Ascalonian Catacombs (explorable)
- This article is about the explorable mode of Ascalonian Catacombs dungeon. For story mode, see Ascalonian Catacombs (story).
King Adelbern has been defeated, but the Durmand Priory is working down there and has found something nasty. Apparently the Ghosts were keeping darker things in check. Now the haunted depths are overrun with gravelings.
 Dungeon information
- At least one level 35+ party member who has completed Ascalonian Catacombs (story)
- All paths
Locate and assist the Durmand Priory camp.
- Find the Priory camp.
- Make your way to the Priory camp.
- Choose a course of action.
- Speak to the scholars to choose a path.
Players will be able to vote on the following:
- Hodgin's plan: collect the flaming scepters to defeat the Howling King.
- Detha's plan: trap and kill the Ghost Eater.
- Tzark's plan: get the ghosts to help fight Colossus Rumblus.
- Hodgins' path
Help Hodgins locate the flame scepters.
- Destroy the graveling burrow.
- Join Hodgins in finding the first scepter.
- Find the first scepter.
- Defeat Lieutenant Kholer.
- Lieutenant Kholer
- Defend Hodgins by destroying graveling burrows.
- Graveling burrows remaining: x
- Accompany Hodgins to find the the[sic] second scepter.
- Find the scepter pieces.
- Scepter pieces: x/5
- Return to Hodgins with the scepter pieces.
- Search the catacombs for the patriarch.
- Dungeon complete.
- Detha's path
- Help Detha set a trap to kill the patriarch.
- Trap and kill the patriarch.
- Dungeon complete.
- Tzark's path
- Help Tzark obtain ghostly essence.
- Enlist Warmaster Grast to help fight the patriarch.
- Search the catacombs for the patriarch.
- Dungeon complete.
- 70% experience towards the next character level
- Between 12 and 26 , depending on level and diminishing returns
- Bonus Gold (first time each day per account)
- 60 Ascalonian Tears (first time each day per path)
- 1,880 (first time each day per path)
 Locate and assist the Durmand Priory camp
 Find the Priory Camp
Walk up to the Priory Explorer to trigger a video. After everyone has watched the video the door will open and allow you to explore the dungeon. The next room has traps which can be avoided by jumping on the stone coffins to your right. After passing the traps a Graveling Breeder will spawn in the middle of this chamber. The breeder spawns additional foes. It is indicated by a "screaming" animation and can be interrupted to avoid further spawns. Defeating this breeder opens a door and advances the dungeon plot.
 Make your way to the Priory Camp
Follow the NPCs to the main room where you will be given another video to watch and then an opportunity to vote for Paths 1-3. After the vote is finalized, anyone who crosses the upper threshold of the downward spiral steps will trigger a graveling burrow. Graveling burrows spawn gravelings, sometimes including a Breeder as well. This one will only spawn gravelings.
 Speak to the scholars to choose a path
Once the NPCs reach the Priory Camp and all members have watched the video, your party will be offered a chance to vote on a plan.
If you choose:
- Hodgins's plan, you will have to guard against burrows, help him find an artifact, recover scepter pieces, and kill the Howling King
- Detha's plan, you will have to use spike traps to defend her, help her fix her traps, and to learn how to use these traps to kill the Ghost Eater
- Tzark's plan, you will have to defend against burrows, destroy more burrows, then kill Colossus Rumblus
Each path has it's easy parts and hard parts. It is arguable that the defend against burrows is easier in Path 3 than Path 1. It is arguable that the Colossus Rumblus is easier to defeat than the Howling King.
Many groups leave one person behind to interact with the vote taker and have the other members go to the bottom of the spiral staircase. The first member who initiates the vote would then run down the spiral staircase and finalize the vote after reaching the bottom. This causes no graveling burrow to spawn and let's the party skip the next step.
 Destroy the graveling burrow
It is up to the party to decide whether the graveling burrow poses any threat to the group or not. Skip or destroy accordingly.
 Exploring the Ossuary Crypts
Many groups will simply head into the room with the traps, avoid them by jumping on the rubble to the left, and then continue forth, jumping off the end of the top floor and onto the next wall.
From here you may destroy the gargoyle heads that shoot flames. Parties will have to descend to the bottom floor to attack the spiders.
