Scrying on a Saturday Night

Okay, so this has been poking about in my head for the past week or so, and I finally decided to put pen to paper.  Or fingertip to keyboard.  Whatever.

In any case, this is a parody/filk of the (rather famous) song Saturday Night by The Misfits, so all credit is to them, please don’t sue me for a silly parody.

Saturday Night

Only partially copyrighted, but the Fiend logo is still property of The Misfits (or whomever holds the rights today).

There’s 52 ways to to snoop on anyone
One or two are the same,
And they both use a spell
I’m coming clean for Lorthazz,
Ingstold doesn’t save as well
But the intrusion won’t last all night
And so maybe, maybe I’ll be over
Just as soon as this duration ends

And I can remember when I saw her last
We were running all around and having a blast
But the back row of the grand hall
Is so lonely without you
I know when you’re home
I was snooping about you,
There was was something I forgot to say
I was scrying on a Saturday night
I was out drinking without you,
They were playing our song
Scrying on Saturday night

As the moon becomes the night time
You go groggily, quietly to sleep 
I’m sitting in the chamber,
Where we used to sit and organize scrolls
Now I’m watching, watching you sleep   (creepy)

I can remember when I saw her last
She was lying in bed with dreams of the past
But the back row of the grand hall
Is so lonely without you
I know that you’re home
I was snooping about you,
There was was something I forgot to say
I was scrying on a Saturday night
I was out drinking without you,
They were playing our song
Scrying on Saturday night

 

Okay, okay, I’m done with my parody career.  For honests.  Weird Al, I am not.  I promise some more actual content in the future.

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On the Mines of Tethyamar

One need only take a few minutes on my character login screen to realize that I may, possibly, exhibit a preference toward dwarves when it comes to my character racial selections in DDO.

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The Gates of Ironvale Deep

Glancing through the files of old pen & paper characters – some from First Edition, when “dwarf” was a class – some Third Edition, and a ghastly number of Second Edition would reveal a scattered humanoid here and there, but well over 95% dwarves, as well.  One might even count the Firbolg character (2nd Edition Complete Book of Humanoids) as nothing more than an overly tall dwarf.  They sure play like one.

I confess that I have never once played an elf in pen & paper, and only did one life as such in DDO thus far.  Unless you’re counting Morninglords.  Then it’s two.

What I’m slowly getting at is that I might meet a few of the general criteria for being classified as “pro-dwarf.”  Maybe.

Which, when I first heard about Update 36’s Duel for the Underdark pack involving a lot of drow, meant I was largely indifferent from an excitement standpoint.  Don’t get me wrong – New Content!  YAY!  Although the power creep on the last few packs has been somewhat unsettling, but that’s neither here-nor-there, it’s still new content.  And that’s what’s important.  But the fact it’s drow-based?  That part I can’t see myself getting terribly excited over.

Except – it wasn’t drow-based.  I mean, sure, there are drow involved, but that’s not what the focus is on.  The focus is on the dwarves.  Especially so in Records of the Past, a quest which has one strolling through the abandoned settlement of Ironvale Deep, where everything positively screams stumpy.  The architecture, layout, the little details – such as every shrine having a statue of Moradin, the dwarven All-Father deity – is nothing short of a four-foot dwarfgasm.

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Statue of Moradin at the shrine, as it should be

That’s not to say there isn’t a shred of beard-iness in the other quests, oh-no-sir.  Each of the others has a distinctly stout element to it – be it rescuing slaves without killing them or dealing with a madman and his defiled legion of mining corpses, there’s a touch of it on every single quest.  And it’s delightful.

There is, however, a problem.  One minor issue.

No matter what you set your game audio to, Hal Stoutheart never shuts up.  Spend more than a few seconds in the public area and you’ll hear him bellowing through your speakers (or into your earholes, if you use headphones) in an incessant stream of what is clearly propaganda.  It’s an interesting and immersive touch for the first ten or fifteen seconds.

After that, you’ll start hearing your partymates saying things like “oh, no, he’s talking again, get in quest now!  Move!  Move!  Move!” and “aaaaaaaaaahhhh” and ”why does the Maker hate me so?

Please, if anyone from Standing Stone is reading this, for the love of Moradin, make Hal’s voice obey the volume sliders.  Please.  We’re begging you.  Everything else about the pack is lovely, truly, but that one thing that sends folks screaming from the public area.

And without giving away too many spoilers, there’s quite a bit of wonderful dialogue and interactions.  I’m pretty sure my favorite moment was not dwarf-related, at all, but rather offering to hold a mind flayer’s tentacles out of the way while it vomited on my boots.  Pure gold, that.  

