Steps of Madness

From Anarchy Online Wiki [AOWiki]

Steps of Madness or SoM is a static instance in northern Omni Forest, at coordinates 800, 2840 (/waypoint 800 2840 716). Added to the game in 2001 as a Halloween treat, players originally needed a special teddy bear called Childhood Memory (the object of a separate quest) to enter. When SoM was made a permanent fixture, the teddy bear requirement was removed.

With the addition of Patch 17.9, the instance has been newly updated to scale the monsters down in health to even out the challenge for all players and loot was added or updated.

Players in teams are advised to be of level 30 or higher, and a level of 50 or higher is recommended for solo play.

Players will greatly benefit from the items in Steps of Madness, but it is designed to exclude XP gain by making all its enemies very tough and low level. Biomare is better suited for leveling after leaving the Temple of the Three Winds.

Right click on the eyeball to enter

Steps of Madness is but one of the Halloween special events and added content, so numerous they have their own, extensively detailed article.

Getting There and Getting Back[edit]

Neleb Priestess Zyvania Bagh, ICC HQ

There is a teleport to the instance, but no return teleport. For teleporting to the instance, a strange floating Nanomage named Zyvania Bagh can be found in ICC HQ. "From the transportation terminal in ICC HQ, exit left and loop around the building until you see an orange tent with a floating woman named Zyvania Bagh".[1]

If you talk to her, she will be willing and eager to tell you about the revelations of the Neleb and the Steps of Madness. If you can talk politely with her for long enough (relatively politely, that is. The dialogue is intended to be satirical, and is overtly dismissive of Neleb and thus her beliefs. Just avoid the rudest comments), she will offer to teleport you to the entrance of the instance so you can start your own 'journey of enlightenment'.

Clan return route in red, Omni in blue

Omni characters can easily reach the instance, or return, by leaving Omni Entertainment via one of the East exits and traveling slightly north east.

Characters wanting to return back to the last Insurance Terminal the character saved at: just suicide, either the old fashioned way or by typing /terminate and choosing to accept, which takes one minute. To get back without losing XP to the pool, Clanners can risk it all and take the grid in Omni Entertainment themselves. If they are cautious enough, Clanners can possibly make it through the city alive. Or they must use other modes of travel, such as travel northwest to the northern border of Omni Forest, northwest across Pleasant Meadows, and take the ferry exit north of the OT Outpost across The Stret River to Harry's and its Grid exit. Vehicles will speed this up considerably.

Walk Through[edit]

Notum Habit, which, like Sanity's Edge, looks like one of the Chemical Vindicator creatures from Biomare

Traveling north from the Omni Entertainment east gate, players will come upon a path composed of parallel rows of standing stones. The path leads to a large rock with what appears to be a living eyeball in it. The eyeball eerily rolls around and watches the players approach. Access to the instance is afforded by right-clicking the eyeball.

Players are then teleported into a winding system of caverns occupied by nightmarish creatures with equally horrific names, many of which are the Manifestations so similar in appearance to the Meta-Physicist summoned pets. Most of these mobs drop items unique to SoM.

The fire cannot hurt you but the lava does damage over time: 25 per second.

Persistence is always required for collecting item drops, but with Tidal, Arachnid, Spacial, Burning and Darkness Ethers to collect, it helps to have another edge. One is Time: groups of creatures in an area seem coded to, at one time, drop more of one sort of Ether, while later they will drop a lot of another. Another is that the higher level creatures seem to be coded to drop more of what you currently need. And finally, do not expect the drops to be entirely equal. Arachnid and Spacial are considerably more common overall. Tidal can be quite rare, especially if you never get as far as Neleb's room. Burning and Darkness are uncommon, particularly if you do not kill the higher level creatures and revisit areas.

Entrance: Gleeful Greeter floating ball level 30ish. Can drop the rarer Ethers.

Unrelenting Fear[edit]

Two doorways to the left after the entrance both lead to a U-shaped room with Childhood Horrors; these small Spider monsters in level 30 range block the path to the large Unrelenting Fear spider in the 45+ level range. Unrelenting Fear drops Fear Forged Blade and Arachnid Ether. The Childhood Horrors are a reliable if not 100% source of Arachnid Ethers.

Fire Ethers in particular but also Darkness are quite rare; the Foundation of Sanity in the passage outside the doors spawn very slowly but are a fairly reliable source of Darkness and especially Fire ethers. Tidal Ether is less rare when all the higher level spawns are factored in, but uncommon, and the Foundation of Sanity mobs drop that, too. They drop almost exclusively the three Ether types, but may drop none at all, hence "fairly reliable".

Cavern of Sanity[edit]

The Caverns of Madness

Many Figments of Imagination, occasionally dropping Ethers, spawning quite rapidly. Fragment of Sanity-Brutal Hands 100% drop. Brain Splitter. Roving Eye.

Passage to the Southwest and Cavern of Hatred: second Brain Splitter, second Roving Eye.

Passage to the Southeast; three Fragment of Sanity.

