What I was overlooking the first few times through was the importance of smashing those breakables at the entrance. The picture portals is kind of a neat feature of this instance, but ultimately meaningless. They always port to a random location that's nearby and . . . not necessary. It was far more important to go through all the rooms in the entrance and break every single barrel, crate, and boudoir furnishing.
What I've developed for my solo runs is a little map of where I go.
It works a bit like this:
1- Enter the instance, cast up your cleric, buff, and open the door.
2- Clear out the entry area hitting every room you can find, breaking every breakable around, and killing everything AS FAST AS YOU CAN. (I can't stress that enough with this instance. It's called Dr. RUSHmoore's for a reason. You rush rush rush rush and rush some more . . . or "Moore" as the case may be). Killing is done on the run if possible. By this time you should have a number of crests.
3- Open the first door to the Gallery and gain an additional 2 minutes.
4- Clear out the Inner Courtyard with all the gargoyles and again break everything . . . mainly the tables, chairs and vases.
5- Using Q can help you see if there are any crests just laying around. Pick them all up.
6- Open the doorway leading to the library and collect an additional 2 minutes. If you're lucky you will have run into the foreman along the way. Make sure you talk to him so he will follow you around.
7- Continue pressing Q to find any crests laying on the ground. continue killing things until you make your way into the bathhouse. Usually you'll have to down an elemental or two in the bathhouse. Now you need to make a number of judgement calls.
* Do I have enough time to purchase two minutes of buffs from the foreman and complete the optional objective?
* Do I have enough mana and time to skip the shrines here or do I need to take 30 seconds to use it and buff?
* Do I have enough time to venture beyond the hidden door in the bathhouse to kill the mini-named (doesn't count as a real named) spider in the sewer beneath the mansion?
* Do I have enough crests to make it into The Backdoor area or do I need to hunt for more?
8- Once you've quickly made all your judgement calls you need to proceed down through the Backdoor area. Note that this place is FULL of traps. At the end of each ramp downward there is a cage with a locked door. The knock spell has easily been opening these doors so I can smash all the breakables within and collect even more crests. I've just been running/jumping through all the traps to this point. There's usually no time for me to disable them anyway.
9- Use more crests to open the door to the Exit to the Canals area. Gain an extra two minutes.
10- Swim across the water and use four more crests to open the door to the Assassin's Crib and take out Smiling Sam. Couple things to consider here.
* There are usually two to four crests down in the bottom of the water if you're looking for more crests.
* You have to talk to Smiling Sam and choose to attack him. I'm not sure what the diplomacy check does, but anyone named Smiling Sam must die.
* If you opted to not use the shrine back in Step 7, you're most likely close to being out of mana . . .
11- Make your way up to "The other backdoor" and use even more crests to unlock the path to The Boudoir. Gain an extra two minutes.
12- Kill your way up to the top of the ramp and pray you have enough crests to open up the door at the top of the ramp. If not, be aware that a metric ton of sonic traps and blade traps will spring up and if not kill you, kill your cleric.
13- Enter the Boudoir and kill all the npcs first before taking out Dr. Rushmoore's Succubi girlfriend.
At this point, you're pretty much done with this method. Looking at the map, you might think, well couldn't I go on to the Planar Observatory? Nope, sorry, the crests to open this doorway are on the other side of the door. If I was running this as a group, I'd definitely split the group in two at the Bath House and send the other team through the secret door and ultimately into the Banner Hall.
And that's basically how I solo Dr. Rushmoore's Mansion. I'm level 17 running it on level 15 difficulty. If I take down only one boss, I'll usually earn somewhere between 60-80 Goblets. If I take down two bosses, It'll amount to around 100-110 Goblets.
It's not a very "fun" instance to solo to be honest. It's very frantic paced and can involve failing simply because the random crest generator on the map wasn't very kind to you. On the other hand, I think this one could be a blast with a group. In fact, I can't wait to try this with Team Spode.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave your comments, questions, and clarifications if you have any.