Oh, and Oreo the Panda says hi.

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HAAAIIIIIIIIIIIII

Projects

I’ve tried to write six different articles already today, and scrapped them all for some reason or another.  Whatever.  It’s Monday.  I’m allowed to be a little bit hazy.

At first, I was going to write up a “re-introduction” to the characters I’m playing, as several have evolved (in a manner of speaking) from their original iterations when I started the blog in 2014.  Also, I’d be willing to wager that the majority of the readers – all four of you! – probably haven’t gone back and read back to the second post ever, especially after being idle for over a year.  But, that was boring.  Or, I thought so, at least.

So, instead, I’m going to just ramble about some of the plans I have in the near future for several of my toons.  More to keep things straight for myself than anything else, but if it provides you with a few minutes of distraction and/or entertainment, then that’s a win for both of us.

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Adipostal (left) and Kemron, the intimi-tank of our static Reaper group and Adi’s bestamest friend for sneak attack damage.

Adipostal  (formerly Immano of Llawriennal)

Level/Race/Class:  8 Halfling Rogue

Weapon of Choice:  Great Crossbows

Song Stuck In His Head:  “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult 

In a former life, Adi was an elf cleric/monk whose job was to stay at 20 and help other toons on that “final push” to 20.  Which was a noble thing, or, at least the idea of it was.  Except that he was barely ever used.  So when a few friends decided to try a static Reaper-only group, with dedicated characters and party roles, he was the first to get “volunteered.”  Nothing particularly special about the build – it’s an Intelligence-based Rogue Mechanic with the Dragonmark of Healing and Healing Words to throw around other folks in emergencies –  which has been proven before on Orsyn Burr’s rogue life and Uncle Tubbs’ rogue life.  But for this particular grouping, we actually wanted proven builds and not experiments.  His current plans are to finish out the Heroic career, provided that irritating IRL Server can stop getting in the way with our scheduled night.

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Bholgrin (right) with some folks in the Temple of the Deathwyrm

Bholgrin Stoneforge

Level/Race/Class:  30 Dwarf Paladin/Monk/Rogue

Weapons of Choice:  Dual longswords and fists

Spirit Animal:  Swiss Army knife

Currently, Bholgrin is working on fleshing out his Epic Destinies.  As of last night, he has his Divine and Martial spheres completed and has started in on Primal with Shiradi Champion.  The long term goal is to start working on his Epic Completionist status.  For the time being, that’s a very long-term goal, as there are other projects which are taking priority.

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Fyrewoman (center) finally found someone else who shares her fashion sense.

Fyrewoman, Pastor of Muppets

Level/Race/Class:  30 Halfling Monk

Weapons of Choice:  Quarterstaves and fire.  Lots and lots of fire.

Notable Quirk:  Guildless by design

Fyrewoman has what is simultaneously the easiest and hardest plan on my current to-do list.  All she is missing for the “2016 Checklist” (which has still yet to be completed halfway through 2017) is to pull a Cursed Blade of Jack Jibbers and she’s done!  Of course, as anyone who has tried to pull a Jack’s Blade – let alone twenty-one of them! – knows, they’re a pretty ephemeral thing, and can sometimes evade detection for months at a time.   As with all items from the Loot Gods, I could pull it tonight, or I could pull it sometime in October.  But that’s what she’s waiting on before reincarnating again – the long-term plan is to do the same Henshin Mystic based build again and get her three Monk past lives, all without ever using a guild ship, buffs, or amenities.

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This shot is ancient.  Apparently I haven’t actively played Kil in a lot longer than I thought.

Kiljoen Lorebringer

Level/Race/Class:  30 Dwarf Warlock (but not for long)

Weapon of Choice:  Concentrated blasts of ABBA music  (sonic damage, for those at home)

Spends Tuesday Nights:  Desperately trying to catch up on Critical Role episodes

Kiljoen started his existence as a sorcerer.  He was my first character to hit 20, at which point he hit a screeching, grinding halt.  When the Warlock class came out, I was super-excited and made two!  Kiljoen was the second, a Fey-pact Soul Eater who ran in Divine Crusader and laid waste to pretty much everything.. as warlocks are wont to do.  Nowadays, I’ve pretty much stopped using him, mostly because the “whole warlock thing” got old.  Fast.  Currently, I no longer have a Cleric in my lineup – which is making my “one of every class” compulsion cause eyeball twitching every time I think about it.  Blargh!  There it goes again!  Anyway.. one unused Warlock plus needing a Cleric results in Kiljoen getting reincarnated.  Originally, he was going to be a sword & board Warpriest – but I already have that build in the form of a Favored Soul named Whall.  One comment from a friend and a flashback to a previous life immediately swapped the build around into a 18 Cleric/2 Fighter great-axe wielding Warpriest who plans to spend the majority of his time eyehole-deep in the pit.  (That seems to be a common place for my characters… just sayin’.  –Ed.)  He’s got most of his gear ready to rock and is just waiting for some of my other projects to get some momentum before taking the plunge.