Cavern of Hatred[edit]

Pulsing Hatred, level 50, which drops Nervejolter and Tidal Ether


Suppressed Emotion (valuable Emotional Sponge, roughly equivalent to Lien's ring from To3W. Not a 100% drop, but high chance) Detached Psyche

Caverns of Disassociation[edit]

Roving Eyes, Detached Psyche and Fragment of Sanity, all of which drop Ethers. Fragment of Sanity drops Loving Hands. Jealousy drops Essence of Jealousy.

Notum Habit drops Neutrino Flash, Ether and sometimes Dark Dreams.


Caverns of Madness[edit]

Pathway to Caverns of Madness: Mind Shard: Brainchopper

Others: Baleful Eye, Frazzled Nerves,

The cavern itself is Figments of Imagination and the Sanity's Edge, which, like the Notum Habit, looks like one of the Chemical Vindicator creatures from Biomare. Stalactites grow from the floor of this cave; stalagmites hang from above. Bones are scattered between.

Neleb the Deranged[edit]


The final boss, Neleb the Deranged, is a painfully thin male who fights with great speed and strength. He also uses nukes and drains liberally. His spawn was once heavily camped, and can still become so on occasion. Overhead is a Thief of Reason and a Betrayer of Memory. On either side is a Guardian of Thought. In the room further away are multiple Figment of Imagination. Taking him on will likely require multiple players or teams operating cooperatively.

Species: Human (Nanomage)
Alignment: Monster
Profession: Meta-Physicist
Behaviour: Aggressive
Level: 70
Health: 15818
Nano: 35064
Run Speed: 246
Respawn Time: 10 min
Corpse Time: 30 min
Coordinates: /waypoint 256 125 1933
Difficulty: Requires 6 non-twinked L55s, Soloable at L100

If possible, start by getting your team (or yourself) to pull the surrounding mobs carefully. These mobs must be dealt with quickly as they are on a quick respawn timer. Only when they are disposed off in quick succession, engage Neleb.

Trader drains and Meta-Physicist Nano skill debuffs on Neleb can stop him from casting his nanos. SpaceTime Incompetence may stop him from casting his shield, but even Unmake SpaceTime does not necessarily work; in particular, once Neleb has begun casting the shield, debuffing will not prevent the shield from being cast. Debuffing is imperative, as his shield lasts 34 seconds.

Draw Neleb out of his altar immediately, or alternatively, all move to the far back of the cave, where only Neleb and the Thief of Reason and the Betrayer of Memory will be pulled on respawn. This prevents pulling the Guardian of Thought and Figment of Imagination mobs which have faster respawn times, and could turn the fight to Neleb's favour. Quickly start your DPS on him; if not in the back of the cave, the adds will respawn within five minutes or so.

Neleb the deranged, as you might have guessed by now, is a Meta-Physicist by profession, and has some neat tricks up his sleeve, if his nano skills have not been sufficiently debuffed. His first is a passive minor nano drain which sucks 3 nano points on every hit. Second, he uses some normal MP nukes, such as mind scream, abolish rage, and even nanoskill debuffs. Finally, he unleashes his last skill: a protective shield, Hide in Memory, which will absorb 98% of all damage. It is generally used when he is down to his final bars of health, and attempting to damage him at this point is often futile. Your team must wait out the shield until its 34 second duration expires. You can use this time to rid the area of adds, or to heal up your team quickly. Once his shield dissipates, finish the fight with haste. You definitely do not want him to refresh his shield once more.

Low level soloers are generally discouraged to take the Deranged One with his 6 guards surrounding him. A perma stun is possible as the Guardian of Thoughts and Betrayer of Memory will chain their stuns, possibly extending for more than 25 seconds.

Attack Information: Special Attacks:




(unknown / melee?)

Range: Unknown


Divests &







  • Fear-forged Blade Fear-forged Blade - Unrelenting Fear
  • Nervejolter Nervejolter - Pulsing Hatred. Reasonably close second to Frozen Tear of Uklesh and better than Phase Blade
  • Brainchopper Brainchopper - Mind Shard: multiple in the room where the stalactites and stalagmites obscure line of sight; just as well, since like most other loot the corpse can disappear completely into uneven terrain


  • Brutal Hands Brutal Hands - Sanity's Edge, Thief of Reason, Fragment of Sanity (three in hallway)
  • Loving Hands Loving Hands - Sanity's Edge, Thief of Reason, Fragment of Sanity (three in hallway)
  • Gentle Hands Gentle Hands - Sanity's Edge, Thief of Reason, Fragment of Sanity (three in hallway)

For those who were unable to obtain a BM MM Notum Ring of the Three from The Curator in the Temple of Three Winds, at least one Fractured Sanity is productive. The Fractured Nightmare upgrade to Fractured Sanity, with its +4 to Intelligence and Psychic, is equivalent to the BM MM version of the Platinum Ring of the Three, since both BM and MM are Int/Psy dependent.



The updates to the Steps of Madness brought with it a couple of new tradeskills that improve some of the old items.

See Also[edit]