The Rite of Passage

A Dragon's guide to Horizons: Empire of Istaria
By Ranqthas Clawfoot
"Like a still surface of water that's been disturbed by a single drop. The ripple moves outward as we progress forward, and we are caught in its wake."
-- Karane the Historian

It is said that...

The Peak of Storms
Angry clouds whirl about a giant crater trapped in perpetual twilight. What could have happened here?
According to Istarian lore, the Rite of Passage (often referred to as "ROP" by the Gifted) was created as a solution to a problem caused by an unfortunate turn of events.

In the blink of an eye, a disruption in time -- the culmination of those events, swallowed a place sacred to all dragons. Caught in its wake, the dragons of Istaria found that they no longer aged and matured naturally. To continue their numbers, an artificial means of development was created: the Rite of Passage. Upon completion of the tasks comprising the Rite, a hatchling dragon will find themselves in the body of an adult, with new and more powerful abilities, such as a stronger Breath of Fire, and of course, flight.

Which side are you on?

Semeneth the Ancient Helian
Semeneth the Ancient Helian resides in Chiconis.
As a hatchling wandering about Istaria, you will encounter the politics of dragons. They have split into two factions: the Helian and the Lunus. Ask around, learn what you can. One of the first tasks in your Rite of Passage will be to choose a faction.

The two factions differ in their feelings towards the "lesser races" of Naka Duskal and as well as their fighting styles. Helians and Lunus both agree that the lesser races will cause trouble amongst themselves and ultimately for dragons too. The Helians believe that with proper guidance and strong bonds, the lesser races may be educated and taught to get along. The Lunus believe that they are far superior to the Naka and should be regarded as so - maintaining order through force.

Valkoth the Ancient Lunus
Valkoth the Ancient Lunus resides in Dralk.
As mentioned, the two factions also have different ways of fighting. The strong Lunus fight mostly with brute strength - tooth, claw and scale. Their tactics center around fierce, close-range melee fighting. In contrast, the powerful Helians are more scholarly and have honed their skills in the use of primal magic. A Helian would be adept at casting powerful ranged attacks and area spells.

Finally, do not get misled. It is often stated that crafting is an activity reserved for Helians. This is quite wrong as the Lunus need their scales, claws and lairs. Many of them would be disgusted to rely on a Helian for such vital items, so it can only be assumed that there are are indeed Lunus crafters. To that effect, crafting capabilities do not differ between the two factions.

Small Differences

Philosophies aside, the practical differences between Lunus and Helian are currently quite small. Being melee fighters, those of the Lunus path receive a stat boost in the Tooth and Claw skill and a resistance to fire damage. Similarly, Helians have a stat boost to the Primal skill and innate resistance to spirit and ice damage. The only other difference is a "faction breath" -- an alternate breath attack in addition to Breath of Fire. Helians have ice, Lunus have lightning.
BonusPath of the HelianPath of the Lunus
Resistances+20 Spirit
+20 Ice
+40 Fire
Attack Skill+20 Primal Magic+20 Tooth and Claw
Second Breath AttackIceLightning
To put these numbers into perspective, the tier III "Defense" techniques for Ice, Fire and Mind are +24. The tier IV "Adventure" techniques for Primal and Tooth and Claw give a +20 bonus. The difference in statistics boils down to one or two teched tier IV scales.

If none of the above differences have helped you decide one way or another, perhaps the differing requirements and tasks of each faction's Rite can help. This will be discussed in detail later, however, simply put, the Lunus Rite of Passage has lower requirements than those of the Helian one.

More Choices

As if having to choose a faction was not difficult enough, you are also faced with the choice of when to start and complete your Rite of Passage, as well as whether or not to even do it!

The starting requirements for Rite of Passage are as follows: Do note that these are only starting requirements. By the time you finish, your levels (especially craft) will need to be higher. While it depends on a number of other factors, the Rite of Passage may be completed as soon as level 30 Craft for Lunus and level 40 for Helians.

A Guardian of Faces
A Guardian of Faces takes a moment from patrolling Meteor Crater to pose for a photo.
In making the decision of when to start (and when to finish) keep the following in mind:

First, part of the Rite of Passage (for both paths) involves killing named monsters with ratings well over 40 in areas with regular monsters with ratings even higher. A level 30 dragon adventurer would find it rather difficult to kill them on their own but quite easy to collect death points, even in the company of others. At a low level their task in most cases would be to stay out of the way and stay alive while others did all the work. In contrast, a Lunus may be able to complete most if not all of their Rite of Passage alone at level 50.

An Enslaver
One of three Enslavers after killing yet another hatchling.
Secondly, there is some crafting involved. To finish with a craft level of 30 (or 40 for Helians), you will be pressed to get the necessary skills in scalecraft, spellcraft, and transmutation. While possible to do, you will be scrounging up skill points using teched scales, buffs, and maybe even training point rearrangement. A Helian with level 50 craft should have enough skill in these areas to craft the necessary items without having to do any of that. Just because you can start early does not mean you have to finish early, nor does it mean it will be easy!

Special Chest Scales
A line of special chest scales which only a hatchling may quest for.
Third, there are six chest scales which only a hatchling dragon may acquire through quests. These scales are divided into two sets, each set providing bonuses useful to a Helian or Lunus, and three grades, each grade having a larger bonus than the one before it. It is possible to get all six if you wait till you reach level 50 Adventure. The bonuses from the Simulated scales, save the armor, are more powerful than those of tier V techniques and should not be quickly dismissed.

Min Adv. Lvl Grade Bonus from Scale of the Prime Bonus from Tempered Scale
1 Imitation +10 Armor
+8 Focus
+8 Power
+8 Primal
+10 Armor
+8 Strength
+8 Dexterity
+8 Tooth and Claw
25 Replica +15 Armor
+18 Focus
+18 Power
+18 Primal
+15 Armor
+18 Strength
+18 Dexterity
+18 Tooth and Claw
50 Simulated +20 Armor
+35 Focus
+35 Power
+35 Primal
+20 Armor
+35 Strength
+35 Dexterity
+35 Tooth and Claw

Getting Started

Karane the Historian
Karane the Historian lives in a secluded lair outside of Chiconis.
When you decide to begin your Rite of Passage, speak to Karane the Historian, a bit north of Chiconis. There you will be given some background and ultimately the opportunity to choose your faction. After a bit of running about and speaking to the ancient faction leaders, you will have to return to one as an indication of your decision.

As you may suspect, the Rite of Passage is slightly different for each faction, however there are some tasks common to both. If you are considering doing your Rite of Passage with a partner, it is not necessary that they choose the same faction for fear of not having anything to do together. Some tasks are identical and towards the end, the "boss mobs" to kill are mostly the same and can be done together.

A Word of Advice

Karane's Lair
Karane's lair lies north of Chiconis. A bit out of the way, much like other locations related to the Rite of Passage.
Before jumping into your Rite of Passage, consider having some good fighting scales made. What base and techniques to use depends on your fighting style - ask an experienced dragon for advice. One thing to make sure you get, however, is a speed technique. These can only be applied to wing scales. Get the highest tier of scale and technique that you can equip. If you are close to the next tier in Dragon Craft or Dragon Adventurer, consider leveling into it to take advantage of the increased potency. Older dragons sometimes jokingly reply "ROP" means "Run (all) Over (the) Place" when an inquisitive hatchling asks what it means. There is a reason for this! A pair of speed-teched scales is well worth the investment.

Details Details

A detailed guide for the Helian and Lunus Rite of Passage can be found below.