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Smishy, being photobombed by Horace the Pseudodragon.

Smishy the Unfluffed

Level/Race/Class:  16 Dragonborn Fighter

Weapon of Choice:  Khopesh and Tower Shield to the face

Favorite Food:  Tacos

Smishy has had an… interesting history.  There’s a running joke that he is cursed to be, well, smishy, regardless of whatever build and equipment he has.  A joke which he has unsuccessfully avoided on this life – while he can take physical damage like a champ, spells still tend to wreck his face.  Oh, well.  The build I came up with was what some folks would call a “long game” investment – once he hits twenty and is able to step into his Epic Destiny, it’ll be an entirely different toon – but others would say is an “ER build.”  Still others would call it “bloody stupid.”  Ah, well, I’ve never been known to make the most intelligent of decisions.  Only four more levels to go until Smishy (hopefully) becomes less smishy… and then an Epic career follows!

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Riding the Storm Out.  @DDOMicki told me to bring Energy Sheath.  I didn’t listen.  Still… five million hit points on that dragon!

Whong Fei-Hung

Level/Race/Class:  30 Halfling Monk

Weapon of Choice:  10.8 Billion Shuriken to the Faceholes

Preferred Hot Dog Toppings:  Mustard, chili, and onions

Fei-hung (named after a Chinese martial artist and philanthropist), better known amongst my group of ragtag buddies as the “mini-pimp” due to his outlandish getup, has had a wonderful run as a Shiradi Shuricannon.  So he’s staying that way.  I still need to finish some Caught in the Web runs  in order to acquire his Celestia, Brightest Star of Day for his off-hand.  He’s recently finished upgrading his Quiver of Alacrity for when he reincarnates back into Heroics – because we can’t have Fei-hung’s trademark “run faster than The Flash” compromised! – but that will come after he finishes three more Primal Epic Past Lives, so that he can toggle between Fast Healing (keeps hit point attrition down) and Multishot (for peak damage output).  So that’s at least six more lives on the books for the diminutive flinger of frenzied facepaste.

Checklist as of 06-12-2017

Items in parentheses are finished Epic/Legendary versions.

…And the Rest of the 2016 Checklist

The original plan was to have the Checklist completed by the end of 2016, as a “one-up” to the personal challenge I’d set for 2015.  Because we can’t just go on and get complacent, can we?

Of course, as folks who followed along already know, there was this nasty little bout with an IRL raid boss called “cancer” that hit me at the beginning of the year, which resulted in my near-immediate absence from the 2016 Player’s Council that I’d been quite excited to get accepted to.  Dealing with the fallout from that, the disgusting medical bills, and getting back into the work groove just left me with no time or emotional energy to invest in the Council – for which I am quite sad.  Alas, life moves on, and hopefully there isn’t any animosity from the Council. (which basically got ghosted.  Oops.)

Anyhoo, moving on.  The origins of the Checklist came about from my seemingly-complete lack of ability to prepare a character properly for a reincarnation.  As such, I developed a list of items which I wanted to have before I went back to K-town again:  an unsuppressed Ioun stone applicable to the next build, a Temple of Elemental Evil weapon (either mushroom-crafted or named), at least one piece of Green Steel, a Jack Jibbers blade, and finally a Mysterious Bauble for spell point users.  Which is quite a hefty list for a single character – so, naturally, I wanted to get all twenty-one of my characters checked off.

Because I’m insane.

I even made a nice spreadsheet to track the progress – some may have seen intermittent updates on my Twitter feed (@TholgrinDDO).  At present, it’s pretty darned close to getting finished, as you can see below.

Wow.  So, that’s, like, a lot of stuff that I want to do.  And of course, all of it wants to be done right nao, and I don’t have that kind of time.  Blech!  One of these days, I’ll get to a point where I only have one project on my books at a time.

Yeah, right.  Like that’ll happen.

Until next time, happy slaying!

 

The Worst Sorc Ever?

So, once again, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here.  Should come as a big surprise to anybody who’s followed the blog during it’s run – Yay, regularity!