These spiders shoot streams of poison clouds. The spiders' poison clouds are treated as projectiles and can be reflected, blocked, evaded, or simply strafed properly. Clearing the few spiders under level 5 will trigger the Spider Queen's entrance. It may be prudent to target the lowest level spider and clear the gargoyle heads prior to defeating the last low-level spider.
 Slay the spider queen
Triggering the spider queen's entrance causes more spiders to fall down. Use the same strategies from the previous section to defeat them.
In addition, you'll encounter The Spider Queen, who has two main abilities; The tells of which are exactly the same as the spider boss from Twilight Arbor, though they do different attacks:
- She will stay in place while pushing her body backwards and pointing her bottom to the sky and then pushing her body forwards. When she pushes her body forward, a stream of webs will immobilize targets caught within it. This web seems to have a range of about 900, so it can be avoided at range completely. (Targets shooting from 1200 will simply not get snared.)
- She will glow golden and shrink into herself before shooting three poison clouds that will leave large poison AoEs where they land. (This attack is not a projectile that can be reflected or blocked.) It is recommended that when you see her glow to be ready to dodge into a safe area.
The poisonous AoEs are powerful! (As an example, if a party member goes down in one and another party member tries to revive the former party member from a safe location, the damage of the AoE is slightly less than the healing the latter provides). It will be a constant struggle for an individual to revive any teammates downed in these AoEs.
The safest strategy here is to use ranged weapons and to spread out so that all the AoEs are not concentrated in any one area. If the Spider Queen is facing you when she glows, you will have ample directions to dodge towards. The statue in the middle of the room has also been reported to block some of her attacks.
 Join Hodgins, Go with Detha, Go with Tzark
The interim between boss fights has you traverse an inclined hallway with two main parts. A group of powerful gravelings, and loads of deadly traps. The foes can be pulled into the chamber where parties fought the Spider Queen.
The champion Graveling Stalker will burrow under the ground and traverse to a location (indicated by a red circle) from which they will explode out knocking all players back. If this hits anyone it will become invulnerable for a while (It is noticeable by the see through quality of its form). To maximize damage be sure to not get hit by this attack.
There are two veteran Gravelings that will jump onto players, knock them down and eventually finish them off. (Stun breakers are useful here as are skills that provide stability to ignore the knockdown or blind attacks to cause the initial attack to miss.) If pulling the group backwards, the initial jump can be avoided easily as they will most likely miss their first jump. At the least it will be easier to notice it and to dodge appropriately.
There is also one veteran Graveling Howler which will knock players away from it's scream and apply 3 stacks of confusion.
Finally the Graveling Breeder is similar to the first Breeder fought in the dungeon. Again it's scream can be interrupted to avoid spawning further Gravelings.
Most groups target in order the Breeder, the two scavengers, the howler, then the Champion.
The traps in the corridor are simple enough to overcome. There are quite a few safe spots in between traps and traps will disappear and reappear on their own individual timers. These traps are disabled at the top of the tunnel, where there are chains to pull on the left upon exiting.
There are two Gargoyle traps that may or may not be destroyed depending on the party's plan for the next Boss.
 Champion Troll
At any point from here on a champion troll may appear as a bonus boss. (If he spawns before Kholer you may use Kholer to kill the Troll.) His abilities include a Fear towards all the players he's facing, a Lightning Projectile that will stun each player it bounces to, and an AoE Stomp that is followed by shockwaves toward the direction he is facing (similar to an Ettin Smash) through the ground.
The Fear can be evaded if you learn the animation (He faces you with two hands and crouches down a little). Both the lightning projectile and the Stomp's shockwaves in the ground are treated as projectiles and can be reflected or absorbed.
 Defeat Lieutenant Kholer
If the Cave Troll spawned before your party reached Kholer, please read "Cave Troll Method" below.
Lt. Kholer begins by hailing two veterans and will bring two more at 75%, 50%, and 25% health (see table below). It helps to clear the veterans before focusing on the Lieutenant to his next phase. He has many attacks similar to the Ranger's sword abilities. In addition he has a unique attack which is indicated by a golden glow and the pulling back of his sword. After he swings his sword, he shoots out what can be described as an AoE version of the Thief's scorpion wire. After he does this pull all within his vicinity will be attacked by what is similar to the Thief's Dagger Storm but it will instead hit 360° in melee.
