch. I went the traditional ice -> fire because my cold damage burst damage - which deals double damage to the fire reaver - is reasonably high due to Frozen Tunic and Devourer's Hunger. Getting past the fire giant slayers and mephits without being danced was also exciting.
- The first beholder room.
The beholder itself is trivial, but its Tharaak Hounds with big damage + knockdown Cyclonic Breath aren't. I also lacked the dps to kill most of the death priest, blackguard and scorrow army before the beholder and hounds emerged.
- Every time there were 2 Fire Giant Slayers and other mobs.
Dance = death and they're not slow movers.
- The corridor that seals shut and pours out death priests and scorrow from 4 doors.
Apart from Sor'jek, this was easily the roughest part. I nearly died from Con loss as they all spam poison the spell or ability from melee like crazy. Neutralize poison pots should be great, but the Death Priests are dispelling. With massively reduced HP from con loss, it was touch and go.
- Not the Marut.
Really easy for an artificer. On a melee I think... well I think you'd be dead way before this point on a melee, so who knows. Maybe I'd be surprised.
He is just awful. Constant Lightning Storm and Chain Lightning and sword smacks (one of which crit me for 81 - yay moderate fort :P) are huge damage to absorb and heal at that level. I was furiously spamming prot from elec, drinking pots and wand whipping CSW from the instant I began doing the puzzle. Also, I had no source of FoM so fell over a bit, which made things more exciting.
No mana pots used, no deaths, no re-entries, all traps and optionals apart from clearing the mountain.
EDIT: Tempest's Spine won't let you in at character level 6. Weak.