What sparked this completely random post, you might ask?  Well, I received a rather subtle message from @DDOCentral over the weekend, which said, “For crying out loud, write a new post, you lazy sodding bastard!”  I’m paraphrasing.  A lot.  It actually just said “Write a new blog post for Full Moon Fury.”  Plain and simple.  Isn’t cognitive interpretation grand?

And that leads us to the here and now, with an awkward pause in the narrative while I figure out how to segue from “haven’t written anything new for over a year” to “current events in DDO and D&D life” without tripping over 525,600 minutes worth of Rent references.

First and foremost, a little teaser for a project I’ve been working on recently.  For those of you who don’t follow along with the pen & paper side of Dungeons & Dragons, Wizards of the Coast has a forum/store/thing called the DM’s Guild which allows content creators to officially publish content with limited access to licensed names and places.  I’ve been working on a slightly.. warped.. supplement with the intent of publishing it on the DM’s Guild when it’s done and making hardcover copies available through its sister site, DriveThruRPG.  Granted, that’s still a ways off – the manuscript is approximately 85% complete, but layout and lack of art is always nagging the back of my brain – so that’s what’s been taking up quite a bit of my writing time recently.

Yeah, yeah, that doesn’t account for the year beforehand, but, hush, you.  I had, uh, laundry to do.  And stuff.

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Brawnpits does not approve of your laundry task.

And now, an even more awkward transition (but lacking self-promoting teaser plug) to recent happenings in DDO.

The Worst Sorc Ever?

Folks who have been following the blog for a while know of my – how shall I put this? – gentle dislike of playing arcane characters.  Note I’m not saying arcane characters are bad, I run with some seriously amazing ones regularly, but they just don’t seem to click in my brain.  That had been bothering me for a while, and I had a Bladeforged paladin just hanging around collecting dust, so I sent him through an Iconic Reincarnation.

M. Night Shame-A-Lot Twist!  I actually prepared this one.  See, I told you it was shocking.  Even to the point I completed twenty raids to get some gear before starting a new career.  What a novel concept, eh?

Alas, I digress.  The base concept I had in my brain was simple:  Do what you do best, just with a sorcerer icon.  Which of course meant heavy armor and giant weapons.  Granted, these tend to be frowned upon by sorcerers, but, to heck with the meta, says I.  Slap that heavy armor on!  Take up a greatsword!  And take Power Attack, while you’re at it!

Wait, did he just say Power Attack?  Yes, yes I did.  And Cleave.  And Great Cleave, too!

But wait!  There’s More!™

As a Bladeforged, I gave him Adamantine Body, which is the toaster equivalent of Heavy Armor.  Slap a slew of points in the Eldritch Knight and Racial trees to reduce the Arcane Spell Failure to zero.  Now, I’m well aware my DCs will be poo – especially since I left in three Paladin levels to gain access to the Sacred Defender stance – so my spell selection reflects this, only taking spells which have no saving throw amidst a few buff and utility spells (such as Knock and Jump).

Once he got to Epics, the result was a complete sparkle-fest.  Bladeforged with Displacement, an Epic Cloak of Ice for blue-flames, Energy Sheath for an electrical aura, permanent Tenser’s on for holographic armor and tentacles, Bladeforged spikes sticking out everywhere, and a purple-and-pink greatsword which looks more like a Unicorn Frappuccino of Nightmares than a threatening weapon.  Knock him below 50% HP and he gets a short-term Eldritch globe which makes him look like an overgrown tie-dyed ping-pong ball.  All while standing in ice storms and cloudkills and acid rains and flinging procs on his sword.

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Aapex Predator in *almost* Full Sparkle Mode.  Several layers of sparkle are missing from this screencap.

And the best part – I actually enjoyed it.  Granted, he’s arguably the worst sorc ever, definitely a contender for the least-sorc-iest sorc, if nothing else.  He does, at least, have a metamagic feat (Quicken) and, um, yeah, that’s about it.  Everything else looks more like a melee build with a flaming hand for its icon.

Is this particular build optimized in any way, shape, or form?  No, not at all.  In fact, about the only thing he’s really good at is self-heals.  Repairs.  Whatever.  And sparkling.  He’s really, really good at sparkling.

But the important part, at least for me, is I had fun playing an arcane.  A class I normally cringe at the concept of going through a life of.  So much so that he’s now currently on his second playthrough of the build, where we’ve cranked the difficulty up a notch.  Turns out he’s still really good at self-heals even in Reaper mode, although that only helps so much when you forget you’re still a sorcerer, dive eyehole deep into the pit, and get rended limb from limb by half a dozen champs and a Plague Reaper who decided that self-healing really wasn’t that good of an idea.  But that’s probably the fault of the person sitting behind the keyboard.  Probably.