It is crucial to avoid this scorpion wire-dagger storm attack. The initial pull is treated like a projectile, so Feedback, Wall of Reflection, Smoke Screen are great examples of abilities that protect your party from his pull. However, any skill that prevents projectiles from hitting you or your party via reflect or block will work. Stability can also be used to stay your ground against this attack. If none of these abilities are available, it is always possible to learn the timing of the attack and to dodge appropriately (Time the dodge prior to him swinging the sword; If you dodge immediately after he glows golden you will end your dodge roll and be pulled in unless you dodge once more -- So there is some waiting period after he begins glowing).
|Boss Health||Veteran Professions|
|100% (Start)||Monk & Elementalist|
|75%||Warrior & Mesmer|
|50%||Warrior & Necromancer|
|25%||Mesmer & Ranger|
It may help to prioritize the adds. Monks will heal their party. Mesmers will stun players and, if surrounded by a purple bubble shield, will reflect projectiles. Necromancers and elementalists both have AoE attacks that will do strong damage (necromancers take priority over elementalists as they also steal health and their wells are constant hits as opposed to the "chance" of being hit by an Ele's firestorm). Warriors will thrust their sword in the air at the end of which they will heal (Their heal can be interrupted). Rangers will knock you back and drop traps that cripple foes.
Although it is possible, while up to the party's risk discretion, Kholer can be killed without attacking the 8 veterans. Any additional foes that Kholer hailed will de-aggro if the Boss dies. If the boss is not defeated, the next time you encounter this boss his veterans will all remain standing, which would make it much more difficult than having defeated them the first time around. It is a common tactic, if failing to defeat Kholer, to remove his second, third, or fourth set of veterans, to run away and drop aggro, and properly reset the fight to its initial encounter. It is also a common tactic in high DPS groups to ignore only the last set of veterans and to quickly defeat Kholer.
Kholer's defeat will net significant coins, open up a boss chest, and activate a waypoint for your party. However, he can also be skipped entirely by jumping to the right at the top of the stairs and skirting around the arena to your next objective.
 Cave Troll Method
If the cave troll spawned, teams can use Kholer to fight the troll, simply bring the 2 together and drop aggro (For instance jump into the water below). Because Kholer spawns adds, he will most likely kill the troll and have about 50% health remaining. Be ready to tag both if you want credit. Also, the troll should kill the first waves of adds, so that should not be an issue if tackling the boss immediately after the troll dies. It is important to note that if you do wait for Lt. Kholer to reset, that any non-100% adds that are standing will remain standing and will still cause Kholer to spawn his first set of adds. It is beneficial in this case to destroy the non-100% adds first in case your team wipes and is unable to defeat all four veterans so that the next encounter will be per usual.
 Hodgins's Plan (Path 1)
 Find the first scepter
After Kholer, head to the south tunnel. The steps are guarded by flame gargoyles. Simply run down with timing or jump up on the gargoyle heads and "jump" your way down to minimize the damage taken.
At the bottom of the tunnel there is a small gapway into the next room. If Hodgin's walks far enough into that room he will trigger the next event.
 Archive of the Resting
Players must defend Hodgins and simultaneously destroy Graveling Burrows. (If Hodgins is defeated before the burrows are taken apart, the event resets.)
Only two burrows will be active at a time. The initial burrows need to be destroyed before the next one comes up. The burrows have a set order in which they spawn. The one north of Hodgins will spawn another in the south east corner of the room, and that one will spawn another one in the north west corner of the room. The initial burrow west of Hodgins will spawn another further south west in another room, and that one will spawn one more in the north east (directly east of the first burrow north of Hodgins). In total there are six burrows.
It is therefore possible to split into two teams and to defend/defeat the foes from the first burrow north of Hodgins while the other team goes to defeat the chain of burrows west of Hodgins.
 Search the secret room for the scepter
A new waypoint is created that one can take to go into the secret room. Go up the spiral stairs, forward onto a wooden plank incline, and traverse some wooden scaffolding to reach the stone coffin at the top which will trigger the next event.
 Help Hodgins locate the Flame Scepter pieces
There are foes on the path to the next trigger. From the Kholer waypoint, head east over the bridge. Enter the room, turn right (south), and traverse up the rubble to the second floor. Upon entering that tunnel, if players run straight into the vacant opening they will trigger Oozes. To avoid this simply run left and go around the column once entering the upstairs room to go around the column which will prevent this from happening.
Hodgins will speak about how the artifacts are not there and that 5 scepter pieces must be recovered from the next room. If you run to the north door, it will open and let you search the enormous chamber for the scepter pieces. In most groups, one person will not search for the pieces and will instead stand near Hodgins to trigger the next event.
There are enemies standing around many scepter pieces. There is a short lag between picking up these scepter pieces, so it is imperative to avoid the enemies that knock you down or to bring blinds, stun breakers, stealth, and invulnerability in response.
Some leap skills with Auto-targeting turned off and no enemy targeted may also help you leave aggro easier (For instance: Guardian's Leap of Faith, Warrior's Savage Leap, and Elementalist's Ride the Lightning.
Other good example skills that include blinding, stealth, breaking stun, and invulnerability include: Elementalist's Mist Form, Engineer's Elixir S, Guardian's Renewed Focus, Mesmer's Decoy, Mesmer's Distortion, Mesmer's The Prestige, Thief's Blinding Powder, Thief's Infiltrator's Arrow, Thief's Shadow Refuge, Necromancer's Well of Darkness
If unsure of how to approach a group, make sure to kite around the scepter pieces to know which foe will jump on you, after they've done their jump harmlessly (or you've avoided it with a dodge) go in and pick up the piece and keep running.
If keeping one person behind to talk to Hodgins, it is expected that the other 4 will continue running east to the far end of the chamber to leave combat.
 Return to Hodgins with the scepter pieces
After the five scepter pieces are found, someone must speak to the NPC Hodgins who will trigger the next event. Speaking to him will also create a new Waypoint. There is also a chest to loot.
 Explore the graveling tunnels
Party members often run through enemy foes and traps for this segment. If it proves too difficult it is also possible to fight your way through. The path is marked on the right.
 Kill the Howling King
The howling king has two main abilities. He will quickly rear back and scream forth a sonic cone of death (You will be downed if it hits you); And he will get up on his hind legs and flail his arms around while swaying in a circle then shoot out a laser that inflicts confusion (Which may down a player for even trying to heal themselves or removing their condition). Be sure to avoid both attacks as much as possible, giving priority to the sonic scream. These attacks can also be interrupted using knock back or knock down skills if timed properly.
Additional enemies will periodically arrive from the Graveling Tunnels during the fight (there is no trigger). However they can be instantly incinerated by the fire AoEs on the floor. Be advised that the fire will also apply burn damage to you as well.
It is possible for one or two people to kite the additional gravelings while the other three tackle the Howling King.
 Detha's Plan (Path 2)
The female charr's route is not so challenging if dealt with properly. The route becomes unique after killing the Lieutenant, where you must take the eastern wing corridor southwards. In this location spiders spawn, and must be grouped and dealt with quickly to avoid deaths. There are minor traps on the way so be patient. Be wary of graveling patrols. Most teams simply ignore the spiders, and run to the flooded temple without killing them.
 Room of Pits
This next challenge is easy if done properly, and is extremely quick. Simply spread your team into two, a tanking team of two tank/kite players, and three players who will each take a group of trap chains for themselves. An experienced team may chose to split into four chain pullers and one runner often referred to as "The Bait" to make the run a bit faster. The idea is, the tanking team will kite in the trapped area, holding the attention of the enemies that swarm in, whilst their teammates pull the trap chains, killing everything that approaches. The traps do no damage to your party so there is little need to time the pulls. Twenty successful seconds of this awards you victory. The three players who are taking the chains should split appropriately: one takes top left, one top right, and the final will take the central chains. The side chains come in pairs; the central chain is alone. Tanking player(s) should bring wards, blocks, and any other survivability. After the first wave, a Graveling Breeder will spawn. As soon as she dies, the challenge is finished. Careful when the event ends, as enemies take time to despawn, and the traps no longer work. Stick together and stay alive until the area is clear.
Collect from the chest and waypoint back to the center. Finish the enemies in the northern corridors on the way to the final room, the Hall of Champions. Patience and pulling may be necessary here unless the party elects to run all the way through without fighting to the Hall of Champions. Make sure all party members know if the plan is to fight or to run. If fighting be careful not to over agro. If running make sure the first player up the stairs pulls the chain to the right which opens the gate to the Hall of Champions.