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And now a completely unrelated image I dub “Stoned People In Thrones.”  It’s coincidentally the name of my indie-folk-pop acoustic band.

More stuff to come.  Probably.

The Dreaming Delirium

It struck me while working on an update to Tholgrin’s (Unnecessarily Long) Guide to Adventure Packs – for me, some of the most memorable and fun environments to quest in are the ones with the “weirdest” surroundings.

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Like the Demonweb.  Or the Dreaming Dark.  Or Xoriat.

So what were to happen if, say, the Devourer of Dreams (who, as a Quori, isn’t “killed” per-se when defeated, but rather reborn within the dream realm once again) were to take up a little partnership with Belashyrra with the express intent of forming a rift within Eberron, whereby the insanity of the Plane of Madness and the terror of the Plane of Nightmares could spill in, uncontested.

And, of course, only something on the scale of a raid could contain the level of mind-bendy-ness that I’ve been envisioning.

What we would have is a multi-level, gravity-altering disasterpiece of previously unseen proportions.  Built with the general environmental effects of The Dreaming Dark with the “partially subjective” gravitational sourcing of the Demonweb, leaping off a platform to another floating chunk of icky-I-don’t-really-want-to-think-about-what-this-is-or-was Xoriat “architecture” might result in a directional rotation, whereby you are then “standing” on what was the “wall.”  So everyone else who hasn’t jumped yet is looking at you sideways.

Which will, of course, make exploring this terrain for the first time a group effort of leaps of faith and, on occasion, manually altering which direction is “down” via the use of Mystical Object Of Immense Importance To This Arc Which (Unsurprisingly) Appears Nowhere Else In The Game.

Think, if you will, H.R. Giger meets Super Mario Galaxy with a healthy dose of M.C. Escher and Labyrinth swirled in for good measure.

Not to mention the complete and utter chaos of the (envisioned) end fight – an extraplanar aberration of near-deity power, the Devourer of Madness – a multi-limbed fusion of the Devourer of Dreams’ form incorporated into the avatar of Belashyrra’s body in a horrifying mockery of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, hereafter referred to only with the placeholder title “The Big Ugly.” Armed with the chaos of Xoriat beholders, illithids, Quori and Living Nightmares, the fight would be a tenuous balance between keeping the heat on The Big Ugly and limiting the volume of trash, all while trying to keep out of nightmare-fueled pounce attacks which leave folks in its wake suffering unblockable psionic damage and being stunned.. just before gravity flips and those stunned are unable to float to icky chunks of tenuous safety, instead plummeting into a pit of “dream spikes” until they can make their way out.

Sideways, of course.  Or, if they stay put long enough, they’ll eventually just fall out once more as the cube-shaped final chamber rolls and various permutations morph the terrain.

The only way to “destroy” The Big Ugly would be to deal enough damage to weaken it and survive while the Mystical Object of Immense Importance Etc. charges up – at which point, the party will attempt to have The Big Ugly travel through the Mystical Ring it creates, suspended in the center of the final fight chamber.  (Of course, if any of the parts of the Mystical Object are damaged too much from trash on the floating islands in the center, they’ll have to be killed and the Object Parts repaired.)  Once The Big Ugly flies/falls/is flung through the Mystical Ring, it will then split back into Belashyrra and the Devourer of Dreams, who can then be weakened and killed simultaneously.  Failure to do so will result in the one who was “downed” being reabsorbed by the other rushing over to their aid, thereby “reassembling” themselves back into The Big Ugly… and then the Mystical Object will need to be powered up again.

This is not intended to be an easy raid, but rather one which would require several people to perform multiple jobs – protect the Mystical Object parts, keep trash down, keep heat on The Big Ugly, then split into teams to work together to break the two individuals down once they’re no longer fused.   

I don’t expect to see this in game, in truth, ever.  I’ve made a half-hearted attempt at a content pitch before, and if I recall correctly, the official stance (even then) is that original player-based submissions are not being considered for  development.  But it’s still fun to think about.  ^_^

 

A New Direction for Madfinger

During the course of the weekend, a couple of fun things happened.

First and foremost, the one-and-only Uncle Tubbs, on his journey to finish Heroic Completionist, hit cap on his Deep Gnome Rogue Mechanic life.  This leaves only Ranger and Fighter left!  The plan, for the moment, at least, is to leave him at cap for raids whilst other toons go about their business.