 Ghostly defense
This area is difficult and you may incur deaths without good teamwork. For this task you must defend Detha whilst she fixes cannons for the boss fight. Every time Detha fixes the cannons by about 30%, new ghosts spawn and charge her. They spawn 4 at a time, adding one to the group if one is killed, until the cannon is fixed or 8 ghosts are defeated (per cannon). Prioritize the necromancers, elementalists, and rangers most highly. Monks and warriors should be kited with snares as you deal with the more dangerous foes. Stability and stun-breaks to counter the large amounts of knockbacks and fear you will encounter are recommended. Condition removal is also very helpful against the necromancers and rangers especially. Solid teamwork and targeting will allow a team to neutralize enemies one by one, till victory. If anyone is downed, decide whether to kill a low enemy for the rally, or revive in the normal way. Elementalist and Necromancer area denials should be avoided at all costs. This challenge will be overcome eventually, using basic attrition. The spawns at the last cannon do not have to be killed and can be kited, until Detha is done, as they will disappear when she is ready.
 The Patriarch
This boss begins with a "Ghost Shield". This shield protects the boss from all damage and spawns ectoplasmic ooze when the Ghost Eater is hit.
However, the three traps in the room will remove the boss's shield. To charge these traps, teams must pull the ectoplasmic oozes to the traps with the guns that are near the traps. Skill One will lift the oozes with a yellow beam and Skill two will pull the lifted oozes with a green beam. Both must be used in conjunction by different party members targeting the same single ooze. Once a trap is charged and the Ghost Eater himself is pulled within range of the trap, his Ghost Shield will fall for a short amount of time. At this point he is vulnerable to party member's attacks.
It is then a matter of removing the boss's shield with these traps (whether in a row or one trap at a time is up to the party) and watching out for the boss's AoE attack that chills and stacks massive vulnerability. Tip: Attempting to rez a downed player while still in one of the boss's AoE rings generally will lead to the death of both/multiple players.
A good, time efficient, strategy is to elect a single character with running skills and condition removal to hold agro of the Ghost Eater while the rest work in pairs to pull the oozes to the traps. Once all traps are loaded, the runner can easily lead the ghost eater from one trap to the other, removing his shield, allowing the party to make short work of him.
 Tzark's Plan (Path 3)
This route requires teams to have high DPS. Without strong damage output, areas will be impossible to progress through. This guide picks up after killing the Lieutenant. Note: Graveling burrows currently have a very buggy hitbox detection than can nullify many forms of attacks, which in some degree amplifies the DPS requirement for this route. Some profession/weapon sets cannot hit some burrows reliably, and it is imperative to make sure the combined firepower of the team have the right profession/weapon/skill combination that works on the burrows. Generally speaking, melee attacking a burrow while circling it can hit them without much trouble, and projectiles can be very ineffective and should be avoided.
Beware of traps in the eastern corridor, and watch out for spider spawns. Neither of these should be too dangerous. Be wary of graveling patrols. Players should wait before the corridor entrance to the crypt, and have one player pull a set of ghost spawns. If done properly, they can be defeated one by one. No attempt should be made to kill all four at the same time, unless the team is extremely confident. As a note, any troll spawn at this time can be used to attack the ghosts as well as players, so leaving him to finish enemy ghosts can be safest. Careful when entering, as the event will start almost immediately.
 The Lovers Spawns
In this section you are faced with the task of defending two asuran beacons. Here we use the old mantra “offense is the best defence”. Key skills to use are pure damage abilities. Utilities should provide might, fury, swiftness and quickness. Fire fields and blast combinations will give all teammates stacks of might, which can be vital. When the event begins, simply nuke each burrow as quickly as possible. A new one spawns every ten seconds, and so teams must be able to kill a burrow within eight. This is extremely possible with the right setup, and can be accomplished in as low as two seconds. Killing a burrow, and continuing to the next when available allows highly damaging teams to keep up with every burrow spawn, and clear the entire area of enemies for several seconds even during the event. Spare time should be used against larger spawns like breeders and gravelings. A single player needs to be elected to agro spare enemies away from the beacons if any are left by the team. This player will draw its attention, and bring it back to the groups damage.