After all, he’s got more than enough “lives” to have made it.  They just stop counting after three for each class.  Which, unfortunately, means that no less than fourteen of his monk lives don’t count.  (Yes, I did a berserk number of “pointless” lives while accompanying a friend through his Heroic Completionist journey.  And no, I didn’t have any intention of actually gathering an HC at the time.  Funny how things change..)

Might as well get the actual feat at this point, eh?

Before reaching level, I had Tubbs join in on a few raids.. and, as luck would have it, scored the Outfit of the Celestial Avenger that he was looking to wear when he went back to his “real” build.  Or, as we call it in our rag-tag circle, his “final final” life.  Which isn’t really final at all, since several of us have reincarnated our “final-final” lives on multiple occasions.  Let me figure out a way to squeeze another use of the word final into this paragraph.

Now if only I could get the Leathers of the Celestial Archer to drop for Orsyn the Rogue Mechanic.. oh, well.  Only another hundred or so Xorian Runes and he’ll be able to order one up.  Problem sorted.

While marking a few Items of Interest off, there was some other progress made on my personal Checklist for the year.  As I previously rambled about, I decided I was going to delay Bholgrin the Romunkadin’s quest for Epic Completionist (because why stop at two toons with EC’s on the account?) by one life, so that I could spend some time with my artificer.

And I did.  After Uncle Tubbs hit cap, I did my “park routine” –

  •         Go through Ingredients bags and put “shared-ey” stuff in the Crafting Storage Bank (such as Sigils, Tokens of the Twelve, Marks, Essences – although Tubbs the Master Crafter keeps his – dragon scales, Thunder-Forged Ingots, Scrolls, Seals, Shards, you get the idea) so that other toons can use them
  •         Go through Collectibles bags and dump them into my “shared” Collectibles Bag (yes, I know I can put them into the Crafting Bank, but I’ve already got 600+ slots taken without any collectibles)
  •         Put any Green Steel ingredients in their own “shared” Ingredients Bag (because the GS Altars can be wonky pulling directly from the bank at times)
  •         Organize toon bank space
  •         Turn in Commendations of Valor for any Heart Seeds, as needed
  •         Top-up any stocks of potions and/or spell components
  •         There’s probably a couple of steps I’m forgetting

– the reasoning behind this is that the toon is “hot ‘n ready” to go, like a Little Caesar’s Pizza  in the event that I need the toon for a raid or loot run in the future.  Switch ‘n go.  No worries about the toon’s viability in nearly any environment, thanks in part to the Minimum Acceptable Standards I keep for my own toons.

Anyhoo, so rambling aside, Tubbs got parked.  Then Madfinger Runewarden, Artificer of Moderate Disappointment, logged on and pulled out some Scroll/Seal/Shard combinations from the Crafting Shared Bank (see, there was a point to mentioning my “park routine” earlier.  –Ed.) to whip himself up an Epic Hellfire Crossbow and an Epic Templar’s Retribution in honor of his fresh new start as a “melee-ficer.”  Which also means he got to scratch “Wings” off his Checklist entry, in the process.

The idea behind the melee-ficer is to mold the hybrid melee/ranged playstyle which I previously dubbed “DDO May Cry” in honor of the classic game series Devil May Cry, which was renowned for its sword-slinging and gun-blasting action – frequently switching between the two with reckless abandon at blinding speeds.  I honed the DDO version of the playstyle – which I started with Aapex Predator’s first life as an artificer, altered it somewhat with Orsyn Burr’s Palificer Artadin 1.0 build, and refined it with Felldar’s Palificer Artadin 2.0 – and decided to come full-circle and bring Madfinger into the fold.

That, and I was really saddened by Madfinger’s previous performances as a pure gunner.

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Madfinger the Meleeficer enjoying a sunset in the Harbor.

So here he stands, now at level 21, an INT-based dwarf full-construct (permanently immune to negative levels, immune to poison, disease, sleep, nausea, fatigue, exhaustion, paralysis, +10 Racial bonuses to diseases and poisons that specifically target toasters, immune to drowning, full health from Repair spells, and only -25% to Positive Energy, as opposed to “real” toasters’ -50%) and rolling in the best of all worlds.  His primary focus is using Greater Single Weapon Fighting with Haste Boosts and bastard swords – currently the Epic Templar’s Retribution – but switches to the Epic Hellfire Crossbow in a blink to gun hostiles down while closing the gap.  And while I hear readers musing to themselves – “so do a lot of toons, that’s not special” – you haven’t seen the speed with which artificers swap from weapon+rune arm to crossbow+rune arm.  You can literally jump, switch to the bow, shoot them six times in the face, and land with a Great Cleave coming across their cheek.  With a Jump of 12 and no feather fall.