An elementalist is highly recommended for this path for access to the skill Conjure Frost Bow. Ice Storm, the number 4 skill offered by the Ice Bow environmental weapon summoned by Conjure Frost Bow, deals spectacular amounts of damage to burrows. If the player wielding the bow has enough power, one application of Ice Storm is sufficient to kill a burrow outright. With the elementalist and one other player alternating using Ice Storm on burrows as they appear, this fight can be rendered trivial. Additionally, the elementalist in the party should also set his or her elite skill to Conjure Fiery Greatsword. The number 4 skill, Fiery Rush, can deal devastating damage to the burrows. However, it requires the user to turn off auto targeting. This is because that, with auto targeting off, once the user of the greatsword is standing in front of a burrow, using Fiery Rush will cause the user run over the burrow, leaving a trail of fire behind. If auto targeting is on, the user will simply leap towards the burrow which then deals very little damage to it. This trail of fire, if done correctly, can take out a single burrow in seconds. It can be done even faster if Fiery Whirl is chained after Fiery Rush towards the burrow.
If you succeed proceed to the hall of champions through basic spider enemies. Exit the lovers crypt through the north exit. Teams that fail may simply try again at the cost of armour repairs.
An alternative tactic here if your group does not have the DPS is to simply split up. One group will handle the burrows spawning from the left and one group will handle the burrows spawning on the right. The group will nuke down the two burrows spawning in the middle and immediately split once the two are down. The groups must then kill off the burrows as fast as they could, as soon as a burrow spawns, one person nearest must rush to the burrow and solo it until the rest of the group arrives. Clear off stray adds on the collectors if possible. After 3-4 burrow kills upon splitting up there will be total chaos, one of the collectors is most likely dead or about to be. At that point group should merge and kill off as many burrows as they can, if the collector is in danger the group must immediately shift to defending the collector. While this may sound confusing and more difficult than the previous tactic, this is much easier and safer if your group does not have the damage potential. It does however, take longer. Thus this is only recommended for Pugs or lower level players.
 Hall of Champions' burrows
This area is simple with the right strategy. Again teams are required to provide high damage to burrows. The strategy is to stack all five players near the burrow (but not too close to enemies), provide might and swiftness buffs synchronisically, and storm the burrow. Here teams will destroy the burrow, not attempting to hurt any enemies, and retreat out away. With the burrow dead, teams are free to retreat, and de agro. With this method all four burrows can be killed using as little time as possible. The key is to kill the burrow safely and quickly and get out before players start dying.
 Colossus Rumblus
This boss will trigger a cave-in after getting on all fours and flailing it's arms for a while as it sways in a circle. There are at least two ways to counter this:
- It is possible to group around the Warmaster as he should throw up a protective blue bubble similar to a Guardian's that will protect those inside from the cave-in. (It may benefit the party to keep a target above the Warmaster's head so it is easy to find him when the boss does his tell.)
- It is possible to remove those boss' stacks of defiant and interrupt the cave-in with crowd control skills. For instance, two thieves with high initiative regeneration can use Headshot or some consumables that work in dungeons such as the Power Matrix can be employed.
The boss's other moves include a swipe that will Launch and add various conditions to a single player and a seismic attack that sends out 5-6 radial earthquakes, which, if they hit you, will knock you down. Melee players may have difficulty staying in range of the boss unless their backs are facing a wall or corner. And these attacks could force you outside Warmaster Grast's protective shield during a cave-in.
- Detha Tremblebones
- Priory Arcanist
- Priory Explorer
- Priory Guardian
- Priory Historian
- Shirll Sunderbark
- Warmaster Grast
- Colossus Rumblus
- Graveling Breeder
- Graveling Hatchling
- Graveling Howler
- Graveling Scavenger
- Graveling Stalker
- The Ghost Eater
- The Howling King
 Initial dialogue
- At entrance
- Priory Camp
- At Foefire's Heart
 Hodgins' route
 Detha's route
 Tzark's route
- A large part of the Ascalonian Catacombs was overhauled in the February 26 update of 2013.
- Behind the Howling King is a stairwell leading to an abyssal room with ghost walkways between them slightly covered in dirt and rock, possibly a reference to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
- In the Archive of the Resting, which is on path 1 "Hodgins' route", is a jumping path leading up to a hidden room filled with turkeys.