Now, don’t get me wrong, he’s not perfect at this point, not by a long shot.  Part of the problem he’s suffering from now is that his gear is whack.  Well, it was before he Epic Reincarnated, too.  I went through his gear while getting ready to reincarnate, and was reminded why I had written the following on my character log:

omgwtf this kit is a hot mess

As of right now, he’s got a few pieces of redeeming note – the aforementioned weapons, the Construct’s Mantle on his back, and nearly every rune arm in the game.  (No, seriously, I went a little Pokemon on his first life;  the only ones he is missing are The Disciplinator from VON6, Titan’s Fist from Titan (obv), and Knives Eternal from Mark of Death.)  There are other pieces of gear that are solid, but they won’t come into play for quite some time – a Manual of Stealthy Pilfering and Epic Death’s Rampart for 26 and 27, respectively – but that won’t help him get there.  So he’s at an odd crossroads – do I just simply grind through the early Epics and go with it, or work to gear him up and make him a more valuable addition to the party as a whole?

Ahh, gearholes, my old nemesis.  We meet again.

On top of that, I’m doing what has been come to be called, amongst my motley squad of misfits on Orien, as “keeping things interesting.”

  •         Keeping Things Interesting (colloq. v.) – intentionally performing something of questionable or downright low intelligence, with the express purpose of increasing tension and/or difficulty.

Normally, this is said when “making friends,” i.e., pulling large groups of mobs that didn’t necessarily need to be pulled, just to make fights crazier and – as one might imagine – more interesting.  In this case, I’m doing that with the whole “Epic Destiny” bit.

When one is looking to increase survivability, Unyielding Sentinel is likely the first Destiny to come to mind.  However, I’ve done that before.  And Madfinger doesn’t have that Destiny unlocked, yet.  So, as a crazy compromise – and after poking about a bit with Shadowdancer to unlock Technician rank 3 – I slapped him into Legendary Dreadnaught.  Probably not the smartest of moves, but, whatever.

That’s right, ladies and gents – what we have here is a pure arti with Momentum Swing (who actually uses it).  With nine Haste Boosts (+30% Action Boost bonus to attack speed for 20 seconds) per rest on top of the five-minute Armor of Speed and +30% Combat Style bonus to attack speed from Greater Single Weapon Fighting and 10% Melee and Ranged Alacrity.  For those following along at home, that’s standing 40% Attack Speed bonus, buffed to 55% and bursting at 85%.  That sword is nothing but a blur.  

Bet you were expecting that when the rune arm symbol showed up in the character list, eh?

Now if I could just find him some shoes….

 

32 Raids in 24 Hours

This past weekend was a holiday one in the United States, and I would like to think I took good advantage of that fact.  Let’s start at the end and go backwards.  Why?  Because I can.

The final thing that happened before I logged off was the acquisition of the one and only Hellpuppy, the Monster Manual creature companion for slaughtering a metric butt-ton of Hellhounds.  When shrunken down to such small dimensions, he kind of looks more like a disfigured chihuahua, but I suppose that adds to the charm in its own way.

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Ain’t he adorable?  I named him Roger.  Because, reasons.

Immediately prior to that was the completion of a completely berserk number of raids in a single day.  Because of course I couldn’t just leave last years’ 20 Shrouds in 24 Hours stunt alone, now, could I?  Of course not.  That would be silly, and while I am silly, I don’t do silly things.  Often.  I’m lying.  Frequently.  But that’s all beside the point.

Let’s take a quick gander at what transpired on Holiday Monday alone:

  •         Twenty runs (in a row!) of Fire on Thunder Peak (resulting in the Dragon Masque for Whong Fei-Hung the Halfling Shuricannon and Mini-Pimp, which trumps his previously meh helmet (that offered almost nothing), adding Negative Energy each star (which he throws at the rate of 1.2 billion per millisecond), adding Deception (yet another per-star proc), Insightful Sneak Attack (to a Ninja Spy’s already per-star sneak attack), and Deadly XI.  Okay, the Deadly XI is already on the Epic Dawnbringer, but now it’s not star-specific.)  Oh, and (((excessive parentheses))).  I may or may not have proposed marriage to Tharaxata the Dragon while we were having alone time.  Folks that were present in the raid may or may not have heard me bellowing “Why won’t you love me?!?” while flinging my halfling monk at her chest.  It was the bouquet of flowers in his off-hand she was so enamored with, I’m positive of it.  None of that makes sense.  But, then again, none of the whole day made sense.
  •         Three runs of Legendary Shroud, on various toons (Wally the Ghost Archer, Whong the Shuricannon, and Orsyn the Ghost Mechanic).  Lots of materials for Legendary Green Steel, which puts me that much closer to finishing off Tholgrin’s LGS Great Axe.  Also started up an LGS Great Crossbow for Orsyn, and an LGS Shuriken for Fei-Hung.
  •         Two runs of Legendary Hound of Xoriat (two successful, that is, there were actually four, but the puppies glitched out on two runs and had to be restarted) on Fei-Hung and Orsyn.
  •         Four runs of Legendary Tempest’s Spine which resulted in not a single set of the Leathers of the Celestial Archer which Orsyn has been drooling over since they came out.  At least they can be purchased for Xorian Runes, once I acquire enough of them – which in no way led to me running LHoX.  Where the Leathers also have a chance to drop.  Nope, not related at all.  For honests.  I’m lying.  It seems I’m doing that a lot, today.
  •         One run of The Mark of Death on Bholgrin Stoneforge the Romunkadin Favormaster (12 Pal/7 Mnk/1 Rog) which resulted in everybody getting skunked (except for Masterwork Tapestry Shreds).  Sadface.
  •         Two runs of Defiler of the Just on my primary Paladins, Tholgrin Stoneforge (Knight of the Chalice brute) and Mattok Shalefinder (Vanguard hate-tank), which resulted in someone getting lucky and pulling the Boots of Blessed Travels and Mattok still not having a Fellblade. Meh.  I can’t get too greedy, though, as Mat pulled Ultimatum on Friday.  Woohoo!

For those of you keeping track at home, that is thirty-two raids in a single day, with a lot of toon-switching and a lot of bypass timers.  Well, a lot more than is demonstrated above, because as we go back in time, the weekend was still rolling.

Okay, not rolling nearly as quickly as the weekend ended, that’s for sure.  Monday was off-the-wall insane.  There were a number of raids pulled from Friday through Sunday, though, which I’m sure was bolstered by the +5% per-party-member Buddy Weekend Bonus.  (After all, a full raid party then nets +55% XP.)  I won’t bore you with the details of the other three days, as they’re nothing compared to what you just read.

As for an update on the rest of the toons – Uncle Tubbs is now sitting tight at 28 on his “rogue” life, wherein he’s essentially a carbon copy of Orsyn Burr’s build, just with a wizard level that I couldn’t be arsed to Lesser Reincarnate out.  The goal being to rack up Tubbs’ first Deep Gnome past life, as well as score a Heroic Rogue past life, as well.  After that, it’s only Fighter and Ranger left to strike up a Heroic Completionist.

Aapex Predator the Paladin pulled his Jack Jibbers’ blade over the weekend, and Khail Ironfist the Shintao Monk finished his Green Steel Weave Boots, getting both of them marked off the Checklist.  In addition, even though he was “excluded” from the ‘List for Ioun Stones, I went ahead and unsuppressed his.  Now that’s the 20th Unsuppressed Ioun Stone on this account, and I can finally put the Dreaming Dark to rest.  For good.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my pure Artificer, Madfinger Runewarden, is currently a hot bloody mess.  Note I am not stating the class is a mess, just that toon – I did several runs with him whilst trying to get his Jack’s blade, and each one made me feel the need to ingest the contents of a box of dishwasher detergent.  Rather than finish up his farming amidst screaming fits of hateful pseudo-teenage angst, I have decided that Bholgrin’s quest for Epic Completionist (that’d be EC #3 for the account) will be delayed by one Epic Career, during which point I will repurpose Madfinger into a hybrid melee-ranged artificer in much the same theory as made the Palificer Artadin a delight to play.  The only further inquiry is whether to go Bastard Sword or Dwarven Axe for the melee part – there are still a few minor details to iron out.

Hopefully, that will make the rotund engineer more enjoyable to play.  Plus, his skills currently are shot, and “repairing” his build at this point would require a reincarnation to begin with.  Might as well check him off for “wings” and get an Epic Past Life in the process, right?  Right.

Anyhoo, I’m out of time for this lunch break update.  More to come in the future.

Oh, and P.S. – I had no less than eight random people inform me that I probably need to seek professional help.  I also may or may not have been having debates with myself in three different voices at the time.  (It takes a special kind of “speshul” to lose your own argument with yourself. –Ed.)  Oh, well…